Banqueting scene from Neo Hittite era, 800-700 BC.
Above the two personages (a man and a woman), a winged solar disc is depicted.
Basalt, 62 cm wide, 90 cm in height. Found near Islahiye (west of Gaziantep).
Aramean style, on stylistic grounds assigned to the 2nd half of the 8th century BC.
The Arameans were a Northwest Semitic people who originated in what is now modern Syria (Biblical Aram) during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Large groups migrated to Mesopotamia, where they intermingled with the native Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian) population. A large proportion of Syriac Christians in modern Syria still espouse an Aramean identity to this day.
The Arameans never had a unified nation; they were divided into small independent kingdoms across parts of the Near East, particularly in what is now modern Syria. After the Bronze Age collapse, their political influence was confined to a number of Syro-Hittite states, which were entirely absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire by the 8th century BC.
By contrast, the Aramaic language came to be the lingua franca of the entire Fertile Crescent, by Late Antiquity developing into the literary languages such as Syriac and Mandaic.
Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen.
Sources: Website of ‘anadolumedeniyetlerimuzesi.gov.tr’ – Annual report 1997 & Wikipedia.