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Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East$
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Roger Bagnall

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267022

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267022.001.0001

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Greek and Syriac in the Roman Near East

Greek and Syriac in the Roman Near East

Chapter:
(p.95) Chapter 5 Greek and Syriac in the Roman Near East
Source:
Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East
Author(s):

Roger S. Bagnall

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520267022.003.0006

This chapter focuses primarily on the dialects of Aramaic, especially Syriac, in a part of the ancient Near East for which it has much less surviving written material than it has from Egypt. It adduces the remarkable discoveries of documents in Bactrian in the last fifteen years, which help to provide an unexpected and revealing eastern perspective on the situation in western Asia. The chapter notes that the Aramaic zone differed from the Egyptian in some ways: One is that Aramaic had been, under the Persian empire and even afterward, an official language in which the empire's business and that of individuals was conducted over a vast geographic span, from the first cataract of the Nile to at least Bactria; second is that there was probably no period at which Aramaic was not used in some written form for everyday purposes.

Keywords:   dialects, Aramaic, Syriac, Near East, Egypt, Bactrian, Persian empire, Nile

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