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West Semitic Epigraphy and the Judaean Diaspora during the Achaemenid Period: Babylonia, Egypt, Cyprus

West Semitic Epigraphy and the Judaean Diaspora during the Achaemenid Period: Babylonia, Egypt, Cyprus

Chapter:
(p.37) II West Semitic Epigraphy and the Judaean Diaspora during the Achaemenid Period: Babylonia, Egypt, Cyprus
Source:
Levantine Epigraphy and History in the Achaemenid Period (539-322 BCE)
Author(s):
André Lemaire
Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265895.003.0002

After the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (587 BCE), most of the Judean elite (family of king Jehoiachin, civil and military servants, technicians) lived in Babylonia. New cuneiform tablets reveal that they mostly staid in Babylonian villages (al-Yāhūdu, Bît-Abīram, Našar); they were mainly holders of bow-fields but a few ones became dēkū officials. Some of these new documents present West Semitic labels and reveal that the deportees kept, at least for some time, their Hebrew culture even though they apparently used Aramaic and Neo-Babylonian deeds in their daily life. In Egypt, numerous Aramaic papyri and ostraca from Elephantine reveal that the Judean garrison staying there was strongly aramaicized even though they prayed and sacrificed in a Yaho temple and kept their Judean ethnicity. A few funerary stelae discovered in Ayios Georghiou at Larnaca-Kition (Cyprus) reveal the presence of Judean people there, apparently practicing mixed marriages.

Keywords:   Aramaic, Babylonia, Al-Yāhūdu, Bît-Abīram, Elephantine, Papyri, Ostraca, Daskyleion, Kition

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