Progress on Bīt-PN research

I’ve completed going through Andreas Fuchs’ Inschriften Sargons II. aus Khorsabad for information relevant to the Bīt-PN study in progress. The information has been added to my pdf file of the raw data, here. I’ve also taken a quick first stab at organizing the data in another file, here. The important thing to notice is that there is a trend in usage in the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions in the case of many of the newer Aramaean states in which the personal name of the geographic name “Bīt-PN” is explicitly (through the use of determinatives) or implicitly (through mention as a progenitor) personal, showing the understanding of the Assyrians that a real person, in many cases, lay behind the name. As noted in Hélène Sader’s Les États Araméens de Syrie: depuis leur Fondation jusqu’à leur Transformation en Provinces Assyriennes (Beiruter Texte und Studien 36. Beirut, 1987), these states were formed early in the first millennium by various personages for which a large number of territories were named, some examples of which being Bīt-Abdadāni, Bīt-Adini, and Bīt-Agūsi. The Assyrians, in referring to later rulers of these territories, typically recognized these rulers as descendants of the founders, and explicitly referred to them not as “king of Bīt-PN” but as “son of PN.” The geographic name thus also doubles in this kind of usage as a dynastic name: the place Bīt-Adini, the House of Adinu, is ruled by the descndants of Adinu, his ‘house’, and a ruler is referred to as “son of Adinu.” Whether these rulers were actually descended from the eponymous founders of their kingdoms is unknown, but the Assyrian scribes, presumably based upon Aramaean practice, treated the situation thus. The Assyrians themselves maintained a longstanding tradition of having their own single dynasty of rulers (however fictional this was), which may have influenced their understanding of other states for which they were not completely aware of the internal workings.

In any case, my further investigation into this subject will entail: looking into the origins of these “new” Aramaean states themselves; their relation to the ahlamu Aramaeans of the second (and third?) millennium; Aramaean influence on Neo-Assyrian Akkadian in some of the names of these states and others (it looks like in some cases, the Aramaic emphatic suffix is used); and last, but not least, the connection of all this to the Tel Dan Stela and the usage there of BYTDWD and its links to the phrase “House of David” and its equivalents in the Old Testament.

Some earlier postings here dealing with this subject are:
“House of David” and BYTDWD
Further on “House of …” usage
Further on Bīt-PN usage

Joe Cathey has also been keeping track of various postings on the Tel Dan BYTDWD subject, one of his summaries of which is Tel Dan – A Response. Look through the available links there (Jim West’s blog no longer exists, unfortunately, so those posts are all gone).

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