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Who were the Aramaeans?



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Aram was the ancient name for the city of Damascus, and Aramaeans were its inhabitants. The Aramaic language developed around 700-800 BCE and became so widespread in the Near East that the Babylonian Empire adopted it as the language for trade, as did their Persian conquerors. The Jews, in turn adopted Aramaic and continued to use that language throughout the hellenistic period, when most other peoples had adopted the Greek language, and into the Roman period.