Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Amorites: a caste of royal scribes?

Alice C. Linsley

Egyptologists Flinders Petrie and Assyriologist Archibald Sayce believed that the Amorites (Amurru) were white, with blue eyes and fair hair. According to Sayce (The Hittites, 1889):

The Amorites… were a tall, handsome people, with white skins, blue eyes and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact, of the white race.

The Amorites lived in ancient Egypt. According to Sayce, tomb No. 34 at Thebes, belonging to the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1550-c. 1292), illustrates a bearded Amorite chief with white skin and red-brown hair. This is long after the earliest evidence of Amorites in Genesis 10:16, but corresponds to the earliest known written communications.

Henry George Tomkins (1897), a member of the Royal Archaeological Institute wrote that the Amorites were blue eyed and fair haired.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary states the Amorites are “represented on the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes, aquiline noses, and pointed beards.”

My guess is that the Amorites were Am-Ar, meaning the people/tribe/caste of Ar. Today we call them Aryans. Their name appears in the titles of many of their rulers. Some variations include Ar-Shem, Arsames, Artix, and Araxes, and all of these are named in historical texts.

Clearly, Aryans lived in the Nile region well before Abraham’s time. DNA studies indicate that the Nile Valley of East Africa had a population with greater genetic diversity than anywhere on earth. Genesis 10 does not tell us about all the human populations before and after Noah. There were many peoples and significant migrations of peoples 70,000 and 100,000 years ago, long before Noah.  However, the name Ar doesn't appear in the Genesis king lists until four generations after Noah. Consider the following:

B.C. 2490-2415 – Noah, lived when the Sahara experienced a wet period (Butzer 1966)
B.C. 2438-2363 – Ham, son of Noah by his cousin-wife
B.C. 2417-2342 – Kush/Cush, son of Ham by his half-sister (?) and the father of Nimrod and Raamah
B.C. 2290-2215 - Nimrod, probably “Sargon the Great
B.C. 2238-2163 - Arpacshad, son by Asshur's daughter. (Shad means happy.)
B.C. 2217-2042 - Salah, likely Arpacshad's son by his sister-wife
B.C. 2196-2121 - Eber, likely Salah's son by his sister-wife
B.C. 2175-2100 - Peleg, likely Eber's son by his sister-wife. Peleg's brother was Joktan the Elder.

Arpachshad, Salah, Eber, Peleg and Joktan would have lived during the 9th and 10th Dynasties between 2445–2160 B.C. The name Ar is found in the names of biblical places, such as Wadi Arnon. Ar-non (originally Ar-nxn) means the Ar of Onn/Heliopolis. Here we find a connection between Abraham's Annu ancestors of Onn and the Amorites.

The Amorites: Aryan Canaanites?

Genesis 10:16 and 1 Chronicles 1:13-14 mention the Amorites in connection with the Canaanites. The Arvadites (residents of Arvad) and Arkites (Gen. 10:15-18) appear to be related to the Amorites. They are peoples of Sidon and also classified as Canaanites.

During Abraham's time, the Amorites were centered in Engedi, a large oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea bounded on the south by the Wadi Arnon. They apparently considered the Arnon a natural boundary because they eventually forced the Moabites south across the river.

Genesis 10 maintains that the Amorites are descendants of Noah by his great grandson Nimrod who, though himself a Kushite, lived in Mesopotamia. Clearly the Amorites had been living among and marrying Abraham’s Kushite ancestors.

The Amorites: a caste of ruler-scribes?

There are linguistic clues as to the Am-Ar’s identity as a scribal caste. Arsh means “throne” in Arabic, suggesting a connection to the royal house. Among the Igbo, the scribe clans are called Ar or Aro. It appears that the Am-Ar were a caste of ruler-scribes, just as the Horites were a caste of ruler-priests. This is further evidence that the archaic world had a caste structure and marriage within the ruling castes was endogamous.

Israelites associated by their names with the Am-Ar include Aroch (1 Chr 7:39, Ezra 2:5, Neh 6:18, Neh 7:10) and Ariel (Ezr 8:16, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:7). Ariel means “scribe/messenger of God.” So it appears that the Am-Ar were scribes and royal messengers. This is further suggested by the name Ar-vad. Vad means “to speak” in Sanskrit.

The association of the name Ar with the scribal caste is further demonstrated by the discovery of Aramaic scrolls from the satrap Arsames to his Egyptian administrator Psamshek and to an Egyptian ruler named Nekht-hor. (A.T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago, 1948, pp.116-117)

The alphabetic inscriptions from the Wadi El-Hol in Egypt date between 1800 and 2000 B.C. and provide some of the earliest evidence for the development of the alphabet that would have been known to the Am-Ar. Concerning this find, Dr. John Coleman Darnell (Yale University) has stated, “These are the earliest alphabetic inscriptions, considerably earlier than anyone had thought likely."

The inscriptions were found at Mount Tjauti, where caravan routes converge about 25 miles northwest of Luxor and about 250 miles south of Cairo. The Farshut Road, or the “Road of Horses,” departs Thebes north of the Valley of the Kings, crosses the high plateau between Mount Antef and Mount Roma and descends at the Wadi el-Hol.  This is a very ancient commerce route, possibly established by King Menes who was the first to unite into a single empire the regions of the Upper and Lower Nile. Menes was called Ahauiti and Mount Tjauti was likely named for him.  His territory was called Tjenu. The earliest evidence of Tjenu as a ruled territory dates to 4000 B.C. Royal scribes and messengers would have traveled this route.

We find further association between Ar and the royal name Auti in the region of Arachosia, which corresponds to the Aryan land of Har-auti.  Har refers to Horus.

Dr. Catherine Acholonu writes, "The Igbo Ar/Aro are the scribes of the Igbo God Ele/El (Chukwu Abiama) who dwells in the southern extension of the Underground Duat called the Long Juju. They were and are still proficient in various kinds of ancient scripts called Akwukwo Aka Igwe, and Nsibidi which has many Sumerian pictographs and Egyptian hieroglyphics and has been said to be older than 5000 yrs. Sumerian pictographs were in use by 3500 BC. That shows how old Nsibidi is. It has been called the oldest writing system in Africa. The Aro were originally the military arm of the Eri clan of Priest-kings who were the first Pharaohs of Egypt and the first kings of the world. They were charged with guarding the Great Serpent's Shrine called ARO BU N'AGU."

The Ar venerated the serpent. The metal working Nes of Anatolia who venerated the serpent are likely related to the ancient scribes of old Nsibidi. In ancient Egypt Nesu biti referred to the ruler of a united Upper and Lower Nile.

Related reading:  The Peoples of Canaan; The Genesis King Lists; The Clans of Ar; Afro-Arabian versus Aryan Religion: the horse as example


Anonymous said...

Quite comprehensive. I did wonder for a while if the term Amorite had anything to do with Amor, the Latin name for Cupid.

"the Dude" said...

I thought perhaps this:

Amurru: Aramaic/Elamite river traders with Amur River and Ama Darya (cf Japanese goddess Ama-Terasu)?

Baltic Sea region produced bleached white skin/blonde/blue eyed folk due to constant gulf stream clouds (no UV) blocked by eastern Ural range (compare W Finns to E Yukaghir, both are Uralic speakers but different "races" due to lack of cloudcover in Siberia (thus poor glaciation there during ice age).
Coincidentally, the Dead Sea being the lowest dry shore elevation on earth, also has no UV due to permanent salt-ozone-mist, so Ein Gedde inhabitants would not have dark skin/eyes/hair like everywhere else in Levant/Africa. Mountain folk have lighter skin not due specifically to high elevation but due to rain clouds 'clinging' to one side of mountain ranges, while the other side is often parched and the folk darker toned. A similar example is the Vancouver Spirit trees (blonde trees) & Spirit bears (blonded black bears) living in misty isles of NW coast climate.

I think the Nile name derived from Anubia/DANUbile (fertile=nubile, danu=downriver floodplains, Anu, bile="blue"?, cf Blue Danube), Lake Tana source was not far from the separate Tana River & delta, very similar 'formula' to the 2 Siberian Yana/Jana rivers, and to the Dan & Jordan rivers, and to the Tigris & Euphrates rivers.

Anonymous said...

"The Arabian historians contend that Brahma and Abraham, their ancestor, are the same person. The Persians generally called Abraham Ibrahim Zeradust. Cyrus considered the religion of the Jews the same as his own. The Hindoos must have come from Abraham, or the Israelites from Brahma..."

Alice Linsley said...


Brahma is derived from the Proto-Dravidian root brih, which means to swell or enlarge. It is a reference to the Creator God whose emblem, the sun, swells as it rises in the morning. There may be a connection to the ancient Egyptian root bn, meaning to swell, but there is no evident connection to the name Abraham which is an Afro-Arabian name.

The Old Arabic word for the swelling of the sun is yakburu, meaning “he is getting big” and with the intensive active prefix: yukabbiru, it means "he is enlarging." This has little connection to the name Abraham. However, it is rleated to the Proto-Dravidian word for a Sun temple, which is O-piru. Dravidian temples typically face east. The morning ritual of the priests was to greet the rising sun and watch as it expanded or swelled on the horizon.