Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Amorites: a caste of royal scribes?

Alice C. Linsley

Aaron  A. Burke has written,
"After more than a century of scholarship on Amorites no real consensus has emerged on their origins, identity, and cultural legacy. It remains the case that little dialogue occurs across geocultural zones or between scholars working on different historical periods. Furthermore, few efforts have been made to incorporate anthropological approaches, despite the fact that more than thirty years ago Kamp and Yoffee (1980) noted its conspicuous absence among prior methods. The only consensus that exists, therefore, is that there is no consensus."
The Amorites do indeed remain a mystery, but Biblical Anthropology provides some insights that should be considered. Given that archaic languages in the Afro-Asiatic family share common consonant roots with different vowels, it is likely that "Amorite" is an anglicized form of the word Amur-ru.

The peoples of Amur-ru were related to and under the governance of the Nile rulers. Some lived in Egypt and are represented on ancient monuments as having "fair skins, light hair, blue eyes, aquiline noses, and pointed beards.” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)

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

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.

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 tomb dates to a time after the earliest evidence of Amorites in Genesis 10:16.

Amur-ru is also the name of the northernmost district of Egypt's empire and it included the coastal region from Ugarit to Byblos. The Orontes in Turkey marked the northern boundary of Amur-ru.

In ancient times, the Orontes (Draco) River was the chief river of the Levant and had sufficient depth for boats to sail up the river from the Mediterranean near modern Beirut in Lebanon. This was aided by the north-flowing currents. Meroe on the Orontes was a fortress on the spur of Mount Silpius overlooking the Orontes. It was named IO, which means “pillared place dedicated to the Creator.” The O was a solar symbol and the emblem of the Creator. Likewise Heliopolis (Biblical On) on the Nile was called “iunu” which means "place of pillars." because it was a shrine city. Meroe on the Orontes was about 2185 miles from Meroe on the Nile. This Meroe was the farthest outpost of the Egyptian Empire and at its peak the city would have had Amur-ru.

Perhaps the Amur-ru/Amorites were Am-Ar, meaning the people/tribe/caste of Ar. 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.

White Canaanites?

Genesis 10 does not tell us about all the human populations living on earth. There were many migrations of peoples 70,000 and 100,000 years ago, long before Noah.  However, the name Ar does not 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, son of Ham 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) refers to the Ar of Onn/Heliopolis. Here we find a possible connection between Abraham's Anu ancestors of Onn and the Amorites.

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 royal 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


Alice C. 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.

Anonymous said...

Hi There - Are the Horites connected to the Harauti and civilization of the Haravaiti and Saraswati rivers?

I've read pieces linking Abraham and Sarah to the Brahma and Saraswati. And a tributary of the Sawaswati named Ghaggar connected to Haggar?

Is this cods-tosh or some veracity in it?

Alice C. Linsley said...

There is a connection between Hinduism and the religion of Abraham's Kushite ancestors. This is because Noah's Kushite descendants established territories in India and took their languages, culture and religious practices with them. In this sense, African religion predates Hinduism.

There certainly are linguistic connections between Africa and India due to the Kushite expansion into India, Nepal, Siam and even China. The Aryans of India, on the other hand, did not built territories in the Nile Valley. Indians moving into Africa is a more recent development, although Dravidian-speaking peoples mined gold in Southern Africa in 1000 B.C.

Unfortunately, there is a good deal of mis-information about the connections between principal figures of Hinduism and principal characters of Genesis. Here are four examples:

Brahma is another name for Abraham

In Hinduism, Brahma and his wife Saraswati are considered the founders of the worlds. In Genesis, Abraham is said to be the father of many nations. This is historically accurate since Abraham had many children, among them nine sons. Such a claim in not made in Genesis for Sara, however, since she gave birth to only one child, Isaac.

There is evidence of a common conception about ancestors who found nations, but an etymological connection between Abraham and Brahma, and between Sarai and Saraswati has never been demonstrated. It is speculation based on a superficial understanding of the proto languages.

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 not an 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.

The Saraswati is another name for Sara

Sara is a Nilotic name. It means laughter. Genesis 18:13 reports that Sara laughed when she heard that she would bring forth a son in her old age. The association of laughter with the name Sara is suggested by several Afro-Asiatic languages. The verb to laugh in Hausa, a Chadic language, is dara. Dara and Sara may be regarded as cognates since the letters d and s are interchangeable in Dravidian and many African languages.

The largest population group in Chad is the Sara. Sara society is organized by patrilineal descent from a common male ancestor. There is a 3-clan confederation such as characterizes Abraham's people. The qir ka are the eastern Sara, the qin ka are those living in central Chad, and the qel ka are the western groups. The Sara make up to 30% of Chad's population. About one-sixth of them are Christians and live in southern Chad.

Sarah is also a title, meaning queen. It is related to the Akkadian word for king which is Šarru.

Gayatri is another name for Keturah

In Hinduism, Brahma's second wife is Gayatri. Attempts have been made to connect Gayatri with Abraham's second wife, Keturah. This assertion has no linguistic support. Ketu-ra means the Ketu people/tribe of Ra (God). The Ketu are Jebusites.

Hagar is another name for the Ghaggar River

Ghaggar is not Hagar. It is comprised of the words ghag-gar. The word ghag (also spelled khag) means reed, and gar means hidden. This is a description of how this tributary of the Sarasvati dries up seasonally. It flows only during the Monsoon season.

Anonymous said...

thankyou kindly for your knowlegde on the matter

Alice C. Linsley said...

You are very welcome. Let me know what you discover in your study of this question of correlations.

Anonymous said...

I shall. A Dr Habbas of Iran Chamber traced philology of modern Croats to Horite or Horoathos to the Harauti province. One my family lineaged descends from an ancient clan of ruling elite of Croats or Hrvats. But connection of Horites to Harauti hmmm? They are described as Iranic ruling elite or Sarmatian Horite ascent. Apparently Assyrians was merging of Horites and Babylonians. And then Assyrians were absorbed by Medes from what I seem to have found. But still studying.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Hara and Horo are the same word and found in the Jewish name Horowitz or Horovitz. Variants of this name are Hurwitz/Gurvich/Gurevich. Gur or Ghar means merchant or one who trades.

The Horite clans moved into Bul-Ghar or Bulgaria (Land of the Ghar) and into Hun-Gharia or Hungary. The Hungarians call themselves the "Magyar." The Magyar-ab (Tribe of Magyar) still live along the Nile River. Their ancestors moved east and north, as part of the Kushite expansion out of Africa.

The Ghar also moved into the Zagros Mountains. Nilotic Luo of Sudan, Kenya and Uganda believe that some of these Gur/Ghar/Khar/Har were their ancestors who settled in Luristan, Iran.

Perhaps this is helpful.

Anonymous said...

I looked into your Magyar connection, alas I found this It stipulates Maygar-ab where transported in medieval era by the Ottoman empire. Many other sites contest the same. Any opinion on this?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Magyar is what the Hungarians call themselves. "Ab" is a Nilotic/Nubian word meaning tribe or people of. The Magyar of Hungary originated in the Nile Valley. That some should have returned there is not remarkable. This is called "backflow" in anthropology. For example, Mitochondrial lineage M1 traces an early human backflow to Africa. Populations backflows result from many different causes: deportation, exile, migration and return to homeland where people have kin.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for wonderful comments.I was looking for name Cham /my channel entity/ and from Chammurapi and Amorites by help of your comments I have unexpectedly found what my mother´s name Gurevich means.This name is so rarely in Slovakia.Thank you.

Unknown said...

Hi Alice,
I am a bit confused here. So the horites and the amorites were all western semites correct ? I am confused who they are and what's their relations.



Alice C. Linsley said...

The Horites are a caste of Hebrew (Habiru) ruler-priests who are devotees of Ra and his son Horus, born of Hathor-Meri. The oldest known Horite Hebrew shrine is at Nekhen in Sudan. Messianic expectation originated among them.

It is likely that the Amur-ru are a caste of royal scribes who were widely dispersed in service of the rulers.

Both are Semitic, but their point of origin appears to be the Nile Valley and the Green Sahara long before the time of Shem.