Aramaic in Britain.

In the beggining of the second century A. D. the famous Hadrian's wall was built in Northern England in Roman Britannia  to protect Roman territory from the barbarian Pictish tribes of the north. 

Eight thousand soldiers from all the over the Empire served there patrolling  the wall. Some of them- it seems - were from Syria and spoke Aramaic. Palmyrian Aramaic to be precise.

 This reveals a tombstone of a man named Barates of Palmyra-Syria mourning his late 30-year old  local wife. There is an inscription in Latin and a phrase in Aramaic at the end.

Aramaic on Hadrian's wall tombstone. 


The Latin part of the inscription reads:


TO THE SPIRITS OF THE DEPARTED [AND TO]
REGINA, HIS FREEDWOMAN AND WIFE

BARATES OF PALMYRA [ERECTED THIS]

[SHE] A CATUVELLAUNIAN [BY TRIBE], AGED 30



The Aramaic part reads



RGYN' BT HRY BR'T' HBL
REGINA, THE FREEDWOMAN OF BARATES, ALAS

This part is written in a local variant of the Palmyrene alphabet. Palmyrene was a dialect of Western Aramaic.

Next follows the Aramaic inscription with the letters colour coded individually.


Syrian heavy archer.

Syrian troops served in the Roman Army as auxiliaries.They were reknowned for being fierce archers.They were used all over the Empire including Britain as the inscription above reveals.

Hadrian's Wall

Two whole regiments of Syrian archers were stationed in Britain. The most known unit was the Cohors Prima Hamiorum Sagittaria- 500 Hamian tribesmen from Hama in northern Syria. 

Some of them protected the newly-built Hadrian's Wall from the barbaric threat from the North.



auxilliary Syrian archer



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