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Thread: Who were the ancient people of Iturea?

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    Who were the ancient people of Iturea?

    Who were the ancient Itureans that lived in the Galilee. I mean, according to Wikipedia:
    The Itureans (Greek: Ἰτουραῖοι) were a semi-nomadic tribe. The exact origin of the Itureans is disputed. Most scholars identified them as Arabs,[2][3][4][dead link][5][6][7][8][9] while some believed that they were Aramaean people.[10][11]

    They first rose to power in the aftermath of the decline of the Seleucids in the 2nd century BCE. Then, from their base around Mount Lebanon and the Beqaa Valley, they came to dominate vast stretches of Syrian territory,[12] and appear to have penetrated into northern parts of Israel as far as the Galilee.[13]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iturea
    Even in this Syrian news articles proclaiming them to be ancient Arabs as well(only in Arabic):
    https://souriat.com/2016/04/21518.html

    I need more conclusive evidence on them. The only direct evidence I got was by Ahmad al-Jallad which stated that at least a portion of them were Arabs or Arabic speakers:
    But this is a very interesting suggestion! Since the 2nd c. BCE, the area north of the Galilee, from Mt. Lebanon to the Anti-Lebanon was inhabited by the Itureans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iturea ). While their origins are disputed, some members of this group wrote Safaitic inscriptions.

    C 784: l mġyr bn ʿmm bn ʾḏnt ḏ- ʾl yẓr w ʾsrq ḏrw -- by Mughayyer son of 'Ammam son of Udhaynat of the people of Yiẓur (= Ἰτουραῖοι) and he migrated towards Dharaw.

    The previous text is from Rif Dimashq; this text comes from the Damascus Museum. l ʾ{n}{ʿ}m bn sg----lh w tswq ʾl- yẓr f h lt sl[----]m w qbll -- the author explains that he longs for Iturea and asks for security and a reunion of loved ones from the goddess Allat.


    A tiny number. Traditional way of looking at it is migration to Leb. but I imagine the alphabetic writing traditions conceal a great deal of lang diversity, as with Edom. Official documents in Canaanite but onomasticon heavily Arabic, then Nab. Appears after collapse of Edom.

    A first hints of spoken lang. Then finally it is elevated to a written lang centuries later. Itureans may be the same. The evidence is fragmentary but it isn't conclusive either way. Perhaps clues survive in the toponymy?

    This is an important point. The argument that personal names do not indicate linguistic affiliation has been put forth too strongly in the Levant. Arabic names are attested throughout the region, and the argument is that this means nothing re: linguistic background, as many Europeans today have Hebrew names. But Arabic was never the lang. of a dominate culture or writing tradition in the Levant, so why should Aramaic or Canaanite speaking peoples randomly adopt Arabic names wholesale. If you look at the onomasticon of places like Bostra, we are talking about the majority of names having an Arabic, or more generally, Arabian origin. These were Arabic speakers, probably bi- or multilingual in fact, (again with no reference to ethnic identity; we aren't talking in nationalistic terms) who wrote Greek, Aramaic, Canaanite, etc.
    https://twitter.com/safaitic/status/1026844921649655808
    What do you guys think?

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    No one?

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    They were a people named after an ancestor in the Torah יתור Yetur, who lived north of the Galil (Galilee) in northern Israel. They were originally gentiles, but one of the late Hhashmonai (Hasmonean) kings of Yehudah (Judea), named Aristobolus son of Yehudah, and perhaps his brother Alexander Yannai, expanded the conquests of that region and the Beney-Yetur (Iturians) were converted to Judaism under either Aristobolus or Alexander Yannai.

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