The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Arabia and Germania

Peter Webb says, 'Arab' was a name imposed upon the Arabs from outside Arabia. Otherwise, there was no "Arab asabiya", no self-consciousness of belonging to an Arab nation.

Why would there be. The Himyaris spoke a different language. The Sabaeans and Hadramis spoke very different languages. The Mahra - well, they were written off as "Berbers" at the time. (Now, we know that the Mahra did and do speak Semitic, which the Kabyle and Tamasheq didn't speak and which they still hate speaking. But the classical Arabs couldn't know that.)

Is it just me, or is the Hellenistic view of Araby an exact analogue to the Roman view of Germany? North of the Danube, some spoke old Gothic and some spoke old Norse. Others spoke old Slavic. The languages were all related... vaguely... to varying degrees. It was more the shared cultural practices, born of that cold swampy forest, that mattered to a Roman.

posted by Zimri on 17:46 | link | 0 comments

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