Settlements > Aleppo

Aleppo

Background

Aleppo is one of the oldest inhabited cities on the planet with its origins dating around 5000 BCE. This date is only what archaeologists have been able to excavate however, as most of the current city sits on top of it. In ancient times the city of Aleppo was much more important then neighboring Damascus.

The city of Aleppo since 2012 has been undergoing severe internal strife and warfare that brought horrible devastation to its many historical buildings and districts.

Origins

The first mention of Aleppo comes around 2000 BCE from recovered cuneiform tablets. It is referred to as Ha-lam which has led historians such as Wayne Horowitz to believe that Aleppo was the capital of an independent civilization that is known as Armi located right near Elba where the tablets were recovered. Not everyone believes this though.

Aleppo has always been a religious city as there is a massive Temple of Hadad on the hill in the center of the city and in ancient times it was also known as the city of Hadad. Hadad was the storm god of the civilization.

Naram-Sin of Akkad mention his destruction of Ebla and Armani/Armanum,[28] in the 23rd century BC.[29][30] but the identification of Armani in the inscription of Naram-Sim as Armi in the Eblaite tablets is heavily debated,[31] as there was no Akkadian annexation of Ebla or northern Syria.[32] In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppo's name appears as Ḥalab (Ḥalba) for the first time.[30] Aleppo was the capital of the important Amorite dynasty of Yamḥad. The kingdom of Yamḥad (c. 1800–1525 BC), alternatively known as the 'land of Ḥalab,' was the most powerful in the Near East during the reign of Yarim-Lim I.[33] Yamḥad was devastated by the Hittites under Mursilis I in the 16th century BC. However, it soon resumed its leading role in Syria when the Hittite power in the region waned due to internal strife.[30] Taking advantage of the power vacuum in the region, Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni instigated a rebellion that ended the life of Yamhad last king Ilim-Ilimma I in c. 1525 BC,[34] Subsequently Parshatatar conquered Aleppo and the city found itself on the frontline in the struggle between the Mitanni, the Hittites and Egypt.[30] Niqmepa of Alalakh who descends from the old Yamhadite kings controlled the city as a vassal to Mitanni and was attacked by Tudhaliya I of the Hittites as a retaliation for his alliance to Mitanni.[35] Later the Hittite king Suppiluliumas I permanently defeated Mitanni and conquered Aleppo in the 14th century BC, Suppiluliumas installed his son Telepinus as king and a dynasty of Suppiluliumas descendents ruled Aleppo until the Late Bronze Age collapse.[36] Aleppo had cultic importance to the Hittites for being the center of worship of the Storm-God.[30] this religious importance continued after the collapse of the Hittite kingdom in the 12th century BC, when Aleppo became part of the Syro-Hittite kingdom of Palistin,[37] whose king renovated the temple of Hadad which was discovered in 2003.[38] At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, Aleppo became part of Bit Agusi (which had its capital at Arpad) .[39] Bit Agusi along with Aleppo was conquered by the Assyrians In the 8th century BC and became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire until the late 7th century BC,[40] before passing through the hands of the Neo-Babylonians and the Achamenid Persians.[41]

Hellenistic Era

During his conquest Alexander the Great took over the city in 333 BCE. Upon the death of Alexander the Great the city was eventually claimed during the Wars of the Diadochi by Seleucus I.

Seleucus created a Hellenic city on the city between 301 BCE and 286 BCE and renamed it Beroea (Βέροια) after the city of the same name in Macedon. Under the Seleucid Empire the city of Aleppo enjoyed great prosperity as did the entire northern Syria region as a whole.

Neighboring Damascus also flourished during this time period as well. Boroea/Aleppo was controlled by the Seleucid Empire until 88 BCE when it was conquered by Tigranes the Great of the Kingdom of Armenia. Eventually Tigranes lost to the Roman Empire and handed over Aleppo along with other cities in 64 BCE to Pompey.

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources