Beth Nahrain

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Beth Nahrain or Bit Nahrain or (Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ; "house (of the) rivers") is the Syriac name for the region known as Mesopotamia (Greek "land between the rivers") as well as its surrounding periphery. Geographically, it refers to the areas around the Euphrates and Tigris rivers (as well as their tributaries). The Aramaic name loosely describes the area of the rivers, not between the rivers like the literal Greek term; however both names refer to the same region.

While it may be erroneously thought that the name is derived from the Greek "Mesopotamia", the opposite is more probable as the Aramaic name has been attested since the adoption of Old Aramaic as the lingua franca of the Neo Assyrian Empire in the 10th century BCE,[1] while the Greek name Mesopotamia was first coined in the 2nd century BCE by the historian Polybius during the Seleucid period.[2] The name Bayn al-Nahrayn is also found in Arabic (بين النهرين; "between the two rivers").

This area roughly encompasses Iraq, northeastern Syria and parts of southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran. The Arameans and Assyrians are considered to be indigenous inhabitants of Beth Nahrain.[3] "Nahrainean" or "Nahrainian" is the Anglicized name for "Nahraya", which is the Aramaic equivalent of "Mesopotamian".[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Finkelstein, J. J.; 1962. “Mesopotamia”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 21: 73–92
  2. ^ Geoffrey Wigoder, The Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible, Sterling Publishing (2005).
  3. ^ Simo Parpola, Assyrian Identity in Ancient Times and Today, Lecture given at the March 27, 2004 historical seminar of the Assyrian Youth Federation in Sweden (AUF)
  4. ^ Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies Past and Present, Perceptions of Syriac Literary Tradition by Lucas VAN ROMPAY