Located at the Department of
Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations


About Syriac Epigraphy

Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic that was once an international language used throughout much of the eastern world. Syriac travelled east from the Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia via merchants and missionaries along the Silk Road.

Syriac inscriptions range geographically from Lebanon and Syria, Turkey, through to Iraq, Iran, south to India, and east to Inner Mongolia and China. These inscriptions are generally original compositions, some written in poetic metre, expressing Christian concepts and ideas. 

Dates for Syriac inscriptions range from the first century to the twenty-first century A.D. Dating systems include Seleucid (Hellenistic Greek), Gregorian (Christian), and sometimes Hegira (Islamic). The extensive geographical and chronological breadth of the inscriptions make them valuable to scholars working in areas such as Late Classical Antiquity; Near, Middle, and Far Eastern Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Art History; Philosophy (Western and Eastern); and Religious Studies.