Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Aramaic-speaking pirates and a woman ruler at ed-Dur?

Was ed-Dur ruled by a woman?

Rym Ghazal (The National)
Oct 2, 2012

Images on a coin can tell the story of place and time.

But for some of the coins found at ed-Dur, it is a name that is causing the greatest debate.

“It is a real mystery,” says Dr Ernie Haerinck. “The coins minted locally have a name added to them in Aramaic. It is ‘Abi’el’, the daughter of so and so.

“Perhaps ed-Dur was a kingdom run by a woman?”

The name was added to “imitations of imitations” of common coins, attributed to the first century AD.


“One of the biggest problems we have is that a lot of the pre-Islamic rituals and histories have not been noted down anywhere, and the fact that we have less and less specialists around who can read Aramaic and its different ancient dialects,” says Dr Haerinck.

Besides locally minted coins, which offer proof of autonomy and political and economic independence, there are many unexplained discoveries at ed-Dur, one that led Dr Haerinck to say: “Maybe there were pirates here?

“For the vastness of what has been found here could be explained through one theory and texts by Romans about this area, that just maybe some ed-Dur pirates brought back lots of plunder and treasures from across the world.”
The site of ed-Dur where the coins were excavated is in the UAE. There are plenty of specialists in different Aramaic dialects; they need to look around a little more. But, granted, pirate Aramaic might prove to be a challenge.