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The Arameans, or Aramaeans, (Aramaic: ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ, ארמיא ; ʼaramáyé) were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria (Biblical Aram) during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Large groups migrated to Mesopotamia where they intermingled with the native Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian) population. A large proportion of Syriac Christians in modern Syria still espouse an Aramean identity to this day, though few now speak the Western Aramaic language.
The Arameans never had a unified nation; they were divided into small independent kingdoms across parts of the Near East, particularly in what is now modern Syria. After the Bronze Age collapse, their political influence was confined to a number of Syro-Hittite states, which were entirely absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire by the 8th century BC.
By contrast, the Aramaic language came to be the lingua franca of the entire Fertile Crescent, by Late Antiquity developing into the literary languages such as Syriac and Mandaic. Scholars have used the term "Aramaization" for the process by which the Akkadian/Assyro-Babylonian peoples became Aramaic-speaking during the later Iron Age.