Semitic language was used widely throughout the Near East, beginning
in the early first millennium BC when it appears in Syria and northern
Mesopotamia. Its usage spread under the Assyrian and Persian empires,
when it became a kind of lingua franca in the ancient Near East.
Although we tend to associate Aramaic with Syria, Palestine and Iraq,
it is equally true that Aramaic was widely used in the Gulf region and
indeed, apart from the single example of South Arabian used on a pottery
fragment from Muweilah,
Aramaic is the language most widely attested in the Emirates during
the late pre-Islamic era. We find it used in the legends of much of
found at al-Dur
and we find it in stone and bronze inscriptions from these sites as
well. Indeed, after the Christianization of the region of Bet Mazunaye, Aramaic would have become the principal liturgical language of the Emirates before the ascendancy of Arabic.