The Name of the Camel

Redard, Céline, 2020. Le nom du chameau dans les langues iraniennes anciennes. In Damien Agut-Labordère & Bérangère Redon (eds.), Les vaisseaux du désert et des steppes: Les camélidés dans l’Antiquité (Camelus dromedarius et Camelus bactrianus). Lyon: MOM Éditions.

This book is available open access from the link above.

During the first millennium BCE, the dromedary and, more marginally, the camel began to impose their tall silhouettes on the roads of the Middle East and Egypt. Gathered in two workshops, in Lyon then Nanterre, sixteen archaeologists and historians have tried to assess this camel revolution. From Xinjiang to the Libyan Desert, the increasingly intensive use of the old-world camelids has indeed disrupted the fields of caravan transport but also agriculture, redesigning the trade routes, increasing the export capacities of oases, opening up previously isolated areas. Gradually becoming a critical agent of the economic systems of the desert or semi-desert regions, the camels remain at the same time associated with nomadic populations whose expertise is essential to breed and train these large animals.