Shinar was a geographical locale of uncertain boundaries in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. The name may be a corruption of Shene nahar ("two rivers"), Shene or ("two cities"), or Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

("land of the civilized lords" or "native land").

It has been suggested that Shinar must have been confined to the northern part of Mesopotamia (the plain of Sinjar
Sinjar is the name of a town and district in northwestern Iraq's Ninawa Governorate near the Syrian border. Its population at the time of the 2006 census was 39,875....

, immediately south of Mount Judi
Mount Judi
Mount Judi , according to very Early Christian and Islamic tradition , is the Noah's apobaterion or "Place of Descent", the location where the Ark came to rest after the Great Flood....

, and west of Mount Nisir), based on Jubilees
The Book of Jubilees , sometimes called Lesser Genesis , is an ancient Jewish religious work, considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches...

9:3 which allots Shinar (or, in the Ethiopic text, Sadna Sena`or) to Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

. However, Jubilees 10:20 states that the Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel , according to the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower built in the plain of Shinar .According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar, where...

 was built with bitumen from the sea of Shinar. David Rohl
David Rohl
New Chronology is the term used to describe an alternative Chronology of the ancient Near East developed by English Egyptologist David Rohl and other researchers beginning with A Test of Time: The Bible - from Myth to History in 1995...

 theorized that the Tower was actually located in Eridu
Eridu is an ancient Sumerian city in what is now Tell Abu Shahrain, Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq. Eridu was considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia, and is one of the oldest cities in the world...

, which was once located on the Persian Gulf, where there are ruins of a massive, ancient ziggurat
Ziggurats were massive structures built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels.Notable ziggurats include the Great Ziggurat of Ur near Nasiriyah, Iraq; the Ziggurat of Aqar Quf near...

 worked from bitumen.

The name Shinar occurs eight times in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

. In the Book of Genesis 10:10, the beginning of Nimrod
Nimrod means "Hunter"; was a Biblical Mesopotamian king mentioned in the Table of Nations; an eponym for the city of Nimrud.Nimrod can also refer to any of the following:*Nimród Antal, a director...

's kingdom is said to have been "Babel [Babylon], and Erech
Erech according to the Book of Genesis, was an ancient city in the land of Shinar, the second city built by king Nimrod....

Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

], and Akkad
The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia....

, and Calneh
Calneh was said to be one of the four cities founded by Nimrod, according to Genesis 10:10 in the Bible. Its identity is uncertain, and remains a mystery. The verse in question reads, ...the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, and W.F...

, in the land of Shinar." Verse 11:2 states that Shinar enclosed the plain that became the site of the Tower of Babel after the Great Flood.

In Genesis 14:1,9, King Amraphel
In the Tanakh or Old Testament, Amraphel was a king of Shinar in Genesis xiv.1 and 9, who invaded the west along with Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and others, and defeated Sodom and the other Cities of the Plain in the Battle of the Vale of Siddim.Beginning with E...

 rules Shinar. Shinar is further mentioned in Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

7:21; Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

11:11; Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

1:2; and Zechariah
Book of Zechariah
The Book of Zechariah is the penultimate book of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew and Christian Bible, attributed to the prophet Zechariah.-Historical context:...

5:11, as a general synonym for Babylonia.

If Shinar encompassed both Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 (Babel) and Erech (Uruk), then Shinar broadly denoted southern Babylonia. The Egyptian name for Babylonia/Mesopotamia was Sngr (Sangara), identified with the Sanhar of the Amarna letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

 by Sayce.

After the Great Flood, the sons of Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

, Ham, and Japheth
Japheth is one of the sons of Noah in the Abrahamic tradition...

, stay first in the highlands of Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, and then repair to Shinar (Vuibert, Ancient History, 25).

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