1. a member of a Uralic people living in scattered communities north of Cheboksary and Kazan in European Russia, mainly in the Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.2. the Finnic language of the Mari. Also called Cheremis, Cheremiss.[ < Russ mári (not declined) < Mari marij Mari, man]
* * *▪ ancient city, Syriamodern Tall al-Ḥarīrīancient Mesopotamian city situated on the right bank of the Euphrates River in what is now Syria. Excavations, initially directed by André Parrot and begun in 1933, uncovered remains extending from about 3100 BC to the 7th century AD.The most remarkable of the discoveries was the great palace of Zimrilim, a local king whose exceptionally prosperous rule of almost 30 years was ended when Hammurabi of Babylon captured and destroyed the city in the 18th century BC.The palace contained nearly 300 rooms, within which were concentrated all of the most important administrative offices. Numerous wall murals and hundreds of small objects were uncovered; nothing, however, equaled the thousands of archives discovered in various scribal chambers. They consisted of diplomatic correspondence and reports sent in from all parts of the country as well as historical archives and letters exchanged between King Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria and his two sons shortly before 1800 BC. Economic and legal texts were also abundant. Altogether the texts have extended the knowledge of Assyrian geography and history and have given a graphic picture of life of the period.▪ peopleEuropean people, numbering about 670,000 in the late 20th century, who speak a language of the Finno-Ugric family and live mainly in Mari El, Russia, in the middle Volga River valley. There are also some Mari in adjacent regions and nearly 100,000 in Bashkortostan (Bashkiriya). Mari is their own name for themselves; Cheremis was the name applied to them by Westerners and pre-Soviet Russians.The Mari and Chuvash have lived in a quasi-symbiotic relationship from about AD 700 to this day, though the period of most intense influence ended in 1236, when Tatar contacts became pressing. Tatar influences lasted until 1552, when the area came increasingly under the influence of Moscow. The process of Mari assimilation to Russian civilization accelerated during the 17th century, and the ever-mounting symptoms of social and economic change may be traced in many forms, including strong nativistic movements, among them Kuga Sorta (q.v.).The principal source of subsistence among the Mari is agriculture (grain and flax) combined with dairy farming and stock raising. Yoshkar-Ola, the Mari El capital, boasts of training schools in subjects such as animal husbandry, forestry, optics, and papermaking. In handicrafts, the Mari are noted for their wood and stone carving and embroidery.
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