Anah, or `Ana, a town on the Euphrates, about mid-way between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Persian Gulf. It is called Hanat in a Babylonian letter (about 2200 BC), a-na-at by the scribes of Tukulti-Ninurta (885 BC), and An-at by the scribe of Assur-nasir-pal (879 B.C.), Anatho (Isidore Charax), Anatha (Ammianus Marcellinus) by Greek and Latin writers in the early Christian centuries, `Ana (sometimes, as if plural, `Anat) by Arabic writers. The name has been connected with that of the deity Anat.
Whilst `Ana has thus retained its name for forty-one centuries the site is variously described. Most early writers concur in placing it on an island; so Tukulti-Ninurta II, Assur-nasir-pal, Isidore, Ammianus Marcellinus, Ibn Serapion, al-Istakri, Abulfeda and al-Karamani. Ammianus (lib. 24, c. 2) calls it a munimentum, Theophylactus Simocatta (iv. 10, v. 1, 2) to 'Anathon frourion, Zosimus (iii. 14) a frourion, opp. Fathusai, which may be the Beth(th) ina of Ptolemy (v. 19).1 Leonhart Rauwolff, in AD 1574, found it "divided ... into two towns," the one "Turkish," "so surrounded by the river, that you cannot go into it but by boats," the other, much larger, on the Arabian side of the river.2 GA Olivier in the beginning of the 19th century describes it as a long street (5 or 6 m. long), parallel to the right bank of the Euphrates--some 100 yards from the water's edge and 300 to 400 paces from the rocky barrier of the Arabian desert--with, over against its lower part, an island bearing at its north end the ruins of a fortress (p. 451).
This southernmost town of Mesopotamia proper (Gezira) must have shared the chequered history of that land. Of `Ana's fortunes under the early Babylonian empire the records have not yet been unearthed; but in a letter dating from the third millennium BC, six men of Hanat (Ha-na-atK1) are mentioned in a statement as to certain disturbances which had occurred in the sphere of the Babylonian Resident of Suhi, which would include the district of `Ana.
How `Ana fared at the hands of the Mitanni and others is unknown. The suggestion that Amenophis (Amenhotep) I. (16th century BC) refers to it is improbable; but we seem to be justified in holding `Ana to be the town "in the middle of the Euphrates" opposite (ina put) to which Assur-nasir-pal halted in his campaign of 879 BC. The supposed reference to `Ana in the speech put into the mouth of Sennacherib's messengers to Hezekiah (2 Kings xix. 13, Is. xxxvii. 13) is exceedingly improbable. The town may be mentioned, however, in four 7th century documents edited by Claude Hermann Walter Johns.3
It was at `Ana that the emperor Julian met the first opposition on his disastrous expedition against Persia (363), when he got possession of the place and transported the people; and there that Ziyad and Shureih with the advanced guard of `Ali's army were refused passage across the Euphrates (36/657) to join `Ali in Mesopotamia (Tabari i. 3261).
Later `Ana was the place of exile of the caliph Qaim (al-qaim bi-amr-illah) when Basisiri was in power (450/1058.) In the 14th century `Ana was the seat of a Catholicos, primate of the Persians (Marin Sanuto). In 1610 Della Valle found a Scot, George Strachan, resident at `Ana (to study Arabic) as physician to the amir (i. 671-681). In 1835 the steamer "Tigris" of the English Euphrates expedition went down in a hurricane just above `Ana, near where Julian's force had suffered from a similar storm. Della Valle described `Ana as the chief Arab town on the Euphrates, an importance which it owes to its position on one of the routes from the west to Baghdad; Texeira said that the power of its amir extended to Palmyra (early 17th century); but Olivier found the ruling prince with only twenty-five men in his service, the town becoming more depopulated every day from lack of protection from the Arabs of the desert. Von Oppenheim (1893) reported that Turkish troops having been recently stationed at the place, it had no longer to pay blackmail (huwwa) to the Arabs. FR Chesney (1835) reported some 1800 houses, 2 mosques and 16 water-wheels; WF Ainsworth (also 1835) reported the Arabs as inhabiting the northwestern part of the town, the Christians the centre, and the Jews the southeast; Della Valle (1610) found some sun-worshippers still there.
Modern `Ana lies from west to east on the right bank along a bend of the river just before it turns south towards Hit, and presents an attractive appearance. It extends, chiefly as a single street, for several miles along a narrow strip of land between the river and a ridge of rocky hills. The houses are separated from one another by fruit gardens. `Ana marks the boundary between the olive (north) and the date (south). Arab poets celebrated its wine (Yuqut, iii. 593 f.), and Mustaufi (8/14th century) tells of the fame of its palm-groves. In the river, facing the town, is a succession of equally productive islands. The most easterly contains the ruins of the old castle, whilst the remains of the ancient Anatho extend from this island for about 2 miles down the left bank. Coarse cloth is almost the only manufacture.
1 Steph. Byz. (sub Turos) says that Arrian calls Anatha Turos.
2 Texeira (1610) says that "Anna" lay on both banks of the river, and so Della Valle (i. 671).
3 Ass. Deeds and Doc. nos. 23, 168, 228, 385. The characters used are DIS TU, which may mean Ana-tu.