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town, Rostov oblast (province), southwestern Russia. It lies on the left bank of the Don River, 4 miles (7 km) east of the Sea of Azov. The Greek colony of Tanais, the first known major city in the region, was founded there in the 6th century BC. It changed hands and was renamed several times over the ensuing centuries. It became the Genoese colony of Tana (established 1316-22), which in 1471 was captured by the Turks and held as a fortress; it fell to Peter I the Great in 1696. The town Peter founded in 1708 on the site was lost to the Turks but regained in 1739. The town has since silted up and lost its functions to nearby Rostov-na-Donu. Azov's industries include fish processing, lumber milling, and light manufacturing. Pop. (2006 est.) 82,591.
any of several hundred Jewish scholars who, over a period of some 200 years, compiled oral traditions related to religious law. Most tannaim lived and worked in Palestine. Their work was given final form early in the 3rd century AD by Judah ha-Nasi, whose codification of oral laws became known as the Mishna (q.v.). Some scholars believe the Mishna was committed to writing at this time, while others believe it was preserved solely by memory for another three or four centuries.