Assyrian Chariots in Phoenicia and the Storming of Khazazu

Assyrian Chariots in Phoenicia and the Storming of Khazazu

§ 16. Assyria (textbook)

Assyria, as already mentioned, called the mountain partsecond anniversary in the north. Its center was the city AssyrianWhich was located in the middle flow of the Tigris River. In the XVIII century.BC Assyria conquered the ancient king Hammurabi . The weakening and decline The ancient States enabled the Assyrians in the XIV century. BC startbuilding their own country. She appeared in continuous wars with neighbors.

Forming strong physically violent and alwaysready for a fierce fight for their survival, people were concerned thatAssyria attacks took first conquerors who came in second anniversary of the event. Assyrianshealed the fame of one of the fiercest nations past. They not only killedcaptured, the defenders of cities, but were taken from conquered countries, theleadership, officials and tradesmen. In so doing make it impossible for a long time resistancesubdued. But the cruelty of the Assyrians, who showed their strength, wasboth their weakness - could never subjugated to acceptdomination of invaders.

2. The economic life of society and Assyrians

As in The ancient kingdom, the main producers in Assyria were agricultural communities. they belongedmost of the land in the state. The owners were other kings, their surroundings andrich. Communities consisted of several generations of close relatives. Commune landaffected boundary, but inside was divided into small plots, each of whichtilled one family. In the peasants, there were royal and templeeconomy. Typically, slaves cultivated the land or impoverished peasants. As inother ancient states, slaves in Assyria became debtors in war.

Classes agriculture has been quite successful. Assyriansused a plow in the river valleys cultivated wheat and barley. Onsouthern slopes of the mountains laid the vineyards and orchards. They also planted a largecattle, sheep and goats, liked to hunt.

Reached a high level of craft. It is believed thatAssyrians just learned the first to the second anniversary of molten iron. Famous for theirtheir skill gunmakers. Metal, agricultural products accounted forbulk goods that are traded Assyrians. In addition, theyresold goods from other countries zbuvaly looted in wars. Trade andusury were the main sources through which the army keptAssyria.

Above Assyrian society was composed of richnobles, priests, merchants and officials. At its head stood the king thatconcentrated in the hands unlimited power. He chastised and spared rozporyadzhavsyastate property led military campaigns.

After a successful military campaign against the king had to make the godsreport on the march and hand over some prey in favor of the house. Ritualduty of the king was hunting lions. During hunting lions released fromcells in the fenced park. The king had them potsilyty boom or even killritual knife. Next to the king were always experienced archers whosaw to it that the king did not happen. Park surroundedspysonostsi that hindered many viewers. Such scenes depicted on manyAssyrian relief.

Assyria first ozbroyila his army iron weapons thatgave her an advantage over other armies. Assyrian warrior had gabledbronze helmet, a long spear with an iron blade, large panels, upholstered bronze,protective metal plates on the legs. From strikes enemy saved his leatherjacket, which were fixed convex metal plate.

Storm for enemies has also cavalry Assyrian, forwhich were taken some breeds of horses. Scientists believe that the Assyrians first time inhistory in the IX century. BC created the corps. TerribleAssyrians have been fighting weapon chariot. During the battle in a chariot were threeWarriors: driver, archer and zbroyenosets who concealed their shield. Warriors skillfullyused siege towers and battering rams to assault cities.

Almost 270 years Assyrian did not know defeat.Well-organized and armed, she conquered vast territories thatAssyria turned into a powerful state. The rulers of such powerful countries asBabylon, Syria, Urartu, Phoenicia, and later even the kings of Egypt paid hertribute.

The narration Assyrian king on a hike

During my hike 22 kings, slaves, subject tome on the beach, the sea and on land, they brought me his great gifts andkissed my feet . Haste to help kings and governors, who in Egypttribes who served me were slaves, I quickly went and came to Karbanitu . Tark King of Egypt and Ethiopia, having heard the approximationmy campaign, took his fighters into battle, to battle and sichu. With Ayashiura , And Bella Acquired , Largegods, my lords, that are on my side in the battle among a wide field of Idefeated his soldiers.

Chariot Assyrian king

Inquiries to document

What really do youopinion was crucial to victory Assyrian king in Egypt?

4. Flourishing Assyrian state

A well-known conqueror king of Assyria Tihlatpalasar I (1115 - 1077 BC). During his rule Assyrian statestretched from the Mediterranean coast to the upper Tiger. At this timestrengthened the state economically. Successfully developed agriculture, which allowedto increase grain reserves in comparison with previous periods.Acquired trade. The main trade artery was the Tigris River. Onits banks in the capital city of Assyria Assyrian merchant ships to be builtmany marinas. Later Assyrians controlled all trade routes FrontAsia, excluding those held by Palestine.

Tihlatpalasar І was not onlyprominent military leader, a builder, but also a diplomat. Him for the successfulmaking union with longtime enemy - Egypt - Pharaoh gave livecrocodile that was considered a symbol of good intentions. The only Assyrian king whocould read and write, was Ashurbanipal .

The period of greatest prosperity began in the reign of Assyria Tihlatpalasara III (745 - 727 years BC). It is the first time in history created Dvorichchiaregular army, which was held by government funds. Army had a clear organizationby division into groups of infantry, cavalry and detachments of military chariots. With nayboyezdatnishu on the second anniversary of the army, Tihlatpalasar IIISyria conquered Babylon kingdom, which at that time was broken, and distributedpower of the Assyrians in the territory from Egypt to the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus andcreated the first in history empire.

Empire - A large state composed of subduednations.

Tihlatpalasar III, to hold vast areas in humility, limited powerrulers conquered his cities and states. It also won pereselyavpeople on a desert land on the borders of Assyria. It had to separate them from theirland and thereby weaken their struggle for freedom, and ensurestate workforce. Cities that resisted the invaders with it zrivnyuvavland. But the Assyrians did not know then that the same and wait for their excellentAssyrian and the city Nineveh When through hundred plus years of subduedpeople stand up. In 721, the BC became king of Assyria Sargon II (721 - 705 years BC).

During his administration built a new capital - the city Dur-Sharrukin , Which means "city Sargon . Resettlement to new capital, he notedsuppression of one of the many revolts in Babylon - a city that has repeatedlytried to break free from the power of the conquerors. Shortly Sargon died during the military campaign.

5. Palaces of Assyria and their fate

Assyrian kings palace was built on artificiallycreated by Hill. He was surrounded by strong fortress walls with jagged towers.Near the entrance on both sides were enormous, hewn from stone statues of good spirits- Winged bulls with human heads, with black beards and coloredwings. The walls of rooms were decorated with reliefs, carved on stoneflags and painted in five colors. In relief sculpture depictingAssyrian army raids, the seizure and destruction of enemy cities, mercilessdeath and capture of prisoners.

Often portrayed in relief scenes from the life itselfking. Behold, the king hunt lions. Furious rush by beasts or hunterI fall from wounds. Another relief shows how Assyrian king Аш shurbanipal feasting with his beloved wife in the garden. It lies on the bed and keepsin his hand a glass of wine. Blackbeard and the king rozchesana Zavitaja. In muscularthe hands of massive bracelets and rings. Beside him sits his wife with a glasswine in hand. Nearby are the servants of opahalamy an officer and who are willingfulfill any desire of its ruler. Not only the sounds of harps and tambourines upsetking. He gets pleasure from a bloody sight: a tree hanging severedhead of one of his enemies.

Ashurbanipal was the most educated of the Assyrian kings (though it did not bother him to showcruelty). At his behest, the palace were brought not only jewelry, but also books.It was assembled a large library, which preserved ancient BabylonMyths, legends, prayers, works of wise men on the movement of celestial bodies and that theypeople preached. King Palace was burned during the attack on enemies Nineveh And the library survived. Clay "book"not burn, and become stronger after firing. Archaeologists have unearthed the ruinspalace Ashurbanipal and found this library. Theycollected fragments of tablets and joined them. It was restored Myth of the DelugeLegend of Gilgamesh and many othercuneiform "books" Ancient second anniversary.

6. Death Assyrian state

Like any state, based on the abuse ofthe conquered nations, Assyria was doomed to brief existence. ConstantWar and the struggle for power at the top of society, thousands of rebellionterritories conquered by Assyria weakened. It is difficult to resistaggressive neighbors, she sought allies in the fight against them. Thisally, for it was Egypt. But Egypt does not support saved the once mightystate.

In 614, the BC Babylonians began the attack onAssyria, their allies - Medes - completely destroyed the ancient capital of AssyriaAssur. In 612, the BC have a combined force of Babylonians and Medes weresiege to one of the largest Assyrian cities - Nineveh .

The siege of the city lasted three months. Nineveh shared the fate of black carbon as the Assyrian. The city was captured, looted.akin to the earth. Population Nineveh almostwas exterminated. Those who survived became slaves. The last Assyrian king Shin-layer ishkun ( Sarak ) Not known inthe hands of enemies. He set fire to his palace and burned it. At the palace burnedAssyrians and the last hope for the revival of the state. Remains of Assyriantogether with the Egyptians gave his last fight at 605 was BC near Karhemysha . Once upon a powerful state, quickly disintegrated, and itsland were brought under control as governor of Babylon. Conqueror destroyedAssyrian nobility, and those who survived went planet. Modern scientistsargue that the world now live about 2 million Assyrians in Syria, Iran,Turkey, Azerbaijan, U.S. and even in Ukraine.

1. FromRelated names are the kings of the formation and flourishing Assyrian state?

2. Namecauses the collapse of Assyria.

4. Describeroyal ritual hunting of lions.

5. As youthink so Assyrians managed for centuries to lead the victoriousWar?


The Hebrew term Plištim occurs 286 times in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible (of which 152 times are in 1 Samuel). It also appears in the Samaritan Pentateuch. [11] In the Greek version of the Bible, called Septuagint, the equivalent term Phylistiim occurs 12 times, again in the Pentateuch. [12]

In secondary literature, "Philistia" is further mentioned in the Aramaic Visions of Amram (4Q543-7), which is dated "prior to Antiochus IV and the Hasmonean revolt," possibly to the time of High Priest of Israel Onias II Jubilees 46:1-47:1 might have used Amram as a source. [13]

Outside of pre-Maccabean Israelite religious literature, evidence for the name and the origins of the Philistines is less abundant and less consistent. In the remainder of the Hebrew Bible, ha-Plištim is attested at Qumran for 2 Samuel 5:17. [14] In the Septuagint, however, 269 references instead use the term allophylos ('of another tribe'). [15]

In 712 BC, a local usurper, Iamani ascended the throne of Ashdod. That same year, he organized a failed uprising against Assyria. The Assyrian King Sargon II invaded Philistia which effectively became an Assyrian province. Though he allowed Iamani to remain on the throne, [16] Gath was conquered, and possibly also destroyed in the same campaign in 711 BC. [17]

In the Book of Genesis, the Philistines are said to descend from the Casluhites, an Egyptian people. [18] However, according to rabbinic sources, these Philistines were different from those described in the Deuteronomistic history. [19] Deuteronomist sources describe the "Five Lords of the Philistines" [e] as based in five city-states of the southwestern Levant: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, from Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north. This description portrays them at one period of time as among the Kingdom of Israel's most dangerous enemies. [15] In contrast, the Septuagint uses the term allophuloi (Greek: ἀλλόφυλοι ) instead of "Philistines," which means simply 'other nations'.

Torah (Pentateuch) Edit

With regard to descendants of Mizraim, the biblical progenitor of the Egyptians, the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 states in Hebrew: "ve-et Patrusim ve-et Kasluhim asher yats'u mi-sham Plištim ve-et Kaftorim." Literally, it says that those whom Mizraim begat included "the Pathrusim, Casluhim, out of whom came the Philistines, and the Caphtorim."

There is some debate among interpreters as to whether this verse was originally intended to signify that the Philistines themselves were the offspring of the Casluhim or the Caphtorim. While the Casluhim or the Caphtorim origin was widely followed by some 19th-century biblical scholars, [20] others such as Friedrich Schwally, [21] Bernhard Stade, [22] and Cornelis Tiele [23] argued for a Semitic origin. Interestingly, the Caphtorites were considered to derive from Crete [24] while Cashluhim derived from Cyrenaica, [25] which was part of the province Crete and Cyrenacia in Roman times, which alludes to the similarities between them.

The Torah does not record the Philistines as one of the nations to be displaced from Canaan. In Genesis 15:18–21 the Philistines are absent from the ten nations Abraham's descendants will displace as well as being absent from the list of nations Moses tells the people they will conquer, though the land in which they resided is included in the boundaries based on the locations of rivers described (Deut 7:1, 20:17). In fact, the Philistines, through their Capthorite ancestors, were allowed to conquer the land from the Avvites (Deuteronomy 2:23). God also directed the Israelites away from the Philistines upon their Exodus from Egypt according to Exodus 13:17. In Genesis 21:22–27, Abraham agrees to a covenant of kindness with Abimelech, the Philistine king, and his descendants. Abraham's son Isaac deals with the Philistine king similarly, by concluding a treaty with them in chapter 26 (Genesis 26:28–29).

Unlike most other ethnic groups in the Bible, the Philistines are almost always referred to without the definite article in the Torah. [26]

Deuteronomistic history Edit

Rabbinic sources state that the Philistines of Genesis were different people from the Philistines of the Deuteronomistic history (the series of books from Joshua to 2 Kings). [19] According to the Talmud (Chullin 60b), the Philistines of Genesis intermingled with the Avvites. This differentiation was also held by the authors of the Septuagint (LXX), who translated (rather than transliterated) its base text as allophuloi (Greek: ἀλλόφυλοι , 'other nations') instead of philistines throughout the Books of Judges and Samuel. [19] [27]

Throughout the Deuteronomistic history, Philistines are almost always referred to without the definite article, except on 11 occasions. [26] On the basis of the LXX's regular translation into "allophyloi", Robert Drews states that the term "Philistines" means simply "non-Israelites of the Promised Land" when used in the context of Samson, Saul and David. [28]

Judges 13:1 tells that the Philistines dominated the Israelites in the times of Samson, who fought and killed over a thousand (e.g. Judges 15). According to 1 Samuel 5–6, they even captured the Ark of the Covenant for a few months.

A few biblical texts, such as the Ark Narrative and stories reflecting the importance of Gath, seem to portray Late Iron I and Early Iron II memories. [29] They are mentioned more than 250 times, the majority in the Deuteronomistic history, [ citation needed ] and are depicted as among the arch-enemies of the Israelites, [30] a serious and recurring threat before being subdued by David.

The Bible paints the Philistines as the main enemy of the Israelites (prior to the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire) with a state of almost perpetual war between the two. The Philistine cities lost their independence to Assyria, and revolts in the following years were all crushed. They were subsequently absorbed into the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Achaemenid Empire, and disappeared as a distinct ethnic group by the late 5th century BC. [2]

The Prophets Edit

Amos in 1:8 sets the Philistines / ἀλλοφύλοι at Ashdod and Ekron. In 9:7 God is quoted asserting that, as he brought Israel from Egypt, he also (in the Hebrew) brought the Philistines from Caphtor. [31] In the Greek this is, instead, bringing the ἀλλόφυλοι from Cappadocia. [32]

Battles between the Israelites and the Philistines Edit

The following is a list of battles described in the Bible as having occurred between the Israelites and the Philistines: [33]

  • The Battle of Shephelah (2 Chronicles 28:18).
  • Israelites defeated at the Battle of Aphek, Philistines capture the Ark (1 Samuel 4:1–10).
  • Philistines defeated at the Battle of Eben-Ezer (1 Samuel 7:3–14).
  • Some Philistine military success must have taken place subsequently, allowing the Philistines to subject the Israelites to a localised disarmament regime (1 Samuel 13:19–21 states that no Israelite blacksmiths were permitted and they had to go to the Philistines to sharpen their agricultural implements). , Philistines routed by Jonathan and his men (1 Samuel 14).
  • Near the Valley of Elah, David defeats Goliath in single combat (1 Samuel 17).
  • The Philistines defeat Israelites on Mount Gilboa, killing King Saul and his three sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malkishua (1 Samuel 31). defeats the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory (2 Kings 18:5–8).

The origin of the Philistines is still debated. The probable Aegean connection is discussed in the paragraph on "Archaeological evidence". Here-below are presented the possible connections between Philistines and various similar ethnonyms, toponyms or other philological interpretations of their biblical name: the "Peleset" mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions, a kingdom named as "Walistina/Falistina" or "Palistin" from the region near Aleppo in Syria, and older theories connecting them to a Greek locality or a Greek-language name.

The "Peleset" from Egyptian inscriptions Edit

Since 1846, scholars have connected the biblical Philistines with the Egyptian "Peleset" inscriptions. [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] All five of these appear from c. 1150 BCE to c. 900 BCE just as archaeological references to Kinaḫḫu, or Ka-na-na (Canaan), come to an end [39] and since 1873 comparisons were drawn between them and to the Aegean "Pelasgians." [40] [41] Archaeological research to date has been unable to corroborate a mass settlement of Philistines during the Ramesses III era. [42] [43] [44]

"Walistina/Falistina" and "Palistin" in Syria Edit

Pro Edit

A Walistina is mentioned in Luwian texts already variantly spelled Palistina. [45] [46] [47] This implies dialectical variation, a phoneme ("f"?) inadequately described in the script, [48] or both. Falistina was a kingdom somewhere on the Amuq plain, where the Amurru kingdom had held sway before it. [49]

In 2003, a statue of a king named Taita bearing inscriptions in Luwian was discovered during excavations conducted by German archaeologist Kay Kohlmeyer in the Citadel of Aleppo. [50] The new readings of Anatolian hieroglyphs proposed by the Hittitologists Elisabeth Rieken and Ilya Yakubovich were conducive to the conclusion that the country ruled by Taita was called Palistin. [51] This country extended in the 11th-10th centuries BCE from the Amouq Valley in the west to Aleppo in the east down to Mehardeh and Shaizar in the south. [52]

Due to the similarity between Palistin and Philistines, Hittitologist John David Hawkins (who translated the Aleppo inscriptions) hypothesizes a connection between the Syro-Hittite Palistin and the Philistines, as do archaeologists Benjamin Sass and Kay Kohlmeyer. [53] Gershon Galil suggests that King David halted the Arameans' expansion into the Land of Israel on account of his alliance with the southern Philistine kings, as well as with Toi, king of Ḥamath, who is identified with Tai(ta) II, king of Palistin (the northern Sea Peoples). [54]

Contra Edit

However, the relation between Palistin and the Philistines is much debated. Israeli professor Itamar Singer notes that there is nothing (besides the name) in the recently discovered archaeology that indicates an Aegean origin to Palistin most of the discoveries at the Palistin capital Tell Tayinat indicate a Neo-Hittite state, including the names of the kings of Palistin. Singer proposes (based on archaeological finds) that a branch of the Philistines settled in Tell Tayinat and were replaced or assimilated by a new Luwian population who took the Palistin name. [55]

Greece: "Palaeste" and phyle histia theories Edit

Another theory, proposed by Hermann Jacobsohn [de] in 1914, is that the name derives from the attested Illyrian-Epirote locality Palaeste, whose inhabitants would have been called Palaestīnī according to Illyrian normal grammatical practice. [56]

Allen Jones (1972) suggests that the name Philistine represents a corruption of the Greek phyle histia ('tribe of the hearth'), with the Ionic spelling of hestia. [57]

Territory Edit

According to Joshua 13:3 and 1 Samuel 6:17, the land of the Philistines (or Allophyloi), called Philistia, was a pentapolis in the southwestern Levant comprising the five city-states of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, from Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with no fixed border to the east. [15]

Tell Qasile (a "port city") and Aphek were located on the northern frontier of Philistine territory, and Tell Qasile in particular may have been inhabited by both Philistine and non-Philistine people. [58]

The location of Gath is not entirely certain, although the site of Tell es-Safi, not far from Ekron, is currently the most favoured. [59]

The identity of the city of Ziklag, which according to the Bible marked the border between the Philistine and Israelite territory, remains uncertain. [60]

In the western part of the Jezreel Valley, 23 of the 26 Iron Age I sites (12th to 10th centuries BCE) yielded typical Philistine pottery. These sites include Tel Megiddo, Tel Yokneam, Tel Qiri, Afula, Tel Qashish, Be'er Tiveon, Hurvat Hazin, Tel Risim, Tel Re'ala, Hurvat Tzror, Tel Sham, Midrakh Oz and Tel Zariq. Scholars have attributed the presence of Philistine pottery in northern Israel to their role as mercenaries for the Egyptians during the Egyptian military administration of the land in the 12th century BCE. This presence may also indicate further expansion of the Philistines to the valley during the 11th century BCE, or their trade with the Israelites. There are biblical references to Philistines in the valley during the times of the Judges. The quantity of Philistine pottery within these sites is still quite small, showing that even if the Philistines did settle the valley, they were a minority that blended within the Canaanite population during the 12th century BCE. The Philistines seem to have been present in the southern valley during the 11th century, which may relate to the biblical account of their victory at the Battle of Gilboa. [61]

Egyptian inscriptions Edit

Since Edward Hincks [34] and William Osburn Jr. [35] in 1846, biblical scholars have connected the biblical Philistines with the Egyptian "Peleset" inscriptions [36] [37] and since 1873, both have been connected with the Aegean "Pelasgians". [62] The evidence for these connections is etymological and has been disputed. [41]

Inscriptions written by the Philistines have not yet been found or conclusively identified. [63]

Based on the Peleset inscriptions, it has been suggested that the Casluhite Philistines formed part of the conjectured "Sea Peoples" who repeatedly attacked Egypt during the later Nineteenth Dynasty. [64] [65] Though they were eventually repulsed by Ramesses III, he finally resettled them, according to the theory, to rebuild the coastal towns in Canaan. Papyrus Harris I details the achievements of the reign (1186–1155 BC) of Ramesses III. In the brief description of the outcome of the battles in Year 8 is the description of the fate of some of the conjectured Sea Peoples. Ramesses claims that, having brought the prisoners to Egypt, he "settled them in strongholds, bound in my name. Numerous were their classes, hundreds of thousands strong. I taxed them all, in clothing and grain from the storehouses and granaries each year." Some scholars suggest it is likely that these "strongholds" were fortified towns in southern Canaan, which would eventually become the five cities (the Pentapolis) of the Philistines. [66] Israel Finkelstein has suggested that there may be a period of 25–50 years after the sacking of these cities and their reoccupation by the Philistines. It is possible that at first, the Philistines were housed in Egypt only subsequently late in the troubled end of the reign of Ramesses III would they have been allowed to settle Philistia. [ citation needed ]

The "Peleset" appear in four different texts from the time of the New Kingdom. [63] Two of these, the inscriptions at Medinet Habu and the Rhetorical Stela at Deir al-Medinah, are dated to the time of the reign of Ramesses III (1186–1155 BC). [63] Another was composed in the period immediately following the death of Ramesses III (Papyrus Harris I). [63] The fourth, the Onomasticon of Amenope, is dated to some time between the end of the 12th or early 11th century BC. [63]

The inscriptions at Medinet Habu consist of images depicting a coalition of Sea Peoples, among them the Peleset, who are said in the accompanying text to have been defeated by Ramesses III during his Year 8 campaign. In about 1175 BC, Egypt was threatened with a massive land and sea invasion by the "Sea Peoples," a coalition of foreign enemies which included the Tjeker, the Shekelesh, the Deyen, the Weshesh, the Teresh, the Sherden, and the PRST. They were comprehensively defeated by Ramesses III, who fought them in "Djahy" (the eastern Mediterranean coast) and at "the mouths of the rivers" (the Nile Delta), recording his victories in a series of inscriptions in his mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. Scholars have been unable to conclusively determine which images match what peoples described in the reliefs depicting two major battle scenes. A separate relief on one of the bases of the Osirid pillars with an accompanying hieroglyphic text clearly identifying the person depicted as a captive Peleset chief is of a bearded man without headdress. [63] This has led to the interpretation that Ramesses III defeated the Sea Peoples, including Philistines, and settled their captives in fortresses in southern Canaan another related theory suggests that Philistines invaded and settled the coastal plain for themselves. [67] The soldiers were quite tall and clean-shaven. They wore breastplates and short kilts, and their superior weapons included chariots drawn by two horses. They carried small shields and fought with straight swords and spears. [68]

The Rhetorical Stela are less discussed, but are noteworthy in that they mention the Peleset together with a people called the Teresh, who sailed "in the midst of the sea". The Teresh are thought to have originated from the Anatolian coast and their association with the Peleset in this inscription is seen as providing some information on the possible origin and identity of the Philistines. [69]

The Harris Papyrus, which was found in a tomb at Medinet Habu, also recalls Ramesses III's battles with the Sea Peoples, declaring that the Peleset were "reduced to ashes." The Papyrus Harris I, records how the defeated foe were brought in captivity to Egypt and settled in fortresses. [70] The Harris papyrus can be interpreted in two ways: either the captives were settled in Egypt and the rest of the Philistines/Sea Peoples carved out a territory for themselves in Canaan, or else it was Ramesses himself who settled the Sea Peoples (mainly Philistines) in Canaan as mercenaries. [71] Egyptian strongholds in Canaan are also mentioned, including a temple dedicated to Amun, which some scholars place in Gaza however, the lack of detail indicating the precise location of these strongholds means that it is unknown what impact these had, if any, on Philistine settlement along the coast. [69]

The only mention in an Egyptian source of the Peleset in conjunction with any of the five cities that are said in the Bible to have made up the Philistine pentapolis comes in the Onomasticon of Amenope. The sequence in question has been translated as: "Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Assyria, Shubaru [. ] Sherden, Tjekker, Peleset, Khurma [. ]" Scholars have advanced the possibility that the other Sea Peoples mentioned were connected to these cities in some way as well. [69]

Material culture: Aegean origin and historical evolution Edit

Aegean connection Edit

Many scholars have interpreted the ceramic and technological evidence attested to by archaeology as being associated with the Philistine advent in the area as strongly suggestive that they formed part of a large scale immigration to southern Canaan, probably from Anatolia and Cyprus, in the 12th century BCE. [72]

The proposed connection between Mycenaean culture and Philistine culture was further documented by finds at the excavation of Ashdod, Ekron, Ashkelon, and more recently Gath, four of the five Philistine cities in Canaan. The fifth city is Gaza. Especially notable is the early Philistine pottery, a locally made version of the Aegean Mycenaean Late Helladic IIIC pottery, which is decorated in shades of brown and black. This later developed into the distinctive Philistine pottery of the Iron Age I, with black and red decorations on white slip known as Philistine Bichrome ware. [73] Also of particular interest is a large, well-constructed building covering 240 square metres (2,600 sq ft), discovered at Ekron. Its walls are broad, designed to support a second story, and its wide, elaborate entrance leads to a large hall, partly covered with a roof supported on a row of columns. In the floor of the hall is a circular hearth paved with pebbles, as is typical in Mycenaean megaron hall buildings other unusual architectural features are paved benches and podiums. Among the finds are three small bronze wheels with eight spokes. Such wheels are known to have been used for portable cultic stands in the Aegean region during this period, and it is therefore assumed that this building served cultic functions. Further evidence concerns an inscription in Ekron to PYGN or PYTN, which some have suggested refers to "Potnia", the title given to an ancient Mycenaean goddess. Excavations in Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gath reveal dog and pig bones which show signs of having been butchered, implying that these animals were part of the residents' diet. [74] [75] Among other findings there are wineries where fermented wine was produced, as well as loom weights resembling those of Mycenaean sites in Greece. [76]

Further evidence of the Aegean origin of the initial Philistine settlers was provided by studying their burial practices in the so far only discovered Philistine cemetery, excavated at Ashkelon (see below).

However, for many years scholars such as Gloria London, John Brug, Shlomo Bunimovitz, Helga Weippert, and Edward Noort, among others, have noted the "difficulty of associating pots with people", proposing alternative suggestions such as potters following their markets or technology transfer, and emphasize the continuities with the local world in the material remains of the coastal area identified with "Philistines", rather than the differences emerging from the presence of Cypriote and/or Aegean/ Mycenaean influences. The view is summed up in the idea that 'kings come and go, but cooking pots remain', suggesting that the foreign Aegean elements in the Philistine population may have been a minority. [77] [78]

Geographic evolution Edit

Material culture evidence, primarily pottery styles, indicates that the Philistines originally settled in a few sites in the south, such as Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron. [79] It was not until several decades later, about 1150 BC, that they expanded into surrounding areas such as the Yarkon region to the north (the area of modern Jaffa, where there were Philistine farmsteads at Tel Gerisa and Aphek, and a larger settlement at Tel Qasile). [79] Most scholars, therefore, believe that the settlement of the Philistines took place in two stages. In the first, dated to the reign of Ramesses III, they were limited to the coastal plain, the region of the Five Cities in the second, dated to the collapse of Egyptian hegemony in southern Canaan, their influence spread inland beyond the coast. [80] During the 10th to 7th centuries BC, the distinctiveness of the material culture appears to have been absorbed with that of surrounding peoples. [81]

Burial practices Edit

The Leon Levy Expedition, consisting of archaeologists from Harvard University, Boston College, Wheaton College in Illinois and Troy University in Alabama, conducted a 30-year investigation of the burial practices of the Philistines, by excavating a Philistine cemetery containing more than 150 burials dating from the 11th to 8th century BCE Tel Ashkelon. In July 2016, the expedition finally announced the results of their excavation. [82]

Archaeological evidence, provided by architecture, burial arrangements, ceramics, and pottery fragments inscribed with non-Semitic writing, indicates that the Philistines were not native to Canaan. Most of the 150 dead were buried in oval-shaped graves, some were interred in ashlar chamber tombs, while there were 4 who were cremated. These burial arrangements were very common to the Aegean cultures, but not to the one indigenous to Canaan. Lawrence Stager of Harvard University believes that Philistines came to Canaan by ships before the Battle of the Delta circa 1175 BCE. DNA was extracted from the skeletons for archaeogenetic population analysis. [83]

The Leon Levy Expedition, which has been going on since 1985, helped break down some of the previous assumptions that the Philistines were uncultured people by having evidence of perfume near the bodies in order for the deceased to smell it in the afterlife. [84]

Genetic evidence Edit

A study carried out on skeletons at Ashkelon in 2019 by an interdisciplinary team of scholars from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Leon Levy Expedition found that human remains at Ashkelon, associated with "Philistines" during the Iron Age, derived most of their ancestry from the local Levantine gene pool, but with a certain amount of Southern-European-related admixture. This confirms previous historic and archaeological records of a Southern-European migration event, but it did not leave a long-lasting genetic impact. [8] After two centuries, the Southern-European genetic markers were dwarfed by the local Levantine gene pool, suggesting intensive intermarriage. The Philistine culture and peoplehood remained distinct from other local communities for six centuries. [85] The DNA suggests an influx of people of European heritage into Ashkelon in the twelfth century BC. The individuals' DNA shows similarities to that of ancient Cretans, but it is impossible to specify the exact place in Europe from where Philistines had migrated to Levant, due to limited number of ancient genomes available for study, "with 20 to 60 per cent similarity to DNA from ancient skeletons from Crete and Iberia and that from modern people living in Sardinia." [86] [8] The finding fits with an understanding of the Philistines as an "entangled" or "transcultural" group consisting of peoples of various origins, said Aren Maeir, an archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. "While I fully agree that there was a significant component of non-Levantine origins among the Philistines in the early Iron Age," he said. "These foreign components were not of one origin, and, no less important, they mixed with local Levantine populations from the early Iron Age onward." Laura Mazow, an archaeologist at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., said the research paper supported the idea that there was some migration into the site from the west [ dubious – discuss ] . [8] [ dubious – discuss ] She added that the findings "support the picture that we see in the archaeological record of a complex, multicultural process that has been resistant to reconstruction by any single historical model." [87] "When we found the infants – infants that were too young to travel. these infants couldn't march or sail to get to the land around Ashkelon, so they were born on site. And their DNA revealed [that] their parents' heritage was not from the local population," Dr. Adam A. Aja, assistant curator of collections at the Harvard Semitic Museum and one of the Ashkelon Philistine cemetery archaeologists, explained, referring to the new genetic input from the direction of Southern Europe that was found in bone samples taken from infants buried under the floors of Philistine homes. [88] Modern archaeologists agree that the Philistines were different from their neighbors: Their arrival on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean in the early 12th century B.C. is marked by pottery with close parallels to the ancient Greek world, the use of an Aegean—instead of a Semitic—script, and the consumption of pork. [89] Nevertheless, Cretans were not too unfamiliar with the Levant, with connections being established since the Minoan era, as seen by their influence on Tel Kabri. [90]

Population Edit

The population of the area associated with Philistines is estimated to have been around 25,000 in the 12th century BC, rising to a peak of 30,000 in the 11th century BC. [91] The Canaanite nature of the material culture and toponyms suggest that much of this population was indigenous, such that the migrant element would likely constitute less than half the total, and perhaps much less. [91]

Language Edit

Nothing is known for certain about the language of the Philistines. Pottery fragments from the period of around 1500–1000 BCE have been found bearing inscriptions in non-Semitic languages, including one in a Cypro-Minoan script. [92] The Bible does not mention any language problems between the Israelites and the Philistines, as it does with other groups up to the Assyrian and Babylonian occupations. [93] Later, Nehemiah 13:23-24 writing under the Achaemenids records that when Judean men intermarried women from Moab, Ammon and Philistine cities, half the offspring of Judean marriages with women from Ashdod could speak only their mother tongue, Ašdôdît, not Judean Hebrew (Yehûdît) although by then this language might have been an Aramaic dialect. [94] There is some limited evidence in favour of the assumption that the Philistines were originally Indo-European-speakers, either from Greece or Luwian speakers from the coast of Asia Minor, on the basis of some Philistine-related words found in the Bible not appearing to be related to other Semitic languages. [95] Such theories suggest that the Semitic elements in the language were borrowed from their neighbours in the region. For example, the Philistine word for captain, "seren", may be related to the Greek word tyrannos (thought by linguists to have been borrowed by the Greeks from an Anatolian language, such as Luwian or Lydian [95] ). Although most Philistine names are Semitic (such as Ahimelech, Mitinti, Hanun, and Dagon) [93] some of the Philistine names, such as Goliath, Achish, and Phicol, appear to be of non-Semitic origin, and Indo-European etymologies have been suggested. Recent finds of inscriptions written in Hieroglyphic Luwian in Palistin substantiate a connection between the language of the kingdom of Palistin and the Philistines of the southwestern Levant. [96] [97] [98]

Religion Edit

The deities worshipped in the area were Baal, Astarte, and Dagon, whose names or variations thereof had already appeared in the earlier attested Canaanite pantheon. [15]

Economy Edit

Cities excavated in the area attributed to Philistines give evidence of careful town planning, including industrial zones. The olive industry of Ekron alone includes about 200 olive oil installations. Engineers estimate that the city's production may have been more than 1,000 tons, 30 percent of Israel's present-day production. [68]

There is considerable evidence for a large industry in fermented drink. Finds include breweries, wineries, and retail shops marketing beer and wine. Beer mugs and wine kraters are among the most common pottery finds. [99]

Canaanite Phoenician Origin of the God of the Israelites

The Israelites did not worship any god(s) before being exposed to the people of the Near East. Their religion evolved from the Canaanite, Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions over about two thousand years.

هذه الصفحة بالعربيّة
This page in Arabic

Begged, borrowed or stolen God of the Israelites

The Canaanite people predate the arrival of Israelites by roughly two millennia. The early Canaanites arose around 3,500 BC and settled in the Eastern Mediterranean in the region extending from the borders of Sinai until Turkey. Canaan was a region in the ancient Near East situated in the southern Levant. It had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age. During the Amarna period, it became an area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite and Assyrian empires converged.

Knowledge of Canaan comes from archaeological sources. Specifically, exclusives from artefacts dated to the period in which the region existed under the hegemony of the new kingdom of Egypt. Since the Egyptian empire controlled this region during that time, much of our knowledge from archaeology comes from the Amarna letters and other documents of governance which record information from the time of Egyptian rule. Much of the primary source knowledge of Canaan stems from excavations in areas such as Tell Hazor, Tell Megiddo and Gezer

The Israelite religion is one which originated out of these Bronze Age polytheistic, ancient, Semitic religious traditions. Specifically, the Canaanite religion impacted Israelite religion with influential elements from Babylonian and Egyptian religions.

The Israelite religion began as a henotheistic offshoot of the Canaanite worship of El, along with his secondary epithet Yahweh which refers to El Yahweh Sabaoth often translated as Lord of hosts. It likely means El who creates the armies. El who was the supreme god of the Mesopotamian Semites later became the chief god of the Hebrew Bible. In Canaan he was known to be the father and the ruler of the Divines as well as the Creator. The God of the Jews evolved gradually from the Canaanite El who was the high god of the pantheon, to Israel the chief god of the Hebrews. The essential qualities of the Canaanite El were retained in the God of the Hebrews, along with memories of the theogony of El and gods. Over time the Israelite group of Canaanites converged the sky gods El and his son Baal Hadad and El was conflated as Yahweh. Early on, the Israelites also worshipped Yahweh along with his wife Asherah, who was originally the consort of El. In the Canaanite tradition, for a long time, scholars of the Hebrew Bible concluded that a major difference between the God of the Bible and the gods of other traditions was that so-called pagan gods had sexual lives and consorts. Yet, Yahweh did not maintain his wife Asherah as a consort. In the late 20th century, archaeologists uncovered two intriguing inscriptions from two different Middle Eastern sites. The inscriptions were blessings, not only in the name of Yahweh but also his consort, Asherah. Over time, there was a push towards monolatry -- the worship of one God among many, but not necessarily denying the existence of other gods. This made the Israelites focus on El Yahweh and compelled them to make it appear that there was a greater divide between Yahweh and the older god Baal. Thus, in order to build up and emphasize the distinction between Yahweh and Baal, the Hebrew text goes to great lengths to make Yahweh's conflict with Baal apparent. This marked the trend of Israel rejecting its heritage.

The attempts by monotheistic exegeses of the Israelite religion failed to define Asherah as a rock or pole, instead of a goddess. Poles and large stones where the main features of the Canaanite temples and were placed in their most holy places. Thereupon, the Israelites were always well aware of the holiness of such representations of Asherah in Canaanite temples. Hence, they accommodated them in their own temples as well.

God El in Canaanite Religion and the Hebrew Bible

  • Elyon which is most high
  • Rahem which is bull, also
  • El was called the God of patriarchs, a warrior, and
  • El was called Olam which means eternal,
  • El-Olam, the Ancient One
  • El-Shadday, of the Holy Mountain
  • El-Elyon, the Most High
  • Toru, bull
  • Hatikkuka, god of the Patriarchs
  • Gibbor, warrior

The Connection Between God of Canaan and God of Israel

  • “Let me tell you, Prince Baal,
  • Let me repeat, Rider on the Clouds,
  • Now your enemy Baal,
  • Now you will kill your enemy,
  • Now you will annihilate your foe,
  • You will take your eternal kingship,
  • Your dominion forever and ever.
  • Behold your enemies Yahweh,
  • Behold your enemies perish,
  • All evildoers are scattered,
  • Your kingship is an eternal kingship,
  • Your dominion is forever and ever.
  • “Then Baal opened a break in the clouds.
  • Baal sounded his holy voice.
  • Baal thundered from his lips…
  • The Earth's high places
  • [mountains] shook."
  • "Oldest of the gods (Father of Years)
  • Head of Pantheon (Divine Council)
  • Progenitor of other deities
  • Father of Adam (Man -- Divine King)
  • Ruler of the Universe and Supreme Arbiter
  • Full of grace and compassion. "
  • "Yahweh when you marched from the highland of Edom,
  • The earth shook.
  • And heavens, too, streamed,
  • And the clouds streamed with water
  • The mountain shook.
  • Before Yahweh, the one of Sinai,
  • Before Yahweh, the god of Israel.”

There is also a shared emphasis, on the seventh day. For it was on the seventh day of Daniel’s incubation right, in the temple, that Baal intercedes for him and El blesses him. Similarly, as it is on the seventh day that, Yahweh called to Moses on the cloud-covered mountain. Indeed, the characteristic origin of Yahweh in the roots of El and Baal is preserved in Hosea 2:16 which read “Yahweh says you will call me‘my husband’and no longer‘my Baal.’”

Frank M. Cross* suggested, in 1973, a potential connection with the Egyptian deity, Patah who has given the title du gitti, “Lord of Gath” in which Patah is called Lord Eternal. It may be this identification of El with Patah that led to the epithet Olam which means eternal so early and so consistently with the Israelites. Another similarity is that both the gods Pathan and El create the world through their very will and not through a divine battle between gods.

* Frank Moore Cross, Jr. was the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages Emeritus at Harvard University, notable for his work in the interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In his "Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel,"he traces the continuities between early Israelite religion and the Canaanite culture from which it emerged.

The Jews also seemed to be oddly concerned with circumcision, which serves as another connection to Egyptian culture. The earliest historical record of circumcision comes from Egypt in an inscription of the tomb at Saqqara dating to around 2,400 BC. While circumcision might have been done for hygienic reasons, it was for the Egyptians part of their obsession with purity and was associated with spiritual and intellectual development. These connections would all make sense considering the Levant was politically and culturally dominated by the Egyptian Empire.

Though the Israelites are thought to have arisen, by the end of the Late Bronze (1,500–1,200 BC) period however, it is probably not until the Iron Age I (1,200–1,000 BC) that a population began to identify itself as Israelite. The earliest documented instance of the name Israel is from the Egyptians stele of Pharaoh Merneptah around 1,208 BC. It records that Israel is laid waste and his seed is not. The earliest possible occurrence of the name Yahweh is like a place name in the Egyptian inscription from the time of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. He reigned from 1,402 to 1,363 BC. He refers to the land of Yahweh which is the land of the Shasho, being nomads from Midian. Thus, the worship of Yahweh seems to have originated in areas south of Israel. The name Yahweh took on various forms in the Semitic tongue: Yah for theophoric purposes. For example, Adonaijah, which is Adon, master and Yah, referring to Yah or Yahweh contains the core name Yah. Along with being the chief and ruler God, Yahweh shares unequivocal resemblances to the Sumerian god Yah, who is culturally synonymous with Marduk and Baal Haddad -- Yah and Yahweh are virtually the same God.

The Torah's (Old Testament's) Borrowing from Other, Non-Canaanite Religions

  • Psalm 104:6 “You cover it with Tehom as with a garment the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they flee at the sound of your thunder, they take to flight.”
  • Isaiah, 51:9 “was it, not you who cut Rachav to pieces and pierced the dragon? Was it, not you who dried up the sea, the waters of great Tehom?”
  • Job 41 “Can you draw out Leviathan…think of the battle. You will do it again!”

The most obvious conclusion of this analysis is the fact that the Israelites or the people who became the Israelites had no god or gods of their own. This means that their god(s) "came into being" in the Iron Age I (1,200–1,000 BC) when the population began to identify itself as Israelite. Further, if the story of their enslavement in Egypt (ending in Exodus) is true, then the elementary denouement, outcome or resolution of the discussion is:

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (if they actually existed) and the Israelites did not worship any god(s). Their religion evolved as a beg, borrow or steal one from the Canaanite, Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions over about two thousand years.

“The real religion of ancient Israel is almost everything the biblical writers condemned. The whole theology of the Hebrew Bible would have been foreign to most people.” – Prof. William G. Dever (Archaeologist, Anthropologist, University of Arizona) The Hebrew Bible is not a very good source for reconstructing the real religions of ancient Israel, for many reasons:

1) The Bible was written by a handful of elites who were attached to the court and temple in Jerusalem. They were not representative of the majority of people, but were members of an ultra orthodox, nationalist party. What they did was to do revisionist history. They rewrote the history of Israel, using older sources, and that's the story we have today.

2) This ‘minority report’ paints an idealistic picture of what Israelite belief and practice should have been like, but never was. It would have been, had these nationalists been in charge, but they never were. So what you get is a portrait of a certain Israel that is a later construct. This ‘minority report’ tries to reconstruct religion to suit the few who wrote the Bible.

3) The biblical text as we have it was put together after the fall of Jerusalem, during the exile, after the history of Israel was over. This was long after events had transpired (in some cases centuries later). For these reasons, the Bible is now viewed a secondary source for understanding the real ancient Israel and Judah. Where would you go to find out about the real Israel in the Iron Age? Archaeology provides us with another window through which to look at Israelite beliefs and practices and new tools for understanding ancient Israel.

Archaeology is about a real people in real time and a real place. They really did exist and now we know a lot about them. In the last 20 to 30 this science has revolutionized our understanding of Israelite religion. This has given the ancient Israelites a voice and they speak from a different perspective as the one in the Bible.

In this short clip, Dr. William Dever covers just a few things to give us an idea of what it was actually like for most people most of the time in ancient Israel and Judah. It gives us some idea of what people were actually doing in the name of their religion: “The real religion of ancient Israel is almost everything the biblical writers condemned.”

Most people in ancient Israel had never been to Jerusalem. They certainly had never been in the Temple in Jerusalem which was a royal chapel and could be visited mostly by the priests and high priest. If those people had had to Bible they couldn't read it anyway because they were illiterate . As far as we know perhaps only one or two percent of the population was littered.

The Bible wasn’t yet finished anyway, so Dever suggests that the whole theology of the Hebrew Bible would have been foreign to most people. They didn't know about it, they couldn't read, and it didn't make any difference. The temple was of no importance, and they probably never met a real priest. It was all about surviving in the agricultural villages where they lived and observed the family religion, as opposed to state religion in Jerusalem.

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  83. SCHAEFFER C., The excavations of Minet-el-Beida and Ras-Shamra. Third Campaign (Spring 1931). Summary Report , in Syria, Volume 13, Orientalist Bookstore Paul Geuthner, Paris, 1932, pp. 1-27.
  84. The excavations of Ras Shamra (Ugarit), Sixth Campaign (spring 1934), in Syria, volume 16, Orientalist Bookstore Paul Geuthner, Paris, 1935, pp. 141-176.
  85. SEDDEN H. , A tophet in Tyr? , in Berytus, volume 39, The Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the AUB, Beirut 1991, pp. 39-85.
  86. SEYRIG H., Syrian Antiquities , In Syria, t. 36, Orientalist Bookstore Paul Geuthner, Paris, 1959, pp. 38-89.
  87. SILIUS ITALICUS, The Punic Wars , trans. LUCAIN, Didot, Paris, 1855.
  88. SMITH WR , Lectures on the religion of the Semites , Adam and Charles Black, London, 1914.
  89. STRABON, " The Atlantis of Plato ", trans. BERARD V., The beautiful letters, Paris, 1929.
  90. STUCKY R., MATHYS H., The Sidonian Sanctuary of Echmoun. Historical overview of the site, excavations and discoveries made in Bostan ech-Sheikh , In BAAL, number 4, Directorate General of Antiquities, 2000, pp. 123-148.
  91. TACITE, The Histories , trad. BURNOUF J., Hachette, 1859.
  92. VAMER G., Dolmen Menhirs And Circles Of Stone: The Folklore And Sacred Stone Of Magic , Algora Pub, New York, 2004.
  93. YON M., Sanctuary of Ugarit , In Temples and Sanctuaries, House of the Orient, Lyon, 1984, pp. 37-50.

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"A Bequest Unearthed, Phoenicia" &mdash Encyclopedia Phoeniciana

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Assyrian Chariots in Phoenicia and the Storming of Khazazu - History

The Phoenicians Semitic speakers from the eastern Mediterranean -- neither Europeans nor Africans

Before going into the origin of the Phoenicians, two things musts be made clear. The Phoenicians do not have their origin in Europe or in Africa. They were neither European nor where they black Africans. Their origin is in the eastern Mediterranean, as recent DNA studies prove -- they belong to the ancient Mediterranean sub-starum. Some trace them back to as far away as India about 10,000 BC or suggest that they migrated to Phoenicia from elsewhere however, none of these stories are proven or provable through archaeology, and genetics spoke the final word. Further, the Phoenician colonies which spread all over the coastline of the Mediterranean and even the Atlantic coasts were inhabited by Phoenician Semitic speaking immigrants. No one can claim that the Phoenicians of North Africa were black or the Phoenicians of Spain, Gibraltar, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta. etc. were European. Statues, bursts, and artwork of the Phoenicians are found all over this website and upon close observation one can clearly see how closely they resemble the inhabitants of the shores of present day Mediterranean. (Note the images of the young Phoenician man and woman below). There are some who use the Bible for genealogical reference and actually believe Biblical characters such as Noah, Shem, Ham. etc. really existed and thereafter the Semites came from Shem and the Hamites from Ham. etc. These claims are categorically rejected and have no basis in purely scientific genealogical studies of ethnic origins of races.

Ethnic Origin and Language

  1. A great warbroke out in the remote old days (maybe 10,000 B.C.) between the Indian Aryans and the Phoenicians in which the latter were defeated and compelled to leave wholly or partially the land of the Aryans.
  2. The Phoenicians were the first of the civilized nations of the world. The civilization of Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece and other ancient countries owed its origin to the union of the civilization of the Aryans with that of the Phoenicians.
  3. The Phoenicians originally lived in some part of India, whence driven out they migrated gradually westwards. While still residing in the neighborhood of India they colonized and traded with Arabia and the countries bordering on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
  4. The Phoenicians had colonies in many countries from each of which they were driven away by the natives after severe struggles. In this way they were expelled from India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, or they mixed with the natives when they lost their supremacy in those countries.
  5. In ancient time the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea were connected together by a strait through which the Phoenician and Aryan trading ships entered the Mediterranean Sea and Indian goods were taken to Europe. As that passage gradually silted up the connection between India and Europe broke off.
Literature and Thought -- Suggestions
  1. See the fragments of Dius and Menander, who followed the Tyrian historians (Joseph. /Contr. Ap./ i. 18).
  2. Ap. Strab. xvii. 2, ß 22.
  3. Ibid.
  4. See Sallust, /Bell. Jugurth./ ß 17 Cic. /De Orat./ i. 58 Amm. Marc. xxii. 15 Solin. /Polyhist./ ß 34.
  5. Columella, xii. 4.
  6. Ibid. i. 1, ß 6.
  7. Plin. /H. N./ xviii. 3.
  8. As Antipater and Apollonius, Stoic philosophers of Tyre (Strab. l.s.c.), BoÎthus and Diodotus, Peripatetics, of Sidon (ibid.), Philo of Byblus, Hermippus of Berytus, and others.
Literature of Phoenicia

Phoenician inscriptions, both from the Phoenician coast and from other areas of the eastern Mediterranean are very limited in genre, and relatively few are more than a few lines long with very minor exceptions.

Uninscribed materials from excavated sites supplement the picture. However, criteria for identifying literary or religious materials have not always been carefully considered. It is often difficult to correlate with confidence written and unwritten materials.

Despite growing knowledge, the resulting picture is still very irregular. While there is an unparalleled variety of sources, covering a century and a half, from the large cosmopolitan city of Ugarit, other written materials give a much more limited picture. For many periods, areas, and topics there are no written remains. Descriptions are extremely limited and superficial. Generalizations about the eastern Mediterranean may well prove to have significant exceptions as some of these gaps are filled by new discoveries. However, some exceptions have surfaced as indicated below.

Ugaritic Narrative Poetry
  • Behold your son, behold.
  • Your grandson, your shrine
  • Behold . your hand.
  • The small one will kiss your lips.
  • There, shoulder to shoulder.
  • Brothers, attendants of El.
  • There mortals .. the name of El,
  • . heroes bless the name of El.
  • There the shades of Baal .
  • Warriors of Baal
  • Warriors of Anat.
  • There armed forces encircle
  • The eternal royal princes
  • As when Anat hastens to the hunt
  • Sets to flight the birds of the heavens.
  • They slaughtered oxen sheep as well
  • They felled bulls, fatlings too,
  • Also rams and year old calves,
  • They butchered lambs ad even kids.
  • Olive oil -- like silver to travelers,
  • . -- like gold to travelers.
  • . a table set with fruit,
  • Laid with fruit fit for kings,
  • Day long they pour the wine,
  • . must-wine, fit for rulers.
  • Wine, sweet and abundant,
  • Select wine.
  • The choice wine of Lebanon,
  • Must nurtured by El.
  • One day passes, then a second,
  • The shades eat, the drink
  • A third day, then a fourth
  • A fifth day, then a sixth
  • The shades eat, they drink.
  • To the banquet house on the summit,
  • . in the heart of Lebanon. From
  • The Epic of Kirta, translated by Edward L. Greenstein
  • "What too me is silver, or even yellow gold,
  • Together with its land and slaves forever mine?
  • A Triad of chariot horses
  • From the stables of a slave woman's son?
  • What is not in my house you must give me:
  • You must give me Lady Huraya,
  • The Fair One, your firstborn child!
  • Who is as fair as the goddess Anath,
  • Who is as comely as Astarte
  • Whose eyes are lapis lazuli
  • Eyeballs, gleaming alabaster
  • Whom El has given in my dream,
  • The Father of Man in my vision
  • Who will bear a child for Kirta
  • A lad for the Servant of El."
Sanchuniathon, Phoenician writer

(fl. 14th/13th century BC?), ancient Phoenician writer. All information about him is derived from the works of Herennius Philo of Byblos (flourished AD 100). Excavations at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in Syria in 1929 revealed Phoenician documents supporting much of Sanchuniathon's information on Phoenician mythology and religious beliefs. According to Philo, Sanchuniathon derived the sacred lore from inscriptions on the Ammouneis (i.e., images or pillars of Baal Amon), which stood in Phoenician temples.

Charles Anthon* is said to have written "The history of Phoenicia by Sanconiatho, who was a contemporary with Solomon, would have been entirely lost to us, had it not been for the valuable fragments preserved by Eusebius."

"Sanchoniathon, a Phoenician author, who if the fragments of his works that have reached us be genuine, and if such a person ever existed, must be regarded as the most ancient writer of whom we have any knowledge after Moses. As to the period when be flourished, all is uncertain. He is the author of three principal works, which were written in Phoenician. They were translated into the Greek language by Herennius Philo, who lived in the second century A.D. It is from this translation which we obtain all the fragments of Sanchoniathon that have reached our times. Philo had divided his translation into nine books, of which Porphyry made use in his diatribe against the Christians. It is from the fourth book of this lost work that Eusebius took, for an end directly opposite to this, the passages which have come down to us. And thus we have those documents relating to the mythology and history of the Phoenicians from the fourth hand."

Sanchoniathon makes mention of a history which he once wrote upon the worship of the serpent. The title of this work, according to Eusebius, was Ethothion, or Ethothia. Another treatise upon the same subject was written by Pherecydes Tyrus, which was probably a copy of the former for he is said to have composed it from some previous accounts of the Phœnicians. The title of his book was the Theology of Ophion, styled Ophioneus, and his worshippers were called Ophionidæ. Thoth and Athoth were certainly titles of the Deity in the Gentile world and the book of Sanchoniathon might very possibly have been from hence named Ethothion, or more truly, Athothion. But, from the subject upon which it was written, as well as from the treatise of Pherecydes, we have reason to think that Athothion, or Ethothion, was a mistake for Ath-Ophion, a title which more immediately related to that worship of which the writer treated. Ath was a sacred title, as we have shewn, and we imagine that this dissertation did not barely relate to the serpentine Deity, but contained accounts of his votaries, the Ophitæ, the principal of which were the sons of Chus.

*Source: Anthon, Charles. Classical Dictionary, New York, NY:1888.

Philo of Byblos and Porphyry of Tyre

Phoenicia produced a number of important writers in Greek, most notably Philo of Byblos (64-141), and in the 3rd century Porphyry of Tyre. Porphyry played a key role in disseminating the Neoplatonic philosophy of his master Plotinus, which would influenced pagan and Christian thought in the later Roman Empire.

Literary (of mytho-literary) work

The great cycle of narratives about Baal from Ugarit in its present form is clearly a literary work rather than a myth, it is doubtlessly composed of religiously significant mythic material. While there are Greek and Latin sources such as De Dea Syra ("About the Syrian Goddess") from the 2nd century AD, attributed to Lucian of Samosata, and the section of Eusebius of Caesarea's Praeparatio evangelica("Preparation for the Gospel" 4th century AD) that cites extracts from a History of Phoeniciaby Philo of Byblos (c. AD 100) Philo himself claimed to be translating the work of an early Phoenician priest, Sanchuniathon (referenced earlier). They are mostly works that deal with religious material and not literary per say. Further, there is not enough material that has survived the centuries of Phoenician history to the present for higher literary criticism. The most outstanding or major literary work is The Baal Cycle which is summarized herewith.

The Baal Cycle

"The Baal Cycle" (Illustrated version of the "Epic of Baal")

Baal, Ashtoreth, Dagon, Molech and Asherah are Canaanite gods who are frequently mentioned in the Holy Bible. Who did the Canaanites believe these gods to be? Why did Israelites make idols of Golden Calves? What was an “Asherah Pole”? What were the “pagan ways” that the prophets of the Lord warned the Israelites not to emulate? Knowing the answers to these questions can deepen one’s understanding of the Holy Bible. In 1929 important texts were discovered at Ras Shamra in Syria that told the story of the Canaanite gods. These Ugaritic texts, along with other ancient sources, help us to reconstruct the beliefs of the ancient Canaanites and widen our understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. This book is an illustrated version and extended edition of the story of the “Epic of Baal the God of Thunder.”

"The Epic of Baal the God of Thunder"
Thousands of years ago there was a great conflict that has affected the lives of everyone living today. This conflict was between the worshipers of the Baal pantheon and the worshipers of Jehovah (Yahweh) in Canaan. In this region, the worshipers of Yahweh ultimately prevailed. This struggle is alluded to in several places in the Holy Bible. Now, due to archeological discoveries, we are able to reconstruct many of the beliefs of the pagan Canaanites. Knowing these stories helps us to understand the story of the Bible fully and in a way it enables us to read the Bible like the ancients. There is a great deal of confusion regarding and also false information about the Canaanite gods that are mentioned in several places in the Bible. Due to archeological discoveries we now know that Dagon was a god of grain and not a fish god. (The rabbis made this mistake because a Hebrew word for “fish” is “dag.”) Tammuz was a shepherd god and not a sun god. Baal was a god of thunder and of the rain. Asherah was a mother goddess and the Asherah pole was most likely a sacred tree or a symbol of a sacred tree and not a phallus symbol. These misunderstandings of Canaanite religion often cause people to be confused in their reading of the Bible and knowing the Canaanite myths can clarify some Bible stories.

Yam-Nahar was made aware of the words of Baal. He sent His two messengers to the court of El:

"Depart Lads!
Do not sit!
Then Ye shall surely set face
Toward the Convocation of the Assembly
In the midst of the mountain of Night.
At the feet of El do not fall,
Do not prostrate Yourselves before the Convocation of the Assembly,
But declare Your information!
And say to The Bull, My father, El,
Declare to the Convocation of the Assembly:
'The message of Yam, Your Lord,
Of Your master Judge River:
Give up, O Gods, Him whom You harbor,
Him whom the multitude harbor!
Give up Baal and His partisans,
Dagon's Son, so that I may inherit His gold!'"

The lads depart
They do not Sit.
Then They set face
Toward the Mountain of Night,
Toward the Convocation of the Assembly.
The Gods had not even sat down,
The Deities to dine,
When Baal stood up by El.

As soon as the Gods saw Them,
Saw the messengers of Yam
The emissaries of Judge Nahar,
The Gods lowered Their heads upon Their knees.
Yea, upon the thrones of Their lordships.

Baal rebukes Them:
"Why, O Gods, have Ye lowered
Your heads on top of Your knees,
Yea, upon the thrones of Your lordships?
Let a pair of Gods read the tablets of the messengers of Yam,
Of the emissaries of Judge Nahar!
O Gods, lift up Your heads
From the top of Your knees
Yea, from the thrones of Your lordships!
And I shall answer
The messengers of Yam
The emissaries of Judge Nahar!"
The Gods lift Their heads
From the top of Their knees
Yea, from the thrones of thier lordships.

After there arrive the messengers of Yam,
The emissaries of JudgeNahar.
At the feet of El They do not fall,
They do not prostrate Themselves before the Convocation of the Assembly.
Arise, for They declare Their information.
A fire, two fires!
He sees a burnished sword!
They say to The Bull, His father, El:
"The message of Yam, Your lord,
Of Your master, Judge Nahar:
'Give up, O Gods, Him whom Ye harbor,
Him whom the multitudes harbor!
Give up Baal and His partisans,
Dagon's Son, so that I may inherit His gold!'"

And The Bull, His father, El, replies:
"Baal is Thy slave, O Yam!
Baal is Thy slave O Yam!
Dagon's Son is Thy captive!
He will bring Thy tribute like the Gods.
Like the Deities, Thy gift!"

But Prince Baal was infuriated.
A knife He takes in the hand
A dagger in the right hand.
To smite the lads He flourishes it.
Anath siezes His right hand,
Astarte seizes His left hand:
"How canst Thou smite the messengers of Yam?
The emissaries of Judge Nahar?
They have merely brought the words of Yam-Nahar.
Word of Their Lord and Master."

But Prince Baal is infuriated. He spares the lives of the messengers He sends Them back to Their master. He instructs Them to give His information: Baal will not bow to Prince Yam. He will not be the slave of Judge Nahar. He declares once more that He shall slay the Tyrant lord of the Gods.

"To the earth let Our mighty one fall!
Yea, to dust Our strong one!"
From His mouth the word had not yet gone forth,
Nor from His lips, His utterance.
And His voice was given forth
Like a mountain under the throne of Prince Yam.

And Kothar-u-Khasis declared:
"Did I not tell Thee, O Prince Baal,
Nor declare, O Rider of Clouds?
'Lo, Thine enemies, O Baal,
Lo, Thine enemies wilt Thou smite
Lo, Thou wilt van quish Thy foes.
Thou wilt take Thine eternal kingdom
Thine everlasting sovereignty!'"

Kothar brings down two clubs
And proclaims Their Names.
"Thy Name, even Thine, is Yagrush!
Yagrush, expel Yam
Expel Yam from His throne
Nahar from the seat of His sovereignty!
Thou shalt swoop from the hands of Baal
Like an Eagle from His fingers!
Strike the shoulders of Prince Yam
Twixt the hands of Judge Nahar!"

The club swoops from the hands of Baal
Like an eagle from His fingers.
It strikes the shoulders of Prince Yam,
Twixt the hands of Judge Nahar.
Yam is strong
He is not vanquished,
His joints do not fail,
Nor His frame collapse.

Kothar brings down a second club,
And proclaims His Name.
"Thy Name, even Thine, is Aymur!
Aymur, drive Yam,
Drive Yam from His throne!
Nahar from His seat of His sovereignty!
Thou shalt swoop from the hands of Baal
Like an Eagle from His fingers!
Strike the head of Prince Yam
Twixt the eyes of Judge Nahar!
Let Yam sink
And fall to the earth!"

And the club swoops from the hands of Baal
Like an eagle from His fingers.
It strikes the head of Prince Yam,
Twixt the eyes of Judge Nahar.

Yam sinks,
Falls to the earth.
His joints fail
His frame collapses.
Baal drags and poises Yam
Destroys Judge Nahar.

By Name, Astarte rebukes:
"Shmae, O Aliyan Baal,
Shame, O Rider of the Clouds!
For Prince Yam was Our captive
For Judge River was Our captive."

And there went out Baal,
Verily ashamed is Aliyan Baal
And Prince Yam is, indeed, dead.
So let Baal reign!

Baal was now King of the Gods. Lord of the Mountain of Saphon. But Baal had no palace like the other Gods. He speaks His word to Kothat-u-Khasis:

"There are the dwelling of El,
The shelter of His sons.
The dwelling of Lady Asherah of the Sea,
The dwelling of the renowned brides.
The dwelling of Pidray, girl of Light,
The shelter of Tallay, girl of rain,
The dwelling of Arsay, girl of Yaabdar.

Also, something else I'll tell Thee.
Go to!
Beseech Lady Asherah of the Sea,
Entreat the Creatress of Gods!"

The Skilled One goes up to the bellows.
In the hands of Khasis are the tongs.
He pours silver,
He casts gold.
He pours silver by thousands of shekels,
Gold He pours by myriads.
A glorious crown studded with silver,
Adorned with red gold.
A glorious throne,
A dais above a glorious footstool,
Which glisters in purity.
Glorious shoes of reception,
Thereover He brings them gold.
A glorious table that is full.
A glorious bowl, fine work of Kamares,
Set like the realm of Yam,
In which there are buffaloes by myriads.

Kothar-u-Kasis goes to the Lady Asherah of the Sea, Mother of the Seventy Gods. He offers these gifts unto Her.

He adorns Her with the covering of Her flesh.
She tears Her clothing.
On the second day
He adorns Her in the two rivers.
She sets a pot on the fire
A vessel on top of the coals.

She propitiates The Bull, God of Mercy,
Entreats the Creator of Creatures.
On lifting Her eyes
She sees.
Asherah sees Baal's going,
Yea the going of the Virgin Anath,
The tread of the Progenitress of Heroes.

After Aliyan Baal came,
And came the Virgin Anath,
They besought Lady Asherah of the Sea.
Yea entreated the Creatress of the Gods.
And Lady Asherah of the Sea replied:
"How can Ye beseech Lady Asherah of the Sea,
Yea entreat the Creatress of the Gods?
Have Ye besought The Bull, God of Mercy,
Or entreated the Creator of Creatures?

And the Virgin Anath replied:
"We do beseech Lady Asherah of the Sea.
We entreat the Creatress of Gods.
The Gods eat and drink,
And those that suck the breast quaff
With a keen knife
A slice of fatling.
They drink wine from a goblet,
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines."

Asherah of the Sea declares:
"Saddle an ass,
Hitch a donkey!
Put on a harness of silver,
Trappings of gold.
Prepare the harness of My jennies!

Qadish-u-Amrar hearkens.
He saddles an ass
Hitches a donkey.
Put on a harness of silver,
Trappings of gold.
Prepares the harness of Her jennies!
Qadish-u-Amrar embraces
He sets Asherah on the back of the ass,
On the beautiful back of the donkey.
Qadish begins to light the way,
Even Amrar like a star.
Forward goes the Virgin Anath,
And Baal departs for the heights of Saphon.

Then She sets face toward El,
At the sources of the Two Rivers,
In the midst of the streams of the Two Deeps.
She enters the abode of El,
And comes into the domicile of the King, Father Shunem.
At the feet of El She bows and falls,
She prostrates Herself and honors Him.

As soon as El sees Her,
He cracks a smile and laughs.
His feet He sets on the footstool,
And twiddles His fingers.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Why has Lady Asherah of the Sea come?
Why came the Creatress of Gods?
Art Thou hungry?
Then have a morsel!
Or art Thou thirsty?
Then have a drink!
Or drink!
Eat bread from the tables!
Drink wine from the goblets!
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines!
If the love of El moves Thee,
Yea the affection of The Bull arouses Thee!"

And Lady Asherah of the Sea replies:
"Thy word, El, is wise
Thou art wise unto eternity
Lucky life is Thy word.
Our king is Aliyan Baal,
Out judge, and none is above Him.
Let both of Us drain His chalice
Both of Us drain His cup!"

Loudly Bull-El, Her father, shouts,
King El who brought Her into being
There shout Asherah and Her sons,
The Goddess and the band of Her brood:
"Lo there is no house unto Baal like the Gods.
Not a court like the sons of Asherah:
The dwelling of El,
The shelter of His sons.
The dwelling of Lady Asherah of the Sea,
The dwelling of the renowned brides.
The dwelling of Pidray, girl of Light.
The shelter of Tallay, girl of rain.
The dwelling of Arsay, girl of Yaabdar."

And the God of Mercy replied:
"Am I to act as a lackey of Asherah?
Am I to act like the holder of a trowel?
If the handmaid of Asherah will make the bricks
A house shall be built for Baal like the Gods.
Yea a court like the sons of Asherah."

And Lady Asherah of the Sea replied:
"Thou art great, O El,
Thou are verily wise!
The gray of Thy beard hath verily instructed Thee!
Here are pectorals of gold for Thy breast.

Lo, also it is the time of His rain.
Baal sets the season,
And gives forth His voice from the clouds.
He flashes lightning to the earth.
As a house of cedars let Him complete it,
Or a house of bricks let Him erect it!
Let it be told to Aliyan Baal:
'The mountains will bring Thee much silver.
The hills, the choicest of gold
The mines will bring Thee precious stones,
And build a house of silver and gold.
A house of lapis gems!'"

The Virgin Anath rejoices.
She jumps with the feet
And leaves the earth.
Then She sets face toward the Lord of Saphon's crest
By the thousand acres,
Yea the myriad hectares.
The Virgin Anath laughs.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"Be informed, Baal!
Thy news I bring!
A house shall be built for Thee as for Thy brothers,
Even as a court as for Thy kin!
The mountains will bring Thee much silver.
The hills, the choicest of gold
The mines will bring Thee precious stones,
And build a house of silver and gold.
A house of lapis gems!"

Aliyan Baal rejoices.
The mountains bring Him much silver,
The mines bring Him precious stones.

Kothar-u-Khasis is sent.
After Kothar-u-Khasis arrived,
He sets an ox in front of Him.
A fatling directly before Him.
A chair is placed,
And He is seated
At the right of Aliyan Baal,
Until They have eaten
And drunk.

And Aliyan Baal declares:
"Hurry, let a house be built.
Hurry, let a palace be erected!
Hurry, let a house be built.
Hurry, let a palace be erected
In the midst of the heights of Saphon!
A thousand acres the house is to comprise,
A myriad hectares, the palace!"

And Kothar-u-Khasis declares:
"Hear, O Aliyan Baal!
Percieve, O Rider of Clouds!
I shall surely put a window in the house,
A casement in the midst of the palace!"

And Aliyan Baal replies:
"Do not put a window in the house,
A casement in the midst of the palace!
Let not Pidray, girl of Light,
Nor Tallay, girl of rain,
Be seen by El's beloved Yam Nahar!"
The Lord reviles and spits.

And Kothar-u-Khasis replies:
"Thou wilt return, Baal, to My word."

Of ceders His house is to be built,
Of bricks is His palace to be erected.
He goes to Lebabob and it's trees,
To Syria and the choicest of it's cedars.
Lo, Lebanon and it's trees,
Syria and it's cedars.
Fire is set on the house,
Flame on the palace.
Behold a day and a second,
The fire eats into the house,
The flame into the palace.
A fifth, a sixth day,
The fire eats into the house,
The flame in the midst of the palace.
Behold, on the seventh day,
The fire departs from the house,
The flame from the palace.
Silver turns from blocks,
Gold is turned from bricks.

Aliyan Baal rejoices.
"My house have I built of silver.
My palace of gold have I made."

His house, Baal prepairs.
Hadad prepares the housewarming of His palace.
He slaughters great and small cattle
He fells oxen and ram-fatlings.
Yearling calves,
Little lambs and kids.
He called His brothers into His house.
His kinsmen into the midst of His palace.
He called the Seventy sons of Asherah.
He caused the shep Gods to drink wine.
He caused the ewe Goddesses to drink wine.
He cause the bull Gods to drink wine.
He caused the cow Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the throne Gods to drink wine.
He caused the chair Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the jar Gods to drink wine.
He caused the jug Goddesses to drink wine.
Until the Gods had eaten and drunk,
And the sucklings quaffed
With a keen knife
A slice of fatling.
They drink wine from a goblet,
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines.

Lord Baal went on to take possesion of many earthly cities. Sixty-six, Seventy-Seven towns He took. Eighty, Ninety was the total number of cities that fell to the posession of Mighty Hadad. Thus Baal returned to His home as Lord of all the World.

As Baal went into the midst of the house
Aliyan Baal declared:
"I would install, Kothar, son of the Sea,
Yea Kothar, son of the assembly!
Let a casement be opened in the house
A window in the midst of the palace,
And let the clouds be opened with rain
On the opening of Kothar-u-Khasis."

Kothar-u-Khasis laughed.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Did I not tell Thee, O Aliyan Baal,
That Thou wouldst return, Baal, to My word?
Let a casement be opened in the house,
A window in the midst of the palace!"

Baal opened the clouds with rain,
His holy voice He gives forth in the heavens.

The enemies of Baal seize the forests,
The foes of Hadad, the fringes of the mountain.
And Aliyan Baal declares:
"Enemies of Hadad, why do Ye invade?
Why do Ye invade the arsenal of Our defense?"
Weeping, Baal returns to His house:
"Whether king
Or commander
Be invested with sovereignty over the land,
Respects I shall not send to Mavet,
Nor greetings to El's beloved, the Hero!"

Mavet calls from His throat,
The Beloved meditates in His inwards:
"I alone am He who will rule over the Gods.
Yea command Gods and men.
Even dominate the multitudes of the earth."

Aloud Baal cries to His lads:
"Look, Gupan and Ugar, sons of Galmat,
Errand lads, sons of Zalmat
The lofty and distinguished!
Then surely set face
Toward the mountain of Tergezz,
Toward the mountain of Shermeg,
Toward the furrow of the thriving of the earth.
Lift the mountain on the hands,
The hill on top of the palms,
And go down into to nether-reaches of the earth
So that You will be counted amoung those who go down into the earth!
Then shall Ye set face
Toward His city, Hemry.
Lo, the throne on which He sits
In the midst of the land of His inheritance
And the guards of the defense of the Gods.
Do not draw near the God Mavet,
Lest He make You like a lamb in His mouth,
Like a kid in His jaws Ye be crushed!
The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, burns
The heavens halt on account of El's darling, Mavet.
By the thousand acres,
Yea the myriad hectares
At the feet of Mavet bow and fall.
Prostrate Yourselves and honor Him!
And say to the God Mavet,
Declare to El's beloved, the Hero:

And Baal spoke His word to His lads. He sent His message to Mavet. The Lord Hadad refused to pay tribute to the Beloved of El. Mavet was enfuriated, and sent His word back to Baal. He declared that, because Baal had destroyed the Serpent Lotan, He would exact revenge by devouring Baal. The messengers of Baal informed Baal that Mavet would open His mouth wide.

"A lip to earth,
A lip to heaven,
And a tounge to the stars
So that Baal may enter His inwards,
Yea, descend into His mouth
As scorched is the olive,
The produce of the Earth,
And the fruit of the Trees."

Aliyan Baal fears Him,
The Rider of the Clouds dreads Him.
"Depart! Speak to the God Mavet.
Declare to El's Beloved, the Hero:
The message of Aliyan Baal,
The word of Aliy the Warrior:
'Hail, O God Mavet!
Thy slave am I,
Yea Thine forever.'"

The Gods depart and do not sit.
Then They set face toward the God Mavet.
Toward His city, Hemry.
Behold it is the throne of His sitting,
Yea the land of His inheritance!
They lift Their voices
And shout:
"The message of Aliyan Baal
The word of Aliy the Warrior!
"Hail, O God Mavet!
Thy slave am I,
Yea Thine forever!"

The God Mavet is glad. Baal will be delivered unto Him, and the fertility of the land will die with Him. Baal feasts His last meal, and Mavet commands Him:

"I shall put Him in the grave of the Gods of the earth.
And Thou, take Thy clouds,
Thy wind, Thy storm, Thy rains!
With Thee Thy seven lads,
Thine eight swine.
With Thee, Pidray, girl of Light,
With Thee, Tallay, girl of rain.
Then Thy face shalt Thou set toward the mountain of Kenkeny.
Lift the mountain on the hands,
The hill on top of the palms,
And go down to the nether reaches of the earth
So that Thou mayest be counted amoung those who do down into the earth,
And all may know that Thou art dead!"

Aliyan Baal hearkens.
He loves a heifer in Deber,
A young cow in the fields of Shechelmemet.
He lies with Her seventy-seven times,
Yea, eighty-eight times,
So that She conceives
And bears Moshe.

Baal was found dead there in the fields of Shechelmemet, in the land of Deber. The news reaches the ears of El, Father of Shunem:

Thereupon the God of Mercy
Goes down from the throne,
Sits on the footstool,
And from the footstool sits on the earth.
He pours the ashes of grief on His head,
The dust of wallowing on His pate.
For clothing, He is covered with a doubled cloak.
He roams the mountain in mourning,
Yea through the forest in grief.
He cuts cheek and chin,
He lacerates His forearms.
He plows His chest like a garden
Like a vale He lacerates His back.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Baal is dead!
Woe to the people of Dagon's son!
Woe to the multitudes of Athar-Baal!
I shall go down into the earth."

Also Anath goes
And treads every mountain to the midst of the Earth.
Every hill to the midst of the fields.
She comes to the goodness of the land of Deber,
The beauty of the fields of Shechelmemet.
She comes upon Baal prostrate on the earth.

For clothing She is covered with a doubled cloak.
The mountain in mournig She roams.
In grief, through the forest.
She cuts cheek and chin.
She lacerates Her forearms.
She plows lake a garden Her chest,
Like a vale She lacerates the back.
"Baal is dead!
Woe to the people of Dagon's son!
Woe to the multitudes of Athar-Baal!
Let us go down into the earth."

With Her goes down the Torch of the Gods, Shapash.
Until She is sated with weeping,
She drinks tears like wine.
Aloud She cries to the Torch of the Gods, Shapash:
"Load Aliyan Baal on to Me!"

The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, hearkens.
She lifts Aliyan Baal,
On the shoulders of Anath She places Him,
She raises Him into the heights of Saphon.
She weeps for Him and buries Him.
She puts Him in the grave of the Gods of the earth.

She sacrifices seventy buffaloes
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy oxen
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy head of small cattle
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy deer
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy wild goats
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy asses
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.

Then She sets face toward El
At the sources of the Two Rivers,
In the midst of the streams of the Two Deeps.
She enters the abode of El,
Goes into the domicile of the King, Father Shunem.
At the feet of El She bends and falls,
Prostrates Herself and honors Him.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"Let Asherah and Her sons rejoice,
The Goddess and the band of Her brood!
For dead is Aliyan Baal,
For Perished is the Prince, Lord of Earth!"

Aloud cries El to Asherah of the Sea:
"Hear, O Lady Asherah of the Sea!
Give one of Thy sons that I may make Him king!"

And Lady Asherah of the Sea replies:
"Let Us make king one who knows how to govern!"

And the God of Mercy declares:
"One feeble of frame will not vie with Baal,
Nor wield a spear against Dagon's son."

When the parley is finished,
Lady Asherah of the Sea declares:
"Let Us make Ashtar the Terrible king!
Let Ashtar the Terrible reign!"

Thereupon Ashtar the Terrible
Goes into the heights of Saphon
That He may sit on the throne of Aliyan Baal.
His feet do not reach the footstool,
Nor does His head reach it's top.
And Ashtar the Terrible says:
"I cannot rule in the heights of Saphon!"
Ashtar the Terrible goes down,
Goes down from the throne of Aliyan Baal,
That He may rule over all the grand earth.

Anath goes now to face Mavet, the Darling of El, the Hero.

As with the heart of a cow toward her calf,
As with the heart of an ete toward her lamb,
So is the heart of Anath toward Baal.
She seizes Mavet, in ripping His garment.
She closes in on Him, in tearing His clothes.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"Come, Mavet, yield My brother!"

And the God Mavet replies:
"What does Thou ask, O Virgin Anath?
I was going,
And roaming
Every mountain to the midst of the earth,
Every hill to the midst of the fields.
A soul was missing amoung men,
A soul of the multitudes of the earth.
I arrived at the goodness of the land of Debar,
The beauty of the fields of Shechelmemet.
I met Aliyan Baal
I made Him like a lamb in My mouth.
Like a kid in My jaws was He crushed."

The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, glows,
The heavens stop on account of the God Mavet.
A day, two days pass.
From days to months.

The maiden Anath meets Him.
As with the heart of a cow toward her calf,
As with the heart of an ete toward her lamb,
So is the heart of Anath toward Baal.
She siezes the God Mavet.
With a sword She cleaves Him,
With a pitchfork She winnows Him,
With a fire She burns Him,
In the millstones She grinds Him,
In the fields She plants Him,
So that the birds do not eat His flesh,
Nor the fowl destroy His portion.
Flesh calls to flesh.

The Great El, Father Shunem, declares of the lost God Baal:

"For perished is the Prince, Lord of Earth.
And if Aliyan Baal is alive,
And if the Prince, Lord of Earth, exists,
In a dream of the God of Mercy,
In a vision of the Creator of Creatures,
Let the heavens rain oil,
The wadies run with honey,
That I may know that Aliyan Baal is alive,
That the Prince, Lord of Earth, exists."

In a dream of the God of Mercy,
In a vision of the Creator of Creatures,
The heavens rain oil,
The wadies run with honey,
The God of Mercy rejoices.
His feet He sets on the footstool.
He cracks a smile and laughs.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Let Me sit and rest,
And let My soul repose in My breast.
For Aliyan Baal is alive,
For the Prince, Lord of Earth, exists."
Aloud shouts El to the Virgin Anath:
"Hear, O Virgin Anath,
Say to the Torch of the Gods, Shapash:
'Over the furrows of the fields, O Shapash,
Over the furrows of the fields let El set Thee.
As for the Lord of the Plowed Furrows,
Where is Aliyan Baal?
Where is the Prince, Lord of Earth?'"

The Virgin Anath departs.
Then She sets face toward the Torch of the Gods, Shapash.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"The message of Bull-El, Thy father,
The word of the God of Mercy, Thy begetter:
'Over the furrows of the fields, O Shapash,
Over the furrows of the fields let El set Thee!
As for the Lord of the Furrows of His plowing,
Where is Aliyan Baal?
Where is the Prince, Lord of Earth?'"

And the Torch of the Gods, Shapash, replies:
"I shall seek Aliyan Baal!"

And the Virgin Anath answers:
"As for Me, tis not I, O Shapash!
As for Me, tis not I, but El summons Thee!
May the Gods guard Thee in Sheol!"

Shapash descends into the underworld. She enters the relm of Sheol. Upon Her return to the world above, She carries Great Baal with Her. Ball goes into the heights of Saphon. He confronts Mavet, the Hero.

Baal seizes the son of Asherah.
The great one He smites on the shoulder.
The tyrant He smites with a stick.
Mavet is vanquished,
Reaches earth.

Baal returns to the throne of His kingship,
Dagon's son to the seat of His sovereignty.
From days to months,
From months to years,
Lo in the seventh year.

And the God Mavet addresses Himself to Aliyan Baal.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Because of Thee, O Baal, I have experienced humiliation.
Because of Thee, experienced scattering by the sword.
Because of Thee, experienced burning in the fire.
Because of Thee, experienced grinding in the millstones.
Because of Thee, experienced winnowing by the pitchfork.
Because of Thee, experienced being planted in the feilds.
Because of Thee, experienced being sown in the sea."

Thereupon Mavet threatens to destroy Baal in revenge. He threatens to take the kingship of Baal. Baal expels Him, drives Him out of the heights of Saphon. Mavet vows His revenge eupon Baal:

"And lo, as a brother of Yam Thou art made, Baal is given
As retribution for the destroyed sons of My mother!"

He returns to the Lord of the heights of Saphon,
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"A brother of Yam Thou art made, O Baal!
As retribution for the destroyed sons of My mother!"

They shake each other like Gemar-beasts,
Mavet is strong, Baal is strong.
They gore each other like buffaloes,
Mavet is strong, Baal is strong.
They bite like serpents,
Mavet is strong, Baal is strong.
They kick like racing beasts,
Mavet is down, Ball is down.

Up comes Shapash.
She cries to Mavet:
"Hear, O God Mavet!
How canst Thou fight with Aliyan Baal?
How will Bull-El, Thy father, not hear Thee?
Will He not remove the supports of Thy throne?
Nor upset the seat of Thy kingship?
Nor break the scepter of Thy rule?"

The Got Mavet is afraid,
El's Beloved, the Hero, is frightened.
Mavet is roused from His prstration.

The God of Sterility submits to Baal. He conceeds the kingship to the Lord of Earth. Baal returns to the Heights of Saphon, but Anath does not go with Him. She turns Her anger to the enemies of Baal. To those who were fickle against Baal in His trials. The attacks mankind.

Like the fruit of seven daughters,
The scent of kids and anhb-animals,
Both gates of Anath's house.

And the lads chance upon the Lady of the Mountain.
And lo, Anath smites in the valley,
Fighting between the two cities.
She smites the people of the seashore,
Destroys mankind of the sunrise.
Under Her are heads like vultures.
Over Her are hands like locusts,
Like thorns, the hands of troops.
She piles up heads on Her back,
She ties up hands in Her bundle.
Knee-deep She plunges in the blood of soldiery,
Up to the neck in the gore of troops.
With a stick She drives out foes,
Against the flank She draws Her bow.

And lo, Anath reaches Her house,
Yea the Goddess enters Her palace,
But is not satisfied.
She had smitten in the valley,
Fought between the two cities.

She hurls chairs at the troops,
Hurling tables at the soldiers,
Footstools at the heroes.
Much She smites and looks,
Fights and views.
Anath gluts Her liver with laughter.
Her heart is filled with joy,
For Anath's hand is victory.
For knee-deep She plunges in the blood of soldiery,
Up to the neck in the gore of troops.

Until She is sated She smites in the house,
Fights between the two tables,
Shedding the blood of soldiery.

Pouring the oil of peace from a bowl,
The Virgin Anath washes Her hands,
The Progenitress of Heroes, Her fingers.
She washes Her hands in the blood of soldiery,
Her fingers in the gore of troops.

Arranging portions by the chairs,
Tables by the tables,
Footstools She arranges by the footstools.
She gathers water and washes
With dew of heaven,
Fat of earth,
Rain of the Rider of Clouds,
The dew that the heavens pour,
The rain that the stars pour.
The anhb-animals leap by the thousand acres,
The zuh-fish in the sea, by the myriads of hectares.

Literature of the Colonies (Punic Literature) by Maurice Sznycer, Chargé de Recherches at the National Centre for Scientific Research (France)

". there was a great deal of virtue and wisdom in the Punic books" St. Augustine

In a recent book on Carthage the English historian Warmington did not hesitate to affirm that there is no Punic literature. Indeed, at first sight, to talk of literature in connection with the few surviving Punic writings might seem like, tempting Providence. First of all we must establish our definition of the word "literature". The Oxford Dictionary gives a vague definition: "the writings of a country or period or of the world in general", but this was controverted long ago by Voltaire in his Dictionnaire Philosophique ("literature: this is one of those meaningless terms which are so common in all languages"). It is plain that the concept is still in the process of evolving, as it has done throughout the course of every culture, period, taste and fashion. For a long time, an aura of immense prestige surrounded the word, but this was already beginning to dissipate with the famous saying of Verlaine: "all the rest is literature and now it often signifies everything artificial and hollow in an overall pejorative sense.

Today above all the definition of literature is always under review, but nevertheless the criterion most frequently applied to a literary work is the information it conveys. Looking at the question from this point of view, if we accept, for example, the definition of American poet Ezra Pound: Literature is news that stays news", it can be stated without reservation that there is a considerable body of Punic literature. Indeed, several thousand inscriptions are known which, in spite of their comparative uniformity and aridity of style, constituted a priceless source of information, and their value as so much direct evidence is replaceable. These, it must be emphasized are no more than the vestigial re remains of all the literature which the Punic civilisation created during the thousand years of its blossoming.

The Extent of Punic Literature

Over and above the thousands of inscriptions from Carthage itself and the areas in contact with Punic culture which are the only known records actually written in the Punic language, we have a certain number of Punic texts transcribed into Greek or Latin script. The most important of these are the passages inserted in the Poenulus of Plautus and several versions of Punic texts translated into Greek and Latin, particularly the Periplus of Hanno, the Oath of Hannibal and a few fragments of Mago's treatise on agriculture.

The rest of Punic literature -- that is to say nearly all of it -- is lost, but I cannot accept that it is beyond recovery. The example of Ras Shamra Ugarit reminds us, that the miracle of a great discovery is never impossible. Who indeed would have dared to believe before 1929 (the date of the discovery) that the soil of Phoenicia, where, as regards Phoenician documents, only inscriptions had hitherto been found, less numerous indeed than those of Carthage, would suddenly reveal a whole library containing among other things great poems worthy of comparison with the Biblical texts or even with Homer?

When one is conscious of the value of the Cartahaginian civilisation and its flowering (in Numidia, Libya, Spain, Sicily and Sardinia, etc.), it is impossible to doubt the existence of a rich literature. This claim rests not only on deduction and comparison with other oriental Semitic civilisations, but also pre-eminently on a body of precise evidence. First of all, the little of it which survives -- comprising on the one hand the bulk of the somewhat repetitive Punic inscriptions and on the other the fragments of Greek Latin translations -- and still attests the existence of several different branches of Punic literature on subjects such as religion, history, law, politics and travels, etc. Moreover, the clues, which can be gleaned from the various ancient authorities, leave no doubt as to the extent and importance of this literature.

It is definitely known that Carthage established vast libraries. Most of these must have been lost during the destruction of the city by the Romans in 146 B.C. Not all, however, since the Elder Pliny tells us that "after the capture of Carthage the Senate presented the libraries of the town to the region's princes" (1). One always wonders, as does Stephen Gsell for example, whether these libraries had been established only at the time of the Punic wars, on the model of that of Alexandria, or whether, much earlier, the Carthaginians had copied the example of the Assyrian King Assurbanipal in the seventh century B.C. The relevant point is, however, that the formation of a library postulates the existence of a vast body of Punic literature which had been accumulating for centuries, some of it going back as far as the foundation of Carthage. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that the Tyrian colonists setting out to found Phoenician establishments on the distant shores of Western Mediterranean under the patronage of the gods of the mother city would not have brought with them their sacred books, their mythological tales and their epic poetry. We can form of which an idea from the Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra, their rituals and laws. It moreover, equally unlikely that they would not rapidly elaborate on their own epics, narrating the fabulous feature of Queen Dido-Elissa, the legend, founder of Carthage. In the first place several ancient authors refer to Punic chronicles setting down the history the city's foundation. These facts, in conjunction with everything we can discover about Punic religion, thanks in large part to the inscriptions, confirm that there actually existed in Carthage a body of religious literature probably very extensive. They were forming, in other Phoenician cities, the most important part of all Punic literature. Moreover, in a work of Plutarch there is a reference to sacred writing kept in the temples and accessible only to priests and initiates, which were secretly buried at the time of the sack of Carthage. Although he was referring to an action attributed to an imaginary person, unlike Gsell, I do not believe that his evidence should be completely rejected. It is certainly an echo, even if somewhat distorted of an historical fact.

Alongside the rich and extensive religious literature we know that true historical literature existed at Carthage. The existence of Punic chronicles is mentioned not only by Pseudo-Aristotle (3) and the Greek historian Timacus of Tauromenion (third century B.C.), but also, in the fourth century A.D., by Servius Honoratus, the Latin scholiast on Vergil, speaking of "historia Poenorum" and of "Punica historia" (4). All this leads us to the conclusion that there were actual historiographers at Carthage whose task it was to record in writing the most notable events in the life and history of the city. Further, over the course of the centuries, they must have elaborated a whole series of chronicles and historical writings, probably in the form of annals. We know, moreover, that the Carthaginians were in the habit of recording their outstanding deeds in long commemorative inscriptions, usually placed in the temples. Livy tells us, too, that during the Punic War "Hannibal spent the summer near the Temple of Juno Lacinia. He had an altar erected with a long carved inscription detailling his exploits in Punic and Greek characters" (5). This inscription in the Temple of Hera Lacinia at Croton was painstakingly studied by Polybius (6). It contained in particular an account of the troops exchanged between Spain and Africa and of those left in Spain by Hasdrubal at the start of the war in 219 B.C. Another example of this custom is the Periplus of Hanno, which we shall discuss later. On his return from his expedition on the ocean, Hanno had his records carved "on plaques hung up in the Temple of Chronos".

The existence of historical and commemorative inscriptions is attested not only in territories under the direct control of Carthage it was equally common in the whole Punic sphere of influence, particularly Numidia. In one of his speeches for the prosecution, Cicero describes a misfortune, which befell King Massinissa of Numidia in Malta. "Tradition has it that a fleet of Massinissa landed at this spot, that the King's prefect took from the temple some ivory tusks of unbelievable size, and carried them off to give to the king. At first the king was delighted with the gift, but later, when he found out where they came from, he sent trustworthy men in a quinquireme to put them back in the temple. That is why it is recorded there in Punic lettering that Massinissa accepted them in ignorance of their provenance" (7). This story is confirmed by a comment of Valerius Maximus in the first century A.D. in his Memorable Deeds and Sayings. It is known, moreover, that the Numidian kings made use of Punic geographies and histories. The Roman writers Solinus and Ammianus, who may both have drawn on the same source for their material, refer to Punic books (libri Punici) consulted Juba II of Numidia. Solinus says "The Nile rises in a mountain of lower Mauretania on the sea coast. This is stated, in the Punic books, and confirmed by King Juba, as we know. Ammianus says: "King Juba II, said that. according to the Punic books the source of the Nile is in a mountain in Mauretania overlooking the Ocean. Moreover, Sallust states that Hiempsal of Numidia wrote one or more works in Punic:" I will summarize briefly my information on the Punic books attributed to King Hiempsal (10).

When Hellenism began to influence Carthage and the Greeks settled there (in the fourth century B.C. there was still an important Greek colony there, according to Diodorus Siculus), a bilingual literature seems to have developed, with books in both Greek and Punic. We know of the existence of a History of the First Punic War by Philinus of Agrigentum, and the records of the campaigns of Hannibal compiled by his friends and teachers the Spartan Sosylus and Silenus, a fragment of which, the famous Hannibal's Dream, has been preserved in the works of Cicero and Livy. Hannibal himself, it is said, wrote several works in Greek and Punic. In his Lexicon Suidas mentions a certain Charon of Carthage who wrote a whole series of Lives of famous men and women as well as a history of the tyrants of Europe and Asia.

All that we know so far about the history of Carthage at home and abroad and everything we learn from the Punic inscriptions indicates the existence of a body of legal and political writings, doubtless very advanced. Statutes, codes, the decisions of the jurisprudents and some of the speeches made before the various assemblies must undoubtedly have been written down. It is unlikely, for instance, that the constitution of Carthage, which Aristotle held up as a model, was only known to him from hearsay. It is, moreover, reasonable to assume that Carthage too had actual didactic works of the type so common in the Semitic Orient, as well as a popular literature that would mostly be oral. However, parts of which must certainly have been taken down in writing in the form of collections of maxims, sayings, stories and proverbs after the manner of the Saying of Ahiqar. An original Punic proverb is preserved in a sermon of St. Augustine: "There is a well known Punic proverb which I will tell you in Latin because not all of you understand Punic. Here it is: 'if the plague asks you for a crown, give it two and may it go away' (11). St. Jerome too refers to the existence of what is known today as erotic poetry in Punic. He believed it to be pernicious and described it as "lewd" (Latin: procacia) (12).

One may wonder about the possibility of the existence of philosophical works in Punic, an idea that I do not for a moment exclude. Such works certainly would not be entirely Punic in inspiration, and were probably affected by Hellenic influence. But even if they only reflect various movements in Greek philosophy, they must, on being translated into Punic, have been influenced to some extent by Punic thought and religion. On this subject one can cite the example of the stelae of Ghorfa, where the Neo-Pythagorean themes are clearly Punicised. We know, moreover, that long before the fall of Carthage there were several schools of Greek philosophy in the city, notably the Pythagorean, or Neo-Pythagorean, as well as the Neo-Academician. An outstanding name among the latter school was Hasdrubal, who was born in Carthage in the second century B.C. and went to Athens, where he became a celebrated philosopher under the name of Clitomachus. Diogenes Laertius refers to him in his Lives of the Philosophers: "Clitomachus of Carthage was named Hasdrubal, and it was under his real name that he practiced at home. When he came to Athens at the age of forty he went to hear Carneades. The latter, seeing his great enthusiasm, made him a man of letters and educated him. His pupil worked so hard that he produced more than forty books. He took Carneades' place and annotated his best theories in his books. He contributed extensively to three different schools of thought -- the Academic, the Peripatetic and the Stoic" (13). It could also be added that it is only through Hasdrubal-Clitomachus that we know something of the philosophy of Carneades, whom he succeeded in 129 B.C. As a specialist on Diogenes Laertius remarks, "Hasdrubal seems to have added to the probabilism of Arcesilas a critical interpretation of certitude, and this makes him a forerunner of modem thought".

Punic Inscriptions
  1. "Temple of Baal [tsaphon. Tariff of du] es which [the thirty men in charge of the du] es have fixed, in the time [of the magistracy of Khilletz] baal the Suffete, son of Bodtanit, son of Bod [eshmun and Khilletzbaal]
  2. the Suffete, son of Bodeshmun, son of Khilletzbaal and their col [leagues]."
  3. "For an ox, in expiatory sacrifice or in communion sacrifice or in holocaust: for the priests, ten (shekels) of silver each. And in expiatory sacrifice, they shall have, in addition to these dues, [a weight of 300 (shekels) of flesh
  4. and in communion sacrifice, the breast and the (right) thigh. The skin, the ribs (?), the feet and the rest of the flesh shall belong to the master of the sacrifice."
  5. "For an uncastrated calf not yet horned, or for a deer, in expiator: sacrifice or in communion sacrifice or in holocaust: for the priests, five (shekels) of silver [each. In expiatory sacrifice, they shall have,
  6. in] addition to these dues, a weight of 150 (shekels) of flesh and, in communion sacrifice, the breast, and the thigh The skin, the ribs (?), the feet and the rest of the flesh shall belong to the master of the sacrifice]."
  7. "For a ram or a he-goat, in expiatory sacrifice or in communion sacrifice or in holocaust: for the priests, one shekel two zar of silver each. In communion sacrifice, they shall have, [in addition to these dues, the breast]
  8. and the (right) thigh. The skin, the ribs (?), the feet and the rest of the flesh shall belong to the master of the sacrifice."
  9. "For a lamb or a kid or a fawn, in expiatory sacrifice or in communion sacrifice or in holocaust: for the priests, three-quarters (of a shekel) of silver and [two] zar [each. In communion sacrifice, they shall have, in addition]
  10. to these dues, the breast and the (right) thigh. The skin, the ribs (?), the feet and the rest of the flesh shall belong to the master [of the sacrifice]."
  11. "For a farmyard bird or a wild fowl, in holocaust or in exorcism sacrifice or in sacrifice for an augury: for the priests, three-quarters (of a shekel) of silver each. And the flesh shall belong to the master of the sacrifice]."
  12. "For an (other) bird or holy first fruits or for an offering of flour or an offering of oil: for the priests, ten ag[urot] of silver each. "
  13. "For each communion sacrifice which is offered before the god, the breast and the thigh shall belong to the priests. In communion sacrifice. "
  14. "For cake, for milk, for fat and for all sacrifices offered by a man in minkhat. "
  15. "For each sacrifice which is offered with cattle or with fowl, the pri[ests] shall have nothing."
  16. "Every guild MZRH, every clan and every thiasos of the divinity and all men who shall offer sacrifice. "
  17. "These men (shall pay) the dues on one sacrifice only, according to what has been fixed in the writing . "
  18. "All dues which are not set out on this table shall be given according to the writing [made by the thirty men in charge of the dues, in the time of the magistracy of Khilletzbaal, son of Bodtani]t and
  19. and of Khilletzbaal, son of Bodeshmun, and their colleagues."
  20. "Every priest who shall collect dues other (?) than those fixed on this table, will be smitten with a fine. "
  21. "Every master of the sacrifice who shall not give [the money ? ac]cording to the dues. "

These examples suffice to show, in a manner of speaking, the variations in the apparent uniformity of the votive stelae. It is this variety, very much greater in reality than is generally apparent, which gives these brief inscriptions their importance.

Another, much less numerous, category is composed of funerary inscriptions. I will confine myself to two examples.

"This is the tomb of Baalhanno, son of Bodashtart, son of Germelqart, son of Bodmelqart, the Mequim of the divinity." (19)

"This is the tomb of Arishat, daughter of Philosir, son of Abdosir, wife of Abdeshmun, son of Himilco." (20)

The most interesting of the Punic epitaphs and also, unfortunately, the most difficult to read and interpret, is without a doubt that of Milkpilles, which was erected in his memory by a faithful friend. It also comes into the category of Punic texts relating to wills. What follows is the translation proposed by Mr. J.-G. Février (21).

"Milkpilles, son of Bodmelqart, son of Milkpilles, son [. ] Milkpilles, son of Melqartpilles, organizer of the sacred affairs, son [. ] Milkherem. A stele in righteous aid I, Ashtzaph. in memory above the burial place of his remains, I have erected because he delighted in holy things. because, as a priest, he made holy offerings and served the gods with all his might during his lifetime, according to the writing and the plan and I have written his name on high on the front (of the stele) for ever. in goodwill to him and for the greater glory of his remains. The chief of the clan, Sa[karbaal, son of] Yaroah. The temple of Isis. And I have engraved the inscription on [this] tablet." (22)

Commemorative inscriptions, although rare, are particularly interesting. All the known examples were, until the present, dedications of religious monuments. A short time ago, however, a new Punic inscription was found at Carthage, which was the first to commemorate a great public work, probably of the third century B.C. This inscription will be published by the young Tunisian scholar Mr. Mohamed Hassine Fantar. Rather than offer my own translation, which, in view of the difficulties of the Punic text, would require a detailed philological study for which this present article is unsuitable, I prefer to quote an English translation of the suggested version with notes and comments by Mr. André Dupont-Sommer (23).

"Opened and made this street in the direction of the square at the New Gate in the south (?) wa[II, the people of Carthage, in the year] of the Suffetes Shafat and Adonibaal, in the time of the magistracy of Adonibaal, son of Eshmunkhilletz, son of. [son of Bodinel]qart, son of Hanno and their colleagues. (Were) in charge of this work Abdmelqart [son of. son of. ---(as) foreman (?)] Bodmelqart son of Baalhanno, son of Bodmelqart (as) chief engineer of public highways Yehawwielon brother [of Bodmelqart (as) quarrier (?)]. [Also contributing to the enterprise were all] the merchants, the porters, the packers (?) who dwell in the level ground of the city, the weighers of small coinage (?) and [those] who have no [money, neither gold [?] nor silver (?), and also] those who have (money), the goldsmiths, the potters (?) and the (staff of) the workshops with kilns, and the sandal-makers (?) (all) together. And [if anyone shall (erase) this inscription] our accountants shall punish that man with a fine of 1000 (shekels of) silver -- one thousand -- in addition to [X] minae [to pay for the inscription (?)]."

The Punic Passages in the "Poenulus" of Plautus

By far the most important of the Punic texts and glosses in Greek and Latin transcription are the passages in the Poenulus of Plautus. This unusual transcription poses a number of philological, epigraphic, literary and historical Problems. Even a brief summary would be impossible here, but 1 shall refer, if 1 may, to my own work on the subject (24). The main passage is a speech by the Carthaginian Hanno who has come to his native town in the hope of rediscovering his daughters, who were brought up from an early age in Carthage. The following is my own translation. "I invoke the gods and goddesses of this place: I pray them to bring my endeavour to a successful outcome and to bless my journey. May 1, by the protection and justice of the gods, take back my daughters and my nephew here. Long ago my host was Antimidas they tell me his course is run. As to his son, of whom I spoke, I have been told that Agorastocles is to be found here. I have brought with me as proof this tessera hospitalis. I have heard that (Agorastocles) lives hereabouts. I will keep watch and find out from the people who come out." This comparatively extensive text is without doubt "literary" in character. But in fact it is nothing more than a translation into Punic of a Greek or Latin text (we cannot exclude the possibility that Plautus borrowed this text as it was from a Greek model), and the importance of this translation from our point of view lies in its evidence for the characteristics of Punic language and literature.

The "Periplus" of Hanno

We shall now revert to the record of the voyage which the famous Carthaginian leader Hanno undertook, probably on the orders of the Senate, beyond the Pillars of Hercules -- that is to say, on the Ocean. The Punic text of the record of this journey was engraved in the Temple of Chronos (Baal Hammon) at Carthage. There is only one Greek version, dating perhaps to the third century B.C. As J. Carcopino has shown, this has been modified to suit Greek tastes. The Greek text is no doubt less complete than the Punic original, but certain philological oddities can be found in it which indicate, as I believe, that it is an actual translation of a Punic text. It runs as follows:

"Record of the voyage of King Hanno of Carthage round the lands of Libya which lie beyond the Pillars of Hercules. It has been engraved on tablets hung up in the Temple of Chronos.

"The Carthaginians decided that Hanno should go past the Pillars and found Carthaginian cities. He set sail with sixty pentekontas carrying thirty thousand men and women with provisions and other necessities. After passing the Pillars of Hercules and sailing for two days beyond them we founded the first city, which was named Thymiaterion. Around it was a large plain. Next we went on in a westerly direction and arrived at the Libyan promontory of Soloeis, which is covered with trees having set up a shrine to Poseidon, we set sail again towards the rising sun for half a day, after which we arrived at a lagoon close to the sea covered with many tall reeds. Elephants and large numbers of other animals were feeding on them. Leaving this lagoon and sailing for another day, we founded the coastal cities named Carian Wall, Gytte, Acra, Melitta and Arambys.

"Leaving this place we arrived at the great river Lixos which comes from Libya. On the banks nomads, the Lixites, were feeding their flocks. We stayed for some time with these people and made friends with them. Upstream from them lived the unfriendly Ethiopians whose land is full of wild beasts and broken up by high mountains where they say the Lixos rises. They also say that about these mountains dwell the strange-looking Troglodytes. The Lixites claim that they can run faster than horses. Taking Lixite interpreters with us we sailed alongside the desert in a southerly direction for two days, then towards the rising sun for one more day. We then found at the far end of an inlet a little island five stades in circumference. We named it Cerne and left settlers there. judging by our journey we reckoned that it must be opposite Carthage, since we had to sail the same distance from Carthage to the Pillars of Hercules as from the Pillars of Hercules to Cerne. From there, sailing up a big river named the Chretes, we arrived at a lake in which there were three islands, all larger than Cerne. Leaving these islands, we sailed for one day and came to the end of the lake, which was overshadowed by high mountains full of savages dressed in animal skins that threw stones at us and thus prevented us from landing. From there we entered another river, which was big and wide, full of crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Then we retraced our journey back to Cerne.

"From there we sailed south along a coast entirely inhabited by Ethiopians, who fled at our approach. Their language was incomprehensible even to the Lixites, whom we had with us. On the last day we disembarked by some high mountains covered with trees with sweet-smelling multicoloured wood. We sailed round these mountains for two days and arrived in a huge bay on the other side of which was a plain there we saw fires breaking out at intervals on all sides at night, both great and small. Having renewed our water supplies, we continued our voyage along the coast for five days, after which we arrived at a huge inlet, which the interpreters called the Horn of the West. There was a big island in this gulf and in the island was a lagoon with another island. Having disembarked there, we could see nothing but forest by day but at night many fires were seen and we heard the sound of flutes and the beating of drums and tambourines, which made a great noise. We were struck with terror and our soothsayers bade us leave the island.

"We left in haste and sailed along by a burning land full of perfumes. Streams of fire rose from it and plunged into the sea. The land was unapproachable because of the heat. Terror-stricken, we hastened away. During four days' sailing we saw at night that the land was covered with fire. In the middle was a high flame, higher than the others, which seemed to reach the stars. By day we realised that it was a very high mountain, named the Chariot of the Gods. Leaving this place, we sailed along the burning coast for three days and came to the gulf named the Horn of the South. At the end of it was an island like the first one, with a lake in which was another island full of savages. The greater parts of these were women. They had hairy bodies and the interpreters called them Gorillas. We pursued some of the males but we could not catch a single one because they were good climbers and they defended themselves fiercely. However, we managed to take three women. They bit and scratched their captors, whom they did not want to follow. We killed them and removed the skins to take back to Carthage. We sailed no further, being short of supplies." Considered solely from the literary viewpoint, this can only be regarded as a marvellous record of a journey, a true and highly readable adventure story. What strikes me particularly in this composition is the quality, I might even say the modernity, of the style.

Mago's Treatise on Agriculture

Although they were best known as traders and navigators, the Carthaginians were also, after a certain period at least, highly expert farmers. Various references and notes in Greek and Roman authors such as Diodorus Siculus, Polybius and Ennius state plainly that Carthaginian agriculture was in a prosperous condition. That the Carthaginians looked on the improvement of agriculture as a real science is proved by the existence at Carthage of several highly renowned works on agriculture. The best known of these was unquestionably that of Mago, which was known, appreciated and copied by the Greeks and Romans, as it was later by the Byzantines and the Arabs. This monumental work in twenty-eight books was the only one -- of all those saved from the fire which destroyed the libraries of Carthage in 146 B.C. -- to be appropriated by the Romans and accorded the distinguished honour of an official Latin translation. We are told by Pliny the Elder: "After the sack of Carthage, our Senate presented the libraries of the town to the African princes, with the sole exception of the twenty-eight books of Mago, which they decreed should be translated into Latin. However, Cato had already written his own work on the subject. The text was entrusted to scholars learned in the Punic language. The chief part was taken by D. Silanus, a man of high birth." (25) The treatise was also translated into Creek by Cassius Dionysius of Utica.

It goes without saying that nothing has survived of the original work of Mago in Punic and ever the Greek and Latin versions are lost. We have in all about forty quotations of varying length from Mago's work, scattered here and there in the work of various Roman authors, principally Varro, Columella, Pliny and others such as Gargilius Martialis. We know that Mago's work covered all branches of agriculture. It is not impossible that he consulted some Greek works on the subject, but his treatise is pre-eminently a native Punic product concerned with farming in North Africa. The surviving quotations mostly deal with cereal crops, vines, olive and other fruit trees, vegetables, the breeding of horses, mules and oxen, farmyard animals, bee-keeping, and the internal organisation of the farm. To give an idea of the style and literary construction of Mago's work (if, indeed, it is possible to discern them from Latin translation), I shall quote some typical passages.

In the section on cereals, for example, there is a recipe for grinding wheat and barley:

"Soak the wheat in plenty of water and then pound it with a pestle, dry it in the sun and put it back under the pestle. The procedure for barley is the same. For twenty setiers of barley you need two setiers of water" (26).

The Carthaginians made raisin wine that was very popular with the Romans, and we are fortunate enough to know Mago's instructions for making it:

"Pick some well-ripened early grapes discard any which are mildewed or damaged. Drive into the ground forked branches or stakes made of rods tied into bundles, at a distance of about four feet apart. Lay reeds across them and spread the grapes out in the sun on top. Cover them at night so that the dew will not moisten them. When they are dried, pick the grapes off the stems and put them in a jar or pitcher. Add some unfermented wine, the best you have, until the grapes are just covered. After six days, when the grapes have absorbed it all and are swollen, put them in a basket, put them through the press and collect the resulting liquid. Next press the marc, adding fresh unfermented wine made with other grapes which have been left in the sun for three days. Stir it well, and put it trough the press. Bottle at once in luted vessels the liquid produced by this second pressing, so that it will not turn sour. After twenty or thirty days when the fermentation is over, decant it into fresh vessels. Coat the lids with plaster and cover them with leather" (27).

Finally, here are Mago's instructions on how to select oxen.

"They must be young, stocky and sturdy of limb with long horns, darkish and healthy, a wide and wrinkled forehead, hairy ears and black eyes and chops, the nostrils well-opened and turned back, the neck long and muscular, the dewlap full and descending to the knees, the chest well-developed, broad shoulders, the belly big like that of a cow in calf, the flanks long, the loins broad, the back straight and flat or a little depressed in the middle, the buttocks rounded, the legs thick and straight, rather short than long, the knees straight, the hooves large, the tail long and hairy and the hair on the body thick and short, red c brown in colour and very soft to the touch."(28)

It must be admitted that this long description with its remarkably precise choice of words, has a flavour and beauty all its own. It is not difficult to understand why this admirable work of Mago was so famous for so long. Precision, brevity and sobriety as they are exemplified here were, in general, the dominant characteristics of Punic literature. These Phoenicians of the West, although at heart they were closely related to their eastern brothers, knew how to restrain their imagination better than the Orientals. The Carthaginians' imagination was always tempered by their alert intelligence and their outstanding common sense. However, their creative power, sensitivity and feeling, although often veiled, breaks out from time to time through the apparent aridity of style and thought, as we see from the Periplus of Hanno, the extracts from Mago, and even from some of the inscriptions.

In the fourth century A.D. when Punic was still spoken as a living language, St. Augustine had no reservation in stating in a letter addressed to the orator Maximus Madaurus that: "on the word of many scholars, there was a great deal of virtue and wisdom in the Punic books". This certainly appears to be true of Carthaginian literature when it is studied from the inside, and not just via the distorting mirror held up by their enemies and rivals, the Greeks and Romans.

  1. Pliny, Natural History. XVIII, 22.
  2. Plutarch, Do facie in orbe lunae, 27.
  3. 3) Pseudo-Aristotle, Do mirab, auscult, 134.
  4. Servius Honaratus, In Aeneid (Thilo-Hagen ed.), 1, 343.
  5. Titus-Livius, Roman History. XXVIII, 40, 16.
  6. Polybius, Ill, 33.
  7. Cicero, In Verrem, 11, 48.
  8. Solinus, Collection of Curiosities, XXXII, 2.
  9. Ammianus Marcellinus, XXII, 15, 8-9.
  10. Sallustus, Bellum Jugurtinum, XVII, 7.
  11. St. Augustine, Sermon, CLVII.
  12. St. Jerome, Epistles, 97.
  13. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, IV.
  14. Corpus Inscriptionum. Semiticarum (- C.I.S.), 1. 5655.
  15. C.I.S., 1, 264.
  16. C.I.S., 1. 1885.
  17. C.I.S., 1, 178.
  18. C.I.S., 1, 3785.
  19. C.I.S., 1. 5953.
  20. C.I.S., 1. 6991.
  21. J.G. Février In Bulletin Archéologique du Comité des Travaux Historiques, 1951-1052, pp. 74-80.
  22. C.I.S., 1, 6000.
  23. André Dupont-Sommer, "Une nouvelle inscription punique do Carthage " in Comptes Randus do l'Académie des Inscriptions, 1968 (session of March 29, 1908).
  24. Maurice Sznycer, Les passages puniques an transcription latine dons le "Poenulus" de Plauto, Parts (Klincksieck), 1967.
  25. Pliny, Natural History, XVIII, 22.
  26. Ibid., XVIII, go.
  27. Columellus, XII, 39. 1-2. 28) Ibid., VI, 1,3.

Chargé de Recherches at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and a specialist in the ancient civilisations of the Western Semitic peoples, Maurice SZNYCER is particularly interested in Phoenician, Punic and Aramaic inscriptions and in the religious history of these peoples. The study of the cuneiform texts from Ras Shamra-Ugarit constitutes another and no less important branch of his scientific activity. Among his publications, we should mention Les passages puniques dans le "Poenulus" de Plaute (The Punic Passages in the "Poenulus" of Plautus), published in Paris in 1967, and numerous articles and studies in French and foreign scientific journals. In collaboration with Mr. André Caquot, he is currently preparing a French translation, with notes and commentary, of the greet Ugaritic texts.

Homer's Illiad and Odyssey

Mention of Phoenicia, Phoenicians and Phoenician cities by Homer. (click Homer to view Greek and English text) that relates to this.

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Twelve Kings is an Akkadian term meant to symbolize any kind of alliance. The most famous example is in the Kurkh Monolith, where an alliance of 11 kings are listed as 12 in the Assyrian document as fighting against Assyrian King Shalmaneser III in the battle of Qarqar. Shalmaneser's inscription describes the forces of his opponent Hadadezer in considerable detail as follows: ΐ]

  1. King Hadadezer himself commanded 1,200 chariots, 1,200 horsemen and 20,000 soldiers
  2. King Irhuleni of Hamath commanded 700 chariots, 700 horsemen and 10,000 soldiers
  3. King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers
  4. The land of KUR Gu-a-a (sometimes identified with Que - Cilicia) sent 500 soldiers
  5. The land of KUR Mu-us-ra- (sometimes identified with Egypt but possibly somewhere near Que) sent 1,000 soldiers
  6. The land of Irqanata (Tell Arqa) sent 10 chariots and 10,000 soldiers
  7. The land of Arwad sent 200 soldiers
  8. The land of Usannata (in the Jeble region of Lebanon) sent 200 soldiers
  9. The land of Shianu (in the Jeble region) - figures lost
  10. King Gindibu of Arabia sent 1000 camelry
  11. King Ba'asa, son of Ruhubi, of the land of Ammon sent 100 soldiers.


Twelve Kings is an Akkadian term meant to symbolize any kind of alliance. The most famous example is in the Kurkh Monolith, where an alliance of 11 kings are listed as 12 in the Assyrian document as fighting against Assyrian King Shalmaneser III in the battle of Qarqar. Shalmaneser's inscription describes the forces of his opponent Hadadezer in considerable detail as follows: [4]

  1. King Hadadezer himself commanded 1,200 chariots, 1,200 horsemen and 20,000 soldiers
  2. King Irhuleni of Hamath commanded 700 chariots, 700 horsemen and 10,000 soldiers
  3. King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers
  4. The land of KUR Gu-a-a (sometimes identified with Que - Cilicia), or Byblos sent 500 soldiers
  5. The land of KUR Mu-us-ra- (see note) [5] sent 1,000 soldiers
  6. The land of Irqanata (Tell Arqa) sent 10 chariots and 10,000 soldiers
  7. The land of Arwad sent 200 soldiers
  8. The land of Usannata (in the Jeble region of Lebanon) sent 200 soldiers
  9. The land of Shianu (in the Jeble region) - figures lost
  10. King Gindibu of Arabia sent 1000 camelry
  11. King Ba'asa, son of Ruhubi, of the land of Ammon sent 100 soldiers.

The Hittites The Story of a Forgotten Empire

'[If servants shall flee away] out of the territories of Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, to betake themselves to the great king of Kheta, the great king of Kheta shall not receive them, but the great king of Kheta [34] shall give them up to Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, [that they may receive their punishment.

'If servants of Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, leave his country], and betake themselves to the land of Kheta, to make themselves servants of another, they shall not remain in the land of Kheta [they shall be given up] to Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt.

'If, on the other hand, there should flee away [servants of the great king of Kheta, in order to betake themselves to] Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, [in order to stay in Egypt], then those who have come from the land of Kheta in order to betake themselves to Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, shall not be [received by] Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, [but] the great prince of Egypt, Ramessu Miamun, [shall deliver them up to the great kingof Kheta].

'[And if there shall leave the land of Kheta persons] of skilful mind, so that they come to the land of Egypt to make themselves servants of another, then Ramessu Miamun will not allow them to settle, he will deliver them up to the great king of Kheta.

'When this [treaty] shall be known [by the inhabitants of the land of Egypt and of the land of Kheta, then shall they not offend against it, for all that stands written on] the silver tablet, these are words which will have been approved by the company of the gods among the male gods and among the female gods, among those namely of the land of Egypt. They are witnesses for me [to the validity] of these words, [which they have allowed.

'This is the catalogue of the gods of the land of Kheta:—

(1) 'Sutekh of the city] of Tunep [Note: now Tennib in Northern Syria],
(2) 'Sutekh of the land of Kheta,
(3) 'Sutekh of the city of Arnema,
(4) 'Sutekh of the city of Zaranda,
(5) 'Sutekh of the city of Pilqa,
(6) 'Sutekh of the city of Khisasap,
(7) 'Sutekh of the city of Sarsu,
(8) 'Sutekh of the city of Khilip (Aleppo),
(9) 'Sutekh of the city of . . . .,
(10) 'Sutekh of the city of Sarpina,
(11) 'Astarta [Note: Also read Antarata] of the land of Kheta,
(12) 'The god of the land of Zaiath-khirri,
(13) 'The god of the land of Ka . . .,
(14) 'The god of the land of Kher . . .,
(15) 'The goddess of the city of Akh . . .,
(16) '[The goddess of the city of . . .] and of the land of A . . ua,
(17) 'The goddess of the land of Zaina,
(18) 'The god of the land of . . nath . . er.

'[I have invoked these male and these] female [gods of the land of Kheta, these are the gods] of the land, [as witnesses to] my oath. [With them have been associated the male and the female gods] of the mountains and of the rivers of the land of Kheta, the gods of the land of Qazauadana, Amon, Ra, Sutekh, and the male and female gods of the land of Egypt, of the earth, of the sea, of the winds, and of the storms.

'With regard to the commandment which the silver tablet contains for the people of Kheta and for the people of Egypt, he who shall not observe it shall be given over [to the vengeance] of the company of the [36] gods of Kheta, and shall be given over [to the vengeance] of the gods of Egypt, [he] and his house and his servants.

'But he who shall observe these commandments which the silver tablet contains, whether he be of the people of Kheta or [of the people of Egypt], because he has not neglected them, the company of the gods of the land of Kheta and the company of the gods of the land of Egypt shall secure his reward and preserve life [for him] and his servants and those who are with him and who are with his servants.

'If there flee away of the inhabitants [one from the land of Egypt], or two or three, and they betake themselves to the great king of Kheta [the great king of Kheta shall not] allow them [to remain, but he shall] deliver them up, and send them back to Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt.

'Now with respect to the [inhabitant of the land of Egypt], who is delivered up to Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, his fault shall not be avenged upon him, his [house] shall not be taken away, nor his [wife] nor his [children]. There shall not be [put to death his mother, neither shall he be punished in his eyes, nor on his mouth, nor on the soles of his feet], so that thus no crime shall be brought forward against him.

'In the same way shall it be done if inhabitants of the land of Kheta take to flight, be it one alone, or two, or three, to betake themselves to Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt. Ramessu Miamun, the great prince of Egypt, shall cause them to be seized, and they shall be delivered up to the great king of Kheta.

'[With regard to] him who [is delivered up, his crime [37] shall not be brought forward against him]. His [house] shall not be taken away, nor his wives, nor his children, nor his people his mother shall not be put to death he shall not be punished in his eyes, nor on his mouth, nor on the soles of his feet, nor shall any accusation be brought forward against him.

'That which is in the middle of this silver tablet and on its front side is a likeness of the god Sutekh . surrounded by an inscription to this effect: "This is the [picture] of the god Sutekh, the king of heaven and [earth]." At the time (?) of the treaty which Kheta-sira, the great king of the Kheta, made . . .'

This compact of offensive and defensive alliance proves more forcibly than any description the position to which the Hittite empire had attained. It ranked side by side with the Egypt of Ramses, the last great Pharaoh who ever ruled over the land of the Nile. With Egypt it had contested the sovereignty of Western Asia, and had compelled the Egyptian monarch to consent to peace. Egypt and the Hittites were now the two lead- ing powers of the world.

The treaty was ratified by the visit of the Hittite prince Kheta-sira to Egypt in his national costume, and the marriage of his daughter to Ramses in the thirty-fourth year of the Pharaoh's reign (B.C. 1354). She took the Egyptian name of Ur-maa Noferu-Ra, and her beauty was celebrated by the scribes of the court. Syria was handed over to the Hittites as their legitimate possession Egypt never again attempted to wrest it from them, and if the Hittite yoke was to be shaken off it must be through the efforts of the Syrians themselves. For a while, however, 'the great king of the Hittites' preserved his power intact his [38] supremacy was acknowledged from the Euphrates in the east to the Aegean Sea in the west, from Kappadokia in the north to the tribes of Canaan in the south. Even Naharina, once the antagonist of the Egyptian Pharaohs, acknowledged his sovereignty, and Pethor, the home of Balaam, at the junction of the Euphrates and the Sajur, became a Hittite town. The cities of Philistia, indeed, still sent tribute to the Egyptian ruler, but northwards the Hittite sway seems to have been omnipotent. The Amorites of the mountains allied themselves with 'the children of Heth,' and the Canaanites in the lowlands looked to them for protection. The Israelites had not as yet thrust themselves between the two great powers of the Oriental world: it was still possible for a Hittite sovereign to visit Egypt, and for an Egyptian traveller to explore the cities of Canaan.

After sixty-six years of vainglorious splendour the long reign of Ramses II. came to an end (B.C. 1322). The Israelites had toiled for him in building Pithom and Raamses, and on the accession of his son and successor, Meneptah, they demanded permission to depart from Egypt. The history of the Exodus is too well known to be recounted here it marks the close of the period of conquest and prosperity which Egypt had enjoyed under the kings of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties. Early in his reign Meneptah had sent corn by sea to the Hittites at a time when there was a famine in Syria, showing that the peaceful relations established during the reign of his father were still in force. Despatches dated in his third year also exist, which speak of letters and messengers passing to and fro between Egypt and Phoenicia, and make it clear that Gaza was still garrisoned by Egyptian troops. But in the fifth [39] year of his reign Egypt was invaded by a confederacy of white-skinned tribes from Libya and the shores of Asia Minor, who overran the Delta and threatened the very existence of the Egyptian monarchy. Egypt, however, was saved by a battle in which the invading host was almost annihilated, but not before it had itself been half drained of its resources, and weakened correspondingly.

Not many years afterwards the dynasty of Ramses the Oppressor descended to its grave in bloodshed and disaster. Civil war broke out, followed by foreign invasion, and the crown was seized by 'Arisu the Phoenician.' But happier times again arrived. Once more the Egyptians obeyed a native prince, and the Twentieth Dynasty was founded. Its one great king was Ramses III., who rescued his country from two invasions more formidable even than that which had been beaten back by Meneptah. Like the latter, they were conducted by the Libyans and the nations of the Greek seas, and the invaders were defeated partly on the land, partly on the water. The maritime confederacy included the Teukrians of the Troad, the Lykians and the Philistines, perhaps also the natives of Sardinia and Sicily. They had flung themselves in the first instance on the coasts of Phoenicia, and spread inland as far as Carchemish. Laden with spoil, they fixed their camp 'in the land of the Amorites' and then descended upon Egypt. The Hittites of Carchemish and the people of Matenau of Naharina came in their train, and a long and terrible battle took place on the sea-shore between Raphia and Pelusium. The Egyptians were victorious the ships of the enemy were sunk, and their soldiers slain or captured. Egypt was once more filled with captives, [40] and the flame of its former glory flickered again for a moment before finally going out.

The list of prisoners shows that the Hittite tribes had taken part in the struggle, Carchemish, Aleppo, and Pethor being specially named as having sent contingents to the war. They had probably marched by land, while their allies from Asia Minor and the islands of the Mediterranean had attacked the Egyptian coast in ships. So far as we can gather, the Hittite populations no longer acknowledged the suzerainty of an imperial sovereign, but were divided into independent states. It would seem, too, that they had lost their hold upon Mysia and the far west. The Tsekkri and the Leku, the Shardaina and the Shakalsha are said to have attacked their cities before proceeding on their southward march. If we can trust the statement, we must conclude that the Hittite empire had already broken up. The tribes of Asia Minor it had conquered were in revolt, and had carried the war into the homes of their former masters. However this may be, it is certain that from this time forward the power of the Hittites in Syria began to wane. Little by little the Aramaean population pushed them back into their northern fastnesses, and throughout the period of the Israelitish judges we never hear even of their name. The Hittite chieftains advance no longer to the south of Kadesh and though Israel was once oppressed by a king who had come from the north, he was king of Aram-Naharaim, the Naharina of the Egyptian texts, and not a Hittite prince.

Where the Egyptian monuments desert us, those of Assyria come to our help. The earliest notices of the Hittites found in the cuneiform texts are contained in a great work on astronomy and astrology, originally [41] compiled for an early king of Babylonia. The references to 'the king of the Hittites,' however, which meet us in it, cannot be ascribed to a remote date. One of the chief objects aimed at by the author (or authors) of the work was to foretell the future, it being supposed that a particular event which had followed a certain celestial phenomenon would be repeated when the phenomenon happened again. Consequently it was the fashion to introduce into the work from time to time fresh notices of events and some of these glosses, as we may term them, are probably not older than the seventh century B.C. It is, therefore, impossible to determine the exact date to which the allusions to the Hittite king belong, but there are indications that it is comparatively late. The first clear account that the Assyrian inscriptions give us concerning the Hittites, to which we can attach a date, is met with in the annals of Tiglath-pileser I.

Tiglath-pileser I. was the most famous monarch of the first Assyrian empire, and he reigned about 1110 B.C. He carried his arms northward and westward, penetrating into the bleak and trackless mountains of Armenia, and forcing his way as far as Malatiyeh in Kappadokia. His annals present us with a very full and interesting picture of the geography of these regions at the time of his reign. Kummukh or Komagene, which at that epoch extended southward from Malatiyeh in the direction of Carchemish, was one of the first objects of his attack. 'At the beginning of my reign,' he says, '20,000 Moschians (or men of Meshech) and their five kings, who for fifty years had taken possession of the countries of Alzi and Purukuzzi, which had formerly paid tribute and taxes to Assur my lord—no king (before me) had opposed them in battle—trusted [42] to their strength, and came down and seized the land of Kummukh.' The Assyrian king, however, marched against them, and defeated them in a pitched battle with great slaughter, and then proceeded to carry fire and sword through the cities of Kummukh. Its ruler Kili-anteru, the son of Kali-anteru, was captured along with his wives and family and Tiglath-pileser next proceeded to besiege the stronghold of Urrakhinas. Its prince Sadi-anteru, the son of Khattukhi, 'the Hittite,' threw himself at the conqueror's feet his life was spared, and 'the wide-spreading land of Kummukh' became tributary to Assyria, objects of bronze being the chief articles it had to offer. About the same time, 4000 troops belonging to the Kaska or Kolkhians and the people of Uruma, both of whom are described as 'soldiers of the Hittites' and as having occupied the northern cities of Mesopotamia, submitted voluntarily to the Assyrian monarch, and were transported to Assyria along with their chariots and their property. Uruma was the Urima of classical geography, which lay on the Euphrates a little to the north of Birejik, so that we know the exact locality to which these 'Hittite soldiers 'belonged. In fact, 'Hittite 'must have been a general name given to the inhabitants of all this district the modern Merash, for instance, lies within the limits of the ancient Kummukh and, as we shall see, it is from Merash that a long Hittite inscription has come.

Tiglath-pileser attacked Kummukh a second time, and on this occasion penetrated still further into the mountain fastnesses of the Hittite country. In a third campaign his armies came in sight of Malatiyeh itself, but the king contented himself with exacting a small yearly tribute from the city, 'having had pity upon it, [43] as he tells us, though more probably the truth was that he found himself unable to take it by storm. But he never succeeded in forcing his way across the fords of the Euphrates, which were commanded by the great fortress of Carchemish. Once he harried the land of Mitanni or Naharina, slaying and spoiling 'in one day' from Carchemish southwards to a point that faced the deserts of the nomad Sukhi, the Shuhites of the Book of Job. It was on this occasion that he killed ten elephants in the neighbourhood of Harran and on the banks of the Khabour, besides four wild bulls which he hunted with arrows and spears 'in the land of Mitanni and in the city of Araziqi' (1) [Note: Called Eragiza in classical geography and in the Talmud.], which lies opposite to the land of the Hittites'

Towards the end of the twelfth century before our era, therefore, the Hittites were still strong enough to keep one of the mightiest of the Assyrian kings in check. It is true that they no longer obeyed a single head it is also true that that portion of them which was settled in the land of Kummukh was overrun by the Assyrian armies, and forced to pay tribute to the Assyrian invader. But Carchemish compelled the respect of Tiglath-pileser he never ventured to approach its walls or to cross the river which it was intended to defend. His way was barred to the west, and he never succeeded in traversing the high road which led to Phoenicia and Palestine.

After the death of Tiglath-pileser I. the Assyrian inscriptions fail us. His successors allowed the empire to fall into decay, and more than two hundred years elapsed before the curtain is lifted again. These two hundred years had witnessed the rise and fall of the [44] kingdom of David and Solomon as well as the growth of a new power, that of the Syrians of Damascus.

Damascus rose on the ruins of the empire of Solomon. But its rise also shows plainly that the power of the Hittites in Syria was beginning to wane. Hadad-ezer, king of Zobah, the antagonist of David, had been able to send for aid to the Arameans of Naharina, on the eastern side of the Euphrates (2 Sam. x. 16), and with them he had marched to Helam, in which it is possible to see the name of Aleppo (1) [Note: Called Khalman in the Assyrian texts. Josephus changes Helam into the proper name Khalaman.]. It is clear that the Hittites were no longer able to keep the Aramean population in subjection, or to prevent an Aramean prince of Zobah from expelling them from the territory they had once made their own. Indeed, it may be that in one passage of the Old Testament allusion is made to an attack which Hadad-ezer was preparing against them. When it is stated that he was overthrown by David, 'as he was going to turn his hand against the river Euphrates '(2 Sam. viii. 3), it may be that it was against the Hittites of Carchemish that his armies were about to be directed. At any rate, support for this view is found in a further statement of the sacred historian. 'When Toi king of Hamath,' we learn, 'heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadad-ezer, then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadad-ezer and smitten him for Hadad-ezer had wars with Toi' (2 Sam. viii. 9, 10). Now we know from the monuments that have been discovered on the spot that Hamath was once a Hittite city, and there is no reason for not believing that it was still in the possession of the Hittites in the [45] age of David. Its Syrian enemies would in that case have been the same as the enemies of David, and a common danger would thus have united it with Israel in an alliance which ended only in its overthrow by the Assyrians.

As late as the time of Uzziah, we are told by the Assyrian inscriptions, the Jewish king was in league with Hamath, and the last independent ruler of Hamath was Yahu-bihdi, a name in which we recognise that of the God of Israel. Indeed, the very fact that the Syrians imagined that 'the kings of the Hittites' were coming to the rescue of Samaria, when besieged by the forces of Damascus, goes to show that Israel and the Hittites were regarded as natural friends, whose natural adversaries were the Arameans of Syria. As the power and growth of Israel had been built up on the conquest and subjugation of the Semitic populations of Palestine, so too the power of the Hittites had been gained at the expense of their Semitic neighbours. The triumph of Syria was a blow alike to the Hittites of Carchemish and to the Hebrews of Samaria and Jerusalem.

With Assur-natsir-pal, whose reign extended from B.C. 885 to 860, contemporaneous Assyrian history begins afresh. His campaigns and conquests rivalled those of Tiglath-pileser I., and indeed exceeded them both in extent and in brutality. Like his predecessor, he ex- acted tribute from Kummukh as well as from the kings of the country in which Malatiyeh was situated but with better fortune than Tiglath-pileser he succeeded in passing the Euphrates, and obliging Sangara of Carchemish to pay him homage. It is clear that Carchemish was no longer as strong as it had been two centuries before, and that the power of its defenders was gradually [46] vanishing away. There was still, however, a small Hittite population on the eastern bank of the Euphrates at all events, Assur-natsir-pal describes the tribe of Bakhian on that side of the river as Hittite, and it was only after receiving tribute from them that he crossed the stream in boats and approached the land of Gargamis or Carchemish. But his threatened assault upon the Hittite stronghold was bought off with rich and numerous presents. Twenty talents of silver—the favourite metal of the Hittite princes—'cups of gold, chains of gold, blades of gold, 100 talents of copper, 250 talents of iron, gods of copper in the form of wild bulls, bowls of copper, libation cups of copper, a ring of copper, the multitudinous furniture of the royal palace, of which the like was never received, couches and thrones of rare woods and ivory, 200 slave-girls, garments of variegated cloth and linen, masses of black crystal and blue crystal, precious stones, the tusks of elephants, a white chariot, small images of gold,' as well as ordinary chariots and war-horses,—such were the treasures poured into the lap of the Assyrian monarch by the wealthy but unwarlike king of Carchemish. They give us an idea of the wealth to which the city had attained through its favourable position on the high-road of commerce that ran from the east to the west. The uninterrupted prosperity of several centuries had filled it with merchants and riches in later days we find the Assyrian inscriptions speaking of 'the maneh of Carchemish' as one of the recognised standards of value. Carchemish had become a city of merchants, and no longer felt itself able to oppose by arms the trained warriors of the Assyrian king.

Quitting Carchemish, Assur-natsir-pal pursued his [47] march westwards, and after passing the land of Akhanu on his left, fell upon the town of Azaz near Aleppo, which belonged to the king of the Patinians. The latter people were of Hittite descent, and occupied the country between the river Afrin and the shores of the Gulf of Antioch. The Assyrian armies crossed the Afrin and appeared before the walls of the Patinian capital. Large bribes, however, induced them to turn away southward, and to advance along the Orontes in the direction of the Lebanon. Here Assur-natsir-pal received the tribute of the Phoenician cities.

Shalmaneser II., the son and successor of Assur-natsir- pal, continued the warlike policy of his father (B.C. 860- 825). The Hittite princes were again a special object of attack. Year after year Shalmaneser led his armies against them, and year after year did he return home laden with spoil. The aim of his policy is not difficult to discover. He sought to break the power of the Hittite race in Syria, to possess himself of the fords across the Euphrates and the high-road which brought the merchandise of Phoenicia to the traders of Nineveh, and eventually to divert the commerce of the Mediterranean to his own country. By the overthrow of the Patinians he made himself master of the cedar forests of Amanus, and his palaces were erected with the help of their wood. Sangara of Carchemish, it is true, perceived his danger, and a league of the Hittite princes was formed to resist the common foe. Contingents came not only from Kummukh and from the Patinians, but from Cilicia and the mountain ranges of Asia Minor. It was, however, of no avail. The Hittite forces were driven from the field, and their leaders were compelled to purchase peace by the payment of tribute. Once [48] more Carchemish gave up its gold and silver, its bronze and copper, its purple vestures and curiously-adorned thrones, and the daughter of Sangara himself was carried away to the harem of the Assyrian king. Pethor, the city of Balaam, was turned into an Assyrian colony, its very name being changed to an Assyrian one. The way into Hamath and Phoenicia at last lay open to the Assyrian host. At Aleppo Shalmaneser offered sacrifices to the native god Hadad, and then descended upon the cities of Hamath. At Karkar he was met by a great confederacy formed by the kings of Hamath and Damascus, to which Ahab of Israel had contributed 2000 chariots and 10,000 men. But nothing could withstand the onslaught of the Assyrian veterans. The enemy were scattered like chaff, and the river Orontes was reddened with their blood. The battle of Karkar (in B.C. 854) brought the Assyrians into contact with Damascus, and caused Jehu on a later occasion to send tribute to the Assyrian king.

The subsequent history of Shalmaneser concerns us but little. The power of the Hittites south of the Taurus had been broken for ever. The Semite had avenged himself for the conquest of his country by the northern mountaineers centuries before. They no longer formed a barrier which cut off the east from the west, and prevented the Semites of Assyria and Babylon from meeting the Semites of Phoenicia and Palestine. The intercourse which had been interrupted in the age of the nineteenth dynasty of Egypt could now be again resumed. Carchemish ceased to command the fords of the Euphrates, and was forced to acknowledge the supremacy of the Assyrian invader. In fact, the Hittites of Syria had become little more than tributaries of the [49] Assyrian monarch. When an insurrection broke out among the Patinians, in consequence of which the rightful king was killed and his throne seized by an usurper, Shalmaneser claimed and exercised the right to interfere. A new sovereign was appointed by him, and he set up an image of himself in the capital city of the Patinian people.

The change that had come over the relations between the Assyrians and the Hittite population is marked by a curious fact. From the time of Shalmaneser onwards, the name of Hittite is no longer used by the Assyrian writers in a correct sense. It is extended so as to embrace all the inhabitants of Northern Syria on the western side of the Euphrates, and subsequently came to include the inhabitants of Palestine as well. Khatta or 'Hittite' became synonymous with Syrian. How this happened is not difficult to explain. The first populations of Syria with whom the Assyrians had come into contact were of Hittite origin. When their power was broken, and the Assyrian armies had forced their way past the barrier they had so long presented to the invader, it was natural that the states next traversed by the Assyrian generals should be supposed also to belong to them. Moreover, many of these states were actually dependent on the Hittite princes, though inhabited by an Aramean people. The Hittites had imposed their yoke upon an alien race of Aramean descent, and accordingly in Northern Syria Hittite and Aramean cities and tribes were intermingled together. 'I took,' says Shalmaneser, 'what the men of the land of the Hittites had called the city of Pethor (Pitru)' which is upon the river Sajur (Sagura), on the further side of the Euphrates, and the city of Mudkinu, on the [50] eastern side of the Euphrates, which Tiglath-pileser (I.), the royal forefather who went before me, had united to my country, and Assur-rab-buri king of Assyria and the king of the Arameans had taken (from it) by a treaty.' At a later date Shalmaneser marched from Pethor to Aleppo, and there offered sacrifices to 'the god of the city,' Hadad-Rimmon, whose name betrays the Semitic character of its population. The Hittites, in short, had never been more than a conquering upper class in Syria, like the Normans in Sicily and as time went on the subject population gained more and more upon them. Like all similar aristocracies, they tended to die out or to be absorbed into the native population of the country.

They still held possession of Carchemish, however, and the decadence of the first Assyrian empire gave them an unexpected respite. But the revolution which placed Tiglath-pileser III. on the throne of Assyria, in B.C. 725, brought with it the final doom of Hittite supremacy. Assyria entered upon a new career of conquest, and under its new rulers established an empire which extended over the whole of Western Asia. In B.C. 717 Carchemish finally fell before the armies of Sargon, and its last king Pisiris became the captive of the Assyrian king. Its trade and wealth passed into Assyrian hands, it was colonised by Assyrians and placed under an Assyrian satrap. The great Hittite stronghold on the Euphrates, which had been for so many centuries the visible sign of their power and southern conquests, became once more the possession of a Semitic people. The long struggle that had been carried on between the Hittites and the Semites was at an end the Semite had triumphed, and the Hittite [51] was driven back into the mountains from whence he had come.

But he did not yield without a struggle. The year following the capture of Carchemish saw Sargon confronted by a great league of the northern peoples, Meshech, Tubal, Melitene and others, under the leadership of the king of Ararat. The league, however, was shattered in a decisive battle, the king of Ararat committed suicide, and in less than three years Komagene was annexed to the Assyrian empire. The Semite of Nineveh was supreme in the Eastern world.

Ararat was the name given by the Assyrians to the district in the immediate neighbourhood of Lake Van, as well as to the country to the south of it. It was not until post-Biblical days that the name was extended to the north, so that the modern Mount Ararat obtained a title which originally belonged to the Kurdish range in the south. But Ararat was not the native name of the country. This was Biainas or Bianas, a name which still survives in that of Lake Van. Numerous inscriptions are scattered over the country, written in cuneiform characters borrowed from Nineveh in the time of Assur-natsir-pal or his son Shalmaneser, but in a language which bears no resemblance to that of Assyria. They record the building of temples and palaces, the offerings made to the gods, and the campaigns of the Vannic kings. Among the latter mention is made of campaigns against the Khate or Hittites.

The first of these campaigns was conducted by a king called Menuas, who reigned in the ninth century before our era. He overran the land of Alzi, and then found himself in the land of the Hittites. Here he plundered the cities of Surisilis and Tarkhi-gamas [52] belonging to the Hittite prince Sada-halis, and captured a number of soldiers, whom he dedicated to the service of his god Khaldis. On another occasion he marched as far as the city of Malatiyeh, and after passing through the country of the Hittites, caused an inscription commemorating his conquests to be engraved on the cliffs of Palu. Palu is situated on the northern bank of the Euphrates, about midway between Malatiyeh and Van, and as it lies to the east of the ancient district of Alzi, we can form some idea of the exact geographical position to which the Hittites of Menuas must be assigned. His son and successor, Argistis I, again made war upon them, and we gather from one of his inscriptions that the city of Malatiyeh was itself included among their fortresses. The 'land of the Hittites' according to the statements of the Vannic kings, stretched along the banks of the Euphrates from Palu on the east as far as Malatiyeh on the west.

The Hittites of the Assyrian monuments lived to the south-west of this region, spreading through Komagene to Carchemish and Aleppo. The Egyptian records bring them yet further south to Kadesh on the Orontes, while the Old Testament carries the name into the extreme south of Palestine. It is evident, therefore, that we must see in the Hittite tribes fragments of a race whose original seat was in the ranges of the Taurus, but who had pushed their way into the warm plains and valleys of Syria and Palestine. They belonged originally to Asia Minor, not to Syria, and it was conquest only which gave them a right to the name of Syrians. 'Hittite' was their true title, and whether the tribes to which it belonged lived in Judah or on the Orontes, at Carchemish or in the neighbourhood of [53] Palu, this was the title under which they were known. We must regard it as a national name, which clung to them in all their conquests and migrations, and marked them out as a peculiar people, distinct from the other races of the Eastern world. It is now time to see what their own monuments have to tell us regarding them, and the influence they exercised upon the history of mankind.


Shalmaneser's inscription describes the forces of his opponent Hadadezer in considerable detail as follows: ΐ]

  1. King Hadadezer himself commanded 1,200 chariots, 1,200 horsemen and 20,000 soldiers
  2. King Irhuleni of Hamath commanded 700 chariots, 700 horsemen and 10,000 soldiers
  3. King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers
  4. The land of KUR Gu-a-a (sometimes identified with Que - Cilicia) sent 500 soldiers
  5. The land of KUR Mu-us-ra- (sometimes identified with Egypt but possibly somewhere near Que) sent 1,000 soldiers
  6. The land of Irqanata (Tell Arqa) sent 10 chariots and 10,000 soldiers
  7. The land of Arwad sent 200 soldiers
  8. The land of Usannata (in the Jeble region of Lebanon) sent 200 soldiers
  9. The land of Shianu (in the Jeble region) - figures lost
  10. King Gindibu of Arabia sent 1000 camel-riders
  11. King Ba'asa, son of Ruhubi, of the land of Aman (anti-Lebanon) - numbers lost.

Assyrian Chariots in Phoenicia and the Storming of Khazazu - History

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

la'-kish (lakhish Septuagint Lachis (Josh 15:39), Maches):
1. Location:
A town in the foothills of the Shephelah on the border of the Philistine plain, belonging to Judah, and, from the mention of Eglon in connection with it, evidently in the southwestern portion of Judah's territory. Eusebius, Onomasticon locates it 7 miles from Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin) toward Daroma, but as the latter place is uncertain, the indication does not help in fixing the site of Lachish. The city seems to have been abandoned about 400 BC, and this circumstance has rendered the identification of the site difficult. It was formerly fixed at Umm Lakis, from the similarity of the name and because it was in the region that the Biblical references to Lachish seem to indicate, but the mound called Tell el-Hesy is now generally accepted as the site. This was first suggested by Conder in 1877 (PEFS, 1878, 20), and the excavations carried on at the Tell by the Israel Exploration Fund in 1890-93 confirmed his identification. Tell el-Hesy is situated on a wady, or valley, of the same name (Wady el Hesy), which runs from a point about 6 miles West of Hebron to the sea between Gaza and Askelon. It is a mound on the very edge of the wady, rising some 120 ft. above it and composed of debris to the depth of about 60 ft., in which the excavations revealed the remains of distinct cities which had been built, one upon the ruins of another. The earliest of these was evidently Amorite, and could not have been later than 1700 BC, and was perhaps two or three centuries earlier (Bliss, Mound of Many Cities). The identification rests upon the fact that the site corresponds with the Biblical and other historical notices of Lachish, and especially upon the discovery of a cuneiform tablet in the ruins of the same character as the Tell el-Amarna Letters, and containing the name of Zimridi, who is known from these tablets to have been at one time Egyptian governor of Lachish. The tablets, which date from the latter part of the 15th or early part of the 14th century BC, give us the earliest information in regard to Lachish, and it was then an Egyptian dependency, but it seems to have revolted and joined with other towns in an attack upon Jerusalem, which was also an Egyptian dependency. It was perhaps compelled to do so by the Khabiri who were then raiding this region. The place was, like Gaza, an important one for Egypt, being on the frontier and on the route to Jerusalem, and the importance is seen in the fact that it was taken and destroyed and rebuilt so many times.
2. History:
We first hear of it in the history of Israel when Joshua invaded the land. It was then an Amorite city, and its king, Japhia, joined the confederacy formed by Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, to resist Joshua. They were defeated in the remarkable battle at Gibeon, and the five confederate kings were captured and put to death at Makkedah (Josh 10 passim 12:11). Lachish was included in the lot of Judah (15:39), and it was rebuilt, or fortified, by Rehoboam (2 Ch 11:5,9). It was besieged by Sennacherib in the reign of Hezekiah and probably taken (2 Ki 18:13) when he invaded Judah and besieged Jerusalem, but the other references to the siege leave it doubtful (2 Ki 18:14,17 19:8 2 Ch 32:9 Isa 36:2 37:8). The Assyrian monuments, however, render it certain that the place was captured. The sculptures on the walls of Sennacherib's palace picture the storming of Lachish and the king on his throne receiving the submission of the captives (Ball, Light from the East, 190-91). This was in 701 BC, and to this period we may assign the enigmatical reference to Lachish in Mic 1:13, "Bind the chariot to the swift steed, O inhabitant of Lachish: she was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion." The cause of the invasion of Sennacherib was a general revolt in Phoenicia, Israel, and Philistia, Hezekiah joining in it and all asking Egypt for aid (Rawlinson, Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World, chapter ix). Isaiah had warned Judah not to trust in Egypt (Isa 20:5,6 30:1-5 31:1), and as Lachish was the place where communication was held with Egypt, being a frontier fortress, perhaps even having an Egyptian garrison, it would be associated with the "sin" of the Egyptian alliance (HGHL, 234).
The city was evidently rebuilt after its destruction by Sennacherib, for we find Nebuchadnezzar fighting against it during his siege of Jerusalem (Jer 34:7). It was doubtless destroyed by him, but we are informed by Nehemiah (11:30) that some of the returned Jews settled there after the captivity. It is very likely that they did not reoccupy the site of the ruined city, but settled as peasants in the territory, and this may account for the transference of the name to Umm Lakis, 3 or 4 miles from Tell el-Hesy, where some ruins exist, but not of a kind to suggest Lachish (Bliss, op. cit). No remains of any importance were found on the Tell indicating its occupation as a fortress or city later than that destroyed by the king of Babylon, but it was occupied in some form during the crusades, Umm Lakis being held for a time by the Hospitallers, and King Richard is said to have made it a base of operations in his war with Saladin (HGHL). The Tell itself, if occupied, was probably only the site of his camp, and it has apparently remained since that time without inhabitants, being used for agricultural purposes only.
H. Porter Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'lachish'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE 1915.

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