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The Amman Theatre Inscription (2.26)

(240 words)

Author(s): Aufrecht, Walter E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Ammonite Inscriptions Commentary This two-line inscription is on a fragmentary, triangular, black basalt stone measuring × cm at its widest. The surface of the stone is rough and pitted. A word divider in the form of a short stroke is found between the first and second words. The inscription is in the Archaeological Museum, Amman, Jordan (No. J 11686).1 It has been dated paleographically to the late 6th century bce.2 The Amman Theatre Inscripti…

The Aswan Dedicatory Inscription (2.41)

(731 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Aramaic Dedicatory Inscriptions Commentary Usually known as the Aswan sandstone stela, this six-line building dedication inscription (Cairo J. 36448) was published by de Vogüé in 1903 ( TAD D17.1). It is 44.2 cm wide (frontally), 27.5 cm high and 12.5 cm thick (in depth) and is engraved in cursive script whose proximate forerunners are attested in a clay tablet of 571/570 bce (Louvre AO 21063; SSI 2:116–117; cf. the letters aleph, beth, h…

A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46)

(197 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This well-preserved inscription on a white limestone block is particularly important historically because of the detailed chronological synchronism it gives. It comes from the site of Tell esh-Shuqafiya in the eastern delta of lower Egypt and is dated to 34 bce.1 The Nabataeans were active in Egypt and have left many inscriptions there. A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46) Dedication ( lines 1–4a)…

The Melqart Stela (2.33)

(860 words)

Author(s): Pitard, Wayne T.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary This short dedicatory inscription (four lines, with one letter on a fifth) is carved on the lower part of a basalt stela found in the late 1930’s. It had been incorporated into a Roman period wall in the village of Bureij, near Aleppo, Syria. The text is surmounted by a relief of the god Melqart, who strides forcefully to the left carrying a fenes…

The Siloam Tunnel Inscription (2.28)

(875 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The inscription was discovered in 1880 on the wall of a Jerusalem tunnel that leads from the Gihon Spring to the pool of Siloam. The inscription occupies the lower half of a prepared panel that is approximately 0.50 m in height and 0.66 m in width. The tunnel winds through the Mizzi Ahmar dolomite rock for a length of approximately 533 m (corresponding roughly to the inscription’s 1,200 cubits).1 It is essentially an…

The Amman Citadel Inscription (2.24)

(450 words)

Author(s): Aufrecht, Walter E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Ammonite Inscriptions Commentary The inscription is on an irregularly shaped rectangle of white limestone discovered on the Citadel of Amman, Jordan, in 1961. The face of the stone is chipped, causing several letters to flake off. The beginning and ending of each line are lost. The inscription is in the Archaeological Museum, Amman, Jordan (No. J 9000).1 It has been dated paleographically to the (mid)-9th century bce.2 The Amman Citadel Insc…

The Tell Dan Stele (2.39)

(1,003 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Three fragments of a basalt stele were found at Tell Dan in 1993 and 1994, re-used as building stones in structures dated on archaeological grounds to the eighth century bce. The pieces fit together, with gaps. Across the smooth face run parts of thirteen lines of clearly incised Aramaic letters, with word-dividers, of a style best placed late in the ninth century bce. An unknown number of lines is missing a…

The Inscription of King Yeḥawmilk (2.32)

(1,183 words)

Author(s): Segert, Stanislav
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The limestone stele measuring × x 24 cm was found in 1869 by a local planter of trees in the ruins of the ancient sanctuary of the Mistress of Byblos/Gubal. The missing lower right part was discovered much later at the excavation conducted by Maurice Dunand and published by him in 1939. On the upper part of the stele the goddess Baalat/Mistress of…

The Inscription of King Yaḥimilk (2.29)

(521 words)

Author(s): Segert, Stanislav
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The inscription on the limestone block (× x 45 cm) was found in the ruins of the Crusader Castle in Byblos (Ǧebail) in 1929 and published in the same year. Its seven lines are written over a text in “Byblos hieroglyphic” that is no longer clearly visible. Yaḥimilk’s building inscription can be dated to about 950 bce. It is now kept in the National Museum in Beirut. The Inscription of King Yaḥimilk (2.29) Subject: 1 K…

A Nabataean Commemorative Inscription From ʿAvdat (2.43)

(345 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This is a rare example of a non-funerary Nabataean building inscription. Found ca. 2 km south of ʿAvdat on what was probably a libation altar, it mentions a religious celebration (mrzḥ) connected with Dushara and is dated, though the reading of the date is uncertain.1 A Nabataean Commemorative Inscription From ʿAvdat (2.43) Subject: Jer 16:5; Amos 6:7 Event being recorded ( lines 1–2a) This is the dam (whic…

The Deir ʿAlla Plaster Inscriptions (2.27)

(4,938 words)

Author(s): Levine, Baruch A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Deir ʿAlla Commentary The Deir ʿAlla plaster inscriptions were discovered by H. Franken in 1967, and later published by J. Hoftijzer and G. van der Kooij 1976. They immediately awakened scholarly attention because the name of Balaam, son of Beor, the non-Israelite seer and diviner whose exploits and poetic orations are preserved in Numbers, chapters 22–24, appears several times in …

The Hadad Inscription (2.36)

(2,297 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Discovered in the village of Gerçin 7 km northeast of Zenjirli, dating to the mid-eighth century bce, this large statue of the god Hadad contains a thirty-four line inscription on its lower portion. The statue originally stood about 4 m high, though the top portion is not preserved. It was erected by Panamuwa I, king of Yʾdy (also known as Samʾal) (see Dion 1997…

The Kulamuwa Inscription (2.30)

(2,049 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, which is carved on a large orthostat, was discovered during the German excavations at Zinjirli (= Samʾal) in 1902. The orthostat’s relief pictures Kulamuwa pointing with his right hand to divine symbols that fill part of the space at the top of the monument. The text, written in North Phoenician with Aramaic influences, dates around 830–820 bce and belongs to the “memorial” genre (Mille…

The Azatiwada Inscription (2.31)

(2,148 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary In 1946, a Phoenician-Hieroglyphic Luwian bilingual inscription was discovered on portal orthostats at the Iron Age fortification of Karatepe on the west bank of the Çeyhan River in the ancient region of Cilicia, the modern province of Adana, Turkey. It is the longest extant Phoenician inscription and is preserved at three locations on the site: …

The Hazael Booty Inscriptions (2.40)

(631 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Four brief dedicatory inscriptions refer to “our lord Hazael” who is to be identified as the usurper who took the throne of Damascus from Ben-Hadad (Assyrian Hadad-idri; cf.  COS COSB.2.125A) and ruled ca. 842–800 bce; see Pitard 1987:145–160; Sader 1987:231–260. A. A trapezoidal bronze plaque cast with figures in relief, a horse’s nose-piece, was unearthed at the Hera temple in Samos in…

The Tell Sīrān Inscription (2.25)

(699 words)

Author(s): Aufrecht, Walter E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Ammonite Inscriptions Commentary The inscription is found on a 10 cm. long bronze-colored metal bottle made of copper, lead and tin. The bottle was found at Tel Sīrān, Jordan, in 1972. The end of the bottle was sealed by a pin through the neck. It contained dried barley, wheat, a few weeds and chunks of lead and copper. There are ninety-two letters in the eight-line inscription, …

The Ekron Inscription of Akhayus (2.42)

(947 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Philistine Inscriptions Commentary Written in a lapidary style script developed by the Philistines at Ekron, the text is a royal dedicatory inscription for the temple of the goddess Ptgyh made by Akhayus,1 the son of Padi, the ruler of Ekron. The royal names (“Padi” and “Akhayus”) are names known from Assyrian sources: for Padi, the inscriptions of Sennacherib ( COS COSB.2.119B) and another inscription from Ekron (see n. 2 below); for Akhayus…

The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath (2.35)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary H. Pognon bought parts of a basalt stele in north Syria which he published in 1907–8; they are now in the Louvre (AO 8185). Now 1.03 m. high, 62 cm. wide, the squared block was originally taller, the upper part carved with a figure in relief of which only the feet resting upon a dais or stool survive. Below the sculpture an inscription was engraved in Aramaic, starting on the front (a), continuing on the left (b) and righ…

The Inscription of King Mesha (2.23)

(1,435 words)

Author(s): Smelik, K. A. D.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Moabite Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, which was carved on a black basalt stone, measuring 1.15 m. high and 60–68 cm. across, was discovered by the Alsatian missionary Klein at Dhiban in 1868. Due to the great interest in the stone shown by various Europeans in Palestine, the local population decided to demolish it and use the pieces as amulets in their granaries. The Fre…

The Panamuwa Inscription (2.37)

(2,178 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, engraved on the lower half of a statue, is written in Samalian Aramaic (see  COS COSB.2.36). It was discovered in the German excavations at Zinjirli. Bar-Rakib, the son of Panamuwa II, probably raised this monument early in his reign to memorialize his father because of his sudden and unexpected death during Tiglath-Pileser III’s campaign against Damascus (733–732 bce). The text also serv…
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