Phoenician Inscriptions Around the World

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Phoenician Inscriptions and what they say
See also The Melitensia Quinta, Phoenician Inscription in this site.
Inscription of Marseilles

"The temple of Baal . . . Account of the payments fixed by those set over the payments, in the time of our lords, Halats-Baal, the Suffes, the son of Abd-Tanith, the son of Abd-Esmun, and of Halats-Baal, the Suffes, the son of Abd-Esmun, the son of Halts-Baal, and of their colleagues:--For an ox, whether as burnt sacrifice, or expiatory offering, or thank offering, to the priests [shall be given] ten [shekels] of silver on account of each; and, if it be a burnt sacrifice, they shall have besides this payment three hundred weight of the flesh; and if the sacrifice be expiatory, [they shall have] the fat and the additions, and the offerer of the sacrifice shall have the skin, and the entrails, and the feet, and the rest of the flesh. For a calf without horns and entire, or for a ram, whether as burnt sacrifice, or expiatory offering, or thank offering, to the priests [shall be given] five [shekels] of silver on account of each; and if it be a burnt sacrifice, they shall have, besides this payment, a hundred weight and a half of the flesh; and if the sacrifice be expiatory, they shall have the fat and the additions, and the skin, and entrails, and feet, and the rest of the flesh shall be given to the offerer of the sacrifice. For a he-goat, or a she-goat, whether as a burnt sacrifice, or expiatory offering, or thank offering, to the priests [shall be given] one [shekel] and two /zers/ of silver on account of each; and if it be an expiatory sacrifice, they shall have, besides this payment, the fat and the additions; and the skin, and entrails, and feet, and the rest of the flesh shall be given to the offerer of the sacrifice. For a sheep, or a kid, or a fawn (?), whether as burnt sacrifice, or expiatory offering, or thank offering, to the priests [shall be given] three-fourths of a shekel of silver and . . . /zers/, on account of each; and if it be an expiatory sacrifice, they shall have, besides this payment, the fat and the additions; and the skin, and the entrails, and the feet, and the rest of the flesh [shall be given] to the offerer of the sacrifice. For a bird, domestic or wild, whether as thank offering, or for augury, or for divination, to the priests [shall be given] three-fourths of a shekel of silver and two /zers/ on account of each, and the flesh shall be for the offerer of the sacrifice. For a bird, or for the holy first-fruits, or for the offering of a cake, or for an offering of oil, to the priests [shall be given] ten /zers/ of silver on account of each, and . . . In every expiatory sacrifice that shall be offered before the deities, to the priests [shall be given] the fat and the additions, and in the sacrifice of . . . For a meat offering, or for milk, or for fat, or for any sacrifice which any man shall offer as an oblation, to the priests [there shall be given] . . . For every offering that a man shall offer who is poor in sheep, or poor in birds, [there shall be given] to the priests nothing at all. Every native, and every inhabitant, and every feaster at the table of the gods, and all the men who sacrifice . . . those men shall make a payment for every sacrifice, according to that which is prescribed in [this] writing . . . Every payment which is not prescribed in this tablet shall be made proportionally to the rate fixed by those set over the payments in the time of our lords, Halats-Baal, the son of Abd-Tanith, and Halats-Baal, the son of Abd-Esmun, and their colleagues. Every priest who takes a payment beyond the amount prescribed in this tablet shall be fined . . . And every offerer of a sacrifice who shall not pay [the amount] prescribed, beyond the payment which [is here fixed, he shall pay] . . ."

Of the shorter inscriptions of the Phoenicians, by far the greater number were attached either to votive offerings or to tombs. Some hundreds have been found of both classes, but they are almost wholly without literary merit, being bald and jejune in the extreme, and presenting little variety. The depositor of a votive offering usually begins by mentioning the name and title, or titles, of the deity to whom he dedicates it. Then he appends his own name, with the names of his father and grandfather. Occasionally, but rarely, he describes his offering, and states the year in which it was set up. Finally, he asks the deity to bless him. The following are examples:--

Inscription of Um-El-Awamid

"To the lord Baal-Shamaôm, [the vow] which was vowed by Abdelim, son of Mattan, son of Abdelim, son of Baal-Shomar, of the district of Laodicea. This gateway and doors did I make in fulfilment of it. I built it in the 180th year of the Lord of Kings, and in the 143rd year of the people of Tyre, that it might be to me a memorial and for a good name beneath the feet of my lord, Baal-Shamaôm, for ever. May he bless me!"[26]

Inscription on a Cippus from Carthage

"To the lady Tanith, and to our master, the lord Baal-Hammon; the offerer is Abd-Melkarth, the Suffes, son of Abd-Melkarth, son of Hanno."[27]

Inscription on a Cippus Found in Malta

"To our lord Melkarth, the lord of Tyre. The offerer is thy servant, Abd-Osiri, and my brother, Osiri-Shomar, both [of us] sons of Osiri- Shomar, the son of Abd-Osiri. In hearing their voice, may he bless them."[28]

Inscription on a Marble Altar, Brought from Larnaka

"On the sixth day of the month Bul, in the twenty-first year of King Pumi-yitten, king of Citium and Idalium, and Tamasus, son of King Melek-yitten, king of Citium and Idalium, this altar and these two lions were given by Bodo, priest of Reseph-hets, son of Yakun-shalam, son of Esmunadon, to his lord Reseph-hets. May he bless [him]."[29]

Inscription on a Marble Tablet Found in Cyprus

"On the seventh day of the month . . . in the thirty-first year of the Lord of Kings, PtolemÊus, son of PtolemÊus . . . which was the fifty- seventh year of the Citians, when Amarat-Osiri, daughter of . . . son of Abd-Susim, of Gad'ath, was /canephora/ of Asinoî Philadelphus, these statues were set up by Bathshalun, daughter of Maryichai, son of Esmunadon, to the memory of his grandsons, Esmunadon, Shallum, and Abd-Reseph, the three sons of Maryichai, son of Esmunadon, according to the vow which their father, Maryichai, vowed, when he was still alive, to their lord, Reseph-Mikal. May he bless them!"[30]

There is a little more variety in the inscriptions on tombstones. The great majority, indeed, are extremely curt and dry, containing scarcely anything beyond the name of the person who is buried in the tomb, or that together with the name of the person by whom the monument is erected; e.g. "To Athad, the daughter of Abd-Esmun, the Suffes, and wife of Ger-Melkarth, the son of Ben-hodesh, the son of Esmunazar"[31]; or "This monument I, Menahem, grandson of Abd-Esmun, have erected to my father, Abd-Shamash, son of Abd-Esmun"[32]; or "I, Abd-Osiri, the son of Abd-Susim, the son of Hur, have erected this monument, while I am still alive, to myself, and to my wife, Ammat- Ashtoreth, daughter of Taam, son of Abd-melek, [and have placed it] over the chamber of my tomb, in perpetuity."[33] But, occasionally, we get a glimpse, beyond the mere dry facts, into the region of thought; as where the erector of a monument appends to the name of one, whom we may suppose to have been a miser, the remark, that "the reward of him who heaps up riches is contempt;"[34] or where one who entertains the hope that his friend is happier in another world than he was upon earth, thus expresses himself--"In memory of Esmun. After rain, the sun shines forth;"[35] or, again, where domestic affection shows itself in the declaration concerning the departed--"When he entered into the house that is so full [of guests], there was grief for the memory of the sage, the man that was hard as adamant, that bore calamities of every sort, that was a widower through the death of my mother, that was like a pellucid fountain, and had a name pure from crime. Erected in affection by me his son to my father."[36]

So-called Inscriptions in the Americas

Below are links to scans of images of what are said to be inscriptions found in the Americas. I am providing them as is without comments or guarantee of their authenticity or validity. They are taken from "America B.C." by B. Fell.[37]

Sources:
[26] /Corp. Inscr. Sem./ i. 30-32.
[27] Gesenius, /Script. LinguÊque Phún. Monumenta/, p. 177.
[28] Ibid. p. 96.
[29] See the /Corpus Inscr. Semit./ i. 36-39.
[30] Ibid. pp. 110-112.
[31] Ibid. p. 69.
[32] Ibid. p. 76.
[33] See the /Corpus Inscr. Semit./ pp. 67, 68.
[34] Gesenius, /ScripturÊ LinguÊque Phún. Mon./ p. 144.
[35] Ibid. p. 147.
[36] Ibid. p. 187.
[37] /America BC/ B Fell.
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