Saturday 17 March 2012

Inscription upon the sarcophagus of King Eshmunazar II

King Eshmunazar II was the King of Sidon during the 5th century BC.  His sarcophagus displays an inscription identifying the king buried within and warning the people not to disturb him.  This was during the period when Canaan was under the Persian Empire.  The sarcophagus was made by Egyptians specifically for the Sidonian royal court, unlike the sarcophagus of King Tabnit, which was actually a re-used Egyptian one, belonging to the Egyptian general Penephtah (it even had some hieroglyphics which were erased).  Within Eshmunazar's inscription we read that there are two Sidons, which are also mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions.  There was most likely a Sidon of the sea and a Sidon of the mountain, both of them falling into the Kingdom of Sidon and inhabited by the Sidonians.  There is also a reference to a 'King of Kings' or 'Lord of Kings' in this inscription, which may be a divine title for a god, or may instead refer to the Persian 'Great King'.  This is the inscription upon the sarcophagus of Eshmunazar:

"In the month of Bul, in the fourteenth year of the royalty of King Eshmunazar, king of the two Sidons, son of King Tabnit, king of the two Sidons, King Eshmunazar, king of the two Sidons, said as follows: I am carried away, the son of (few) days, an orphan, the son of a widow. And I am lying in this coffin, and in this tomb, in the place which I have built. Whoever you are, of royal race or an ordinary man, may he not open this resting-place, and may he not search after anything, for nothing whatsoever has been placed into it. May he not move the coffin in which I am resting, nor carry me away from this resting-place to another resting-place. Whatever a man may tell thee, do not listen to him: for every royal race and every ordinary man, who will open this resting-place or who will carry away the coffin where I repose, or who will carry me away from this resting-place: may they not have any funeral couch with the shades (the Rephaim/Rapi'uma), may they not be buried in a grave, and may there not be a son or offspring to succeed to them, and may the sacred gods abandon them to a mighty ruler who (might) rule them, in order to exterminate that royal race or man who will open this resting-place or who will take away this coffin, and also the offspring of this royal race, or of that ordinary man. There shall be to them no root below, nor fruit above, nor living form under the sun. For I am carried away, the son of (few) days, an orphan, the son of a widow. For I, Eshmunazar, king of the two Sidons, son of King Tabnit, king of the two Sidons, the grandson of King Eshmunazar, king of the two Sidons, and my mother Amoashtart, the priestess of Ashtart, our mistress, the queen, the daughter of King Eshmunazar, king of the two Sidons: it is we who have built the temple of the gods, and the temple of Ashtart, on the Sidon of the sea, and have placed there (the image of) Ashtart in Shamem-Addirim. And it is we who have built a temple for Eshmun, the holy prince, at the purpleshells river on the mountain, and have established him in Shamem-Addirim. And it is we who have built the temples for the gods of the two Sidons, in the Sidon of the sea, a temple of Baal-Sidon and a temple of Ashtart-name-of-Baal. Moreover, the Lord of Kings gave us Dor and Jaffa, the mighty lands of Dagon, the rich grainlands in the plain of Sharon, in accordance with the important deeds which I did. And we annexed them to the boundary of the land, that they would belong to the two Sidons for ever. Whoever you are, of royal race or ordinary man, may he not open it and may he not uncover me and may he not carry me away from this resting-place. Otherwise, the sacred gods shall abandon them and exterminate this royal race and this ordinary man and their offspring for ever."

The actual sarcophagus of King Eshmunazar II, and a drawing of it

Sunday 4 March 2012

Hannibaal's Treaty

A treaty was made between Qart-Hadasht and the Macedonians.  The treaty was an anti-Roman treaty and it was drawn between the Qart-Hadashtite general, Hannibaal, and the Macedonian king, Philip V.  It was drawn in the month of either Adar or Nisan, which was near to the beginning of spring.  The treaty is as follows:

"This is a sworn treaty made between Hannibaal, Magon, Bar-melqart, and such members of the Qart-Hadashtite Council of Elders as were present, and all Qart-Hadashtites serving in his army, on the one part; and Xenophanes, son of Cleomachus of Athens, sent to us by King Philip, as his ambassador, on behalf of himself, the Macedonians, and their allies, on the other part.

The oath is taken in the presence of Baal Hammon, Tanit, and Resheph: of the god of the Qart-Hadashtites, Melqart, and Eshmun: of Baal-Zapan, Baal-Malaga, Yam: of the gods that accompany the army, and of the sun, moon, and earth: of rivers, harbours, waters: of all the gods who rule Qart-Hadasht: of all the gods who rule Macedonia and the rest of Greece: of all the gods of war that are witnesses to this oath.

Hannibal, general, and all the Qart-Hadashtite elders with him, and all Qart-Hadashtites serving in his army, subject to our mutual consent, proposes to make this sworn treaty of friendship and honourable good-will. Let us be friends, close allies, and brethren, on the conditions herein following:

- Let the Qart-Hadashtites, as supreme, Hannibaal their chief general and those serving with him, all members of the Qart-Hadashtite dominion living under the same laws, as well as the people of Atiq, and the cities and tribes subject to Qart-Hadasht, and their soldiers and allies, and all cities and tribes in Teresh, Celt-land, and Yanitar, with whom we have a compact of friendship, and with whomsoever in this country we may hereafter form such compact, be supported by King Philip and the Macedonians, and all other Greeks in alliance with them.
- On their parts also King Philip and the Macedonians, and such other Greeks as are his allies, shall be supported and protected by the Qart-Hadashtites now in this army, and by the people of Atiq, and by all cities and tribes subject to Qart-Hadasht, both soldiers and allies, and by all allied cities and tribes in Teresh, Celt-land, and Yanitar, and by all others in Teresh as shall hereafter become allies of the Qart-Hadashtites.
- We will not make plots against, nor lie in ambush for, each other; but in all sincerity and good-will, without reserve or secret design, will be enemies to the enemies of the Qart-Hadashtites, saving and excepting those kings, cities, and ports with which we have sworn agreements and friendships.
- And we, too, will be enemies to the enemies of King Philip, saving and excepting those kings, cities, and tribes, with which we have sworn agreements and friendships.
- Ye shall be friends to us in the war in which we now are engaged against the Romans, till such time as the gods give us and you the victory: and ye shall assist us in all ways that be needful, and in whatsoever way we may mutually determine.
- And when the gods have given us victory in our war with the Romans and their allies, if Hannibaal shall deem it right to make terms with the Romans, these terms shall include the same friendship with you, made on these conditions: first, the Romans not to be allowed to make war on you; second, not to have power over Qaraqir, Arsuf, Epidamnum, Pharos, Dimale, Parthini, nor Atitania; to restore to Demetrius of Pharos all those of his friends now in the dominion of Rome.
- If the Romans ever make war on you or on us we will aid each other in such war, according to the need of either.
- So also if any other nation whatever does so, always excepting kings, cities, and tribes, with whom we have sworn agreements and friendships.
- If we decide to take away from, or add to this sworn treaty, we will so take away, or add thereto, only as we both may agree."

Saturday 3 March 2012

Yom Shabbat and Inner Peace

Today I celebrated Yom Shabbat.  I woke up at midday and began my day with some reading on the gods and history.  I then spent some time relaxing.  It was a warm day, with Shapash shining gloriously down from the blue heavens.  Out of the window on the western side of the house I saw her shining down upon the brick wall surrounding the house and on the street below, making it shine a beautiful white.  A light breeze blew through the air.  On the eastern side of the house I looked out on the gardens and yards of the houses in the street.  In the gardens tall green trees swayed merrily in the breeze, their tops seeming to reach up into the blue sky.  I raised the palm of my hand to the deities in the heavens, then continued upstairs with a cup of water to my household shrine in my bedroom.

I approached and rung the bell to ward off evil spirits, then bowed seven times before the Teraphim.  The feeling of inner peace was overwhelming.  I looked out of my bedroom window to see the trees swaying and dogs playing in the gardens below, and birds flying high above in the vault of the firmament.  The sound of their singing was music to my ears as I gave a cup of water as an offering to the household gods, asking them to bless this day and thanking them for all good things which had come to pass.  I then bowed seven times again and left the room.

While I was performing the ritual I was contemplating for a few moments.  I saw the whole village, the great houses and shops and the swaying palm trees, the fields and forests where I had spent my earliest days exploring.  I thought of the house, and it's four walls.  I saw the Teraphim within, the serpent large against the wall, and Asherah holding her breasts while smiling down benevolently.

The rest of the day I have spent playing games, resting, talking, and making new videos for my Canaanite Youtube channel.  I'm also getting ready for a meal at the table.

Friday 2 March 2012

Magon's 28 Books of Agriculture

Magon was a Qart-Hadashtite writer who wrote 28 books on agriculture.  These books were a guide to farming, and they were vital as they allowed Qart-Hadasht to keep a steady food supply even in times of war.  These farming traditions probably were common among many Canaanite kingdoms.

Qart-Hadasht owned land in the fertile Magardah River Valley, where many villages were located for farming.  The whole area surrounding the city was covered in gardens watered by irrigation canals coming from the river.  There were green pastures for the shepherds and their grazing flocks. 

There were two agricultural 'rings' surrounding the city: an inner ring for fruit trees, olives, vegetables, grapes; and an outer ring for a vast irrigated wheat field.  Domestication of animals, particularly cattle and sheep, was important as a source of meat and for temple sacrifices.  There were many deities worshiped by farmers in the villages, the most common being Da'mat and Allani, though Dagon and Ashtar might also have been common.  Beekeeping was common as fig juice was the only other sweetener besides it, and it was used in art and household work.

These are some of the fragments of Magon's works that survive today, giving us an insight into ancient agriculture:

- "One who has bought land should sell his town house so that he will have no desire to worship the household gods of the city rather than those of the country; the man who takes greater delight in his city residence will have no need of a country estate."

- The most productive vineyards face north

- How to plant vines

- How to prune vines

- How to plant olives

- How to plant fruit trees

- How to harvest marsh plants

- Preparing various grains and pulses for grinding

- "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 20 parts of barley you need two parts of water."

- "They (bullocks/oxen) must be young, stocky, sturdy of limb with long horns, darkish and healthy, a wide and wrinkled forhead, hairy ears and black eyes and chops, the nostrils well-opened and turned back, the neck long and muscular, and 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, the hooves large, the tail long and hairy and the hair on the body thick and short, red-brown in colour and very soft to the touch."

- Notes on the health of cattle

- Mules and mares foal in the twelfth month of conception

-  Notes on farmyard animals

- Getting bees from the carcass of a bullock or ox

- The beekeeper should not kill drones

- How to preserve pomegranates

- "Harvest well-ripened very early bunches of grapes; reject any mildewed or damaged grapes. Fix in the ground forked branches or stakes not over four feet apart, linking them with poles. Lay reeds across them and spread the grapes on these in the sun, covering them at night to keep dew off. When they have dried, pick the grapes, put them in a fermenting vat or jar and add the best possible must (grape juice) so that they are just covered. When the grapes have absorbed it all and have swelled in six days, put them in a basket, press them and collect the passum (raisin wine).  Next, tread the pressed grapes, adding very fresh must made from other grapes that have been sun-dried for three days. Mix all this and put the mixed mass through the press. Put this passum secundarium into sealed vessels immediately so that it will not become too austerum. After twenty or thirty days, when fermentation has ceased, rack into other vessels, seal the lids with plaster and cover them with skins."

Thursday 1 March 2012

Bat-Zabbai's revolt

Bat-Zabbai was a woman living in Serug during the 3rd century A.D, living in the city of Tadmor.  She claimed various royal ancestors, including Queen Dudu of Qart-Hadasht, Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, and various Seleukid and Ptolemaic rulers.  Her mother's line went back to Egypt (she had knowledge of the Egyptian language), and her father (Amr ibn al-Zarib) was the sheikh of the Amlaqi tribe, who were one of the four original tribes of Tadmor, and they may be the same as the Amalekites.  When her father was killed by members of the rival Tanukh tribe, she became their new leader.  According to many this meant that she was also of Arabian descent.  Her family had been granted Roman citizenship. 

Bat-Zabbai was a very beautiful and intelligent woman.  She was dark-skinned, with pearly white teeth, and black eyes.  She was known as a chaste and virtuous woman, though she also behaved somewhat like a man, going hunting and riding and drinking with her officers.  She was friends with many poets and philosophers, and also with the Jewish rabbis.  She was fluent in Aramaic, Egyptian, and Greek, and was familiar with Latin.

Bat-Zabbai eventually became the second wife of the King of Tadmor, Odainat (called Septimius Odaenathus by the Romans).  King Odainat had already had a son by his first wife, called Hairan, and with Bat-Zabbai he had another son named Wahballat (Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus).  But Odainat and Hairan were assassinated, and so Bat-Zabbai took control of Tadmor as Wahballat was only a year old.  At this time, Tadmor (Palmyra) was a powerful and prosperous kingdom.  Bat-Zabbai's goal was the protect the Roman Empire from the threat of the Persian Empire (Sassanid Dynasty), though her own kingdom gained power through her many conquests.

With her empire expanding, Queen Bat-Zabbai and General Zabdas conquered Egypt with the aid of their ally Timagenes.  She captured and beheaded the Roman prefect of Egypt, Tenagino Probus, and then proclaimed herself as Queen of Egypt.  She then went north and conquered much of Asa (Anatolia).  Going south again, Bat-Zabbai conquered the rest of Serug, Canaan, and Israel. 

The Tadmorite Empire, which had by now taken most of the Roman trade routes in the east, came to the attention of the Roman Emperor, Aurelian, who returned and fought against Bat-Zabbai's army near Antioch.  Defeated, the Tadmorites fled to Antioch and Hames (Emesa).  Bat-Zabbai attempted to remove her treasury, but the Romans besieged the city.  With the help of the Sassanid Persians, Bat-Zabbai and her son Wahballat fled on camels to the Euphrates River, where they were captured by Aurelian's men.  All the Tadmorites who refused to surrender were executed instantly, one of them being the sophist philosopher Cassius Longinus.  Bat-Zabbai and Wahballat were taken to Rome.

Wahballat died on the journey to Rome, however, Bat-Zabbai was taken and put in golden chains.  None know what happened to her after that.  According to some, she was beheaded or died of hunger or illness.  But according to others she was set free by Aurelian and married a Roman governor, going on to have more children- and there is some evidence for this.