A Quadrangular Altar With Inscriptions On Front

Description

This quadrangular altar is made of white-yellow limestone with a square base and a bowl-shaped depression in the top. There are no traces of use. The altar was found in the vicinity of the Damascus Gate; the base of the altar leaned next to the face of the meridional wall of Palmyra. (*) The front face of the altar is adorned with a Palmyrene text that fills half of the space on the altar’s facade.

The transcription and translation of the text is as follows:

1. BRYK ŠMH LʿLMʾ ṬBʾ
2. [W]RḤMNʾ ʿBD ʿLWTʾ ʾLʾ
3. [Y]RḤY BR ḤLYM’ BR YRḤY
4. BR ḤLPTʾ ʿL ḤYHW WḤYʾ
5. ŠLʾ BRT ḤTRY ʾTTH
6. WḤYʾ BNWHY WʾḤWHY
7. BYRḤ NYSN ŠNT 4-
8. 86

Blessed be his name forever, good and merciful. Made these two altars Yarhai, son of Halyma, son of Yarhai, son of Halaphata, for his life, and life of Shala, daughter of Hatray, his wife, and life of his children and his brothers. In the month of Nisan, year 175 CE. (*)

The stone of this altar is typical of Palmyrene monuments from the middle of the 1st century AD onward. Palmyra has yielded numerous limestone incense altars, which for the most part are square and have a square or rounded top-element with a bowl-shaped depression.

Most Palmyrene altars are accompanied by an inscription recording the monument’s dedication by an individual to a particular deity. With most altars, the decoration is restricted to the main face, or —less common— spread over three faces. Hence these monuments were designed to stand against a wall,

  • Material: Limestone.

  • Date: April 175 CE ( * )

  • Item Dimensions:  1,02 m Height, 0,31 m Width at the inscription face, 0,44 m Width at the cornice and base. ( * )

  • Excavated from: Palmyra-Damascus Gate ( * )

  • Archaeological Mission: Polish Archaeological Mission – University Of Warsaw

  • The Archaeological Museum Of Palmyra (2011) – Inventory Number: A1166/1166 ( * )

Excavation Site Location

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( * ) Translation is made from the stone in the Museum of Palmyra, inventory number: A1166/1166 by A. Kubiak-Schneider to the catalogue joint to her PhD thesis “Celui dont le nom est béni pour toujours. Une étude des dédicaces sans théonyme de Palmyre” (publication in preparation)

( * ) Edits by A. Kubiak-Schneider.

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