The Lion Of Al’Lat


The statue, of a lion holding a crouching gazelle, was made from limestone ashlars in the early first century A.D. and measured 3.5 m (11 ft) in height, (*) weighing 15 tonnes (**). The lion was regarded as the consort of Al-lāt. The gazelle symbolized Al-lāt’s tender and loving traits, as bloodshed was not permitted under penalty of Al-lāt’s retaliation. The lion’s left paw had a partially damaged Palmyrene inscription (PAT 1122) which reads:

 tbrk ʾ[lt] (Al-lāt will bless) mn dy lʾyšd (whoever will not shed) dm ʿl ḥgbʾ (blood in the sanctuary). (***)

Excavated in 1977,  this statue that adorned the Temple of Al-Lat in Palmyra will become the emblem of the city’s archaeological museum. It was found in pieces, having been reused in antiquity for the temple’s foundation. it was decided to reassemble the pieces in front of the entrance to the Palmyra Museum. The task was undertaken by restorer Józef Gazy. In 2005, it underwent restoration to eliminate problems from assemblage.

On 27 June 2015, it was severely damaged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after it had captured Palmyra. The statue was removed to the National Museum of Damascus and underwent reconstruction work, and now stands again.

  • Material: Limestone

  • Date: Early first century CE

  • Item Dimensions: 3.5 m (11 ft) in height – Weighing 15 tonnes

  • Excavated from: Palmyra- Temple of Al’Lat

  • Polish Archaeological Mission | Michał Gawlikowski, University of Warsaw

  • Archaeological Museum Of Palmyra – 2011

Excavation Site Location

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(*) تمثال أسد اللات.. من تدمر إلى المتحف الوطني في دمشق استعداداً لترميمه

(**) Kevin Butcher (2003). Roman Syria and the Near East. Getty Publications. p. 309. ISBN 0892367156.

(***) Van Baaren (1982), p. 65 and Reinhard G. Lehmann: “Kein Blutvergießen!” Die Löweninschrift der ʾAllāt von Palmyra, in: ḤBL Tadmor. Studies in Palmyrene Script and Language. KUSATU 23 (2018), pp. 3-8.

The image (The lion of AL’Lat) is a courtesy from  Aleksandra Kubiak | PHD

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