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The Gods of Phoenicia as revealed by the Poem of Ras Shamra

  • Ch. Virolleaud (a1)

Readers of ANTIQUITY are already aware that the second campaign at Ras Shamra—that of the spring of 1930—brought to light several new Phoenician texts. Amongst these pride of place must be given to ten fragments representing in all about a thousand lines of a kind of epic poem, whose various scenes are all laid in the world of the gods. The fragmentary state of the poem increases the difficulties of interpretation, which in any case would have been considerable ; nevertheless, by means of the careful analysis of certain episodes we can now form some sort of general conception of Phoenician mythology as it was about the time of the Ramessids and Amenophis (c. 16th-13th cent. B.c.). In the present article I propose to give a summary account of the results of my researches in this direction.

The gods and goddesses thus brought to life again are more than fifty in number. But two stand out from amongst the rest, and these two are precisely those whom one would expect to find holding higher rank in a document emanating from Phoenicia-El and Baal.

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1 This article has been translated by the EDITOR.

2 See ANTIQUITDY, Dec. 1930, IV, 460-466, and particularly p. 464.

3 Popularly known by the name of the Old Man of the Sea.—ED.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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