woensdag 26 maart 2014


Sa-rip-tu is the other town, that Esarhaddon, the Assyrian king in 676 BC, gave to Baal I of Tyre. The identification of Sariptu is well established. This “long village”, as Sarepta was called in Graeco-Roman times, occupied a large area near the present day village of Sarafand, 13 km south of Sidon. It was an important city, often mentioned in ancient sources and the American excavations have uncovered large sections of the Phoenician town.
Before Esarhaddon:
It has been suggested, that Sariptu is attested as early in the third millennium BC in a document from Ebla (Ṣa-ar-pa’at) and in a geographical list (Ṣa-ra-pa-at). However, similar place names are encountered elsewhere. The name of the town seems to be Semitic: ṢRP means burning of metal or stones.
At any rate, Sariptu occurs certainly in Egyptian, Assyrian, Hebrew, Greek and Latin sources, as well as in later accounts by pilgrims and travellers.
In the Papyrus Anastasia I 20:8 the town is called Drpt. Biblical Ṣarphath (1 Kings 19:9-10). It is located at the mound of Ras el-Qantara, near the Roman harbour of Sarepta.
See: Canaanite Toponyms in Ancient Egyptian Documents, Shmuel Aḥituv, Jerusalem/Leiden, 1984.
Sariptu has an inscription in Ugaritic script. E.L.Greenstern makes a translation and comes to the conclusion, that is a Phoenician inscription: [a]gn p‘l yd[‘]bl lḥdš b‘[l] = amphora, that was made by Yada‘baal for ḥdš, his master.
The excavations of Pritchard show us that in de period 1025-800 BC stratum D there is a new city plan with red slip finish and torpedo shaped amphorae. The sounding Y (highest part of the mound) contains primarily a residential area. A sequence of 11 occupation strata with courtyard houses and potters’ kilns (19) and bread-ovens can be seen. The kilns have a round to oval structure with diameters between 1.30m – 3 meters. There are traces of making purple dye from the murex snail and of casting of bronze and gold objects.
Sounding X is an industrial quarter near the harbour with pottery and 21 built firing kilns, slip basins and tanks for washing/storing clay. There is an 8th century BC stone ashlar shrine to Tanit-Aštart with a central cultic pillar. In and around the religious shrine 180 objects of ivory, alabaster, faience and terracotta was found. There is a stone altar of 0.94 x 1 meter with a single step in front of it. Along the walls of the shrine there were benches (21cm high and 30-40 cm wide). Further findings are beads, small amulets, charms associated with Ptah, Toth, Sekhmet, Bastet, Bes, 6 eyes of Horus, terracotta with throne and 2 sfinxes, faience statue of Horus and Toth, plaque ‘woman at the window’, 13 figurines in terracotta. Some of them holding a tambourine. There are two burials of infants and one tomb of two adults have found out of the end of the middle bronze period.
See: RSF I 1973. Notiziario: The 1972 Excavations at Sarepta. J.B.Pritchard.
In 701 BC the Assyrian king Sennacherib conquered already Sariptu.
After the Assyrian king Esarhaddon came in 676 BC in the area Sariptu goes to Baal I of Tyre. When Baal I is in revolt in 671 BC he loses and he has give Sariptu bach to Sidon.
After Esarhaddon:
In the 6th century there are a lot of Phoenician oil bottles and tripods. W.Culican studies that in Berytus XIC 1970. The fabric is hard and grey with a blackish coating. Tomb 26 contains the following objects: dishes (2x), tripod bowl (1x), lamp (1x), (pilgrim-)flasks (2x), urn (1x), olpes (2x), jug (1x).
From the 5th/4th century BC comes a Phoenician seal mentioning the name of the city ṢRPT and the number 10 on it.
According to Ps.Scylax Sarepta belonged in his time to the Tyrians. He thus attributes a very small territory to the Sidonians, some 22 km from the north to the south. This fits the circumstances following the defeat of Tennes or Tabnit II ca.346/5 BC, the collapse of the anti-Persian revolt, and the execution of the Sidonian ruler, ordered by Artaxerxes III Ochus (358-338 BC). The city, situated 13 km south of Sidon, was a Sidonian dependency according to the Annals of Sennacherib, the account of I Kings 17,9 and later, Luke 4,26. In 676 BC, the town was given by Esarhaddon to Baal I of Tyre, but it certainly belonged again to Sidon in the Persian period. Ps.Scylax stresses the fact that the city was dependent from the Tyrians in his days, emphasizing Terios as if this situation resulted from a recent event. It may lasted only from 346/5 to 332 BC, the year of the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great. ṢRPT appears in this period on a Phoenician city seal, dated in year 12 of the Tyrian king Azzimilk I, i.e. in 336 BC. Ps.Scylax fails indicating that Sarepta had a harbour or, at least, anchorages in the three small bays which are still used nowadays by fishermen from Ṣarafand.
The excavations conducted in 1969-1974 on a promontory of Ras al-Qantara have shown that Sarepta was quite an important centre in the Persian period and its sanctuary of a healing deity, probably Eshmun, was known beyond the borders of Phoenicia, since a digraphic inscription in syllabic and alphabetic Greek was dedicated there to Asclepius in the 4th century BC by a devotee from Cyprus. The holy god of Sarepta, known from four inscriptions dating to the Roman period, was worshipped then not only in Sarepta, where two Greek inscriptions were found, but also in the Italian harbour-town of Puteoli, where one Greek and one Greek-Latin bilingual dedicated to this god came to light. Their discovery in Puteoli implies maritime links with Sarepta and thus the existence of a port in Sarepta itself.
In fact there is a stone built quay at Ras esh-Shiq (1st century AD).
One of the last signs of Sarepta in antiquity comes from “Roman de Leucippé et Clitophon” in the 3rd century AD, where it is described as a fishing port.
Unfortunately we have to conclude this survey with a possible forgery:
The legend l mlk Ṣprt (belonging to the king of Sarepta), read on a stamp seal of unknown provenance and crude manufacture, ether confirms the suspected forgery or is misread and engraved by an inexpert hand. In the second hypothesis one could read l-mlkt / qdg (or: qrg) with the left side of the head of qoph downwards, what is unusual at any rate. The reading of Ṣ is frankly impossible. Although mlkt occurs in proper names, the second element lacks any parallel and may again suggest the conclusion that the seal is a forgery, perhaps from the period of the American excavations at Sarepta.
See: Itineraria Phoenicia, E.Lipinski, OLA 127, St.Phoen.XVIII, Leuven, 2004.

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