dinsdag 30 september 2014

Arwad 8th/7th century BC

For almost a century there is no news from the eastern front.
Arwad enjoys a long period of peace and wealth between 837 and 744 BC, despite a brief visit of Adad-nirari III in 806/805 BC on the mainland. It is the lull before the storm. Arwad uses this period to start making sanctuaries on the mainland for the gods Rešep, Ešmun, Shadrape and Melqart. There is also a peculiar god who has the form of half human and half fish. This god appears also in Kerkouane and Ioppe in pictures. In other places (Hadrumetum, Tyrus, Askalon and Cape Soloeis) are some references to this fish-tail god. The work on the sanctuaries is starting up at Ain al Hayat and Maabed near Amrit, but they will be fully employed only in the later Persian period. In the necropolis large tomb-towers are going to be built, which the people nowadays call “the spindles”. In Amrit we find a memory-stone from the 8th century BC with the image of Baal standing on a lion and a libation table by the Egyptian Penamon (ḥ’wty). In Arwad comes an alabaster relief with a winged sphinx in a mosaic of palm-leaves and a Cyprian terracotta statue of the 8th century BC. People are naming themselves to the gods as Bodmilqart, Abdanat, Kabaštart, Adonibaal, Eldamad and Baalyaton, but there are also names without a reference to a god such as Pilles, Gadnabu, Akim, Abdo and Abday. At the beginning of the 8th century the trade with the Greeks on a mutual base starts to develop. In Ioppe and Tell Sukas there is for instance an import of Rhodian vases. In this period Carthage is founded by Tyre. Arwad has probably nothing to do with it, but it is remarkable that in Tunisia a place is traced with the name Arados on the so-called Peutinger-map. In the meantime trade is going on all directions. The caravan trade was to Arwad as much important as the maritime trade. We know that the kings of Karatepe and Sam’al made use of the Phoenician alphabet in those days. It is further quit easy to reach the Eufraat-river at Karkemish and from Thapsakos you can go by boat all the way to Babylon. This trade with Mesopotamia is very important.
 On this peaceful existence comes a cruel end by Tiglat-pileser III of Assyria. The kings of this robber-state were not satisfied with only the tributes and good trade-relations with the towns on the seacoast of the Levant. They thought that there was more to collect by going there permanently by themselves. And there was more! In order to gain the supremacy over the whole known world the possession of the Phoenician towns was a necessity and after that the aim was to conquer Egypt. Arwad and its dominion will be the first to endure the new policy of the Assyrian devourer.

maandag 29 september 2014

Mattanbaal I van Arwad.



The first known king of Arwad was called in Phoenician MTNB‘L = gift of Baal. It is very common name, but it was not a common man. Salmanassar called him Matinu-ba’il and he considered him as a king. His contribution to the allied army in 854 BC, who withstood the Assyrians, was only 200 soldiers, but he mobilized his dominion on the mainland. Ušnu (Ušanata) contributes also 200 soldiers and there were 30 chariots of Shianu. The amount of soldiers of Shianu is not exactly known by ARA, but it must have been thousands. Then there were 1000 soldiers of Sumur (Musreans). Arqa (Irqanata) was very powerful, but that didn’t belong to the dominion of Arwad.

We know almost nothing about this Mattanbaal. He is only mentioned by Salmanassar. Nothing is known about his successors either. Maybe he already died in the battle of Qarqar. He is also never mentioned by other Assyrian rulers. It is however strange that Arwad never paid tribute to Salmanassar or to his immediate successors. Maybe Arwad made a deal with the Assyrians: the town would care for an undisturbed supply of products and materials from across the sea through the valley of the Eleutherus to the east?

From the year 837 BC the Phoenician towns have little trouble with Salmanassar who is busy in the north, east and south of his empire. Under the next Assyrian king Shamsi-Adad V most of the Assyrian possessions in the west regained their independency, but from 810 the next Assyrian king Adad-nirari tries to restore the Assyrian position in the west.


On a stela of Adad-nirari III (810-783 BC) and Nergal-ereš from Tell al Rimah we can read:

“In one single year I left my footprints behind in the land of Amurru (and) in the land of Hatti in his entire circumference. I received 2000 talents of silver, 1000 talents of copper, 2000 talents of iron, 3000 pieces of multi-coloured clothes and linen as a tribute of Mari of the land of Imerishu. He (Adad) received the tribute of Ya’su of the land of the Samaritans, of the land of the Tyrians (and) the land of the Sidonians. I marched to the Great Sea, where the sun goes to sleep. I erected a statue of my splendour in the city Armadi (that is) in the midst of the sea. I climbed the mountain Lebanon. I cut down 100 logs of cedar as building material for my palace (and) my temples. He (Adad) received the tribute of the kings of the land of Na‘iri in its entire circumference.”


This raises the big question: did Adad-nirari III enter Arwad in order to erect there a statue? It is doubtful. Maybe the ships of Arwad brought it there to erect it in the name of Adad-nirari. But this Assyrian king came for sure in the dominion of Arwad on the mainland.

Personally I believe, that, if there is anyone who deserves to have a statue in Arwad, then it should be Mattanbaal I who dared to fight the Assyrians with his tiny army.


Plundering expeditions of the Assyrians.

The plundering expeditions of the Assyrians.
There are some messages of Assur-bel-ka and Adad-nirari II, but they used almost the same texts as Tiglat-pileser I did. They go on ships of Arwad, they kill a ‘nahiru’ on the sea and they mention the town of Araziki in the land of Hatti. One gets suspicious. Probably they only copied the text of Tiglat-pileser I, but they never reached the Mediterranean coast.
The first serious plundering expedition after Tiglat-pileser I comes from Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BC). In 876 BC he reports (ARA 479):
“At that time I marched along the side of Mount Lebanon and to the Great Sea of the land of Amurru I went up. In the Great Sea I washed my weapons and I made offerings unto the gods. The tribute of the kings of the seacoast, of the people of Tyre, Sidon, Gebail, Mahalata, Maisa, Kaisa, Amurru and Arwad, which lies in the midst of the sea…………..”
Notice that Assurnasirpal does not speak of conquering or looting Phoenician towns. He just collected the tributes and took logs of wood from the forests of the Lebanon and the Amanus. All the big Phoenician towns pay their tribute and that was all the damage.
The successor of Assurnasirpal is Salmanassar III (859-824 BC) and he intensified the plundering in a more systematic way. In his first years he is active in Que, Sam’al, Amanus etc, etc. That is north of Arwad. Again the Phoenician towns pay their tributes, but Arwad is not mentioned. Salmanassar acts very violently. He conquers towns and plunders countries. He is very proud of the amount of people his army has killed.
In 854 BC things are getting all the more serious for the southern states on the Levant, but they have prepared themselves. A big coalition has been made and the combined army of Israel, Hamath, Damas and others formed a power of at least 60.000 men. Even some Phoenician towns participated, under which was Arwad.
It happens that the main battle is fought at Qarqar on the Orontes (Arantu). ARA 611:
“Qarqar, his royal city, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. 1200 chariots, 1200 cavalry, 20.000 soldiers of Hadad-eser of Aram; 700 chariots, 700 cavalry, 10.000 soldiers of Irhulêni of Hamath; 2000 chariots, 10.000 soldiers of Ahab the Israelite; 500 soldiers of the Gueans; 1000 soldiers of the Musreans; 10 chariots, 10.000 soldiers of the Irkanateans; 200 soldiers of Matinu-ba’il the Arwadite; 200 soldiers of the Usanateans; 30 chariots, [---]000 soldiers of Adunu-ba’il the Shianean; 1000 camels of Gindubu, the Arabian, [---]000 soldiers of Ba’sa, son of Ruhubi, the Ammonite, these 12 kings he brought to his support: to offer battle and fight, he came against me. (Trusting) in the exalted might which Assur, the lord, had given (me), in the mighty weapons, which Nergal, who goes before me, had presented (to me), I battled with them. 14.000 of their warriors I slew with the sword. Like Adad, I rained destruction upon them. I scattered their corpses far and wide, (and) covered the space of the desolate plain with their widespread armies………..”
Salmanassar boasts of a victory, but why is there no collecting of tributes and why is the city of Hamath not taken by Salmanassar? Only after 5-6 years he returns again to this region. Very probably the battle was a draw with also heavy losses for the Assyrians. The allied army withstood the Assyrians in the following years many times. It was a unique period. Never again the several states and towns in the Levant were so close in harmony against the deadly danger of the east! It lasted until 842/841 BC. Then finally Salamanassar was victorious, but he needed 120.000 men to achieve this. It lasted to 838 BC when there was again the case of tributes. Although his contribution was very low the Arwadian first known king Mattanbaal I participated active in this occasional coalition. He should have been proud of this.

vrijdag 26 september 2014

Arwad: the golden centuries.

The Golden Centuries.
Tiny Arwad come sailing along his best period as a Phoenician city. Arwad possessed a twin harbour facing eastwards the mainland; its northern and southern bays were separated by a natural jetty some 60 meters in length, which was augmented in antiquity by an ashlar stone construction with blocks of 3-5 meters. As the later massive Roman fortifications suggest, the Phoenician Iron Age city must have been protected by a fortified defence wall that ringed the island. Arwad was densely populated; its city centre, like that of Tyre, was marked by multi-stored houses (Strabo 16,2,13). The high ground now occupied by medieval fortifications undoubtedly marks the ancient city’s acropolis and the site of its main sanctuaries. The main cemeteries were probably located on the mainland opposite – in the region of Tortose. On the island itself a small cremation cemetery may also have been located in the southern periphery.
Arwad was heavily dependent upon the mainland for its raw materials and agricultural staples. The water supply was ensured, at least in part, by the emplacement of extramural cisterns cut into the island’s rocky counterscarp. There is even a story by Strabo that the Arvadites traced an underwater source out of which flowed sweet water. In times of thread they put a clock of lead upon that source and they managed to catch the sweet water through a leathern pipe to the surface. Plinius confirms that story, when he is talking about lifting sweet water from the sea, which was done in Arwad, Gades and the Chelidonian isles (2.227).
The previous texts are an adapted version of some texts from G.E.Markoe, Phoenicians, Los Angeles, 2000.
It looks like that the Phoenician towns made a division of labour. Ezechiel XXVII about Tyre:
The residents of Sidon and Arwad were your oarsmen and your wise men, o Tyre, they were at your ships as sailors. The elder men of Gebal and her artisans were there to repair any damage.
The cooperation was further intensified, because Ezechiel says also:
The sons of Arwad and their army guarded your walls on all sides and contributed to your beauty.”
Arwad expands on the mainland its possessions. From the north to the south:
Sigo/Siyannu, Shukshu/T.Sukas, Paltos/Arab al-Mulk, Balanea/Baniyas, Ušnu/T.Daruk, Carnos/Qrn/T.Qarnun, Antaradus/Tortose, Enhydra/T.Gamqa, Marathos/Mrt/Amrit, Mariamme/Maryamin/Bonin and perhaps Simira/Sumur/T.Kazil.
In this period Arwad is ruled by a board of tradesmen. We don’t know the name of any king. They will appear in the next period, when the Assyrians came to disrupt the wealth and prosperity of Arwad.

donderdag 25 september 2014

The beginning of the golden age of Arwad.

The beginning of the golden age of ARWAD.
ARWAD in the 12th century BC.
A new beginning is frequently combined with an initially destruction.
In the 12th century BC the so-called Sea-peoples made an end to the Hittite empire and after they invaded the whole Levant. Many cities were destroyed or taken over by them. According to the records of Ramses III Arwad was also destroyed by the Sea-peoples, but Strabo tells us, that the island is again populated by fugitives from Sidon.
The result of the attacks of the Sea-peoples is that all the greater empires in Asia collapsed. Only Egypt in Africa stood firm. Pharaoh Ramses III mentions Arwad in this period. He says: “From this place strangers go to the land of the Amorites.”
The emerging Phoenicians were free. They had no enemy that was a menace to them. Also the sea was freely accessible. It is time for the great adventure of the Phoenician exploration. They spread all over the Mediterranean and Arwad participated in this process. It takes over the predominant position of Ugarit, which was never fully rebuilt after its destruction by the Danuna (?).
It can not be said with certainty in what direction the ships of Arwad went for their favourable trade. It is however obvious that they went to nearby Cyprus, Cilicia, Caria and even the Aegean sea. The name of Araden on Crete might give a clue in that direction.
ARWAD in the 11th century BC.
Within a century this favourable situation is frightened by an Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 BC). A new power arises at the eastern horizon. On an inscription (named: bulls and lions) on the Anu-Adad temple in Assur (ARA 302) we read:
“To Mount Lebanon I went. Logs of cedar for the temple of Anu and Adad, the great gods, my lords, I cut and brought away. Against Amurru I returned. Amurru in its entirety I conquered. The tribute of Gubal, Sidon and Arwad I received. I crossed over in ships of Arwad, from Arwad, which is on the seashore to Samuri of the land of Amurru, a journey of 3 ‘double-hours’, by land. I killed a nahiru which they call a ‘sea-horse’, in the midst of the sea.”
Notice that the Assyrian king departed from a coastal town in front of the island Arwad. He did not enter the refuge of the Arwadian people. Refuge is the meaning of the name Arwad!
Furthermore ‘nahiru’ could mean a dolphin.
The starting richness of the Phoenician coastal towns raised very soon envy. The traders of Arwad very wisely paid the ransom in order to prevent further disaster. Tiglath-pileser I was satisfied and returned. He never came back.
Meanwhile the Phoenician towns went on with their flourishing business. By now they arrived according to the tradition at Utica, Gadir and Lixus, although there is no archaeological prove for that.

woensdag 24 september 2014

Arwad before the Phoenicians

ARWAD before the Phoenicians.
A few kilometers away from the Syrian coast lies a small island: er-Ruad. Nowadays it is used by some fishermen. However this island was in antiquity a very important town. For the beginning we must go back in time to at least the second millennium BC.
In the Akkadian language it was called Ar-ma-da, Ar-ru-da-ai or Ar-ru-ad-da. The Phoenicians named it ‘RWD. The Greeks: Arados and in latin: Aradus.
Arwad became one of the important cities of the Phoenicians, but before that the town existed already in the time of the Canaanites.
The town was mentioned in Ebla (as A-ra-wa-ad) and that is all the way in the third millennium BC. Arwad was also known in Ugarit and Alalakh. The Egyptians under Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC) came nearby during the 29th year of his reign. He plundered the farms and land on the mainland behind Arwad.
Even the bible in Genesis X 15-18 gives attention to the place:
 “Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn and Heth and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arwadites, the Zemites and the Hamathites.”
We encounter the first man of Arwad with a name on a temple of pharaoh Seti I (1317-1301 BC) at Abydos in Egypt. The inscription (SYRIA XLVII, 1970, p.371) says:
“I, Abdo, son of [….], the Arwadite (h’rwdy).”
Probably the earliest clear mention of Arwad comes out of the so-called el-Amarna letters as Ar-wa-da or Er-wa-da. In the 14th century BC the Amurru under the guidance of Abdi-Ashirta and his son Aziru tried to reach the coast and took several towns in the province Canaan of Egypt. And here Arwad is beginning to play a significant role. Rib-Addi of Byblos writes about that a message to the pharaoh Amenophis III (1402-1364 BC) in the letter EA 53-63:
“Zimrida of Sidon and Aziru, the rebel against the king, and the people of Arwad has consulted with each-other and made a conspiracy and the have gathered ships, war-chariots and their ‘niru’soldiers in order to capture Tyre….”
In reality Tyrus would be invaded much later. In the beginning this peculiar coalition succeeded in conquering Ullaza and Sumur. Later the fleet of Arwad blocked the harbour of Byblos and in the end many harbours on the coast of the Libanon went over to the Amurru and their allies.
Seti I and Ramses II are trying to restore the Egyptian province of Canaan, but after the undecided battle of Kadesj the region of Arwad stays for a century under the Hittite influence.

dinsdag 16 september 2014

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