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.

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