Friday, November 8, 2019

Ebla tablets

In 1968, Paolo Matthiae of the University of Rome and his team uncovered ancient Akkadian inscriptions of King Ibbit-Lim. In this text the king identified himself as the ruler of Ebla. During excavations in 1974 and 1975, public and royal archives containing over 20,000 clay tablets came to light.

The tablets were written with a cuneiform script, like Ugarit, but the language, was a Semitic language related to Canaanite, Phoenician, Ugarit and Hebrew, and came to be called Eblaite.

The Ebla texts are to some extent close to archaic cuneiform from the late 4th-early 3rd millennium BCE, in that they usually provide very limited grammatical information.

It was revealed from the artifacts uncovered by the excavation of Ebla and through the study of the tablets that Ebla was a major economic power, a cultural center of the land of Canaan and a large metropolis of 260,000 people. The people of Ebla were Semites, and spoke a Semitic language that resembled ancient Hebrew.

From about 2400 BC until about 1650 to 1600 BC, ancient Ebla probably occupied the whole of its 140-acre site, the entire city being surrounded by strong walls, pierced by four great city gates of varying size. Dominating the main area of the ‘lower city’ from its higher position at the centre, there rose the ‘acropolis’ or citadel―the nerve-centre of government where the royal palaces and administration were located.

The majority of the texts in the Royal Archive are related to the Economic and Administrative details of Ebla. The Ebla Tablets contain extensive trade records, and also include the oldest reference to Jerusalem dating before Abraham. Sodom, Gomorrah and several other cities of the plains are also mentioned by name, including all five cities found in Genesis 14:2, and in the same order (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar).
Ebla tablets 
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