vrijdag 10 mei 2013


Where is Olbia?
Olbia is a town on the northeast coast of Sardinia. It was in the Middle Ages also called Terranova Pausania called and is not to be confused with Tempio Pausania, which is about 50 kilometers inland lies the road to Sassari at the foot of the mountain Limara (1362 m) in the Gallura region near the Nuraghe Maiori.
Terranova Pausania, either Olbia is located on the Gulf of Aranci and was in antiquity a Carthaginian foothold. In 259 BC the site was possibly destroyed by the Romans as, although Ake Eliaeson there in his book "Beiträge zur Geschichte und Sardiniens Corsicas im Ersten Punic Kriege" (Uppsala 1906) thinks otherwise. To 238 BC, the port in any case stays in Carthaginian hands. After that the Romans hold sway.
The name Pausanius has everything to do with the traveler and geographer who lived in the 2nd century BC. He let Olbia be founded by Iolaos in the time after Troy (VII 2.2 IX 23 X 17.5).
What contains the riddle?
It is now in the museum Sassari. The rectangular block of stone measures 16 cm (height) x 29 cm (width) and 17 cm (thick). Then there is a inscription (KAI 68 RES 1216) of 5 lines with at least the genealogy of 16 or 17 generations. And that is quite exceptional. Usually, we do not go further than 2, 3, 4 or 5 consecutive names. This conscious inscription is dated to the 3rd century BC. If you are counting back 16 or 17 generations with an assumed average of 25 years from 250 BC (it is then still Carthaginian!), then you end up in the 7th century BC. It has however that in Olbia no Phoenician or Punic discovery was made, which is older than the 4th century BC. See: the excavation of Olbia E.Acquaro I + II Campagna 1977+1978 (RSF VII + VIII 1979+1980).
Where and when was the inscription found?
In 1911 AD. One has encountered the block stone inside a small tomb, which was against the boundary wall (Roman) in the district of Olbia Isciamariana (Orto Lupacciola). The district Isciamariana is located in the southwest of Olbia. See map D.Panedda (Olbia 1951). The top of the tomb has notches that correspond to a granite pillar just beside the grave. The stone must have been moved. Taramelli messages it for the first time into:Avanzi del'antica Olbia, rimessi a luce in occasione dei Lavori di bonifica: Notize degli Scavi, 1911. pages 235-36, 240-41 (fig.13).
The contents of the inscription.
From right to left:
m*[bsj'] --- rdn [sj'] --- h. nd' --- 'l 1
nb l*bn[.n]b trqlmrg nb tklmh. nb l*bnh. nb tsjdh.trq 2
nb nwytdb* nb *msjl*b nb ds.db nb nmsjrg nb l*brhm 3
ds.klm nb l*bs.lh. nb nblh. nb 'my nb 'rg nb sjr' nb 'tp 4
mbrb tm*p d* 'lq 'msj k 5
I Guidi ventures in 1911 as the first of the translation into Latin:
1 ... ma/g(nae?)... Adon Ha(mon?) ... (quod) vovit... pupuli
2 Carthaginis filius Hannibal filii Himilkat filii Germelkart filii Adoniba*al(?) filii
3 Maharba*al filii Gerasmun filii Bodsd filii Ba*alsama filii 'Abdtjwn filii
4 Fata' filii Aris filii Gera' filii Yma' filii Hl filii Hillesba*al filii Milksed
5 quia audivit vocem eius in congregatione benedixit eis.
Unfortunately, therefore, the start of the inscription is damaged. In any case it is clear that there is a lord or deity ordination done, but by whom? After the list of names follows the usual phrase, which roughly states because his voice / prayer is heard.
1. mlks.d = milksid = Sid is king c.650 BC?
(Benz page 140) 1x. Sid is a Phoenician deity, which occurs from the 8th century BC in Syria and Palestine. Then it turns up in Egypt, Carthage and Sardinia (5th-2nd century BC). He is also called a curing-god and is often connected with Horon and Shadrapha. He is also a hunting-god. Especially in Sardinia his name is common on inscriptions (names suffetes). Often the addition 'dr (powerful) or b*by (Babay) is used. In the later period he becomes Sardos and Sardus Pater.
2. ḥls.b * l
= hillesbaal = Halos-Ba*al = Baal saves’c.625 BC? (Benz page 109-110) is common!
3. ḥlbn =?
Nothing is known about it. It occurs only here. Guidi only reads hl, but that word stands for "wealth" (Krah.page 183). c.600 BC?
4. ym' =?
Perhaps there is a connection to ymrr. Latin: Iamrur, Numidian: YMR (Benz page 128: 1x). Perhaps it has something to do with 'Y = island or yam = sea god. C.575 BC?
5. gr'
= ger = worship (Krah.page 142). Missing what? The inscription leaves no gap between the signs! C.550 BC?
6. ‘RSJ
= Arish = 'ARIS (Benz page 64-69). Is very common (C.500x).
C.525 BC? The name is also identified about 550 BC to Sulcis and from c.500 BC to c.450 BC to Antas,Tharros and Elefantina.
7. pt '
=? Maybe PETI = naive? (Krah.page 408)+(Benz page 177) 1x. Maybe PUT? = Phoenicia. Maybe Ptah? C.500 BC? Guidi is making an unexplained Fata 'of it.
8. Bdtywn * =? Should it not be: *bdtynw be? Then:
BDTNW * = *ABD TENNAW (Krah.page 358) Servant of Tennaw. (Benz page 164). See also KAI 174. C.475 BC?
9. b*lsjm*
= BA*AL-SAMO* = Baal (far) belongs. (Benz page 100) 8x. Corrupted to Balsamo. C.450 BC?
= bodsid = in the service of Sid (Benz page 88). C.425 BC? We find in the 5th century BC also one Bodsid in Sidon (Magnanini.nr.22), at least the unknown author of his inscription is in Sidon.
11.gr 'SJMN
= geresjmoen GER-'ESMUN worshiper of Esjmoen. (Benz page 103) 4x C.400 BC?
12.mhrb *l
= l = maharbaäl Mahar-BA*AL = MEHHER – BA*AL = Make haste Baal (Krah.blz 273) C.375 BC? (Benz page 137-138, 340-341). Is very common.
13. -Nb * l
= missing only one letter. In other words, a reasonable probability that the name is: h.nb * l = Hannibal and not Adonibaäl as Guidi supposes. C.350 BC?
= germelqart = GER-MILQART worshiper of Melqart. (Benz pages 104+107). Is common. C.325 BC? Especially in Kition about 300 BC and at the Monte Sirai (4th-3rd century BC).
= H.I-MILKOT = Milkot is my brother. Corrupted to Himilco. (Benz page 112-117). Is common. C.300 v.C? It is a real Punic name. There is a general with that name at Carthage in 309 BC. The name is also known at Sulcis about 300 BC, to Lilybaion c.250 BC, to Carales c.250 BC and again in Sulcis c.250 BC.
16.ḥnb * l
= Hannibal = H.ANNI-BA * AL = Baal, be merciful to me, or in the favor of Baal. (Benz page 122-124). Is very common. C.275 BC? In 259 BC shows a Carthaginian admiral himself being fooled by the Romans at Sulcis. He loses his fleet and is put to death by his own crew.
17.the unknown? In the 4th-2nd century BC lives in Tharros incidentally one Mago, son of Hannibal. It does not have any meaning, but it is not excluded that the unknown is called Mago.
Other matters.
a.De ordination is likely in Olbia done, but all or part of the parents, of course could come from elsewhere! Perhaps the 10th name of Bodsid comes from Sidon. His son is Geresjmoen with the name of the god Esjmoen in his name and who was honored in Sidon, but this is done also in Carthage. The last names are also very common in Carthage. I do not say that a line Sidon-Carthage-Olbia exists, but it is a possibility.
b.Sommige names appear very frequently, whereas other names only 1x occur, in particular in the beginning of the series from ḥlbn to *bdtywn. Also mlks.d is unique! The further back in time, the less often the name is? With the exception of Arish and Hillesbaäl that disrupt this pattern.
C.We see god-names like Baal, Esjmoen, Sid, Melqart, but not of goddesses like Asjtarte and/or Tanit.
The riddle is not solved yet!
drs.H.R.van Diessen, Apeldoorn 2013