maandag 10 november 2014

Phoenicians in Egypt


Egypt and the Phoenicians.


The last two weeks I tried to reconstruct the presence of the Phoenicians in Egypt. You could have seen my contributions on Abd-Simbel, Abydos, Elefantina, Memphis, Saqqara and Thebe. Now follows a short overview.


We know 27 inscriptions and 119 graffiti made by the Phoenicians in Egypt. We find the Phoenicians all the way along the Nile in most of the important towns. In capital letters: old Egyptian names.


32° NB





            Bubastis – BAST                   1 inscription                no name

30°      Heliopolis - IOENOB

            Sakkara                                  4 inscriptions              4 names

            Memphis – MENNOEFER   6 inscriptions              18 names










26°      Abydos – ABEDJOE                        49 graffiti                   78-79 names

            Thebe  - WASET                   7 inscriptions              10-12 names





24°      Elefantine                               60 graffiti                   78 names






22°      Aboe Simbel                          4 inscriptions              10 names



21° NB


From 5 inscriptions with 19 names we don’t know the place of origin.

The tangible presence of the Phoenicians is limited to the 6th-1st century BC. 50% of all personal names (c.220) are coming from the 5th century BC, 18% from the 4th century BC and 14% from the 3rd century BC.


Besides to the personal names we are aware of other facts, such as the Phoenician sailors that were sent around Africa by the farao Necho (610-595 BC). Farao Psammetichus II (595-589 BC) made an expedition to Kush where he made use of Phoenician soldiers. Farao Amasis (568-526 BC) did the same to Nubia. The Persian king Darius I finished the work of Necho on the channel between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. In the wadi Toumilat on the route between the Nile and the Red Sea the presence of the Phoenicians is attested. In Techna in the Fayoum is the cult of Astarte noticed. In the oasis of Bahariya deep in the desert a grave of Padi-Astarte has been found. In Buchéum (15 km from Thebe) the so-called sign of Tanit has been detected, but that is doubtful. It could also be an Ankh sign! Most of all we find the Phoenicians in Memphis, where they had their own quarter in the town. Herodotos II 112:

“His successor was a man from Memphis, named by the Greeks as Prooteus. Nowadays there is still a beautiful and well kept domain, that is located in the southwest of the Hephaistos temple. Around that domain live the Phoenicians from Tyre and the whole neighbourhood is called the Tyrian camp. On the area of that domain of Prooteus is located a temple, that bears the name of a strange Aphroditè.” That must have been Astarte!



phoenicians in Thebe


THEBE  -  Waset


Famous for its Amon’s cult. The places here have the names of Luxor, Karnak, Deir el Bahari, Medinet Haboe, Valley of the Kings. In Deir el Medina we find a village of the workers and there must have been also most of the Phoenicians we encounter in the inscriptions. In total there are 10 decipherable names.


RES 1378

Lk …..                        Maybe lkn = in order that? Likay (aram) (Krahmalkov p.255)

   |                                However it must be a personal name, because the full inscription is:

   |                                …. bn lk… (? the son of lk…)


………                       ?


RES 1509

’bq[m]                         ’Abi-qom (my <divine> father has arisen) (Benz p.55) ph, pu

                                   (Krahmalkov p.33). This man comes from Akko.


RES 1510



Bqrtšmš                      in Heliopolis


‘štrtṢb                         ‘AštartṢb. Misspelling for ‘Aštart-yaṢṢib(a) (Astarte has established)

  |                                 (benz 175, Krahmalkov p.391) ph, pu.


Šdqr/dy                      ?


RES 1511

ḥ‘m                             (vocalisation and meaning uncertain) (Benz 109, Krahmalkov p.175)

  |                                 ph, pu


Šd                               ?


RES 1512

’bṢ.                             ?


‘bdḥmn                       ‘Abd-ḥammon (servant of Baal-hammon) (Benz p.154) ph

                                   (Krahmalkov p.355) Historical person: Abdemon DCPP2


Šd ’lnm cbdḥmn bn ’bṢ. = camp of the gods, Abdhamon, son of ’bṢ.


RES 1513

Urns with inscriptions


A. ’nk l                       me l?

B. mṭn                        gift

C. hṢk                        ? hṢ = speerpunt

     Brn                        (vocalisation and meaning uncertain) (Benz p.101, Krahmalkov) pu

D. nqm’l                     Naqom-’l (Il/God avenge(s)) (Benz p.147, Krahmalkov p.335)

E. mlk …                    Milk …, King …


RES 1514

Kṭl                              neopunic. ?.


Phoenicians in Memphis


MEMPHIS – Mennoefer - mnp


The old town is situated close to nowadays Caïro. There are 6 Phoenician inscriptions in which there are 18 persons named. I follow the survey of Magnanini as an entry.


CIS I 97 Neo-Punic on a sphinx KAI 138

‘zrb‘l bn mskn

‘rkrḥ wzybq[t]


Mskn = Misken (poor fellow) (Benz p.142, Krahmalkov p.298)


‘zrb’l = ‘Azrubaal (Baal is his help). Exceedingly common. (p.Benz 167-170, 376 and Krahmalkov p. 364). Other historical persons are named Hasdrubal.

Another solution can be: ‘Azorbaal (Baal help!). Historical person: Ozerbaal (DCPP 338).


’rkrḥ = ’erk-ruh (patience) (Benz p.63, Krahmalkov p.73) Pu.


Zybq[t] = Ziboq (Benz p.188-189, Krahmalkov p.171) Pu. Ph


So we encounter four names, of which we only know the relation of the father Misken and the son Azrubaal. It is not clear in what relation they stand with Erk-ruh and Ziboq.

We see by the way the name Zybqt (Zyboqot) also in an inscription (RES 360, KAI 70) from Avignon from the 3rd century BC as a priestess, daughter of Abdešmun, son of ---- etc (Amadasi p.183) and in an inscription (CIS I 132, KAI 62) from the 2nd century BC at Malta by the people of Gaulus (gwl) at the sanctuaries of Sadambaal and Astarte as Zybqm (Zyboqom). See: Amadasi p.33.




KAI 38 Eph.1.152-158

2nd -1st  century BC Memory stone with Horus and a crocodile.

There are 10 persons named in this inscription, which falls apart in two segments. First there is the pedigree of the one, who makes the dedication, and then follows the pedigree of the central person: the mother with her four sons?!


------                unknown person


‘bdmilk{t}      ‘Abd-Milkot (servant of Milkot) Historical person: Abdimilkutti/Abdimilkot

   |                                           (Benz p.155, Krahmalkov p.356) ph.pu. (DCPP 3).

   |                    ‘Abd-milk (servant of Milk) Historical person: Abdimilk (DCPP 2-3)

   |                                           (Benz p.155, Krahmalkov p.356) ph,pu.

Bnb‘l               Bin-Ba‘al (son of Baal) (Benz p.89, Krahmalkov p.106) ph.


‘bdmlkt           See: above


Bnb‘l               See: above


‘bdmlkt           See: above [x ḥn‘štrt]? See below


P‘l‘štrt             Pa‘ol-‘Astart (Astart act) (Benz p.176. Krahmalkov p.403) ph.


Persons are named to their ancestors, but that skips over one generation.


[‘bdmlkt]?                  X         ḥn‘štrt = ḥanna-‘Aštart (Astart be gracious to her!)



|                                   |                                   |                                   |

‘bd’sr                          bnb‘l                           ‘bdšmš                                    p‘l‘štrt

‘Abd-’siri                    see: above                   ‘Abd-šemeš                see: above

(Servant of Osiris)                                         (Servant of Semes)

(Benz p.149,                                                  (Benz p.164,

Krahmalkov p.354)                                        Krahmalkov p.358)


It is probable, that the husband of Hanna-Astarte is the third Abdmilkot, but not completely certain. He is named separately!


Magnanini p.64.


Complete text of KAI 38:


Hmṭn’ [z] yṭn[’t] ’nk p‘l‘štrt bn ‘bdmlkt bn bnb‘l bn ‘bdmlkt bn bnb‘l


bn ‘bdmlkt [t—‘l ’?] dt šmr n’lky lrbty l’lm ’drt ’s ’lm ‘štrt wl’lnm ’š


’l[. yb] rk ’y[tyw’tb]ny ‘bd’sr w bnb‘l w ‘bdšmš wp‘l‘štrt w‘t ’mnm ḥn‘štrt


[wy]tn ln ḥm wḥym l‘n ’lnm wbn ’dm


This giving was done by Paolastart, son of Abdmilkot, son of Binbaal, son of Abdmilkot, son of Binbaal, son of Abdmilko[t ----] ---- to my lady, to the powerful Isis, to Astart and to her gods, who govern in health(?) and bless her and her sons Abdosiris and Binbaal and Abdsemes and Paolastart and with their mother Hanna-astart. Every morning(?) we are thankful for the life with their gods and their human sons.

Magnanini p.64.




RES 2 = 59 = 917. Eph.III 118

Tablet close to the pyramid of Unes.


’bnn     = vocalisation and meaning uncertain (Benz p.54, Krahmalkov p.29) ph


ḥn        = ḥen (hb) (divine grace, favour, generosity, benefaction) (Kramalkov p.189)

            = or: misspelling for ḥn’= ḥanno (May He be gracious to him!)

                        (Benz 117-122) pu (Krahmalkov p.189) (DCPP 207-210 historic persons)


Complete text and translation:

Lhn bn ’bnn = of Hanno, daughter of ’bnn.


In the original text of signs we read a ḥ in the beginning, but in the translation of Magnanini it becomes a h by mistake.

M.Lidzbarski read hnbt as one word. The name hnbt however we can’t find in any Phoenician dictionary. It must be separate and it is far more logical.

Magnanini p.64.




Magnanini p.65. On an urn. Names are lacking. Only two words are visible.

‘lt        = has many meanings: on, upon, over, in charge of, to, into, from, for (the benefit of)

                         Incumbent upon. (Krahmalkov p.).

Ṣmḥ     = Ṣemaḥ (hb) = shoot, offspring, son, legal successor (Krahmalkov p.417)


The inscription is made bilingual: demotic and Phoenician.



Mnp (ph)

Mn-nfr (eg), mnpy (aram), (hb).



DCPP = E.Lipinski ed. Dictionnaire de la civilisation phénicienne et punique, Brepols, Turnhout, 1992.


Phoenicians in Elefantina



Elefantina at the first cataract lies on island in the Nile close to Aswan at the beginning of the Nasser-lake in Egypt. The old Egyptian name of Aswan was SWENET. There are temples on Elefantina for Chnoem, Sakis and Anoekis.

We find here a conglomerate of many Phoenicians inscriptions with personal names, which seems to be for a greater part in connection with each-other. It looks like this is a complete Egyptian-Phoenician (group of) family/ies mingling in each-other. Many names are returning in different inscriptions: Ytnḥp 3x, sḥpmw 4x, ‘bdptḥ 2x, ‘bdl’ 2x, ‘bd’bst 4x. They have found a total of c.80 personal names of which c.20 are pure Egyptian, c.20 are half Egyptian/half Phoenician origin, c.30 are pure Phoenician and c.10 are too problematic to house, but everything is written down in the Phoenician language. All the inscriptions come from the 5th century BC.


Name x = the father
           |                                         ph: Phoenician
Name y = the son
            |                                        pu: punic
Name z = the grandson


’srtny              Osiri-Tinni (Osiris, give/place me!) (Benz p.63, Krahmalkov p.67) ph, pu.


‘bd’sr              ‘Abd-’Osiri (servant of Osiris) (Benz p.149, Krahmalkov p.354) Common.


Ytnḥp             Yaton-ḥapi (Apis give/gave) (Benz p.130, Krahmalkov p.142) ph


Grb‘l               Ger-Ba‘al (Fearer of Baal) (Benz p.103, Krahmalkov p.142) ph, pu

                                                                       G-ri-ba-‘-al (Ass) (Benz p.298)


’šmnytn           ’Esmun-yaton (May Esmun grant!) (Benz p.71-72, Krahmalkov p.83)

                                               Very common. Historical person: Suniathus


‘bdmlqrt          ‘Abd-Milqart (servant of Milqart) (Benz p.155-161, Krahmalkov p.356)

                                               Ph, pu. Numerous misspellings and contractions.


B‘l‘zr              Ba‘al-‘Azor (Baal help him/me/you) (Benz p.96, Krahmalkov p.117) ph, pu.

   |                                           Very common

Ytnḥp              Yaton-ḥapi (Apis give/gave) (Benz p.130, Krahmalkov p.142) ph


’šmnšlk           ’Esmun-sillek (Esmun save me/you) (Benz p.73, Krahmalkov p.84) ph, pu.


Psmsnyt          ?


‘bd’mn                        ‘Abd-’Amun (servant of Amon/Amun) (Benz p…, Krahmalkov p.354) ph, pu.


Ytn                 Yaton (short form of thr name-type ytn-DN or DN-yaton = DN gave/give).

   |                                (Benz p.129, 131). Common. Ia-a-tu-nu (ass) Iatunis (lat).

Sptḥ                ? misspelling for spṭ ? (Safot).


ḥpls                 ? ḥPilles?


‘bdb‘l              ‘Abdba‘al (servant of Baal) Common (Benz 153-154, Krahmalkov p.354).


P‘l’bst             Pa‘ol-Ubast ((u)bastis act) (Benz p.176, Krahmalkov p,403) ph.


Ṣḥpmw           Egyptian


W’                   Egyptian


‘bd’bst                        ‘Abdu-Bast(i) (servant of Bastis) (Benz p.148, Krahmalkov p.353)


‘bdl’                ?misspelling for ‘bd’l? = ‘Abd-’ili (servant of my god) (Benz p.175,

                                                           Krahmalkov p.353) ph, pu.


P‘l’—r             perhaps p‘l’sr = Pa‘ol-Osiri (Osiris act) (Benz p.175, Krahmalkov p.353) pu.




Bnḥr                Egyptian (zoon van Horus?).


’btr                  ?


‘nḥpms            Egyptian


‘bdptḥ             ‘Abd-Ptaḥ (servant of Ptaḥ) (Benz p. 174, Krahmalkov p.357) ph.




‘kbr                 ‘Akbor (mouse) Common (Benz p.171, 377, Krahmalkov p.367)


’ḥmn               ?misspelling for ’ḥ’mn = ’Ahi-’Amon (Amon is my <divine> brother)

                                   (Benz p.61, Krahmalkov p.42) ph.


Ml …


Ytnḥp             Yaton-ḥapi (Apis give/gave) (Benz p.130, Krahmalkov p.142) ph


’šmn.               ? Esmun ?


… n                 ?


ḥr                    Horus of ḥor/ḥur (meaning uncertain) (Benz p.125, Krahmalkov p.195) ph, pu.


Ṣḥpmw           Egyptian


Šml                 perhaps misspelling for smb‘l (Sembaal = deity).


ḥ…                  ?


Knpy               Egyptian


Tpl                  perhaps misspelling for tplt (prayer, supplication) KAI 162.


Ṣḥpmw           Egyptian


‘bdršp             ‘Abdrešep (servant of Rešef)


‘bdptḥ             ‘Abd-Ptaḥ (servant of Ptaḥ) (Benz p. 174, Krahmalkov p.357) ph.




‘bdl’                ?misspelling for ‘bd’l? = ‘Abd-’ili (servant of my god) (Benz p.175,

                                                           Krahmalkov p.353) ph, pu.


Bnḥp               Bin-ḥapi (son of Apis) (Benz p.89, Krahmalkov p.106) ph.


‘bd’sr              ‘Abd-’Osiri (servant of Osiris) (Benz p.149, Krahmalkov p.354) Common.


Ṣḥ’                  Egyptian


Ṣḥpmw           Egyptian


Yḥw’              Yeḥewwe (short form of the name-type yḥw-DN (DN grant long live)

   |                                           (Benz p.127, Krahmalkov p.206) ph, pu.

‘bd’šmn          ‘Abd-’Esmun (servant of Esmun) Benz p.150-153, Krahmalkov p.354)



Ytnm              Abbrevation of Ytnmlk? Yatonmilk (Milk gives/gave) (Benz p.130,

                                               Krahmalkov p.220) ph, pu.


‘bdptḥ             ‘Abd-Ptaḥ (servant of Ptaḥ) (Benz p. 174, Krahmalkov p.357) ph.


‘bd’bst                        ‘Abdu-Bast(i) (servant of Bastis) (Benz p.148, Krahmalkov p.353)


Bn’s                BannoS? (Benz p.89, Krahmalkov p.104) pu.


Mnḥm             Meneḥḥem (Comforter) (Benz p.162, Krahmalkov p.294) ph, pu.


ḥrwṢ               Egyptisch


‘bdskn             ‘Abd-Sakun (servant of Sakun) (Benz p.162, Krahmalkov p.356) ph, pu.


Klbl’               Kelb-’Ila (hound of Ila) (Benz p.132, Krahmalkov p.228) ph, pu.


‘ptḥ                 perhaps Ptaḥ or misspelling for ‘pt (bird?) KAI 10.


Mhryt.             (vocalisation and meaning uncertain) (Benz p.138, Krahmalkov p.273) ph.


Bnmmlkm       royal sonship? (Krahmalkov p.109).


‘kzsmsk           ‘kz-Samok (KS support him/you/me) (vocalisation and meaning uncertain)

                                               (Benz p.171, Krahmalkov p.367).


[‘]bd’bst          ‘Abdu-Bast(i) (servant of Bastis) (Benz p.148, Krahmalkov p.353)


ḥpyw               Egyptian


ḥrml                (vocalisation and meaning uncertain) (Benz p.125, Krahmalkov p.197) ph.


Pṭ’s                 Egyptian


Ṣknsmw          Egyptian


Msk.                ? (the dead, a small number)


Pṭkns               Egyptian


Npr q              perhaps misspelling for n‘rqš’ (vocalisation and meaning uncertain)

                                   (Benz p.147, Krahmalkov p.333) pu.


šlm                  Salom, Sallum, Sillem (Benz p.180, Krahmalkov p.464) ph, pu.


Hrkp               ?


Hpyw              Egyptian


Mnšy               Menessi (meaning uncertain) (Benz p.142, Krahmalkov p.297) ph.


… pmt            ?


Psk …                         ?


Pt’sy               Egyptian


’rš                    ’Ariš (Requested <of god>) (Benz p.64-69, Krahmalkov p.75).


‘pth                 perhaps Ptaḥ or misspelling for ‘pt (bird?) KAI 10.


‘lb/pt               ‘lpt: Alipota, city in N.Africa (DCPP 18-20).

                        ‘lbt: ???