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H . A L T E N M L L E R B. H R O U D A B . A . L E V I N E R . S . O ' F A H E Y
K . R . V E E N H O F C . H . M . V E R S T E E G H
' / 68 '
/6 81-'
Li br ar y of Con gr e ss Cat al ogi n g- i n - Publ i cat i on Dat a
Handbook of Ugaritic studies / [edited] by Wilfred G.E. Watson and
Nicolas Wyatt.
p. cm. (Handbuch der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Nahe
und der Mittlere Osten, ISSN 0169-9423 ; 39. Bd.)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9004109889 (alk. paper)
1. Ugarit (Extinct city) 2. Cuneiform inscriptions, Ugaritic.
3. Ugaritic philology. I. Watson, Wilfred G.E. II. Wyatt.
Nicolas. III. Series.
DS99.U35H35 1999
939'.43dc21 99-13946
Di e Deu t sch e Bi bl i ot h ek - CI P- Ei n h ei t sau f n ah me
Han d b u ch der Or i en t al i st i k. Leiden ; Boston ; Kln : Brill
Teilw. hrsg. von II. Altenmller .- Teilw. hrsg. von B. Spuler
Teilw. mit Parallelt.: Handbook of oriental studies
Abt. 1. Der Nahe und Mittlere Osten =The Near and Middle East /
hrsg. von H. Altenmller ...
Teilw. hrsg. von B. Spuler
Bd. 39. Handbook of Ugaritic studies. - 1999
Han d b ook of Ugar i t i c st u di es / by Wilfred G.E. Watson and
Nicolas Wyatt (eds.). - Leiden ; Boston ; Kln : Brill, 1999
(Handbuch der Orientalistik : Abt. 1, Der Nahe und Mittlere Osten :
I SBN 90-04-10988-9
ISSN 0169-9423
ISBN 90 04 10988 9
Copyright 1999 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written
permission from the publisher.
Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill
provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance
Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers MA 01923, USA.
Fees are subject to change.
This handbook is dedicated to Cyrus H. Gordon
List of Illustrations xi
Prcface xii
Chapter One General I ntroduction 1
Chapter Two Ras Shamra, Minet el-Beida and
Ras I bn Hani: The Material Sources 5
Chapter Three The Written Sources 28
1 The Syllabic Akkadian Texts 28
2 The Alphabetic Ugaritic Tablets 46
3 The Hurri an and Hittite Texts 58
Chapter Four The Ugaritic Language 76
1 The Decipherment of Ugaritic 76
2 The Ugaritic Script 81
3 Ugaritic Grammar 91
4 Ugaritic Lexicography 122
5 Ugaritic Words in Syllabic Texts 134
Chapter Five Ugaritic Stylistics 140
1 Ugaritic Prose 140
2 Ugaritic Poetry 165
Chapter Six The Ugaritic Literary Texts 193
1 The Mythological Texts 193
2 The Legend of Keret 203
3 The Story of Aqhat 234
4 The Rpum Texts 259
5 The I ncantations 270
Chapter Seven The Ugaritic Cultic Texts 287
1 The Rituals 287
2 The Offering Lists and the God Lists 305
3 The Omen Texts 353
Chapter Eight The Correspondence of Ugarit 359
1 The Ugaritic Letters 359
2 The Akkadian Letters 375
Chapter Nine The Legal Texts from Ugarit 390
1 I ntroduction 390
2 The Akkadian Legal Texts 394
3 The Ugaritic Legal Texts 411
4 The Hittite Legal Text 420
Chapter Ten The Economy of Ugarit 423
1 The Administrative Texts 423
2 Commerce 439
3 Crafts and I ndustries 448
Chapter Eleven The Society of Ugarit 455
1 Peoples, Cultures and Social Movements 455
2 The Royal Family, Administration and Commerce .... 467
3 The Family and the Collective 475
4 Crafts and Professions 484
5 The Army 492
Chapter Twelve The Onomastics of Ugarit 499
1 Personal Names and Prosopography 499
2 Ugaritic Place Names 515
Chapter Thirteen The Religion of Ugarit:
An Overview 529
Chapter Fourteen The I conography of Ugarit 586
Chapter Fifteen A Political History of Ugarit 603
1 Preliminary Remarks 603
2 Ugarit in the Early and Middle Bronze Ages 608
3 Ugarit under Egyptian I nfluence 621
4 Ugarit under Hittite Rule 627
5 Ugarit in the Age of 'Pax Hethiticd 646
6 The Weakening Grip of the Hittites 683
7 The Last Years of Ugarit 704
Chapter Sixteen The Tablets and the Computer 734
1 The Current State of Ugaritic Sudies and
Technology 734
2 Storage and Analysis of the Texts 747
References 755
Abbreviations 755
Bibliography 761
List of Contributors 824
I ndices
I ndex of Topics 827
I ndex of Personal Names 839
I ndex of Divine Names 843
I ndex of Toponyms 844
I ndex of Ugaritic Words 847
I ndex of Syllabic Akkadian 850
I ndex of Various Languages 851
I ndex of K TU Texts 852
I ndex of RI H Texts 871
I ndex of RS Texts 871
Map Western Syria in the Late Bronze Age xiv
Fig. 1 A list of offerings with the first tablet number
(KTU 1.39 = RS 1.001) 81
Fig. 2 The alphabet tablet from Ugarit (14th/13th
cent, BCE) 82
Fig. 3 The long cuneiform alphabet from Ugarit and its
relationship to Phoenician and Canaani te 83
Fig. 4 The short cuneiform alphabet from Ugarit 84
Fig. 5 The Ugaritic script in relation to the Western and
Southern scripts 86
Fig. 6 The alphabet tablet from Beth Shemesh 87
Fig. 7 Tablet with the South Arabic Alphabet 87
Fig. 8 Deciphered alphabets of the South-Eastern
h-l-h-m- tradition 88
Fig. 9 The spread of cuneiform alphabets in the Eastern
Mediterranean 90
Fig. 10 Calcite statue (of El?) 588
Fig. 11 'Baal au foudre' stela 590
Fig. 12 Menacing god 592
Fig. 13 Gold decorated patera 594
Fig. 14 'Qedeshet'-type gold pendant 596
Fig. 15 Ivory bed panel: royal couple caressing 597
Fig. 16 Cylinder-seal impression (Minet el-Beidah) 599
Fig. 17 Decorated rhyton 600
Fig. 18 Module 1 752
Fig. 19 Module 2 753
Fig. 20 Module 3 754
The Handbook of Ugantic Studies is the product of the labours of a
large team of scholars from many countries. Its gestation has been
quite lengthy, with many emergencies, false alarms, high blood-
pressure, worrying scans, premature contractions and so forth.
The original editor, J ohannes de Moor of Kampen, began the
organization of the volume, drew up an outline and undertook the
arduous task of contacti ng contri butors from around the globe.
However, for personal reasons, he felt compelled to withdraw from
the enterprise at an early stage and the publishers then invited Wilfred
Watson (Newcastle) to take over. This, of course, was felt to be a
great honour, but due to the need for a fellow-worker, Nicolas Wyatt
(Edinburgh) was then invited to act as co-editor. The use of e-mail
has enabled the editors to work closely together on all the stages of
the production of the Handbook and to maintain contact with many
of the contributors. It was also helpful for the translation of contri-
butions in German, I talian and Spanish (15 out of the 47 sections)
prepared by Watson, with some revision by Wyatt and the contrib-
utors concerned.
Unfortunately, there was a gap of several months before the pro-
ject was resumed under its new editors and for a variety of reasons
a number of scholars withdrew from the project. Only when it was
reestablished under the direction of the new editorial team did the
entire membership of the Mission de Ras Shamra withdraw. This
meant that new contributors had to be found, some at quite short
notice. Further withdrawals at intervals right to the end of the pro-
ject have discouraged us, and we have to thank Patricia Radder of
Brill, as well as those contributors who generously stepped into the
breaches left by others, in some cases very late in the day, to enable
us finally to make the volume ready for delivery.
Since this volume has been published in English, we have by and
large standardized ancient names where there are recognized English
equivalents, so that, for instance, ancient 'Karkami' and 'Kargami'
are rendered 'Carchemi sh'. Similarly, 'I lu' becomes , 'Ba'l u'
becomes 'Baal', and so on. We have not however imposed total
consistency, so that 'Hatti' and 'Muki', for instance, which have no
standard modem forms, retain their diacritics. For Ugaritic texts
K TU numbers are followed, with cross-reference to RS numbers,
and in some instances where contributors have added PRU, Ug or
RSO numbers these have been retained.
We feel obliged to honour the Kotharat, the goddesses of child-
birth, whose gracious intervention has finally achieved a safe partu-
rition. It is frequendy observed, to move to the spheres of influence
of other deifies, that among the most traumatic human experiences
other than death are house-buying and divorce. Perhaps we should
add to this list the editing of large reference books. sb
alpm Iktrt:
seven oxen to the Kotharat!
University of Newcastle New College, Edinburgh
Western Syria in the Late Bronze Age
As yet no handbook of Ugaritic studies has been published with the
scope and range of the present volume. However, there have been
forerunners on a smaller scale. The first substantial work of this kind
was by DUSSAUD 1937', 1941
. In two volumes, it was greatly influenced
by the Hebrew Old Testament, of course, and with some of the mis-
conceptions of the time (particularly in respect of alleged geograph-
ical allusions). Another comprehensive survey by DE LANGHE 1945,
described the discovery and history of Tell Ras Shamra, the texts
found there, the writing and language of the alphabetic texts, their
archaeological, geographic and historical background (with a list of
the personal names) and a description of the family, social and polit-
ical life of Ugarit. Here SCHAEFFER 1939a may also be mentioned.
Later came DROWER 1975, KI NET 1981 and CURTI S 1985. Two more
recent works which cover some of the same ground as the present
volume and also include maps and rich illustrations are BALDACCI
1996 and CUNCHI LLOS 1992b. Some recent encyclopaedia entries
include CAQUOT 1979b, COURTOI S 1979, Y ON 1992a, PARDEE
BORDREUI L 1992; and brief descriptions of the language are provided
by PARDEE 1997d and WATSON 1994b. A survey of work up to 1980
is provided by Y OUNG, G. D. 1981, Cunchillos has produced a use-
ful handbook for students (CUNCHI LLOS 1992b) and the proceedings
of further international conferences have been published (UBL 11
Manchester 1992, ALASP 7Mnster 1993, RSO 11Paris 1993,
UBL 12Edi nburgh 1994). The successive volumes of Ugartica and
PRU, together with other volumes of the RSO series have provided
updated instruments of research.
The tablets, our pri mary source of i nformati on, are unfortunatel y
deteriorating fast. On a more positive note, photographs of the texts
are in preparati on (ZUCKERMAN - ZUCKERMAN 1997) and computer
programs have been applied to scan them (see section 15). A new
edition of the tablets in transcription has been published (T77
)' as
well as a concordance of the tabl et-numbers (TEO = RSO 5/1). An
edition of the texts is now available both on the I nternet and on
CD- ROM (CUNCHI LLOS - VI TA 1993a; CUNCHI LLOS 1998b, 1998c,
and ongoing work in the United States with the West Semitic Research
Project) whi ch has the advantage of bei ng updated conti nual l y.
Other reference works available are concordances (CUNCHI LLOS
VI TA 1995a, which largely replaces WHI TAKER 1972) and word lists
(DI ETRI CH - LORETZ 1996b). Of particular significance is the first
vol ume of the new dictionary (DLU = DEL OL MO LETE - SANMARTI N
1996). I n addition, three teaching grammars (SEGERT 1984; CUNCHI L-
LOS - ZAMORA 1995; SI VAN 1997) and outlines of grammar (CAZELLES
1979; CUNCHI LLOS 1992b; PARDEE 1997d) have been published.
Comprehensi ve coverage of the Akkadian of Ugarit is available
(HUEHNERGARD 1989; VAN SOLDT 1991a) and the Hurri an of Ugari t
has also been studied (DI ETRI CH - MAY ER 1995, etc.). Studies are
available on the town of Ugari t - Ras Shamra (SAAD 1978; RSO
1, 3, 6, 8, 10) and on Ugaritic religion (DEL OL MO LETE 1992a =
1999) and (WY ATT 1996a), sociology (VI TA 1995a; ABOUD 1971;
HELTZER 1976, 1982) and other topics (GRAY 1965; RSP 1-3) in-
cluding the hippiatric texts (COHEN - SI VAN 1983; PARDEE 1985;
SANMARTI N 1988a; COHEN 1996).
Ugaritic remai ns a flourishing discipline. UF is now in its 30th
year and periodicals such as /1/0, AuOr, JNES, JSS, SEL, Semitica,
Syria, WO and carry articles and reviews on Ugaritic. Unfortunately,
the Newsletter for Ugaritic Studies has been di sconti nued (last issue
Apri l -October 1989) in spite of efforts to reactivate it.
Several translations have been available: CLEAR 1976
1978; GI NSBERG 1969
, 129-55; HVI DBERG - HANSEN 1990; DE MOOR
1987; RI N - RI N 1992; GI BSON 1978 (a revision of DRI VER 1956),
DEL OL MO LETE 1981a and XEL L A 1982a. A number of new trans-
' For correcti ons see TROPPER 1995b, 1995-6, 1998; PARDEE 1998.
See TROPPER 1997b for a survey and evaluation of recent work.
lations have appeared including TO 2, CS i, with the translations of
Ugaritic texts by PARDEE and others (also PARDEE in R S O 4, 12),
as well as PARKER (ed.) 1997 and most recently, WY ATT 1998C, with
extensive footnotes, and DEL OL MO LETE 1998b. Monographs on sin-
gle texts include GRAY 1964
(on Keret), MARGALI T 1989a (on the
Aqhat text) and SMI TH 1994 (on the Baal Cycle).
Full bibliographies on Ugaritic up to 1988 are provided by DI ET-
RI CH - LORETZ et al. 1967-86; DI ETRI CH - LORETZ 1996a; CUN-
CHI LLOS 1990 (TEO 2 = R S O 5/2); while BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1989
(TEO 1 = RSO 5/1) is particularly useful for determining the loca-
tions of tablets in various museums, their condition and what they
Work currently in hand includes a three-volume work on Ugaritic
grammar (TROPPER); a series of articles on toponyms (VAN SOLDT
1996; 1998); an English translation of DEL OL MO LETE 1992a (1999),
new editions of the ritual texts (PARDEE in press) and the letters
(PARDEE), the second instalment of which is eventually to appear in
an English language edition, a study of religion (WYATT), and fur-
ther volumes of SMI TH 1994 and CS.
Wi th this description of the present state of studies, which shows the
discipline to be in a healthy condition, it is important to point to
further work that is required, although some indications are pro-
vided in the various contributions. Topics to be studied more exhaus-
tively include the alphabetic and syllabic personal names, as well as
archaeology; and as yet there is no comprehensive translation of the
so-called administrative texts. The texts in Ugaritic have tended to
be the focus of attention, with the result that other areas have suffered
from comparative neglect.
Due to the international nature of this undertaking, which entailed
a large number of scholars, and in spite of the advantages of com-
munication by e-mail, the articles in the Handbook cover the mate-
rial to different depths and there is also inevitably some overlap
between them. Even so, many contributors discuss a range of top-
ics either not previously dealt with, such as iconography and tech-
nology, or with more detail than previously available. The main
thrust of the book has been to provide surveys of what has been
achieved, a task which often proved difficult either due to the absence
of previous surveys or because of the sheer range of opinions voiced.
It is hoped that a balance has been struck in respect of the amount
of detail provided and coverage is intended to be comprehensive and
representative rather than complete. Finally, the extensive consoli-
dated bibliography will certainly be of use for reference, filling the
gap between 1988 (covered by AO AT 20/6) and 1998. This work
has appeared in the seventieth anniversary of the discovery of Ras
Shamra, a propitious portent, perhaps, of discoveries to come.
R A S S H A M R A , M I N E T E L - B E I D A A N D R A S I B N H A N I :
Seventy years have elapsed since a chance discovery was made close
to the coast of Syria which was to spark off a series of archaeologi-
cal investigations which have continued right up to the present. Not
only have the excavations revealed an important commercial centre
the ancient city of Ugari twhi ch flourished in the second millen-
nium BCE, thereby shedding light on the history and culture of the
area and of the wider ancient Near Eastern world. They have also
yielded a hitherto unknown language or di al ectUgari ti cwhi ch
has made an important contribution to the study of the north-west
Semitic languages in addition to giving access to the life and thought
of the people of the city. The facts, firsdy that the newly discovered
language was seen to be akin to Hebrew, secondly that the texts,
once deciphered, were found to contain references to deities men-
tioned in the Hebrew Bible, in particular the god Baal, and thirdly
that the site was geographically rather closer to the land occupied
by the Israelites than the other great centres of ancient Near Eastern
civilization (though the considerable distance has sometimes been
minimised) all doubtless contributed to the early claims that a site
of maj or significance had been discovered. This had its pluses and
its minuses. It brought the discoveries to earlier prominence and to
a wider audience than might otherwise have been the case. But the
issue of the relevance of the discoveries at Ugarit for the study of
the Hebrew Bible, exacerbated by the tendency to assume that Ugarit
was a Canaanite city, has often been unduly dominant, at the expense
of an appreciation of Ugarit and its texts in their own right. The
excavation of other ancient cites in Syria, notably Ebla and Emar,
has helped to redress the balance somewhat and enabled Ugarit to
be seen in its rather more immediate geographical milieu.
The chance discovery alluded to above took place in the spring of
1928 some 10 km to the north of Latakia, close to a small bay, the
white rocks at whose entrance had given it the name Minet el-Beida
(formerly known as Leukos Limen, both names meani ng 'white har-
bour'). A local farmer was halted in the task of ploughing his land
when his ploughshare struck a large piece of stone which, on closer
examination, turned out to be one of a number of stone slabs which
formed the roof of a vaulted tomb. It appears that a number of
antiquities had alread been found in the vicinity, so the discovery
was brought to the attention of the Service des Antiquits en Syrie et au
Liban. Its director at the time was Charles Virolleaud, who was sub-
sequendy to play a maj or role in the decipherment of Ugaritic and
the early publication of the Ugaritic texts. He sent a member of his
staff", Lon Albanse, to visit the site and it was identified as a necro-
polis. Some pieces of ceramic were found which appeared to be of
Mycenean or Cypriot origin and to date from approximately the
thirteenth century BCE. However the site was not, at that stage,
thought to be particularly interesting.
Fortunately a plan of the tomb and some pottery samples were
sent to the Louvre in Paris for further examination. There they came
to the notice of Ren Dussaud, who was at the time Keeper of the
Department of Oriental Antiquities, and who noted that the tomb
appeared to be reminiscent of Cretan funerary vaults. He suggested
that what had been discovered might be the necropolis of a significant
city. Albanse had already noticed that there was a mound nearby
whose shape suggested that it might be a tell. This hill was known
as Ras Shamra, the name (which means 'fennel head [land]') being
derived from the plants which grew on its surface. So it was decided
that excavations should be carried out on the site, under the aus-
pices of the French Acadmie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, under the
direction of Claude F.A. Schaeffer.
It was in the Spring of 1929 that the first team of archaeologists
(accompanied by a detachment of soldiers to safeguard them) arrived
on the site, their equipment having been transported on the backs
of camels because the roads in the vicinity could not be used by
motor vehicles. The initial work undertaken involved a survey of the
vicinity, and traces of occupation stretching from the Neolithic period
to the time of the Romans were discovered. It was on April 2nd
that excavations proper began, and within a relatively short period
early suspicions were confirmed when it became clear that a con-
siderable complex had been found. It emerged that the 'necropolis'
comprised two different areas, the seaward of which revealed finds
of pottery and animal bones but no human remains. The other area
comprised well-built vaulted tombs containing a variety of artefacts.
Some of the earliest finds within the tombs were of considerable
interest and importance. For example, they began to give an inkling
of the cosmopolitan nature of the site, revealing artefacts which sug-
gested an Egyptian or Cypriot origin. Among these earliest discov-
eries were a number which have come to have particular prominence
in treatments of the discoveries from Ras Shamra. One was a small
statuette (AO 11. 598, CAQUOT - SZNY CER 1980, pi. I Xd), just 22 cm
in height, of a male figure with one arm raised above his head and
the other reaching forward, and with one leg in front of the other
as though marching or else poised to throw something. The figure
wore the accoutrements of a warriorhelmet, armbands and greaves,
and the fact that the helmet (and head) were covered in gold leaf
and that the armbands and greaves were of silver suggested that this
was perhaps a deity. The figure was initially identified with Resheph,
a god of plague, on the basis of other known representations of the
god. However, it has subsequently been thought much more likely
that the figure represented Baal, depicted as the storm-god armed
(originally) with club and spear, symbolising the thunder and light-
ning, his 'weapons'. This latter identification is supported by the strik-
ing similarity between the pose affected by the statuette and that of
the figure on the famous 'Baal stele' (RS 4. 427; CAQUOT - SZNY CER
1980, pl. X) which was not, of course, known at the time of the
earlier suggested identification (Fig. 11, p. 590).
Another important early find was in fact made in a tomb which
showed every sign of having suffered at the hands of tomb-robbers
who perhaps did not regard a small ivory box-lid (AO 11. 601,
CAQUOT - SZNY CER 1980, plates I V & V), only 13 cm high, as an ob-
ject of value. Carved on it was a seated female figure with an ornate
hairstyle, naked above the waist but wearing a very full skirt, holding
what appear to be ears of corn in either hand and flanked by ani-
mals (probably goats or ibexes) standing on their hind legs. The style
was unmistakably Mycenean, and it was suggested that the depic-
tion was of a fertility goddessperhaps the 'Mistress of the Animals'
though the precise identity of the figure was unclear.
After just over a month (on May 9th) attention was turned from the
necropolis to the tell itself, just over a kilometer away, in order to
answer the question whether it did indeed contain the ruins of a city
of which the necropolis was the cemetery. The summit of the mound,
which was some 17-20 m above the surrounding terrain, was very uneven
but showed no clear sign of any ancient structures. After a survey
of the tell's surface, the decision was taken to make the first trial
excavation at the point on the mound's surface which was closest to
the sea. The decision was influenced by reports that local inhabitants
had come across artefacts, some of gold, in an olive orchard which
lay below that part of the tell. Schaeffer wondered whether the ob-
jects might have come from a royal palace. His acumen was well and
speedily rewarded. Almost as soon as digging commenced, the exca-
vators came upon the foundations of a large edifice which seemed
to have suffered destruction by fire. A bronze nail embedded between
the blocks of a pillar, and a bronze dagger which had suffered dis-
tortion as a result of the intense heat of the conflagration, pointed
to a date for the edifice in the second millennium BCE. Confirmation
of this dating was provided by the discovery of parts of an Egyptian
statue made of granite and bearing a hieroglyphic inscription whose
style of writing was dated to the New Ki ngdom period.
As excavation continued, the scale and plan of the building began
to become clearer. So that the extent of the building might be assessed,
another trench was begun some 20 m to the east. More foundations
were revealed, whose depth and direction suggested that they belonged
to the same building, but here the rooms seemed to be smaller and
it was thought likely that they were storerooms. Pieces of ceramic
pointed to a date for the building which coincided with that of the
necropolis and suggested that both had ceased to be used by the
end of the thirteenth or the beginning of the twelfth century BCE.
On May 14th, less than a week after excavations had begun on
the tell, in the corner of one of the small storerooms, a tablet of baked
clay bearing a cuneiform inscription was discovered. Soon others
began to emerge within a small radius. Some had been rendered
very friable, presumably by the fire of which evidence had already
been found, and great care was needed to prevent them crumbling.
It was necessary for some to be removed still encased in soil and
allowed to dry slowly. This first epigraphic find involved a total of
twenty tablets of varying sizes, and perhaps the most intriguing fea-
ture was that they had revealed a hitherto unknown cuneiform script.
Shortly afterwards, in a newly opened area in another part of the
tell, a deposit of 74 bronze artefacts was discovered under a stone
slab (see SCHAEFFER 1939, pl. XXI I fig. 2 for photograph of hoard
in situ). These objects included various tools and weapons, all appar-
endy unused, and a small tripod decorated with pomegranate flowers.
It was soon noticed that some of the tools bore incised inscriptions
in the same script as that which had just been found on the clay
tablets (KTU 6.6, 6.10, 6.7, 6.8 and 6.9 = RS 1.[051]; 1 .[052];
1. [053] ; 1. [054] ; 1.[055] respectively). Charles Virolleaud, who ex-
amined the newly found tablets and the inscribed tools, suggested
that the writing on the tools might perhaps provide the clue to the
decipherment of the hitherto unknown script. (The inscription on
the tools in fact turned out to read (or, in the case of K TU 6.7,
include) the words rb khnm, 'chief of the priests', suggesting that the
building where they had been discovered was the home of the chief
priest, and that the bronze items were perhaps a dedicatory offering
made by one of the metal-workers of the city.)
The earliest excavations had done more than enough to suggest that
an important city had been discovered, and that a campaign lasting
a number of seasons was justified. At that stage the identity of the
newly discovered city was not known. However, a tablet unearthed
in 1931 was to provide the clue. Schaeffer, in the context of giving
a preliminary report of the 1931 campaign (Schaeffer 1932) made
public the fact that the tablet contained a phrase which was translit-
erated as nqmd mlk grt ('Niqmaddu, king of Ugarit'), suggesting that
this might be the ancient city of Ugarit whose existence was already
known from e.g. the Tell el-Amarna letters, which suggested that its
location must have been somewhere in the vicinity of Ras Shamra.
(The identification had apparently already been suggested by Albright
(ALBRI GHT 1931- 2, 165 n. 9).) Excavations continued until the out-
break of the Second World War, initially both in the region of the
harbour as well as on the tell. Soundings were taken on the tell to
attempt to establish the antiquity of the site and its principal occu-
pation levels (CONTENSON 1992). These indicated that occupation
went back as far as the Neolithic period, and suggested five maj or
phases of occupation:
Level I ca. 1200-1600
Level I I ca. 1600-2100
Level I I I ca. 2100-3500
Level I V ca. 3500-4000
Level V Neolithic
(Subsequent excavations have revealed a much more complex stratig-
raphy, and discerned some twenty occupation levels stretching from
the Early Neolithic period \ca 6500-6000 BCE] down to a Roman
occupation in the first and second centuries CE.)
I n the pre-war seasons of excavation on the tell, work was carried
out in particular on the acropolis, revealing what came to be identified
as the Templ e of Baal, the Templ e of Dagan and the House of the
High Priest. This last emerged as much more than simply a dwelling
place for an important cultic official, but as a temple library and
scribal school where texts were written and stored and where new
scribes could learn their art. After the interruption of the war years,
a limited resumption was possible in 1948, but it was not until 1950
that full-scale work could again be undertaken. Excavations were
concentrated first in the area of the Royal Palace. More will be said
about this imposing edifice later, but it is appropriate to note that
this was not just the residence of the royal family and court but also
an administrative headquarters. A number of groups of texts were
discoveredfive which have been labelled as the Eastern Archives,
the Central archives, the Southern Archives, the South-Western Ar-
chives and the Western Archives. A further group was found within
what was originally identified as a firing kiln and therefore thought
to comprise the last tablets to be written before the destruction of
the city at the end of the LBA (but see MI L L ARD 1995).
I n the Royal Palace area, excavations were extended southwards
to reveal what came to be known as the 'Southern Palace'. Subse-
quently a building which has been named the 'Northern Palace' was
found in the proximity of the Royal Palace. To the west of the Royal
Palace was found a residential area which included a number of
buildings which have been named as a result of discoveries made
within them or because of evidence of their ownership. These included
the houses of Raap'abu and of Rap'anu, in the latter of which was
found an archive of texts, and the so-called 'House of the Scholar'
and 'House of Alabasters'. Excavations were also carried out on the
northern side of the tell in the so-called 'Lower City' below the
acropolis, in the 'Southern Acropolis' (where a house which is thought
to have belonged to a diviner was revealed, since it contained clay
models of livers and a number of para-mythological texts) and in
the 'Southern City', which seems to have contained a public square
and a building which housed a library of texts. Between 1978 and
1984, excavations concentrated on the 'City Centre' which seems to
have been primarily a residential area (Y ON et al. 1987). Perhaps the
most significant of the discoveries made in that part of the city was
another temple, originally known as the 'Rhyton Templ e' because
of the finding of a number of distinctively shaped drinking ves-
sels in its vicinity. As will be noted later, it is possible that this
temple was in fact dedicated to the worship of El, the head of the
I n the foregoing brief account of the principal areas of excavation,
a number of references have been made to the discovery of archives
or libraries of texts. It is therefore appropriate to make some gen-
eral observations about the textual discoveries. The cosmopolitan
nature of the city is borne out by the number of different languages
evidenced in the texts. Many tablets were written in Akkadian, a
language which has been described as something of a lingua franca in
the ancient Near East, there were texts in Sumerian, Human, Hittite,
in Egyptian hieroglyphs and in the linear script of Cyprus, as well
as those in the hitherto unknown language which was thought to be
the local language and hence known as Ugaritic. It was clear that the
method of writing the unknown language was that employed through-
out Mesopotamia, i.e. a cuneiform script produced by means of the
use of a clay stylus to inscribe clay tablets which were subsequently
baked hard. It was also clear that the basis of the writing of the lan-
guage was very different since only about thirty different signs were
employed. Thus it seemed that a significant advance had been made
over the earlier cuneiform scripts which were based on ideographic
or syllabic principles and involved much larger numbers of signs.
This is not the place to enter into the argument as to whether Ugaritic
is truly alphabetic (because three of its signs could be described as
'syllabic' in that they convey the consonant aleph followed by the
vowels a, i, and u respectively; see below, 4.1, 4.2). Suffice it to
say that the script is generally regarded as alphabetic, and therefore
as one of the earliest if not the earliest example of an alphabet.
(Another alphabetic script was being developed further south in the
area of the Sinai peninsular for the writing of a Semitic language
or dialect.) How this particular script was produced is not clear. It
is possible that was a conscious modification of the more complex
cuneiform scripts already in use, but it may have been developed
from a linear script to enable it to be more easily written on clay
tablets by employing the cuneiform method of writing (MI LLARD 1979;
DI ETRI CH - LORETZ 1989). It is noteworthy that this newly devel-
oped script was used not only for the writing of the local language
but also, at Ugarit, for the writing of Hurri an (LAROCHE 1968a).
I ndeed, one of the thirty signs of the 'Ugaritic' alphabet may have
been developed for the writing of Hurri an (SEGERT 1983b).
This newly-discovered language was in fact deciphered remark-
ably rapidly. The first texts were published commendably quickly by
Virolleaud, enabling other scholars to work on them. Notable among
those who did so were E. Dhorme of the Ecole Biblique in J erusalem
and H. Bauer of the University of Halle, both of whom were expe-
rienced in cracking codes. It is not appropriate to go into detail
about the decipherment here, since it will be dealt with in another
chapter (see CATHCART, below 4.1). Suffice it to say that it was a
mixture of great erudition and inspired guesswork. The speed with
which the decipherment was achieved can be illustrated by the fact
that Virolleaud was able to publish his translation of what he called
the 'Epic of Aleyan and Mot' as early as 1931 (VI ROLLEAUD 1931a).
It is important to note that, although the language has come to
be known as Ugaritic, examples of this script have been found in
other locations, some relatively close to Ras Shamra (e.g. Ras I bn
Hani and, a little further afield, at Tell Sukas [KTU 4.766 = Varia:
TS 4001] and Tell Nebi -Mend (Qadesh on the Orontes) (KTU 6.71
= TNM 022). Some have been found at much greater distances, in
Lebanon (KTU 6.2 = Varia: KL 67:428p; 6.67 = KL 77:66; 6.70
= Sar 3102), in Cyprus (K TU 6.68 = HST) and also in Israel.
Tablets bearing the Ugaritic script have been found at Taanach
(KTU 4.767 = TT 433) and at Beth Shemesh (KTU 5.24 = 8.1 =
AS 33.5.165), and an inscribed dagger was found in the vicinity of
Mount Tabor (KTU 6.1 = PAM = I AA 44.318). Although these
examples are limited in number, their existence is significant not
least in the context of the discussion as to whether the beliefs and
practices alluded to in the Ras Shamra texts were limited to the
immediate proximity of Ugarit or whether they reflect a much more
widespread phenomenon. This in turn leads to the further question,
hinted at earlier, as to whether it is correct to describe Ugarit as a
'Canaani te' city, and its religion and culture as 'Canaanite'.
Before leaving the textual discoveries, it is appropriate to mention
the variety of different types of literature contained therein. The
number of languages represented among the texts has already been
noted, and one particular type of text which must have been very
i mportant in ancient Ugarit was the 'dictionary' or 'word-list' in
which words in Akkadian might be listed with their Sumerian or
Hurri an equivalents. Such texts are also of great importance for the
modern study of the languages of the ancient Near East. Reference
has also been made to the discovery of archives, notably in the Royal
Palace, and many texts of a diplomatic, legal, administrative or com-
mercial nature were found (see PRU 2-6). Other finds include private
correspondence and even veterinary texts (PARDEE 1985). Various
types of text might be included within the category 'religious' (see
below, 6, 7). Lists of deities and of sacrifices give an indication
of the large number of deities worshipped and perhaps hint at their
relative importance. Some texts can perhaps be described as 'ritu-
als'. Then there are those longer texts which contain myths or leg-
ends, describing the exploits of the deities and of other 'heroes' who
may have been regarded as human beings but who had encounters
with or stood in a close relationship to the gods. It is these myths
and legends, and particularly the stories of the activities of the god
Baal, which have been taken up by students of the Hebrew Bible
in the hope that they may shed light on the relationship not only
between the Israelite deity Y ahweh and his arch-enemy Baal, but
also on the connection, if any, between Y ahweh and El the head of
the Ugaritic (and 'Canaanite') pantheon.
In the course of the earlier account of the excavations, a number
of maj or buildings was noted, and it is appropriate to say a little
more about some of them now in the context of an attempt to give
something of an impression of the city as it must have been in the
years prior to its destruction. Ugarit must have been dominated by
its acropolis, on which the most prominent building was the Templ e
of Baala fact which is doubtless an indication of the importance
of the deity to the people of the city. The identification of the build-
ing was made possible by the discovery there or nearby of stelae
nami ng or depicting him. Two are particularly noteworthy. One was
a dedicatory stele presented by a person named Mamy who seems
to have been the equivalent of the Egyptian ambassador to Ugarit
( R S 1. [089] + 2. [033] + 5.185; Y ON 1991, 328, fig. 8; CAQUOT -
SZNY CER 1980 plate XI I ). The other, found a little to the west of
the temple itself, has come to be the most familiar of the depictions
of Baal (RS 4.427). He is shown standing with one leg in front of
the other, wearing a helmet which seems to be decorated with horns
(a symbol of divinity or perhaps fertility), a skirt or loin cloth and
a scabbard. His right arm is raised above his head, holding what
appears to be a club (probably a symbol of the thunder), and his
left arm is stretched in front of him, holding an object which is
pointed like a spear and which is probably a stylized lightning-flash
(Fig. 11, p. 590; see SCHAEFFER 1934, FENTON 1996). Thus Baal
appears as the divine warrior, armed with the weapons associated
with the god of rain and storm. Another small figure on the stele
may perhaps be the king. (A number of other statuettes, including
that already mentioned, have been identified as representations of
Baal because they show a figure in the same pose and garb.)
The temple building itself conformed to a very familiar pattern
(SCHAEFFER 1949, 4 fig. 2). It was surrounded by a walled enclosure
or sacred precinct, within which was discovered what was probably
the base of an altar which would have been approached by two
stone steps. The temple proper comprised an outer room which was
approached by a monumental staircase, part of which has been pre-
served, and an inner room containing a structure of large stone
blocks which may have been an altar or a platform, perhaps where
an image of the god would originally have been located. This pat-
tern of inner sanctum, outer room and sacred precint or courtyard
is reminiscent of other Semitic sanctuaries, notably Solomon's Temple
in J erusalem as described in the Hebrew Bible.
There was another templ e on the acropolis which had been
identified as the Templ e of Dagan because of the discovery outside
its southern faade of two stelae containing dedications to this deity
(KTU 6.13 = RS 6.021; K TU 6.14 = RS 6.028; YON 1991, 334,
fig. 14). That Dagan should have had a temple in such a promi-
nent position on the acropolis is perhaps somewhat surprising since
he plays no active role in the mythological texts so far known.
However, the texts do suggest that he was considered to be Baal's
father, which might account for his temple being located in the same
vicinity. A feature of this temple was the thickness of the walls, a
fact which even gave rise to the speculation that some particularly
esoteric practices were performed therein. However this is far from
certain and there are other possible explanations, e.g. that the walls
supported an upper storey or tower. The general plan of the tem-
ple was similar to that of Baal. Close to the Templ e of Dagan were
found a number of drinking troughs which, it has been suggested,
might have been used for the pouring of libations. But is not absolutely
clear that they actually had any direct association with the temple.
Between the two temples on the acropolis lay the building which
was identified as the high priest's house, thanks to the discovery of
the cache of bronze tools and weapons, some of which, as has already
been noted, bore the dedication 'chief of the priests'. It was built of
dressed stones, with rooms opening off a central courtyard. Within
the building were found three groups of texts, including those longer
texts in the Ugaritic language which record the activities of the gods,
in particular the god Baal. Other texts had the appearance of being
writing exercises. This suggested that the building functioned not
only as a residence for the high priest but that it was also a school
where scribes could learn to write and where texts were copied and
stored. It may also therefore have been a temple library. Whether
some of the mythological texts were actually used in the cult of the
temple, and if so in what way, it is impossible to be certain, but some
of them do contain hints that they may have been read or enacted
in the context of the worship of the temple.
I n addition to the two temples on the acropolis, for a long time
the only other building identified as a sanctuary was located in the
vicinity of the Royal Palace (SAAD, 1979, 115- 6) . However, in the
course of the excavations in the City Centre, another building was
unearthed which was identified as a sanctuary. This is the edifice
which, as noted earlier, came to be known as the 'Rhyton Templ e'
because of the discovery of a number of conical drinking vessels in
its vicinity which were thought to be cult items associated with the
sanctuary (Y ON et al. 1987, 213- 48; Y ON 1996, 405- 22) . The building
contained an entrance porch leading to the main central area, com-
prising a large room containing benches and a platform or altar and
another smaller room. There appear also to have been various annexes
to the main building. But is it possible to say to which deity this
temple was dedicated? The discovery of a stone statue of a figure
seated on a throne may provide the clue since it is thought to be a
representation of EL, the head of the pantheon ( R S 88. 70; Y ON 1996,
422 fig. 4c). It would be surprising if there were not a temple ded-
icated to EL in Ugarit. The texts do suggest that EL was perhaps
receding somewhat into the background, in favour of the younger,
more active Baal (though it should be remembered that many of
these texts are particularly concerned with Baal and the construc-
tion of his 'palace' or temple, and doubdess reflect the beliefs of his
worshippers). Nevertheless, EL is still the head of the pantheon who
presides over the assembly of the gods, and whose permission is
needed for maj or projects such as the building of Baal's pal ace/tem-
ple). So perhaps the 'Rhyton Templ e' is in fact the Templ e of EL.
The most impressive building in the city, certainly so far as its
size was concerned, was doubtless the Royal Palace. There is rea-
son to believe that it began (perhaps in the 15th century) as a rela-
tively small building comprising a number of rooms arranged around
two courtyards, but that it developed thereafter in a number of
phases of construction until, by the 13th century, it was a huge com-
plex containing some ninety rooms, five large courtyards and some
smaller courts and what has been described as the 'garden'. At its
zenith it measured some 120 m by 85 m. (On the stages of devel-
opment of the Royal Palace, see SCHAEFFER 1962, 9-17.) One of
the courtyards contained an ornamental pool surrounded by two
tiers of shaped stones. Elaborate arrangements were made for the
palace's water supply, a covered channel having been constructed to
bring water from a trough which was next to a well some distance
from the palace itself. Servants presumably drew water from the well
to feed the trough and in turn the channel bringing water to the
The main entrance to the palace seems to have been from the
west, through a doorway approached by low steps and flanked by
two columns whose bases remain in situ. A feature of the Royal
Palace is the high quality of the stone-work which must have involved
skilled masons. On some of the interior walls, traces of plaster can
be seen and gaps between some of the courses of stone suggest that
originally wooden beams were employed in the construction. The
presence of a number of staircases shows that there was an upper
storey, and it is suggested that the private living quarters of the royal
family may have been on the first floor, and that the ground floor
would have been the location of various public and reception areas
as well as the administrative headquarters, archives and store rooms
(for the texts found in the archives of the Royal Palace, see PRU
2-6). The discovery of a kiln in the courtyard where the ornamen-
tal pool was situated shows that texts were written in the palace and
not simply stored there, and the presence of writing exercises and
glossaries suggests that here too, as in the House of the High Priest,
scribes were trained in the art of writing.
The Royal Palace seems to have been guarded by a tower and for-
tress located at the western extremity of the tell. Access to the fortress
from outside the city was via what has become known as the 'postern'
gate. I n the vicinity of the Royal Palace were a number of other im-
pressive buildings, including what may have been official residences
and the royal stables. In a residential area within this north-western
part of the city were houses whose occupants must have been significant
or wealthy citizens. The owners of some of the houses are known.
That of Rap'anu contained a library of texts and had over thirty
rooms. That of Rasap'abu, a tax collector, also contained a library, as
did the house of an unknown person nicknamed 'the Scholar'. The
presence of some forty alabaster vessels led to another of these houses
being named the 'House of Alabasters'. Evidence of staircases points
to the fact that many of the houses would have had an upper storey,
where it is probable that much of the living accommodation would
have been located.
Arrangements for sanitation and water supply in the larger houses
was often impressive. Some were built round courtyards which con-
tained a well and perhaps a trough into which the water, once drawn,
would be poured. Used water was conveyed away along channels
and gutters. Beneath the houses (or courtyards) were carefully con-
structed family tombs with vaulted ceilings reminiscent of a type of
Cretan tomb. A staircase would lead down into the funerary vault,
which was paved and whose walls contained niches or 'windows'. It
seems likely that the bodies were not placed in coffins, but were laid
direcdy on the floor, probably wrapped in shrouds. The discovery
of various items of funerary equipment (despite evidence of the activ-
ity of tomb robbers who had presumably removed objects which
they considered to be of value) suggests that perhaps it was felt nec-
essary to make some sort of provision for the dead, a fact which, if
correct, would be of relevance for the question whether the people
of Ugarit believed in some form of afterlife. The presence of cups
may also indicate the notion of the provision of sustenance for the
dead. Earlier descriptions of these tombs noted the presence of clay
pipes which were thought to be for the purpose of providing liquid
(or perhaps even libations) for the dead. But it is perhaps more likely
that these were less glamorously part of the drainage system (PI TARD
In some of the excavated areas further from the palace, for exam-
ple to the south of the acropolis and in the so-called 'Southern City',
the houses were often rather smaller and closer together, built along
narrow streets. In the latter area, where it seems likely that some of
the city's artisans and craftsmen lived, there is evidence that houses
were built around a public square, close to which was a large build-
ing which contained a library of texts.
Preliminary excavation reports have been published in the j our-
nal Syria.
This survey has already mentioned craftsmen and metal-workers,
scribes and texts, stonework and carved ivory, elaborate drinking ves-
sels, statuettes and other representations of deities. All such things
suggest that the city of Ugarit was a place of some culture. A fea-
ture of the discoveries at Ugarit is the variety of artistic influences
which they reveal, notably from the Aegean world, but also from
further afield, e.g. Egypt. It is not always clear to what extent such
objects are imports (Ugarit was after all a centre of commerce), or
local products influenced by the artistic styles and techniques of other
regions with which the city had contact.
Ugarit seems to have been renowned for its metal-working. A fea-
ture of the discoveries has been the number of different types of
weight which have been found. Many of these are geometrically
shaped, but others take the form of e.g. a bull (SCHAEFFER 1939, pll.
XX, XXI ) or even a human head (ibid. pl. XXI ). A weight in the
shape of a head was found among a set of weights discovered along
with the bronze pans from a pair of scales, and gave rise to the
speculation that this was perhaps a replica of the head of the metal
worker himself, and that he was therby making it absolutely clear
whose weights they were! The actual value of the various weights
suggests that both the Mesopotamian and Egyptian weighing systems
were in use in Ugarit.
Two particularly fine examples of metal-work deserve mention.
These were a bowl (sometimes described as a cup) and a rimmed
plate or patera, both made of gold, which were unearthed together
in 1932 (Fig. 13, p. 594; SCHAEFFER 1939 pll. XVI I , XVI I I ^ ibid.,
1949, 1- 48) . The bowl, 17 cm in diameter, was embossed with var-
ious decorative features, notably three concentric circles of animal-
like figures, some of which appear to be winged and are probably
mythological creatures. The principal scene depicted on the rimmed
plate (19 cm in diameter) is easier to interpret. It is a hunting scene,
showing a figure (often thought to be the king) in a chariot, armed
with a bow and arrows, in pursuit of various animals and followed
by a dog. Noteworthy among other items of gold which have been
found at Ugarit are a number of pendants, some of which were dec-
orated with geometric devices, e.g. stars (see SCHAEFFER 1939, pi.
XXXI I fig. 1). Other pendants depicted a naked female, sometimes
showing the full figure from head to feet (Fig. 14, p. 596), and some-
times showing just the head and torso with particular concentration
on the breasts and pubic region (see SCHAEFFER 1939, pl. XXI X
fig. 1). It is thought likely that these were representations of a god-
dess, probably associated with fertility.
In addition to evidence of skilled metal work, it is also clear that
carved ivory was used as a decorative feature. Mention has already
been made of the little ivory box-lid, of Mycenaean style, perhaps
depicting a fertility goddess. Various ivory items were found during
excavations in the Royal Palace in 1952, one of which was partic-
ularly impressive (SCHAEFFER 1954b; CAQUOT - SZNY CER 1980, pll.
XXVI I I , XXI X). This was a large ivory panel, measuring approxi-
mately 1 m by 50 cm, comprising eight smaller plaques, six of which
were carved with scenes and two (at either end) were representa-
tions of trees. Because of the fragile state of the panel, it could only
be removed from the ground with some difficulty, but, when the
task was eventually achieved, it became evident that this was an even
more impressive piece than had at first been appreciated. There was,
in fact, another set of plaques underneath the first, making it clear
that this was a double-sided panel, comprising sixteen panels in total,
which had probably decorated an item of furni tureperhaps a couch
or a bed. Some of the pictures are clearer than others, and it is pos-
sible that they are to be understood as depicting scenes from the
life of the king. I n one he appears to be about to thrust a spear
into an animal, while in another he is about to put out the eyes of
an enemy whom he grasps by the hair. But not all are quite so
gruesome since he is also shown with (and perhaps about to embrace)
his wife. One other panel deserves special menti on. It shows two
smaller figures sucking the breasts of a larger winged figure with a
horned head-dress, presumably a goddess (SCHAEFFER 1954a, pl. VI I I ;
CAQUOT - SZNY CER 1980, pi. XXI Xb). This depiction calls to mi nd
an indication in the story of Keret that his hoped-for heir will suck
the breasts of Anat (or perhaps Rahmay [WY ATT 1998C, 209]) and
Before leaving the heading of 'Art and Cul ture', it is i mportant
that a word is said about music at Ugarit (CAUBET 1996a). Among
the discoveries have been a number of objects which are clearly or
probabl y musical instruments. These include horns made from the
ivory of the elephant and of the hippopotamus, a pair of small bronze
cymbals, and what are probabl y scrapers and clappers used in musi-
cal accompani ments. The picture provided by such discoveries is
enhanced by a number of representations of musical activities. Cylinder
seal impressions (AMI ET 1992, nos. 265, 273) have been interpreted
as showing dancers and, perhaps, acrobats. A small bronze shows a
kneeling figure playing cymbals or a tambouri ne, and a rather dam-
aged limestone figure may represent someone playing a double-flute.
(Line drawings of the above are given in CAUBET 1996a.) Particularly
intriguing was the discovery of a tablet (RS 15.030+ = Ug 5, 463,
487) inscribed with the words of a hymn or prayer in the Hurri an
language and which seemed also to carry a sort of musical notation
indicating chords. The precise relationship between the hymn and
the music is not clear, but an attempt has actually been made to
reconstruct this piece of music, and to record it sung to the accom-
pani ment of lyres (KI LMER 1974; KI LMER et al. 1976).
For further discussion on the religious aspect of Ugaritian art, see
below 13. 12 (WY ATT) and 14 (CORNELI US).
To the south of Minet el-Beida, in the vicinity of the first discoveries,
were located the remains of an occupation which dated from the
14th century (and possibly even the late 15th century) BCE and lasted
until the time of the destruction of Ugarit. It has been suggested
that these might be the ruins of a quite separate city, Mahadou, but
it is probably appropriate to regard this as the port area of Ugarit,
to be associated with the city's commercial activities which many
textual discoveries attest, and that it was in this area that those par-
ticularly involved in maritime activities would have lived. The houses,
some of which suggest that they may have belonged to people of
substance, were built along straight, intersecting streets. Many were
arranged around courtyards, often containing a well, and comprised
several rooms. Underneath one of the rooms would be a vaulted
tomb approached by a staircase (see RSO 1, 3). Other buildings
were stores and warehouses, and one was found to contain some 24
large pottery jars, many in a remarkable state of preservation. I n
fact, large numbers of pottery vessels of various types but often sug-
gesting a Cypriot or Mycenean origin and probably used in com-
mercial activities, were found in the area. (In this context it is relevant
to note that, on the cliff north of Minet el-Beida, a misfired Cypriot
vase was discovered, suggesting that there was a pottery workshop
nearby, and that perhaps Cypriot settlers lived in the vicinity of
Ugarit.) Other discoveries included an Egyptian axe and several
Egyptian-style ivory cosmetic boxes, some of which were in the shape
of a duck (SCHAEFFER 1939b pl. XI V fig. 1). These pointed to trad-
ing links further south as well as with the Aegean world. Metal-work
finds included various bronze tools and weapons as well as silver
rings and lead ingots. Weights made of stone or haematite, cylinder
seals and, perhaps not surprisingly, stone anchors (some of which
had also been found on the tell; FROST 1969; SCHAEFFER 1978; FROST
1991) featured among the discoveries. Another noteworthy find was
a deposit of murex shells, for which the Mediterranean coast is noted,
used for the making of the purple dye.
The port area may also have contained its places of worship, as
is indicated by the presence of altars and other cultic installations,
including what may have been a small sanctuary. On the port area
see now Y ON 1997.
About 8 km north of Latakia and 4.5 km south-west of Ras Shamra
there is a small cape which juts out into the Mediterranean. There
are some grounds for believing that it may have been an island in
the second millennium BCE (see below). It was already known that
there had been a Roman occupation there because of the remains
of buildings which were observable, and Gabriel Saad had noted
in 1965 that there was what appeared to be a low tell in the mid-
dle part of the cape. But it was yet another chance discovery which
led to excavations being carried out in this area. I n the course of
earth-moving activities associated with urban developments (includ-
ing plans to build the Meridien hotel) on the cape, a tomb was dis-
covered in 1973 which gave rise to the possibility that there might
have been a significant occupation in the LBA. Thus, as a matter
of urgency, excavations were undertaken under the auspices of
the Direction gnrale des antiquits et des muses de Syrie, and a joint Franco-
Syrian team was established, in charge of which were A. Bounni and
J . Lagarce (LAGARCE 1995).
When work began in earnest in 1975 it took place on the south-
ern side of the low tell, in the face of constant difficulties caused by
the presence of modern earth-moving machinery in the vicinity. It
was undertaken in the hope of clarifying the different phases of occu-
pation. Evidence soon emerged of thick rubble walls which had often
been reduced to foundation-level by the prdations of later builders
in the I ron Age and the Hellenistic period who used its stones. What
was clear was that these were the walls of a building from the LBA.
This became known as the 'Southern Palace'. The following year,
a survey was undertaken using geophysical techniques which meas-
ured electrical resistivity. Thi s provided useful indications of the
westward extent of the 'Southern Palace'. It was decided to remove
the surface soil by means of mechanical diggers, thereby making it
possible to gain a clearer impression of the plan of the southern part
of the building. It was in the course of this activity that the pres-
ence of pottery reminiscent of Mycenaean ware from the beginning
of the I ron Age was first noticed. Excavations in the area of the
'Southern Palace' continued until 1980, particular attention being
paid to the Hellenistic remains.
Studies of the geomorphology of the cape which have been car-
ried out since 1976 have, as has already been indicated, given rise
to the speculation that it may have been an island during the sec-
ond millennium BCE. Sections of stone paving which showed through
the sand from place to place to the south-east of the 'Southern
Palace' seemed to be the vestiges of a roadway. These pieces of pav-
ing seemed to predate the sand-bar on which part of the Hellenistic
town was situated. Further study of the roadway has been impossi-
ble since 1976, but, in 1991, radiocarbon tests were carried out on
two samples of natural cement formed between the paving-blocks of
the roadway when they were submerged as a result of an earlier
phase of erosion. These tests yielded dates of 1179-860 and 791-441
and led to the suggestion that the road must have been constructed
prior to 1179/860 and was subsequently submerged. The most likely
time for its construction, in view of what is known of the site, would
have been the LBA, the period of building of the 'Southern Palace'
(and other important buildings as will be noted later), and it is pos-
sible that the roadway originally led to the eastern entrance to the
'Southern Palace'.
In 1977, a new area close to the tomb which had been discov-
ered in 1973 was opened up. It soon became clear that this was a
site of considerable importance and led to subsequent excavations
being concentrated in this area and on the edifice which has come
to be known as the 'Northern Palace'. Various soundings were under-
taken with a view to establishing the extent of the building in the
LBA. It became clear that this was a maj or building including not
only residential areas but also an administrative centre and that it
housed workshops, e.g. for metal-working. It proved difficult to pro-
duce a plan of this 'Northern Palace', partly due to the fact that,
as in the 'Southern Palace', stones had been removed to be re-used
later (but see the plan in LAGARCE 1995, 154). Some indication of
its extent was provided by the presence of what appeared to be a
street running along its western periphery and, less certainly, another
to its east. The block which lay between these two limits has been
analysed as divisible into two quite distinct sections. The first, to the
south-west, was basically rectangular and arranged around a central
courtyard; the second, to the north-west, was a much more confused
conglomeration of rooms. It is thought unlikely that these two sec-
tions of the building were entirely separate, and that there must
therefore have been a corridor or passageway linking them. There
is some evidence which makes it possible to suggest the original func-
tion of some of the rooms. For example, an impressive room off the
central courtyard, approached by an entrance flanked by two columns,
may have been a throne room (room XI I ). Apparendy next door to
this 'throne room' was a workshop which seems to have been used
for working in bone (room XX). This juxtaposition of rooms seems
rather strange, and has led to the suggestion that the latter may
originally have been on the first floor but that, with the destruction
of the building, its contents fell through to ground level where they
were subsequently found. The presence of staircases suggests that the
building had more than one storey. Caution is therefore necessary
in identifying the original function of the building's rooms. Nevertheless,
it has been thought possible to make some j udgements about the
likely use of certain parts of the building in the LBA.
The main access to the 'Northern Palace' was probably from the
south and into the rectangular south-western area of the building,
which seems from its stonework, general plan and lay-out around
the courtyard, to have been the most prestigious part of the edifice.
It has been described as the 'reception area'. By contrast, the north-
western part of the building followed a much less geometric plan
and gives the impression of being something of an annexe. This is
not to suggest that this part of the building was unimportant. It was
in this area that rooms housing tablets were located, and perhaps
where administrative activities were undertaken. Access from one
part of the building to the other may have been via a courtyard
and a room with benches which is perhaps to be understood as a
guardroom controlling access to the less public areas of the 'Northern
The 'Northern Palace' appears, then, to have been an important
residence, administrative and production centre. But whose residence?
The very nature of the building would suggest the likelihood that it was
a royal residence and one particular tablet (KTU 2.82 = RI H 78/12)
found on the site may provide the clue since it is addressed 'To the
queen, my mother'. Although the queen is not named, it is suggested
that she may have been Ahatmilku, the mother of 'Ammi ttamru II
who reigned in Ugarit in the middle of the thirteenth century BCE.
A seal impression bearing the imprint of this king was found in con-
nection with administrative documents in the 'Northern Palace' in
1982 and 1983, indicating that some at least of the texts discovered
there originated during his reign.
Further excavations sought to establish the relationship between
the 'Northern Palace' and the buildings on cither side of it. There
are some grounds for the belief that the building which lay imme-
diately to the east may have functioned as a service building for the
'Northern Palace', not least because there did not appear to be suffi-
cient room for a completely separate building between the palace
and the eastern extremity of the city. More importantly, several of its
rooms seem to have served a utilitarian function, including cookery
and the baking of bread. The rooms seem to have been well con-
structed and paved, and one housed a toilet.
The building to the south-west (which became known as Building B)
was separated from the 'Northern Palace' by a street, though it is
possible that the buildings may have been joined in an unexcavated
area. There is some evidence of 'city planning' in this area, though
not to the extent which would have yielded a number of blocks sep-
arated by parallel streets. It seems that some of the streets went
round corners, which would have had the effect of reducing the
strength of the wind, and that at least one was a cul de sac. But the
symmetry of this building with the 'Northern Palace' is noteworthy
and it is not impossible that the two buildings were constructed to
the same basic plan. It too comprised a paved area (perhaps a court-
yard) off which several rooms opened, one of which contained a
staircase. The symmetry even extends to the presence of two wells
in 'opposite' rooms, and kilns in 'opposite' rooms. The kiln in build-
ing was well-preserved and impressive though its precise function
was unclear. It was located in a room along whose eastern wall ran
a bench covered in white mortar which supported several vessels
and a lamp. There were pieces of ceramic and bone on the floor.
Another intriguing discovery in this building comprised about ten
ceramic objects which have been described as scoops. It has been
suggested that they may have been used for the distribution of rations,
a possibility which might support the suggestion that this too was a
public building.
How long did this LBA occupation last on Ras I bn Hani? There
is some evidence of repairs or resurfacing of the floors, particularly
in the 'Northern Palace', which might suggest a relatively lengthy
period of occupation. It is also possible that there there is evidence
for the secondary usage of certain rooms, e.g. in the 'bakery' in the
'service building', and that a funerary vault under the 'Northern
Palace' was not, in its present state, contemporary with the building's
construction. However, there is no clear evidence, e.g. from the pot-
tery found on the site, for a beginning of this occupation earlier than
the 13th century BCE. Pottery may be of more use in suggesting the
possibility that the end of Ras I bn Hani mirrored the end of the
city of Ugarit itself, in view of the fact that people using a particu-
lar type of Mycenaean ware seem to have occupied the site imme-
diately after its destruction. Thi s would lend support to the view that
both Ugarit and Ras I bn Hani were destroyed in the context of the
advance of the 'Sea Peoples' as they pressed south through the regions
of the Levantine coast.
The 'Northern Palace' seems to have suffered a violent destruc-
tion by fire, but not before it was abandoned and emptied of essen-
tial moveable items by the inhabitants. Thi s fits with what appears
to have been the case in Ugarit. A similar situation seems to have
occurred with the 'Southern Palace', i.e. that it was emptied prior
to being destroyed by fire. However, it is not clear that this was the
case in 'Building B', where evidence of fire seems to be restricted
to a room which was probably used for cooking or baking and which
may therefore have been caused by that activity. It does not seem
to have been the result of a maj or conflagration involving the whole
building. Thus caution is needed. Nevertheless, it is possible to sug-
gest that archaeology (to some limited extent supported by the texts
found on the site) points to a foundation of what might be thought
of as this outer suburb of Ugarit not earlier than the late 14th cen-
tury and more likely in the early 13th century BCE. This expansion
of Ugarit may reflect a period of relative stability and prosperity. Its
destruction was not later that the early 12th century and perhaps
more likely at the end of the 13th century, probably at the hands
of the 'Sea Peoples'.
It seems appropriate, therefore to think of ancient Ugarit as com-
prising not merely the city on the tell of Ras Shamra, but also, at
its zenith in the LBA, the city proper together with the port area
and the oudying suburb of Ras I bn Hani. It was an important strate-
gic and commercial centre, standing at the 'crossroads' of maj or land
and sea routes, and was doubtless quite cosmopolitan. It was a city
of impressive buildings, high culture and literary artistry, which has
bequeathed to later generations a script which may represent one of
the maj or steps forward in the development of writing systems. It is
perhaps fitting that the name of the city should be best known
because of the language and method of writing to which it has given
its nameUgari ti c.
1.1 Introduction
The most surprising discovery made by the late C.F.A. Schaeffer
during his first campaign at Tell Ras Shamra was undoubtedly the
group of tablets written in an unknown cuneiform script.' Thi s dis-
covery attracted so much attention that the deci pherment of the
script was accomplished in less than a year.
Overshadowed by the
tablets in the new (alphabetic) script was the find of a number of
texts written in a script already well-known to the excavators, the
Mcsopotami an (syllabic) cuneiform script. The first campaign yielded
only a handful of these texts
but during the years to come, and espe-
cially after the discovery of the royal palace, many syllabic texts came
to light. Not all of these were written in the languages of Mesopota-
mia, Sumerian
and Akkadian. A number of tablets had been drawn
up in Hurri an
and in Hittite.
However, the number of tablets in
Sumerian and Akkadian (the latter is by far the most important) is
very large indeed and new ones are being discovered regularly.
In this chapter of the handbook I shall study the syllabic Akkadian
texts found at Ugarit by looking at their archaeological context and
SCHAEFFER 1929, 295; VI ROL L EAUD 1929.
BAUER 1932, 9. See 4. 1.
VI ROL L EAUD 1929, 304- 5 and PL. I . X X V I L X X V I I . For a complete list of the
tablets found during the first campaign, see BORDRF.UI L PARDEE 1989, 16- 23; VAN
SOL DT 1991a, 532- 5.
Sumerian is only attested in schooltexts: lexical, literary and religious texts
copied by apprentice scribes, see below.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 339 40.
L AROCHE, Ugaritica 5, 769- 79.
See, for example, BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1995a; DI ETRI CH L ORETZ 1994b; Y ON
1995; BORDREI J I L MA I .BRAN-I .ABAT 1995.
their general contents. A study of the former involves a survey of
the various archives where the texts have been discovered, a study
of the latter will encompass such varied aspects as the genres found
in the texts, their distribution over the archives, the education of the
scribes, and a short description of the characteristics of their Akkadian.
Naturally, in discussing the archives and genres I cannot avoid men-
tioning the alphabetic texts as well. The focus, however, will be on
the syllabic texts.
1.2 The archives
I n contrast to many other excavators, Schaeffer at least attempted
to keep a record of every individual object which he found during
his excavations. He did so by assigning topographical points (points
topographiques, hence p.t.) which were written on a label attached to
the object and entered in a plan of the excavated area. Moreover,
he kept a notebook in which every object was described and listed
with its p.t. and the depth at which it had been found. A combi-
nation of the plan and the elevation of the findspot (deduced from
the depths and an elevation plan of 1928, before the excavations
had begun) would giveat least in principlethe correct findspot.
First I shall discuss the archives found in the royal palace, then
we shall take a look at the ones found in private houses. In order
to save space I shall refer to the pertinent chapters in VAN SOL DT
1991a, where all the previous literature can be found. New publi-
cations are added wherever necessary.
1.2.1 The palace archives
The Western Archive
was located in rooms 3, 4 and 5 near the
main entrance
and contained almost only administrative texts, mainly
There are, however, many problems with the way the excavator kept his record.
During the first nine campaigns new p.t.s. were given for every new pit that was
opened. This led to duplicate numbers with the threat of confusion. Therefore, a
unified system was set up in 1938 which also covered previous seasons (VAN SOL DT
1991a, 673-4; the new p.t.s. are sometimes provided by BORDREUI L - PARDEE
1989, 16-50). However, the multitude of p.t.s. given in the record for a single tablet
from the house of the High Priest (1929 1934) makes any attempt to locate them
VAN SOL DT 1991A, 49- 60.
See the plans in MARGUERON 1995a, 194 5.
in alphabetic cuneiform. Noteworthy are a few letters and school-
texts and especially two 'work copies' of the treaty with the Hittites,
in which the tribute is stipulated." Similar tablets were found else-
where in the palace. Dated texts point to the time of 'Ammi ttamru
II and later (VAN SOL DT 1991a, 57-8), with the notable exception of
the translated
treaty from the time of Ni qmaddu . Whether the
tablets had been stored on an upper storey cannot be ascertained.
No stairs were found in this part of the building.
The Eastern Archive
(rooms 54-56) is more diverse in contents
than the Western Archive, although administrative textsmainly in
Ugariticstill form by far the biggest group. I nteresting is a small
group of juridical texts, most of which are styled as private con-
It is only from rooms 54 and 55 that we have royal deeds.
The most remarkable group of texts from this archive, however, is
formed by the letters. More than fifty letters were found, a fair
number of which can be ranked as international correspondence.
The letters were mainly addressed to king I birnu and his(?)
Onl y a few texts survive from before this king.
tablets were at least partly stored on an upper storey.
The Central Archive
consists of three different wings with different
RS 1 1.732 (PRU 3, 181; 4, 47) and RS 1 1.772 (KTU 3.1). For the latter, see
199-200 and VAN SOL DT 1990a, 354-7.
Translations of Akkadian texts into Ugaritic such as KTU 3.1 = RS 11.772
are not really summaries nor are they faithful copies of the original. For KTU 3.1
see K NOPPERS (1993), who suggests that the text is a covering letter including a trib-
ute list sent by Niqmaddu. However, since the text is in Ugaritic, I tend to regard
it as a simplified copy for the use of the administrators in the Western Palace
archive. According to MI L L ARD 1995, 120, not all letters in Ugaritic which were
sent by foreign powers need to have had Akkadian or Hittite originals. The mes-
senger could have memorized the message which was then written down in Ugarit.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 60- 73.
RS 15.37 (PRU 3, 35), 15.81 (PRU 3, 37), 15.173 (PRU 3, 40), 15.180 (PRU
3, 36), 15.182 (PRU 3, 35), 17.248 (PRU 4, 236), 17.388 (PRU 6, no. 50), 17.426
(PRU 6, no. 51). Note also 15.128 (KTU 3.3), a legal text in Ugaritic.
RS 15.113 (PRU 3, 168), 15.114 (PRU 3, 112), 15.131 (PRU 3, 133).
VAN SOL DT 1985-6, 71; 1991a, 15-8.
That the diplomatic correspondence in general was kept in the eastern archive
as contended by Courtois 1988 is not true; many international letters were found
in other archives as well. It is possible, however, that the correspondence of Ibirnu
was concentrated in this wing of the palace.
Niqmepa': RS 15.117 (KTU 7.63); 'Ammittamru II: RS 15.114 (PRU 3, 112),
RS 15.131 (PRU 3, 133) and probably RS 17.383 (PRU 4, 221).
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 74-96.
The northern wing is made up of rooms 30 and 31 and is the
most important. Here almost all the royal deeds concerning real
estate were filed and the distribution of the texts suggests that most
of them were kept in dossiers on the upper storey which, after the
destruction, fell on top of the debris in court IV.
Genres other than
legal texts as well as texts in Ugaritic are rare in this part of the
The eastern wing (room 64) contained mainly economic texts,
some of them in Ugaritic. The few legal texts are not concerned
with real estate. More important is a group of letters between king
'Ammi ttamru II and the king of Carchemish. A few other letters
(mainly in Ugaritic) are addressed to the queen. This queen was
most probably 'Ammi ttamru's mother Ahatmilku, although Taryelli
cannot be excluded.
Part of the tablets had been stored on the
upper storey.
The southern wing archive (room 66; tablets were also found in
65 and 67) consisted mainly of administrative texts, almost all in
Ugaritic. Of interest is a small group of legal texts from room 66
dealing with the sale of land to queen Taryelli and witnessed by a
certain Tipit-Ba'lu.
The Southern Archive
was located in a late addition to the
palace, rooms 68 and 69 to the south of court V. I n this archive
all tablets were found that regulate the relations of Ugarit with the
foreign powers, the Hittite king and the king of Carchemish. The
archive proper was probably kept on an upper storey, which could
be reached through room 69, while room 68 served as a secretari-
ate. Apart from the many treaties and international juridical texts,
however, we also find a number of local real estate transfers, as well
as a few administrative texts, some of them in Ugaritic. The dates
obtained from the texts cover the entire historical period at Ugarit.
The Southwestern Archive
(rooms 80 and 81) contained mainly
administrative texts in Ugaritic. Other genres, such as letters and
schooltexts, were written in Ugaritic as well. Of special interest is the
VAN SOL DT 1986, 200- 3; 1991A, 91- 2.
VAN SOL DT 1991A, 78.
Published as Usfltica 5, nos. 159-61. For the seal of Tipit-Ba'lu, see ibid..,
p. 261.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 97-109.
Published in PRU 4.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 114-24.
synoptic table of scripts found in room 81,
A substantial group of
religious texts was written in Hurri an in syllabic script.
Two legal
were found as well. All available dates point to the reign of
'Ammi ttamru II and later. The tablets could have been stored on
an upper storey, although one can also think of shelves along one
of the walls.
Miscellaneous tablet finds in the palace. Several groups of texts
have been found outside the archival rooms described above, such
as rooms 73 and 90 (both mainly administrative). The most impor-
tant find, however, is that of a cluster of tablets in court V, formerly
believed to have been put there for baking.
As it turned out later,
the traces of oven material proved to be burnt debris, and the clus-
ter of tablets was probably a mixed lot, some of which may even
have belonged to an older, discarded archive (at least according to
MARGUERON 1995b, 66-7; MI L L ARD 1995, 119 speaks of 'the result
of inverting a carefully packed basket'). A number of them, however,
have to be dated shordy before the final destruction of the city, as
shown by the translation into Ugaritic of a letter to king 'Ammurapi
(KTU 2.39 = RS 18.38).
1.2.2 The private archives
A number of houses proved to be important findspots of cuneiform
tablets. The owners of these private archives may have been scribes
themselves or may have needed the services of scribes. This is not
always clear and sometimes it even proves impossible to ascertain
the very name of the owner.
The so-called Southern Palace
probably was the house of the
chief administrator (atammu rabu) Yabni-apu (abbreviated Yabninu),
who had an administrative archive in rooms 203 and 204. Almost
all tablets are administrative in nature (all but a few in Akkadian)
and from a letter we learn about a scribe who, surprisingly enough,
has a good Akkadian name: Nahi-a1mu.
Provided the scribe him-
R S 19.159 (KTU 5.14), see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 122 and 325.
Ugantua 5, 465-96.
RS 18.283 (PRU 6, no. 67) and 19.98 (PRU 6, no. 31). Especially the latter,
a real estate transfer, seems out of place.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 110-4.
COURTOI S 1990; VAN SOL DT 1991a, 149- 58 and 1991b, 340.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 155- 7. COURTOI S 1990 (only Yabninu).
na-f}-ial-mu by his Ugaritic colleague (RS 19.53 = PRU 6, no.
18:2). F or the name, see (IAD s.v. nafyu le. For Middle Assyrian references, see
self was Mesopotamia!! and not a native of Ugarit in Mesopotamian
disguise, the rigid Mesopotamian orthography observed for texts from
this archive
may at least partly be due to him. I n view of the many
Assyrianisms, both in sign forms and in grammar (see 3.1.5), we
have to assume that Nahi-a1mu was an Assyrian scribe working in
Ugarit. The archive was in use until the destruction of the city.
The house of Rasap'abu
is one of the three buildings containing
an archive discovered in the residential quarter east of the royal palace
(the two following archives were found here as well). The owner was
a man called Rasap-'abu, the supervisor of the harbour (Ma'hadu)
and the archive mainly consists of legal texts (partly dealing with
Rasap-'abu's affairs) and administrative texts. The legal texts date
from the reign of Ni qmaddu II through that of
Ammittamru II.
There are only very few school texts from this house; two of them
are practice letters in Ugaritic.
The house of the lettr
is named after its contents: literary, reli-
gious, and lexical texts. The house may originally have belonged
with that of Rasap-'abu, the name of the owner is still unknown.
Apparently, the house served as a school.
The house of Rap'nu
can easily lay claim to the status of the
most important school in Ugarit. Among its hundreds of tablets the
most important category is that of the lexical texts. Strangely enough,
hardly any literary and religious texts have come to light, which
seems to indicate that the scribes did not practise their knowledge
in context very much.
The presumed name of the owner is known
from three letters in which he appears twice as recipient and once
as sender.
Another important group of texts in this archive is formed
by the international letters. A large part of the royal correspondence
was kept here (and not in the palace), and it is here that we find
some of the famous letters dealing with the threat of the Sea Peoples.
Since the architectural remains and the archive are still unpublished
SAPORETTI 1970 I, 344; SAPORETTI FREY DANK 1979, 91. For Middle Babylonian,
see HL SCHER 1996, 146a.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 372.
VAN SOL DT 1991A, 160- 3.
RS 17.63 (KTU 5.10) and 17.117 (5.11).
VAN SOL DT 1991A, 163- 5.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 165-81.
VAN SOL DT 1995a, 179.
' Cf. Ugaritica 5, nos. 53-5.
For the correspondence in general, see Ugaritica 5, nos. 20-80; The Alashiya
letters are nos. 22 and 24 (no. 23 comes from the antiques market).
not much can be said about the stratigraphy of the building. The
dates obtained from the tablets are generally late: 'Ammi ttamru II
Ammurapi \
The Tablet House (Maison-aux-tablettes)^ has recentiy been pub-
lished by CAL L OT (1994, 53-61). I n the centre of a residential area
opened up in 1959 the excavators discovered a big house with a
large number of tablets. Most of these tablets are school texts: lexi-
cal and literary texts written by apprentice scribes. The few letters
and legal texts do not help to identify the owner of this important
house. The majority of the tablets had been stored on an upper
storey. However, a small group of texts was found below floor level.
I n view of the joins which can be made between tablets of both
groups (VAN SOL DT 1991a, 185, 187, 192)
the two groups cannot
be separated in time (contra CAL L OT 1994, 61). Dates deduced from
the texts point to the time of 'Ammi ttamru II and later.
The Archives on the South Acropolis. I n a heavily damaged build-
ing on the southern part of the Acropolis two archives were dis-
covered; the first was named the archive of the Hurri an Priest, the
second the Lamatu-archive.
This first archive was located in two
rooms (10 and 11) in the northeastern wing of the house, one of
which (10) was interpreted as a cella (COURTOI S 1969). The archive
contained almost exclusively texts in alphabetic cuneiform. The sec-
ond archive was housed in the southwestern wing of the house and
contained a large number of syllabic cuneiform texts. Since most of
these are lexical and literary texts the wing must have housed a
school. That the teacher(s) in this school must either have been
Babylonian or have been trained by Babylonian scribes can be seen
from the ductus in which they wrote and from their Akkadian.
few letters and legal texts do not allow an identification of the owner.
The tablets in the Lamatu-archive had partly eroded down the slope
of the Acropolis, but it is clear from the many joins that they belong
with the archive.
Circumstantial evidence points to a relatively late
date for both archives.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 182-93.
VAN SOL DT 1991A, 190- 1; CAL L OT 1994, 61.
The most striking example is RS 22.403 + 431B + 433A-C, a copy of Lu 1,
pieces of which were found at 0.70, 1.00 and 2.50 m below the surface.
For the former, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 193-203, for the latter, ibid., 204-11.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 209, 373- 4, 521.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 209-11.
The Library of the High Priest
on the Acropolis was the first
archive to be discovered and, as it happens, it contained the liter-
ary texts in Ugaritic which brought Ugarit instant fame. Apart from
these important texts, the building must have housed a school, as
can be seen from a number of lexical texts.
As pointed out at the
beginning, the findspots of the tablets cannot always be identified
with certainty. An assessment of the stratigraphy will have to await
new research. Dates obtained from the texts probably point to the
period from Ni qmaddu II (the Ugaritic literary texts)
until the end
of Ugarit's existence (most other texts).
The house of Urtenu
was discovered by accident in 1971 after
a tablet had been found in debris from building activities by the
Syrian army. In 1973 the excavators were allowed to search the
debris but a regular excavation could only be carried out from 1986.
At the end of the 1994 season more than 500 texts had been recov-
ered from this house,
thereby making it the biggest archive dis-
covered so far. The great majority of the texts is in Akkadian, but
there are a few i mportant texts in Ugaritic as well. One of these is
a literary fragment written by I li-malku,'
the scribe who wrote a
number of literary texts in the house of the high priest. Two groups
stand out among the Akkadian texts, a number of international letters
dealing with important historical events,
and a group of lexical texts
written by apprentice scribes.
The owner of the house, (the scribe?)
Urtenu, is known from a number of letters and an incantation in
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 212- 20; CUNCHI L L OS 1989.
VAN SOL DT 1995a, 194.
For arguments for this date, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 27-9. However, according
to BORDREUI L MAL BRAN- L ABAT 1995, 447-8, the king mentioned in the colophons
is more likely to be Niqmaddu III than Niqmaddu II.
Y ON 1995; For Urtenu, see already VAN SOL DT 1991a, 221. BORDREUI L
1995a, L OMBARD 1995. For previous literature, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 221-3.
YON 1995, 439.
BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1995, 28; BORDREUI L MAL BRAN- , 1995, 447 8.
In view of a number of syllabic spellings with -a-, I prefer the vocalization Ili-malku
to the more traditional Ili-milku, see provisionally van Soldt 1991a, 21 n. 182 and
M . S. SMI TH 1994, 3 n. 6.
For example, the battle of Nihriya, RSO 7, no. 46, a letter from North-
Babylonia (no. 47, in line 3 read
Ii-tlmi- , 'Shepherd of Man' [<I tr-Mer]),
and a letter from the Hittite king concerning the Sikila'ites, who are said to live on
boats (no. 12). For a short description of the letters found in 1994, see BORDREUI L -
MAL BRAN- L ABAT 1995, 445- 6.
RSO 7, nos. 48-77.
His son Ur-Teub was also a prominent resident.
all tablets were found in a layer of ca. 1.50 m above the floor, only
two were lying under the floor. According to Lombard, the latter
probably form an older group, whereas the former belong to the
destruction level and had probably fallen from a higher elevation,
perhaps an upper storey.
The dates obtained from the texts point
to the time of Ni qmepa' and later.
Miscellaneous tablet finds. For the sake of completeness, a few
more clusters of tablets should be mentioned. First, there is the small
group of texts found in the centre of Ugarit (Centre Ville) mainly consist-
ing of schooltexts
and, second, we have a substantial group of mainly
Ugaritic texts from the northern palace at Ras I bn Hani.
The lat-
ter can be dated to the period shortly before Ugarit's destruction.
1.3 Text genres
After this survey of the different archives it seems appropriate to
summarize the contents of the tablets and to look at their distribu-
tion in place (see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 133-40, 226- 7) and time. For
reasons of convenience I shall discuss them by genre.
The treaties form one of the most i mportant groups of texts.
They provide us with a wealth of historical material not only per-
taining to Ugarit itself but also to the states with which it was in
contact. Since Ugarit was a vassal of the Hittite king, the treaties
describe the relations between the two states. These important doc-
uments, which date from the entire historic period, were kept on file
in a separate wing of the palace, the southern archive. Copies and
summaries to be used in other archives were prepared and have
been found here and there.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 221; BORDREUI L PARDEE 1995, 31. See also the literature
mentioned in note 50.
RSO 7, no. 25:1. New attestations can be found in BORDREUI L MAL BRAN-
I ^ABAT 1995, 446 and 449, where we probably have to read Ur-Teub instead of
Ur-Ba'al. For Ur-Teub as the son of Urtenu see BORDREUI L MAL BRAN- L ABAT
1995, 446. For the name, see GRONDAHL 1967, 423.
L OMBARD 1995, 232 and cf. 237. For the texts found in 1994, see Y ON 1995.
VAN SOL DT 1991A, 222- 223; BORDREUI L - MAI .BRAN-I .ABAT 1995, 448.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 224.
J . and E. L AGARCE 1995; BOUNNI - SALI BY L AGARCE 1996. For earlier lit-
erature, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 225.
Almost all treaties have been published in PRU 4. An additional fragment was
published as RSO 7, no. 1.
See my remarks to the texts from the western palace archive. Note also the
The international legal texts are records which deal with legal
matters involving persons from outside Ugarit. Most, but not all, of
these texts are verdicts passed by the Hittite king or by his viceroy,
the king of Carchemish. Sometimes a representative of the crown,
either a prince or a high official (often a kartappu), is deemed wor-
thy to supervise a case.
Occasionally, we also find settlements
between kings of two different vassal states without Hittite supervi-
Ninety-five percent of these texts were found in the palace
and of these, eighty-five percent in the southern archive.
This sug-
gests that the international legal texts, just like the treaties, were in
principle filed in the southern palace archive. Since the dates range
from Hattusili III to Ta1mi-Teub of Carchemish, the texts were
apparently kept on file for a long time.
The domestic legal texts deal with matters pertaining to the city-
state only. They can be found in almost every archive
and could
date to any king of Ugarit. Thi s means that these documents were
considered important enough to be kept on file for a long time. A
special case are the texts dealing with land transfers supervised by
the crown: with just a few exceptions all these texts were found in
the northern wing of the central palace archive. Legal texts dealing
with land transfers found elsewhere are rare and they usually belong
to private archives.
The texts from the palace were kept on the
upper storey and grouped according to dossier. Thei r dates range
from Ni qmaddu II to Ni qmaddu III.
The international letters are state letters exchanged between mem-
bers of the royal family as well as high officials (such as the skinu)
of Ugarit and foreign rulers or their representatives. I n view of the
importance of the contents of many of these letters it is surprising
list KTU 4.610 =RS 19.017 from the southwestern archive, in which the share of
the tribute for the Hittite king (argmn p) is calculated for every town and guild.
Compare, for example RS 17.244 (PRU 4, 231) in which two high Hittite
officials are supervising a settlement in court. In RS 17.314 (PRU 4, 189) prince
Arma-ziti is present.
Compare, for example, RS 17.228 (PRU 4, 141), a settlement between
'Ammitttamru II and augamuwa of Amurru on the famous matter of the for-
mer's (ex-)wife.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 226- 31.
No legal texts have been found in the house of the Hurrian Priest or that of
the High Priest.
For example, RS 22.399 + 23.77 from the 'Tablet House'.
Or I birnu, if RS 15.139 (PRU 3, 166) still belongs with these texts.
to find them not only in the palace but also in some private archives.
Moreover, except for a later copy(!) of a letter from the time of
Ni qmaddu II
filed in the southern palace archive (and probably
considered a state document), all the letters are dated to the time
of 'Ammi ttamru II or later.
Both this dispersion and the relatively
short period of preservation indicate that these texts were not con-
sidered as important as the treaties and the legal texts. Quite a few
letters give the name of the king of Ugarit as the sender, from which
we may conclude that in a number of cases a copy of the letter was
kept. For the few international letters in Ugaritic, see the remarks
on the Western Palace archive.
The private letters are letters sent from private persons to the
royal family or to a high official (usually the skinu) or between pri-
vate persons, one of whom can be outside Ugarit. The former are
usually found in the palace, the latter in private archives. Some let-
ters of the first group, however, have also been found in the houses
of Rap'nu and the 'Tablet House',
a situation familiar from that
of the international letters. This genre is found in almost every sin-
gle archive; only the house of Rasap-'abu has not produced any pri-
vate letters. The texts can be written in Akkadian or in Ugaritic,
two letters are in Hurrian.
By their very nature private letters can
seldom be dated. The few indications that we have point to a late
date, the reign of 'Ammi ttamru II and later.
The administrative texts are documents usually styled as lists in
which persons, either as individuals or as a group (towns and guilds),
are mentioned who receive or deliver commodities, who pay taxes
or are just listed with their place of residence. The majority of these
texts is written in Ugaritic, the rest is in Akkadian. There is not a
single archive which has not produced at least one administrative
text. There are, however, a number of archives which can be labeled
'administrative' by the sheer quantities of texts of this genre in com-
parison to other genres. Such archives are the western (75%), the
eastern (64%), and the southwestern (75%) palace archives (76% of
all administrative texts come from the palace) and the southern palace
Especially in the houses of Rap'anu and Urtenu.
RS 17.334 (PRU 4, 54).
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 228.
Rap'anu: Ugaritica 5, nos. 20, 44, 48, 49, 52; KTU 2.68 - RS 20.199; 'Tablet
House': RS 22.347 and 22.419.
R S 11.853 (PRU 3, 327) and R S 23.31, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 364.
(90%). That the last archive is mainly administrative is not surpris-
ing: its owner is Y abni-apu (Y abninu), the chief admi ni strator
(.atammu rabu). Dates obtained from a number of texts point to the
last 50 years of Ugarit's existence, a time span which serves as an
indication for their limited importance.
The lexical texts form the pri mary study material for students of
Akkadian ( 3.1.4). Thus they can be expected in buildings which
served as schools. Since the palace has produced only two lexical
texts and two syllabic practice texts it probably did not house a
Different is the situation in the private houses, where large
numbers of these texts have been uncovered.
Especially the houses
of the Lettr, Rap'nu, Urtenu, the High Priest, the 'Tablet House'
and the Lamatu-archive were very rich in lexical material. All these
houses must have had a school within their walls. Dates are usually
lacking, so that we cannot be sure if the texts were kept for longer
than one or two generations. The lexical texts are closely associated
with the next genre.
The literary and religious texts are actually two groups with a
different purpose. Both groups, however, served as advanced study
material for students of Akkadian
( 4) and were normally found
in archives which also show a sizable number of lexical texts. As with
the latter, the palace archives have produced just a handful, where-
as the house of the Lettr, the Tabl et House and especially the
Lamatu-archive have been rich sources. Also interesting is the num-
ber of texts from the City Centre: five out of eleven (the others were
lexical texts). Most conspicuous is the (almost) complete absence of
this genre from the houses of Rap'nu and the High Priest. For the
possible implications, see 3.1.4. I n the house of Urtenu literary
and lexical texts have recently been uncovered.
Dates are difficult
to ascertain for this genre, a characteristic shared by the lexical texts.
As for the Ugaritic literary and religious texts, for which the alphabetic
script had perhaps been introduced,
they are discussed in another
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 139, 231.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 140.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 747- 8; 1995a, 194.
Not to be included are, of course, the many texts in Hurrian, especially from
the southwestern palace archive (Ugaritica 5, 462-96).
Note that the literary texts are the oldest alphabetic texts uncovered so far, at
I n conclusion, one can say that the genres can be divided into
two groups, those that were kept on file for future reference and
those that were discarded not more than two, or at most three gen-
erations after they had been drawn up. The former group consists
of the treaties and legal texts, both international and domestic. They
were usually kept on file inside one of the palace archives. The lat-
ter group comprises the letters both international and private, the
administrative texts and the schooltexts (the lexical, literary and reli-
gious texts). These genres, especially the international letters, are
much more dispersed and probably had only ephemeral importance.
1.4 Scribal education
As indicated in the previous paragraph, the education of scribes-to-
be took place in private houses and not in the palace. The syllabic
cuneiform script and the languages for which it was used in Meso-
potami a, Sumeri an and Akkadian, was a highly complicated tool
which could only be learned during many years of study and prac-
tice. The study material was organized in a didactic manner, in an
order which ensured a rising level of difficulty. No school books were
available to the students; teachers knew the texts by heart and taught
from memory.
The order of the schooltexts can be deduced from
combinations of texts on single tablets and from catchlines. The most
elementary exercise was a list of signs arranged by their phonetic
values (tu - ta - ti, bu - ba - bi, etc.), then a few lists with simple
ideograms followed, of which we have unilingual (Sumerian) as well
as bilingual versions (Sumeri an - Akkadian). These lists are the
'Silbenalphabet/-vokabular A' and the Syllabary A with its vocabu-
lary. The latter was a complete list of simple signs, which in Ugarit
also had a trilingual and even a quadrilingual version: columns in
Hurri an and Ugaritic were added to the Sumeri an and Akkadian.
After this probably came a long list of divine names (the 'Wei dner
God List'), a list of grammatical forms and a table of measures, the
least if the date of Niqmaddu II can be upheld (BORDREUI L MAL BRAN- L ABAT
1995, 447-8 suggest Niqmaddu III). If so, it is possible that the alphabetic script grad-
ually came to be used for other genres, such as letters and administrative texts,
as well.
See in general, VAN SOL DT 1995a.
Only two texts can be shown to have been written outside Ugarit: Ugaritica 5
nos. 119 and 169 = RS 20.121 and 25.421.
exact order is still uncertain.
When the student had mastered these
exercises he was ready for the larger compendia, the series Harra-
hubullu, Lu, Izi and Diri. Harra-hubul l u is a series of 15 tablets
which contains the terminology for writing legal and administrative
texts as well as a thematic catalogue of material culture. The series
Lu continues with a list of professions, and the last two series, Izi
and Diri, give compound ideograms.
When the student started to work on a new lexical text he would
normally make an excerpt on which he wrote the ideogram, its pro-
nunciation and the Akkadian translation (in a number of cases the
latter two are broken off and one may wonder if that was done for
didactic purposes). After this exceipt the student wrote the whole
text with an Akkadian translation (or even with Hurri an and Ugaritic
translations). The last stage was the unilingual version; the student did
not need the translation any more, but he would now memorize the
whole text.
When the student had completed these lists he could practise his
knowledge in context. To this end, he would write literary and reli-
gious texts, also from dictation, which often proved to be too difficult
for the would-be scribes. The many mistakes that they made testify
to the problems they had in understanding the texts. Some archives
are almost devoid of literary texts, although they produced plenty of
lexical texts (the houses of Rap'nu and the High Priest). Perhaps
this means that the level of practising Akkadian words in context
was not taught in these schools.
We know very little about the teachers. It seems that the profes-
sion of scribe was often kept in one family and that sons were prob-
ably taught by their fathers.
The names of the scribes who taught
the first students at Ugarit how to read and write are, unfortunately,
unknown. That they probably came from a Hurrian-speaking area
can be deduced from the strong Hurri an influence on the Akkadian
of the first period (see 3.1.5) as well as the Hurri an translations in
a number of vocabularies. At any rate, the study material derived
from Mesopotamia after the Ol d Babylonian period from a centre
other than Ni ppur (probably North Babylonia).
See VAN SOL DT 1995a, 172 3.
VAN SOL DT 1995a, 181- 2, 211- 2.
VAN SOL DT 1995a, 182.
1.5 The Akkadian of Ugant
I n this final paragraph I shall present a brief description of the
Akkadian as we find it in the texts written at Ugarit. The corpus
consists of all the genres enumerated in 3.1.4, with one restriction:
the literary and religious texts have to be excluded from a study of
syntax. As we have seen, these texts were written by the scribes as
part of their training. They ultimately derive from Mesopotami a as
study material and therefore cannot be used for a syntactical study.
However, they should certainly be used for the study of paleogra-
phy, orthography and morphology (contra DI ETRI CH 1996, 40).
than giving a brief survey of all the grammatical features which we
find in the texts, I will limit myself to a description of the various
influences which can be detected during the ca. 150 years that texts
were written in the city. Since the study material came from Babylonia
and was probably early Middle Babylonian it is not surprising to
find that the Akkadian at Ugarit was basically Babylonian,
but with
a number of influences from other languages: Hurri an, Assyrian and
Hurri an has left its mark in various ways. We find Hurri an trans-
lations in lexical texts, a number of (mainly religious) Hurri an texts,
including two letters,
lots of Hurri an names,
and a few Hurri an
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 475.
I am afraid I cannot agree with DI ETRI CH'S statement ( 1996, 40) that 'these
[lexical and literary] texts cannot really be used in the [general] definition of the
"Akkadian of Ugarit"'. These texts were written from dictation by scribes whose
native language was Ugaritic and they show the same orthographical and morpho-
logical characteristics as the records of daily life. The scribes built their scribal career
on what they learned at school. They did not adopt a completely different grammar
once they had finished. That the texts ultimately came from a Hurrian-speaking
area (see 4) is irrelevant for the Akkadian of Ugarit. In Bogazky the texts show
Hittite influence, in Emar and Ugarit, West Semitic influence. It is these influences
which have to be detected and which I have tried to describe. In my opinion, the
lexical and literary texts are as important as the other genres and they should be
treated as such, with some reservations. Both Huehnergard and I have carefully
kept the two groups (school texts and records of daily life) apart in our grammars
(see, for example, HUEHNERGARD 1989, 9-10 and VAN SOL DT 1991a, 372- 3, 473- 4) .
To mention a few examples, there is only one clear case of Assyrian vowel
harmony (VAN SOL DT 1991a, 391- 2) , the Middle Babylonian 2-umlaut occurs fre-
quently (ibid. 390-1), and for / w/ in anlaut the texts write wa- rather than - (ibid.,
389- 90) . Many more examples can be cited.
See the list in VAN SOL DT 1991a, 339-40. For the alphabetic Hurrian texts,
see K TU
, 654.
GRONDAHL 1967, 203-67.
words in legal and administradve texts, such as the conjunction undu,
' and the verbal form pu-fyu-ka-ru-i = pg.ugar.od.i, "she has
made an exchange".
The strongest influence, however, is found in
the orthography of the Akkadian texts. Documents written during
the reign of king Ni qmaddu II and his immediate successors show
a number of features reminiscent of the orthography in the Akkadian
Mittanni letters. First, there is the occasional confusion of stops (such
as DU for / /, PA for /b/, etc.) and, second, there is the use of signs
to mark I el as opposed to H/ (such as the use of ci for / qe/ instead
of or QI). Both phenomena can also be found in the Mittanni let-
ters of Turatta. They probably find their origin in the syllabary
used by the Mi ttanni an scribes for their Hurri an texts.
These fea-
tures are very strong during the time of Ni qmaddu II, but they start
disappearing during the time of his successors. Duri ng the reign of
his grand-son 'Ammi ttamru II they have practically disappeared.
Thus, forms of the verb leq are always spelled with 'Mi ttanni an' GI
during the reigns of Ni qmaddu II, but are slowly being replaced by
'Babylonian' during the reigns of Ni qmepa
Ammi ttamru II,
which in turn must give way to the 'Assyrian' QI in the time I birnu
and Ni qmaddu III.
The same phenomenon can be observed for
the conjunction undu.
Probably also of Mittannian origin is the con-
struction X-/w sa Y for the construct state or a simple construction
with sa during the reigns of earlier kings.
Assyrian influence is relatively weak (but present) in the older texts
from Ugarit. However, its influence grows gradually during the his-
toric period, specifically in morphology.
Thus, we find the frequent
use of the Assyrian pronomi nal forms st and sit for Babylonian
and , and -sunu for Babylonian -unti. We also find the Assyrian
genitive in -e/e and the -prefix in the third person of verbs pmae
aleph. The latter appears to be on the increase.
Assyrian features
appear to be especially promi nent in the archives of the Southern
Palace and the Tabl et House; compare, for example, the use of
HUEHNERGARD 1989, 201; VAN SOL DT 1991A , 464.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 350 note 209; see SPEI SER 1955, 164b, who suggests that
the form is either a noun or a verbal form. HUEHNERGARD 1989, 93 opts for a noun.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 375-81; 1995b, 208-9.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 263.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 464.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 517; cf. HUEHNERGARD 1989, 227-9.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 471.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 430.
Assyrian signs forms" and the verb tadnu in texts from the Southern
see below. Assyrian sign forms are also attested in some
texts from outside Ugarit.
Ugaritic made by far the strongest impact on the Akkadian texts.
However, it is not constant. I n the older texts the Ugaritic influence
is mainly noticeable in syntax, but gradually it also becomes stronger
in morphology. It is impossible to list all the phenomena that can
be ascribed to Ugaritic influence. I nstead, I shall select a few salient
examples. Most i mportant of these is, again, syntax. From the ear-
liest texts on, the Akkadian documents do not conform to standard
Babylonian grammar, but follow patterns that have their origin in
the language of Ugarit. Thus, instead of the order subject - object -
indirect object - verb (the verb is normally the last constituent of the
clause), the normal order of constuents in a main clause in Babylonian,
the texts from Ugarit usually have subject - verb - object - indirect object
and, even when they do use the Babylonian word order, the verb
can still be followed by an adverb.
I n morphology the growing
preference for nouns with case vowels and triptotic declension (also
in lexical and literary texts!) in the construct state is the most obvi-
ous feature.
Other examples are the lack of a subjunctive in sub-
ordinate clauses, the application of the Barth-Ginsberg law in verbal
prefixes, and the occasional use of Ugaritic verbal forms.
These three types of influence affected every single archive. However,
there is a certain distribution according to archive. For example,
Ugaritic influence, although noticeable everywhere, is particularly
strong in the domestic legal texts and, since most of these come from
the central palace archive, this type of influence is most obvious
there. Assyrian influence is strong in two archives: the Tabl et House
and the Southern Palace. For the latter it is not difficult to find an
HUEHNERGARD 1989, 277; most of his examples in the second paragraph come
from the Southern Palace archive.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 438; HUEHNERGARD 1989, 278.
As, for example, in RSO 7, no. 12, see also the photo, Ugaritica 7, pl. XI .
Note that the letter also shows a number of Assyrian grammatical characteristics.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 485.
HUEHNERGARD 1981; VAN SOL DT 1991a, 417-26; for the chronological distri-
bution, see ibid., 418.
For the subjunctive, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 440 and HUEHNERGARD 1989, 169.
For the Barth-Ginsberg law, see VAN SOL DT 1991 a, 431. The prefixes ta- and ti- are
not in free variation (thus HUEHNERGARD 1989, 159), but show a distribution in time:
ta- in older texts (Niqmaddu II and Niqmepa'), ti- in later texts ('Ammittamru II).
For Ugaritic verbal forms, see VAN SOL DT 1991a, 432, 436-7, 441-2.
explanation: the only scribe attested so far for this archive appears
to have been an Assyrian (see the Southern Palace archive, above).
I n the former, we probably have to think of a solution along simi-
lar lines. At any rate, it is clear that foreign scribes were working
in Ugarit. The same is probably true for the Lamatu-archive. The
schooltexts found here show reasonably good Babylonian written with
Babylonian signs in a Babylonian orthography. The number of mis-
takes is much smaller than in archives like that of Rap'nu and that
of the Tabl et House. That the students who wrote these texts (and
the one teacher mentioned in one of them) were natives of Ugarit
is clear from the colophons.
The name of a teacher from Babylonia
does not appear in the documents at our disposal.
A final word on the political situation during the time the texts
were written at Ugarit. As explained in VAN SOL DT 1991a ( 522- 3) ,
the development of the various language influences is closely con-
nected with the political situation in the final stage of the Late Bronze
Age, the period from which we have written documents from Ugarit.
At the beginning of this period the Mittanni empire was still an
important power, although under heavy attack from the Hittites. The
state of Mittanni was a cultural centre which was a much closer
neighbour to Ugarit than Assyria or Babylonia and we may assume
that Mi ttanni an teachers probably worked in Syria. This would at
least explain the strong Hurri an influence that we find during the
earliest Ugaritic kings. After the defeat of Mittanni, Assyria slowly
took its place and Assyrian troops reached the Euphrates during the
first half of the thirteenth century. It is therefore not surprising to
find an increasing Assyrian influence and even an Assyrian scribe at
Ugarit. With Mittanni out of the way, the road to Babylon was open
again and correspondence with this part of Mesopotamia shows that
contacts existed.
Finally, Ugaritic influence, already strong at the
beginning of the historic period, becomes stronger as time passes.
That the native language of the scribes at Ugarit interfered more
and more with their Akkadian is to be expected and provides a good
parallel for developments in other cities outside Mesopotamia where
Akkadian was written.
VAN SOL DT 1988, 316; 1995, 210 (students:. . . -iskur and . .. -la-na) and 211
(teacher: Gamir-Haddu son of Nu'me-Rasap).
For a survey of the history of Ugarit, see the chapter by I. SI NGER ( 15).
Babylonian letters are RSO 7, nos. 39, 40 and 47. The last one is from the
area of Mari.
2.1 Introduction
Duri ng the first season of excavations at Ras Shamra in 1929, a num-
ber of clay tablets were found in the ruins of a house on the city's
acropolis. To the great surprise of the excavators, the tablets were
written in a previously unknown script, rather than in the expected
Akkadian cuneiform. Charles Virolleaud, who was assigned the pub-
lication responsibilities, copied these peculiar texts and published the
facsimiles in Syria the following year, to allow scholars to work on
deci pherment of the script. Within months Virolleaud, Bauer and
Dhorme had each independently worked out a substantial percent-
age of the script (on the history of the decipherment, see 4.1). It
proved to be a cuneiform adaptation of the linear alphabetic script,
the ancestor of all the western alphabets, that had been invented in
the Levant sometime in the first half of the second millennium BCE.
With the deci pherment of the script, scholars began to realize the
extraordinary treasure that had been found at Ugarit. The texts were
written in the local Semitic language of the town, and a number of
them had a religious content. Duri ng the excavations of the next
two seasons, astounding new tablets in the same language and script
emerged from the rubble in and around the house, and it became
clear that Schaeffer had discovered a library of 'Canaani te' religious
and literary texts unparalleled anywhere else in the Levant. For the
first time native texts which allowed a direct view into Canaani te
mythology, legend and cultic practice were available. But it also
became immediately clear that these texts showed astonishing cul-
tural relationships with the Israelite literature of the Hebrew Bible.
I n fact, the impact of these texts on biblical studies can hardly be
overestimated, and an argument can be made that the Ugaritic tablets
are the most significant single discovery this century for the study
of Israelite religion and the Hebrew Bible.
' I thank Dennis Pardee, who read over this chapter and made a number of
valuable corrections and comments. Any remaining inaccuracies, of course, are my
own responsibility.
Numerous books and articles have dealt with the relationship between the
The library recovered during the first few seasons of excavations
was not the only collection of alphabetic cuneiform tablets to be
found at Ugarit. I n succeeding years, archive after archive was dis-
covered throughout the ancient city, in the royal palace and related
buildings, in the homes of high government officials, and in those
of priests and scribes. Hardly a season of excavations has occurred
over the past seventy years without the discovery of more documents.
Surprisingly, no other excavation in the Levant has recovered a
substantial number of tablets in alphabetic cuneiform, with the excep-
tion of nearby Ras I bn Hani , 4.5 km southwest of Ugarit, where a
palace belonging to the kings of Ugarit was excavated. Several sites,
including Minet el-Beida, Ugarit's harbour town, Tell Sukas, and
Tell Nebi Mend in Syria; Kami d el-Loz and Sarepta in Lebanon;
and Tell Taanak, Mount Tabor, and Beth Shemesh in Israel, have
produced individual tablets or inscribed objects with al phabeti c
cuneiform inscriptions, thus indicating that the script at least was
known across the entire Levant.
Presumably other archives in the
script will eventually be discovered, but for now the tablets from
Ugarit essentially stand in lonely splendour.
As of the 1996 campaign there were approximately 1046 pub-
lished alphabetic tablets and fragments of identifiable genres known
from Ugarit, as well as 217 unclassified fragments with legible signs,
69 inscribed objects other than tablets, ca. 416 unpublished frag-
ments, most of them tiny, unclassified pieces, and 90 unpublished
tablets and fragments from the 1986-96 excavation of the house of
Urtenu, currently in preparation by the epigraphic team of the Mis-
sion de Ras Shamra-0ugat. Ras I bn Hani has produced 39 published
texts of identifiable genres, one inscribed object, four unclassified
fragments and 93 as yet unpublished pieces.
Several editions of the tablets have been published over the years.
Most texts found between 1929 and 1939 received their initial pub-
lication in the j ournal Syra. A comprehensive edition of all the texts
Ugaritic texts and Israelite religion. Most recently see BROOK E - CURTI S - HEAL EY
1994, WY A TT 1996a and PI TARD 1998.
All of these inscriptions have been included in KTU
The numbers here are calculations based on my analysis of BORDREUI L PARDEE
1989, KTU
, and private communication concerning the recent finds in the house
of Urtenu from D. Pardee, to whom I am very grateful. Because of the complex
nature of the fragmentary state of the tablets, the numbers in this article must be
considered approximate.
from that period, including transcripdons, facsimiles and photographs,
was published in 1963 (HERDNER 1963). The finds of the post-WW
I I campai gns have been published in the three official series of the
Mission archologique de Ras Shamra-Ougant, Palais Royal d'Ugarit (PRU
2 and 5), Ugaritica (5 and 7) and Ras Shamra-0ugart (RSO 7). New
editions (transcriptions, facsimiles, photos and translations) of many
of these texts, including the paramythol ogi cal (PARDEE 1988b) and
cultic texts, as well as the letters, are in the process of publication
by the Mission's current epigraphic team, P. Bordreuil and D. Pardee,
in the RSO series. New tabl et finds will also appear in RSO.
Comprehensi ve collections of the texts (transcriptions) have been pro-
duced by GORDON (1965), KTU (1976, second edition 1995), and
CUNCHI LLOS - VI TA (1993a). And an edition of the texts for the com-
puter, The Ugaritic Tabl ets Digital Edition, is also in progress (see
There is no comprehensi ve translation of the entire corpus, but
several translations of the maj or religious and literary texts and a few
translations of the letters have appeared. The most significant ones
are the following: GORDON 1949 and 1977; DRI VER 1956; AI STLEI TNER
1964; GI NSBERG 1969; TO 1 and 2; COOGAN 1978; GI BSON 1978;
DEL OL MO L ETE 1981a; XEL L A 1981; DE MOOR 1987; PARDEE 1997a;
PARKER (ed.) 1997; WY ATT 1998C. GORDON 1949 and TO 2 include
translations of letters, in addi ti on to the religious texts. Many of the
economi c texts were translated into French in their editio princeps. A
compl ete listing of all inscriptions found at Ugari t and Ras I bn Hani
may be found in BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1989.
2.2 The archives and their locations
One of the most extraordi nary aspects of the epi graphi c finds at
Ugarit is the great number of separate archives found in the city.
The largest quanti ty of tablets came from the Royal Palace, but sub-
stantial archives have also been discovered in eleven other locations.
Ni ne may be described as the private residences of members of the
Ugari ti an upper class. These include the House of the Hi gh Priest
on the Acropolis; the Houses of Rap'anu, Rashapabu and 'the Scholar'
(Maison du Lettr) in the residential quarter to the east of the Royal
Palace; the House of Y abni nu (originally called the Southern Palace,
but now identified [COURTOI S 1990, Y ON 1998: 57] as a private res-
idence) j ust south of the Royal Palace; the House of the Hurri an
Priest (also known as the House of the Priest with the Liver and
Lung Models) in the area called the South Acropolis, which pos-
sessed two separate archives known as the Cella of Tablets, and the
Library of Lamashtu Texts; the House of Literary Texts in the area
called the Southern City (la Ville Sud), and the House of Urtenu in
the South Centre area. In addition to the private archives, a group
of administrative texts originated in the area just north of the palace,
called in the reports 'the Northwest Hill (Butte Nord-ouest) of the tell',
but the tablets are not identified as belonging to a specific building.
And finally, an important archive was found in the Northern Palace
at Ras I bn Hani , an additional residence of the Ugaritian king. I n
addition to these, smaller finds of texts occurred at numerous other
locations, both in houses and in plazas and streets.
The tablets from the Royal Palace were found primarily in five
discrete archives located in various wings of the building. All of these
archives were originally located on the upper floor of the palace and
fell into the ground-level rooms when the palace was destroyed.
Each of them contained both alphabetic and Akkadian tablets. Three
proved to possess more alphabetic than syllabic texts. These were
the West Archive (found in Rooms 3-5), which consisted of a num-
ber of documents dealing with the administration of the towns and
villages in the kingdom of Ugarit; the East Archive (Rooms 52~56),
another collection of administrative records concerning various goods,
weapons, personnel, etc.; and the Southwest Archive (Room 81),
again primarily administrative, but containing a few religious and
scribal texts as well. I n addition, about 75 alphabetic texts (ca. 30
A good sense of the extent of finds throughout the city can be gained by exam-
ining the 'I ndex des Points Topographiques par Quartier et Locus' in BORDREUI L -
PARDEE 1989, 423-45. Here each inscription is listed according to find spot. In
addition to the archives described above, small finds of texts were made in eleven
other buildings, as well as in numerous courtyards and plazas. In addition, there
are many tablets whose exact find spots are not known. The following description
of the archives is based on the extensive article on the archaeology of Ugarit by
COURTOI S (1979, 1155-1285), the new and important book by Y ON (1998a, 998b),
the discussions in VAN SOL DT 1991a, 47-231, and BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1989.
This circumstance appears to be typical of most of the archives found at Ugarit.
Most of the tablets located in the private houses were also stored on the upper
floor and were retrieved in the rubble of the collapse. The chaotic nature of a
house collapse explains why tablets belonging to the same archive may be strewn
through more than one ground-level room and even outside in the street or plaza
abutting the house. See YON 1998a, 59, 78, 84, 101, 106 for discussions of this sit-
uation in specific houses.
intact) were found in Court V, in what was originally thought to
have been an oven for baking tablets. Now it appears that they were
simply part of the Southern Archive which fell from the upper floor
when the palace was destroyed ( Y on 1998: 49- 50) . These tablets
included about ten letters that appear to date to the very end of
Ugarit's existence, along with standard administrative texts. The other
two archives contained primarily Akkadian texts (the Central Archive
preserving numerous juridical texts, and the Southern Archive holding
important international documents), but both also had some alpha-
betic texts as well. Besides these large archives, numerous tablets and
fragments were found elsewhere in the palace. In fact, inscribed objects
were recovered from some 57 of the rooms and courtyards of the
Royal Palace (cf. B o r d r eu i l - P ar d ee 1989, 424- 33) .
The archives from the other governmental locations varied somewhat
in genre. The collection found to the north of the Royal Palace (the
Northwest hill of the tell) was a mixture of Akkadian and alphabetic
administrative documents. But the Northern Palace at Ras I bn Hani
contained tablets of several genres, including some religious texts and
letters, though the majority of the tablets again were administrative.
The contents of the archives found in the private houses show
considerable diversity. Collections of tablets were recovered from the
houses of four high government officials, those of Rap'anu, Rashapabu,
Y abninu, and Urtenu. I n all four cases, most of the tablets were
written in Akkadian (see 3.1), but a few were in the alphabetic
script. The Rap'anu archive produced a number of important Akka-
dian international documents, but it also contained fourteen alpha-
betic administrative documents and three scribal exercise tablets. The
Rashapabu collection primarily consisted of personal documents in
Akkadian and contained only two scribal exercises in the alphabetic
script, along with two administrative tablets, and, most significandy,
the best preserved hippiatric text from Ugarit (KTU 1.85 = RS
17. 120, see below). The texts in the House of Y abninu were largely
Akkadian, with a few alphabetic administrative documents. And the
House of Urtenu, in addition to its largely Akkadian material and
alphabetic administrative tablets, has so far yielded some 27 letters
and four religious texts.
The other five maj or house archives primarily contained religious
and literary texts. Three of these, the House of the Scholar (Maison
du Lettr), the House of l iterary Texts, and the l i brary of the Lamashtu
Texts, consisted almost entirely of Akkadian texts of various types,
with very few alphabetic inscriptions. The House of the Scholar pro-
duced only two alphabetic tablets, a letter and an administrative text,
within its lexical, religious and literary library. The House of Literary
Texts contained significant Babylonian literary works, but it also pro-
duced the famous alphabetic text in which someone (Anat?) appears
to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Baal (KTU 1. 96 = RS 22. 225;
but cf. 6. 5. 3) , as well as a fragmentary hippiatric text, an abecedary
and a few administrative tablets. The Library of the Lamashtu Texts
added only two administrative tablets to the alphabetic corpus.
The other two locations contai ned the extensive collections of
Ugaritic literary and religious documents. The archive in the House
of the High Priest, the first one discovered at Ugarit, produced the
single most famous collection of texts from the site. Here were found
the maj or literary texts of Ugarit, alongside a number of cultic tablets,
letters, and administrative texts. The 'Cella of Tablets' in the House
of the Hurri an Priest provided a collection of paramythological and
cultic tablets all together in a single room. In addition to the tablets,
some thirty liver models and one lung model were found in the
room, several of which had alphabetic inscriptions nami ng the par-
ticipants in various extispicy rituals.'
2.3 Genres of texts in alphabetic cuneiform
The alphabetic script was used for a variety of purposes by the
scribes of Ugarit, but it was generally limited to texts that dealt with
local matters, religious, economic or administrative. Texts with an
international function were written in Akkadian." Most of the alpha-
betic tablets are written in the local West Semitic language, Ugaritic,
but the script was also used to write texts in Hurri an.
There are a number of ways in which the al phabeti c tablets
may be classified by genre. G o r d o n ( 1965, 290- 1) divided them into
ten basic categories,
while KTU
places the tablets into six genres
A particularly good discussion of the archaeological aspects of the archive dis-
covered in the Cella of Tablets may be found in PARDEE 1988b, 4-12 (archaeo-
logical description by J .-C. Courtois) and 261 6 (Pardee's own discussion).
There are a few letters in alphabetic Ugaritic that have international content,
but it is most likely that they are Ugaritic translations of Akkadian originals or
drafts of letters to be translated into Akkadian (PARDEE BORDREUI L 1992: 6. 711) .
See K T U 2. 36+ = R S 17. 435+, K T U 2. 76 = R S 34. 356, K T U 2. 81 = R I H
78/ 03, K T U 2. 38 = R S 18. 031 and K T U 2. 39 = R S 18. 038.
They are: (1) literary texts, (2) religious or ritual texts, (3) letters, (4) tribute,
(excluding the categories, 'Not Classified Texts,' and 'Illegible Tab-
P a r d ee - B o r d r e u i l ( 1992) 706- 21 subsume all of them
under three large umbrella designations ('Religious, Epistolary and
Administrative'). The following description makes use of the genre
divisions chosen by the editors of the Handbook, so that the reader
may easily move from this summary to the more detailed discus-
sions in the succeeding chapters.
2.3.1 Literary texts
As of 1996 approximately 179 alphabetic tablets and fragments that
can be identified as religious and/or literary documents had been
discovered at Ugarit and Ras I bn Hani ." Of these, some 148 are
in the Ugaritic language, while twenty-eight are Hurri an texts, and
three are in the Akkadian language, but written in the alphabetic
These documents can be divided into two general categories:
(a) Literary texts, including the large poetic narratives. These con-
stitute the only surviving collection of Canaani te mythological and
literary works and are thus the most i mportant source currently
known for the study of Canaanite religion and culture. Their influence
(5) hippiatric texts, (6) administrative, statistical and business documents, (7) tags,
labels or indications of ownership, (8) Hurrian texts, (9) Akkadian texts written alpha-
betically, and (10) Miscellaneous.
They are (1) Literary and Religious Texts, (2) Letters, (3) Legal Texts, (4)
Economic Texts, (5) Scribal Exercises, (6) Inscriptions on Seals, Labels, Ivories, etc.
, ix).
The find spots for the religious texts are as follows: fifty-six tablets, including
the major literary texts were found in the House of the High Priest during the first
four seasons of excavation (1929-32). Twenty others were found elsewhere on the
acropolis. The Cella of Tablets in the House of the Hurrian Priest, excavated dur-
ing the twenty-fourth season of excavations (1961), provided sixty religious texts.
Seventeen others were found in various rooms of the Royal Palace (KTU 1.78 =
RS 12.061, K TU 1.79 = RS 13.006, K TU 1.80 = RS 15.072, K TU 1.81 = RS
15.130, K TU 1.82 = RS 15.134, K TU 1.83 = RS 16.266, K TU 1.84 = RS
17.100[a]+, K TU 1.86 = RS 18.041, K TU 1.87 = RS 18.056, K TU 1.88 =
RS 18.107, KTU 1.89 = RS 18.[508], K TU 1.90 = RS 19.013, KTU 1.91 = RS
19.015, K TU 1.92 = RS 19.039, K TU 1.93 = RS 19.054, K TU 1.94 = RS 19.059,
K TU 1.95 = RS 19.179), and fourteen came from the North Palace at Ras I bn
Hani (KTU 1.163-176 = RI H 78/14, 77/02B+, 77/04+, 77/08A+, 77/10A, 77/10B+,
78/20, 78/11, 78/16, 78/01+, 78/04, 78/09+, 77/18, 78/26). The few other
tablets of this genre were found in various houses on the site. This includes three
unpublished texts from the house of Urtenu, RS 88.0237, 92.2016 and 92.2014.
The alphabetic Akkadian texts are K TU 1.67 = RS 5.199; K TU 1.69 = RS
5.213; K TU 1.70 = RS 5.156+. One tablet, KTU 1.73 = RS 5.303 bis, has seven
lines of Akkadian in the alphabetic script, followed by eleven lines in Ugaritic.
on biblical studies has been enormous, by illuminating the cultural
background of Israelite religion and its early development. I n addi-
tion, they have played an i mportant role in advancing the study of
Hebrew grammar, philology and poetics, (b) Cultic texts, which have
also served the dual function of clarifying numerous elements of
Ugari ti c/Canaani te and Israelite religious practice.
2.3.1 (a) The literary texts. This category includes the largest tablets
found at Ugarit, a series of carefully inscribed, multi-columned tablets
containing substantial narrative poems. Three distinct multi-tablet
narratives have been recognized, along with some single-tablet poems
and fragments. The maj or narratives are: (1) the Baal-Anat Cycle, a
series of six tablets which recount three primary stories about Baal,
the Canaanite storm/fertility deity who was the patron deity of Ugarit,
and his rise to power among the gods. The first gives an account
of the conflict between Baal and Y amm, 'Sea,' for domi nance in the
council of the gods. The second story deals with the building of
Baal's palace, while the third describes his defeat by Mot, 'Death,'
and his subsequent rescue by his sister/wife(?), Anat. (2) The Legend
of Keret, a narrative poem about a king of the land of Hubur, who,
with the help of El, ruler of the Canaani te gods, is able to secure
a wife and produce progeny, only to find himself dealing with dev-
astating illness and a rebellion by his ambitious eldest son. The nar-
rative is, unfortunately, incomplete. Substantial portions of three
tablets of the epic are preserved, but at least one additional tablet
must have existed, since the third tablet ends in the middle of a
scene. (3) The Legend of Aqhat, a narrative poem concerning Danel, a
pious man who longs for a son. His desire is granted by El, and
Danel and his wife have the child Aqhat. When Aqhat has grown
to be a young man, he is murdered on the orders of the goddess
Anat after he refuses to give the goddess his special bow. Aqhat's
sister seeks out the murderer to avenge her brother's death, finds
him and is about to kill him when the final preserved tablet ends.
Again at least one tablet is missing at the end of the story, and it
is not certain whether the first preserved tablet is actually the begin-
ning of the tale.
I n addition to these texts, there are several other mythological
narratives whose stories are shorter and do not extend beyond a sin-
gle tablet. For example, The Birth of the Pleasant Gods (KTU 1.23 =
RS 2.002) and The Marriage ofNikkal and Yarih (KTU 1.24 = RS 5.194)
provide reladvely straightforward narratives about the gods. Several
other, more fragmentary mythical tales have been preserved, but the
interpretation of their story lines is much more uncertain. I n this
category we can place some texts concerning Baal (e.g., K TU 1.10 =
RS 3.362; K TU 1.12 = RS 2. [012]), three fragments dealing with
a group of beings called the Rpum (KTU 1.20 = RS 3.348; K TU
I .21 = RS 2.[019]; and K TU 1.22 = RS 2. [024]), a small text
describing a conflict between a deity whose name is not preserved
(probably either Anat or Baal) and Y am/Nahar, the sea monster of
chaos (KTU 1.83 = RS 16.266),
and a newly discovered mytho-
logical fragment (RS 92.2016), from the house of Urtenu in the
southern part of the city. There are also a number of tablets that
have a clear ritual function in which mythic themes play an impor-
tant role. P ar d ee (1988b 261-6) has designated this type of text as
'paramythological.' I ncluded in this category are such texts as (1)
K TU 1.108 = RS 24.252, a description of a feast among the gods
that appears to conclude with the call for a blessing upon the king
of Ugarit and the city itself. (2) K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244, a text
describing the plea of a horse goddess to several deities, seeking a
cure for a snakebite. At the end of the text the god Horon disperses
the venom. (3) K TU 1.114 = RS 24.258, an account of a feast
(marzihu) held by El, during which he gets drunk. This story con-
cludes with a recipe for dealing with a hangover. (4) K TU 1.124 =
RS 24.272, a text that concerns healing the sick, but which describes
in mythic form a consultation with a deity called Ditanu.
Almost all of the maj or literary tablets (the Baal-Anat Cycle, the
Legends of Keret and Aqhat, The Birth of the Pleasant Gods, The
Marri age of Nikkal, the Rpum texts, etc.) were found in the archive
of the House of the High Priest on the acropolis. The three multi-tablet
works and a few additional fragments (two of the Rpum texts, and
the mythological fragment found in the house of Urtenu in 1992
(RS 92.2016), were produced by a single scribe named Ilimilku. A
colophon at the end of K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009] indicates that he
did his work during the reign of a king Ni qmaddu of Ugarit. Until
recendy scholars have generally assumed that this king was Ni qmaddu
II, who reigned during the mid-fourteenth century. But with the dis-
covery of a fragment of an Ilimilku mythological text (RS 92.2016)
The recognition that the monster being fought in this text is Y am/Nahar is
new. See the edition of the text in PI TARD, 1998. Cf. also WY A T T 1998C, 368- 9.
in the house of Urtenu, an official who served Ni qmaddu III dur-
ing the latter part of the thirteenth century, it seems more likely that
Ilimilku produced the tablets during the latter's reign.
2.3.1 (b) The cultic texts. Somewhat over one hundred alphabetic
tablets and fragments may be considered cultic texts. Most of them
are in the Ugaritic language, but twenty-nine are in Hurri an and
several contain a mixture of Ugaritic and Hurri an elements.
texts are considerably shorter than the literary tablets (the mytho-
logical and legendary narratives constitute approximately sixty per-
cent of the preserved lines of the Ugaritic religious texts). These texts
may be divided into three general types:
(1) Ritual texts, which provide information about the performance
of rituals. Some of the literary tablets described above also fit into
this category. These texts are often very difficult to understand, since
they are 'professional texts,' intended for the use of the priests. They
contain obscure technical vocabulary, and do not provide explana-
tions of the concisely described events that make up the rituals.
Examples of such ritual texts include K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126, a
funerary ritual for the deceased Ki ng Ni qmaddu I I I ; and an expia-
tory ritual found in several exemplars, but best preserved in K TU
1.40 = RS 1.002. (See 7.1).
(2) Offering and deity lists. This is the most common type of cultic
text found at Ugarit. Most of these simply provide listings of offerings
made to the gods. They usually give the name of the deity, the thing
offered, and sometimes the name of the type of offering (e.g., srp,
'burnt offering,' lmm, 'peace offering'). These lists are important for
identifying the gods actively worshipped at Ugarit, and, to an extent,
their relative positions in relation to one another. (See 7.2).
(3) Omen texts. The examination of the internal organs of sacrificed
animals and the study of abnormal animal and human foetuses were
two ways in which the priests looked for signs of the future. This
type of practice is well known throughout the Near East, and a num-
ber of texts from Ugarit reflect the local version of it. Five inscribed
On the date of Ilimilku, see BORDREUI L MAL BRAN-I ^ABAT 1995, 447- 8. For
the chronology of the kings of Ugarit, see the discussion in VAN SOL DT 1991a, 1 46.
See, for example KTU 1.132 = RS 24.291, a sacrificial list that is made up
of a peculiar mixture of Hurrian and Ugaritic phrases, and KTU 1.148 = RS
24.643, another sacrificial list that has two sections in Ugaritic and one in Hurrian.
liver models and a lung model with an inscription on it illustrate
the practice of exdspicy.
In addition some texts listing omens related
to abnormal foetuses have been recovered (KTU 1.103 + 1.145 =
RS 24.247; and K TU 1.140 = RS 24.302). From Ras ibn Hani
comes a tablet with omens related to astronomical phenomena (K TU
1.163 = RI H 78/14). (See 7.3).
2.3.2 Correspondence
With the discovery of twenty-four as yet unpublished letters in the
house of Urtenu between 1988 and 1996, there are now over 110
letters in the alphabetic script, including those from Ras I bn Hani.
Most of these are correspondence between members of the royal
court, including the royal family and the maj or officials of Ugarit.
While Akkadian was used in international correspondence, the Ugaritic
language and script were the vehicles for local and more personal
communication in the city. There are a number of letters to and
from the king of Ugarit, rarely named, and there are several letters
to the queen as well. Other letters are from one official to another,
and there are a few personal letters from and to non-royal family
Nearly half of the letters (approximately 49) were found in the
Royal Palace, while 27 come from the house of Urtenu, whose key
position in the Ugaritic government at the end of the 13th and
beginning of the twelfth centuries is abundantly illustrated in them.
The other letters in alphabetic script were found in various build-
ings throughout the site. (See 8).
2.3.3 Legal texts
A very small number of alphabetic tablets that deal with specifically
legal matters have been discovered so far at Ugaritbarely a dozen,
published and unpublished. Among these tablets, we find a few con-
tracts, agreements in which persons take on the responsibility to act
as security for loans, receipts for payment of redemption money to
release persons from a type of servitude known as unt, and royal
grants of property. This category overlaps with certain aspects of the
The liver texts are KTU 1.141-144, 155 = RS 24.312, 24.323, 24.326, 24.327
and 24.654. The lung model is KTU 1.127 = RS 24.277.
administrative texts, discussed below ( 9.2), and some scholars might
place a number of additional texts in this category.
2.3.4 Administrative texts
This is by far the most common genre of alphabetic document recov-
ered at Ugarit. Nearly eight hundred have been published, and many
of the as yet unpublished texts fit into this category as well.
majority of these tablets arc lists compiled for various purposes. There
are lists of names, professions, towns and villages, as well as records
of land transfers, deliveries of goods, distribution of rations, inven-
tories, and payment of taxes. Most of these tablets are quite small,
possessing fewer than twenty lines. Onl y a handful of administrative
tablets exceed fifty lines of text. (See 10.1).
2.3.5 The hippiatrc texts
Four exemplars of a text describing treatments for various medical
conditions of horses have been found at Ugarit. What makes this
text interesting is that the prescriptions for treatment of the various
equine ailments make no use of magical or other religious elements,
but rather focus on recipes for the mixing of various plants together,
which are then administered to the sick animal. Thus they are med-
ical in nature and find their closest parallels in Mesopotamian texts
that deal with human illnesses. Only one of the Ugaritic hippiatric
tablets is nearly complete (K TU 1.85 = RS 17.120), but the occur-
rence of three other copies indicates the value placed on the treat-
ments described here.
PARDEE - BORDREUI L ( 1992) , writing before the discoveries of 1994 and 1996,
estimated that there are approximately 900 administrative texts from Ugarit and
Ras ibn Hani. We can now add about forty from the 1994 finds and five from
3 T h e H u r r i a n an d H i t t i t e T e x t s
M a n f r i e d D i et r i c h - W a l t e r M a y e r
Due to the integration of Ugarit into the cuneiform writing tradi-
tion of Middle Babylonian Koine during the 14th century, clay tablets
in palace, priest and private libraries have reached us which show
that the indigenous Ugaritic population of the harbour town at the
close of the 13th century was multilingual: Besides documents in the
local language of Ugaritic and Middle Babylonian Koine were found
some in Hurri an and Hittite, demonstrating the ethnic mix of the
The discussion which follows starts from the evidence for Hurri an
and Hittite, with Hurri an plainly having priority since the documents
found so far outnumber those in Hittite. I n terms of topic, linguistic,
cultic and historical questions are to the fore.
3.1 The Human texts
First we provide a list of the texts grouped according to which of
the various libraries they come fromand we depend on material
published before 1998.
3.1.1 Texts from palace libraries
Within the palace, only texts and fragments in syllabic script were
Apart from a letter (RS 11.853) and an Akkadian-Hurrian
wisdom text (RS 15.010), these are exclusively songs which are reli-
gious in content with indications of melody and directions for play-
ing, most of them have been preserved only as fragments: RS 14.015,
14.018, 15.030 + 049 + 17.387, 18.282, 19.084, 19.142-151,
19.153-155, 19.164evidently, to this group of texts also belong the
Isolated Cypriot texts and documents, with A1aia-Cyprus as their theme, pro-
vide grounds for the assumption that the close connections of Ugarit with its neigh-
bouring Mediterranean island also entailed a Cypriot component of the population.
Cf. VAN SOL DT 1991a, 339-40.
If the fragment KTU 4.669 + 7.130 = RS 19.174A + 19.174c, the contents
of which cannot be defined, should prove to be Hurrian, it would be the only
Hurrian text in alphabetic script to be found in the palace.
scattered finds RS 9.253 and 9.483A from the northwest region of
the palace (Butte nord-ouest).
Except for RS 15. 030 + . . RS 15. 010 from the eastern archive
of the palace and the scattered finds RS 14. 015 and 14. 018, all the
tablets come from the southwestern archive. The letter and the scat-
tered finds were published in L ar o c h e 1955, the wisdom text in
N o u g a y r o l - L ar o c h e 1955 and the remai nder in L ar o c h e 1968.
3.1.2 Texts from the priests' libraries The library of the Grand Prtre
Duri ng the first five campaigns (1929-33), on the acropolis and in
the maison du Grand Prtre
between the two main temples of Baal
and Dagn, numerous clay tablets in alphabetic script were found
which throw light on the cultic and religious life of Ugarit. These
are written in Hurri an or a Mischsprache of Hurri an and Ugaritic.
From the house of the Grand Prtre come the following textswhere
possible we have given an indication of genre for each text:
1. K TU 1.32

RS 1. [066] fragment
2. K TU 1.33
RS 1. [067] fragment
3. K TU 1.34 z=RS 1 .[076] fragment
4. K TU 1.35 =
RS 1. [069] - uncertain
5. K TU 1.36

RS 1 .[070] fragment
6. K TU 1.37 - RS 1 .[071] fragment
7. K TU 1.42

RS 1.004 hymn
8. K TU 1.44
RS 1.007 incense incantation for
9. K TU 1.51 = RS 1.027 uncertain
10. K TU 1.52

RS 1.028 + 035 - uncertain
11. K TU 1.54 RS 1.034 + 045 incense incantation for
12. K TU 1.59

RS 1. [049a] fragment
13. K TU 7.40 - RS 1 .[074] fragment'
14. K TU 7.43
= RS 1.031 fragment
BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1989, 15- 39; VAN SOL DT 1991A, 212- 7.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MA Y ER 1994, 74- 81.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MA Y ER 1994, 81- 5.
' The tablets of numbers 1-13 were found together in room 1.
15. K TU 1.60 = RS 2. [006]
16. K TU 1.64 = RS 3.372
- list of sacrifices
I n addition, from the area of the acropolis come the two tablets:
17. K TU 1.66 = RS 5.182
18. K TU 1.68 = RS 5.200
- uncertain
- uncertain
Even though no precise information about the findspot is available,
the following tablets must also be assigned to the same area:
19. K TU 1.26 = RS 1-11.[048]
20. K TU 1.30 = RS 1-11.[046] Library of the Prtre Hounite
list of sacrifices
Duri ng the 24th campaign in 1961 a group of clay tablets written
in the alphabetic script was dug up in the southern area of the
'acropolis' in room 10 of the house of the Prtre Hounite,
of which
the contents were cultic and religious themes. Of these, eleven are
definitely in pure Hurri an or in a mixture of Hurri an and Ugaritic:
1. K TU 1.110 = RS 24.254
2. K TU 1.111 = RS 24.255
3. K TU 1.116 = RS 24.261
4. K TU 1.120 = RS 24.269 + 297
5. K TU
6. K TU
RS 24.274
RS 24.278
7. K TU 1.131 = RS 24.285
list of sacrifices of the
pal ace"
oracular decision for a
royal sin-offering
offering at the Festival
of Atarte
fragment of an
death ritual
incense incantation for
incense incantation for
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MAY ER, 1998; 1997B.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH - MAY ER, 1998; 1997b.
BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1989, 298; cf. VAN SOL DT 1991a, 194: 'Hurrian Priest'.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MAY ER 1995, 12 6.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MAY ER 1995, 17 22.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH - MAY ER, 1997b; 1998.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH - MAY ER 1997a.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MAY ER 1994, 87 94.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MAY ER 1994, 94 101.
8. K TU 1.132 = RS 24.291
9. K TU 1.135 = RS 24.295
10. K TU 1.148 = RS 24.643
11. K TU 1.149 = RS 24.644
ritual for the palace
goddess Pidray'
- palace offering from a
ceremonial ritual
palace offering from a
ceremonial ritual for
- unintelligible
3.1.3 Texts from private libraries
I n the private libraries east of the palacefor instance in the House
of Rap'nu
and southeast of the palacefor instance in the Maison
aux tablettes
were found numerous fragments of multilingual lexi-
cal lists with a column in Hurri anthese texts have been discussed
above ( 3.1).
Noteworthy is the as yet unpublished letter RS 23.031
from out-
side Ugarit, which was discovered as a 'scattered find' on the edge
of the Maison aux tablettes. It is written in Akkadian heavily inter-
spersed with Hurri an.
3.1.4 Formal aspects
As the foregoing lists show, the Hurri an texts in alphabetic script
are chiefly lists of sacrifices set within rituals, and incantations. The
first thing that deserves to be established is that the symbiosis between
Hurri ans and Ugaritians, already evident in the use of the Ugaritic
alphabetic script, under the influence of an Akkadian tradition finds
its written expression both in language, i.e. grammar and lexicon,
and in cult and pantheon.
Thi s is most evident in the lists of
sacrifices and in an oracular decision (KTU 1.111), where the text
throughout is a mixture of languages: The ritual sections are in
Ugaritic, the lists of gods which are concerned with the sacrifices
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MA Y ER 1996a.
Most recent edition: DI ETRI CH MA Y ER 1997b; 1998.
BORDREUI L - PARDEE 1989, 228; VAN SOL DT 1991a, 165-10.
BORDREUI L PARDEE 1989, 282.292; VAN SOL DT 1991a, 182 91.
Photo: BORDREUI L PARDEE 1989, 297: Fig. 38a: reverse with seal impression.
On the problem of symbiosis and its effects, e.g. of Akkadian on the Hurrian
of the Mittanni Letter see DI ETRI CH MA Y ER 1992, 39-40.
and which come from both cultures, are however in Hurri an and
seem to be almost fossilized.
An essentially formal aspect is also the re-use of previously inscribed
tablets for which the term 'palimpsest' can be used, as shown for
example by K TU 1.114, K TU 1.116 and K TU 1.131, to mention
the three most i mportant, where individual wedges and traces of
signs especially on uninscribed sections can only be explained if the
tablet had already been written on, before the new text was applied.
All these tablets come from the archive of the Prtre Hounite. The
priest responsible had re-used an already inscribed tablet after a new
covering for a text for a particular occasion. The reasons for this
practice can only be speculated on: perhaps to save on clay for a
text of lesser i mportance which was used only for a particular occa-
sion and/or lack of clay suitable for making tablets.
3.2 The Hittite texts
In spite of the close political relationship to the Hittite kingdom, espe-
cially to the sub-capital Carchemi sh, in Ugarit only a private Hittite
legal document (RS 17.109) and a polyglot Sumerian literary text
with a translation into Akkadian and Hittite (RS 25.421) have been
3.3 The language of the Hurrian texts from Ugarit
3.3.1 Previous research
As yet there is no adequate appraisal of the Hurri ans and of the
Hurri an of Ugarit in current descriptions of Hurri an studies. De-
tailed studies of grammar and lexicon dependent on the Mittanni
Letter cannot hide the fact that they are all based on the bad tran-
of a defective copy.
With these premisses it was without
exception difficult to establish links with Ugarit and also with Bogazky
where, to some extent, there was a very different Hurri an dialect.
I n this connection the as yet unpublished textual material from
DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1993 for K T U 1.114; DI ETRI CH - MA Y ER 1994, 96 n. 78,
for KTU 1.116; 1995, 23 n. 58: as yet unnoticed.
See K MMEL 1969; NEU 1995b, 126-8.
FRI EDRI CH 1932, 8- 32.
SCHRDER 1915, 200.
Emar must play a role which has still to be determined. As shown
by comparisons between the Akkadian literary texts from Emar and
Ugarit, there were close scholarly ties between both places which
found expression in their common tradition ( van S o l d t 1994). Sim-
ilarly, on the basis of their proximity in time and space, Emar could
provide illumination on several points regarding the development of
the Hurri an of Ugarit.
Van Soldt has shown in detail that the Babylonian of Ugarit came
under Hurri an influence only until the mid-13th century. Afterwards,
it was increasingly open to Assyrian influence ( van S o l d t 1991a,
519-23)for us today this drastic change is certainly one of the tan-
gible results of the defeat of Hanigalbat. Remarkably, so far only
very few tablets in Hurri an from the period of Hurri an domination
before the mid-13th century have been found from excavations: Most
of them come from the end of the 13th century and so from the
time of Assyrian influence. At the same time these texts also show
that Hurri an played a role even in the royal house up to the fall of
Ugarit which is not to be underestimated.
Two opposing traditions have to be distinguished in the Hurri an
texts from Ugarit: On the one hand there are texts from the palace
in syllabic cuneiform, which in morphology, less so in orthography,
exhibit interesting parallels with the Mittanni Letter. On the other
hand, there are texts in alphabetic cuneiform, which were principally
found in two priestly libraries and reflect cultic practice. The latter,
with their consonantal script, present many problems for the record-
ing of the Hurri an of Ugarit and also give us much to think about.
I n any case, the conclusions which Spei ser (1941-2) and B ush (1964)
drew in respect of the consonantal inventory of Hurri an on the basis
of texts in the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet require correction. The
main problem is that the consonantal script itself still conceals barely
comprehensible difficulties even for Semitists.
" All the more reason
for Hurri an studies to exercise caution in the adoption of the pre-
liminary results of Semitic research. On top of that comes the difficulty
that Hurri an itself through a long tradition in the West(-Syrian)
cuneiform system has been moulded by Middle Babylonian Koine
and has thus lost many of its characteristic features.
See most recently TROPPER 1994b.
3.3.2 Grammar Phonology and orthography Sibilants
The Hurri an texts written in the alphabetic script distinguish only
two sibilants: t denotes the voiceless sibilantsuch as unt (unub e)
(K TU 1.128:6.7.9), tdn (tad=en) (K TU 1.44:3[to], similarly K TU
1.128:8), tritt (tan=at = t=a) (KTU 1.44:11-2, K TU 1.128:20-21)-
and d the voiced sibilante.g. endr (en-nadura) K TU 1.128:4.6, jjllyd
[hill-ill-y add) (KTU 1.44:4-5). Thi s matches the observations made
by Tropper concerning the inventory of consonants in the alphabetic
script of Ugarit.
Thus, all attempts to reconstruct the phonemi c
inventory of Hurri annot only the sibilantson the basis of alpha-
betic spellings are premature and to be rejected.
If a different sibilant grapheme occurs then the word in question
can only be a loanword from Semitic culture. Thus words like sp
(sup(p) = e) (KTU 1.54:13), bsl (bask) (K TU 1.44:5), zg (zagge) (KTU
1.44:10) or rznn (rz-enni= ne) (K TU 1.128:12) are equally Semitic
loanwords as e.g. kl (sukkalle) (K TU 1.44:10, K TU 1.54:14, K TU
1.128:16, K TU 1.131:15) uhr (uhara) (K TU 1.131:1.11.12) or mr
(maru) (K TU 1.131:15).
It is noteworthy that the ergative ending on a participle of
action, which as yet is only attested with the verb at 'to release',
occurs as t (K TU 1.44:8; K TU 1.54:13), as (K TU 1.128:17) and
as d, (K TU 1.131:11). This results therefore in some uncertainty in
the way the ergative ending is written, which as is known from the
morphology of Ugaritic and Koi ne texts, can be conditioned by the
proximity of t with a partial assimilation completed ad libitum.
The graphic representation of sibilants in the root tae 'gift', known
from the Mittanni Letter, is by means of a in tzgd [taz-uiie-da)
K TU 1.128:8 and corresponds to the signs containing in the Koi ne
syllabary. Besides, this also corresponds to the spellings in the Hurri an
incantation from Mari: ta-zi-.
TROPPER 1994b, 25-49: sibilants and interdentals.
THUREAU- DANGI N 1939, 2, 7.8.9; cf. also the spellings of the D N Kdg ( K T U
1.128:13) and Kzg (KTU 1.116:6.14). Velars
The emphatic velar q also indicates that a word in a Hurri an con-
text is a loanword from Semitic: ql (ql) 'with a loud voice' (KTU
1.44:4). The liquids r and / as word-initial
Since there is no initial I or r in Hurri an, it can be assumed that
words beginning this way correspond to Semitic foreign and loan-
words. Thus we derive rznn (rzenni-ne) (KTU 1.128:12) from Akk.
rsu 'helper' and li (le'e) (KTU 1.128:4) from Akk. leu 'capable, able'
and consider them as foreign words.
I n a borrowed word, initial r can be avoided either by a preposed
vowel (cf. the DN Irappa < Raapu) or by means of a metathesis be-
tween r and the following consonant, as in the case of trbn (,tarb = enne)
(KTU 1.54:3), which derives from Akk. rsibtu 'one who commands
respect'. The uncertainty in respect of liquids emerges also in the
attribute bsl (basle) (KTU 1.44:5), occurring in a context which is
parallel to that of srbn (sarb-enne) 'rich in willows' (K TU 1.131:3.5).
Since loanwords of this kind occur in a Humani zed form, it has
to be accepted that they belong to an earlier stage of borrowing
than those which still retain an unchanged Semitic phonology. The tenuis d
The tenuis d is inserted in earlier borrowings where the underlying
Semitic word has the emphatic dental /: pdrrn (padr-ma(n)) K TU
1.44:11 and K TU 1.128:20, which must go back to Akk. patru 'to
Before the stressed vowel u an original t is 'weakened' to d as
shown by the example mrdml (mrdmele) K TU 1.131:2, which is the
Humani zed form of Akk. mrtma-ilim 'El's daughter'. Thi s phe-
nomenon also occurs in the Mittanni-Letter, where it also applies to
Hurri an words. Matres lectionis
In line with usage in late Ugaritic texts, the incantations show a cer-
tain tendency to plene writings, with y for | i / / | and if for | u/ / | :
kby kbny (kubb = i kib-enn = iye), mryt (mite) (KTU 1.131:2), nw (re'u)
K TU 1.42:38 and ilwny (iln) (KTU 1.128:17-8). Hiatus
The auka-I ncantation transmits this divine name in the form twtk
(KTU 1.54:2.11.13) and is thus outside normal tradition, which uses
the M-aleph for the glide: tutk (K TU 1.42:22; K TU 1.59:1.5; K TU
1.60:2; K TU 1.64:26; K TU 1.116:3.9.13; K TU 1.120:3; K TU 1.135:2;
K TU 1.149:10.11).
The word 'heaven' only occurs in the spelling with a w-aleph: hum
(haurunne) (K TU 1.68:27 and K TU 1.128:2). Morphology Nouns
The following determined or undetermi ned cases are attested: the
absolutive, ergative, directive, ablative and comitative.
The absolutive: Alongside the use of the absolutive as an adver-
bial it also functions as a vocative. As far as can be ascertained,
the forms of this absolutive used as a vocative are not determined.
There are too few occurrences for making a reliable assertion as
to whether there really is a connection between indeterminate-
ness and the vocative.
The ergative shows no deviation from normal usage.
The directive and the ablative. Apart from the use of the directive,
which is well documented, and in Hurri an corresponds to West
Semitic and Ugaritic I 'to, for, towards' it also occurs in the El
I ncantation with an ablative function, whereas the ablative occurs
only once: il.dn (ile-dan) 'away from (KTU 1.128:16), where
it has been retained in a fixed formula. In general the findings
of the Mittanni Letter confirm this, where the ablative seems to
vanish in favour of the directive.
The comitative. The determinate plural of the comitative is rela-
tively well documented: ath.ndrm (athe- nadura - ma[n\) (KTU 1.128:3),
in(.)dr (en-nadura) (K TU 1.128:4.6), trnd.rm (ture-nadura-ma\n\)
(KTU 1.128:5). However, it occurs as indeterminate in the Uhara-
I ncantation: armdr (ar-urn-adura) (KTU 1.131:14). Pronouns
The enclitic personal pronoun, 2. sg., occurs in hldp (held= a=ppa[n])
'you (sg.) are exalted' (KTU 1.128:4.5).
DI ETRI CH - MA Y ER 1993, 150- 1. Verbs
Transitive verbs are attested in the 3 pi. imperative of the indicative
hllyd(hill=ill~yada) (KTU 1.44:4-5) and the cohortative singular: agrl
uwln (agr-ile uw=ilen) shall incense (and) slaughter!' ( K TU 1.128:19).
I n the intransitive conjugation the 1. sg.umtn (um-a-ttari) (KTU
1.131:12)and the 2. sg hldp (held= a= ppa[n]) (KTU 1.128:4.5)-
are attested. Syntax
Two simple intransitive/stative clauses form the end of the incanta-
tion in the style of noun clauses: gr a*r*mdr mr kl '(Here is) the
igT-vessel with the (offering that) has been brought. Maru (is the
Uhara) messenger' (KTU 1.131:13-15). It cannot therefore be ex-
cluded that both gr and ski are in the locative-stative: *sagara and
*ukkalla respectively.
A special indication of Semitic influence on the Hurri an of Ugarit
is the compound: within the god-lists, unnamed gods are defined by
apposition. Thereby the apposition is, on the model of the Semitic
construct state, so closely connected that it forms a unit with it of
which only the apposition has the case-ending syntactically required
for both words; cf. such expressions as en tlnd 'for the /z/fe-god(s)'
(KTU 1.110:1; K TU 1.111:7) or ewrn prznd 'for the lord over the
decision' (KTU 1.110:4) instead of *end tlnd or *ewmd prznd. Style
I ncantations are particularly subject to the usual rules of poetic lan-
guage with stylistic usages such as parallelism and chiasmus: Simple
parallelism is evident for example in K TU 1.131 in the opening
address (uhr mryt mrdml ttl srbn 'Ushara, Lady of Mari, || daughter
of El from Tuttul rich in willows', lines 1-3), with the chiastic posi-
tioning of its members in the following predicate (kby kbny mdm kt*[y\
'who plans her destiny, || who utters wisdom', lines 3-4). In the
second case the inversion of predicate and object in the second mem-
ber requires the addition of the enclitic -m(a).
A typical poetic characteristic is also the emphasis of an inde-
pendent imperative by the enclitic -m(a), as shown by the form him
'speak up!' (KTU 1.131:13). I n a non-poetic context this -m(a) irre-
spective of whether its origin is Hurri an or Ugariticcan also be
attached to nouns when at the head of a list: atf}lm 'a/AZ-offering
(f or)...' (KTU 1.110:1; K TU 1.111:3.8).
3.3.3 Lexicon
Whereas the rituals and sacrificial texts are written in a Hurro-
Ugaritic Mischsprache, the incantations, in 'good' Hurri an probably
also reflect authentic Hurri an thought. However, they are directed
to a mixed Hurro-Syrian pantheon: to Kumarbe of Uriga and Kumma
including the cult centre Tuttul, to Akkadian auka of Niniveh, to
Ushara of Mri and to El of Ugarit. I n line with this mixed tradi-
tion, which ultimately represents the result of a lengthy symbiosis, it
is not surprising that the texts contain numerous Semitisms and also
countless borrowings from neighbouring Asia Minor. This finds ex-
pression not only in the names of the gods, their messengers and
their places of worship, but also in the lexicon. Here we have pro-
vided a list of lexemes which as yet have not been explained or have
been explained inadequately. Semitic words
hannuge (hnng-) 'merciful' (KTU 1.132:9) < Ug. hnn;
bazzizi= (hzz-) 'wisdom' (K TU 1.116:5; K TU 1.125:11) < hassu;
iln (ilwny) 'divine' (KTU 1.128:17-8 ) < *ilnyu;
le'e (H) 'powerful one' (K TU 1.128:4) < lew,
kelage (lklg-) 'a pot' (KTU 1.128:11) <(WSem.) qlh (Ug. qlh, Eg. qrh.t);
kalle- (Id-) 'cup, bowl' (K TU 1.128:11) < kallu;
kad(d)ale= (kdl-) a container (KTU 1.128:11) < ka/undulu;
mmurte- (mmrt-) 'audience gift' (KTU 1.128:10) < nmurtu:
mnte (mryt) 'Lady of Mari ' (K TU 1.131:2) < mntu;
mrdmele (mrdml) 'El's daughter' (KTU 1.131:2) < *mrtma-ilim;
mulugi= (mlg-) approximately 'gift' (KTU 1.116:31) < mulgu
nadi- (nd-) 'what is laid' (K TU 1.116:4) (bis) < nadi(u)
ninnaggi= (nng-) 'incense bowl' (K TU 1.116:31) < *ninnakku <
nignakk/ qqu;
padri= (pdr-) 'release, solution' (K TU 1.44:11; K TU 1.128:20)
< patru;
qle (ql) '(loud) voice' (KTU 1.44:4) < (WSem.) *qlu;
re' (riw) 'shepherd' (KTU 1.42:38) < r';
rzenne (rzn-) 'helper' (KTU 1.128:12) <rsu;
sikitt-enne- (sktn-) 'one who creates living things' (KTU 1.125:1)
< sikittu;
sup(p) (sp) 'to pray' (K TU 1.54:13) < suppw,
sarb/ bas le (srb-/bsl) 'rich in willows' (KTU 1.44:5; K TU 1.131:5) <
agare (gr) a container (KTU 1.131:13) < akr (?);
s'ukkalle (ski) 'messenger of the gods' (KTU 1.44:10; K TU 1.54:14;
K TU 1.128:16; K TU 1.131:15) < sukkallu;
tarb- enne (trbn) 'one who commands respect' (KTU 1.54:3) <ribtu;
zogge (zg) 'first-rate, foremost' (K TU 1.44:10) < sank < sag. Hurri an and non-Semitic words
ag=uge= (agg-) approximately 'tray' (KTU 1.128:10);
agruthe (agrth-) 'incense holder' (K TU 1.125:14);
arum (arm-) approximately 'offering' (KTU 1.131:14);
at= (at-) 'to release' (K TU 1.44:6.8; K TU 1.54:10.12; K TU
1.128:16.17; K TU 1.131:10.11);
el= (el) 'to speak' (KTU 1.128:1) ( Ur. ale);
ep= (ep-) 'to receive' (KTU 1.44:3; K TU 1.131:5) (cf. Hitt. e/ap(p)-);
liubruthe- (ffbrt['}-) 'receptacle for a sacrifice or holy water' (KTU
kubb- (kb-) 'to plan' (KTU 1.131:3.4) (cf. Glossenkeil-W\ti. kup= I);
kiyade= (kyd-) 'sea' (KTU 1.125:12);
muti= (mt-) 'justice' (KTU 1.116:5);
nirul (nrl-) 'to prove to be good/merci ful ' (KTU 1.125:3);
tagi= (tg-) 'beautiful' (K TU 1.125:18; K TU 1.132:11);
taz-uge (tzg-) approximately 'offering table' K TU 1.128:8;
tad- (Id-) 'to accept' (K TU 1.44:3 (bis); K TU 1.116:4; K TU
1.128:8) (cf. Ur. sat=);
tay-enn- (tyn-) 'located by water' (KTU 1.125:3);
tun (tn-) 'hand' (KTU 1.44:7; K TU 1.54:11; K TU 1.128:17;
K TU 1.131:11);
tiw= (tw-) 'to escort' (KTU 1.125:4) (cf. Ur. sm=);
ude= (udr) 'result of extispicy' (KTU 1.116:27; K TU 1.125:17)
(< Sum. uzu).
3.4 The pantheon of the cultic texts
Correspondi ng to their mixed language the rituals and offering lists
also reflect a mixed Hurro-Ugaritic pantheon.
As there is a representative list of Hurro-Ugaritic deities in the
central second section of K TU 1.116, in other sacrificial texts it is
also possible to start from corresponding sequences. Thus it would
be possible to draw up a more or less 'canonical' list of the Hurro-
Ugaritic 'palace pantheon', correspondi ng to the Akkado-Ugaritic
according to the alphabetic texts K TU 1.47 and K TU
1.118 and the syllabic text RS 20.24.
Besides K TU 1.116, the offering lists in K TU 1.26, 1.60, 1.110,
1.111, 1.125, 1.132 and 1.135 are of pri me significancefrom these
are deri ved K TU 1.26 and 1.60 from the House of the Grand
Prtre, the others, as well as K TU 1.116 from the House of the Prtre
K TU 1.26, 1.60 and 1.135 are only fragmentary and and each
comprises only the middle section of the tablet; the upper or lower
halves are missing. In preserved passages a pantheon is given which
largely follows the sequence of the 'palace pantheon', with mi nor
Starting with the structure of these three tablets, which is like
the structure in K TU 1.116, then the information which proba-
bly concerns specially celebrated deities has not been preserved.
K TU 1.110 is completely preserved and provides a list of deities
who are to be honoured seven times with an unspecified sacrifice.
These deities are the 'great ones', also given in the list of palace-
gods in K TU 1.116; auka and her female retinue and Hammu,
however, are not mentioned. Where they occur, the sequence has
minor discrepancies in the lower section of the list. Thus Anat,
Simige and Nikkal come before the city god, and Nubadi g closes
the list.
Even when subordinate deities as well as deified paraphernalia
and expressions of well-being are lacking, the agreement otherwise
with K TU 1.116 indicates that this is also a sacrifice for the most
i mportant deities of the 'palace pantheon'.
K TU 1.111 describes an oracular decision for a three-day royal
offering for sin.
Here only the 'great' gods are listed. The only
goddess to appear is Nikkal, as consort of the moon god Kuuh/
Yarih who here plays a maj or role.
K TU 1.125 is directed specially to El as a death ritual. Of the
'great' gods, only Teub, Kuuh, Ea and Attabi are mentioned
beside El, and there are no goddesses. I nstead in K TU 1.116 there
DI ETRI CH L ORETZ 1988b, 300-5.
NOUGAY ROL 1968, 42- 64.
DI ETRI CH - MA Y ER 1995, 12 6.
DI ETRI CH - MA Y ER 1995, 17- 22.
are deified paraphernalia and expressions of well-being and in addi-
tion, deities from the realm of the dead ( D i et r i c h - M a y e r 1997).
K TU 1.132 describes a three-day ritual for the palace goddess
Pidray. The sacrifices which had to be made during the feast are
principally directed to the palace goddess and her retinue,
which the daily list of offerings begins with the talli-deity (in tlnd:
lines 4, 18 and 22).
This brief description of the relevant texts with lists of offerings shows
that K TU 1.125 and K TU 1.132 evidently lie outside the frame
which the other texts profess. For the investigation of a Hurro-
Ugaritic pantheon they are thus only of limited use.
The list provided in the following table shows the differences in
sequence. They seem to be i ndependent of the rank of individual
gods. One gets the impression that the god-lists were compiled indi-
vidually for particular occasions. Thus a group of repeatedly recur-
ring 'chief deities' can be drawn up which occurs to some extent in
almost all the textsas expected the exceptions are K TU 1.125 and
K TU 1.132. Thi s group regularly begins with the talli-god and
includes the father-god, El, Teub, auka, Kumarbe, Kuuh, Ea,
Atabe, the city-god, Hammu, Nubadi g, Anat, imige, Piaaphe,
Hebat, Daqit, Hudena-Hude11ura, I hara, Allai and Nikkal as well
as Ninatta-Kulitta and finally Adammai t thus includes 23 deities
and to some extent represents the kernel of a 'palace pantheon'. The
lists in K TU 1.110 and K TU 1.111 are shorter, with 13 and 11
deities respectively.
These findings are in general also confirmed by K TU 1.42, which
is provided in the last column of the following table of sacrificial
lists for comparison.
K TU 1.116 extends this group of gods by a series of numina which
are hard to identify, to which are added deified paraphernalia and
expressions of well-being. I n the other texts these are only quite inad-
equately documented, which may be partly due to the incomplete
condition of the tablets and partly due to an existing but not com-
pletely transparent eclecticism, as in the cases of K TU 1.125 and
K TU 1.132.
Against KTU'
line 3 is to be read b bt mlk.
The only deity who is certainly male is Nubadig (line 10).
No account is taken here of the deities mlk, 'ttr and yrfa, mentioned in a Ugaritic
context and not in a closed list of sacrifices.
Text 1.116 1.26 1.60 1.110 1.135 1.125 1.132 1.111 1.42
in tin

4.18.22 8

in atn 12
[2] [2]
2 [2/3]

3 1-5
il 13
[2] [2]
3 3 1
4.9 6-9
(/ kmrb)
( / m
[2] [2]
3 4 8

4.9 10-14
tutk 4.13.31 3 3 4
(il/) 14 3 4 5 5

5.10 6-9
kz/dg 5.14
[3] [5]
4 6 9


iy 14
5 6

10 60,
attb 15 4 5 6 7 10 [10] 29-31
in ardn 15
6 9 8


in h,mn 6.16

nbdg 8.16.35
10 10 11
10 50-53
nt 17
8 7 10
tmgn 17 5 9 7 10

12 38-40
pddpl}n 18
11 11 35-37
bbt 19



dqt 19

14 7

ffdn- 20

i/ul}r 21 6 13

atn 21


(ib/) 22
8 14
6 47-49
nnt-klt 7.22-
15 13
adm 23


kbb 23
xxhr 25

xxndr 26

udn 27
abn 28


tgn 29

18 11
kldn 29

16 12







pdgn 33
(table cont.)
Text 1.116 1.26 1.60 1.110 1.135 1.125 1.132 1.111 1.42
Of the deities listed, El, Ea,
Anat and Nikkal, for example, origi-
nally come from the Syro-Canaanite world of gods, as their names
indicate, whereas Teub, Kuuh, Kumarbe, imige, auka and
Nubadi g are evidently Hurri an. Which particular numina lie hidden
behind ta//z-deities, the father-gods and the city-gods, and where they
come from, to the extent that they do not denote groups of gods
here, must remain open for the time being.
What decisions can be made concerning the insertion of separate
sections in the Syro-Ugaritic and Hurri an panthea? At all events the
lists represent a mixed religious tradition. Therefore, one can hardly
speak of 'canon' of the pantheon, as given in the Akkado-Ugaritic
3.5 Historical Aspects
The Uhara-incantation K TU 1.131 shows that this text is written
in 'good' Hurri an an observation which agrees essentially with the
incantations of Kumarbi (K TU 1.44), awuka from Niniveh (KTU
1.54) and El (KTU 1.128).
A reason for this phenomenon may lie
in the long tradition of the texts which, as for example K TU 1.131,
may go back to the Y amhad-pcriod of the 18th 17th centuries. If the
question is again posed concerning the reason for such a long and
good tradition, then the explanation lies in the genre of incantation.
2-3 60
Here also the Hurri an wording has still been conscientiously trans-
mitted even when Hurri an was no longer a commonly understood
language in Ugarit. I ncantations, in fact, as in any language, have
to be difficult to pronounce and difficult to understand in order to
be effective.
From this observation can be derived a bridge to the mixed lan-
guage particularly of the sacrificial texts. Starting from the existence
of a Hurri an pantheon and the rituals connected with it, then it can
be shown that it was no longer possible to carry out these sacrifices
and rituals at the time these texts were composed, since the Hurri an
instructions had become unintelligiblenothing is more i mportant
for a ritual than its correct performance. Thus these rubrics had to
be supplemented or replaced by rubrics in Ugaritic. An immediate
result was that originally non-Hurri an deities were accepted into the
rituals and lists.
By their nature the incantations remained unaffected,
although they were directed to deities who, like El, belonged to the
Semitic pantheon.
It is also clear from this that at the time when the texts were
written down by the Prtre Hounite and his school, the Hurri an cult
was no longer alive but was only cultivated in certain fields. This is
certainly the result of a long process and can scarcely be traced back
to a specific historical date. Thus it is in any case feasible that the
seizure of power towards the middle of the 2nd millennium by a
ruling house from the south
whose followers we care to name
'Ugaritians' as shorthand for their written tradition, had taken the
first steps towards the elimination of the Hurri an cult from Ugarit.
Then their kings, who had erected their palaces to the south of the
'acropolis' ( D i et r i c h 1997) , performed their cult also in the temples
on the 'acropolis'; they moved there with their Semitic deities. The
domi nant role assumed by these deities is particularly clear from the
god-lists, where of the individual gods, El is at the top and others
such as Ea, Attabi, Anat and Nikkal are ranked below him only as
of mi nor importance and cannot be omitted from any list. Quite
clearly, at the same time the Semitic language of the new masters
took root in the Ugaritic cult, so that ultimately Hurri an was elim-
inated from the ritual texts.
On this cf. VAN DI J K 1982.
Cf. for example, DI AK ONOV 1981, 86-7.
DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1988b, 310- 1.
The deathblow to the Hurrian cult in Ugarit must already have been pre-
In connection with these remarks on the history of the cult and
religion, the question can be posed concerning the Hurri an compo-
nent of the population of Ugarit. It is hardly likely that the Hurri an
cult was cultivated in a city without its own priests and congrega-
tion. How large this congregation was is difficult to say, as we do
not know how widespread the cult was in town and 'acropolis'. On
the one hand, it might have been restricted to Hurri ans in certain
social classes, and on the other there might have been participants
who did not belong to the Hurri an population.
Thi s provides no answer to the question concerning the level of
the Hurri an element of the population in Ugarit.
The onomasti-
con alone is no proof for the ethnic origin of the person bearing a
particular namethere are sufficient examples in the ancient Near
East of that. It is also quite likely that in the land around Ugarit
there were villages with an above-average Hurri an component in the
The publication of the Babylonian texts of the priests' libraries of
Emar has provided close connections, in terms of literature and the
history of religions, between Ugarit and Emar at the end of the 13th
century. Thus it is to be hoped that the Hurri an texts from Emar,
which are as yet unpublished, can throw some light on the ques-
tions which with regard to the Hurri ans of Ugarit still remain open.
(Translation: W.G.E. Wat s o n )
pared by the complete suppression of Hanigalbat by Adad-nrr I (1305 1275)
and Shalmaneser I (1275-1245), which entailed the end of the Hurrian kingdom
in Syria and thus the termination of its language, cf. VAN SOL DT 1991a, 521-2.
Cf. however HAAS 1978, 66.
J ust as, for example, there were Kassite villages in the area of Arraphe, cf.
DOSCH - DEL I .ER 1981.
1 T h e D ec i p h er men t of U g a r i t i c
K ev i n J . C a t h c a r t
1.1 Introduction
The deci pherment of Ugaritic is associated with the names of three
persons in particular: Hans Bauer, Edouard Dhorme and Charles
Virolleaud. The first lot of tablets, which had been discovered at
Ras Shamra in May 1929, was brought to Paris and given to Virol-
leaud for cleaning, transcription and decipherment. It was immedi-
ately clear to the French Assyriologist that the tablets comprised two
quite distinct kinds of documentssome in a well-known language,
Akkadian, but many others in an unknown language written in an
extremely simplified cuneiform (Virolleaud 1929, 305-6). The num-
ber of signs was twenty-six or twenty-seven, so the script was almost
certainly an alphabet. Virolleaud thought, quite righdy, that the deci-
pherment of the newly discovered cuneiform writing would be made
easier because the words were generally separated from one another
by a vertical sign. He also noticed that the words were short, con-
sisting of one, two, three or four letters, and he concluded that the
vowels were not written.
1.2 Charles Virolleaud
Virolleaud provided a starting-point for the deci pherment of the Ras
Shamra alphabet by his acute observation that a short text engraved
on four of five bronze axes or adzes also occurred in the first line
of one of the clay tablets (1929, 306-7). The text on the tablet was
preceded by another single-letter word Y ^/. Since contemporary
Akkadian letters began with the preposition ana, 'to', it seemed likely
that W/
w as a
so a
preposition. A fifth adze had the same inscrip-
tion but the words were preceded by another word of four letters:
^ 5J 3> ^ cn> Virolleaud suggested that this word should mean
'axe', pointing to a tenth-century arrow-head from Sidon: KAI 20
d\ 'the arrow-head of Addo'. Thus the first word must denote
the object on which it is written and the second word has to be the
name of the owner. Virolleaud believed that in the absence of a
bilingual inscription, success in working out the meaning of the words
on the adzes would lead to the decipherment of other texts. I n this
his first paper, which was the text of his communi cati on to the
Acadmie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris on 20 September 1929,
he made no hard suggestions as to the identity of the language. He
excluded 'Mi ttanni an', then suggested that perhaps a search should
be made in Asia Mi nor for the key to the new writing, and even
wondered whether Cypriot colonists had invented the cunei form
alphabet. More to the point, although he did not realise it at the
time, he posed the question whether the Ras Shamra alphabet was
older than that of the Phoenicians or was an imitation or adaptation
of it ( V i r o l l eaud 1929, 310). Some months later, however, Virolleaud
was expressing the view that the search for decipherment should be
directed towards Cyprus and the Aegean world: 'Malgr la difficult
actuelle d'un dchiffrement, il faut probablement orienter la recherche
vers Chypre et le monde gen' ( V i r o l l eaud 1930, 353).
1.3 Ren Dussaud
It is worth mentioning that, at an early stage, Ren Dussaud ( Dussaud
1929, 298-9 n. 3) was firmly of the view that the alphabetic writ-
ing of Ras Shamra had been invented under the influence of the
Phoenician alphabet; but he did not elaborate on his views. In a
monograph published eight years later ( Dussaud 1937, 49 n. 2), he
recalled that Virolleaud in his communications of 20 Sept. 1929 and
14 Feb. 1930, and in his publication of the texts discovered in 1929,
did not yet regard the new cuneiform characters of Ras Shamra as
letters of the 'proto-Phoeni ci an' al phabet. However, Virolleaud's
observations about the inscriptions on the five adzes were very use-
ful indeed, as will be seen below, and his generosity in publishing
the newly discovered texts as soon as possible, so that scholars could
study them, was very laudable. The account of his contribution to
the decipherment of Ugaritic must properly be given below after the
contributions of Bauer and Dhorme have been described.
1.4 Hans Bauer
Vi rol l eaud's article contai ni ng transcriptions of the Ugaritic texts
reached Hans Bauer on 22 April, 1930. I n less than a week he had
already made enough progress to inform Dussaud in Paris that he
had identified many of the letters ( Dussaud 1930a, 130-1; 1930b,
200). Accordi ng to a report in the Berlin newspaper Die Vossische
Leitung, he claimed to have identified twenty signs with certainty and
four others tentatively ( B auer 1930a). I n fact Bauer had correctly
identified the signs for b, g, d, h, w, h, y, I, n, \ r and t. He had also
identified two aleph-sigris but did not of course understand their pre-
cise value. Some of his incorrect readings were obstacles to progress:
for exampl e k (for m), m (for s) and a second w (for k). However,
Bauer's basic approach and method were excellent. The sixteen-page
introduction in his Entzifferung has been described as 'a masterpiece
of deci pherment description' by Cyrus Gordon ( G o r do n 1982, 109,
n. 6). Havi ng assumed that the language was Semitic, he worked
with the knowledge that certain consonants were commonl y found
as prefixes and suffixes and he quickly identified the sign for / through
Virolleaud's observation that the sign at the begi nni ng of the first
line on the clay tablet was a preposition, the equivalent of Akk.
ana. Bauer received Edouard Dhorme's first paper with his inde-
pendent results ( D hor me 1930a) too late for correcting the errors in
his first maj or publication on the deci pherment ( B auer 1930c), but
in a subsequent publication ( B auer 1930d) he gratefully acknowl-
edged the signs for k, m, s, p, q and furnished by Dhorme. Bauer's
emended al phabet, known as the '5 October al phabet', was also
more accurate due to his identification of the word hrsn (earlier read
grzn), 'adze'.
1.5 Edouard Dhorme
At the Ecole Biblique in J erusal em, Dhorme had also made rapid
progress in the deci pherment. He and Bauer had worked (on oppo-
site sides) as cryptanalysts duri ng the First Worl d War. It is clear,
however, that they had a good academi c relationship and with their
excellent skills both of them accomplished much in a relatively short
period. Like Bauer, Dhorme identified the sign \f\f\f at the begin-
ning of the first line of the clay tablet as 'Phoeni ci an /', 'to'. Then he
worked out the frequendy occurring name b
l. Unfortunately, although
he had now identified the consonant b, problems arose when he read
bn where he should have read bt, for the letters and t are very
frequent, and he was thrown off course. He was able to rectify mat-
ters when he saw Bauer's announcement that he had discovered the
key to the Ras Shamra texts. He paid particular attention to Bauer's
suggestion ( B auer 1930a) that the word for 'adze' found on one of
the implements was grzn as in Hebrew (see the Siloam tunnel inscrip-
tion and the Hebrew Bible). Even though Bauer's reading was erro-
neous, the signs for r and were read correctly. Since Dhorme had
already identified the sign for k at the end of the word mlk, he could
now read Irb k-nm, which he quickly recognised as Irb khnm, 'To the
chief of priests'. The title rb khnm was also on the adzes. So he had
now worked out the sign for h. I n his alphabet, Dhorme had cor-
rectly identified the signs for b, d, h, w, y, k, l, m, n, s,
, p, q, r, s, t
and two aleph-sigris, although like Bauer he did not have the full
truth about these last signs. Due to the incorrect reading grzn, he
gave the sign for h the value g, and s the value z- He also expressed
the opinion that for some consonants like aleph and 'ayin two different
signs could be used, and he understood this as evidence that the
final simplification of the writing system had not taken place ( Dhor me
1930a, 575).
This first article by Dhorme was dated 15 August 1930, but there
was a post scriptum, dated 14 September 1930, in which he com-
mented on Bauer's first results. The signs which Dhorme read as m
and s were read by Bauer as k and m respectively. I n his second
and third papers, dated 26 November, 1930 and 8 December 1930
respectively ( D hor me 1930b, 3-4; 1931, 32), Dhorme pointed out
that the divergences between his alphabet and Bauer's were greater
than he thought. When Bauer's Entzifferung appeared at the begin-
ning of October it was clear that the two scholars differed not only
on k, m and but also on i. p, and q. Dhorme's first paper had
appeared too late to be considered by Bauer. As we have seen, Bauer
immediately corrected his alphabet in the light of Dhorme's read-
ings, all of which he accepted and gratefully acknowledged.
Virolleaud's method of decipherment also involved the recogni-
tion of the preposition /, 'to'. He looked for words containing / which
were common in West Semitic and soon identified mlk and its plural
mlkm. He found the name of the god b
l and also the feminine form
b'lt. As a result of this he soon identified bt which could be 'daugh-
ter' or 'house'. There was a three-letter word in the texts with / in
middle position and the same sign before and after it. The only
word in the Semitic languages to fit this combination of signs was
the numeral 'three', which is l in Hebrew and tit in Arabic. The
early decipherers did not immediately establish the correct value of
Ugar. t. Virolleaud also recognised that the Ras Shamra alphabet
possessed three aleph-signs. He seemed to have worked out the value
of more than twenty signs, but when the French newspapers reported
his deci pherment of a 'mysterious alphabet', as if it were the first
successful attempt, Dhorme, clearly irked by the announcement, com-
mented 'Nos lecteurs savent quoi s'en tenir sur la porte de ces
affirmations' ( D ho r me 1931, 33).
An examination of J ohannes Friedrich's publications on Ugaritic
( F r i edr i c h 1933a; 1933b) shows that his grasp of the issues was very
sound in the early days of Ugaritic studies. There was still much
work to be done, but with an ever-increasing supply of texts, schol-
ars would arrive at a complete decipherment.
2 T h e U g a r i t i c S c r i p t
M a n f r i e d D i et r i c h - O s w a l d L o r e t z
Ugarit, Home of the Oldest Alphabets
I n 1929 and 1930, C.F. Schaeffer discovered clay tablets from the
14th and 13th centuries bce on the tell known as Ras Shamra
ancient Ugaritin Northern Syria, close to the modern harbour
town of Latakia. These tablets did not belong within Mesopotami an
cuneiform tradition but were instead written from left to right, in
a script which comprised only 30 different signs. The decipherers
Bauer and Dhorme immediately surmised that in spite of the unusual
direction of the writing, they contained a hitherto unknown Semitic
alphabetic script (Fig. 1). Compari son with other Semitic languages
indigenous to Northwest Syria and Palestine soon confirmed this hypo-
thesis. Thereafter, most of the signs could very quickly be identified
Fig. 1 A list of offerings with the first tablet number (KTU 1.39 =
RS 1. 001; Photo: UGA RI T - F ORSCHUNG Archive)
Fig. 2 The alphabet tablet from Ugarit (14th/13th cent, bce)
(Photo: Di etr i ch) (KTU 5.6 = RS 12.068)
and the language they represented could be described as an idiom
which in terms of content seemed to be comparabl e to Canaani te
texts, but from a phonological perspective, however, was more like
I mmediately after the decipherment, the question arose concern-
ing the classification of the language of the texts from Ugarit, i.e.
Ugaritic, within the family of Northwest Semitic. The problem of
the dextrograde direction of writing could be explained as a relic of
the cuneiform tradition from which the Ugaritians already had the
idea of converting their texts onto clay tablets. This debate is still
open, as shown by discussions in articles, books and lectures during
specialist conferences.
I ndependently of the classification of the vocabulary with its own
peculiar phonology, within a closer or more distandy related dialect,
the discovery of school tablets in 1949 created a new dust storm as
they were written in letters in alphabetic sequence (Fig. 2). Thus we
were dealing, completely unexpectedly, with the oldest documenta-
tion of the alphabet as a literary product: in the schools of Ugarit,
an alphabet was taught and learned, within a framework exactly as
known from the texts of the Hebrew Bible and from Middle Phoenician
several centuries later.
To all intents the Ugaritic alphabet looks like, so to speak, the
Phoenician alphabet with 22 consonants, extended by the insertion
of 5 additional letters plus 3 at the end. Consequentiy, the Phoenician
alphabet formed the forerunner of the longer Ugaritic alphabet. The
events can be outlined as follows (Fig. 3).
The establishment of a longer alphabet comprising 30 letters could,
however, also be understood as the original and earlier one, from
which a shorter alphabet developed through the loss of 8 letters, i.e.
the later Phoenician al phabetadvocated by Albright and his stu-
dents up to the present as the 'reduction theory'. However, that
would contradict what happens when an alphabet is adopted and
where necessary extended by adding further letters, according to the
principle 'an alphabet comes after a language'. This became clear
when a group of tablets was published, also from Ugarit and con-
temporary with the others, which displayed the following 'Phoenician'
characteristics (Fig. 4): a script going from right to left and a short
22-letter alphabet. Thi s proved that in Ugarit two alphabets co-
existed: a shorter alphabet with the characteristics of later Phoenician,
and a longer one, expressly for writing down Ugaritic. The result of this
was that our monograph on the alphabet was called 'The Cunei form
Alphabets' (Die Keilalphabete, D i et r i c h - L o r e t z 1988a).
With regard to the nature of the letters in the texts written in
alphabetic cuneiform, the following outline can be given: The let-
ters, which were written from left to right and determine the script,
ug. & r f m . m ^ ^c f f ^- ^r r r - r
Ug. > b g h h w b t y k S 1 m
-Can. > b g d h w z b t y k 1 m
. FT K * * - * -
Ug. d s < p f q r % $ t >1 >u
s < p 9 q r S t
Fig. 3 The long cuneiform alphabet from Ugarit and its relationship to
Phoenician and Canaanite ( Di et r i ch - L or et z 1988a, 128)
See also DI ETRI CH L ORETZ 1989.
KTU 1.77 a I ff f -
KTU 4.31 - ^ pK l - <
KTU 4.710
R s
KTU 1.77

KTU 4.31

KTU 4.710


Fig. 4 The short cuneiform alphabet from Ugarit ( Di et r i ch - L o r et z
1988a, 270)
represent vowelless consonants, opening or closing syllables, with an
implicit vowel of unspecified nature and lengthexcept, of course,
for the aleph-letters. More precise details on the nature of a conso-
nant and the vowel most probabl y assigned to it can be made
by means of the transmission of Ugaritic words in syllabic spelling
( H u e h n e r g a r d 1987b) or by comparison with cognate languages,
where the vowels are known.
Now, however, we are faced with the task of allocating a home-
land and if possible also the nearest cognate to both alphabets: in
view of the clear line of development of the expansion of a previ-
ous alphabet, theoretically speaking it was no longer necessary to
look for the closest cognate to the shorter al phabet tradition, as
attested directly and indirectly in Ugarit. They were there and had
to be sought within the framework of the old and possibly proto-
Canaani te alphabets, the history of which was already established.
The cognates of the longer alphabet tradition attested in Ugarit were,
however, much more difficult to determine. To be able to tackle the
related questions it was necessary to discover what the cuneiform
signs made in clay might possibly have looked like as strokes, i.e. in
linear form (Fig. 5). It was clear that they could have been trans-
posed from linear shapes to cuneiform signs and no longer needed
to be discussed. Thus it was necessary to discover which principles
the scribe and artist might have followed. We have considered these
principles and have attempted to connect the reconstructed linear
signs with similar signs in the other alphabets of Semitic languages.
I n this way we showed that the linear form of the Ugaridc alphabet
exhibits the direction both of the Phoenician alphabet and of the
old South Arabian alphabetic tradition. Accordingly, we started to
look for epigraphic and historical supporting evidence.
As a result of our endeavours we received quite unexpected proof
from St Petersburg: L undi n (1987) suspected that the small clay tablet
dug up by E. Grant in 1933 in Beth Shemesh, in Southern Palestine
dating to the 14th/13th century bce (Fig. 6) contained the begin-
ning of the alphabet in the South Arabian tradition, of which the
earliest witness so far dates to the mid first millennium bce, i.e. about
700 to 800 years later. After closer inspection of the photographs
from the excavation, and of other photographs, we came to the con-
clusion that on this small clay tablet there was not only the begin-
ning of the South Arabian alphabet (h-l-h-m) but the complete alphabet,
written from left to right round the tablet. Two things were clear,
therefore. First, that the old South Arabian alphabet with the cor-
responding sequence of letters was already in existence at this time.
Second, it was also clear that following the general trend in the mid-
second millennium bce, of transposing both script and language to
clay in line with the Babylonian model, it was in cuneiform script.
There was no need to emphasize that the signs used were not very
different from those used in Ugarit: the forms underlying both attempts
at transposition lay in their linear shape, as Fig. 5 shows, and they
are very similar ( D i et r i c h - L o r e t z 1988a, 277-96).
In respect of the geographical distance of Beth Shemesh in Southern
Palestine from Ugarit, doubts about a connection between the alpha-
bet traditions are justified; the rejection of such a connection would have
been premature, however. For the Syrian-French excavations in 1988
have brought to light in south east Ugarit the archive of a trader
and dignitary called Urtenu, in which a 'pal i mpsest'-tabl et was
inscribed with the South Arabian alphabet of the /W-A-m-tradition
(Fig. 7; B o r d r eu i l - P ar d ee 1995a). With this tablet the proof has
finally come that the connection of the Ugaritic Long Alphabet to
the South Arabian alphabet, which also has a tradition going back
to the 14th-13th century bce, was completely justified.
A comparison of the sequence of letters in the old Arabic alphabet
Sem. Western alphabets LONG ALPHABET Southern alphabets
proto- Ane. Phoen. Palest. cuneiform linear proto- OSA Iih. Saf.
Can. Can. Ah. Byblos
J if
I 1
n \ X

3 5

d n
L 1 "
1 1 <- - r I - 1
D 0
JL V*- .
V H w

* 3
- N
~~ / <
Y Y ?

r y Y

* ^J
4 X

g m M H
i p -a cr)
r r *
A 3

t "


- H * H O

W f

F i
t 1
- f f
Il **
? r
k an
> 1

- ri 6
n ?
fct-J ^ l C rrr
-> 1 1 ?
I l
s >

> *

. . . Ill-
-w H
* I
* V
V -


- ^
O - > O o o o

(- )
7 V
W ; ;
J .7
- t=
3 1
r i i.
- T

m r
H *
<P ?
- K
- o -
1 1
r + y
? 1
o -
D 3

W w
W w ^
* X +
+ +
r "
_ _
H-X 4
X - -t
i 4 t f * -M
IX ? I C
f i l l )
Fig. 5 The Ugaritic script in relation to the Western and Southern scripts
( Di et r i c h - L o r et z 1988a, 102)
Fig. 6 The Alphabet tablet from Beth Shemesh
( DI E T RI CH - L ORE T Z 1988a, 285)
Fig. 7 Tablet with the South Arabic Alphabet
( BORDREUI L - PA RDE E 1995, 856)
Beth eme H L H M
Ugarit H L H M
{J . Ryckmans H L H M
R TS N U [] F
R B(G) T S H S F}
Beth eme ' ' G D G D T
Ugarit ' ' D G D G Y
{J . Ryckmans ' ' D G D G(B) D Y T S/Z}
Fig. 8 Deciphered Alphabets of the South-Eastern A-/-^-m-Tradition
with the traditions of Beth Shemesh and Ugarit gives the following
results (Fig. 8)in the third line the South Semitic alphabet is given
in brackets for convenience, as established by R y c k mans ( 1985) from
texts dating to the first millennium bce.
Thi s comparison shows clearly that the sequence of letters of the
cuneiform alphabets attested in Beth Shemesh and Ugarit as well as
the South Arabic-South Semitic alphabet reconstructed by Ryckmans
show very few divergences. The fact that the signs, as shown by
hand-copies and photographs, vary slightly as well, leads to the con-
clusion that the traditions, certainly not least in view of their geograph-
ical separation, must to some extent have developed independently.
These divergences are basically so slight that their common origin
never completely vanished from view.
This report on the discovery of the two cuneiform alphabets as trans-
mitted in Ugarit as well as their summary comparison should show that
the commercial centre Ugarit in the third quarter of the second mil-
lennium was a turning point in the early history of the alphabet in
two ways:
1. With the earliest recorded alphabet so farwhether in the '-b-g
sequence of the north west tradition or the h-l-h-m sequence of
the south eastern traditionwe are quite unexpectedlyor rather,
as was to be expectedat a point in its development which already
has the appearance of the conclusion to a forerunner. J ust when
we thought we were close to the origin of the evolution of the
alphabet and finally were able to propose a date for the 'discovery
of the alphabet', we have to envisage a world with two alpha-
bets (Fig. 9).
2. The origin of the cuneiform alphabet from Ugarit also reflects a
history of two alphabets: a Levantine tradition with 22 letters was
shall we say overlaid by an Arabic tradition so that, with some
additions, a 30-letter alphabet was derived. Thus we find our-
selves in the midst of a historical process on which it is worth-
while to reflect a little: the inhabitants of a city who towards the
middle of the second millennium had migrated from south east-
ern Palestine to the northern Levant, had developed a commer-
cial ruling dynasty in Ugarit which in the history of literature
and the art of the scribe had thus created a lasting monument,
so that on arrival its native tongue could be inserted into an exist-
ing scribal school and writing tradition and thus the alphabet
already discovered could be expanded. The authentic Ugaritic
alphabet which arose in this way is ultimately to be perceived as
a witness of inter-cultural activity with branches as far afield as
Cyprus (Hala Sultan Teke).
With the exami nati on of the cunei form alphabets transmitted in
Ugarit we find that in terms of the history of the alphabet we are
not, as many would argue, at its inception. I nstead, we are once
again at the conclusion of separate developments which nevertheless
in terms of their significance represent an i mportant step in univer-
sal history. Although we find ourselves in the mid-second millennium
bce, we have still not yet reached a point at which we can specu-
late on the origin of the alphabet.
(Translation: W. G . E . Wat s o n)

Heni J
W Bars
Ris amrj/Uqarit
/larnaka/Kition Uj
Hata Sultan Tekke CQ
"TK3md ei-Lz/Kumidi
f is
Netii Mwd/CLadeS.
Mountains of
A Ugaritic cuneiform
Proto-Canaanlte Inscriptions
Ancient Canaanite Inscriptions
Ancient Phoenician Inscriptions
(up to the end of the 8th cent. BCE)
Ancient Aramaic Inscriptions
(up to the end of the 8th cent. BCE)
Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions
(up to the end of the 8th cent. BCE)
0 i s ill 7S 100kw
drawing: G. Neuber
Fig. 9 The spread of cuneiform alphabets in the Eastern Mediterranean
( DI E T R I C H - L OR E T Z 1988a, 359: Map)
3 U g a r i t i c G r a mma r
J o s ef T r o p p e r
3.1 Introduction
3.1.1 The classification of Ugaritic
Ugaritic, the local language of the city state of Ugaritic, is one of the
Semitic languages. The classification of Ugaritic within Semitic is still
a matter of dispute.
The Semitic languages can be broadly divided into an East Semitic
branch (Akkadian) and a West Semitic branch. West Semitic can be
further divided into a South Semitic and a central Semitic branch
(Canaanite, Aramai c and North Arabic). Of the central Semitic lan-
guages, Canaani te and Aramai c can be traced back to a common
former stage which is called 'Northwest Semitic'. There is hardly any
doubt nowadays that Ugaritic is more closely related to Canaani te
and Aramai c than to North Arabic.
Thus Ugaritic is shown to be
a Northwest Semitic language. Since Ugaritic is closer to the later
Canaani te languages than to Aramaic due to more important linguis-
tic isoglosses, either it belongs to Canaani te or it is the (only) repre-
sentative of a separate language branch of Northwest Semitic closely
related to Canaanite.-
3.1.2 Current research in Ugaritic grammar The four most i mportant overall summaries of Ugaritic
grammar published so far are:
1. C.H. G o r d o n , Ugaritic Grammar (Rome 1940) with two further edi-
tions: Ugaritic Manual (Rome 1955) und Ugaritic Textbook (Rome 1965).
2. S. S eg er t , A Basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (Berkeley, Los
Angeles, London 1984).
' The opinion maintained in the early period of research that Ugaritic is par-
ticularly close to North Arabic can no longer be held today. The two most impor-
tant arguments for this theory, the extensive phoneme inventory of Ugaritic and
Ugaritic-Arabic isoglosses have been substantially modified by the results of recent
For most recent discussion see especially I SAKSSON 1989 and TROPPER 1994b.
3. D. S i v an, Ugaritic Grammar (Encyclopaedia Miqra'it 9; J erusal em
1993) [in Hebrew],
4. D. S i v an, A Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (HdO 1/28 Leiden,
New York, Cologne 1997).
By now, Gordon's summaries have been largely superseded. The
later grammars listed merely present a concise grammatical outline
of Ugaritic. As yet there is no complete, modern reference grammar
of Ugaritic. I n his Habilitation submission presented in 1997 at the
Freie Universitt Berlin with the dtie Untersuchungen zur ugaritischen Gram-
matik. Schrift- Laut- und Formenlehre
the author has laid the foundation
stone for such a grammar. I n spite of research spanning several decades, a large num-
ber of problems of Ugaritic grammar remain unsolved, due to the
following factors:
(a) Ugaritic is a dead language attested only in writing.
(b) Closely cognate contemporary languages are known only sketchily.
(c) The corpus of Ugaritic texts is recorded in a writing system with-
out vowels, except for a few words in syllabic spellings.
(d) The range of grammatically i mportant Ugaritic texts is restricted.
(e) Many texts are of uncertain interpretation.
(f ) The corpus of Ugaritic texts contains a set of very different gen-
res, each with its own grammatical features.
3.1.3 Aim of this grammatical outline
Here follows a brief grammatical outline of spelling, phonology, mor-
phology and morpho-syntax of the Ugaritic language. It contains
only the central topics of grammar. Facts on which scholars are
widely in agreement are described without reference to secondary
literature. However, areas where there are problems are provided
with a short commentary. I n this way the outline of grammar will
describe the present state of research on Ugaritic grammar.
Research on Ugaritic Grammar. Script, Phonology and Morphology.
3.2 Orthography
3.2.1 The principles of consonantal orthography
The basic principle of the Ugaritic alphabetic script is that each con-
sonantal phoneme of the language is equivalent to one sign in the
script. By the introduction of the three additional signs of the Ugaritic
alphabet, <i >, <u> and <s>, the principle is violated in two ways:
the phoneme / V is represented in Ugariticdepending on the fol-
lowing vowelby <a>, <i > or <u> (cf. 3.2); the phoneme /s/ is
represented by <s> or <s>.
Lengthened (doubled) consonants were not differentiated from sin-
gle consonants. They can be determined only by comparative philol-
ogy or on the basis of syllabic spellings.
3.2.2 The aleph signs
a. The most remarkabl e feature of the Ugaritic alphabet is that
it has three different signs for writing the glottal stop /V, i.e. an
a-aleph = <a>, an z'-aleph = <i > and a w-aleph = <u>.
b. It is generally agreed that the three Ugaritic aleph signs are used
in syllable-initial position: <a> represents the syllables a/ and /'/,
<i > represents / V , / , and probably also / W (sh
wa) and
lasdy <u> represents I'ul, / and /'0/.
c. The way in which syllable-final, i.e. vowelless aleph is written is
a matter of dispute. There are quite different theories. The extreme
views are as follows: 1.) Any syllable-closing aleph is represented
by <i >. 2.) The choice of sign for syllable-closing aleph depends on
the quality of the preceding vowel. 3.) Syllable-closing aleph is no
longer expressed in Ugaritic: /V becomes / / , / f / becomes I I I and
/ becomes //. The aleph signs <a>, <i > and <u> act as vowel
letters (matres lectionis) for the resulting contracted vowel: / / , ll and
For the phonetic value of this grapheme, which gained entry into the Ugaritic
alphabet only at a later date, see SEGERT 1983 (<s> = [su]) and recently TROPPER
1995. Thus the grapheme <s> has the value ['s]. It was inserted after the Ugaritic
phoneme /s/ written with <s>, which originally (also) had the phonetic value ['s],
had been deaffricated to [s] in certain phonetic contexts.
For the proponents of these theories see VERREET 1983a, 223- 6.
d. The theory of the position of aleph defended here is more com-
plex than the proposals mentioned above.
On the one hand it envis-
ages the possibility that the syllable-closing glottal stop in Ugaritic
was not always strongly articulated (= quiescent aleph). On the other
hand it follows that in Ugaritic /aV after the loss of a syllable-closing
glottal stopmost probably irrespective of stressbecame either / /
or /0/ (cf. Heb. ns't < *naa
t as distinct from Heb. ro < *ra
On this basis the following 'rules' can be formulated: the (articu-
lated) syllable-closing glottal stop is written with an <i >, irrespective
of the preceding vowel. If the glottal stop is not articulated, i.e. the
aleph is quiescent, then the following applies: <a> stands for / / <
; <i > stands for III < *i'; <u> stands either for // < *u
for loi < V .
e. The graphic notation of a syllable-closing glottal stop is non-homo-
geneous in the corpus of Ugaritic texts, as some alephs evidendy
represent a strong aleph, others a quiescent aleph. The former are
phonemi c spellings, the latter phonetic spellings: e.g. yihd lya'fyud-l
'he takes/took' (KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+5.155 1, etc.) againstyahd
lyhud-I <*ya
(}ud- (K TU 4.44= RS 9.453:28) or yuhd(m) lyffVd-l
<*ya'hud- (K TU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+3.341+3.347 iv 16; K TU 1.22
= RS 2.[024] ii 17*; K TU 1.103+ = RS 24.247+: 17) and tuhd-
/tfj. Vdl<*ta'hud- (KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 i 40).
Within a word there
are more spellings with strong aleph, but at the end of words there
are more with quiescent aleph.
3.2.3 Vowel notation
I n principle, in alphabetic spelling vowels are ignored, apart from
the aleph signs which in syllable-initial position express the vowel
following an / V (as well) ( 3.2.2b). Exceptions are rare. The spo-
radic use of <y> as a vowel letter (mater lectionis) for / / is worth
emphasizing, especially at word-close, e.g. ily ugrt /
UgaritV/ 'the
gods of Ugarit' (KTU 2.26 = RS 16.264:4-5).
On this see TROPPER 1990b.
Cf. Heb. yhz (18x; alongside 3 X ye"hz).
On vowel letters in Ugaritic see BI .AU - LOEWENSTAMM 1970 and DI ETRI CH -
L ORETZ 1973c.
3.3 Phonology
3.3.1 The consonantal phoneme system
According to the Ugaritic alphabet, which comprises twenty-seven
'ordinary signs' and three 'supplementary signs', there were at least
27 consonantal phonemes in Ugaritic. This relatively wide range of
consonants can be subdivided into obstruents (plosives and frica-
tives), nasals (/m/, //), liquids (///, /r/) and semi-vowels (/w/, /y/).
Depending on how they were articulated (unvoiced, emphatic, voiced)
most of the obstruents can be arranged in rows of three columns,
as follows:
unvoiced emphatic voiced
labials /p/
dentals /t/ /t/ /d/
interdentals /t/ /z/
(alveolar) sibilants /s/ /s/
(palato-alveolar) sibilants //
velars /k/ /q/
/ y
pharyngeals /h/

/ 7
laryngeal /h/, / 7
3.3.2 Comments on uncertain consonantal phonemes
a. The Semitic phoneme / d! is written consistently with <d> only
in texts K TU 1.12 = RS 2.[018] and K TU 1.24 = RS 5.194. I n
the other texts it is written predominantly with the sign <d>apart
from specific phonetic environments
which indicates a conditioned
coalescence of /d/ and /d/ in Ugaritic.
b. Etymological / / usually occurs in Ugaritic spelling as <z>. How-
ever, there are a few words in which <g> stands for etymological
/ / . " I ncontrovertible examples are Ingr, 'to guard', Vgm\ 'to be
thirsty' and gr, 'mountai n'.
On this topic see FRONZAROLI 1955b.
Often in the vicinity of Irl (cf. UT 5.3), /m/ and /n/.
See FRONZAROLI 1955b, 33-5, / 5.7 and DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ, 1967, 312-4.
RSSLER 1961 has a different view.
c. Ugaritic has four sibilants, i.e. / s / , / s / , / z/ and / / . The first
three phonemes stand out by their distinctive feature of affrication
and should have been realised as ['s - 's
z]. I n contrast, // is
a fricative palato-alveolar sibilant, i.e. [].
d. The lateral phonemes /s
/ (= / / ) and / / / attested in other
Semitic languages are regularly represented in Ugaritic spelling by
the graphemes <> and <s>. Rarelyfor instance in K TU 1.12 =
RS 2.[012]etymological / / / appears in Ugaritic as <?>.
3.3.3 Equivalence table of selected Semitic consonants
P S O S A A r ab. U gar . Heb.
A r am.
E t h. A kk.
t t t t t s

? g*
s s t s s
d d d d, d d
/s s s s s s s
s s
/ s s
d d s, z* s
d s
X h h
h h h h
y g g g
c c <
3.3.4 The vocalic phoneme system
Proto-Semitic has a) three short vowels, / / , //, / / , b) three long
vowels, / / , / /, / / , and two dipththongs, /ay/ and /aw/. Ugaritic
has preserved the pri mary vowels / a/ , /i/ and /u/ as both long
and short. The PS diphthongs *ay and *aw, however, have been
contracted to monophthongs: *ay > //\ *aw > // (see
3.3.5 Sound changes
A large number of sound changes are documented in Ugaritic spelling
following phonological rules. The most fundamental are set out here.
OSA Old South Arabic; Arab. = Classical Arabic; Aram. =Aramaic; Eth. =
Ethiopie; Akk. = Akkadian; PS = Proto-Semitic. Consonantal sound changes
(a) Sound change *w > lyl at word-initial, e.g. \ybl < *wbl, 'to
carry, bring'.
(b) Voicingdevoicing,
especially with labials, e.g. yb
l /yib'alu/ 'he
makes' (KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] vi 24; <p'l) and tpky /tapkiyu/
'you (sg.) weep' (KTU 1.107 = RS 24.251+: 11; <bky).
(c) Regressive assimilation: *dt > /t t /, e.g. aht /'ah(h)att-/ < *'ahadt-
'one' (KTU 1.48 = RS 1.019:13 etc.); *nC > /CC, e.g. ap = syl-
labic spelling ap-pu /'appu/ < * 'anpu 'nose' (KTU 1.2 = RS
3.367 i 13 etc.); *IC > /CC/, only in qh 'to take' (see Vocalic sound changes
(a) Vowel harmony: *qattv\l > /qv\ttv\l/, e.g. ibr /'ibbr-/ < *'abbr
'bul l ' (K TU 1.10 = RS 3.362+ iii 35 etc.); *>
C(C) >
^V2C.V2C(C) ( V = short vowel), e.g. urbt /'urubbat-/ < *'arubbat-
'opening, hatch' (KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ 61, etc.), irt irit-/
< *>arit- 'wish' (KTU 1.104 = RS 24.248:1, etc.).
(b) Vowel syncope: pretonic: (Cv)CvCvC.v > (Cv)CvCC.v (V = short
vowel), e.g. rit /ra'sat-/ < *ra'at- 'heads' (KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367
i 23.24, etc.); post-tonic: C.vCvCvCv > C.vCCvCv or C.vCCvCvCv >
CvCCvCCv (V = short vowel). Sound changes in diphthongs and triphthongs
(a) Contraction of diphthongs: *aw > /<?/; *ay > /<?/; *iy > //\ *uw
> //.
(b) Preservation of some types of tri phthong (/uwa/ , /iyv/, /aw/y/,
/vw/yv/) as opposed to the contraction of other types of triph-
thong (*awu> //\ *aw> //*ayu > //; *ay > / f / ; *awa> //\
*aya > //; *uwu > //).
However, word-initial /w/ is preserved (a) in the conjunction w, 'and', (b)
before the vowel lui (D-stem infinitives of the I-y < I-w roots, e.g. wld lwullad-1
'to bear (a child)' [KTU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+ iii "48 etc.] and wpt-m lwuppat-1 'to
insult' [KTU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+ vi 13]).
On this topic see GA RR 1986 and V OI GT 1991.
For syllabic spellings see HUEHNERGARD 1987b, 268-83.
For syllabic spellings see HUEHNERGARD 1987b, 288-92. Sound changes within syllables
(a) Prothesis (to avoid a word-initial consonant cluster): e.g. usb
< *siba
- 'finger (pi.)' (K TU 1.2 = RS 3.367 iv 14, etc.).
(b) Specific pausal forms: words at the end of a sentence occasion-
ally have a phonetically altered form (e.g. reduction of the end-
ing or special lengthening of the stressed syllable).
3.4 Morphology and morphosyntax
3.4.1 The pronoun The personal pronoun
a. Nominative forms: ank syll. a-na-ku anku/ (longer form)
or an /
an/ (shorter form); at = syll. at-ta /
atta/ < *
anta; at /
atR/ < *'anti; hw = syll. -wa /huwa/ < *hu
a; hy /hiya/ < ^hi'a; atm /'attum/ < *'antum; 2.c.du. atm
attum/ < *'antum; 3.c.du. hm /hum/.
b. Oblique forms (gen./acc.): hwt /huwati/ (KTU 1.3 = RS
2. [014] vi 20 etc.); hyt /hiyati/ (K TU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]
iii 10 etc.); 3.m.p1. hmt /humti/ (K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ iii 9
etc.); 3.c.du. hmt /humti/ (K TU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] 20.30; K TU
1.19 = RS 3.322+ iii 44). Pronominal suffixes possessive suffix -0 or -y /- /, -y /-ya/;
R object suffix
- /-n/; -k /-ka/; -k /-k/; -h = syll. - /-h/; -h /-ha/; -n /-na/(?); -km /-kurnu/; 2.f.p1. -kn
/-kun(r)a/; -hm /-hum/; 3.f.p1. -hn /-hun[n)a/; I .e.du. -ny
/-nay/; 2.c.du. -km /-kum/; 3.c.du. -hm /-hum/. Demonstrative pronouns
- 'this' (adjectival): hnd (many); hndn (KTU 2.71 = RS 29.095:10).
- 'this' (nominal): hndt (K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ iv 62; K TU 2.38 =
RS 18.031:12; K TU 2.45 = RS 18.140:7).
17,, 3 m./ and I.e.du. forms are not attested.
After a short H-/ vowel and after various long vowels it is / -ya/, otherwise it
is /I /.
- 'that' (adjectival): hnhmt (KTU 3.3 = RS 15.128:8; perhaps also
K TU 4.659 = RS 19.166:6).
- 'that' (nominal): hnk (KTU 2.33 = RS 16.402:23); hnkt (KTU 2.41
= RS 18.147:13; K TU 2.21 = RS 15.174:10). The determinative pronoun (relative pronoun)
The forms of the Ugaritic determinative pronoun, which also func-
tions as a relative pronoun, are: d /d/ (Nom.), /d / (gen.),
/d/ (acc.) and d = /d/ (only K TU 1.24 = RS 5.194:45 [gen.]); dt = /dtu/, /dti/, /data/; c(?).p1. dt /dtV/. There is also an
indeclinable variant d = /da/(?).
19 I nterrogative pronouns
- 'who?': my /mya/(?) (several occurrences); mn (KTU 1.3 = RS
2.[014] iii 37; K TU 1.3 iv 4; perhaps K TU 1.5 = RS 2. [022] +
iv 23.
- 'what?': mh /mah(a)/ (several occurrences); mhy (KTU 2.14 = RS
[Varia 4]:9 only); mat (K TU 1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ i 38 only); mn
(uncertain occurrences: K TU 1.5 = RS 2. [022] + iv 23; K TU 2.45 =
RS 18.140:25; K TU 2.72 = RS 34.124:22; in K TU 1.16 = RS
3.325+ ii 19.20 it means 'how many?'). I ndefinite pronouns
- 'anyone': mnk (KTU 3.2 = RS 15.111:12 [mnk mnkm]); mnkrn (KTU
2.19 = RS 15.125:12; K TU 3.2 = RS 15.111:13); mnmn (KTU
1.123 = RS 24.271:22 [mr mnmn]);
mnn (KTU 5.9 = RS 16.265
i 2).
- 'anything': mhk (KTU 2.38 = RS 18.031:26); mhkm (KTU 2.30 =
RS 16.379:22; K TU 2.71 = RS 29.095:14 [<h>mhkm]); mnm (many
- 'whatever' (adjectival): ay (KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002:6; K TU 1.24 =
RS 5.194:44).
It occurs only as a determinative pronoun before a noun clause or as a rela-
tive pronoun before a nominal relative clause.
Cf. Akk. mammon < *man-man 'anybody' as well as the expression mar marn-
mana(ma), 'anybody's son' (CAD M/ l , 200-1).
3.4.2 The noun Noun formation
Several different patterns are used for the formation of nouns (nouns
and adjectives) in Semitic: monosyllabic forms; polysyllabic forms;
forms with lengthened components; forms with prefixes, infixes and
suffixes. Most patterns can be assigned to specific classes of mean-
ing. There are severe limitations on identifying nominal patterns in
Ugaritic as the alphabetic spelling often permits no conclusions regard-
ing formation.
The Ugaritic noun forms attested in syllabic spelling
are rich in information.
22 Gender
There are two grammatical genders: masculine (masc.) and feminine
(fem.). Masc. nouns are basically unmarked, whereas as a rule fem.
nouns have a special ending.
By far the commonest feminine morpheme is -(a)t. The choice of
the morpheme variant -at instead of -t is largely dependent on syl-
lable structure. The -(amending also denotes nomina unitatis (singular
nouns), e.g. mnht '(single) gift' (K TU 4.709 = RS [Varia 13]:6) in
relation with the generic name mnh 'gift(s)' (KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367
i 38 etc.). Besides the feminine ending -t = /-{a)/ probably a rare
feminine ending y /-ayV/ is also attested: n
my 'the (exceedingly)
lovely' (KTU 1.5 = RS 2. [022]+ vi 6.28; K TU 1.17 = RS 2. [004]
ii 42). There are also grammatically feminine nouns without a fem-
inine ending, e.g. um 'mother'. Number
There are three numbers in Ugaritic: singular (sg.), dual (du.) and
plural (pl.). The sg. is unmarked. The du. and pi. are denoted by
special morphemes.
I n Ugaritic the du. is productive and is marked by the morpheme
- 0 = / / which always coalesces with the case ending: nominative
-a, oblique (gen./acc.) -e. In the absolute state the ending is length-
ened by mimation: nom. -m /-mi/, obi. -m /-ma/ (alterna-
tively: /-mi/). As a rule, the dual ending is added onto the singular
Cf . SEGERT 1984 43; SI VAN 1997, 60.
On this topic see HUEHNERGARD 1987b, 302 17.
form. It comes after the gender morpheme -t /-(a)t/ of (marked)
fem. nouns.
The pi. is marked by a morpheme which causes vowel lengthen-
ing. With fem. nouns the plural marker comes before the gender
marker and the case endings: nominative /-tu/, oblique /-ti/; in
the masc. noun it merges with the case endings: nominative /- /,
oblique /-/ (absolute state: /-ma/, /-ma/). The nominal base of
the pi. is mosdy the same as the sg. I n certain nominal patterns and
certain weak root classes, the plural basis differs from the base of
the singular. It should be emphasized that <qVtl>-forms generally
have a bisyllabic base <qVtal> in the plural (e.g. pi. ram/1 /ra'as-/
of sg. ris / ra's-/). Case
a. Ugaritic has three main cases: nominative (nom.), genitive (gen.)
and accusative (acc.). They are marked by vocalic morphemes which
follow the gender marker in fem. nouns.
I n the (masc. and fem.) sg. the three mai n cases are mostly
differentiated by three different vowel endings: nom. -u, gen. -i, acc.
-a (triptotic endings). Nouns of certain patterns (including certain per-
sonal names) have only two different case-endings in the sg.: nom.
-u, gen./acc. = oblique (obi.) -a (diptotic). I n the du. and masc. pi.
the inflection is exclusively diptotic: du.nom. -,;
nom. -; obi. -f.
b. Besides the three main cases, Ugaritic has two further cases with
primary adverbial function, i.e. the terminative and the locative. Both
are comparatively little used.
The terminative functions as an independent adverbial case, pri-
marily for denoting direction. It is marked by the --ending which,
in connection with the so-called 'he locale (locative h) of Hebrew
grammar is probably to be vocalised as /-ah/. The terminative end-
ing is probabl y added on to the uninflected noun stem: arsh =
/',arsah/ 'towards the earth' (KTU 1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ i 29). It only
occurs for certain in the abs. state.
The locative is marked by the ending /- /, e.g. sbu p /sabVu/
Occasionally the oblique ending seems (already) to have assumed the function
of the nominative ending, e.g. ily ugrt (= /ill UgaritV/) tgrk tlmk 'may the gods of
Ugaritic guard you (and) grant you well-being' (KTU 2.16 = RS 15.008:4-6).
'at sunset' (K TU 1.41 = RS 1.003+:47.53). Examples are difficult
to identify as the locative ending is only evident from spellings in
forms of I I I -' roots. There seem to be several different functions of
the locative. It denotes place (locative), time, the ablative, the instru-
mental, measure and quantity, final nuances (with infinitives or ver-
bal nouns) and the paronomastic infinitive (e.g. bt krt bu tbu, 'she did
enter Ki t's house' [K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi 3]).
c. The form of the noun in the imperative and in direct address
the vocadveis expressed by various syntagmata: (a) by an unin-
troduced noun, (b) by the noun introduced by the particle /, (c) by
a noun introduced by the particle y or (d) by a noun with a 1st
pers. noun suffix. There is no explicit information on the case-endings
of the vocative in Ugaritic in spite of a few occurrences of I I I -' rad-
ical nouns. It is uncertain whether a noun in all the constructions
just mentioned (a-d) has the same morphological form. It is also
uncertain whether the vocative has the same form as one of the
three main cases. There are indications that in the singular the voca-
tive can be expressed without any case-endings and that the accusative
case serves as a vocative.
d. I n the corpus of Ugaritic texts there are occasionally nouns
without any inflection.
This could be a relic of what is known as
the 'absolute case',
comparabl e with the 'absolute state' of Akka-
dian grammar (cf. GAG 62 c-j). State
The noun has two states which depend on the syntactic position of
a noun: 1. the absolute state (abs. st.), 2. the construct state (cstr. st.).
The abs. st. is unmarked in the singular and so is the same as the
cstr. st. I n the dual and plural it is sometimes marked by a final
-m, known as nominal mimation. The cstr. st. is unmarked for all
numbers and differs from the abs. st. in the dual and plural by the
lack of mimation. Both states in Ugaritic have (the same) case-endings.
f or syllabic spellings see HUEHNERGARD 1987b, 300-1.
On the absolute case in Hamito-Semitic see SASSE 1984. Determi nati on/I ndetermi nati on
Ugaritic has no morphological marker for determination or indter-
mination. There is neither a definite article nor a specific determined
case, and mimation on nouns has neither a determinative nor an
indeterminative function.
3.4.3 Cardinal numbers
a. The cardinal numbers 1-10 are as follows:
one' ahd /'ah(h)ad-/; aht/'ahhatt-/
two' in /tin/ (nom.), /tin/ (obi.); tt /titt/ (nom.), /titt/ (obi.)
three' tit / talf, tilt /taltat-/
four' arb'/'arba'-/; arb't /'arba'at-/
five' hm /hami-/\ hmt /ham(i)at-/
six' It / M- / ; ttt //tittat-/
seven' b' /sab'-/; b' t /sab'at-/
eight' tmn / tamn/ < *tamniy-; tmnt /tamnt-/
nine' ts" /ti
-/\ t' t /lis'at-/
ten' 'r /'a(a)r-/ < *
aar-; 'rt /
The uninflected (masc.) forms of the cardinal numerals 3-10 can be
coupled with nouns of either gender. I n the Baal Cycle, the Aqhat
Epic and a few other poetic texts, however, fem. numerals are gen-
erally used with masculine countables (syntax with 'polarity of gen-
der'). I n prose, fem. numerals are used exclusively with the ellipsis
of tql 'shekel' and ym 'day'.
b. The numerals from 11-19 are made up of the units 1-9 and the
expression for 'ten' (
r /
rt /
srh). The sequence is mosdy 'unit
ten', e.g. (a) hm
r, (b) hm
rh and (c) hmt
rt '15'. Type (a) is only
used together with masc. nouns. Type (b) occurs with fem. and masc.
nouns. Type (c) is used only with the ellipsis of tql 'shekel' or ym
'day'here as an ordinal numeral. Numerals 12-19 can also be con-
structed in the reverse sequence ('tenunit'). In these cases the unit
is always followed by the word kbd which can be rendered 'plus',
sr arb
kbd '14'.
c. The numeral 20 is formed from the dual or plural form of
' 10', the tens from 30 to 90 from the plural forms of the numerals
3 to 9:
rm, tltm, hmsm, ttm, sb'm, tmnym, ts'm. The cardinal numerals
Against SEGERT 1984, 52. 6, 62. 6, 73. 21.
21-99 comprise two or at most three words: the ten, the unit and
usually a word linking the ten and the unit, e.g. tt I ttm '66' (KTU 1.4
= RS 2. [008]+ vii 9) or tmnym tmn kbd '88' (K TU 4.179 = RS
d. '100' is mit /mi't-/, '200' mitm (dual of mit). The hundreds from
300 are formed by connecting a unit and mat /ma'at-/ (pi. of mit),
e.g. tit mat.
e. '1,000' is alp /
alp-/, '2,000' alpm (dual of alp). The thousands from
3,000 are formed from a unit and alpm (pi. of alp), e.g. hms alpm
'5,000' (K TU 4.181 = RS 15.106:2).
f. The word for '10,000' (or 'myriad') is rbt or rbbt.
3.4.4 The verb I ntroduction
The inflected verb differentiates gender, number, person, aspect/tense
(imperfective or perfective; antecedent, contemporaneous, subsequent),
mood (indicative or volitive [imperative, jussive]), diathesis (active, re-
flexive, passive) and aspect (e.g. factitive, causative). Gender, number
and person are differentiated by various prefixes and/or suffixes. Various
verb stems differentiate diathesis and aspect (see; aspect/tense
and mood are differentiated by a) subtypes of the prefix conjuga-
tion, b) the imperative and c) the suffix conjugation.
Alongside the genuine (finite) verbal forms two nominal (infinitive)
categories occur in connection with the verb system, i.e. participles
and infinitives. They are morphologically and semantically directly
related to verbal categories. Besides gender and number their inflec-
tion also differentiates diathesis and aspect. Morphological classes of the basic stem The imperative
a. The imperative (impv.) is the mood of command in the 2nd pers.
Morphologically, it is identical with the short form of the prefix con-
jugation without the prefix and phonemically monosyllabic, i.e. <qtVl>
(V = / a/ , / i / or //; the same thematic vowel as in the prefix con-
jugation). As a word-initial consonant cluster is not tolerated, the
impv. becomes bisyllabic, usually by insertion of an auxiliary vowel
after the first radical ( anaptyxis), generally /2/, more rarely //:
e.g. isp /
isfn/ < *'
sup{ 'collect!' (K TU 1.107 = RS 24.251+:33
etc.); uhd /"hud/ < *>hud 'seize!' (K TU 1.82 = RS 15.134:6).
b. The inflected endings of the impv. are the same as the endings
of the 2nd person of the short form of the prefix conj ugati on: qHVl, qHVl, q'tVl ( not attested); c.du. q'tVl.
c. Besides the uninflected form of the i mpv.i n line with
Hebrewthere is probabl y a l engthened ('emphatic') form qUVla,
marked by the suffixed morpheme /-a/,'
e.g. sa /sa'a/ < *sa'a (^Ins
'raise/lift up!' (K TU 1.5 = RS 2.[022]+ 13; K TU 1.14 = RS
2. [003]+ ii 22). The prefix conj ugati on
a. 'Prefix conj ugati on' (PC) is the generic term for various different
morphological subtypes which have differing verbal meanings. Inflection
is by means of prefixes and suffixes. I n morphological terms and
functions the following subtypes of the PC can be distinguished (cf.
Form Function Abbreviation
short form a) perfective aspect, preterite PC
b) 'jussive' mood
extended short form jussive/cohortative mood PC
long form imperfective aspect, present PC
b. The prefix consonants of the PC are: y-\ and
2.m./ t-; 3.m.p1. t-/*y-;
3.f.p1. and 2.m./f.p1. t-\
-; 3.m.du. y-/1-;
3.f.du. and 2.c.du. /-.
It is the same morpheme as occurs in the PCfe (cohortative mood); see
Normally a /-prefix (see DOBRUSI N 1981). There was also a variant with a
jy-prefixprobably attested only in two cases (KTU 1.4 = RS 2-1008]+ 17: yblk
'they should bring' || tblh, KTU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+ 38.40:yblnn 'they brought').
This variant is no (longer) productive and only attested in grammatical parallelism
with the 'normal' /-prefix form.
Forms with the y- and /-prefix both occur (with almost the same frequency).
c. The personal suffixes of the PC are the endings of the short form
of the prefix conjugation (PC
): 3.m./,, -0; /-/; 3./ . /- /; 3./ /-a/(?);
3./2.du. /-/.
d. The PC in the basic stem of the underlying 'strong' roots has the
following structure: <CV\qtV
l> (paradigm root Vqtl; C = any prefix
consonant; V| = prefix vowel; V
= thematic vowel). The thematic
vowel (TV) is / a/ , /z/ or //, the prefix vowel (PV) either / a/
(before TV /u/ or til) or lit (before TV /a/). The following PC-
patterns occur: <Caqtul>, <Caqtil> und <Ciqtal>.
The choice of
TV is essentially dependent a) on the semantic class of the root (roots
with a fundamentally stative meani ng usually have the TV / a/ , roots
with a fientic basic meani ng have either tul or ti t as a TV, b) and
on the phonetic quality of the third and second root consonant (roots
with gutturals in second or third position often have /a t as TV).
e. The paradigm of the PC
is therefore (paradigm root ^lqtl, TV /ul ) :
Singular Plural Dual
3.m yaqtul-0 taqtul- y/taqtul-
3.f. taqtul-0 taqtul-na(?) taqtul-
2.m. taqtul-0 taqtul- taqtul-
2.f. taqtul- taqtul-na(?) taqtul- (as masc.)
aqtul-0 naqtul-0
- ( ? )
f. The forms of the PC
without endings have a morphological vari-
ant with the suffixed morpheme I-at instead of -0 (= PC
It is
only attested in connection with jussive forms and so can be termed
a lengthened or 'emphati c' jussive. The lengthened jussive is attested
in an unequivocal spelling a large number of times only in the 1st
p. sg. I n analogy with Hebrew this form can be called 'cohortative'.
As the lengthened jussive is not attested for every person and is not
in functional opposition to the ordinary jussive (= PC
j), it is not an
VERREET 1984, 317- 9 has a different view and postulates a P C
tqltn = /taq-
tulna/ and a PC
Iqtl = /laqtul/ for the 3.f.p1. However, a PC-form of the 3.f.p1.
without the -n ending does not exist.
For these vocalic sequences see already BARTH 1894, 4-5. For the validity of
'Barth's Law' in Ugaritic see especially VERREET 1983b.
It is therefore the same morpheme as probably also occurs in Ugaritic on the
lengthened impv. (; see
autonomous grammatical category. In other words, unlike Arabic,
Ugaritic does not have a specific 'yaqtula-mood'.
g. The long form of the prefix conjugation (PC
) differs from the
by an additional suffixed morpheme. Forms without an ending
in the PC
have the ending /- u/ in the PC
'; forms with a vocalic
ending in the PC'
(except for the 3./2. have the additional
ending -n = /-na/ or /-ni/ in the PC
h. I n earlier research the question was hotly debated whether in
Ugaritic there was also a long form of the prefix conjugation with
the pattern <CaqattVl>, comparabl e to Akkadian iparrVs, Ethiopie
y^qathl or similar formations in modern South Arabic languages.
F en t o n (1970) and M a r c u s (1975, 75-104, esp. 97ff.) demonstrated
independently, however, that this category does not exist in Ugaritic.
The Ugaritic texts published over the last twenty years provide
absolute proof of this. The suffix conjugation
a. The Suffix conjugation (SC) is not a homogeneous category in
Ugaritic, as is also the case in other West Semitic languages. There
is a fundamental difference between SC-forms with stative meani ng
and those with a fientic (perfective, mostly preterite) meaning. The
former can be called 'statives', the latter 'perfects' (abbreviations:
'SCs' and 'SCp'). The subtypes mentioned also differ from each other
morphologically by different thematic vowels (see c).
b. The paradigm of the suffix conjugation is as follows:
Singular Plural Dual
3.m. yaqtul-u taqtul-na
3.f. taqtul-u taqtul-na (?)
2.M. taqtul-u taqtul-na
2.f. taqtul-na *taqtul-naa (?)
1 .c. 'aqtul-u naqtul-u
See esp. GOETZE 1938, 296- 309.
Singular Plural Dual
3.m. qatVl-a qat VI- qatVl-
3.f. qatVl-at qatVl-/ (?) qatVl-t
2.m. qatVl-ta qatVl-tum(Vf
2.f. qatVl-ti *qat Vl-tun(n)a qatVl-tum (also masc.)
I.e. qatVl-tu
*qat Vl-na/ qatVl-na/iy
c. The thematic vowels of the SC are / a/ , / i / and /u/. / a/ is re-
served exclusively for the fientic-perfective subtype of the SC (SCp),
/ u/ for the stative subtype of the SC (SCs). I i i occurs in both sub-
types. I n the fientic subtype, however, it is limited to roots with I I /
III guttural, where the thematic vowel of the PC is / a/ . The system
of thematic vowels in the SC and their equivalents in the PC can
be summarized as follows: SC qati/ ula - PC Ciqtal (stative); SC qatala -
PC Caqtu/il (fientic); SC qatila - PC Ciqtal (fientic I I /I I I -guttural). Finite Verb Forms with Energie Endi ng
a. Besides the inflectional endings, finite verb formsespecially in
poetry and in object suffixesoften exhibit a so-called energic end-
spelled either -n or -nn. At least two perhaps even three different
alloforms of the energic morpheme can be distinguished (energic
types I /I I /[I I I ]). As the energic endings may occur, basically, on all
finite verb forms, whether they are indicative or volitive, the ener-
gic is not a mood in the strict sense.
b. By far the the most commonly attested allomorph of the energic
is -n /-()nnV/ (= energic type I). It may stand alone and or before
the 3rd pers. sg. pronomi nal suffixes. I n combination with 3rd pers.
sg. suffixes, the ending is -nh, to be vocalised as I-anna-hI or / -anna-
ha/ respectively.
c. There is also an energic allomorph: -nn = l-ninl(?) (= energic
type II). It occurs exclusively in combi nati on with 3rd pers. sg.
suffixes. The initial consonant, I hi, of the pronomi nal suffix is thus
Alternatively /i/- vowel, i.e. / qatVl-tim(V)/. Similarly for 2.f.p1. (/qatVl-tin(n)/)
and 2.c.du. (/qatVl-tim/).
Alternatively: /-t i l (as in Canaanite). In favour of /-t/ however is that the
independent personal pronoun in Ugaritic also ended in /-/ (/'anku/).
On this topic see especially VERREET 1988, 79- 98 and K REBERNI K 1993.
always assimilated to the second /n/ of the energic ending: -nn
/-nVnn/ < *-nin-hu or /-nVnna/ < *-nin-ha respectively.
d. Perhaps Ugaritic also had a third allomorph of the energic, i.e.
-n = /-an/ (= energic type III). The orthographical proof for this
allomorph has not yet been produced. Aspect and tense
Verbal aspects and (relative) tenses are mainly differentiated by the
subtypes of the PC and the fientic variant of the SC. The functions
of these categories can be set out in the following table (paradigm
root ^lqtl,
perfective imperfective
anteriority yaqtul (PC
p) qatala (SCp) yaqtulu (PC
*yaqtul(a) (PC
*qatala (SCp) yaqtulu (PC
posteriority *yaqtul(a) (PC
j/e) qatala (SCp) yaqtulu (PC
All the fields on the right = imperfective column of the table are
filled by the long form of the prefix conjugation (PC
). The left =
perfective column includes the short form of the prefix conjugation
) and the perfective-fientic suffix conjugation (SCp). I n the field
'perfective anteriority', the PC
p and the SCp have practically the
same function. The field 'perfective-contemporaneous' is empty be-
cause facts which occur simultaneously are essentially imperfective.
Onl y a special function of the SCp, i.e. the function of the so-called
'performative perfect',
can be placed in this field. The field 'per-
fective-posteriority'with reference to indicative statementsis only
covered by the SCp. The function of the variants of the PC
in that slot is exclusively volitive (jussive).
The table shows clearly that the PC
is always imperfective and
the PC
is always perfective. As the PC
is used for simultaneous
situations, this category is conventionally labelled the 'present'. As,
on the other hand, the indicative PC
p generally expresses previous
events, this category is conventionally called the 'preterite'. These
labels, which suggest an opposition of tense between PC
' and PC
are not in fact correct, as the PC
- can also denote previous events,
E.g. I rgmt Ik hereby surely tell you . . .' (KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 iv 7).
provided that they are imperfective. An imperfective presentation is
demanded especially for situations which are marked by the features
of plurality or repetition.
The PC
p occurs for certain only in nar-
rative verse and is used there as the usual narrative form for single
and instantaneous actions of the past.
In other genres perfective
actions of the past are obviously always expressed by the SCp.
However, the SCp also occurs in narrative poetry, sometimes as a
free variant of PC
40 Moods
I n the Ugaritic verbal system the 'indicative' (=declarative mode) and
'volitive' (= wish and command mode) moods are differentiated. The
categories PC
p, PC
and SC (SCp and SCs) are used for indicative
The following have volitive functions: a) the imperative,
b) the PC
] (jussive) and the PC
e (cohortative) as well asrelatively
rarelyc) both subtypes of the suffix conjugation, i.e. SCp and SCs.
There is no specific use of mood in subordinate clauses. Volitive
moods, i.e. PC
j and PC
e, occur only in subordinate clauses with
volitive (final) meaning. I n Ugaritic there is no specific 'subordinat-
ing mood', comparabl e to the Akkadian 'subjunctive', which only
occurs in dependent clauses.
42 Participles
The pattern for the formation of the active participle of the basic
stem (G-ptc. act.) is <qtil>. For the passive participle of the basic
stem (G-ptc. pass.) probably the pattern <qatl> is generally used,
as in Canaanite.
E.g. p'rih I tmgyn hdm / rih I ymgy apsh 'His feet did not reach the footstool,
his head did not reach as far as its (upper) end' (KTU 1.6 = RS 2.[009]+ i 59-61
[general-continuing event, expressed by the PC
See for instance 1u ilm rathm 'the gods lifted up their heads' (KTU 1.2 = RS
3.367+ i 29). The morpho-syntactic autonomy of the category PC
p is, however,
questioned by some scholars; for discussion see M . S. SMI TH 1994, 39-41. According
to Smith, PO
p and PC
although in morphological contrastare free variants.
On the parallelism between PC
p and SCp see M.S. SMI TH 1994, 49-51 and
1995, 797-9. On other functions of the Ugaritic S C see M. S. SMI TH 1994, 45-57
and 1995.
For the use of these categories see
For a different view cf. VERREET 1988, esp. 8- 10.
Over the years scholars have repeatedly stated that in Ugaritic there could
also or only be other patterns for the passive participle of the basic stem. The discus-
sion centres on the patterns <qatl> (G-Ptc. pass, in Aramaic) and <maqtl> (G-Ptc.
pass, in Arabic). So far, however, no proofs have been provided. I nfinitives/Verbal nouns
As in Hebrew, an absolute infinitive and a construct infinitive may
be differentiated. The former corresponds syntactically to a noun in
the absolute state, the latter to a noun in the construct state or a
noun after a preposition.
The infinitive (inf.) of the basic stem generally has the pattern
<qatl>. Besides this there is in Ugaritic a series of differently con-
structed verbal nouns of the basic stem. Two patterns are notewor-
thy. One is <qitl>, which occurs several times in syllabic spellings, e.g.
ni-ib-r /nigru/ 'guard' (Ug 5, 137 = RS 20.123+ i 5').
The other is
<ti/al(a)t>, which occurs only in I - w/ y roots and ^1hlk, e.g. sat /si'at-/
'going out, expression' (KTU 1.4 =RS 2. [008]+vii 30.32); d't /da
'knowlege' (KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367+ i 16.32); Ikt /likt-/ 'going' (KTU
1.10 = RS 3.362+ ii 28, 29). Whereas the pattern <qatl> is used
for both the absolute and the construct infinitives, other patterns can
only denote the construct infinitive. The system of verbal stems: basic and derived stems
a. The Semitic languages use a large number of different patterns
to express aspect and diathesis, called 'verbal stems'. The simple
basic stem of Semitic is morphologically unmarked. The 'derived'
verbal stems are, instead, indicated by specific morphological markers.
b. Ugaritic has the following ten verbal stems, which can be arranged
as follows:
symbol stem functions
G basic stem basic lexical function
Gp passive basic stem passive of G
Gt reflexive basic stem reflexive of G etc.
D intensive intensive, factitive etc.
Dp passive intensive passive of D
For further examples see HUEHNERGARD 1987b, 305-6.
On occurrences of the Ugaritic Gp-stem see MARCUS 1971.
E.g. reciprocal, durative and iterative. At times no clear difference in mean-
ing between Gt and G can be established. On the Gt and tD stems in Ugaritic
see KREBERNI K 1991.
In stative verbs the function is chiefly factitive/causative (e.g. 'be good': 'to
make [someone/somethingl good'). In intransitive-fientic verbs the D-stem chiefly
provides transitivity. In transitive-fientic verbs it strengthens or pluralizes the verbal
(table cont.)
symbol stem functions


reflexive intensive
or causative
or passive
reflexive of D etc.
passive of
reflexive of etc.
reflexive, passive
Four of the ten patterns can be called 'cardinal stems': G, D, and
N. G is unmarked (= Heb. qal); D is marked by gemination of the
middle radical ( Heb. piel); is marked by the prefix /- (= Heb.
hiphil in function);
is marked by the prefix n- (= Heb. niphal).
All the 'cardinal stems'except for have both a passive and
a reflexive variant. The reflexive forms have an additional element
t\ in the Gt it comes after the first radical, in tD (= Heb. hithpael)
before the first radical and in t directly after the causative marker
-. The passive forms, i.e. Gp, Dp (= Heb. puai) and p ( Heb.
hophal in function) are differentiated from the corresponding active
forms only by different vowels. As this characteristic is usually not
expressed in the alphabetic spelling, in most cases examples of the
passive stems can be determined only from syntax or context. Some
their existence in Ugaritic.
c. The paradi gm of the verb stems (forms are vocalized; finite forms
are always; ptc. and inf. uni nfected; n.o. = no [certain]
meaning (plurality of agents or objects; repetition of an action). The D-stem is also
used for denominative meanings.
On the , p and t in Ugaritic see TROPPER 1990a, 21- 111.
Chiefly or only in prose texts.
E.g. reciprocal, ingressive and inchoative.
As non-sibilant causative morphemes occur in other Northwest Semitic languages
(e.g. the causative marker h- in the Heb. hiphil), repeated attempts have been made
by sholars over the years to prove these types of causative also occur in Ugaritic.
The attempts in question have not been convincing, however (see TROPPER 1990a,
The most uncompromising opponent of the existence of the passive stem in
Ugaritic is VERREET 1985, 324- 30. It should be noted, however, that all the cen-
tral Semitic languages have passive stems.
There are no other verbal stems in Ugaritic. On the so-called 'lengthened stems'
(L) see under and, on the so-called 'reduplicated stems' see
under In Ugaritic there are no stems corresponding to IX, XI or XI I -XV
of Arabic.
j impv. se ptc. inf.
G yaqtu/il q
tu/il qatala qtil (act.) qatl
yiqtal q'tal qati/ula qatl (pass.)
Gp yuqlal n.o. quti/ ala

Gt yiqtati/ al
('i)qtatil (')qtat(a)la muqtatil ? tVqtatil
D yuqattil
qattil qattila muqattil quttal
Dp yuqattal ? n.o. qutti/ala ? muqattal ? n.o.
tD yVtqattVl n.o. ('i)tqatti/ ala
aqtil aqtila musaqtil VqtVl
yuaqtal n.o. uqta/ ila muaqtal n.o.
St y Vtaqtil n.o. n.o. mutaqtil n.o.
naqtVl ? naqtala n.o. naqtal Morphological peculiarities of the 'weak' verbs
a. Five I -' verbs have irregular G-PC-forms of the type yuC

/yCi VC
/ instead of or as well as yiC
- /ya
/ (cf. 3.2.2e):
^bd 'to perish', ^hb 'to love', ^hd 'to seize', kl 'to eat', yl'sp 'to
b. I-h verbs usually have strong forms. Exceptions are verbs with / / /
as the second radical, i.e. ^lhlk 'to go' and ^hlm 'to strike, hit'. Both
verbs have G-PC-forms without /h/, e.g. ylk- /yalik-/ oryl m- /yalum-/.
Whereas the remai ni ng forms from VA/m are strong (e.g. G-impv.
him- /hum-/), ^Jhlk is weak in other ways, i.e. it produces forms with-
out /h/: G-I mpv. Ik- /lik-/; G-verbal noun Ikt /likt-/; Gt-PC ytlk
/yitalik/. -PC-forms from ^lhlk are instead strong: ashlk aahlik/
(K TU 1.3 = RS 2.[Ol4]+ 2, etc.).
In forms with endings there was probably syncope of the corresponding vowel:
/yiqlatl/ < *yiqtatVl (cf. The same applies to other forms of the par-
adigm with similar syllabic structure.
Occurrences: Imthsh 'her fighting' (KTU 1.3 =RS 2. [014]+ ii 19); trntbs 'fighting'
(KTU 1.3 = RS 2.[014]+ ii 29); tljtsb 'quarrel' (KTU 1.3 ii 20.30).
/y/t/nuqattil/, but /'aqattil/ < *'uqattil (vowel harmony; see
Alternatively: /taqatti/ala/. The only certain example: w Ikms /wa-t(a)kamm Vsa/
'he fell to his knees' (KTU 1.12 = RS 2. [012] ii 54). Another possible example:
tmz' (KTU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ i 36.46).
Possibly /tuqattil/, cf. the uncertain syllabic spelling: tu-a-p-[ku(?)] /tuhappiku/
(Ug 5 137 = RS 20.123+ ii 23).
/y/t/nuaqtil/\ however /'aaqtil/ < *'uaqtil (vowel harmony).
< *yinqatil (chiefly undifferentiated by spelling).
The same verbs also have similar forms in Hebrew (verbs with 'weak aleph'
as the first radical). On the topic see esp. TROPPER 1990b, 367.
On the morphology of I-h verbs see TROPPER 1990d.
c. I n I-n verbs and Mqh 'to take', the first radi cal when vowellessis
assimilated to the following consonant, e.g.ygr /yaggur-/ < *yangur- (Vngr
'to guard' G-PC) or yqh /yiqqah/ < *yilqah (Mqh G-PC).
I n most
I-n verbs the G-i mpv is formed without the first root, e.g. la/sa'a/
< *a
a (^ln' 'to raise', lengthened impv. [K TU 1.4 = RS
2.[008]+ viii 5]). u /a'/ (VraT, m. pl. [K TU 1.2 = RS 3.367 i 27
etc.]), sk /saf/ (<nsk 'to pour', f. sg. [K TU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ iii
16 etc.]) as well as qh/qah/ ilqh, m. sg. [K TU 1.4 = RS 2. [008] +
ii 32, etc.]). The verb ^lngr 'to protect' constitutes an exception: impv.
m. sg. ngr /mgur/ 'look out!' (K TU 1.4 viii 14 [alternatively: N-impv.
/naggVr/ < *nangVra\).
d. I I I -
verbs arebesides \\\-w/y verbsof central i mportance for
understanding the Ugaritic verbal system as in principle in such verbs
the spelling allows verbal aspects and moods to be differentiated
clearly. PC
forms occurs with the spellingyC\C
u (; for forms
of the PC
, however, the spellingyC\C
i ( is expected. I n fact,
though, the situation is more complex as in Ugaritic word-final aleph
was no longer reliably pronounced.
On this basis only verbs with
the PC thematic vowel H/ permi t an unequivocal differentiation of
the underlying classes: e.g. P Q ysu /yasi'u/ 'he goes out' i^yf) versus
ysi /'yasiV (or /yasV/ < *yas) 'he should go out / he went out'.
forms with the thematic vowels // and / a/ this differentiation
is not given with certainty: spellings such as ybu (yn') and yu (yn
can be understood as PC
(/yabu'u/ or /yia?u/), but possibly they
could also be PC
forms (/'yab/ < *yabu', /yis/ < *yina').
e. Verbs with /w/ or /y/ as the first, second or third radical pre-
sent several forms which are irregular with respect to the forms of
the paradi gm of the 'strong verb', as the semi-vowels /w/ or / y / ,
dependi ng on position in the syllable, can occur either as consonants
or as vowels.
f. The paradi gm of I - w/ y verbs, which in Ugaritic includes ^lytn 'to
give', is characterised by the occurrence of forms both with and
without a (consonantal) first radical. If the word begins with a semi-
However, there is no assimilation of /// in the N-stem: SC nlqht /nalqahat/
(KTU 4.659 = RS 19.166:1).
See 3.2.2d (quiescent aleph).
On the grapheme <u> for /0/ < *a
see 3.2.2d. There are no attested forms
of the spelling ysi. On the topic see TROPPER 1990c.
vowel it is normally retained, as long as there no aphaeresis of the
whole initial syllable occurs as in impv. G. As word-initial *w in
Ugaritic generally becomes /y/ (see, except before a / u / -
vowel (inf. D), it is not possible to distinguish I -w roots from I -y
roots by spelling in most cases. I n non-initial position the semi-vowel
(Iwl) is retained only after a //-vowel (D-PC); in the other cases
either it causes a lengthening of the precedi ng vowel (e.g. in forms
of the stem) or it disappears unrepl aced (e.g. G-PC forms). The
function of the inf. cstr. is generally filled by verbal nouns of the
pattern <ti/al(a)t> (see
Significant forms of the paradi gm for l-w verbs i^yrd < *wrd 'to
impv. SC ptc. inf.
G yard nd yarada yrid yard
Gp yurad
Gt yittarid
D yuwanid
S yusrid
od sonda musrid wurrad
g. I n forms of II-w/y verbs, the second (weak) radical never occurs
as a consonant but always causes a l engtheni ng of the original
precedi ng or following vowel, G"PC' /yaqmu/ < *yaqwumu,
G-SC /qma/ < *qawama (yqurni).
The thematic vowel of the -
, is usually / / in II-; verbs (e.g. /yaqmu/), in II-y verbs usu-
ally H/ (e.g. lyatuI).
I nstead of the ('normal') intensive stems (D, Dp and tD), I I - wl y
verbs form stems which are marked by lengthening the vowel between
the first and second radical and reduplication of the third radical (=
Heb. polel, polal, hithpolel). They are conditioned variants of the
'normal ' intensive stems (D, Dp, tD) and have the same functions.
Here they are denoted by the symbols D*, Dp* and tD*.
The paradigm for I-y verbs is still blank at many points due to the lack of
significant forms.
' However, /'a(md1.
Conventionally vocalized as /yaqmu/ or /qma/.
These stems are conventionally called 'lengthened stems' and denoted by 'L',
'Lp' and 'tL'. The term 'lengthened stem' has been taken from Arabic but is
Significant forms of the paradi gms for II-; and II-y verbs i^qwm
'to rise' and ^yt 'to place'):
impv.( SC ptc. inf. abs.
G yaqmu
qum/ qm qma
yatu it/t ta sat-(?) JSJK?)
D* yuqo/mimu qo/mim muqo/mim-
Dp* yuq/ mamu
tD* yitq/ mimu
yu(a)qmu aqim/aqm aqma mu(a)qm-
h. The paradi gm of I I I - w/ y verbs is marked by the occurrence of
forms both with and without a (consonantal) third radical. I n orig-
inally syllable-closing position (also when final) the weak third radi-
cal is always vocalic (contraction of diphthongs *iy > / / , *ay > //,
*uw > //, *aw > /0/ [see]). I n intervocalic position it is
partly preserved as a consonant (e.g. ybky = /yabkiyu/ 'he weeps'
1]), partly the relevant tri phthong is contracted. Whi ch
triphthongs in particular remai n and which are contracted is still not
clearly explained
in spite of extensive research.
It seems that occa-
sionally paradigmatically identical forms occur both with and with-
out contraction.
Forms III-; and III-jy verbs are usually orthographically identical.
Some indications of different paradi gms of these two classes are pro-
vided however by forms such as atwt atawat/ (y'tw) 'she came'
(K TU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+ iv 32) versus mgyt /magayat/ ^mgy) 'she
arrived' (K TU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ ii 23, etc.).
misleading. Ugaritic 'L'-stems correspond to the III and VI verbal stems of Arabic
neither in form nor in function.
The II? forms in the derived stems are the same as II-w forms.
Shortening of the long vowel between the first and third radical when the syl-
lable in question is closed, e.g. PC * /yaqum/ and PC
3.f.p1. /laqumn/, analogi-
cally, impv. /qum/, PC
I I -j /tait/, impv. U-y /it/.
Before personal endings beginning with a consonant, either Iqam-I < *qm-
or /q/m/ (cf. Heb. bnt [byn 'to understand', G-SC]). The same applies
analogously to the SC-forms of the derived stems.
Uncontracted forms of the type *qyim or *q'im are unattested.
See SI VAN 1984 and V ERREET 1985, 330- 41.
The rules concerning triphthongs in respect of noun forms (cf. can-
not be transferred to verbs without being modified.
On the basis of comparati ve linguistics, one can conclude that in
PC as well as in SC different themati c vowels existed (III-w: / u/ and
/a/; III^: /i/ and /a/). I n I I I -y the commonest type was definitely
*yaqtiy- (PC) versus *qataya (SC), in I I I -w *yaqtuw- (PC) versus *qatawa
Significant forms of the lll-y paradi gm, basic stem (Ibny 'to build'):
PC yabmyu (PC
); yabnf
impv. b'n (; niy or b
n (; bVniy or bVn (
SC banaya or (rarely) ban (; banayat or bant (; banta
(; banay (
ptc. bniyu/a ( nom./acc.); bniyi ( gen.); bnt- (
inf. banyu/i/a or ban//.
i. The paradi gm of weak gemi nate verbs (I I -gem.) still presents many
uncertainties. I n the basic stem they are both 'strongly' constructed
forms, i.e. forms with reduplicated 2nd = 3rd radical, and 'weak'
forms, i.e. forms with doubl ed 2nd = 3rd radical. Doubl ed conso-
nants, when final, are reduced to a single consonant. The distribu-
tion of strong and weak forms is not as in classical Arabic. However,
there are parallels with the Hebrew paradi gm for I I -gem.
Significant forms of the I I -gem. paradi gm, basic stem iysbb 'to go
PC with endings: yasubb- (e.g. PC
1 yasubbu).
wi thout endings: yasbub or yasub < *yasubb.
impv. sub < *subb (; subb (
SC sabba (; sabbata (;
sabbanVy (I.e.du),
ptc. sbib-.
Forms of the derived stemsas far as can be ascertai nedare strong
throughout. I n agreement with Hebrew (plel = p
) it is possible
that instead of or alongside 'usual' D-stems (D, Dp, tD) the Ugaritic
I I -gem. verbs form so-called 'lengthened stems' (D*, Dp*, tD*),
Analogously III-w: PC
j tdu /tad'/ < *tad'uw 'she flew' (KTU 1.16 =
RS 3.325+ vi 6.7).
Analogously III-w: du /ds'/ ( (KTU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ iii 28); di /di/
< *ds'iyi ( (KTU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ 48); du /d$'/ < *ds'uy ( (KTU
1.19 = RS 3.322+ iii 14).
Analogously III-;: dit /d't-/ (KTU 1.108 = RS 24.252:8).
II -gem. verbs which are also I- provide an exception: all the forms have a
reduplicated 2nd = 3rd radical, e.g. tlt/latut/ < *lanlut 'they (3.f.du.) trembled'
(KTU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ iii 33, etc.).
Cf. Heb. sabbot < *sabbt.
For the term 'lengthened stem' and the sigla see g.
D*-PC *yusabib- instead of D-PC *yusabbib- (vowel lengthening instead
of consonant lengthening). The orthography is ambiguous.
j . Onl y a few Ugaritic verbs have four radicals. The three most
i mportant formations are C
b) Ci-C
83 un
d c) C
The forms of types (b) and (c) are conventionally under-
stood as 'reduplicated stems' (R-stems) of roots with three or two
3.4.5 Particles
86 Adverbs
a. Adverbs of place:
tm, tmt, tmn, tmny. 'there'; 7,
ln 'above'; I pnm 'before'; b'dn 'behind';
atr '(directly) after'; pnm 'within/inside'.
b. Adverbs of time:
ht, htm,
nt 'now'; idk, ap(.)hn, apnk, b km 'then; thereupon; a!}r
'after(wards), later', atr '(directly) after'; ahrm 'in succession'(P);
'on the following/next (day)' (alternatively: 'further').
c. Modal adverbs:
k, kd, kmt 'thus, in this way'; Ibdm 'alone'.
d. I nterrogative and indefinite adverbs:
iy, i, 'where?'; an 'whither?'; ik, ikm, iky, 'how? why?'; Im 'what for?
why?'. Prepositions
The Ugaritic prepositions mostly denote an adverbial position but
in connection with certain verbscan also be used directionally.
They can then fundamental l y express both directions, terminative
and ablative.
<grd (KTU 1.14 = RS 2.[003+] i 11.23: SC grd); ^lprsh (KTU 1.2 = RS
3.367 iv 22.25: SC [probably N-stem] yprsh).
<gtgl (KTU 1.13 = RS 1.006:33: SC glgl)\ -Jgrgr (KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002:66:
PC tgrgr); Ihmhm (KTU 1.17 = RS 2.[004] i 40.41: SC hmhmt); ylkrkr (KTU 1.4 =
RS 2.[008]+ iv 29: PC ykrkr, <qiqi)\ (KTU 1.114 = RS 24.258:5: PC yqtql).
ylshrr (KTU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ 17; KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ ii 24, etc.:
SC shut).
See t/T 9.41-2.
On this topic see especially AARTUN 1974, 1978.
On this topic see PARDEE 1975, 1976.
a. monoconsonantal prepositions:
b (also: by), syll. bi-i /b/ 'in, at, on, with, from'; / (also: ly), syll.
le-e // (or /l e / ) 'towards, for, against; from; away from; to';
k /ka/ with the (lengthened) variant km
'as, like'.
b. prepositions formed from bi- or triconsonantal roots:
yd /yada/ 'next to, together (with)'; 'm /'imma/ '(together) with;
towards'; bn /bna/ 'between';
d /
ad/('?) 'until'; 7 /
al// 'upon;
towards; down from; away from'; tht /tahta/ 'under, beneath'; qdm
/qudma/(?) 'before; in front of'; b'd /ba'da/ 'behi nd'; atr /'at(a)ra/
'in the wake of; (directly/immediately) after'; tk /tk/(?) '(right) in
the midst of; into'; qrb /qarba/ 'in the interior; into'.
c. Composi te prepositions: (preposition b or / + noun):
bd /bdi/ < *bi yadi 'i n/from the hand of; from'; b tk /bi tki/ 'in
the midst of'; b qrb /bi qarbi/ 'in the midst of'. I p /li p/ 'accord-
ing to, in the manner of'; I pn /li pan/ 'to the front of; before;
before (temporal); away from (spatial)'; I p'n /li pa
n/ 'at (both)
feet of; (low) before'; I ir /li in/ 'on top of; on; onto (move-
ment); from off/on (movement)'; I bl /li bal/ 'without'.
d. Prepositions can be lengthened by the enclitic particles -m or -
with no essential change in meani ng. The forms b-m, k-m, l-m,
l-n und
m-n are attested. They are especially favoured in poetry. Conj uncti ons
a. coordinating:
- w /wa/ 'and; but': copulative conjunction.
p /pa/ 'and then/thereupon/consequendy': copulative conjunction;
it marks a temporal or logical sequence.
- ap (extended variant: apn) 'thus, just as; even'.
- u /'0/ < *
aw 'or': disjunctive conjunction.
b. subordinating:
- ahr 'after': to introduce a temporal clause.
- id 'when; as soon as': to introduce a temporal clause.
d 'while; as long as; until': to introduce a temporal clause.
See d.
On Ugaritic p see WATSON 1990e, 1994e.
Also functions as an asseverative particle.
- hm /him/ with the phonetic variant im /'im/ 'if, in case': to intro-
duce a conditional clause.
k /k/ (variant spelling: ky) 1. 'because': to i ntroduce a causal
clause; 2. 'that': to introduce an object clause; 3. 'as, when i f : to
introduce a temporal or conditional clause.
- km /kma/ 'as; as soon as'.
- him !; as; as soon as'. I nterjections
- Presentation particles ('lo!'): hn (extended variants: hnn\ hnny); hi
(extended variants: him, hin, hlk); mk.
- vocative particles: y /y/\ l (cf.
i /'/ 'truly!' (only in oaths); an 'oh!' (exclamation). Asseverative particles
- k, al, dm, I, m
: 'truly!; certainly!'. Optati ve particles
- I /l/ (alternatively: /la/): proclitic optative particle before a jus-
sive (PC
j /e).
- ahl: 'alas!; if only!'. Negatives
- / /l a/: for negating words and verbal clauses.
- al /'al/: for negating volitive verbal clauses (only before PC
j /e).
bl /bal/ (extended variant: bit): for negating words and noun clauses;
in verbal clauses only in an interrogative sense. Existential particles
- it /'it/ < *'itay: 'there i s/are'.
- in /'na/ < *'ayna (extended variants: inm; inn): 'there i s/are not'.
Alternatively: 'then, after that' (adverb of time).
WATSON 1991C. Enclitic particles
The most important enclitic particles in Ugaritic are -m,
-n, -y, -k
and -t. The enclitics -m and -n, which are by far the most frequent,
serve generally to emphasise certain constituents of a sentence. The
enclitic -y obviously acts as a marker of direct speech;
-k and -t
occur chiefly in connection with pronouns and adverbs.
(Translation: W.G.E. Wat s o n )
On which see WATSON 1992c, 1994F.
See TROPPER 1994a.
Note the special abbreviations: C =any consonant; c. =common gender; obi. =
oblique case; PC = prefix conjugation; PC
= short form of the prefix conjugation;
e = lengthened short form of the prefix conjugation (cohortative); PC
j = short
form of the prefix conjugation with jussive function; PC
p =short form of the prefix
conjugation with perfective-preterite function; PC
' = long form of the prefix con-
jugation; PV = vowel of prefix; SC = suffix conjugation; SCp = fientic sub-type
of the suffix conjugation; SCs = stative sub-type of the suffix conjugation; syll. =
syllabic; TV = thematic vowel; V - any vowel.
4 U g a r i t i c L e x i c o g r a p h y
W i l f r e d G . E . W a t s o n
4.1 Previous work
Not unexpectedly, the meanings of Ugaritic words have been a mat-
ter for discussion and analysis right from the earliest days of Ugaritic
studies and it is due to the difficulties inherent in these texts that
many words remain unexplained to this day. Several surveys of pre-
vious studies are available
and there is no need to repeat all this
material here. As yet, the only complete dictionary is Aistleitner's
Wrterbuch der ugartischen Sprache (1963, etc.). The only other compa-
rable 'dictionary' is the glossary which formed part of Gordon's series
of handbooks to Ugaritic: with each new edition, the glossary was
revised as new texts were discovered and different solutions were
Like the Wrterbuch, Gordon's glossary listed all the words
found in the Ugaritic texts discovered at the time, including per-
sonal and place names. Partial glossaries are to be found in Segert's
grammar ( S e g e r t 1984, 175-205) and in the various translations of
the Ugaritic texts now available.
Specialised glossaries are included
in studies on the following: the hippiatric texts,
the ritual texts.
i mportant are the studies of prepositions
and the particles
and in
spite of its age, d e M o o r 1971 remains a mine of lexical information.
Of particular interest are the study of terms connected with tex-
tiles used in the Ugaritic texts ( R i b i c h i n i - X e l l a 1985)
and the
discussion of terms for sheep and goats ( d e l O l m o L e t e 1 9 9 3 ,
1 8 3 - 9 7 ) and of terms for sacrifice ( d e l O l m o L e t e 1995) . Useful,
too, are Pardee's listing of lexical items with bibliography ( P a r d e e
1987) and the studies of syllabic spellings.
The personal names of
GORDON 1965 ( 1967) ; 1940; 1947 and 1955.
DRI VER 1955; GI BSON 1978; DEL OL MO L ETE 1981; T O I I and C A R T U but
not TO I .
COHEN - SI VAN 1983; PARDEE 1985. See al so SANMARTI N 1988b and COHEN
DEL OL MO L ETE 1992a, 20- 1 = 1999, 00- 0; XEL L A 1981.
PARDEE 1975, 1976, 1979.
AARTUN 1974, 1978.
See the r evi ew by DURAND 1990.
HUEHNERGARD 1987b; SI VAN 1984a; see r evi ew by HUEHNERGARD 1987a.
Ugarit are also a source of lexical items even though their meani ng
may not have been noticed overtly either by those who gave them
or by those who bore them. The classic collection by Grondahl
( G r o n d ah l 1967) is a useful if somewhat dated reference work in
this respect. Some recent studies have provided additional material.
Toponyms also contribute lexical items but their origins are more
difficult to ascertain."
Several series of articles on Ugaritic lexical problems have been
written by various authors, some of which are to be continued,
well as sets of studies on Ugaritic semantics.
There are many notes
and articles on individual words or groups of words which cannot
be listed here.
It is very helpful when a study is devoted to words
belonging to a particular semantic field: sociology ( R ai ney 1963),
fabrics and dyes ( van S o l d t 1990), sacrifice ( del O l mo L et e 1995),
crafts ( S anmar t i n 1995) and the army ( V i t a 1995a). For various rea-
sons, some words receive more attention than others, for example,
words which occur in the mythological texts.
A reverse glossary
(English-Ugaritic) is provided in UT, 530-7.
I n recent years actual dictionaries are starting to be published.
One is the Diccionario de la lengua ugartica (DLU) by del Ol mo Lete
and Sanmarti n, a two-volume work of which the first volume has
appeared and the second is at an advanced stage of preparati on.
Another is Cohen's Comprehensive Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language, as
yet unpublished.
The third such lexicon (UHw),
] R
which was initi-
ated in Mnster at Ugarit-Forschungen several years ago, will soon
be ready for publication but is available in the form of a word-list
( D i et r i c h - L o r e t z 1996b).
WATSON 1990a, 1990b, 1993, 1995b, 1996a.
See ASTOUR 1987; cf . 12. 2.
5 1988, 2-12. Many of their studies are concerned with differentiating homonyms.
AARTUN 1968, 1984, 1985, 1991; BERGER 1970; MARGAI .I T 1982; SANMARTI N 1977,
1978, 1979, 1980, 1988; XEL L A 1978b, 1980. See also DE MOOR 1965, 1979,
1984, WATSON 1978, etc.
See now DEL OL MO L ETE 1984; SANMARTI N 1973.
See, for example, WATSON 1996c.
E.g. lmm, which denotes a type of sacrifice, has 25 entries in PARDEE 1987, 410.
A semantic glossary is provided in C A R T U , 177-92.
As mentioned in SI VAN 1997, xix.
Ugatisches Handwrterbuch.
Supplemented by the extremely helpful 'glossary' in DI ETRI CH L ORETZ 1996a,
543926. Card indices of lexical material are also held in research institutes (see,
for example, RI BI CHI NI - XEL L A 1985, 11).
4.2 The texts
The texts under discussion are, of course, those in Ugari dc found
at Ras Shamra, Ras I bn Hani and elsewhere (conveniently collected
in KTU'
), supplemented by more recent discoveries. The Akkadian
texts are relevant chiefly for the lexical material they provide, either
directly (as in the lexical texts) or indirectly (see K h n e 1974, 1975).
Of particular interest is the treaty
(K TU 3.1 = RS 11.722+) of
which large sections in Ugaritic correspond to its Akkadian exem-
plars (RS 1 1.732, 17.227, 17.382; K n o p p e r s 1993 with previous bib-
liography). It can also be noted that some Ugaritic letters may in
fact be translations from Akkadian, Egyptian and Hittite.
4.3 Problems
Aside from the large number of words which are known from com-
mon Semitic (um, 'mother', klb, 'dog', etc.)
it is difficult to deter-
mi ne the meani ng of many lexical items in Ugaritic for several
reasons. For one thing, the corpus is small and the range of significant
contexts is accordingly quite limited. Also, vowels (aside from the
use of the three aleph signs, 'a, 'i, 'u) are not indicated, and it is there-
fore not always easy to distinguish homographs. While prose and
verse texts share much of the vocabulary (e.g. thm, 'message'), certain
words are found only in non-literary contexts (e.g. gzl 'spinner' [K TU
4.358 = RS 18.048:9]) whereas others occur only in verse (e.g klat
'both' [K TU 1.1 = RS 3.361 iv 10 etc.]; phi 'stallion' [K TU 1.4 =
RS 2.[008]+ iv 5.9.15, etc.]; rt 'dirt' [K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+
29, etc.]).
Many words are difficult or obscure, or have uncertain
etymologies, e.g. ilqsm, bnn, b^r, gml, gpr, ddym, dnt II, dqr, dnt, kb, kbm,
kdr, kmlt, knh, kpsln, krln,
trb, gb, gbt, gprt, dmt,
tkt, etc.,
and the meanings of others (aktn, agzr, aqhr, askrr, idm, idrp, idt, udbr,
d, etc.) cannot as yet be determi ned. Some words occur in bro-
ken or difficult contexts, e.g. hkm, hnn, hsm, htn, kdt, gbz, gbt, gdm (see
DLU for details). With the discovery of new texts, previously unknown
words continue to be added to the lexicon but the meanings of these
Or letter accompanying a treaty (KNOPPF.RS 1993).
Even here there can be false assumptions, as SANMARTI N ( 1996) has shown in
respect of ahl which means 'town' (Akkadian alum) rather than 'tent' (as in Hebrew).
For the vocabulary of the Ugaritic letters see CUNCHI L L OS 8.1.5.
But see WY A TT 1992C.
can also be uncertain, e.g. udn, 'to give ear', ghr, 'to sound forth(?)',
zb, 'to foam(?)', qnn, perhaps 'to stand up', in RS 92.2014 ( P ar dee
1997a, 327-8)
4.4 Principles
In view of the vast literature on Ugaritic lexicography and the often
conflicting or at least divergent conclusions reached by scholars, there
have been several attempts to set out solid methodological principles
for the determination of meanings.
These are discussed here briefly.
Once the conect reading of the text has been established, the context is
of crucial importance. I n fact, all agree that context is the most
i mportant single element for ascertaining what a word may mean.
Syllabic spellings must also be taken into account,
and finally, com-
parative philology can be used. For this approach to be valid a set of
rules must be applied: context is more significant than etymology;
without context, etymology can only uphold a hypothetical proposal;
phonological rules should only be flouted with supporting evidence;
words in another language may not necessarily have the same mean-
ing in Ugaritic; homographs and homonyms should be assumed only
as a last resort; syntagmata and idioms as well as words need to be
compared; a distinction must be made between the (archaic) poetic
texts and the language of the letters, rituals and administrative texts;
in the poetic texts it is i mportant to determine stichometry and par-
allelism; in general, the rules of grammar and syntax should be
applied. Finally, non-linguistic evidence should not be neglected.
Some illustration of these principles is provided below.
4.5 Use of cognate languages
Compari son with other Semitic languages can provide a significant
contribution to determining the meanings of words, but a degree of
caution is required. Healey has surveyed the contributions availa-
ble from Hebrew, Phoenician, Arabic, Akkadian, South Arabian
and Ethiopie ( L esl au 1968), particularly Aramaic and Syriac 1988).
HEL D 1959, 169; DE MOOR 1973, 98; PARKER 1979- 80.
See SI VAN 1984a; HUEHNERGARD 1987b.
See especially RENDSBURG 1987.
His conclusion, though, is that context is 'the ultimate arbiter'.
Arabic has been much used (and misused) as a resource for deter-
mi ni ng the meani ng of Ugaritic words. Thi s approach has been
examined in detail by Renfroe
who has shown that there are many
genuine Arabic-Ugaritic isoglosses but an equal if not greater num-
ber of spurious ones. I n many cases we may simply have to say that
there is insufficient evidence for any firm conclusions. It always has
to be remembered that the meani ng of a word in a cognate lan-
guage cannot simply be transferred to Ugaritic and at times is no
more than a guide. The same applies to the contribution from Eblaite
( S anmar t i n 1991) .
4.6 Methodolog))
The first task necessary before resolving the meani ng of a Ugaritic
word is to survey all previous attempts, which is often very time-
consuming, with no guarantee of complete coverage. The scholar
must then establish the correct reading on the tablet, determine the
context, perhaps use etymology based on established language laws,
refer to a wide range of Semitic languages, if necessary, use other
languages (including Egyptian, Hittite, Hurri an, and even Sanskrit
and Sumerian) and avoid the multiplication of homonyms and homo-
graphs. These rules, however, are an over-simplification. I n practice,
several other factors need to be taken into account, as the follow-
ing examples show.
4.7 Selected examples
Some examples can help to illustrate the above. Evidence from cog-
nate (Semitic) languages can come from Phoenician ( del O l mo L et e
1986), Hebrew, Akkadian, Aramai c and Arabic as well as from such
languages as Ethiopie
and even Syriac. For example, the verb nsr,
parallel to bky 'to weep' (K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi 4-5), can be
explained from Syriac n'sar/nasar, 'to sigh, groan, murmur, howl,
shriek, lament'.
Choice of the correct cognate is i mportant; for
HEAL EY 1988.
HEAL EY 1988, 68.
RENFROE 1985, 1986a, 1986b, 1989, 1992.
See DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 199I d on 'r.
HEAL EY 1976; SANMARTI N 1978, 451. However, cf. WY A T T 1998C, 237, n. 280.
instance in the expression b bz'zm (KTU 1. 80 = RS 15. 072: 4) which
could mean 'from the booty of goats', in view of Heb. baz, 'plunder,
spoil' (HALOT, 117). However, in the contexta list of sacrifices
it is more likely to mean 'a young animal from the udder of the
goats', i.e. an unweaned kid, where Ugaritic bz is an isogloss of
Arabic buzz, J ewish-Aramaic bzz
, etc. all denoting 'teat' ( Sanmar t i n
1979, 723- 4) . Extra-linguistic evidence can also help determine mean-
ings, for example, glp may denote murex used as a body-dye, since
this type of shellfish was common near Ras Shamra (de M o o r 1968).
Correct syntactic analysis is important for determining the mean-
ings of words as shown by Husser ( H usser 1995) in respect of atr
in I'pr dmr atrh K TU 1.17 = RS 2.[004] i 27-8 (and par.). Thi s
expression has been understood in various ways but because of the
parallelism with the previous line (lars mssu qtrh, 'who makes his spirit
come out towards the earth'), which refers to correct burial, the
preposition I also means 'to(wards)'. It is probably to be translated
'who protects his step towards the dust', and therefore atr cannot
mean 'place', 'shrine' or even 'sanctuary'. The meani ng of a word
can depend on several factors including the structure of a text and
recognition of the correct meani ng of another word in the same pas-
sage. For instance, in K TU 4.392 = RS 18.130, prs means neither
'steering pole (of a chariot)' nor 'horse' but more probably a type
of 'ration': Ihms mrkbt hm
srh prs bt mrkbt, 'For the five chariots of
the five divisions: ten />r-rations from the chariot-house', since hm
rh does not mean 'fifteen' but 'five divisions (of the army)' followed
by the numeral 'ten' ( V i t a 1996).
It is also important to compare
not just isolated words but syntagmata in Ugaritic with those in another
(Semitic) language. Del Ol mo Lete has provided a list of syntagmata
common to Ugaritic and Phoenician.
Of interest, too, is the term
hrs which occurs in the economic texts in connection with chariots
(e.g. K TU 4.145 = RS 15.034:8-9) as a syntagm in the form w.hrs
and means 'precisely, exactly', a usage borrowed from Akkadian.
The personal names provide a wealth of vocabulary, with many
items not otherwise attested, e.g. rgln (KTU 4.619 = RS 19.047:7),
The text remains difficult because the term ant (line 2) is not yet understood.
DEL OL MO L ETE 1986b, 46~7 = 1996a, 32-3. For comparison with a syntagm
from Aramaic cf. WATSON 1992d.
DEL OL MO L ETE 1979; cf. VI TA 1995a, 57.
which is formed from the word rgl, 'leg'. The same applies to place-
names such as bir, 'well' (K TU 1.91 = RS 19.015:29, etc.). For both
types of names syllabic spellings can be of use in determining meanings.
4.8 Lexical tablets
Of considerable i mportance are the polyglot vocabularies which have
been found in Ugarit. These list the equivalents of words in four
languages (Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurri an and Ugaritic) and in five
of the eight tablets discovered so far, the Ugaritic column has been
preserved (details in H u e h n e r g a r d 1987b, 21-3). Accordi ng to
Huehnergard, about 114 Ugaritic words have been vocalized in syl-
labic cuneiform spellings. For example:
S umer i an A k k ad i an H u r r i a n U g a r i t i c M e a n i n g
UL et-lu u-ta-an-ni ba-ah-hu-r 'youth'
EZEN za-am-ma-r
hal-mi si-i-ru 'song'
The sources for the vocalization of Ugaritic are (1) the three aleph
signs, (2) syllabic spellings of Ugaritic words and to a lesser extent
(3) comparative Semitics. The aleph signs give some indication of the
associated vowels (or the absence of a vowel; see The syl-
labically written Ugaritic words and names are particularly helpful.
The list of such items in v an S o l d t (1991a, 301-8) has 156 entries.
Huehnergard provides a glossary with approxi matel y 280 entries
( H u e h n e r g a r d 1987b, 103-94). Similarly, S i v an 1984, 185-295,
although his sources are not confined to texts found at Ras Shamra
(see 4.5).
' Reference to other Semitic languages can only provide
an indicadon of possible spellings and has to be used with caution.
4.9 Non-Semitic words in Ugantic
The city of Ras Shamra was a melting pot of several nationalities
speaking different languages and both court and administration dealt
with documents in several languages. I n ritual, particularly, sections
of text were written in Hurri an and Hurri an words occur liberally
As HUEHNERGARD 1987b, 97 notes, za-am-ma-r stands for zamru (the double
-mm- is incorrect) and all the forms are nouns rather than infinitives.
VAN SOL DT 1991a, 747- 53: 'Appendix C : The lexical texts at Ugarit'.
See VAN SOL DT 1989d for review.
in the Ugaritic texts. It is not suprising, then, that many words in
the Ugaritic lexicon are in fact borrowed from Hurri an, occasion-
ally from Hittite and more rarely from Egyptian or from other non-
Semitic languages. Over the years more and more such words have
been identified.
Thus, al though most Ugaritic lexical items have a
Semitic etymology, several are (or may be) of non-Semi ti c origin.
Some of these words are listed here under the following headings:
(1) Hurri an words, (2) Hittite words, (3) Egyptian words, (4) Sumeri an
words, (5) I ndo-European words, (6) words from other languages.
4.9.1 Hurri an words i ncl ude alhn, 'steward' (K TU 4.392 = RS
18.130:4; cf. K T U 4.102 = RS 11.857:25; K T U 4.337 = RS
18.024:11) borrowed from Hurro-Urarti an allae-hhi-nn, 'housekeeper',
all, '(festive) garment' (K TU 1.12 = RS 2.[012] ii 47, etc.), Hurri an
allu (Neu 1996, 314, . 22); itnn, 'gift' (K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244:74),
Hurri an uatnannuf grbz, 'helmet' (K TU 4.363 = RS 18.055:2), Hurri an
gurpisi; hdm, 'footstool' (K TU 1.3 = RS 2.[014] + ii 22, etc.), Hurri an
atm ( Wat s o n 1996b); hbrt, 'vessel, container' (K TU 1.4 = R S 2. [008] +
ii 9), Hurri an hubrushi; hptr, 'pot, caul dron' (K TU 1.4 ii 8), Hurri an
huppataru; hrd, 'warrior', Hurri an huradi/e ( S t i egl i t z 1981); kht, 'throne'
(K TU 1.2 = RS 3.367 i 23, K T U 1.4 vi 51 etc.),
probabl y Hurro-
Urarti an; kkrdn, 'chef ' (K TU 4.126 = RS 14.084:27); kmn, '(a sur-
face measure)' (K TU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ iv 38 etc.), Hurri an kumnw,
llh (K TU 4.363 = RS 18.055:5) denotes part of trappi ngs or har-
ness, Hurri an lulahhi, (DLU, 245); gr, 'total', Hurri an heyar; pg[n)dr,
'a type of fabri c' (K TU 4.270 = RS 17.111:10), Hurri an pahandam-f
tbl, 'smith' (K TU 4.790 = R S 86.2235:15), Hurri an tabid- ( D i et r i c h -
L o r e t z 1990); tgpt, 'fe1t(?)' (K TU 4.183 = RS 15.116 ii 10, etc.),
Hurri an tahape ( Wat s o n 1995c, 540); tkt, 'chari ot' (K TU 1.4 = RS
2. [008]+ 7, etc.), Hurri an uktu ( L o r et z 1996). Note that some
words are Semitic with Hurri an endings, e.g. hdgl, 'arrowsmi th' (K TU
4.138 = RS 15.016:2, etc.) whi ch is a Hurri an form of Ug. hz,
'arrow' with the Hurri an -(hii)li endi ng ( S anmar t i n 1995, 179). Others
See the list provided by DE MOOR 1973, 98. Not all are correct, of course.
For additional material the indices of Ugarit-Forschungen and other periodicals may
be consulted. For a survey see WATSON 1995c, 1996c. See also PARDEE 1996.
Borrowed through Middle Assyrian utnannu: cf. VON SODEN 1988.
However, cf. DEL OL MO L ETE SANMARTI N 1995.
DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1977; RI BI CHI NI XEL L A 1985, 61.
are Semitic words in Hurri an guise, e.g. kid, 'bow' (K TU 4.277 =
RS 17.141:1) is a form of qatu, 'bow' ( D i et r i c h - L o r e t z 1978b).
4.9.2 Hittite words: ans, 'small of the back' (K TU 1.3 = RS 2. [014] +
iii 35), Hittite anaa ( de M o o r 1980) ; uiyn, '(an official)' ( K T U 6. 29
= R S 17. 364: 3) , Hittite ur(/i]yanni; dgt, 'incense' ( K T U 1. 19 = R S
3. 322+ iv 23, etc.), Hittite tuhhui-/tuhf}uwai-; htt, silver' ( K T U 1. 14
= R S 2. [ 003] + iv 1; K T U 1. 14 ii 17), Hittite (or Hai ti an) (fottu()-;
hndlt, '(coloured wool)' ( K T U 4. 182 = R S 15. 115: 17) , Hittite
hsn, 'domestic' ( K T U 4. 137 = R S 15. 015+: 1.10), Hittite baann-;
mtyn, '(garment)' ( K T U 4. 146 = R S 15. 035: 5) , Hittite maiya\a
garment)' ( R i bi chi ni - X e l l a 1985, 52); spsg, 'glass' ( K T U 1. 17 =
RS 2. [004] vi 36-7 etc.), Hittite zapzagi-, which denotes precious
stones or a mi neral ( N eu 1995) ; tpnr, 'chief scribe' ( K T U 3. 1 = R S
11. 772+: 32; K T U 4. 44 = R S 9. 453: 28) , Hittite tuppanuri, etc.
4.9.3 Egypti an words:
br, 'boat, (war)ship' (K TU 4.81 = RS
11.779:2-3, etc.); ht, 'bread' (K TU 1.41 = RS 1.003+:22), Egyptian
ht3 ( Wat s o n 1995a, 223-4); htt, 'silver' (see above), Egyptian hd; kw,
'dri nki ng vessel' (K TU 4.691 = RS 20.010:6), Egypti an kb; krk,
'pi ckaxe' (K TU 4.390 = RS 18.119:8 etc.), Egypti an grg 'pi ck'
( S anmar t i n 1987b, 151); ktp, '(weapon)' (K TU 1.6 = R S 2. [009] +
2); rr, pray' (enclitic of entreaty; K T U 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ i
20, etc.), tkt, 'ship' (K TU 4.81 = RS 11.779; K TU 4.366 = RS
18.074); etc.
4.9.4 Sumeri an words: ad, 'father' (K TU 1.23 = RS 2.002:32 etc.);
ilg, 'stone' (K TU 4.751 = RS 29.096:11); ksu, 'seat, throne', (K TU
1.3 vi 15 etc.), krs/su, '(a type of forage or fodder)' (K TU 4.225 =
RS 16.198 [a]+:16); plk, 'spindle' (K TU 1.4 ii 3.4), etc.
4.9.5 I ndo-European/I ndo-Aryan words: agn, 'caul dron' (K TU 1.23
= RS 2. 002: 15. 31. 36) may be cognate with Sanskrit agni 'fire'; mryn
probabl y I ndo-Aryan, e.g. Sanskrit marya, 'hero'; sm, 'king', (K TU
1. 22 = RS 2. [ 024] i 18); ssw/ssw, 'horse' ( K T U 1.71 = RS 5. 300: 7
etc.), Sanskrit asva ( D i et r i c h - L o r e t z 1983) ; tnn, 'archer' ( K T U
4. 35 = RS 8. 183+ ii 11 etc.) and perhaps others such as smrgt
WA RD 1961 now needs updating.
Sanskrit marakata and Greek smaragdos (also found as marag-
dos), both meani ng 'emeral d' (WY ATT 1998C, 91, n. 90).
4.9.6 Words from other languages: adr, 'door (?)' (K TU 4.195 =
RS 15.184:5), explained by anduru of uncertain origin;
irp, 'vase,
container' (K TU 4.123 = RS 13.014:20), is perhaps Hurro-Hittite,
unless to be explained by Egyptian irp, 'wine' and therefore, possi-
bly, 'wine-container'; utiyn (K TU 3.1 = RS 11.772+:30 has the syl-
labic spelling u-r[i-ia]-ni (PRU 3 203 = RS 16.257+ iv 21) and may
derive from Hurri an, Hittite or some other language (cf. DLU, 62).
Generally speaking, in the case of some loanwords it is difficult
to know whether they have been loaned directly, or indirectly through
another language such as Akkadian, or even whether they are in
fact Kulturwrter or Wanderwrter. Some words may even have been
borrowed back from the language which initially borrowed them,
e.g. kht, 'throne', from Hurri an keshi, itself a loan from Semitic ksu
(DEL OLMO LETE - SANMARTIN 1995) and the same may apply to
mgn, 'gift' and mryn, 'warrior' (O'CONNOR 1989). There were also
inner-Semitic borrowings,
and a distinction must be made between
cognates and actual loans, such as nmrt from Akk. namurratu, 'splen-
dour' (PARDEE 1988b, 115).
4.10 Homonyms
Homonyms can be distinguished by context, comparative philology
and occasionally from syllabic spellings. Simple examples of homonyms
are bt 'house' and bt 'daughter', both nouns; from comparati ve
Semitics and (where attested) syllabic spellings, it is possible to deter-
mine that the first word corresponds to /btu/ and the second to
/bi ttu/ (SIVAN 1984, 210.212). In the case of weak verbs it is also
difficult to determine the correct form of the root (e.g. does gl derive
fromgll, gly or gyl?). Since the Ugaritic corpus is so small, it is quite
possible that a 'word' which occurs only a few times may have as
K TU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+ i 32, which is read mrfrt in KTU
Listed as = daltu, 'door' in CAD A/2, 117; AHw, 51a (CECCHI NI 1984, 47).
I ncluding loans from Ugaritic to Akkadian, e.g. Ug. mit, 'oar', which was bor-
rowed by Ugaritic Akkadian (VI TA 1995b).
In KTU 1.108 = RS 24.252:21.24; nouns with preformative n- are Akkadian,
not Ugaritic, as PARDEE notes (ibid.).
many different meanings.
Examples include b'r I, 'to burn', b'r II,
'to abandon' (only in the D stem);
gl I, 'shout of j oy', gl I I , 'cup'
and gl I I I , '(type of field)'; ptt I, 'linen' and ptt I I , '(make-up) case'
(K TU 4.247 = RS 16.399:22; SANMARTIN 1987a, 54, n. 7).
A clear example of the i mportance of distinguishing homonyms
(and incidentally of correct word division) is provided by
yrk t
l bgr She climbed the mountain by the flank,
mslmt bgr tliyt by the incline, the immense mountain.
wfl bkm ban She climbed bkm, Araru,
bm an wbspn Araru, Sapnu,
bn'm bgr tliyt the fair, the immense mountain
(KTU 1.10 = RS 3.362+ iii 27-31)
Although the sequence bkm looks like the particle bkm, 'thereupon',
this is impossible here as such particles are never postpositive: they
always come first in the clause (RENFROE 1992, 58). I nstead, here
km means 'hill, mound' (as proposed by AARTUN 1968, 291) and it
is preceded by the preposition b (as part of the syntagm
ly + b, 'to
Hence the third line should be translated 'She climbed the
mound, Araru'.
4.11 Ghost words
Non-existent words are due to scribal error, false readings, incorrect
analysis or incorrect word division. Examples of words written incor-
recdy are any (K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ i 7-8) which is to be read
liny, a pl ace-name and tdrs (K TU 1.45 = RS 1.008+:5), to be read
tdrq, 'tread'. The word ski, 'vizier' in K TU 3.1 = RS 1 1.772+:38
(KNOPPERS 1993) may have to be read skn (so KTU
). A classic exam-
ple is ulp, taken by some scholars to mean 'noble, chief or the like',
though it is really to be understood as u, 'and' + Ip, 'like'
or as
u + / + p, 'whether from the mouth of (see 13.6.2). I n some cases,
the word division is uncertain, e.g. the sequence grbtil (KTU 1.19 =
See especially the studies by DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ and DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ -
Cf . PARDEE 1975, 362.
However, cf. DLU, 107.
Where tp is the preposition I + p, 'mouth'; cf. DE MOOR - SANDERS 1991,
291- 2, with bibliography.
RS 3.322+ iii 47) could be analyzed as gr bt il 'resident in the house
of I lu', as grbt il, 'leprosy of I lu'
or even as grb til 'may you seek
asylum as a leper';
kgmn may = k + gmn, 'like a funeral offering(?)'
or kgmn = Hurri an 'three-year old'.
On the other hand, in K TU
1.96 = RS 22.225:1, most scholars corrected
nn to
'Anat', thus
eliminating a previously unnoticed word which may mean 'evil eye'.
4.12 Future research
Although the core vocabulary of the Ugaritic texts is now under-
stood to a large extent, there still remain many lexical items which
either need to be determi ned or require further clarification. For ex-
ample, in the Keret epic, msb'thn bslh ttpl, 'The seventh of them fell
by (the) sW (K TU 1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ i 20-1), it is uncertai n
whether the deaths described refer to his wives or to his children or
indeed to the way the last victim died. The word slh could mean 'a
throwing weapon', 'a sword', 'war', 'lightning', the god 'Salhu', 'para-
pet' or a disease which affects babies (Babylonian ulhu). If the last
meani ng applies, then this death must have affected Kirta's children,
which in turn is significant for the meani ng of the epic (WATSON
However, the task of determi ni ng the meani ng and or etymology
of individual words is not simply a luxury for students of Ugaritic.
Scholars in other branches of Semitic studies or in other disciplines
frequently need to consult reference works on Ugaritic for their own
purposes. Examples include the compilers of DNWSI and HALOT or
of encyclopaedias of various kinds or of comparative studies (e.g.
HOCH 1994). It is i mportant, therefore, to establish as accurately as
possible what Ugaritic words mean. Our mai n difficulties in under-
standing correctly many a difficult passage are principally that there
is no similar passage in Ugaritic or that the context is uncertain. In
other words, the Ugaritic corpus is simply too small owing to lack
of texts. Future discoveries and conti nui ng research are our only
hopes in this exercise.
HI L L ERS 1985.
RENFROE 1986, correcting amd, the first word of the line, to tmd. See WATSON
1989a, 47~8.
DEL OL MO L ETE 1992b; L EWI S 1996, WY A T T 1998c, 375 n. 1. See SPRONK
Embedded within the syllabic cuneiform texts written by scribes at
Ugarit are over three hundred Ugaritic lexical items. These Ugaritic
forms appear in all genres of Akkadian texts.
I n one group of syllabic cuneiform texts, those of the polyglot Syl-
labary A Vocabul ary (S
Voc.), the Ugaritic words were intention-
ally recorded by the scribes. The S
Voc. was a Mesopotami an lexical
series in which columns of individual cuneiform signs, in a fixed
order, were equated with one or more Akkadian words in a second
col umn (LANDSBERGER - HAL L OCK 1955). Thi s lexical series was im-
ported to scribal centres in the west, including Hattua, Emar, and
Ugarit. The Ugarit exemplars of the S
Voc. are unusual in that
they do not have merely the two columns of the exemplars found
elsewhere; instead, they add either one additional column giving lex-
ical equivalents in Hurri an
or, more often, two additional columns
with equivalents in both Hurri an and Ugaritic. Six exemplars of this
quadrilingual type are known (VAN SOL DT 1990, 728- 30) , on which
more than one hundred Ugaritic words are wholly or partly pre-
served. Thanks to the presence of Akkadian equivalents (and, when
those are broken away, the fixed order of the cuneiform signs), the
meanings of the Ugaritic words in the S
Voc. exemplars can be
established with more precision and certainty than is the case with
the Ugaritic lexical items attested in other text genres. Nearly all
parts of speech are attested among these forms as the examples on
p. 135 illustrate.
Apart from the S
Voc. exemplars, Ugaritic words appear in Akka-
dian texts either (a) as parts of the names of local geographical fea-
tures or plots of land or, much more often, (b) by chance, essentially
lapsus calami in which the scribe either forgot the appropriate Akkadian
word and substituted a Ugaritic form or thought that the (Ugaritic)
form he was writing was proper Akkadian. The former group, which
by their nature are substantives and adjectives, occur in legal and
RS 21.062 (Ug 5 no. 135); also RS 94.2939, discussed by M. SALVI NI and
B. ANDR-SAL VI NI at the 45th Rencontre Assyriologique I nternationale, Cambri dge,
Mass., J uly 6 1998.


: =
: =

Pi Ci Ci
S? ?
&) II

2 -

sa " +:3
CO -
^ -
?. S
+:S +:s
^ II
n "
' a
- - - ^
O o

ci ci
o o
CM o CM o
Ci 0
; ~
o o
CM o CM o
Ci 0





2 g
-S ^


0 N








- -S










! J









economic texts; many of them correspond to designations attested
in alphabetic texts, such that alphabetic gt X corresponds to syllabic
* or
AN.ZA.GR X (see HUEHNERGARD 1987a, 11
n. 51), as in
gt gwl = A.
(/guw(w)1i/ 'circuit');
gt dpm = A.A-
d-ip-ra-ni-ma (/diprnrma/ 'junipers');
gt m'br = "AN.ZA.GR ma-ba-n (/ma'bari/ 'ford');
gt 'mq = [AN.ZA].GR: am-qa (/'amqa/ 'stronghold
gt gl = A.*
: hu-li (/gli/ 'low ground
The largest number of Ugaritic words in syllabic texts, however, are
those that appear, seemingly at random, for an expected Akkadian
form. About a fourth of the Akkadian texts contain one or more
such Ugaritic words. They are found in all genres, although they
are, understandably, relatively uncommon in texts that are copies of
Mesopotami an originals, i.e. lexical texts (other than the S
and literary texts; note, however, the following examples:

= la-a-nu UR.GI
'hound's-tongue' (a plant
name), with Ugaritic /1anu/ for Akkadian lin(u) (RS 22.034 +
349 = MSL 10 107ff. A, 110);
literary lip-hu-d-ma 'may they fear' RS 17.155 = Ug 5, no. 17a r. 7',
in which the root is Northwest-Semitic p-h/h-d 'to fear' (VON SODE N
1969) but the form, as is usually the case in the few examples found
in literary texts, has been made to conform to an Akkadian para-
digm (here, precative).
Ugaritic vocabulary is much commoner in the many legal and eco-
nomic texts written in syllabic cuneiform. Some economic texts con-
tain several Ugaritic words, or even a preponderance of them (e.g.
RS 19.071= PRU 6, no. 114). An extreme instance is RS 17.240 =
PRU 6, no. 136, a list of men of different professions who are owed
a shekel (of silver), in which it is likely that every syllabically-written
word is Ugaritic; this text may be compared with the very similar
alphabetic text K TU 4.99 = RS 11.845, in which most of the same
terms occur, albeit in the plural and not in the same order:
RS 17.240 = PRU 6, no. 136 KTU 4.99 = RS 11.845
r 1 G N UG[U
1 G N MI N
1 G N MI N
1 MI N '"[.TAM]
5 1 MI N
pa-[si-lu] pslm (line 17)
1 MI N '"SAN [GA] khnm (line 9)
1 MI N ^ma-h[i-s]
1 MI N ^karbi-s[]
1 MI N

mf}sm (line 15)
kbm (line 7)
(cf. ngr krm in KTU 4.609 = RS
10 1 MI N '>
1 MI N
Ha-si-[ru] ysrm (line 11) or
ia-si- [hu] y shm
(line 19)
yqm (line 6) 1 MI N
ia-q- [u]
1 MI N '"UGULA ma-[i
1 MI N ^mur- [ mru ibr^n* (line 12) and mru skn
(line 13)
nsk ksp (line 14) 15 1 MI N
As the examples cited thus far suggest, most of the Ugaritic forms
that occur in Akkadian texts (except for the S
Voc. quadrilinguals)
are nouns. A few finite verbs are also found, however, such as the
following suffix-conjugation forms:
G 3ms ta-ba-'a /taba'a/ 'he departed' RS 19.032 =PRU 6, no. 77:1;
3mp sa-ma-t /samat/ 'they devolved' RS 16.147 =PRU 3, 90b: 13;
D 3ms al/a-li-ma /a11ima/ 'it delivered' RS 20.012 = Ug 5, no. 96
?N 3mp na-ap-ta-ru /naptar/ 'they exchanged?' RS 15.123 + 16.152
= PRU 3, 89a:5.
The syllabically-written Ugaritic words are usually not identified as
such by any graphic device; they simply occur within an otherwise
Akkadian context, as in
ul-ma-tu GAL
M '4 large ship's hammers' (/hu1mtu/)'
RS 19.112 = PRU 6, no. 141:4;
(la) al/a-li-ma 'the manor of TN has
(not) delivered (/sallima/) slaves' RS 20.012 Ug 5 no. 96, passim,
ma-a-ra sa TN 'and the tithe (/ma'ara/, acc.) of TN' RS 16.244
= PRU 3, 93b:7.
In many instances, however, the Ugaritic words are preceded by a
special sign that is written with two small angled wedges. Thi s sign,
usually termed a 'gloss mark' Glossenkr), has several functions in
the syllabic texts from Ugarit (see H u e h n e r g a r d 1987a, 204-8), but
its most common use is to mark the word that follows it as non-
Akkadian (i.e. in all but a few examples, as Ugaritic). The gloss mark
is indicated by a colon in transliteration:
-/w KA
- sa : ma-a'-a-ri-a 'the grain and beer of its (sc. a
TN) tithe (/ma'sari/)' RS 16.153 = PRU 3, 146-7:10-1 (compare
the last example cited above);
i-na A. : ad-ma-ni 'in "redland (/'admni/) field'" RS 15.145 = PRU
3, 122-3:8, 12;
u -tu
PN a-na 'M J LUGAL'-ft : sa-ma-ta 'and PN's field devolved
(/samata/) upon the queen' RS 15.086.15-16 = PRU 3, 51-2.
Most of the syllabically-written Ugaritic words are also attested in
al phabeti c texts. Over one-fifth of the forms, however, are thus far
unknown in al phabeti c form. I n the case of some presumabl y com-
mon words, such as the first exampl e cited below, the absence of
an al phabeti c attestation may be due to the poetic nature of much
of the Ugari ti c corpus.
ri-i\g]-lu /riglu/ 'foot' RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137 i 10';
u-g[a-ri-it] 'the elite troops (/bihir/) of Ug[arit]' RS
17.432 = PRU 6, no. 71:5';
[k]a-ma-'a-\lu) /kama'tu/ 'truffles' RS 19.035B + =PRU 6, no. 159:3';
ti-ib-nu /ti bnu/ 'straw' RS 20.149 = Ug 5, no. 130 iii 17'.
Several Ugaritic consonantal phonemes do not occur in Akkadian.
These were generally represented in syllabic writings by signs whose
consonantal component approxi mated that of the Ugaritic sound:
/0/ appears only rarely, as in i-zi-ir-\tu^\ /'i i rtu/ 'help' RS 20.149
= Ug 5, no. 130 iii 7';
/0/ is written with -signs: mu-a-bu /mo6abu/ 'seat' RS 20.123+ =
Ug 5, no. 137 iii 32"; ^u-uq-du(-)ma /9uqdu/ 'almond' RS 19.035B +
= PRU 6, no. 159:4'; ma--I}a-tu-ma /ma0hatma/ '(cloths)' RS
19.028 = PRU 6, no. 126:1;
/z/ probably appears in: zu-ur-PI /zurwu/ '(aromatic) resin' EA 48:8;
/ h/ and /g/ are written with -signs: ha-ra-^u} /harrau/ 'artisan' RS
20. 189a + ( L ar o c he 1979b, 479) 7; fr-qu /hqu/ 'lap' R S
20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137) i 9'; ^ha-ma-ru- /gamaru-hu/ 'his
apprentice' RS 19.042 = PRU 6, no. 79, 11; /}u-ul-ma-tu
'darkness' RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137: i 15';
/V, /h/, and /V are sometimes written with the Akkadian '-sign, as
in m-
a-tu /ni
tu/ '(implements)' RS 19.135 = PRU 6, no. 142:2;
sa-'a-tu /s'tu/ '(wooden) bowls' RS 19.064 = PRU 6, no.
163: r. 4'; ma-a'-sa-H /ma'sari/ 'tithe' RS 16.153 =PRU 3, 146-7:11;
sometimes indicated by 'broken writings', as in ma-a-a-li /ma
orac1e(?)' RS 15.092 = PRU 3, 54ff:25; tu-a-p-[ku] /tuhappiku/
'to be upset' RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137: ii 23'; si-il-a /sil'a/
'c1iff(?)' RS 16.249 = PRU 3, 96ff.:5; and sometimes, especially
word-initially, not represented, as in a-na-ku /'anku/ RS 20.149 =
Ug 5, no. 130: iii 12'; -[P]I-[/]u
/huwtu/ 'word' RS 20. 189A +
( L ar oc he 1979b, 479) 12; ab-du /'abdu/ 'slave' R S 20.123+ = Ug
5, no. 137: iii 4.
The greatest linguistic benefit of the syllabically-written words is the
evidence they provide for the vocalization of Ugaritic. They show,
for example, that the patterns of some Ugaritic words differed from
those of their Northwest Semitic and Arabic cognates, as in
da-ab-hu /dabhu/ 'sacrifice' RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137: iii 6, versus
Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic *dibh\
: ma-ad-da-t /maddatu/ 'measurement' RS 17.022 + 087 = Ug 5,
no. 5:9, versus Hebrew midd;
a-du-r /'aduru/ 'mighty' RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137: ii 34', versus
Hebrew 'addr.
A number of phonological processes are also exposed by the vocal-
ized syllabic forms. Among these are
vowel assimilation around gutturals: tu--ru /tuhru/ < *tahru 'pure'
RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137: ii 1;
[ u
W^'-[j ]^W
/mihrsma/ < *mahsma '(implements)' RS 19.135 = PRU 6, no.
142:4; ta-a-ma-tu
/tahmatu/ < *tihmatu 'sea' RS 20.123+ = Ug
5, no. 137: iii 34";
raising of a and before w and y: [h]u-V\-tu^ /huwwatu/ <*hawwatu
'land' RS 20.123+ = Ug 5, no. 137: ii 10'; h-V\-ma /hiyyma/ <
*hayyma 'life' RS 20.426c + 20 = Ug 5, no. 131:6';
optional syncope of short vowels in open syllables: na-ba-ki-ma and :
na-ab-ki-ma /nab(a)kma/ 'springs' RS 16.150 =PRU 3, 47a: 16 and
RS 16.263 = PRU 3, 49b:5;' [b]a-ma-ru-m[a] and

/gam(a)rma/ 'apprentices' RS 15.042 + 110 = PRU 3, 196:
i 1 and RS 25.428:6 (see PRU 6, 150 n. 3); -W-[<]
/antu/ <
*anatu 'year' RS 20. 189a + b ( L ar oc he 1979b, 479) 11 (see v an
S o l d t 1990b).
The Ugaritic vocabulary attested in Akkadian texts has been studied
in detail in B o y d 1975, S i v an 1984a (see the reviews of H u e h n e r g a r d
1987b, v an S o l d t 1989d), H u e h n e r g a r d 1987a (see the i mportant
review of v an S o l d t 1990b), and v an S o l d t 1991a. Several stud-
ies of individual lexical items have also appeared, including, recendy,
L a mb e r t 1988; S an mar t i n 1987b, 1992; v an S o l d t 1989a; V i t a
1995b, 1996a; W e g n e r 1995; W i l h e l m 1992; X e l l a 1990.
1 U g a r i t i c P r o s e
M e i n d e r t D i j k s t r a
1.1 Introduction
It is rather difficult to give a precise definition of Ugaritic prose
texts. I n general, they include all those texts that are assumed not
to be poetic texts, or at any rate do not reveal clear marks or cri-
teria of poetry as found in the maj or Ugaritic myths and legends.
However, the distinction between poetry and prose is rather clear,
where poetic sections of myths and legends are i nterrupted by prose
sentences containing ritual prescriptions, instructions for performance
and recitation, or colophons (K TU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ le.edge, K TU
1.6 = RS 2.[009]+ vi 54-8; K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ le.edge, K TU
1.17 = RS 2. [004] le.edge). For instance K TU 1.4 42-3: wtb
Imspr. . ktlakn glmm 'and repeat the recitation that the lads were sent'
and K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ vi. le.edge whndt.ytb.Imspr 'and this (pas-
sage) should be recited once more' (referring to the legend from iv
23 onwards). We shall see that hndt is a typical prose word. A sim-
ilar line of instruction is included in the myth of K TU 1.23 = RS
2.002.56 ytbn yspr 1hm 1slmm* wyr pf}r klat, 'One shall repeat the
recitation five times before the images and the congregation together
shall si ng. . .'. K TU 1.23 is a good example of how prose ritual pre-
scriptions are interspersed in a poetic text, particularly in the open-
ing sections (K TU 1.23.12, 14-5, 18-22), but in the expiation ritual
K TU 1.40 = RS 1.002+.35 the instruction w.tb.lmpsr 'and start to
recite again .. .' appears in a prose discourse.
The majority of documents published in KTU
X and 2
are prose texts.
The largest group, the economi c or administrative texts, usually con-
tain lists of persons and cities, or villages, often introduced by a label
or headi ng identifying the nature and purpose of the list and some-
times also preceded by the general marker spr. Often only these
headings permi t some grammati cal and syntactic analysis. Together
with the letters, they may help to assess the criteria and character
of the Ugaritic vernacul ar used duri ng the years of Ugarit's final
flourishing, basically the last fifty years following the reign of Ammi t-
tamru I I I , though some older documents survived (K TU 3.1, 3.4,
7.65 = RS 11.772+, 16.191+ and 16.402[B]) menti oni ng such kings
as Ni qmadu II and his son Ni qmepa. It has been assumed that these
latest texts reflect the more devel oped l anguage of everyday use
(SEGERT 1984, 13.1).
The purpose of this chapter is to review the different types of
prose style and syntax found in distinctive prose genres such as let-
ters, contracts, or rituals. Distinct use of a given verb form may
occur in different types of discourse. Prose discourse is a constella-
tion of functionally used verbal or noun clauses pertaining to a given
type of prose. Discourse types may, for instance, be narrative, preca-
tive, persuasive, prescripdve or performative and each function implies
the use of certain modes of verbs and noun clauses. Thi s review
starts from the assumption that each type of prose is, in effect, such
a cluster of functionally and semantically used verbal or noun clause
types (LONGACRE 1992, 177- 8) . It implies that reports are basically
narradve, ritual and medical instructions prescripdve, and prose incan-
tantions and letters persuasive. The borderlines between the different
types of discourse are not always well defined; performati ve elements
may also occur in rituals and incantations. Letters may contain nar-
rative parts in so far as they function as reports. Such a functional
approach related to context and genre for the study of verb and
syntax in Ugaritic prose is more appropri ate than the generic aspec-
tual and temporal distinction made, for instance, by SEGERT 1984
(particularly 64.2, but see RAI NEY 1987, 397; TROPPER 1993a,
389ff.). We cannot deal extensively here with the function of perfect
and imperfect in poetry in compari son with its function in prose,
but there is more overlap between prose and poetry than Segert
suggests. He states that the perfect and i mperfect acqui red tem-
poral character in the late Ugaritic vernacul ar (about 1200 BCE;
SEGERT 1984, 64.21). However the perfect is used in poetry as a
narrative mode describing a completed action in the past, whereas
it still may appear in its constative and performati ve function in late
Ugaritic prose dependi ng on the context, for instance in contracts
and rituals. Segert's assumption may in general apply to Ugaritic
correspondence and admi ni stradve texts, but the modes of use may
be different for other types of discourse.
1.2 Classification of the prose texts
1.2.1 Administrative texts
lists 792 texts as economi c or administrative. They are by far
the largest group of prose texts. Not all of them are administrative
texts (e.g. K T U 4. 669+ = R S 19. 174A B is possibly Hurri an [DI J KSTRA
1994, 125- 6] and 4. 659 = R S 19. 166 a sales contract for a female
slave) and many fragments are chips and bits that may in time be
j oi ned to other documents (e.g. K T U 4.412 + 545 + 518 + 512 =
R S 18. 251 + 18. [ 471] + 18. [ 435] + 18. [ 426] ) . However, some texts
listed as religious texts, letters or juridical documents would better
be assessed as administrative documents (e.g. K TU 1.91 = R S 19. 015,
2. 27 = R S 16. 378A , 2. 69 = R S 24. 660C and spr mnh bd
K T U 3 . 1 0 = R I H 84/ 33, compare also K TU 4. 91 = R S 11. 795) .
1.2.2 Letters
The second largest corpus of Ugaritic prose texts that are suscepti-
ble of basic linguistic analysis are letters (K TU 2.1-83). There is
some doubt as to the epistolary nature of some of the texts (K TU
2.2 = RS 3.334, 2.5 = RS 1.020, 2.7 = RS 1.026+, 2.19 = RS
15.125 [manumission of a royal slave], 2.27 = RS 16.378A, 2.31 =
RS 16.394, 2.60 = RS 18.[528], 2.62 = RS 19.022 and 2.69 = RS
24.660G). Qui te a few letters are purely formal epistles, or contain
only short messages apart from the usual airs and graces (K TU 2.4 =
RS 1.018, 2.10 = RS 4.475, 2.11-7 = RS 8.315, 9.479a, 11.872,
[Vari a 4], 15.007, 15.008, 15.098, 2.24 = RS 16.137 [b\+, 2.26 =
RS 16.264, 2.30-31 = RS 16.379, 16.394, 2.40 = RS 18.040, 2.63-
64 = RS 19.029, 19.102, 2.68 = RS 20.199 and 2.71 = RS 29.095),
or they are too broken for coherent translation (K TU 2.1 = RS
3.427, 2.3 = RS 1.013+, 2.6 = RS 1.021, 2.8-9 = RS 1.032, 2.[026],
2.18 = RS 15.107, 2.20 = RS 15.158, 2.22 = RS 15.191 [a], 2.25 =
RS 16.196, 2.35 = RS 17.327, 2.48-59 = RS 18.285[a], 18.286[ab],
18.287, 18.[312, 364, 380, 386, 387, 400, 443, 482, 500], 2.65-67
= RS 19.158B, 19.181 AB, 2.77-80 = RI H 77/01, 77/21A, 77/25,
78/21 and 2.83 = RI H 78/25). Onl y a few offer larger portions of
prose to give an impression of the 13th century West Semitic per-
suasive mode of discourse used in diplomatic and business letters
( K T U 2. 10 = R S 4. 475, 2. 23 = R S 16. 078+, 2. 31 = R S 16. 394,
2. 33 = R S 16. 402, 2. 36 + 37 + 73 + 74 = R S 17. 435+, 17. 438,
17. 434 and 17. 434ba, 2. 38 = R S 18. 031, 2. 39 = R S 18. 038, 2. 42
= R S 18. 113a, 2. 45 = R S 18. 140, 2. 70 = R S 29. 093, 2. 72 = R S
34. 124 and 2. 81 = RI H 78/ 03+78/ 30) . Twenty or so more letters
were found in 1994 in the house of Urtenu ( M al b r an - L ab at 1996;
D i et r i c h - L o r et z 1997) , but are not yet available for analysis.
1.2.3 Ritual texts
Qui te a large group are about fifty Ugaritic rituals and five lists of
gods. Wi th this group should also be menti oned about 26 completely
or partially Hurri an ritual texts. The Ugaritic rituals include a series
of monthl y rituals as a kind of service book through the cultic year.
They contain prescriptions for daily sacrifices, seasonal festivals and
prayers. The Hurri an texts include sacrificial lists, sacrificial agr hid.
hymns and perhaps incantations: Monthl y rituals through the year
yrh ryn K TU 1.411| 1.87 = RS 1.003+, 18.056 and partial dupli-
cates 1.39 = RS 1.001a.2-10|| 1.41 = RS 1.003+.11-9, 1.126 = RS 1.41.44-9;
yrh sm[
t] K TU 1.87.54ff.|| 1.46+ = RS 1.009+ [ D i j k s t r a 1984, 69ff]
and partial duplicates 1.109 = RS 24.2531| 1.46+. 10-32, 1.130 =
RS 24.284111.46+. 11-21, 1.58? = RS 1.047, 1.134? = RS 24.294;
yrh n[ql] K TU 1.138 = RS 24.298;
yrh ib'lt K T U 1.119 = RS 24.266;
yrh hyr K TU 1.105 = RS 24.249, 1.112 = 24.256, 1.132 = RS
24.291 (partially Hurri an, continuation of 1.112? = RS 24.256), 1.148
= RS 24.643 rev?;
yrh gn? K TU 1.106 = RS 24.250+, partial duplicates 1.134 = RS
24.294 obv., 1.171 = RI H 78/16. Related texts with daily rituals and lists of sacrifices
K TU 1.48 = RS 1.019, 1.49 = RS 1.022, 1.50 = RS 1.023, 1.53 =
RS 1.033, 1.57 = RS 1.046, 1.58 = RS 1.047, 1.76 = RS 6.215,
1.81 = RS 15.130, 1.91 = RS 19.015, 1.104 + 7.133 = RS
24.248+24.305 ( D i j k s t r a 1998, 280-2), 1.110 = R S 24.254 (Hurri an
with Ugari ti c gloss bW pamt), 1.111 = RS 24.255 (obv. Hurri an);
1.134 = RS 24.294, 1.136 + 1.137 = RS 24.296ab, 1.146 = RS
24.253, 1.156 = 24.656, 1.159 + 1.160 = RS 28.059AB, 1.162 = RS
[Vari a 20], 1.165 = RI H 77/04 + 77/11, 1.170 = RI H 78/11,
1.171 = RI H 78/16, 1.173 = RI H 78/04, 7.46 = RS 1.042, 7.177
= RS 24.653B;
id yph/ydbh mlk: K T U 1.41 = RS 1.003 +. 50- 5, 1.90 = RS
19.01311 1.168 = RI H 77/10b +77/22, 1.115 = RS 24.260, 1.164 =
RI H 77/02B+, 1.139? = RS 24.300. Procession rituals
km t'rb GM, ) bt mlk: K T U 1.43
22, 1.139? = RS 24.300.
= RS 1.005, 1.148 = RS 24.643.18- Occasi onal sacrificial festivals
K T U 1.91 = RS 19.015 obv. a catal ogue of royal festivals;
spr dbh K T U 1.161 = RS 34.126;
dbh il bldn K T U 1.162 = 1.91.6 (= RS [Vari a 20], RS 19.015.6);
dbh spn K T U 1.148 = RS 24.643.1-12, 1.91.3;
ttrt qrat.bgrn (partially Hurri an) K T U 1.116 = RS 24.261;
a l ung model with ritual and sacrificial instruction K T U 1.127 =
RS 24.277. God lists
K T U 1.47 = RS 1.017, 1.74(?) = RS 6.138, 1.102 = RS 24.246,
1.113 = RS 24.257 (deified kings), 1.118 = RS 24.264+. Expi ati on rituals
K T U 1.4011 1.84111.121 + 1.122 + 1.153 + 1.154 + 7.162? = RS
1.002 II 17.100[A]+ || 24.270a[ b] + 24.650b + 24.652G+ + 24.652b?. Hurri an rituals
K T U 1.26 = RS 1-11.[048], 1.30 = RS 1-11. [046], 1.32 = RS
1.[066], 1.33 = RS 1.[067], 1.34 = RS 1.[076], 1.35 + 1.36 +
1.37 = RS 1. [069 + 070 + 071], 1.42 = RS 1.004, 1.44 = RS
1.007, 1.51 + 52 = RS 1.027 + 1.028+, 1.54 = RS 1.034+, 1.59 =
RS 1.[049a], 1.60 = RS 2.[006], 1.64 = RS 3.372, 1.66 = RS 5.182,
1.68 = RS 5.200, 1.110 = RS 24.254, 1.111 = RS 24.255 (rev.
Ugaritic), 1.116 = RS 24.261, 1.120 = RS 24.269+, 1.125 = RS
24.274, 1.128 = RS 24.278, 1.131 = RS 24.285, 1.132 = RS 24.291,
1.135 = RS 24.295, 1.148 = RS 24.643.13-7, 1.149 + 150 = RS
24.644 + 24.644[a], 4.669+ = RS 19.174A.
Administrative texts quite often also contain information about
rituals, in particular when they deal with the distribution and alloca-
tion of wine, food and other commodities for the cult, e.g. hmyn.bdbh
mlkt bmdr' 'five (kd) of wine for the sacrifice of the Queen in the
sown l and' (K TU 4.149 = RS 15.039.14 6, see further K TU 1.91 =
RS 19.015, 4.168 = RS 15.082, 4.182 = RS 15.115, 4.213 =
RS 16.127.24, 4.219 = RS 16.179.2-3). Most ritual texts stem from
the High Priest's house and the house of the Hurri an Priest (PH
rooms 10-11) and just a few from Ras I bn Hani.
1.2.4 Religious texts in literary prose
There is quite a large group of smaller texts and fragments which
may be classified as literary religious texts, if not myths. Some of
them were clearly composed as poetry (e.g. K TU 1.10 = RS 3.362+,
1.12 = RS 2.[012], 1.92 = RS 19.039+, 1.96 = RS 22.225 and
1.100 = RS 24.244), but some may be fragments of myths and incan-
tations in prose or a kind of poetic prose (K TU 1.9 = RS 5.229,
1.24 = RS 5.194, 1.25 = RS 5.259, 1.45 = RS 1.008+, 1.65 = RS
4.474, 1.82 = RS 15.134, 1.83 = RS 16.266, 1.96 = RS 22.225,
1.107 = RS 24.251+, 1.151 (?) = RS 24.647 and 1.169 = RI H
78/20). There are also occasionally prayers, one in poetic form (KTU
1.119 = RS 24.266.26-36), but also in prose (KTU 1.65 = RS 4.474
and 1.123? = RS 24.271), a blessing or dedication (K TU 1.77 =
RS 6.411), a small collection of fables (K TU 1.93 = RS 19.054)
and, perhaps, a wisdom text (K TU 2.21| 2.5? = RS 3.334, 1.020).
With this group, we may also mention the few Akkadian .n/?M-prayers
in Ugaritic alphabetic script (K TU 1.67 (+) 1.69 = RS 5.199 +
5.213, 1.70 = RS 5.156+, 1.73 = RS 5.303fc, 7.50 = RS 5.157,
7.52 = RS 5.196 and 7.55 = RS 5.218).
1.2.5 Other miscellaneous prose texts
Mi nor groups of prose texts are the juridical texts, medical pre-
scriptions and omens. The juridical texts are mainly found in K TU
Section 3, but see also K TU 2.19 = RS 15.125 (manumission of a
slave) and K TU 4.659 = RS 19.166 (sales record of a female slave?)
and the custom licences (or harbour dues?) and caravan licences
( K T U 4. 172 = R S 15. 093, 4. 266 = R S 17. 074, 4. 336 = R S 18. 023
and 4. 388 = R S 18. 113) . As sealed documents, the licences can be
considered a kind of juridical contract. The distinction between legal
documents and administrative records is not always clear. K TU 3.7 =
R S 18. 118 and 3. 10 = R I H 8 4 / 3 3 are rather administrative lists,
though they deal with legal charges such as ^-obl i gati ons and debts,
as do K T U 4. 338 = R S 18. 025 and 4. 347 = R S 18. 035+. Medi cal
prescriptions are found in K T U 1. 175 = R I H 77/ 18. They are
sometimes included in other texts K T U 1. 114 = R S 24. 258. 29- 32
(an i ncantati on for medical treatment of delirium) and 1.124 = RS
24. 272 (an oracul ar report), and also perhaps the fragment K T U
1. 88 = R S 18. 107. These prose texts and sections are related to the
hippiatric medical text of whi ch four copies have been discovered
( K T U 1. 71 = R S 5. 300, 1. 72 = R S 5. 285+, 1. 85 = R S 17. 120 and
1. 97 = R S 23. 484; C o h e n 1996) . The large corpus of ancient Near
Eastern omen literature was also represented in Ugarit by a dream
book (spr hlmm K T U 1. 86 = R S 18. 041) , a collection of astronom-
ical omens (K TU 1. 163 = R I H 78/ 14) and birth omens of the summa
izbu type (K TU 1.103+ = R S 24. 247+ and 1.140 = R S 24.302:
D i et r i c h - L o r et z 1990a); also omens inscribed on fields of lung
and liver models (K TU 1. 127 = R S 24. 277, 1.141-4 = R S 24.312,
24. 323, 24.326, 24. 327 and 1. 155 = R S 24. 654) and a report of an
astronomi cal omen (K TU 1.78 = RS 12.061). There is, perhaps,
also a protocol of necromancy with some ritual prescriptions (K TU
1.124 = R S 24. 272: D i et r i c h - L o r et z 1990a).
1.3 Administrative prose
By far the largest group of prose texts are the administrative texts,
which include census lists of persons, guilds and cities, payment rolls,
receipts and records of received or distributed commodities. They
are a mai n source for private names and also a lexicographic gold-
mi ne, though many words are still poorly understood. For the struc-
ture of the l anguage they are less informative, since their syntactical
structure and style is often very simple. Many texts only have a sim-
ple label as headi ng menti oni ng a guild (hrtm 'pl oughmen', K T U
4.65 = RS 11.602, 4.122 = RS 13.012; tnnm a kind of soldier, K T U
4.66 = RS 11.656; mrynm 'knights', K T U 4.623 = RS 19.049[b];
nqdm, 'sheep breeders', K T U 4.681 = RS 19.180; mdrglm 'guards
K T U 4.751 = RS 29.096; khnm, 'priests', K T U 4.761 = RS 34.123)
or a vi l l age/ci ty/genti l i c. These guild markers themselves are listed
as such too (K TU 4.29 = RS 3.320, 4.38 = RS 8.272, 4.47 = RS
10.043, 4.68 = RS 11.716.60ff., 4.99 = RS 11.845, etc.); likewise
geographi cal markers in topographi cal lists (K TU 4.63 = RS 10.052,
4.232 = RS 16.355, etc.). Both serve as headi ngs in texts whi ch
contai n persons grouped by trade, profession or provenance (K TU
4.35 = RS 8.183+, 4.69 = RS 11.715+, 4.71 (+) 72 = RS 11.721,
11.722, 4.103 = RS 11.858, 4.183 = RS 15.116, 4.412+ = RS
18.251 and 4.633 = RS 19.086A).
The di fferent parts of these si mpl e syntacti cal structures are:
(1) headi ng (with or wi thout i ntroductory spr); (2) lists of persons,
towns, etc. (together with number, commodi ty, etc.); (3) summary or
total (with or wi thout tgmr). These sections are often extended by
descriptive, or restrictive remarks in relative clauses. The style is usu-
ally concise in the extreme, leaving out self-evident terms and phrases
(e.g. tql, kbd, dd, tgmr, etc.). From such texts, only a few prose sections
can be gl eaned, in parti cul ar from texts such as K T U 4.145 = RS
15.034, whi ch is a small report revealing the poor condition of the
king's chariotry:
(1) tmn.mrkbt.dt. (2) ' (3) yd.apnthn (4) yd.hzhn (5) yd trhn/
(6) (7) inn. utpt/ (8) w.tlt.smdm.w.hrs (9)
Eight chariots, which entered the royal palace with their wheels, their
ax1es(?), their bearings(?), but two chariots have no quiver; and of three
two-horse carriages(?), the wheels are in the hands of the chief smith,
who took (them) out for repair.
I t is a good exampl e of the descriptive style found in administrative
texts (also K T U 4.136 = RS 15.013). The nature of the documents
is often indicated by the word spr, while the subject matter may be
persons, trades and professions, or commodi ti es, tribute, rations and
fields under these headi ngs extended with different types of relative
sentences: spr np d.
rb bt.mlk w.b, 'List of people who entered
the royal palace, but who were not put into the list. ..' (K TU 4.338 =
RS 18.025.1-3). Usually, clusters with construct nouns do not exceed
three nouns or names, such as spr argmn p (K TU 4.610 = RS 19.017);
spr ksp mnny (K TU 4.791 = RI H 84/04); but cf. spr hpr.bns.mlk (K TU
4.609 = RS 19.016), spr hr's qst iptl (K TU 4.215 = RS 16.130).
Documents often have no headi ng and start in mdias res. Com-
modities listed and other entries are occasionally extended by descrip-
tive relative noun clauses or participles:, '. . . a robe
that has a string(?) of carbuncles on it' (K TU 4.132 = RS 15.004.4);
w.lp. d sgr.b/, '. . . a garment that has a fibula' (K TU 4.166 = RS
15.078); tit mrkbt spyt.bhrs [.]
ir[.] smdm.trm.d[.l.s]py/w.trm. ahdm.
spym/tit mrkbt d.l.spy, 'Three chariots covered with gold, ten pairs of
tr which are [not co]vered and a doub1e(?) set of tr covered, three
chariots that are not covered...' (K TU 4.167 = RS 15.079.1-7),
but also verbal clauses: yn[hnm] (2) b.dbh.mlk, 'Wine that is
delivered into the hands of the pr[iests] for the sacrifice of the king'
( K T U 1.91 = RS 19.015.1-2; TROPPER 1991b, 355); qmh. d.kly.ksh.illdrm
bd.zlb[n], 'Flour that was completely spent according to the order(?)
of Illdrm into the hand of %b[n] . . . ' (K TU 4.362 = RS 18.052.1-2),
ksp.d.slmyrmn.', 'Silver that Yrmn paid for (the mortgage on?) the
house . . . ' (K TU 4.755 = RS 31.080; also K TU 4.95 = RS 11.836+,
4.166 = RS 15.078, 4.213 = RS 16.127, 4.290 = RS 17.297 and
4.348 = RS 18.036) and . . . prs qmh d nlm, '. . . a /w-measure of flour
that has been paid for' (K TU 4.328 = RS 18.008.1). I n relative
noun clauses the expression for existence it is often added (K TU
4.235 = RS 16.369, 4.422 = RS 18.293, 4.617 = RS 19.044, 4.752 =
RS 29.097 [SEGERT 1982, 55.7]), and the usual negation in such
relative noun clauses is in(n) (K TU 4.53 = RS 10.090, 4.180 = RS
15.105, 4.214 = RS 16.128 and 4.379 = RS 18.098).
Ugaritic scribes seem to have used two conventions to sum up the
totals of their administrative documents, either by writing the totals
(U.N GI N = napharu/gabbu) in cuneiform Sumero-Babylonian short-
hand (K TU 4.48 = RS 10.045, 4.63 = RS 10.052, 4.68 = RS
11.716, 4.69 = RS 11.715+, 4.71, 4.72 = RS 11.721, 11.722, 4.90 =
RS 11.797, 4.93 = RS 11.776+, 4.100 = RS 11.850, 4.102 = RS
11.857, 4.165 = RS 15.076, 4.219 = RS 16.179, 4.232 = RS 16.355,
4.299 = RS 17.345, 4.308 = RS 17.386, 4.340 = RS 18.027, 4.435 =
RS 18.[306], 4.610 = RS 19.017, 4.704 = RS 21.002, 4.745 = RS
25.417, 4.754 = RS 31.043, and 4.784 = RS [Varia 38],2; VAN
SOLDT, 1995, 485-6) or in Ugaritic tgmr, and sometimes even both
ways (e.g. sb'.mat ttm kbd/7 me-at 60 HI .ME, K TU 4.340 = RS
18. [027]). As with the headings, the pattern of such totals is not con-
sistent. Usually the tgmr of the commodi ty received or distributed,
or the group or city is menti oned first (e.g. K TU 1.91 = RS 19.015,
4.67 = RS 11.714, 4.156 = RS 15.053, 4.269 = RS 17.106 and
K TU 4.151 = RS 15.044, 4.179 = RS 15.103, 4.777 = RI H 83/07+
respectively), but it may also follow the total amount (K TU 4.230
= RS 16.341, 4.764 = RS 34.176 and 4.137 = RS 15.015+, 4.141
= RS 15.022+ and 4.173 = RS 15.094 respectively), but the word
tgmr is also often left out (K TU 4.164 = RS 15.075, 4.344 = RS
18.030, 4.427 = RS 18.299, 4.163 = RS 15.073.15ff, and 4.174 =
RS 15.095 respectively). The style of these texts is basically descrip-
tive and strongly paratactic. Compl ex syntactic structures with sub-
ordinate clauses are almost absent.
1.4 Literary prose of incantations, stones and reports
Everybody knows, or rather thinks he knows the difference between
prose and poetry ( Wat s o n 1984d [1995] 44). The probl em is to
establish sound criteria. We cannot deal here with this question in
extenso (see P ar d ee 1993a). The criteria often used to distinguish prose
from poetry in Hebrew literature, namely the absence or rarity of
prose elements such as the relative marker
"ser (less often the relative
pronoun), the definite article, the object marker and the narrative
waw, are not very helpful for Ugaritic prose. The existence of a nar-
rative waw discourse in Ugaritic is still disputed and indeed, if it is
not to be found in the context of the incantation K TU 1.100 = RS
24.244.67-8: mgy.hrn.l bth w (68)ystqilh^rh, 'Horon reached his house,
and he entered his court', it occurs, perhaps, in a few prose texts
such as, for instance, the report about a necromanti c inquiry (KTU
1.124 = RS 24.272): ky mgy.adn (2) ilm rbm.'m dtn (3) wysal.mtpt.yld (4)
w/ny.nn.dtn (5) t'ny. . . uymg (11) mlakk.'m dtn (12) Iqh mtpt (13) uy'ny.nn
dtn . . .' When the Lord of the Great Gods came to Ditanu and asked
for the boy's (oracular) decision, Di tanu answered him: "Y ou will
answer. . . and your messenger to Ditanu arrived after he received the
(oracular) decision." Then Di tanu answered:. . .' As long as no vocal-
ized narrative texts are available, the question will remain undecided.
On the other hand, the use of parallelism or parallelizing style in
Ugaritic texts is not confined to poetry. As in the Hebrew Bible, it
is also found in many prose texts. The greater use of relative pro-
nouns and particularly, a set of demonstratives (hnd-hnk/hndt-hnkt/hnhmt,
including the definite article hn-, R ai ney 1971, 160; C u n c h i l l o s
1983b) and interrogative pronouns (mn(m)-mnk(m); mh-mhkm, etc.) in
prose texts such as economic texts, letters, contracts, etc. ( Wat s o n
1984d [1995], 62) is a fairly clear criterion, but not the only one.
Several texts show a mixed style of prose and poetry. It is hard to
say whether these literary texts are prose containing poetic elements,
or a kind of poetry in which the rules of poetic parallelism are weakly
used. There can be no doubt that maj or works from Ugarit such as
the Ba'al Cycle, the legends of Aqhat and Keret, the astral myth of
Shahar and Shalim were composed as oral poetry, in which inserted
prose elements clearly stand out in their context. Some mi nor myths
and incantations were also composed in the concise prosody of the
maj or works (K TU 1. 10 = RS 3. 362+, 1. 12 = RS 2. [ 012] , 1. 83 =
RS 16. 266 and 1. 92 = RS 19. 039+) , but a few are in prose, or
have prose sections alternating with mythical passages in poetry. For
instance, K TU 1. 107 = RS 24. 251+ clearly opens with a mythical
poem (K TU 1. 107. 1- 14) , but the poison-expelling charms on the
reverse are in prose (K TU 1. 107. 32- 45) . The incantation text K TU
1. 82 = RS 15. 134, so far as it is readable and understandable, is
also couched in prose. Its sections are marked by quick changes of
subject and by subordinate clauses in persuasive style, but no clear
parallelism can be traced:
l [xxjy.tnn.wygl.wynsk.'d [x]
[x]xy.lars[.id\y.alt.I ly
[xx] tgwln.ntk
[xx]wptk.l mt.brtk
[wa]tm.prtl.l rih.hmt.tmt.
Let Ba'al smite the breed(?) of Tunan and reveal and pour out the . . .
(2). . . on the earth. Then I shall not feel the curse, then the curse
will not for me be (3) harmfu1(?). The archer Reshef (is) between the
two of you. He will shoot at his kidneys and his heart. Let your
mouth ... in the lowland, let your mouth resound in the woods, when
you grind(?) your teeth (5) [against him]. And your lips will surely
rejoice, if you keep until death your covenant. (6) [I shall ] myself,
I shall ring out with the Sun's voice: the life of the serpents I shall
take away, Ba'al, and nail down the iron pole on his head
(KTU 1.82.1-7)
Likewise the mi nor myths of Yarikh and Nikkal (K TU 1.24 - RS
5. 194) , Astarte the Huntress (K TU 1. 92 = R S 19. 039) and El's
drunkeness (K TU 1. 114 = R S 24. 258) show a mixed style of prose
and poetry. Of the last text the medical prescription is entirely in
prose (K TU 1. 114. 29- 31) . The first text has a narrative framework
in prose, whereas some of the speeches are couched in verse. Thi s
may also be true of the fable K TU 1. 93 = R S 19. 054 (DI J KSTRA
1994, 125):
(1) arh td.rgm.b gr (2) b py.t'lgt.b 1n[y] (3) gr.tyb.b npy.rg[m] (4) hzvt.b'l.itm['.y
gr'] (5) M ly.y p. i[k(?)] (6) hkr(.b]ry[ } . . .
The Cow let out a cry against the Mountain: 'In my mouth is stam-
mering, on [my] tongue is agitation, in my throat rolls "thun[der]".
Heed the word of Ba'al [O Mountain!] Listen to me, you braggart!
Why this distress of my [bo]dy . . . ?. . . '
K TU 1.92 and 1.114 contain prosodie phrases and epic formulae
borrowed from the maj or myths ( D i j k s t r a 1994, 116), but the nar-
ratives are basically prose compositions despite this poetic flavour.
For K TU 1.92, one has to assume that many verses have been short-
ened to monocola, if it was a piece of narrative poetry. In K TU
1. 114, the sequences of perfect (with inversion of the subject) and
imperfect forms suggest the transformation of poetically structured
verses into prose sentences (so also K TU 1.96 = RS 22.225.I ff.).
il dbh . . . sh . . . tlhmn.ilm.wtstn . . . After El slaughtered . . . called . . .
A similar mixed style is also present in the ritual K TU 1.161 - RS
34.126, the incantation K TU 1.169 = RI H 78/20 and the prayers
K TU 1.65 = RS 4.474, 1.108 = RS 24.252 and perhaps 1.123 =
RS 24.271. We observe in these texts a certain repetitive style, even
chains of adverbial clauses and comparisons: k qtr.urbtm.k btn.
(3) kyim.zrh.k Ibim.skh, 'like smoke from a chimney; like a snake from
a pillar; like a mountai n-goat to the hill-top; like a lion to a lair'
(K TU 1.169.3-4); il h il add (10) b
d spn b
(11) ugrt (12) b mrh il
(13) b nit il (14) bsmd il (15) b dtn il, etc., El, hurry! El, stand
up, on behalf of Saphon, on behalf of Ugarit, with the javelin of
El, with the spade(?) of El, with the span of El, with the threshing-
s1edge(?) of El, etc.' (K TU 1.65.9-15); b mrmt (8) b miyt.bzlm.b qd,
'. . . on the heights, in the lowland, in darkness and in the sanctu-
ary' (KTU 1.169.7-8); b
z (22) [rpi.] mlk.'lm. b dmrh.bI (23) [anh].bhtkh.b
nmrth . . ., 'in the safety [of the Healer], the eternal king, in his pro-
tection, in his strength, in his dominion, in his benevolent power . . .'
il.hlk I bth . . .y'msn.nn . . .
b il.abh.g
r. ytb il.. .
il.ytb.b mrzhh yt. .
the gods ate and drank . . .
After he rebuked El his father,
El sat down . . .
After El sat down at his
marzeah, he drank . . .
After El wanted to go home,
they carried him . . .
(K TU 1.108.21-3; also 1.108.4-5). Compare also the chain of adver-
bial phrases and //^-greeti ngs K T U 1.161.22-6 (with tht), 31- 4
and the chai n of epithets in K TU 1.100.1: um phi bt.' . ., 'The mother of the he-ass, the she-ass, daughter of
the spring, daughter of the stone, daughter of heaven and flood . . .'.
Similarly, the chains of epithets and participial predicates in the litur-
gical prayer K TU 1.108.I ff. They are all instances of poetic prose
with repetition and even occasional parallelism within a prose con-
text. Despite these poetic elements, such passages as K T U 1.65.9ff.
and K TU 1.108.I ff. form one extended prose sentence, bursting the
bounds of an originally poetic structure. Even the small fragment
K T U 1.83 = RS 16.266, perhaps part of an i ncantati on (DE MOOR
1987, 181-2), shows this mixed style:
. . . [ts]un. b ars (4) mhnm. trp ym (5) 1nm.tlhk (6) mm. ttrp (7) ym dnbtm.
(8) tnr. I btn (9) ist. trks (10) I miym Ibnm* (11) pi. tbtn. yymm* (12) hmlt.
ht. ynh*[r] (13) itph. mk* [ ] (14) thmr. [ ] . . . (text newly collated by
PI T A RD 1998, 263
. . . [She we]nt out into the land of Mahanayim to vanquish(?) Yam
with the forked tongue that licks the sky. She vanquished Yam with
the forked tail, Tunan she muzzled. She bound him onto the heights
of Lebanon (saying): You swill no longer humiliate me, Yam. Mankind
may be scared, River (but) you will not see [me] collapse. You may
foam [. . .]
Rel ated to the persuasive prose style of i ncantati on is the prose of
letters and an occasional wisdom text such as K T U 2.2 = RS 3.334
(II 2.5? = RS 1.020), perhaps dictated as a scribal exercise:
(1) [/] rHSyy[al] First of all, my friend, one should a[sk] for
(2) []lm.brt.yl[m.rn\ [p]eace. A man should keep the bolt(?)
(3) \s\gr.l lmt.l[m] secure. (If) it is not safe, will its house be
(4) b*th.p lmt.p* lm at peace? When it is safe, then the house
will have
(5) b*t.lbn.trgm*[?] peace. To a man you should say:
(6) / stmt.I lm.b[tk] 'It is not safe, so [your] house will not be
at peace!'
(7) by.nt.mlit.t[mla] Believe me, after a full year has surely
(8) ymgyk.bnm.ta[r] children you asked for will come to you.
(9) bnm.wbnt.ytnk* Sons and daughters will Ba'al give you.
(10) [\x.x.] My son, spoil (it) and .. .
(11) [w]h*t.msgr.bnk[ ] you will have [spoi]1ed the bolt(?) of your
(12) [wh]n.thmM[ ] [And 1o]ok, the word of Ba'al. . .
1.5 The prose of letters
Letters form the most interesting group in which to study the syn-
tax of Ugaritic prose in the latter days of its floruit. We shall not
deal here with the well known formul ae of sender and addressee
(thm X rgm l Y), the airs and graccs (yslm Ik, ilm tgrk tlmk, with its
variants), the prostration formula (lp
n PN[b
d b
d/tnid] mrhqtm qlt/qlny),
enquiries about health (al lm formula), requests for an answer (wrgm
[t]ttb l/
m-PN), to reply or to pay attention to the message (wb
ly. . .yd
[rgmh]), or even the closing remark to reassure somebody (wap mhkm
b Ibk al tst, etc.). These have all been thoroughly and properly studied
in the past ( A hl 1973; K r i s t ens en 1977; P ar d ee 1984; P ar d ee
W h i t i n g 1987; C u n c h i l l o s 1983a, 1989a). Here attention will be
paid to the larger passages of prose only in so far as they are pre-
served and help to give a glimpse of late colloquial Ugaritic.
Characteristic of this Ugaritic 12th-century written vernacular is
the increased use of plene writing with -y in prepositions by, ly, ky,
iky, construct state: ily ugrt and verbal forms tmgyy, etc., but also an
increase in enclitic -j as a marker of direct speech, in particular in
letters ( T r o p p er 1994d, 474-5). The difference between plene writ-
ten -y and enclitic -y is not always easy to detect ( T r o p p er 1994d,
480-1). Other changes in vocalization and phonology include the
quiescent aleph, sb
d < b
id, yr < yar, etc., though also incidentally
found in poetry,
bdnn < a
dbk < a'dbk (K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009] +
ii 21; 1.18 = RS 3.340 iv 22);ytmr < yitmr (K TU 1.3 = RS 2. [014] +
i 22), the shift of ' < h, for instance in im < hm (K TU 2.15 = RS
15.007.8; 2.72 = RS 34.124.9, 10, 17; 3.9 = RS [Varia 14].6; T r o p p er
1989b, 421-3); vowel harmony ulp (*ullupi) < alp (*allupi); ihy and
uhy < ahy, ibr (Hbbiru) < abr (*abbiru). See further below 8.1.
The grammar and syntax of this late Ugaritic prose are enriched
by the use of the article and demonstrative element hn, rarely inde-
pendent in hn Ws, K TU 1.40 = RS 1.002 (perhaps also 1.114 =
RS 24.258.28 and in assimilated form in K TU 2.70 = RS 29.093.15-6,
w.hwt (16) hbt, 'and I repaired the house'), but frequently as part of
a set of demonstrative pronouns: masc. hndhnk; fem. hndthnkt pi.
hnhmt. Morphological developments may include the loss of diptotic
plural and the occurrence of imperatives with prothetic aleph i: ibky,
ihn (K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126; T r o p p e r 1993a, 391-2); igr (K TU
2.33 = RS 16.402.1); or aleph a: add (K TU 1.65 = RS 4.474.9).
Furthermore, we may note the wider use of the absolute infinitive
with separate personal pronoun to conti nue a finite verb or i mper-
ative, wtb
ank ( K T U 2. 17 = R S 15. 098. 6); w.ttb.ank ( K T U 2. 38 =
R S 18. 031. 23) ; wrgm hw/ank ( K T U 2. 42 = R S 18.11 3A. 19, 25); hbt
hw (6) hrd hw (7) qrt, '. . . it eliminated the guard and pillaged
the ci ty...' ( K T U 2. 61 = R S 19. 011. 5- 7) ; w.ybl.hw ( K T U 2. 72 =
R S 34. 124. 27 and passim), though this is incidentally also attested in
poetry (SEGERT 1984, 64. 42).
The variation in the use of the conj uncti on p(m)- is significant,
and greater than in poetry (DE MOOR 1969, 201-2; K T U 2.2 = R S
3.334.4, 2.3 = RS 1.013+.19, 2.10 = RS 4.475.12, 2.14 = RS [Vari a
4].12, 2.15 = RS 15.007.7, 2.23 = RS 16.078+.17, 2.26 = RS
16.264.7, 2.33 = RS 16.402.28, 2.70 = RS 29.093.27, 2.71 = RS
29.095.11 [pm], 2.72 = RS 34.124.1 1, 22, 42, 2.73 = RS 17.434.14;
WATSON 1990e, 1994e) and the occurrence of pi and pn 'lest, you
may not' (K TU 1.83 = RS 16.266.11, 1.114 = RS 24.258.12). Also
new, specific verbs such as dhl, 'to be afrai d' (K TU 2.16 = RS
15.008.12, 2.31 = RS 16.394.21); hbt, 'to knock down, eliminate'
(KTU 2.4 = RS 1.018.19, 2.47 = RS 18.148.16, 2.61 = RS 19.011.5),
or verb forms like tn
m/l 'put somethi ng at the disposal of PN'
(K TU 2.36+ = RS 17.435+.6, 13, 2.45 = RS 18.140.19, 2.50 = RS
18.287.16, perhaps also 2.32 = RS 16.401.7, 10, 2.39 = RS 18.038.35,
2.79 = RI H 77/25.3), presumabl y a -stem ofy/ntn; -stem 'hr 'to
withhold, keep back (things)' (K TU 2.42 = RS 18.113A.11, 2.79 =
RI H 77/25.4) and the Gt-stem sal 'to make a request, enqui re'
(2.17 = RS 15.098.15, 2.42 = RS 18.113A.23, 2.70 = RS 29.093.12,
2.71 = RS 29.095.10).
Further, we may note the conti nued use of bl in compounds like
blym, 'never' (K TU 2.45 = RS 18.140.23; 4.272 = RS 17.118.7),
bl bns, 'nobody' (K TU 2.45 = RS 18.140.25), || Ibl ks, 'with-
out a knife, or cup (K TU 1.96 = RS 22.225.4-5) and bl sml (K TU
1.169 = RI H 78/20.7), though also used in poetry: bl spr/hg (K TU
1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ ii 37-8); blmt, 'immortality' (K TU 1.17 = RS
2. [004] vi 27, etc.), the increased use of the perfect or participle N-
stem ntkp (K TU 2.10 = RS 4.475.14); nUi (2.34 = RS 17.139.13);
nskh (2.38 = RS 18.031.15); nmkr (K TU 2.48 = RS 18.285[A].5); nplt
(2.82 = RI H 78/12.4, 11); also in administrative and legal texts: nkly
(K TU 4.213 = RS 16.127.24, 4.230 = RS 16.341.15; 4.280 = RS
17.236.6, etc.); night (K TU 4.659 = RS 19.166.1) and nlm (K TU
4.328 = RS 18.008), but also a new preposition like ml(y), 'opposite
(me)' (K TU 2.50 = RS 18.287.12; 2.75 = RS 34.148.11). There is no
clear evidence that a special subjunctive mood was mai ntai ned in
prose texts ( T r o pper 1991b, 353-5, pace V e r r e e t 1988). The deictic
or anaphori c use of -n, in parti cul ar in the apodosi s of omens
( D i et r i c h - L o r e t z 1990a, 104; T r o p p e r 1994c, 466-7), but also
elsewhere (K TU 1.124 = RS 24.272.14, 2.37 = RS 17.438.10, 2.39
= RS 18.038.21, 2.42 = RS 18.113a.6, 10, 26) may suggest influence
of the Hurri an 'article' -ni (but see T r o p p e r 1993b, 468).
It is i nherent in the nature of letters that we find narrati ve parts
(reports using the perfect, e.g. K TU 2.38 = RS 18.031) and pre-
scriptive sentences (instructions); but the fundamental convention is
that of an oral message exchanged between parties. Thi s means that
the mode of discourse in letters is usually persuasive, a mode of dis-
course couched in a kind of virtual verbal exchange between sender
and addressee, but from the temporal perspective of the writer. A
mode of discourse that varies with the field (diplomacy, international
commerce, royal bureaucracy) and tenor (grade of social relation-
ships between parties, see also P a r d ee - B o r d r e u i l 1992, 711).
Letters are essentially a verbatim account of verbal exchanges between
parties who argue their case. As part of the discourse the words of
the other party are quite often quoted or referred to ( D i j k s t r a 1987).
Thi s style of persuasion is marked by statements accentuated with
particles or adverbs such as ap/ p/ hn, emphati c use of the separate
personal pronouns, interrogative particles and pronouns, such as ik,
'how', Im, 'why', my/mn(m), 'who(ever)', mnd
, 'whoever knows, per-
haps', rhetorical questions and other turns of speech i ntroduced by
ht, 'now', hm . . . p/w/zero, 'i f. . . then', etc. If we are aware of the
sequence of inferences and thrust for persuasion made coherent by
a set of characteristic phrases and other cohesive devices in gram-
mar and style, the letters are essentially a genre of persuasive dis-
course, even if stories are told, oaths are sworn and instructions are
given within such a persuasive mode of discourse. Unfortunatel y only
a few of the more el aborate letters are compl ete or have a passage
that allows for coherent translation and rhetorical analysis. Any trans-
lation given below admits that other translations are possible in some
instances, but I am concerned here only with the mode of discourse
and the general thrust of a given passage. An exampl e of such a
dialogical discourse of persuasion including an oath is K T U 2.10 =
RS 4.475.5-15,
. . . trgds (6) w.l.klby (7) rrt.hti (8) (9) hm.inmm (10) nhtu.w.lak (11)
'my.wyd (12) ilm.pkmtm (13) 'z.mid (14) hrn.nlkp (15) m'nk
. . . from Trgds and Klby I have heard that we suffered a heavy defeat.
However, if we did not suffer a defeat, send me a message and, as
for the hand of the gods, it will indeed be as strong as Death (against
you) if your answer be negative(?).
Letters often include reports. A good example is the letter from the
king of Tyre to the king of Ugarit about the shipwreck of a Ugaritian
fleet sent to Egypt, but there are also short reports such as K TU
2.17 = RS 15.098, 2.30 = RS 16.379, 2.33 = RS 16.402.4ff., 2.40 =
RS 18.040, 2.61 = RS 19.011 and 2.75 = RS 34.148. We often
find here as a typical report marker the formula 'the king my lord
may know i t/hi s word!' (K TU 2.17, 2.33, 2.40, 2.75; perhaps also
2.35 = RS 17.327), or advice not to fear or to worry too much
about the reported developments (KTU 2.16 = RS 15.008, 2.30,
2.38 = RS 18.031 and 2.71 = RS 29.095).
(10) anykn.dt (11) likt.msrm (12) (12) (14) gm.adr (15)
nkh.wb.tmtt (17) lqh.kl.dr'\ 18) bdnhm.w.ank (19) (20)
(21) w.Ub.anUhm (22) (25) by.'/cy.'ryt (26) w.ahy.mhk (27)
This fleet of yours, which you sent to Egypt, was shipwrecked at Tyre.
It was hit by a heavy storm. And the master of shipwrecks took all
the cargo from their holds. However, I in turn took all their cargo,
all the livestock for their provision from the hand of the master of
shipwrecks and returned it to them. And your second fleet is in for
repair(?) at Acre, but my brother should worry about nothing.
(KTU 2.38.10-27).
I n particular, the mode and tenor of the discourse in international
diplomatic letters becomes very persuasive, if not suggestive. In many
instances we are here perhaps dealing with drafts and translations
of official letters, of which the originals were sent and received by
the royal chancelleries in official Akkadian. They negotiate about
tribute, settle border disputes and deal with conflicting interests and
loyalties. Consider the following anthology: bt. mlk. thmk. hin [y] (6) \lj\rs.a rgmny [ .\'m. p. tn ,\ank\ (7) [w]at.m[h]r.k[x][mt] (8) \ht\.Iqdm.udh.mgt.wmlkn.[] (9) [m]hrt[.]nib.'mnkm.I.qrb.[xx]
(10) [xj . i [x]t . w. at / my. l . mgt . [xY. ] (11) [w.]ma[k]tk/my.l.likt ([12)
[x][xx] (13) | xxx] Jtnt.
When you sent your message to the royal palace (saying), 'Herewith
I put the gold of my tribute at the disposal of the Sun', [as for] you,
the equivalent of the ... as was settled in the trea[ty], you should pre-
sent it now! Its payment(?) is due. And the king [said?], 'Tomorrow
we shall return to you to deliver the . . ., but you have not come to
me [. . . nor] did you send your embassy to me. [Now was this] as
arranged with me? So, the gold [of your tribute that was] put here
at my disposal, I shall put (it) at the disposal of the Sun.
(KTU 2.36+ = RS 17.435+.5-13)
Li[th]dn.p (6) ad[nk.'] bdk.ukJkn (7) k.'[bdm.]sglth.hw (8) w.b[nh].uk.ngr (9)
rg[mh.l]adny.l.yfysr (10) w.[ap.y]d'.l.yd
(11) ht[.hm].l.p.b
lk (12) 'b[dm.] (13) ht[.hm].p.b'lk (14) yd'm.l.yd't
(15) 'myJps.b'lk (16) nt.ntm.lm.<.>l.tlk
Did not the Sun his father and his servant make an agreement(?) either
that he would record that he and his sons would be servants of his
own property, or that he would keep his promise (saying): 'My father
will not lack anything' and [also]: acknowledge you fully'.
Now, if to the Sun your lord, you are servant of his own property,
so then, if you recognize the Sun your lord fully, why did not you
come to the Sun your lord for one, for two years?
(KTU 2.39 = RS 18.038.5-16)
Likewise K TU 2.23 = RS 16.078+. The tenor of such letters is often
haughty, if not aloof on the part of the Great King, his queen and
his officials. The Great Ki ng speaks about himself in the third per-
son, the greetings are curt and there is no love lost, whereas the
attitude of the vassal king is submissive and the airs and graces are
elaborate, if not exhaustive. More than half the letter from Ammittamru
to the Egyptian Pharaoh is filled with the repeated string of royal
tides: .mpm.mlkM
m.mlk.sdq.mlk.mlLLb MI^wt msrm . . . , ' . . . the
Sun, the great king, the king of Egypt, the benevolent king, the right-
eous king, the king of kings, lord of the whole country of Egypt . . .'
(K TU 2.81 = RI H 78/03+; see somewhat less tediously K TU 2.23
= RS 16.078+, 2.76 = RS 34.356.1-2, 9- 10 [a draft?]). All along,
the writer repeatedly praises his overlord as benevolent king, trying
to negotiate a lower tribute: [mtn.]gm.b
n (25) ['bdk.b]
nt.qdm.alpm.mznh (26) [ht.
bdk.] yir.snp.ln.dym.hw, '. . . Another matter,
my benevolent lord. Look, the silver which [your servant] has
paid for many years, two thousand (shekels) is its weight. (Now your
servant] asks, will two thirds be sufficient for us? . . .'. Another flower
of such submissive speech is K TU 2.23 = RS 16.078+. 15-24:[k.
bdk.]d (16) ar[.hym.lp] (17) mlk.r[b.b'l}y.p.l. (18)[h. ]/ (19)
/./w.//[/.] spn.b'ly (20) w. urk.ym. b'ly (21) (22) il.msrm. dt.tgm
(23) np.p [.]mlk.rbMy
. . . And I am [your servant] who begs [for life to] the Sun, the great
king, my lord. Then do I not pray for the life of his soul before Ba'al
Saphon my lord, and length of days for my lord before Amun and
before the gods of Egypt who protect the soul of the Sun, the Great
King, my lord?
I n the exchange of messages between the king and officials, we some-
times find such el aborate phrases in addi ti on to the usual formul ae
of submission, ankn.rgmt.l.b'l.spn. (7) Ups.'lm.l.'ttrt (8) l.' (9)
nmiy.mlk.'lm, '.. . I pray to Ba'al Saphon, to the eternal Sun, to Astarte,
to Anat, to all the gods of A1aia for the spl endour of an everlast-
ing kingship!' (K TU 2.42 = RS 18.1 13a.4-9).
Not only are devel opments reported, but probl ems are also dis-
cussed and instructions given in the same persuasive sort of style.
The Ugandan king reports violations of his territory by Egyptian cara-
vans, and the Hittite queen, probabl y in consul tati on with the Hittite
deputy-ki ng of Carchemi sh, instructs hi m to direct them past Qadesh
through the valley of the Orontes (K TU 2.36+ = RS 17.435+ .16ffi;
DI J KSTRA 1989, 142-4). An interesting instance is the letter from
General I wri -tarruma (K TU 2.33 = RS 16.402), reporti ng an attack
by the kings of Mugi he (Alalakh) and, perhaps, Nuhai against
Ni qmaddu I I . After some expl anati ons about the course of strategy
taken, he comes with amazi ng el oquence to the subj ect of rein-
w.mlk.b'ly (23) ImJkn.hnk (24) l.'bdh.alpm.sswm (25) rgmt.Hy.lh.lm (26)<b>'ly (27) (28) (29) riry.lh.l pn.ib
(30) (31) b' (32) alpm.wm. hnd (33) w.mlk.b'
(34) bnny.'mn. (35) mlakty.hnd (36) ylak.'my (37) w( (38) [a]lpm[.]umi
(39) [x].l.[yx]xs/l.w.ib
And the king my lord, why did he assign such a thing to his servant?
Two thousand horses, you said, would come soon! Why has the king,
my lord, not provided them yet? Look, the enemies are pressing me
hard, but I cannot put my womenfolk and children just in front of
the enemy! Now, if the king my lord orders it, they will arrive here,
those two thousand horses. And the king my lord may also send to
me mediators(?) with this my embassy. And let them come up soon
hither, the two thousand horses [and] let him not [. . .] and withdraw!
(KTU 2.33 = RS 16.402, 22-39)
Fragments of such el oquent pieces of prose, in whi ch someone is
pl eadi ng his case, are also found, for instance, in K T U 2.41 = RS
18.075, 2.42 = RS 18.113A, 2.45 = RS 18.140, etc., but unfortu-
nately they are too broken for their lines of reasoni ng to be followed
in detail. I n K T U 2.70 = RS 29.093, we find a compl ai nt and a
request. Obvi ousl y one of the senders of this letter is a woman (as
also K T U 2.11 = RS 8.315):'yn ( 12) ystal.'m.amtk (13) lak.lh.wkhdnn (14) ( 15) Iqht.w.hwt
(16) hbt.wlm.tb (17) bn.'yn (18) w.lqh.tqlm (19)
tn.'bdk (21) tmt.'mnk (22) k I On.akl.Uun (23) w.k tal (24) bt.'bdk (25) w.kymgy
bdk.l ihn (27) 'mk.p.l.ysb' I (28) hpn.l b'ly (29) 'bdk
Here, the son of came to request (silver) from your handmaid. It
was sent to him, but he hid it. I enlisted a contractor and I repaired
the house. Why has the son of returned to take the two shekels
of silver from the hand of your handmaid?
And two of your servants are there with you in order that you may
give food to them. Now if your servants ask for accommodation and
if they arrive in peace to you, will not then a handful satisfy them?
To my lord belongs everything that your servants own.
(KTU 2.70 = RS 29.093.11-29)
Letters evidently often react to messages received about i nformati on,
allegations of disloyalty, requests for help or neglect to pay outstand-
ing debts and tardiness in fulfilling obligations. There is nothi ng new
under the sun! Many of the letters refer to messages received and
even quote from them (examples in D i j k s t r a 1987a, 38-9 to which
K T U 2.36+ = RS 17.435+ passim, may be added).
lm.tlikn.hpt.hndn (11) p.mrrt.mlk (12)* (13) (14)
msm't.mlk (15) tnm (16) 'my.wttbm.lby (17) (18) ky.tdbr.umy
(19) (20) (21) msqt.yt_bt (22) (23) likt.ank.lht (24)
bt.mlk.amr (25)ybnn.hlk (26) 'm mlk.amr (26) (28) hrs.w. mrdt<t>.l
(29) mlk.amr.w.lqh.hw (30) mn.b.qrnh (31) w.ysq.hw.l.ri (32) bt.mlk.amr (33)[at.brt]
Why did they release these two, as if they were not subordinate to
the king? Either being the son of Qln, or the Son of Alyy, or a sub-
ordinate of the king, these two should have come to me together and
should have broken my heart. As for the letter about the daughter of
the king of Amurruwhen my mother speaks on behalf of the city:
'If now the city will not go on to live in anxiety, who then must I
send with the letter about the daughter of the king of Amurru?' Let
Yabninu go to the king of Amurru and let him bring a hundred
(shekels) of gold and the repudiated woman(?) to the king of Amurru
and let him take oil in his horn and pour it on the head of the daugh-
ter of the king of Amurru. Whatever sin [she] committed [she will be
free?] . . . ' (KTU 2.72 = RS 34.124.10-33)
It is characteristic of this mode of prose to construct complicated
sentences in an elaborate rhetorical, often conditionally phrased style.
For instance, the passage quoted from K TU 2.39 = RS 18.038.1 1- 6
is probabl y one long sentence. Sentences i ntroduced with conditional
hm, temporal k(y)- (preceded or followed by the conj uncti on p(m)-,
but often also simply the copul a w-, K TU 2.10 = RS 4.475.9-10,
2.31 = RS 16.394.16ff., etc. or wi thout connecti on, K T U 2.33 =
RS 16.402.30-1) are numerous, as are statements and conditional
sentences emphasized with hn, ht and ap (e.g. ht hm . . . K TU 2.10.8-9,
2.33.30, 2.39.1 I ff; wap ht... 2.3 = RS 1.013+.20; wap.ank.. .2.11 =
RS 8.315.13, 2.33.15, 2.41 = RS 18.075.19), and rhetorical and real
questions with or without ik(y), mh(y), e.g. w.k tal bt
bdk w k ymgy
bdk l lm
mk pi ysb
Ihpn, 'And if your servants ask for accommoda-
tion and if they reach you safely, woul d not a handful be sufficient?'
(K TU 2.70 = RS 29.093.23-8, also 2.23 = RS 16.078+. 17ff. and
perhaps, 2.39.5ff).
Qui te often in the prose of letters and elsewhere (e.g the narra-
tive K TU 1.114 = RS 24.258, the ritual K TU 1.112 = RS 24.256.6-7)
the preferred word order VS is changed to SV: wum tsmf} mad. . .,
'and my mother should rejoice gready...' (KTU 2.16 = RS 15.008.10); . . ., 'And look, the enemies are pressing me hard . . .'
(K TU 2.33 = RS 16.402.27), perhaps for emphasi s (other examples
TROPPER 1994c, 467-70). A related interesting phenomenon in this
mode of prose is casus pendens or nomi nati ve absolute (WAL TKE -
O' CONNOR 1990, 4.7), e.g. in the oath-sentence: wyd ilm p kmtm
mid hm ntkp m'nk, 'as for the hand of the gods, it will i ndeed be as
strong as Death, if your answer is negative(?)' (K TU 2.10 = RS
4.475.11-5); note the incongruity of yd (f.) and
z (m.)
but this seems
to be the idea (pace PARDEE 1987; WATSON 1990, 81-2, 1994, 495);
[w].b.ym.k.ybt.mlk (15) [t]ydr.w.ap.ank (16) [i]hd.lgr. amn, '[And] as for
today, if the king stays in [T]ydr, I for my part took hold of Mount
A manus. . . ' (K TU 2.33 = RS 16.402+. 15-6; for the geographical
name ty[n\dr, see DI ETRI CH - LORETZ 1994, 65-7); wmlk b
ly Im skn
hnk rbdh 'and as for the king my lord, why did he assign such a
thi ng to his servant?' (K TU 2.33.22-4); hn.mrt d tt asu b Idtk, 'Look,
the patri mony which was (legally) settled, I shall release after you
have given bi rth' (K TU 2.34 = RS 17.139.32-3);
my p b'Ik snt sntm
Im Itlk, 'to the king your lord, why did you not come for one or
two years? (K TU 2.39 = RS 18.038.15-6); wlht akl Iy likt
m p b
ky akl bhwtk. inn. pn tubd, 'As for the tablet about food, when you
sent to the Sun the message that there is no food in your country,
the Sun was indeed di sheartened...' (K TU 2.39.17ff). There are
many other examples, for instance, in administrative texts: mlb.trmnm
(6) (7) (8) ytn.lhm, '. . . As for the clothing of the
trrnnm-gods when it is old, then in the house of the king clothing
should be given to them' (KTU 4.168 = RS 15.082.5-9).
1.6 Performative and prescriptive prose
I n this group I would include the medical texts, omens, rituals and
contracts, though a distinction from other prose texts is not always
easy. For instance, the protocol of necromancy through the medi um
Dtn, one of the royal deified ancestors, contains as a report an amal-
gam of narrative discourse, ritual and medical prescriptions ( D i et r i c h
L o r et z 1990a, 212, 216). The Ugaritic liturgical prayer K TU
1.108 = RS 24.252 is an interesting amal gam of performative rit-
ual language and descriptive hymnic prose with occasional paral-
lelism. Though the style of contracts is basically performative and
very formal, lym hnd RN mlk ugrt ytn bt/d. . ., 'On this day, RN the
King of Ugarit gave the house, the field . . (KTU 3.2 = RS 15.111;
3.5 = RS 16.382); lym hnd iwrkl pdy . . ., 'On this day, I wrikalli
redeemed PN. . . ' (KTU 3.4 = RS 16.191+), we occasionally find
instances of persuasive style complete with metaphor: . . . l.yihd stqlm
(2) b (3) d brt.kmt. (4) br stqlm (5) b unt
lm, 'No one shall
take Stqlm in corve-service. As the Sun who is free, so Stqlm is
free from corve-service for ever. . .' (KTU 2.19 = RS 15.125).
The largest category in this section comprises rituals. They are
written with an exasperating concision ( P ar dee - B o r d r eu i l 1992,
709). Many of the ritual texts look like administrative texts: a list of
gods and the sacrifices administered to them. Some of them are even
simple onomastica of gods (KTU 1. 47 || 1. 118; Akkadian RS 20. 24,
N o u g ay r o l , 1968, 42 64), perhaps a kind of canonical list of gods.
Excerpts from this list and others, are extended in the rituals by
sacrifices administered to them. Thi s may happen by simple juxta-
position of name and sacrifice, e.g. b'l i, atrt s tkmn wnm 'nt , rp
/, etc. (KTU 1.41 = RS 1. 003+. 15-6, with parallels), but also with
a dative I (wtn sm lb
lt bhtm,
srm lins ihn, K TU 1. 41. 5, see also 1.81 =
RS 15. 130; in Human texts dative -d/ -da, plural -tt/-asta). These
lists can be preceded by date formulae of months and days: byrh ris
yn. bymhdt. . . btltt
srt, 'I n the month Risyn (First Wine) on the day
of the new moon . . . on the 13th day . . .' Occasionally, and often
interspersed between this lists of sacrifices, we find references to
processions and other cultic rites to be performed. A basic question
remains as to whether these rituals were meant to be 'prescriptive'
or 'descriptive' ( L evi ne 1963; P ar d ee - B o r d r eu i l 1992, 709). My
own preference is to see the references to ritual activities as habit-
ual. Thi s is consonant with the frequent use of imperfects indicat-
ing an i ncompl ete action, if not an action to be performed, i.e. a
jussive mode, or a prescriptive imperfect ( P ar dee - B o r d r eu i l 1992).
Thi s prescriptive nature of the rituals is also consonant with the fact
that some rituals have compl ete or partial duplicates. The ritual pre-
scriptions usually mention or imply the king and the priest as officiants:
btltt 'srt. yrtfis. mlk.brr, 'on the 13th day the king shall wash himself
cl ean' (K TU 1.41 = RS 1.003+.3 and passim), wynt qrt/db I
nt walp
w l il wb urbt y tk gdlt ilhm, 'and he shall prepare a city-pigeon before
Anat, a cow and a sheep for El and in the chi mney he shall pour
out (the blood of) the cow for the ancestor-gods(?)' (K TU 1.41.10
and passim), wtlhm. att. . . kl lylhm bh . . . , ' . . . a woman may eat (from
i t). . . nobody should eat from i t. . . (K TU 1.115 = RS 24.260.8,
10).;. . .yt.rpu.mlk.
lm. wyt (2) [/] gtr.wyqr. . wtst.'nt.gtr. . ., '. .. let the
Heal er, the eternal king, drink and let [the god] Garu-and-Y aqaru
dri nk . . . and let Anat of Garu dri nk . . .' (K TU 1.108 = RS
24.252.1-2, 6). Thi s prescriptive prose style is particularly clear in
the ritual where the king and the officiant priests celebrate together:
id[.yd]bh.mlk (51) ar[b]'.arb'.mtbt.azmr.bhJJr[p] (52)
al[p.]w..lmm.pamt.b'.klbh (53) yr[gm.]mlk.sbu.p.w.hl.mlk (54)
w.l[b][y pn]h.t[t]tbn (55) b.b[t] y [u.l.]smm. yd[h]
Then the king shall sacrifice to PRGL SRQN on the roof, on which
there are four by four dwellings of foliage: a sheep as a burnt offering
and a cow and a sheep as a peace-offering. Seven times the king shall
say whole-heartedly (the prayer): 'Host of the Sun and army of Maliku'.
Clothe him with covers(?) and wipe his face, and let him return to
the temple; and when he is present, he shall raise his hands to heaven.
(KTU 1.41 = RS 1.003+.50-5)
. . . [ s]l[m.u]hiy ylb (23) mlk.ylk.lqli.ilm (24) atr.ilm.ylk.p'nm (25) mlk.p'nm.yl[k.]
(26) b' pamt.lklhm
. . . [the] sta[tue of U]hari one shall dress. The king shall proceed to
accompany the gods, people shall go behind the gods barefoot. The
king shall also go barefoot, seven times for both(?) of them.
(KTU 1.43 = RS 1.005.22-7)
Another instance of performati ve style in ritual, but in the second
person plural, is the sacrificial ritual of the ancestor cult (KTU 1.161 =
RS 34.126). The perfective forms have been understood as pre-
scriptive narrati ve (as also in the Hebrew Bible Lev. 8- 9; de M o o r
1976, 335; HEAL EY 1978b, 85), but I would suggest that they are
performative or precative perfects:
spr dbh (2) qritm.rp.a[rs] (3) qbitm.qbs.d[dn] (4) qra.ulkn.rp[a] . . . tqdm
sr (31) lm.lm 'mr[pi] (32) (33) lm.bth.lm.ugrt (34) lm.lgrh
Book of the Sacrifice of the 'Shades': Y ou shall now invoke the Heal ers
of the Earth, you shall now summon the Assembl y of DDN: 'I nvi ted
be UL K N, the Heal er . . .' Y ou shall approach the festive assembly by
sayi ng the peace: Peace to Ammurapi ; peace to his sons; peace to
Tryl\ peace to his house; peace to Ugari t; peace to its gates.
Performative imperatives and jussive imperfects 2nd person sing, and
plur. also occur in rituals: b t
rh (2) trbd.'rs []pd-{?>)-iy.b t.mlk.. . (25)
I pn ll.trr (26) V/. . ., 'On the 19th day, you shall prepare the nup-
tial bed of Pidriya in the suite of the ki ng. . . before the night, you
shall shake up the bed. . . ' (KTU 1.132 = RS 24.291.1-3, 25-6).
Note also the poetic prose incipit of the prayer in K TU 1.119 =
RS 24.266: k gr 'z.tgrkm.qrd (27) hmytkm.''l.tsun, 'When a strong
one attacks your gates, a warrior your walls, you shall raise your
eyes to Ba'al (sayi ng:)...' (R.P. GORDON 1991, 161-3). Such per-
formative style is characteristic of Ugaritic rituals, just as for ancient
Near Eastern rituals in general. A last good example is the expia-
tory ritual K TU 1.40 = RS 1.002 found in several mutilated copies:
And present a young he-ass to obtai n the re1ease(?) of the Ugari ti ans
and the expi ati on of the soj ourners wi thi n the walls of Ugari t, the
expi ati on of Tman, the expi ati on of
rmt, the expi ati on of Ugari t and
the expi ati on of Ni qmaddu. Whether your fai thful ness departed from
the Qati an clans, the Dadmi an clans, the Human clans, the Hatti c
clans, the A1aian clans, the clans of Gbr, the clans who robbed you,
the clans of your faithfu1(?), the clans of Qrzblwhether your fai thful -
ness departed ei ther because of your anger or because of your i mpa-
tience, or because of the quarrel s you had, whether your fai thful ness
departed for sacrifices and obl ati on, our sacrifice we shoul d sacrifice.
Thi s is the obl ati on we obl ate, this the offeri ng we offer. Let it rise
to the Father of the gods, let it rise to the family of the gods, to
Tukman and unam, this he-ass. (K TU 1.40.26-34)
The omen texts show a fixed pattern of prose sentences and syntax,
like their Mesopotamian counterparts. Obviously, this type of liter-
ature derived from Babylonian tradition. Fragments of a dreambook
(KTU 1.86 RS 18.041) and a collection of astronomical omens
(KTU 1.163 = RI H 78/14) have been preserved. The birth omens
are represented by two main groups: the summa izbu 'If an abortion'
(KTU 1.103+ = RS 24.247+) and the umma sinnitu (.. .) ulid 'If a
woman gives birth to a . . .' omens (KTU 1.140 = RS 24.302). The
former is the better preserved collection and shows the well-known
protasis-apodosis k tld X . . . Y(-r) structure. Characteristic of omens
is the subject (+) verb order in the apodosis ( T r o p p er 1994c,
Omens of small livestock. [I f] a ewe(?) bears a stone, then the maj or-
ity in the l and will fall victim; (if) a snake follows after it, the young
of its cattle will be weak, (if) also a . . .; fami ne will be in the land,
(if) it has no . . ., the country wall be destroyed; and (if) [its belly] is
open, a fami ne will be in the l and . . .
Certain omens were checked by a second opinion of the haruspex
(KTU 1.78 = RS 12.061), but inspection of the omina also drew
forth ritual activity to eliminate the effects of bad omens. The lung
model K TU 1.127 = RS 24.277, for instance, reveals an interest-
ing instance of relationship between omen interpretation and ritual.
It may have been an instruction model, but this is far from certain,
since parallels are still lacking ( M ey er in D i et r i c h - L o r et z 1990a,
270-1). Nevertheless certain parts arc marked by 'borders' contain-
ing small texts with ritual instructions, seemingly derived from omi na
observations. The most interesting instance is the instruction of a
scape-goat rite to eliminate the danger of a city taken or a plague
( D i et r i c h L o r et z 1990a, 32-38, 270-1):
hm qrt mt y'l bn (31) bt bn bus yqh
z (32) wyhdy mrhqm
If a city is besieged (and) if pl ague attacks a man, the citizen's house-
hold will take a goat and bani sh it to the remotest parts.
(KTU 1.127.30-2)
However not many other examples of such characteristic prose can
be gleaned from the rituals. The style is often extremely concise and
many phrases are still poorly understood, for instance
rb.p. whl.mlk
(KTU 1.87 = RS 18.056.56-7; 1.46+ = RS 1.009.9-10, 44, 1.112 =
RS 24.256.9, 1.119 = RS 24.266.4, 23-4, 1.126 = RS 24.276.23?,
1.132 = RS 24.291.27-8), variant sbu p (whl ym
rb p) whl mlk
(KTU 1.41 = RS 1.003+.47-8, 53-4, 1.112.14-5), also ttb rgm (bgn)
whl mlk (KTU 1.106 = RS 24.250+.23-4, 33). The context suggests
a kind of morni ng or evening prayer spoken by the king.
2 U g ar i t i c P o et r y
W i l f r e d G. . W a t s o n
2.1 Introduction
2.1.1 Scope
Almost from the very beginning of Ugaritic studies, account was
taken of the verse component,
but as yet there has been no full-
scale description of Ugaritic poetry nor has there been an exhaus-
tive examination of the principles involved, although several partial
surveys are available.
The best and fullest account so far is P ar k er
(1989, 7-98)
while a very detailed analysis of parallelism including
phonological features in only one short passage (KTU 1.3 = RS
2.[014]+ i 2~25) has also been completed ( P ar dee 1988c, 1-67). In
view of this state of affairs, the presentation here is not systematic;
instead, it sets out a number of related topics under several head-
ings. First, though, some account is required of the nature of the
material under consideration and the problems it entails.
2.1.2 The texts
The corpus of Ugaritic poetry is fairly easy to define: it includes all
the mythological and epic texts, which are mostly in narrative verse,
and excludes letters, legal and economic texts as well as most of the
ritual texts as non-poetic.
Some texts, however, are borderline, e.g.
K TU 1.119 = RS 24.266:28-36); K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126 ( P ar dee
1993a) and some verse texts contain prose elements ( C r oss 1974)
e.g. K TU 1.113 = RS 24.247:1-11 = verse; 12ff. = prose list. Some
DUSSAUD 1935, 1936 ( 1941
) ; GASTER 1933, GI NSBERG 1936, OBERMANN 1936,
as well as COPPENS 1946, 1944, Y OUNG 1948, 1949, etc., though inevitably
the relationship to Hebrew poetry was to the fore.
T / T 13, KOSMALA 1966, 172- 6; GRA Y 1965 passim, SEGERT 1979; 1983; 1984,
109- 10; DEI . OI .MO LF.TF. 1981, 31- 62; AVI SHUR 1994, 13 25.
For a critique cf. DEL OI .MO L ETE 1990, esp. 190-4.
'Features known as parallelistic may also occur in prose texts. Some Ugaritic
epistolary formulae exhibit parallelism, and even some of the expressions in the
body of the letters are arranged in parallelistic structures. This criterion alone can-
not determine whether the text is poetry or prose. The other distinguishing feature
of a poetic text is its division into prosodie units of approximately the same length'
(SEGERT 1979, 730) .
speech introductions are extra-colonic but others comprise an integral
part of the verse (see Thus, the corpus includes the
Baal Cycle (KTU 1.1-6 = RS 3.361, 3.367, 3.346, 2. [014]+, 2. [008]+,
2.[022]+, 2.[009]+); the 'Stories' of Keret and Aqhat (KTU 1.14-16
= RS 2.[003]+, 3.343+, 3.325+; K TU 1.17-9 = RS 2. [004], 3.340,
3.322+); the Rapi'uma texts (KTU 1.20-1.22 = RS 3.348, 2.[019],
2.[024]); a wedding poem (KTU 1.24 = RS 5.194); incantations
(KTU 1.82 = RS 15.134; K TU 1.96 = RS 22.225; K TU 1.100 =
RS 24.244; K TU 1.107 = RS 24.251+); a prayer (KTU 1.119 =
RS 24.266:28-36; see d el O l mo L et e 1987, W a t s o n 1996); a mythic
marriage ritual (KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002; cf. W a t s o n 1994a); a funeral
ritual (KTU 1.161 = RS 34.126; see P ar d ee 1993a) and various
A broad distinction can therefore be made between longer
texts (mosdy narrative) and relatively short texts (the remainder), with
K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244 occupying a mid-posidon. On the whole
problem see 5.1.4.
2.1.3 Problems in studying Ugaritic verse
Apart from the poor condition of some tablets which makes many
readings uncertain as well as leaving large gaps in the poetic texts,
and the fact that the corpus is relatively small, certain specific diffi-
culties combine to make the analysis of Ugaritic verse problematic.
Principally, for most of the tablets the stichometry is uncertain or
at least not made clear.
Exceptions include K TU 1.10 = RS 3.362+
(and to some extent K TU 1.23 = RS 2.002), where the verse-line
corresponds to tablet line (cf. d el O l mo L et e 1991a, 463 and
n. 3, W an s b r o u g h 1983 and W a t s o n 1982). Occasionally, stretches
of text are written with correct stichometry (e.g K TU 1.15 = RS
3.343+ iii 1-23, with 23 consecutive verse-lines which match the
lines on the tablet) and some of the worst sections are in Aqht.
At times, the vocabulary poses difficulties (e.g. gmn in K TU 1.6 =
RS 2. [009]+ i 19ff.). Generally, this is not particularly an obstacle
to determining poetic structure. However, when whole passages
which are repeated are not entirely understood, (e.g. K TU 1.3 =
RS 2. [014]+ iii 14-7 and par.) problems do arise.
E.g. K T U 1.8 = R S 3.364; K T U 1.83 = R S 16.266see PI TARD 1998, DEL
OL MO L ETE 1996; K T U 1.92 = R S 19.039+see DE MOOR 1985, DI J KSTRA 1994,
MARGAL I T 1989b; K T U 1.93 = R S 19.054see DI J KSTRA 1986.
See L ORETZ 1976, 1986, KOTTSI EPER - L ORETZ 1987.
The lack of vocalization and in general the absence of a tradition
of pronunciation (although syllabic spellings are of some help where
available) mean that we do not know how this poetry was recited
or sung and there is no indication of metre (see below), especially
as it is not known for certain where the stress lay.
There are several scribal mistakes; in addition, very often lines
appear to be omitted (as is apparent from comparison of near-
parallel passages)
but it is not always clear when this was inten-
tional (see 5.7 on expansi on/contracti on) and when not (see de
M o o r 1978a, 130-1).
Almost all Ugaritic narrative is in verse, with no strictly compa-
rable material in prose. Exceptions are the letters and to some
extent the ritual texts, but these have their own special styles and
to some extent Akkadian influence is evident in the letters, some
of which were translations (see, e.g. M a r q u e z R o w e 1992) . It is,
for instance, difficult to describe 'normal ' syntax and then com-
pare it with the syntax of poetry, due to the lack of material ( Si van
1997, 210) (however see 5. 2. 3. 3 and 5. 2. 3. 5 below on verb
forms and ellipsis).
2.1.4 Approaches
On the positive side, some assistance is provided by the tablets and
several factors make study of Ugaritic verse easier. Qui te often, as
has been noted, whole passages of verse are repeated. Sometimes
the correct stichometry is used and as has been said, the corpus is
reasonably well-defined. Enough of the texts is understood for a
degree of certainty in describing their poetic aspect and information
from similar traditions (Akkadian, Hebrew, Phoenician) can be of
some help. Also, text editions with translations now tend to include
comments on poetic structure.
M.S. Smith, who provides vocaliza-
tion, semantic parallelism, word-count, syllable count, comments:
Some remarks bearing on various sorts of parallelismsyntactic,
morphological and sonant. . .often follow the presentation of cola,
although syntactic parallelism is not treated according to any specific
system. Rather, it has been my interest to indicate how these sorts of
See, e. g. ROSENTHAL 1939.
DEL OL MO L ETE 1991, PARDEE 1988a, SMI TH 1994a, WY A T T 1998c, etc.; see also
MA RGA L I T 1980b (with the critique by DEL OI . MO L ETE 1983) and MARGAL I T 1989a.
parallelism may bind and contrast cola, especially in the absence of
apparent semantic parallelism (M.S. Smi th 1994a, xxxiv).
2.1.5 Metre
It is now generally accepted that Ugaritic verse is not metrical. Y oung
discussed the possible existence of metre in Ugaritic verse and con-
cluded: 'I f there is any metric [i.e. metrical] system in Ugaritic, it
should show itself in some regular manifestation observable in the
texts themselves wi thout our trying to fit any system into them'
(YOUNG 1950, 124). Two factors led him to this conclusion: (1) 'there
is no consistency in the sequence of similar stich combinations within
a poem or within sections of a poem, much less a consistency of an
accent-per-word pattern for the successive stichs themselves' (YOUNG
1950, 124) (2) 'if an accentual meter existed at Ugarit, it might be
seen in consistency between parallel passages within single poems, if
meter were i mportant to the composer, singer, or reciter of the
poetry. No such consistency is found' (YOUNG 1950, 128). He added:
poetry in which the outstanding feature is parallelism of thought;
a poetry written in a language in which the majority of words are
of one, two, or three syllables, and in a language in which almost
any clause can be couched in from two to four words, is a poetry
which naturally lends itself to the creation of lines of uniform met-
ric length' (YOUNG 1950, 132). His conclusions have been accepted
by Pardee who states that since there is no 'regular, predictable or
at least observable recurrence' of rhythmic units in Ugaritic poetry
it has no metre (PARDEE 1981, 116) and PARKER (1989, 9-10) pro-
vides additional arguments.
It has been suggested by de Moor that
Ugaritic verse is written in free rhythm to match its musical accompani -
ment. Such music was probably led by a soloist and would fit the
short stichoi of ancient West Semitic poetry. The fact that conse-
cutive lines had a degree of regularity can be explained by the poets'
'pursuit of symmetry' (DE MOOR 1978a, 132). Ultimately, 'parallelism
was the pri mary structural principle of Ugaritic poetry and . . . length
The aspect of literary translations of these texts cannot be discussed here; cf.
SEGERT 1979, 738, PARKER 1990 and L EWI S 1996.
MA RGA L I T 1975, 1995, 215; endorsed by ZEVI T 1983 (but cf. PARDEE 1981- 2,
259- 72) . HORWI T Z 1973, argues that the word-divider had a metrical function, but
cf . SEGERT 1979, 730 ( on K T U 1. 24 = R S 5. 194) and WANSBROUGH 1983.
of line was only prescriptive in the general principle of approxi ma-
tion' ( P ar dee 1981, 126).
2.2 Language
In general, the language of Ugaritic verse is archaic ( P ar dee 1981- 2,
267) and to some extent it also has its own vocabulary (see above). I n
respect of verb forms, the rules followed are unlike those for prose.
The use of the qtl (or qatala) form in Ugaritic verse is distinctive:
'While *qatala constitutes the characteristic form for past narration
in the prose texts, its poetic usage is more restricted; the prefix forms
[yqtl, etc.] arc the norm for poetic narrati on' (M.S. S mi t h 1995,
789, following F en t o n 1973) . " Besides being used for the stative,
reporting the past, continuing other perfects, the pluperfect, subor-
dination and the performati ve, there arc three usages specific to
Ugaritic verse. These are 'contrast with prefix forms', 'report of action
commanded in the imperative' and 'delimitation of a section' (M.S.
S mi t h 1995, 790, with further references). Different or identical verb
forms can occur in parallel lines (see 5. 2. 3. 3) . Little research has
been carried out on syntax, but for the Story
of Keret, it has been
shown 'that word and sentence order remains completely unaffected
by the type of verbal form present' ( Wi l son 1982, 31).
2.3 Parallelism and the verse-line
2.3.1 General
The basic component of Ugaritic verse is the verse-line which can
be divided into two (parallel) half-lines or provided with a parallel
line to form a bicolon. It is generally accepted, then, that parallelism
is a fundamental component of Ugaritic verse, and it differs from
prose precisely because parallelism is so preval ent." There are several
However, cf.
According to GI BSON 1975, Keret is a myth and Ai/liai a folktale. On literary
forms in Ugaritic cf. DEL OI .MO L ETE 1984b.
I ;!
WI L SON ( 1982, 31) concludes: 'Such interchangeabilitv of verb forms with no
appreciable effect on word order or sentence structure may well indicate a "frozen"
state for some poetic passages, in which word order is fixed and immovable. Such
passages could be inserted at any point of a narrative with only the necessary change
of verbal form in the new context'. See also SI VAN 1997, 210- 4.
'There is little disagreement that the most obvious and pervasive convention
of the Ugaritic poems is parallelism' (PARKER 1989, 7, cf. 10).
types of parallelism, dependi ng on meaning (i.e. semantic parallelism
which can be synonymousi ncl udi ng numerical parallelism, anti-
thetic or contrasting, alternating), syntax (grammatical; nominal and
verbal; chiastic) and the lines (or parts of lines) comprising paral-
lelism can have various degrees of separation (standard or near, inter-
nal, and distant) and can be grouped into bicola, tricola, etc. These
types may or may not overlap.
2.3.2 Semantic parallelism
There are various sub-types of semantic parallelism. Synonymous parallelism
Thi s is the standard form of parallelism,
where line A and line
say virtually the same thing:
tmgnn rbt atrt ym (A) They ply with gifts Lady Athirat of the Sea,
tg zyn qnyt ilm (B) they implore the Progenitrix of the gods
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ iii 25-6) Numeri cal parallelism
Since numbers have no synonyms, synonymous parallelism involving
numbers takes the form of || + 1 (where is an integer), as in
hm tn dbhm ska b'l For two sacrifices Baal hates,
lit rkb
rpt three, the Cloud-rider:
dbh bit wdbh dnt a sacrifice of shame and a sacrifice of prostitution
wdbh tdmm amht and a sacrifice of handmaidens' lechery
(KTU 1.4 iii 17-21)
There are several other examples.
16 Antithetic parallelism
Although relatively rare, contrasting or antithetic parallelism does
PARKER 1974, PARDEE 1988b, SEGERT 1984, 109.
See the bibliography in WATSON 1991b, 241, n. 2 and 242, n. 3, esp. AVI SHUR
1973 and 1981 and L EE 1973.
WATSON 1986 = 1994b, 468-77.
t pt lars pt 1mm set a lip to the earth, a(nother) lip to the sky
(KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002:61-2)
and, in spite of the missing text:
[g]/n tshq
nt [A1]oud did Anat laugh,
wblb tqny [. . .] but in her heart she was hatching [a plot?]
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] vi 41-2) Alternating parallelism
More problematic is the existence of what appear to be non-paral-
lel bicola (SEGERT 1983, 300). Such non-parallel lines can be explained
in several ways. For example, a line such as hm it Ihm wtn wnlhm, 'If
there is food, then give so that we may eat' appears to be prose,
but in view of its counterpart, the lines are evidently in alternating
parallelism (indicated by A/A' and B/B'):
hm [it 1 ]hm (A) If there is food,
wtn wnlhm (B) then give so that we may eat
hm it [yn] (A') If there is wine,
\yi\tn. wnt (B') then give, so that we may drink
(KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002:70-2).
Elsewhere the overriding pattern of parallel couplets tended to gen-
erate non-parallel couplets.
2.3.3 Grammatical and syntactical parallelism
A complete match in grammati cal terms is evident in
lhm qy ilm Give food, drink to the gods, WO *
sad kbd hmt wait on, honour them W O
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] 19-20).
The verbs in the parallel lines of a couplet can be in various 'tenses',
giving rise to types such qtl || qtl, qtl || yqtl, yqtl || qtl and yqtl || yqtl
On qtl in Ugaritic verse see above.
Note also that a verbal clause can be in parallel with a noun clause:
See MERL O 1996.
DE MOOR 1993, 204 adduces K T U 1. 19 = R S 3. 322+ iv 46 50.
V = 'verb'; = 'object'.
Parallel to K T U 1.17 = R S 2. [ 004] 29- 30, perhaps with hendiadys here.
CASSUTO 1971, FENTON 1969, 1973, HEL D 1962, 1965, M . S. SMI TH 1994,
WATSON 1989 = 1994c, 240-9.
al trgn ybtltm Do not delude me Virgin,
dm Igzr srgk hhm for your delusion to a hero is sheer rubbish.
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004]+ vi 34-5)
Perhaps chiastic parallelism belongs here, as in
sb ksp Irqm turned had the silver into sheets
hrs nsb llbnt the gold had turned into bricks
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ vi 34-5)
where the components of line 1 are switched around in line 2.
chiasmus see W e l c h ( 1974) .
2.3.4 Parallelism based on degree of separation
I nternal or half-line parallelism occurs when only one line is involved,
for example:
s 1ht abn Word of tree and whisper of stone
(KTU i .3 = RS 2.[014]+ iii 22-3 and par.).
Here, the two halves of the line are in parallel.
Standard or near
parallelism is none other than the couplet formed by adj acent lines
(see above). In distant parallelism, which serves to bind together longer
sections of text, there is a gap between the lines involved ( P ar dee
1988c, 193-201, esp. 199-200). I n general, the standard verse pat-
tern comprises two sequential lines, as if parallelism were the accepted
norm, although it is not always present. Qui te often couplets can be
formed from two (formulaic) monocol a ( P ar k er 1989, 23).
2.3.5 Ellipsis and ballast variant
Ellipsis (or gapping) is the absence of one or more elements (e.g. a
verb) from a line which would be expected but is or are understood
to be present.
For example, the verb tbl (+ suffix) is taken to be
present in the second line of
tblk grm mid ksp May the mountains bring you plenty of silver,
tblk gb'm mhmd hrs the hills bring you choicest gold
(KTU 1.4 (= RS "2. [008]+) 31-3)
See WATSON 1983C, DE MOOR 1993, 193.
Note also 'gender-matched parallelism' (on which cf. WATSON 1981a).
See WATSON 1984b, 1985, 1988b = 1994b, 104 44. K ORPEL - DE MOOR 1998, 11.
See SI VAN 1997, 215-6.
The 'missing' element is indicated by (DE MOOR 1993, 200).
A ballast variant is the use of a longer expression (usually in the sec-
ond line) for its correspondi ng and evidently shorter equivalent (usu-
ally in the first line) and is related to ellipsis. 'The principle of ellipsis
in poetry is the converse of (and goes hand in hand with) the pri n-
ciple of ballast variants.' (UT 13.105). For exampl e:
wykn bnh bbt Sired be a son for him in the house,
wykn 1rs bqrb hklh Sired be a scion within his palace
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] i 25-6 || 42-3)
Here, the ballast vari ant of bbt in the first colon is bqrb hklh in the
second colon, whi ch compensates for the the ellipsis of wykn in the
second colon Similary, zbl b'l ars is the longer equivalent of aliyn b
(matchi ng the ellipsis of wid
) in:
wid' khy aliyn b'l Then I shall know that Mightiest Baal lives,
kit zbl b'l ars I shall know that the Prince, Lord of the Earth,
(KTU 1.6 iii 8-9; also KTU 1.17 i 36-7; KTU 1.18 iv 17-8).
Ellipsis in the first colon is rare, occurri ng almost exclusively in 'stair-
case parallelism' (see
ht ibk b'lm tmhs Now, your enemy, Baal, do strike,
ht ibk tmhs Now, your enemy strike etc.
(KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 iv 8-9)
As A l t e r (1985, 23-6). has expl ai ned, such ellipsis frees space in
the second line for some el aborati on of a parallel item in the first
line and also isolates the expanded topic for attention.
2.4 Verse paragraphs
Lines of verse can occur in relative isolation (monocola) or clustered
in sets varyi ng from two (couplets) to seven or more. These combi -
nations of cola
are described here.
See also GREENSTEI N 1983. SI VAN Y ONA ( 1998, 404- 5) discuss ellipsis of a
single word in K T U 1.2 = R S 3. 367 i 20- 1; K T U 1.3 = R S 2. [ 014] + iv 5; K T U
1. 14 = R S 2. [ 003] + i v 42- 3; K T U 1. 16 = R S 3. 325+ vi 11- 2; K T U 1. 22 = R S
2. [ 024] i 21- 4, and ellipsis of an expression in K T U 1.2 = R S 3. 367 iv 6; K T U
1.3 = R S 2. [ 014] + i v 39- 40.
SEGERT 1983, 302; 1984, 108 71. 32.
2.4.1 Monocola
Although the standard strophic form is the couplet, single lines or
monocol a occur very frequently. They appear as introductory mono-
cola drawing attention to speaker and in this form are prose, e.g.
rr Imtt hry 'Listen, Lady Hurri ya' (KTU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi
16-7). When expanded to a bicolon or tricolon (see section on expan-
sion/contraction), they are verse. Several are speech-openers.
It is sometimes difficult to determi ne whether a line of verse forms
part of a longer unit (bicolon, tricolon, etc.) or is entirely separate, e.g.
d Ihm sty ilm While they ate the gods drank.
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ vi 55)
Is this line a monocol on or an introduction to the next two lines?
The function of the monocol on is to open and close sections of verse.
They can also mark a climax, as in
sgrthn. abkrn The youngest of them I shall make the firstborn
(KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 16).
Some monocol a exhibit inner parallelism
and so conform to the
prevailing feature of Ugaritic verse. An example is the standard for-
mul a
balp Id rbt kmn by the thousand iddu, the myri ad kumnu
(KTU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ iv 38 and many times elsewhere).
2.4.2 The tricolon
True tricola, where all three lines are in parallelism (AAA"), are
rare, e.g.
I ys' alt tbtk Surely he will remove the prop of your seat,
I yhpk ksa mlkk Surely he will upset the throne of your kingship,
I ytbr ht mtptk Surely he will smash the sceptre of your rule.
( . 6 = RS 2. [009]+ vi 27-9 (and par.).
Some comprise a monocol on followed by a bicolon (ABB'):
db imr bphd She prepared a lamb in flour
hps ktr whss for the appetite of Kothar-and-Hasis
1brlt hyn dhrydm for the craving of Hayin, skilful with both hands.
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] 22-5)
See WATSON 1984b, 1985a, 1988b = 1994b, 104-44.
or, have the reverse formation (AA'B):
ydd wqlsn He stood and insulted me,
yqm wywptn He got up and spat on me,
btk phr bn ilm right in the gathering of El's sons
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ iii 12-4).
A special type of tricolon, called 'staircase parallelism', where the
initial line is interrupted by a vocative and then repeated in com-
plete form, occurs several times,
ir hym laqht gzr Ask for life, Hero Aqhat,
irs hym watnk Ask for life I and I shall give it to you,
blmt waslhk for non-death, and I shall grant (it) to you.
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] vi 26-8)
One function of tricola is to slow the pace of the narrative which
then requires more attention ( P ar k er 1989, 16).
2.4.3 The quatrain or tetracolon
There are various forms of the four-line strophe, including
AAA" A' "
adnh yt msb mznm
umh kp mznm
ihh yt'r mrrm
ahth labn mznm
Her father set the beams of the scales,
her mother, the trays of the scales.
Her brothers settled the pointer,
her sisters, the stones of the scales.
(KTU 1.24 = RS 5.194:33-7)
tmh ht atrt wbnh Let Athirat and her sons now rejoice,
ilt wsbrt aryh the goddess and the throng of her kin,
kmt aliyn b'l for dead is Mighty Baal,
khlq zbl b'l ars expired has the Prince, the earthlord
(KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ i 39-43)
Some are formed when one couplet is inserted into another, as in
dnilysb palth Daniel went round his blighted land,
bsql yph bpalt he saw a stalk in the blighted land,
bsql yph byglm he saw a stalk in the weeds,
bsql yhbq wynsq he hugged and kissed the stalk.
(KTU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ ii 12-5).
See AVI SHUR 1972, GREENSTEI N 1974, 1977, L OEWENSTAMM 1969 = 1980,
281- 309. 'Staircase parallelism' is more correctly analysed as apostrophe plus ep-
analepsis (WANSBROUGH 1982).
As identified by DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1973a (but cf. 1973b) and DEL OI .MO L ETE
2.4.4 The pentacolon
An example is:
bh p'nm ttt On her, her feet quake,
dn ksl ttbr behind her, her loins burst,
'In pnh td' above, her face perspires,
tgs pnt kslh the joints of her loins quiver,
ans dt irh the muscles of her back.
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ ii 16-20; || KTU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ iii
32ff. KTU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ ii 44ff.)
Again, much like the quatrai n (see above) pentacola arise when a
tricolon is inserted into a bicolon, as in
dyr vuydmr Who sings and plays
bknr wtlb with lyre and flute,
btp wmsltm with drum and cymbals,
bmrqdm dsn with ivory castanets
bhbr ktr tbm in the company of sweet(-voiced) Kothar.
(KTU 1.108 = RS 24.252:3-5)
2.4.5 Longer sequences
Hexacola are relatively rare in Ugaritic (cf. L o r et z 1989) . The fol-
lowing comprises an introductory line and a five-line speech:
tm ydr krt t' itt There Keret the votary vowed a gift:
atrt srm wlilt sdynm 'Oh, Athirat of Tyre, and goddess of Sidon,
hm hiy bty iqh if I take Hurriy to my house,
asr'b glmt hgry and bring the damsel into my dwelling,
tnh kspm atn twice her mass in silver shall I give,
wtltth hrsm and three times her mass in gold!'
(K TU . 14 = RS 3.343+ iv 36-43)
Other hexacola may be K TU 1.3 = RS 2.[014]+ iii 3-8a; K TU
1.3 iv 48-53 () 39-44 || K TU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ i 12-8; iv
1981a, 34 and DE MOOR 1978a, 137, n. 41. Other examples in WATSON 1997a,
30-5 and 1997b.
For another example cf. DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1982.
The meaning of iitt (= i + lit?) is disputed (cf. DLU, 1 and 60); here I follow
WY A TT 1998C, 200- 1; see esp. nn. 115 and 117. Another possible translation is
'The gift of 'Atiratu of Tyre, the goddess of Sidon (is this):' (PARDEE 1997a, 336).
For yet another translation cf. MARGAL I T 1997.
50-7); K T U 1.12 = RS 2. [012] ii 58-61; K TU 1.17 = RS 2.[004]
vi 43-5.
Other sets are heptacola, K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ 11 - 9
and its near-parallel K TU 1.6 ii 31 -5,
the eight-line sequence K TU
1.5 = RS 2.[022]+ i 14-22 and the nine-colon set K TU 1.107 = RS
24.251+ 38-44.
2.5 Strophe and stanza
A stanza is 'a fixed . . . or variable . . . groupi ng of lines that is organ-
ized into themati c, metrical, rhetorical, musical, or narrati ve sec-
tions' ( M e y e r s - S i mms 1989, 288), though whether this definition
would be recognised by the poets of Ugarit is a moot point. The
only poem with an apparent sequence of strophes or stanzas
K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244 which is divided into 14 sections by ruled
lines. Of these, sections 2-11 have the same number of verse-lines
(i.e. 10) due principally to almost wholesale repetition. The first sec-
tion (KTU 1.100:17) has 14 lines because the initial couplet has
been expanded to a quatrai n (see W a t s o n 1997a, 35) .
3I !
The last two
sections differ completely from all the others. Thus, al though these
sections are actually marked off on the tablet, as P a r d e e (1978, 104)
comments: 'this is unquesti onabl y owi ng. . . to the extra-poetic struc-
ture of the text and the comparabl e length of the sections is owing
to the repetition within this structure' and 'any attempt to find stro-
phes in Ugaritic poetry as a prosodie or poetic el ement... is doomed
to failure'.
Analysis is limited to identifying shorter or longer sets
of verse-lines (couplets, tricola, quatrai ns, etc., as above), with no
regularity or predictability.
Even so, this remai ns a useful exercise,
and Ugaritic poetry can be segmented into sections based on content,
sometimes marked off by features such as certain particles (apnk, etc.)
K ORPEL - DE MOOR 1986, 190- 1 = 1988, 30- 1.
See previous note. Cf. VVYATT 1998c, 135 n. 83 and 141 n. 108.
The terms 'strophe' and 'stanza' as denoting lines of verse grouped into sets
are used almost interchangeably (cf. CUDDON 1992, 915- 6, 921) , although stanza is
more correct. On strophe, MEY ERS - SI MMS 1989, 291 note: 'In contemporary usage,
the term usually refers to any stanzaic unit containing irregular lines'.
Each 'stanza' has 10 lines (= 1 + 9); the first has 14 (4 + 1 +2 + 7).
See also PARDEE 1993a, 208, n. 2 (ruled lines do not mark off'strophes').
A very interesting attempt at dividing the Story of Keret into (three) chapters,
each further subdivided into 6 cantos of 5 canticles or strophes, has been made by
SPRONK 1988, although the incomplete form of the original text precludes cast iron
conclusions. See also LI CHTENSTEI N 1966. On a smaller scale cf. DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ
1978, HUSSER 1995, KL EVEN 1988.
a tricolon, peculiar syntax (de M o o r 1993, 197-200), speech introduc-
tions and the like, though these generally reinforce what has already
been indicated by the meani ng of the passage concerned (see, for
example, the headings in d e l O l mo L et e 1991a, 158-235, etc.).
2.6 Repetition
Repetition takes on various forms. Repetition of sound takes the form of
end-rhyme, alliteration, assonance and wordpl ay and is discussed
below ( 5.2.10). Repetition of words can occur at the beginning of
a line (anaphoric), at line end (cataphoric), as immediate repetition of
words (epizeuxis), and in the form of identical word pairs
(or repeated
over several cola, as keywords). Sometimes whole lines (or sets of lines)
are simply repeated, which in terms of strophe and stanza, results in
envelope figure and refrains. Lasdy, complete passages recur, sometimes
unchanged, sometimes in altered form (see 5.2.7; P a r k e r 1989,
26-52). A selection of these types of repetition is considered here.
2.6.1 Repetition of words
For example, repetition of one word at line-initial, as in
idk al ttn pnm Then you shall set off
'm gr trgzz towards Mount Trgzz,
m gr trmg towards Mount Thrmg,
'm tlm gsr ars towards the two hillocks at the edge of the earth
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ viii 1-4)
The function here is apparently to depict a long j ourney. Repetition
of a word consecutively occurs rarely and most examples come from
a single text (KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002). One function may be to
demand attention or convey urgency:
r n
p Hey! Watchman! Watchman! Open!
(KTU 1.23 = RS 2.002:69-70)
Similarly, y mt mt, Oh, husband, husband!' (KTU 1.23:40 and 46);
y ad ad and ad ad, 'Father, father!'; urn urn, 'Mother, mother!'. More
For an attempt along these lines cf. SAUREN - K ESTEMONT 1971, although their
scheme was much too rigid.
See especially BORNEMANN 1970.
On repetition in Ugaritic see ZURRO 1987 and HENS- PI AZZA 1992.
striking is the repetition of six consecutive lines beginning tld pgt. . .
'She shall bear a gi rl . . (KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 7-12).
2.6.2 Repetition of lines
ytlk llbnn ufsh They went to Lebanon and its trees,
1ryn mhmd arzh to Siryon (and) its choice cedars;
hn llbnn w'sh Yes, Lebanon and its trees,
1yn mhmd arzh to Siryon (and) its choice cedars.
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ vi 18-21)
Again, the purpose of the repetition, perhaps, is to depict a long
j ourney.
2.6.3 Repetition of passages
Ugaritic narrative poems are constructed using passages which are
repeated, sometimes verbatim, sometimes with slight variations.
that recur several times include the list setting out the six duties of
the model son (KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] i 26-33 and par.; H us s er
1995); the 'gift-list' in the Keret Story (KTU 1.14 = RS 2.[003] +
iii 22-5 and par.; H ens - P i az z a 1992) and the 'peace-offering ritual'
(KTU 1.3 = RS 2.[014]+ iii 14-7). Typically, a passage comprising
a 'command' is then repeated for the 'performance' or fulfilment of
that command, e.g. K TU 1.14 ii 6iii 19 and K TU 1.14 iii 52-i v
31, or else an invitation (KTU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] iii 2~4) and its
acceptance (lines 5-8; see d e l O l mo L et e 1981a, 58-60) It is signi-
ficant, perhaps, that segments of verse (couplets, etc.) could occur in
different sequences, for example, in K TU 1.14 40-2 (restored) ||
vi 10-2, the couplets
A wng mlk Ibty And depart, king, from my house,
rhq krt Ihzry go far, Keret, from my dwelling!
B al tsr udm rbt Do not besiege Greater Udum,
wudm trrt or Lesser Udum;
C udm ytnt il Udum is a present of El
wusn ab adm and a gift of the father of Man
come in the sequences ABC (KTU 1.14 iii 27-32), BCA (KTU 1.14
40-5) and ACB (KTU 1.14 vi 10-5) and in addition, the word
According to PARDEE 1997a, 338, n. 51 this may be a list of the daughters'
names, now lost.
Cf. DEL OL MO L ETE 1991a, 58-62, PARKER 1989, 26-52.
pair ng II rhq is inverted the last two texts. Unless due to dictation
error, this indicates that verse was composed in formulaic passages,
perhaps orally.
2.7 Expansion and contraction
I n Ugaritic the poets were free to expand single lines to bicola and
in turn form tricola from bicola. The process could also be reversed,
with longer strophes becomi ng shorter. It is certainly the case that
a line can be expanded to a couplet, as in:
rr rr latiyn b'l Listen, please, Mightiest Baal!
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ vi 4)
which becomes
m' laliyn b' I Listen, Mightiest Baal,
bn Irkb 'rpt understand, Cloud-rider!
(KTU 1.4 59-60)
A single line can also be extended to a tricolon. For instance, Pughatu's
core epithet is tkmt mym '(she who) shoulders water', and it can occur
alone (KTU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ iv 28); it can also be expanded by
two further epithets: hspt Is'r tl, 'scooping dew from the barley' and
yd't hlk kbkbm, 'knowing the course of the stars' (cf. M a r g a l i t 1989a,
364-5). The prose formul a wrgm Ikrt t' thm pbl mlk,
'And say to Krt
the Noble, "Message of Ki ng Pbl "' (KTU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+
32-3), which derives from everyday usage, is expanded by applying
parallelism to each half to form two bicola:
wrgm Ibn ilm mt And say to divine Mot,
tny lydd il gzr Repeat to El's beloved, the hero
thm aliyn b'l "Message of Mightiest Baal,
hwt aliy qrdm The word of the Mightiest warrior".
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [014]+ viii 29-35)
However, it is sometimes difficult to determi ne whether a poet has
intentionally added or omitted a line (or lines) or whether these are
accepted variants. For example, in
See LOEWENSTAMM 1980a = 1992, 230-9, DE MOOR 1978b, 1980.
Restored from similar formulae.
LOEWENSTAMM 1980b, 256-61.
sh hrn bbhtk Call a caravan into your house,
dbt bqrb hklk merchandise into the midst of your palace.
tblk grm mid ksp The rocks will bring you much silver,
gb'm mhmd hrs the hills attractive gold.
yblk udr ilqsm let the quarries bring you choice gems.
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ 15-6 and KTU 1.4 38-40)
The last line is present in the two parallel passages but has been
omitted in K TU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+ 31-3. Is this a mistake or a
deliberate contraction? Since it is of little significance, it was prob-
ably left out unintentionally. However, in the two club-naming pas-
sages, it is only when the command line
yprsh ym wyql lars May Yam crumple and fall to earth
(KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 iv 22-3)
is given to the weapon that it is effective and achieves the intended
result (line 26); this line does not appear either in the previous nam-
ing or in the unsuccessful previous attempt, which indicates its omis-
sion there to be intentional. Each case has to be j udged carefully
because the copyists
did occasionally leave out lines by mistake but
generally speaking the poets could expand or contract as they saw fit.
2.8 Word pairs
It has been noticed that there seems to be a large set of word pairs
which recur in Ugaritic verse and that many have equivalents in
other verse traditions of the ancient Near East.
The problem then
arises: Did the poets have a sort of 'dictionary of word pairs' on
which they drew to compose their verse, which was probably orig-
inally oral,
or were these pairs the side-effects of their use of par-
allelism and of (oral) formulaic language?''
As is evident from the
following, the matter is unresolved.
I n such word pairs, the -word' is usually commoner than the
'B-word', e.g. klb || inr, 'dog' || 'puppy' (KTU 1.16 = RS 3.325+
i 12; K TU 1.114 = RS 24.258:13) and any particular -word may
See HORWI TZ 1974, 1977, 1979.
Cf. AVI SHUR 1984, DAHOOD 1972, 1975, 1981, DEL OI .MO L ETE 1984a, WA I TERS
1976. However, see the cautionary remarks of VAN DER L UGT DE MOOR 1974.
See PARDEE 1988a, 160, DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1980b.
Another possibility is that they arose through word association (BERLI N 1983),
but see below.
be paired with several different B-words (e.g. ib, 'enemy' || srt, 'adver-
sary' or qm 'one who rises against' or nu, 'hater').
Often a word
pair is related to a theme, e.g. ars || d, 'earth' || 'field', and is con-
nected with fertility as in
n'm lars mtr b'l Pleasant to the earth is Baal's rain,
wild mtr 'ly and to the field the rain of the Most High.
(KTU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ iii 5-6, 7-8)
as also in K TU 1.3 = RS 2.[014]+ iii 16-7 and par., K TU 1.5 =
RS 2. [022]+ 18-9; K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ ii 16-7, 19-20. Most
word pairs are bound to a formul a or formulaic expression with
fewer that are non-formulaic and many of these are repeated pairs,
as Aitken has shown for the Aqhat Narrative. He comments:
This calls into question the notion of the word pair as a compositional
device, functioning independently of the formulas and formulaic expres-
sions or of a thematic or/and formulaic context within the tradition.
While there are indications that a narrator could 'learn' a word pair
as a word pair in one context and use it quite independendy in another,
this was the exception rather than the rule. In the overwhelming major-
ity of examples, the repository of word pairs is the formulas and themes
of the narrative tradition, and their appearance in the narrative is a
spontaneous reflex of the formulary and thematic habits of that tra-
dition, and not of the production and manipulation of word pairs.
Neither spontaneous word association, nor the 'learning' and subse-
quent deployment of 'generally useful' word pairs has played a significant
part in the generation of recurrent word pairs within the narrative
( A i t k en 1989b, 38).
Very rarely, word pairs are reversed, generally to denote some form
of reversal of events. Compare
al tt urbt bbhtm You shall not install a window in the mansion,
hin bqrb hklm an aperture within the palace.
(KTU 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+ 64-5 || 61-2; vi 5-6, 8-9)
with the reversal of urbt || hin, which matches the sense, in
ypth hin bbhtm Let an aperture be opened in my mansion,
urbt bqrb hklm a window within the palace.
(KTU 1.4 vii 17-9 II 25-7).
Cf. AVI SHUR 1984, 344-9 and SEGERT 1984, 108.
See also K UGEL 1981, 27-40.
See WATSON 1981b = 1994b, 262-6.
Word pairs, then, were an integral part of the poet's composing tech-
nique and the very traditional character of versification in Ugaritic
resulted in most pairs remai ni ng 'fixed'.
2.9 Formulae and formulaic patterns
2.9.1 Formulae
The Ugaritic poems were composed using traditional formulae, some-
times with modifications or complete transformations.
A common
type of formula is the one which introduces speech and it can take
many forms. Typical examples are
wy'n Itpn il dpid Answer did Lutpan, kindly god
(KTU 1.1 = RS 3.361 iv 13)
where the slot Itpn il dpid could be filled by the appropri ate name
or epithet, and
yu gh wysh He raised his voice and exclaimed
which can be altered to suit gender and number where necessary.
There is a whole range of such formulaic introductions.
It was also
accepted convention that such introductions could occasionally be
omitted, either because they were implicit or for dramati c effect.''
2.9.2 Formulaic patterns
The formulaic patterns to portray the passing of time are of two
types. The first has as its core two expressions, one denoting time
and the other an activity, as in the single line:
hn ym ysq yn Behold, for a day they pour wine
(KTU 1.22 = RS 2.[024] i 17)
and either or both expressions can be extended to cover more time
(up to a sequence of seven days) or further activity (cf. K TU 1.16 =
RS 3.325+ vi 21-4; K TU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] ii 30-40). I n the sec-
ond pattern, the time expression denotes a period of days, months
or years and activity is continuous, e.g.
See WHI TAK ER 1981, also MEI ER 1986.
WATSON 1983a = 1994b, 414- 24; 1992a. Some of them had elaborate preambles;
cf. WATSON 1994d.
WATSON 1990 = 1994b, 425-30.
ym ymm yt'qn A day, two days elapse,
lymm lyrhm from days to months,
rhm 'nt tngth Maid Anat (still) looks for him.
(KTU 1.6 = RS 5.180+ ii 26-7).
Once again these patterns can be extended. They are used for themes
such as maki ng a j ourney (KTU 1.14 iv 31-5), prepari ng a banquet
(KTU 1.22 = RS 2.[024] i 21-6) or to depict a ruling monarch
(KTU 1.6 5-10; K TU 1.16 vi 21-4). They also have other func-
tions within the wider framework of the narratives.
2.10 Sound patterns
I n spite of the lack of vocalization, some idea of the patterns of
sound exploited by the poets can be gained from the texts and a
few examples are provided here.
2.10.1 Alliteration
Particular words and forms were often chosen for reasons of alliter-
ation although this feature should not be exaggerated.
First comes
the simple word-initial type, as in
ap ank ahwy aqht gzr I too shall revive Hero Aqhat
(KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] vi 32-3).
Qui te often consecutive lines of verse began with the same letter
which may indicate they were intended to be read as well as per-
formed. An example, with line-initial i- twice, is
in b'l bbhth Baal is not in his mansion,
il hd bqrb hklh the god Hadd, in his palace.
(KTU 1.10 = RS 3.362+ ii 4-5)
( Wat s o n 1980 = 1994c, 431-4). I n addition, multiple alliteration
seems to have played a part in longer sections of verse as has been
shown by P a r d e e (1988c).
AI TKEN 1987. See also LOEWENSTAMM 1965 = 1980, 192-209, PARKER 1989,46-52
('Repetition with a numerical framework'), TROPPER 1995 and Y VHI TAKER 1969. On
theme cf. AI TKEN 1990, 1991a, HI L L ERS 1973, L L OY D 1990 and on motif, WATSON 1984a.
MA RGA L I T 1975, 310-3, 1979, 1980a.
2.10.2 Wordplay
Undoubtedl y, plays on words formed part of Ugaritic verse but
because our knowledge of the language is limited, many puns escape
A few examples can be given, however.
ytt nhm mhrk I hereby give you a snake as your bridal gift
bn bin itnnk a serpent's son as your present.
(KTU 1.100 = RS 24.244:75-6)
Here, the use of the rare word itnn is apposite as it evokes tnn, the
mythical serpent monster, and the wordplay between itnn ('present')
and nh || bn btn, both denoting 'serpent' is transparent.
Another example is
' ym lymk Yam was strong, he did not sink.
(KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 iv 17)
The play between Ym (probably pronounced yammu) and the verb
formymk (yamukku) is self-evident. Another verb such as yql, 'he fell',
would have been less effective.
2.11 Figurative language
Ugaritic poetry is relatively rich in figurative language and includes
similes, metaphors and metaphorical expressions, personification and
as well as imagery. Occasionally it is difficult to know
where to draw the line between mythological language (as in 'the rain
of the Cl oud-Ri der', which refers to Baal) and extravagant expres-
sion (e.g. 'rain with which the stars anointed her'). Here, examples
are provided under appropri ate headings, though it is not always
easy to make clear-cut distinctions.
2.11.1 Simile
I n similes, the particle k (or km), 'like', is used, as in
tit kyn udm't She drinks tears like wine
(KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ i 10)
For a complete survey see WATSON 1999.
'J anus parallelism' is another form of wordplay; cf. NOEGEI . 1995.
See, e.g. WATSON 1984c = 1994b, 460-4.
See, in general, K ORPEL 1990.
though it can be omitted through ellipsis. Similes rarely come singly,
as they are mostly in sets of two, for example:
klbs km 1p dm ahh He was clothed like a mantle in his brothers'
km all dm aryh like a cape, in his kinsmen's blood.
(KTU 1.12 = RS 2.[012] ii 46-7)
or in sets of three:
thth kkdrt rc[/] Beneath her like balls were hea[ds],
lh kirbym kp above her like locusts were palms,
kqsm grmn kp mhr like grasshoppers in a swarm, warrior palms.
(KTU 1.3 = RS 2. [014]+ ii 9-11)
and once, a set of four: K TU 1.169 = RI H 78/20:3-4. Similes can
be drawn out at length (as extended similes), indicative, perhaps of an
oral, improvising style, e.g.
km tdd
nt sd J ust as Anat hurries to the chase,
pt smm (and) sets the birds of the skies soaring away,
tbl} alpm ap sin (so) they butchered oxen as well as sheep,
ql trm wmri ilm felled bulls and the fattest of rams, etc.
(KTU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] i 10-4).
Onl y one cumulative simile has been identified:
klb arh I'glh Like a cow's heart for its calf,
klb tat limrh like a ewe's heart for its lamb,
km lb
nt atr b'l so is Anat's heart after Baal.
(KTU 1.6 = RS 2.[009] ii 6-9)
2.11.2 Metaphor
Metaphor is little used in Ugaritic verse. For example, fertility is
expressed metaphorically as
mm mn tmtm Let the heavens rain oil,
nhlm tlk nbtm the wadis run with honey.
(KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ iii 6-7;
Many metaphorical expressions are used such as dm
sm 'blood of trees',
for grape juice and tl mm 'dew of heaven' for rain. In some metaphors
the mythological meani ng may be muted, e.g. wytn qlh b'rpt, 'and may
he (Baal) give his voice in the clouds' (KTU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ 8).
For another example cf. WATSON 1991a.
See also I RWI N 1983, but cf. PARDEE 1988a, 127-9.
However, 'the lack of comparabl e contexts in Ugaritic prose makes
the recognition and evaluation of these and other poetic figures
difficult and uncertai n' ( S eger t 1979, 733) .
2.11.3 Imagery
Besides expressions such qr
nk 'the well of your eyes' (KTU 1.16 =
RS 3.325+ i 26) to denote tears, weapons are said to fly off and
strike like birds of prey (KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 iv 13-7), a tree
stands for descendants ( K T U 1.19 = R S 3.322+ iii 53-4; cf. P ar d ee
1997a, 354, n. 121), Mot's domai n is described as being a town (qrt)
called 'Mi ry' {hmiy), in a land called 'Filth or Mud' {fih: K TU 1.4
= RS 2. [008]+ viii 12-4 || K TU 1.5 = RS 2. [022]+ ii 15-6), a
mountain weeps (KTU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ i 7) and so on. Occasionally
the imagery is obscure due to our lack of knowledge (e.g. K TU
1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi 57-8; K TU 1.17 = RS 2.[004] vi 36-7).
Hyperbole also occurs ( Wat s o n 1979 = 1994b, 452-60). The use of
abstract for concrete is extremely rare, perhaps only srt, 'adversary'
(see above) and t'dt 'legation'
( K T U 1.2 = R S 3.367 i 22; cf. G r a y
1965, 22, n. 6).
2.12 An example
In order to illustrate some of the poetic structures, rhetorical tech-
niques and expressive language described above, a passage is set out
here in tabular form, with analysis, comments and discussion.
2.12.1 A king is chosen (KTU 1.6 = RS 2.[009]+ i 43-65)
descr i pt i on t ext line t r ansl at i on keywor d ||m
introd. to sp. "gm ysh il
Irbt alrt ym
Aloud shouted El
to Lady A.Y.
El rr ''Irbt alrt ym 03 "Listen, Lady A.Y. monocolon
ahd bbnk amlkn 04 Give (me) one of your
sons so I can make
him king!"
mlk monocolon
As aptly translated by M . S. SMI TH 1994a, 266.
For an example of imagery cf. WATSON 1992b.
(table cont.)
descr i pt i on t ext line t r ansl at i on
keywor d ||m
introd. to sp.
wt'n rbt atrt ym 05 And Lady A.Y. replied
bl nmlk yd' yIhn 06 'Shall we not make a mlk monocolon
person of intellect
introd. to sp.
uy'n Itpn il dpid 07 And El, merciful god,
El dq anm lyrz 08 'One feeble of strength
cannot run
'm b'l ly'db mrh 09 (or) like B. release the
'm bn dgn ktmsrn 10 like the son of
Dagan '
introd. to sp.
w'n rbt atrt ym 11 And Lady A.Y. replied
bit nmlk 'ttr '
12 'Shall we not make mlk bicolon
Awesome Athtar king?
ymlk 'ttr 'rz 13 Let Awesome Athtar mlk
be king!'
apnk 'ttr ' 14
j7 bsrrt spn 15
ylb Ikht aliyn
b'l 16
Then Awesome Athtar tricolon
went up to the heights
of Sapnu,
he sat on the throne of
Mighty Baal;
p'nh Itmgyn
rilh lymgy
17 his feet did not reach
the footstool,
18 his head did not reach
its extremity.
introd. to sp. uy'n 'ttr '
19 And Awesome Athtar
lamlk bsrrt spn 20 shall not be king in mlk
the heights of Sapnu'
yrd 'ttr 'rz 21 Awesome Athtar came tricolon
yrd "'Mt aliyn b'l 22 came down from the
throne of Mighty Baal,
'uymlk bars il klh 23 and was king in all the mlk
vast earth.
The following selective remarks are set out in the sequence of top-
ics adopted above, and there is a brief overall evaluation (on the
whole passage see now X e l l a 1996a).
The passage is a combination of speech and narrative, linked by the
formulaic introductions to speech which are all monocol a (except for
01-02 which is a non-parallel bicolon).
I n 13 of the 23 lines, the verse-line corresponds to the line on the
tablet (i.e. 05-16, 09-15 and 20-23). Lines 14-18 could be analysed
in several other ways (e.g. monocol on + two bicola) or one could
argue that they form a pentacolon.
fi y
On the other hand, although
amlkn (04) could be a single-word separate line, it would seem to
belong to tn ahd bahk amlkn, like the corresponding expression tn ahd
bahk ispa (see below). Similarly, some scholars argue that ktmsm (10)
comprises a separate line,
although this view has not been accepted
here. Others argue that 08-10 comprises a couplet.'
Difficulties are caused by the lack of a clear translation, especially
of 08-10 (survey: d e l O l m o L e t e 1984, 77). The expression bars il
klh has been translated in various ways.
The epithet yd
ylhn, per-
haps 'he knows, he understands', may be a hendiadys and occurs
only here. Also unique is aps, 'edge' and the form nmlk is found only
here (twice);
on bit, see below. The verb form amlk is used else-
where only in K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi 37, 53, also in the con-
text of a failed would-be usurper to the throne. The formula tn ahd
bahk, 'Give (me) one of your brothers (so that I may . . .)' occurs later
in this text (KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ 19-20, where Mot is speak-
ing to Baal), but nowhere else.
According to MARGAL I T (1980b, 143), lines 01 13 are all 'monostichs'.
See e.g. GOOD 1994, PARDEE 1997a, 269, n. 246.
KORPF.I . - DE MOOR 1986, 180 = 1988, 12. For a different approach see
EMERTON 1965, 441 2.
E.g. 'la terre dont il est matre', by XEL L A 1996, 387, discussion 390- 1.
The first occurrence (06) could be an N-stem, but this verb form is rare and
here it is causative, probably D (SI VAN 1997, 116. 135) .
The best examples are 12-13 and 17-18. In many 'couplets' it is
absent (eg. 01-02); 'staircase parallelism' is present in lines 21-23.
Antithetic, distant parallelism is effected by lines 16 and 22 (_ytb Ikht
aliyn b'lyrd Ikht aliyn b'l) and lines 20 and 23 (lamlk bsrrt spn ymlk
bars klh).
Strophes and stanzas
The strophic sequence of monocol a, bicola and tricola is unpre-
and inasmuch as there is any demarcati on into stanzas or
sections, these seem to be 01-06, 07-13, 14-18 and 19-23. The
only clear division is signalled by the combi nati on of apnk and a tri-
colon (14-17).
The title rbt atrt ym, 'Lady Athirat Y am', occurs 4 times in 23 lines,
rz, 'Awesome Athtar', occurs 5 times, but mlk occurs 6 times. I n
view of the content, which primarily concerns kingship, the keyword
here, then, is mlk, 'to rule, be king'. Crucially, it is missing from the
first narrative section (14-18), where Athtar attempts to sit on Baal's
throne and fails miserably (mlk - 0). However, in the second narrative
section, where he actually rules over the earth, it does occur, only
once but to effect. It is interesting that when bl is repeated it takes on
a form with enclitic -t which is found only here ( A ar t un 1974, 27).
Sound patterns
Consecutive lines beginning with the same letter are 09-10 (
), 15-16
(y) and 21-22 (y again). Alliteration also occurs in the name + epi-
thet sequences, notably 'ttr 'rz, and perhaps in the obscure yd' ylhn;
see also srrt spn. There is probably wordplay between 'rz and yrz-
Word pairs
These include p'n || ris (found only here) and the repeated pairs / ||
I, mlk mlk, mgy || mgy and 'm || 'm.
Figurative language
Apart from the comparisons in the difficult tricolon where the would-
be king is compared to Baal, there is virtually no figurative language,
but Athtar does perform a symbolic act (descent from the throne).
It is possible that lines 20- 23 form a split couplet with inserted bicolon; cf.
WATSON 1997a, 31.
For a similar usage in respect of enclitic -m see WATSON 1992c, 238-9.
2.12.3 Discussion
The passage demonstrates the difficulties caused by uncertain sti-
chometry and obscure language, especially in 06 and 08-10. Also,
it is not always clear how lines were grouped together to form coup-
lets or higher units. However, overall the structure is quite evident
and there are no textual problems to complicate matters. The mix
of speech and narrative is fairly typical and the use of repetition and
stock formulae is offset by the presence of rare vocabulary and gram-
matical forms. The interpretation of the passage is quite clear (no
suitable successor to Baal has been found)
and is reinforced in
particular by the keyword (mlk), while of course the passage forms
part of a larger whole (the Baal Cycle).
2.13 The character of Ugaritic poetry
Much of the above is concerned with techni ques and rhetorical
but this does not mean that the aesthetic dimension is
absent. Even though we do not know who the poets of Ugarit were
nor for whom they composed their verse, it is evident that they were
masters of the language and well able to manipulate it in a variety
of ways, attracting and holding the attention of their listeners or
" To do justice to such aspects would require detailed study
of each composition for which there is no space here.
Enough has
been provided, one hopes, to whet the appetite for closer reading.
As in some other ancient Near Eastern verse traditions, perhaps
the most salient feature of Ugaritic poetry is its unpredictability, a fea-
ture which runs right across the board from prosodie structure to
complete compositions. Thi s means in effect that, with a few excep-
tions, length of line, whether two lines will be parallel or not and
if so, the type of parallelism adopted, whether a speech will or will
not have an introduction and whether the introduction will com-
prise one line or several, sequences of bicola, tricola and so on, how
For a nuanccd approach cf. WY A T T 1998C, 132, n. 75.
Though the survey has not been exhaustive, e.g. rhetorical questions have not
been considered (cf. HEL D 1969).
See, for instance, WATSON 1988a = 1994b, 434-45 on delaying devices in
Ugaritic verse.
'' For examples of close analysis see HETTEMA 1989 90, MARGAL I T 1989a, TSEVAT
1986, VERREET 1987.
many lines there are in a 'strophe' or 'stanza', etc., are all com-
pletely variable.
Generally speaking, studies of Ugaritic poetry pay considerable
attention to similarities with other verse traditions, particularly ancient
Hebrew (e.g. A v i s hur 1994, P a r k e r 1989) . While this is useful, espe-
cially when features from other traditions can throw light on Ugaritic,
it is also of interest to determine in what respects Ugaritic differs from
such verse traditions. The question to be asked is: what is unique or
special to Ugaritic verse? According to S eg er t ( 1979, 731) , 'The most
promi nent feature of Ugaritic poetry is its parallelistic structure. It
can be said that no other literature of the ancient Near East, Semitic
or non-Semitic, exhibits such consistent application of this structure'.
Other features which could be menti oned include the use of verse
for narrative (which though rare or virtually unknown in Hebrew or
Phoenician, is common in Mesopotamian tradition) and a general lack
of hymns (though this could be due to chance). I n addition, there
is a tendency to alter repeated (parallel) passages slightly. Special
verse patterns such as 'staircase parallelism', and its combination with
anadiplosis (notably in K TU 1.10 = RS 3.362+), the use of word
pairs in fixed sequences, with variation and inversion rare, the use
of chiasmus to show two or more individuals acting as one (e.g.
K TU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] 10-1) and the split couplet
all seem to
be peculiar to Ugaritic. Also, unlike Hebrew and Akkadian verse,
there is no clustering of similes or of lines with inner parallelism.
However, descriptions of actions as preludes to speech and lengthy
introductions to speech are commoner in Ugaritic than in Hebrew
verse, whereas abrupt or unmarked speech is rare.
'If there is a
specific contribution made by Ugaritic to a poetic tradition . . . [it]
seems to lie in injecting originality into a well-worn, stereotyped body
of versification . . . The single copies of the Ugaritic tablets that have
been found are, perhaps, the work of a single school which re-worked
stock and static verse and made it sparkle with new life'.
WATSON 1997a, 1997b.
WATSON 1985b = 1994b, 157.
WATSON 1994d, cf. WATSON 1990 = 1994b, 425-30.
WATSON 1983b = 1994b, 68.
1 T h e M y t h o l o g i c a l T e x t s
J o h n C . L . G i bs o n
1.1 The Baal cycle
1.1.1 The tablets
The Baal mythological cycle is the largest text from ancicnt Ugarit,
taking up six tablets (K TU 1.1 6: 1.1 = RS 3.361, 1.2 iii = RS
3.346, 1.2 iiv = RS 3.367, 1.3 = RS 2.(014]+, 1.4 = RS 2.[008]+,
1.5 = RS 2. [022]+, 1.6 = RS 2.[009]+) and comprising in its sur-
viving portions around fifty per cent of the contents. Each tablet is
written on both sides and usually has six columns, although 1.2 has
only four and 1.4 has eight. K TU 1.6 has the headi ng 'of Baal' and,
although the other tablets have their tops missing and it remains a
conjectural point, this was probably written on them all and is the
title of the whole composition. K TU 1.4 has a note on the edge,
'The scribe is Ilimilku, the master, Ni qmad being king of Ugarit',
while K TU 1.6 has at the close a full colophon, giving the infor-
mation that Ilimilku was not only the scribe but a student or assis-
tant of a high religious officer of Ki ng Ni qmad, probably the second
of that name. So the composition was officially approved. At a ban-
quet scene in K TU 1.3 i there is talk of chanti ng and singing and
of a minstrel (n'm). Thi s suggests a possible Sitz im I^ben in the royal
palace, though equally possible is some festival in the temple of Baal,
in the library of which the tablets were inscribed. No doubt the king
himself was often present. For a translation and full bibliography
consult W y a t t , 1998c, 33 146.
1.1.2 The contents
The plot or story-line centres around a contest (under the overall
supervision of El) for the kingship over gods and men, and divides
itself usefully into three parts, cach consisting roughly of two tablets. Baal and Y am-Nahar (K TU 1.1-2)
The first part leads up to Baal's defeat of his rival Prince Y am (sea),
also called J udge Nahar (river), with the help of two maces con-
structed for him by the divine craftsman, Kothar-and-Hasi s, a story
told in the last column of 1.2 (iv). The evidence of what happened
prior to the battle is, however, not at all so clear, since 1.1 is very
imperfectly preserved. But near the beginning (1.1 ii) a message is
sent from the supreme god, El, to Anat, Baal's sister, calling on her
to perform what seems to be some kind of ritual, which involved
setting an offeri ng of war in the earth (perhaps the buryi ng of
weapons) and, following this, offerings of love and peace. Thi s rit-
ual may originally have had to do with ceremonies for the cessation
of hostilities; but it was not, as far as we can tell, performed by
Anat, so it is more likely that the passage uses ritual language to
express a wish on El's part that the notorious goddess of war and
love should abandon her more savage ways and, in particular, not
employ them in her brother's support. It is an i mportant indication
of the way El desires things to work out. Thereafter in 1.1 iii Kothar-
and-Hasis is summoned to El's distant abode, perhaps as an ally of
Baal, to be given a similar warning; for clearly Y am-Nahar is at this
point being favoured by El, since in 1.1 iv he accords him royal sta-
tus in a kind of ceremony of coronation.
By 1.2 i, however, Y am-Nahar is worried; for he sends an embassy
to the divine assembly, complaining that Baal has been reviling him
and demandi ng his surrender. El appears to sympathize but Baal,
who is present, objects strongly and sends an angry reply back to
Y am-Nahar. In 1.2 iii, a large fragment (perhaps out of place in its
present position), El instructs Kothar-and-Hasi s to build a palace for
Y am-Nahar, and the claims of a mi nor rival, Athtar, are dismissed.
When, after a sizeable gap, the text resumes, the battle between Baal
and Y am-Nahar is j oi ned, Baal with the encouragement of Kothar-
and-Hasis wins and, though it is not according to his plans, the
supreme god has presumably to accept that Baal is now king. The Palace of Baal (K TU 1.3-4)
These tablets concern the building of a palace for Baal, from which
he may exercise his newly achieved kingly power. After a victory
banquet (1.3 i), the goddess Anat resumes her warlike ways and
mercilessly slaughters the inhabitants of two unnamed towns, there-
after repeating the process with a number of soldiers and guests in
her own mansion (1.3 ii). At the beginning of the next column (1.3
iii) she sings of her affection for her brother, but Baal, perhaps like
El before him, perturbed by her behaviour, sends messengers to her
requesting her to perform the same 'ritual' for peace as El had pre-
viously asked for, but also tells her to visit him and help him search
for the secret of the lightning. She has to be reassured that Y am-
Nahar and his cohorts, whom she had worsted in the past, had been
finally dealt with and were no longer a threat to Baal (1.3 iv); but
she decides to call on him to find out for herself what is really wor-
rying him. It transpires that what Baal has set his mind upon is to
have a palace like other gods, and she herself goes to El's abode to
press Baal's suit, which she does in too threatening a manner and
apparendy has it turned down (1.3 v).
A new plan has to be concocted, the working out of which takes
up the last column of 1.3, all of 1.4 i-iv and half of 1.4 v. Thi s
involves the preparation of gifts for El's consort, Athirat, and the
enlisting of her intercession with the supreme deity. Though we know
from elsewhere that she is no friend of Baal's, she persuades him to
let Baal have his palace. Anat takes the good news to Baal, and he
immediately summons Kothar-and-Hasi s to build a palace for him
on his sacred mountai n Saphon (1.4 27ff.). At the end of of col-
umn the divine craftsman suggests that it should have windows in
it, but at the beginning of col umn vi Baal refuses to entertain the
idea lest, it seems, his old enemy Y am-Nahar may gain entrance
and again wreak havoc on earth. The house is soon finished and a
celebratory feast held (1.4 vi). Col umn vii tells how Baal then marches
through the surroundi ng territory, annexi ng a large number of cities
and towns and thereby formi ng an empire for himself. Returni ng
home flushed with success, he puts away his former fears and resolves
that after all he will have windows in his palace. He thunders out
of them; the earth reels and people far and near are terrified, his
enemies cling to the rocks in dismay, and he openly taunts them:
would anyone, prince or commoner, now dare to resist his royal
power? Col umn 1.4 viii nicely leads into the third main division of
the cycle as Baal sends messengers to the underworld abode of Mot
inviting him to a feast to acknowledge his sovereignty. Baal and Mot (K TU 1.5-6)
Mot's embassy back to Baal dismisses this invitation contemptuously
(1.5 i). Rather Baal, just as he once transfixed Y am-Nahar, will soon
be descending to Mot's subterranean domai ns where he will be swal-
lowed down and torn limb from limb by him. Baal, now in dread
of Mot, sends an abject reply (1.5 ii). I n 1.5 (after two very poorly
preserved columns) Mot's messenger is advising Baal to take his wind
and cloud and his other attendants down to the underworld and
assume the condition of the strengthless dead. Baal obeys, but on
his way he has connexion with a heifer, who is delivered of a boy
whom Baal clothes in his own robe. 1.5 vi relates how the substi-
tute's dead body was found at the edges of the earth and El, on
hearing the news in his mountai nous home, descends from his throne
and wallows in sackcloth and ashes, wondering what will now become
of Baal's followers.
I n K TU 1.6 i Anat and the sun-goddess Shapsh together bury
the surrogate corpse, and Anat goes on to the abode of El to inform
Athirat and her brood that they can now rejoice because Baal is
dead. A short interlude follows in which Athirat proposes Athtar for
the vacant kingship, but on proving unfit to take Baal's place he
resigns. I n K TU 1.6 ii Anat, seemingly now aware of what has hap-
pened, goes to the underworld to search for the real Baal. She con-
fronts Mot and summarily slays him, and then (1.6 iii) returns to El
to inform him that Mot is no more. She invites El to have a dream,
in which he sees the heavens raining oil and the valleys runni ng
with honey; this shows that Baal still lives. In 1.6 iv Anat is invited
by El to speak to Shapsh, and they make plans for Baal's return.
K TU 1.6 and vi tell of Baal's restoration to full vigour in the
world above, and also of Mot's recovery after seven years. They
argue threateningly with each other, at least some of the time on
Mt Saphon, and finally fall to fighting. They butt and gore like wild
animals, and both fall exhausted to the ground. At this j uncture the
goddess Shapsh arrives to warn Mot that fighting with Baal is use-
less, for El is now on Baal's side. Mot, at last afraid, picks himself
up and declares that Baal is rightfully king.
1.1.3 Interpretation
Since the early days of Ugaritic research the Baal cycle has nearly
always been interpreted as a ritual and seasonal text, either enacted
dramatically at Ugarit's New Y ear festival in the autumn or, more
broadly, as reflecting ritual events that took place at certain points
of the Syrian agricultural year (see e.g. H v i d b er g 1962 [1938],
G a s t e r 1950, de M o o r 1971, 1972). Such views, in various shapes,
are still influential in ancient Near Eastern, including Ol d Testament,
studies, but over the years they have been increasingly and quite
severely criticised ( F o nt enr o s e 1966, G r ab b e 1976, M . S. S mi t h 1986,
W y a t t 1996a, 1998a). Few would argue today that where we have
a myth, a ritual basis must be assumed or that the proper ordering
of the seasons and their role in natural, or even human fertility were
the only or even the chief interests of Ugaritic mythology.
A good example of an agrarian meani ng being read into a pas-
sage is the description of Anat's destruction of Mot in K TU 1.6 ii
3I ff., which speaks of her threshing him with a 'blade', winnowing
him with a sieve, burni ng him with fire, grinding him with mill-
stones, and then throwing his remains into the open fields for the
birds to eat. Commentators have seen in this a mythological coun-
terpart of a ritual ceremony held each year at the time of the grain
harvest. How Mot's discomfiture at this time is to be equated with
his normal role later in bringing about the summer dryness, or with
his ongoing role in swallowing human bodies, is not said. Much
more likely is the view that the whole scene is metaphorical ( L oewen-
st amm 1972); cf. the not dissimilar language used of the destruction
of the golden calf in Exodus 32:20. I n other words, Anat destroys
Mot thoroughly; there is nothing more to it than that.
Of late it has been argued (e.g. by W y a t t 1996a, 1998a) that
some of the themes in the Baal cycle, notably the Chaoskampf, are
much more archetypal than merely agricultural, and that they may
really be referring to issues of kingship and the exercise of power in
the ancient world. The way the gods behave is a mirror image of
the way rulers in this world behave or should behave. Approaches
along these lines could be much more fruitful.
The part played in the story of the cycle by the supreme god El
is particularly revealing here (see further G i bs on 1984) . The three
great deities (and one mi nor candidate), whose exploits fill the cycle,
are battling essentially for supremacy over the earth. The kingship
to which they aspire is, as El's viceregent, to control the earth, Y am-
Nahar through the waters which surround it and are the source of
its streams and rivers, Baal through his rains and thunder and the
air which people breath, Mot through the droughts and dryness he
can cause. Baal is the victor in the contest, becomi ng the 'prince,
lord of earth' (K TU 1.3 i 3-4; 1.5 vi 10; 1.6 iii 9; 1.6 iv 29), hold-
ing at bay the unruly waters from outside and bringing the dry sea-
son to an end by his rains. But there is much more than these
naturalistic roles to the three of them. Y am-Nahar also engenders
moral chaos or evil in the lives of manki nd, Mot eventually finishes
everyone off, while Baal by his control of the atmosphere can be
regarded as the life-force in the world of Ugarit. He did not only
secure year by year the ordered succession of the seasons, but every
day of every year he had to wage a constant battle against evil and
death in the lives of humani ty, so that the one did not cause too
many depredations or the other gain too many victims too soon.
That was really why Baal became the favourite god of the people
of Ugarit.
But he became this in the last resort under the supervision, indeed
by the connivance of El reigning from his distant abode beyond the
earth. From the standpoint of people on earth, looking around them
in fear and trembling, the encounters between the negative and pos-
itive forces in their envi ronment were tense and awesome affairs,
and Baal's victory was always in the balance and never certain. But
the people of Ugarit could also take comfort from their belief that
beyond the squabbling powers that impinged so insistendy on their
everyday lives stood a remoter but by no means disinterested figure,
the god El, who had fathered the gods, the nice and nasty both,
and had created the universe, contrary powers and all, who must
therefore have pl anned it that way and built both good and evil into
its very fabric, and who could for that very reason be trusted to
uphold its equilibrium. For all his mistakes, his choosing the wrong
side, his blustering, his pleading, his changes of mi nd, his putting
up with impertinence from his underlings, hisif you willlack of
power, he was the one ultimately in charge, whom the other gods
had to visit for approval whenever they had an enterprise planned,
and whose was the final decision, which, however reluctandy, they
had to accept. And perhaps most remarkably of all, he mastermi nded
the balance he sought, not by calling on openly superior force but
by relying upon an engaging mixture of diplomacy and conciliation,
sharpness and persuasion. He arranged it so that usually good and
life triumphed, but even evil and death were his 'darling' and 'beloved'
children (K TU 1.1 iv 20; 1.4 viii 23~24) and had, as it were, their
rights too. Thi s is the view of reality espoused by the people of
Ugarit, their explanation of the divine ways with the universe and
with human beings, their estimate of power and the manner it is
exercised; it is, for all the fancifulness with which ancient peoples in
their myths expressed themselves, mature and not lacking either faith
or irony. It may have involved naturalistic reasoning, but it involved
a great deal more besides.
1.2 Other mythological texts
There are in KTU quite a few other mythological texts or at any
rate partly mythological texts, that is, passages embedded in legends,
hymns or rituals. The larger of these, like Keret (K TU 1.14-16 =
RS 2.[003]+, 3.343+ and 3.325+) and Aqhat (K TU 1.17-19 = RS
2.[004], 3.340 and 3.322+) which some may prefer to call legends
or sagas, or the Rpum texts (K TU 1.20-22 = RS 3.348, 2.[019] and
2.[024]), are given separate treatment later in this chapter ( 6.2-4
below). Many of the rest are mere fragments, e.g. extracts from the
Baal cycle used probably for scribal practice (KTU 1.7 = RS 5.180+,
K TU 1.8 = RS 3.364, and K TU 1.133 = RS 24.293). I concentrate
here on the most intriguing and (relatively) well preserved texts. They
are all commented on, with up-to-date bibliography, in Wy at t , 1998c.
1.2.1 Baal and Anat (K TU 1.10 = RS 3.362+)
Thi s tablet has three columns of text on one side of the tablet only.
Of the first column little readable text survives, but at the beginning
of the second Anat calls on Baal (also called Hadd) in his palace.
On being told that he is out hunti ng in the Shamak marsh, she fol-
lows him there, and is warmly welcomed. She sees a cow giving
birth and is apparently seized with passion, as is Baal who mounts
her before returning to his sacred mountai n. As a consequence she
gives birth to a bull and, on her taking the news to Baal, he rejoices.
Some scholars attach the tablet to the Baal cycle, but it is more
likely that it belongs to a series recounting his dalliances with his
sister (e.g. K TU 1.11 = RS 3.319 and K TU 1.13 = RS 1.006). It
is not obviously thogonie, ritualistic or seasonal.
1.2.2 The Devourers (K TU 1.12 = RS 2.[012])
Thi s difficult text survives in two columns. The first tells of the con-
ception of monstrous creatures by the handmai ds of the deities Yarih
(the moon-god) and Athirat (the wife of El), who complain to El that
they are being caused distress by carrying them. The head of the
gods, doubtless their begetter, is amused by this, and instructs the
handmai ds to go into the desert to bear their offspring. I n his nam-
ing of them they are likened to bulls and steers. Baal is present, and
he expresses a great interest in them, perhaps for hunti ng purposes.
I n the second column, after a long gap, the offspring, called the
'devourers', set upon and destroy Baal, who falls into a swamp, after
which the earth suffers a drought for seven or eight years. He is
eventually found by his brothers and and restored. At the end of
the text a few lines tell the king to perform a water ritual, presum-
ably to guard against the disaster caused by the 'devourers'. Thi s
disaster cannot be a seasonal disaster but is a long-lasting one. The
real point does not seem to be about Baal but about El fathering
such dangerous creatures.
1.2.3 Hymn to Anat (K TU 1.13 = RS 1.006)
A hymnic text, interesting mythologically for its portrayal of the com-
plex character of Anat, called the 'virgin' in the Baal cycle, and in
the final lines here described as voracious to bring forth, although
her womb had not known conception. There is no need to connect
the hymn with any specific ritual, e.g. an incantation against infertility.
1.2.4 The Gracious Gods (K TU 1.23 = RS 2.002)
A quite substantial text, written on both sides of a single column
tablet and nearly complete. It is clearly a cultic tablet, most of the
obverse consisting of little hymns, blessings on the king and queen
and the ministerial personnel, instructions about repeating certain
lines, about niches for the gods, about incense offerings, and so on.
There are also citations from a few mythological texts, in some cases
merely a heading, but in two cases rather fuller; in 11. 8-11, there
is a short excerpt about Mot-and-Shar ('death and the prince', a by-
name of the god of death), and in 11. 30-76 a longer story about
El's seduction of two women (perhaps the goddesses Athirat and
Anat), who give birth to Shahar and Shalim and then to the gra-
cious gods as a whole. Mot-and-Shar holds in his hands the scep-
tres of bereavement and wi dowhood, and is felled by the 'pruners
of the vine'. His removal from the scene makes it possible for El,
the progenitor of the gods, to father offspring on the two women.
It is interesting that the first deities to be born are Shahar and
Shalim, whose names mean 'dawn' and 'dusk'; we may compare the
beginning of Genesis where the division of day and night is the first
act of creation. But it is the behavi our of the gracious gods after
birth that is worth remarki ng on. They open their mouths greedily
to swallow the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, and are sent
off by El with their mothers into the desert where for seven or eight
years they hunt for food. They eventually come upon someone callcd
the 'watchman of the sown l and' who invites them in to continue
their eating and drinking.
Is the meani ng of this myth that the gods are not satisfied with
the natural provision of the open country, but require in addition
the offerings of the cultivated land which human beings bring them?
It is unlikely that such a profound observation, in effect that though
manki nd are clearly dependent on the gods, they in their turn are
dependent (or at least partially so) on manki nd, would be confined
to one particular ceremony, agricultural, fertility-angled or otherwise.
Doubdess this myth found expression on numerous liturgical occasions
at Ugarit. It is a not untransparent theogony or explanation of how
and why the gods came into existence.
1.2.5 Nikkal and the Kotharat (K TU 1.24 = RS 5.194)
The mythological portion of this text, written like the last one on
two sides of a single tablet, relates how a deity called Hirhib, king
of summer, who behaves like a typical eastern marriage-broker, ar-
ranged the betrothal of a lunar goddess Nikkal to the moon god
Y arih. It is probably, like the second narrative in the previous text,
an extract from a fuller thogonie myth. Thi s tale is preceded and
followed by hymns of praise and invocation to Nikkal, Hi rhi b and
the Kotharat, who are the sages-femmes of the Ugaritic pantheon. I n
the first hymn the Kotharat are summoned to oversee the birth of
a son to the two moon deities. The last lines of the second hymn
with their allusions to incantations to the Kotharat, betray the pur-
pose of the whole poem, which is to secure for a human girl Prbht
the same blessing and protection in her forthcomi ng marriage as had
been enjoyed by the goddess Nikkal in hers. Probably, with the nec-
essary change of the girl's name, the text was regularly recited at
ceremonies of engagement and courtship.
1.2.6 Shapsh and the Mare (K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244)
Thi s is a long and excellently preserved but difficult text containing
in the opinion of most commentators a charm against snake-bite.
The daughter of the sun-goddess Shapsh (or perhaps simply a mare,
as her name may be translated) calls on her to carry a message to
El, Baal and various other deities in order to obtain help from them
in curi ng the mal ady. Onl y when the god Horon (apparently a
chthoni c deity) is approached is a positive response forthcomi ng.
According to others, however, the text is chiefly a mythical narrative,
not a charm and the serpent menti oned represents some cosmic dis-
aster which is removed by Horon.
1.2.7 El's Banquet (K TU 1.114 = RS 24.258)
Thi s is description of a banquet to which El invites the other gods
and at which he falls outrageously drunk. The last lines on the reverse
contain an incantation for the cure of a disease or perhaps, as has
been suggested, a hangover.
The texts assembled here, some of recent discovery, give us a glimpse
of the diversity of Ugaritic mythology but, apart from the Baal cycle
and other larger texts like Keret and Aqhat, their extent is not very
great. We have some way to go before a comprehensive account is
possible. Perhaps the only things we can say is that myths are not
always, if much at all, connected with ritual, and especially that Near
Eastern, including Ugarit, mythology is not always, if much at all,
obsessed with matters of seasonal agriculture or fertility.
2 T h e L egend of K e r e t
B ar u c h M a r g a l i t
2.1 The history of the text: discovery, publication, editions
2.1.1 The poem of Keret is one of the three maj or literary works
which gifted Canaani te poets of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500-1200
bce) bequeathed serendipitously to 20th century civilization. Excavated
at modern Ras Shamra on the northern Medi terranean coast by a
French archaeological team in the early thirties (1930-31), the poem
was publ i shed in three unequal i nstal ments by the Assyriologist
V i r o l l eau d , beginning with a monographi c study in 1936 and con-
cluding several years later with a series of articles in the periodical
Syna (vols. 22-23) published duri ng the war. Accordingly, only the
monograph was widely known and accessible before 1945, although
a great deal of interpretation, much of it fanciful, was current in the
2.1.2 After the war, the text was republished or re-edited several
times. Gordon reproduced Virolleaud's text in the successive editions
of his Ugaritic Grammar. A new and critical edition was published
by H e r d n e r in 1963. Thi s much acclaimed two-volume work con-
sists of all the alphabetic texts, literary and other discovered in the
thirties, together with photographi c plates and autograph facsimiles.
Generally abbreviated as CT[C)A, this edition established the by-now
standard numerati on of the Keret text as 14- 15- 16, corresponding to
Virolleaud's I K-I I I K-I I K respectively.
2.1.3 CT[C)A was followed by a new edition published in 1976 by
a team of Ugaritic specialists affiliated with the University of Mnster
(Westphalia) headed by Oswald Loretz. Entitled Die Keilalphabetischen
Texte aus Ugart (KTU), it contains (in transliteration only) all the alpha-
betic texts discovered up to 1970. I n this edition the Keret poem ap-
pears as K TU 1.14-15-16 = RS 2.[003]+ 3.343+ 3.325+, the initial
cipher indicative of its classification as a literary-poetic text. A revised
edition appeared in 1995. It too has the transliterated text only.
2.1.4 The text of the poem, labelled krt by the ancient scribe after
the royal hero of the story, is distributed over three rectangular clay
tablets of similar size (21x17 cm; 15x17 cm; 23x17.5 cm). Each
tablet compri sed originally six doubl e-rul ed col umns, three on each
side, and al together contai ned approxi matel y a thousand lines of
compactl y written text. Of the three, only K T U 1.14 = RS 2. [003] +
is relatively well-preserved, and with the aid of the many duplicate
passages in this porti on of the poem can be restored nearly to its
pristine state. Most Ugaritic specialists hold that the extant tablets
never compri sed the enti re poem and assume that one or more
tablets have been lost, especially at the conclusion (K TU 1.16 = RS
3.325+ vi); this despite the col ophon at the end of K T U 1.16 = RS
3.325+ vi nami ng the scribe I lumilki who commi tted the poem to
writing (spr).
2.1.5 Since its discovery, Keret has been translated many times and
into several languages, either as part of an anthol ogy of Ugaritic lit-
erary texts or more broadl y of anci ent Near Eastern texts.
2. 1. 5. 1 The maj or translations, and the most widely cited, are the
ones by (a) G i ns ber g, first in his ASOR monograph ( 1946) and sub-
sequently as part of P r i t c h ar d ' s anthol ogy (AJVET); (b) G.R. D r i v e r
( 1956) later substantially revised by G i bs on ( 1978) ; (c) H e r d n e r , in
a work j oi ntl y produced with C a q u o t and S z n y c er (TOi) in 1974,
and (d) d el O l mo L et e in 1981, where the Spanish translation is
accompani ed by extensive analytical discussion and a uni que synoptic
presentati on of alternative translations.
2.2 The history of (misinterpretation
2.2.1 The history of the poem's i nterpretati on duri ng the past sixty
years can be divided into three phases. I nitially it was the subject
of extravagant claims of historicity and 'biblicization'.
The hero was
thought to have been a Phoeni ci an king whose legions, i ncl udi ng
members of the I sraelite tribes of Asher and Zebul on, waged war
in the Negeb region of Palestine and in Edom. Progeny or devotees
of the biblical Terah, the father of Abraham, were also thought to
be involved. However, rapi d progress in Ugari ti c philology put a
Also noteworthy are GORDON 1977, 34-59; DE MOOR 1987, GREENSTEI N 1997,
9-48; L ORETZ 1997 and PARDEE 1997a, 333-43. See also WY A T T 1998C, 175-243.
Uncannily reminiscent of the Eblaite euphoria some 40 years later; plus a
change. . . .
quick and merciful end to this euphoric era and to the fata Morgana
of biblical persons and tribal entities. Of the alleged geographical
allusions, only the shrine of Asherah in the environs of Tyre and
Sidon would survive the debacle; and even this determination was
destined not to go uncontested (Cf. A s t o u r 1973, 29-39). Still, there is wide if not consensual agreement today that
two fundamental insights of this early era in Ugaritic studies retain
their validity, viz., (a) Late Bronze Age Keret, like Aqhat, reflects a lit-
erary genre qualitatively different from the mythological tales of Baal,
Anat, and the members of the Ugaritic pantheon generallythis
notwithstanding the promi nent roles of divine actors in both poems;
(b) the mai n works of Ugaritic literatureBaal-Mot, Keret and Aqhat
are 'classics' of Late Bronze Age Canaani te civilization and culture
and as such were known in I ron Age Canaan generally and in ancient
Israel specifically.
2.2.2 A second and similarly fleeting phase in the interpretation of
Keret was introduced by the Scandinavian, secondarily British, Myth
and Ritual School, representedat its most extremeby the publi-
cations of Engnell and Mowinckel. The former considered the poem
'a ritual for the Ugaritic sukkot festival' ( E n g n el l 1967, 149) The
wedding party for Keret and his bride described in K TU 1.15 =
RS 3.343+ is characterized as 'originally the [ ] of the god
and goddess, celebrated annually and co-experienced by the partic-
ipants as they watched the cul t-drama and also when indulging in
sacral prostitution' ( E n g n el l 1967, 148). For Mowinckel, on the other
hand, the poem exemplified myth attenuated as legend; behind the
portrait of the hero as a Phoenician king stands the figure of Adonis:
'[in Keret] the god is . . . strongly anthropomorphi zed; the original
god has become the dynastic founder, the mythic first ancestor of
the royal family . . . the poem is no longer a real myth, but a mythic
3 If the shortcomings and misconceptions of the French his-
torical school were the result of i nadequate philology, those of the
myth-ritualists were the product of faulty methodology. By means of
MOWI NCK EL 1941, 142-3, as translated by ENGNEL L 1967, 148. See further
MOWI NCK EL 1954, 52- 5.
careful selection and tendentious interpretation of certain model texts,
'evidence' is created proving the existence of 'an organic [ANEastern]
culture . . . whose special feature is the domi nati on throughout by the
divine kingship idea' ( E n g n el l 1967, 2). This 'pattern' is then applied
to other texts assumed a priori to reflect this 'pattern'. The explana-
tory value of this theory is commensurate with its (non-)falsifiability.
Basic to this approach, which breathed its last in Ugaritic studies
with G r ay ' s monograph in the mid-fifties,
is the axiom that any
ancient Near Eastern literary text, be it myth or legend, is neces-
sarily 'functional', and almost invariably so in the cultic sphere where
the ancients are presumed to have spent all their leisure time. I n
Gray's words, 'the text. . . was not an aesthetic exercise'presum-
ably the author's understandi ng of literary creativity'but served a
practical purpose in the communi ty where it was current to achieve
some desired end or to conserve . . . all the social conventions and
the social order'.
5 It is also typical of this approach that its advocates do not
feel constrained to demonstrate precisely how this 'conservation of
values' is actually i mpl emented in the poem or how an audience
might infer such a conclusion. It never occurs either to Engnell or
to Gray to query whether the story might not be understood by at
least some readers or listeners in a quite different, even opposed,
manner, e.g., as underlining the perilousness of a social order pred-
icated on the health of an individual, mortal king supported in turn
by a bunch of rather inept gods; or that the author of Keret, far from
preachi ng the doctrine of divine kingship, might in fact be con-
demni ng it by means of a lethal dose of parody. I n the final analy-
sis, the failure of the Myth and Ritual school lies in its denial of the
literary ontology of the text.
GRA Y 1954, revised and attenuated in GRA Y 1965.
GRA Y 1954, 4- 5. In all fairness it should be noted that he concedes that the
poem 'was not deliberately [so] designed' (ibid., 5). But nowhere are we informed
what this 'original' design may have been, since it surely was not a mere 'aesthetic
exercise'. This concession, however, contradicts the Myth-Ritual postulate of a cul-
tic 'Sitz-im-Leben' for all texts with divine characters and in fact heralds the school's
Contrast the astute observation of DE L ANGHE 1958, 131, citing BAUMGARTNER
( 1941, 89- 91) that 'aesthetic interests stand side by side with religious interests' in
the Ugaritic literary texts. However, very few specialists in Ugaritic have taken this
admonition to heart, either before or after. This is true even of BERNHARDT ( 1956) ,
who is at pains to criticizevery successfullythe Myth-Ritualists but whose own
2. 2. 3
2. 2. 3. 1 One cannot take leave of the 'pre-historic' era of Ugaritic
studies without taking note of the i mportant study by the Danish
Semitist P eder sen. Published in 1941 with only V i r o l l eau d ' s mono-
graph at hand ( 1936) , Die Krt Legende is probably the only study of
this era whose influence abides to the present. Thi s influence has
unfortunately perpetuated a basic misconception in the interpreta-
tion of the poem.
2. 2. 3. 2 P eder s en, to his credit, rejects outright the Myth-Ri tual
interpretation of Mowi nckel Engnel l ' s study ( 1967) had yet to ap-
pearwhen he states categorically that Keret 'ist nicht der Ausdruck
kultischer Vorgnge und ist kein Mythus' ( P eder s en 1941, 64). Meth-
odologically he stands close to the French School. He assumes that
we are dealing with a historiographie work whose historical kernel
is heavily overlaid with legend'wie der israelitischen Passahlegende'
( P eder sen 1941, 64). The hero 'ist ein Urknig, Grnder einer Dynastie'
( P eder s en 1941, 65)i n reality, not just in the plot; and the prin-
cipal theme is 'die Si cherung der Dynastie durch Nachkommen-
schaft' ( P eder s en 1941, 64) . I n other words, Keret is at heart a work
of propaganda commissioned by a royal house and executed by a
poet with the soul of a priest.
2. 2. 3. 2. 1 The theme of divinely sanctioned dynastic kingship, more-
over, is deemed to reflect a society 'deren Knigsgeschlecht schon
als eingewurzelt betrachtet werden kann', analogous to the I sraelite
society which spawned the Davidic royal ideology: 'hier wie dort
handelt es sich um Legenden welchen den festen Bestand der herr-
schenden Dynastie besttigen und begrnden' ( P eder s en 1941, 104).
The author of Keret is so to speak a 'kept woman' of the political
authorities. His hand is free to write but his soul is in bondage. One
does not normally take the work of such writers seriously, whatever
their technical virtuosity.
2. 2. 3. 3 Thi s view of the Keret poem as a work of royal propa-
gandaby implication if not explicitly, by the ruling house of the
position is merely a re-statement of PEDERSEN'S: 'Richtiger wird man jedoch von
einer Besttigung der Erwhlung der Keret-Dynastie sprechen' {ibid., 119). This is
the raison d'tre of a political manifesto, not a work of art.
kingdom of Ugarit whose dynasty Keret is presumed to have founded
is very widespread in contemporary Ugaritic scholarship; and it is
hugely mistaken.
7 The curious omission, on these assumptions, of any ref-
erence to Keretor his son and heir Yassibas king(s) of Ugarit
has long been noted. It is reinforced by a similar omission in the
so-called 'Ugaritic king list' (K TU 1.113 = RS 24.257). However,
the real shortcoming of this view is that it fails to distinguish the
substance of the plot from the authorial intention, the creation from
the creator. The statements placed in the mouths of the characters
are naively taken as the author's own point of view.
8 I n fact, a close, methodologically unbiased scrutiny of how
the author of Keret depicts his characters must surely lead to the con-
clusion that far from endorsing sacral dynastic kingship the poet actu-
ally ridicules it. The openi ng scene, for example, portrays the king
as a hapless soul who has gone through seven wivesthe first of
whom simply 'walked out' (tb
) on hi m!and who can think of no
better expedient than, like a baby, to cry himself to sleep (only the
soothing lullaby is mi ssi ng. . .). Subsequently he will conscript all the
men of his ki ngdomi ncl udi ng the disabled and the newly-wed
for a 'historic' military campai gn to the Bashan for the grand pur-
pose of. .. obtaining a wife! It is inconceivable that this entire scenario
should have evoked from a contemporary audience anythi ng but
gales of laughter.
Cf. e.g., BERNHARDT ( 1956, 120): 'der text [steht] in enger Verbindung mit der
durch Keret begrndeten Herrscherdynastie . . . und [hat] als Tendenzdichtung die
Aufgabe . . . die besondere gttliche Erwhlung gerade dieser Dynastie ganz augen-
fllig darzustellen.' Cf. also above, . 6.
Thus, even if it be true 'dass wir in Keret einen typischen Vertreter des alt-
orientalischen Sakralknigtums vor uns haben' (BERNHARDT 1956, 116), it does not
follow that this is an ideology which the author either espouses or wishes to prop-
agate. Can one legitimately infer from the detailed description of the Persian monar-
chy in Esther that the author is desirous of propagating an ideology of oriental
despotism? I ndeed, but for the strong nationalistic motives attributed to its (sup-
posedly) J ewish author, the book of Esther might well have been understood as
political satire.
The fact that the latter stratagem is concocted by Keret's divine patronwith
Baal nowhere in sight!does not make it more 'respectable'; it merely adds to the
scope of the ridicule. El in Late Bronze Age Ugarit is a museum piece and a soul-
brother of Shakespeare's Falstaff. But the most telling refutation of the dynastic interpreta-
tion comes from the final scene of the poem (a scene unknown to
Pedersen at the time of his essay) in its portrayal of Yassib, the king's
eldest son and divinely-ordained (as well as politically confirmed)
heir. It is difficult to imagine a less favourable comment on dynas-
tic kingship or a more incongruous endorsement of a royal line sup-
posedly founded by Keret. I n short, there is altogether too much comedy and par-
ody in Keret for it ever to have served as propaganda for anything
but the j oy of living. For the author of Keret, not even the gods are
sacred, much less the political institution of kingship. His love and
devotion are given unconditionally only to his art."
2.2.4 Gi nsber g' s short monograph published in 1946, inaugurated
a new era in the poem's i nterpretati onor rather, explication. One
of his severest critics, Gaster, hailed it as 'a marked and revolu-
tionary advance in our understandi ng [of the text]' ( G as t er 1947,
385). Ginsberg's was the first study to have addressed the material
in its (extant) entirety: K TU 1.14-15-16 = RS 2. [003]+ 3.343+
3.325+, are fully at his disposal and will be so henceforth for the
scholarly world to study and analyse. It is Ginsberg's contribution to
have been the first to establish the narrative coherence of the text.
However, Gastera dues-paying member of the Myth and Ritual
schooltook Ginsberg to task for 'his obvious lack of acquai ntance
with common facts and methods of comparative religion, anthro-
pology, and folklore . . . Thi s leads . . . to an egregious disregard for
the cultural context and background of the narrative.' ( G as t er 1947,
286-7). But Ginsberg consciously and deliberately eschewed 'meta-
physical' interpretation; he was a devout positivist. His strength lay
In a recent interview to a Montreal newspaper on the occasion of his 85th
birthday (The Gazette, Mar. 7/97), Irving LaytonCanada's (unofficial) poet-laureate
offered the following assessment of his life in the service of his art: 'Poetry never
let me down. My worry is, have I ever let poetry down? I should like to think that
I've never dishonoured poetry or turned my back on it. . . . A world without poetry
would be just intolerable. Unbearable.' One cannot mistake the (unintentional) piety
of this inveterate God-baiter and iconoclast. The ancient Canaanite bard would
surely have given this credo his unqualified assent.
in his philological dexterity at the level of grammati cal analysis. He
was primarily interested in words and how they combi ne to form
grammati cal structures. The ideational content is secondary and the
literary craftsmanship incidental. Nevertheless, Ginsberg took a definite
stand on several 'metaphysical' issues (without however making them
a part of his discussion or interpretation). He considered it 'proba-
ble' that the story 'contains a certain core of history'; he also deemed
it 'probabl e' that text K T U 1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ was preceded
'by one or more lost tablets'. Probability becomes certainty on the
question of the poem's alleged non-conclusion in K TU 1.16 = RS
3.325+." For all his skill in explicating the text, Ginsberg either mis-
construed or overlooked several key elements in the plot, beginning
with the mistaken notion
of Keret as the victim of the catastrophic
loss of countless children deemed to have perished in bunches: a
third, a fourth, a fifth, etc.
He is completely unaware that the real
reason for convening the nobility of Bt-Hbr (KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+
iv-vi) is to confirm Yassib as Keret's successor. I n fact, Ginsberg's
translation of K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ v-vi lacks the thread of nar-
rative coherence. Thi s in turn leads him to wonder whether K TU
1.16 = RS 3.325+ i is the direct continuation of K TU 1.15 = RS
3.343+. There are also some incongruities in Ginsberg's render-
ing of K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+. The phrase pnh. tgr. ysu (K TU 1.16
= RS 3.325+ i 52-3), referring to the king's daughter 'Octavi a' as
she emerges from the gateway of her (convent) residence, is under-
" The assumption of a story with large gaps before, within, and after the extant
tablets is very useful for the philologist operating exclusively with the microscope
of comparative grammar. If we possess only a half of the original work, then we
obviously are severely handicapped, if not outright precluded, from interpreting it
macroscopically on the metaphysical level. It is also something to fall back on when
one's interpretation of a given section, at the philological level, seems literarily vapid
or even inconsistent with that of a preceding or following section, whether in terms
of characterization or plot. It is not without irony that one notes the common
ground shared by Ginsberg and the myth-ritualist: neither takes seriously the poem
of Keret as literature or its author as artist. Both approach the text as so much grist
for the grinding.
Corrected early on by Cassuto but ignored by Ginsberg, even in his later work.
Here loo one senses how the lack of esteem for the pagan as poet enables the
Western scholar to attribute to him such a literary inanity, not to say moral obtuse-
ness, in so quantifying human beings. Surely the biblical prejudice of the idolatrous
Canaanite and his 'debased' culture is here subverting the scholarly enterprise.
stood to mean 'I ts sheen (i.e., of brother I lhu's lance \mrh\) lights up
the gateway'. He makes no effort to translate K TU 1.16 = RS
3.325+ ii 24-34, although the text is quite well preserved; and he
passes over in silence the sudden appearance of Octavi a in her
father's bed-chamber in lines 50-1. I n col. iii, 8-9, the language
tnnth . . . tltth does not evoke in Ginsberg's mi nd the association with
Keret's vow in K TU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+, and his understandi ng
of the a
tiqat episode (v 28-vi 14) is both faulty and incomplete;
especially curious in his failure to render yqrs, while citing the anal-
ogy with Gilg. I ii 34 and its reference to tta iqtaris. Finally, the
curse which concludes K TU 1.16 RS 3.325+ (vi 54-8) is deemed
by Ginsberg to be 'unintelligible', in which case one wonders at the
certitude which informs his opinion as to the non-conclusion of the
poem at this point. The foregoing critique, be it noted, is based not on Ginsberg's
early translation ( G i nsber g 1946) but rather on his contribution to
P r i t c h a r d ' s anthology, first publ i shed in 1950 and subsequently
(unrevised!) in 1955 and 1969. The authority of Ginsberg's name
he was widely considered to be the 'doyen of Ugaritic studies' in the
fifties and sixtiesand the popularity of Pritchard's anthology, which
soon became a standard reference work for biblical and ancient Near
Eastern studies, go a long way towards explaining the rather limited
progress made subsequently in the elucidation of the poem at the
most basic level of narrative explication. The unspoken if not also
unconscious assumption is that short of a windfall discovery of addi-
tional copies, Ginsberg's translations of the maj or Ugaritic poetic
texts (K TU 1.1-6 = RS 3.361, 3.367, 3.346, 2.[014]+, 2.[008]+,
2.[022]+, 2.[009]+; K TU 1.14-16 = RS 2. [003]+, 3.343+, 3.325+;
K TU 1.17-19 = RS 2.[004], 3.340, 3.322+) have defined the lim-
its of what scholars can ever hope to know of them.
2.2.5 A new phase in the study of Keret is introduced by M er r i l l ' s
short essay ( 1968) , marki ng the first serious attempt to deal with the
poem as a literary uvre and providing the inspiration for an impor-
tant essay by P a r k e r ( 1977) nearly a decade later. 'The hypothesis of this paper', writes Merrill, 'is that the
poem . . . points to the 'house of Keret' as the basic issue. Every part
of the narrative finds its focus and delineation in this motif.' ( M er r i l l
1968, 7). The story, it is supposed, 'begins with the ruined and
impoverished house of Keret. The king stands alone, without heir,
wife, or progeny.' ( M e r r i l l 1968, 9). By the end of K TU 1.15 =
RS 3.343+, 'the narrative of the king who has lost his 'house' and
regains it appears to be complete in itself. It has a beginning, a mid-
dle, and an end . . .'; and with mild surprise, 'yet the story contin-
ues' ( M er r i l l 1968, 9-10). The 'fact' that the story continues beyond
its 'logical' conclusion leads Merrill to the concl usi ontaken up
and elaborated subsequently by Parkerthat the unfulfilled vow to
Asherah, and her ensuing wrath, 'become the basis for the addition
of the other 'narratives' which are woven around the central con-
cern for the 'house of Keret' and find their sub-themes in the three
areas of fertility, salubrity, and sovereignty.' Keret, on this hypothe-
sis, is a composite work, although Merrill stops short of assuming
multiple authorship. It is the merit of Merrill's essay to have dealt with the story
in its own terms and with a vocabulary drawn from the field of lit-
erary criticism rather than comparative religion or Semitic linguis-
tics. Implicit at least is the assumption of an author who has something
interesting, perhaps even i mportant to say, and who commands the
necessary tools of the trade which he employs with the skill and
imagination worthy of an artist. Thi s approach also implies an audi-
ence who can appreciate such a work, not as a cultic libretto or a
catechism of theological-political indoctrination, but as an artistic
endeavour, which, like good wine, is to be savoured and enjoyed. But for all the freshness and originality of its approach,
Merrill's essay, like Parker's subsequently, goes astray in its effort to
determi ne what the author is trying to say, as well as the specific
techniques which he has chosen for this purpose. The hypothesis of
a composite work, and a fortiori of multiple authorship, is sympto-
matic of a basic misconception, or rather, misperception. The view of an ancient work of Semitic literature as com-
posite comes easily to scholars trained primarily in Ol d Testament
exegesis, as their partiality to myth-ritualism and cultic solutions gen-
erally tends to reflect their roles as (practising) theologians in the
J udaeo-Christian tradition. But it is nonetheless a view quite unfounded
here in Keret and in Ugaritic literature generally.
There is no evi-
dence for a 'history' of any of the maj or Ugaritic poems, although
such is not to be precluded a limine.^ The vow-to-Asherah episode, it must be insisted, is abso-
lutely central to the plot of the story for the simple reason that it
alone supplies the story with its dramati c quality. Wi thout the vow-
episode the story is a tale not worth the telling, much less the price
of admission to its performance. The absence of a correspondi ng
instruction in the dream-episode does not prove the vow to be sec-
ondary: if someone were intent on tamperi ng with the original by
'grafting' on the vow episode, he would have had little difficulty
maki ng the necessary emendati on in K TU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+.
16 The omission, on the other hand, speaks volumes for the
authorial intention. There is nothi ng more characteristic of the (male)
dramatis personae in Keret than their personal shortcomings and im-
perfectionsincluding most definitely the head of the pantheon who
(like Y HWH in the Garden-of-Eden story) fails to anticipate his client-
servant's initiative.
' However, there is a second and more basic probl em in
Merrill's theory, viz., his initial assumption that the well-being of
It would be inappropriate in this connection to cite in rebuttal the compli-
cated history of the Gilgamesh epic for obvious reasons related to the chronologi-
cal spans of the respective works.
One should also not wish to deny the existence of 'parallel traditions' in Uga-
ritic literature, notably the stories dealing with the construction of Baal's palace
(KTU 1.3 II 1.4). However it has yet to be demonstrated (though often assumed)
that 1.3 and 1.4 belong to a single literary work or that they constitute a consec-
utive narrative.
To be noted in this connection are the ill-preserved conversations of the
Udumite king, first with his wife Na'amat (KTU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+ 14-23)
and subsequently with his messengers, commissioned to scale Mt I nbb and offer
sacrifice to the gods {ibid., 24-9; cf. Margalit, 224 31), both of which are unfore-
seen in Keret's dream. Since no authorial design can be discerned in their omis-
sion from the dream, and since nothing in the sequel would seem to presuppose
these conversations, the theoretical possibility of a 'second hand' can be entertained
here. However, as presently constituted the scene has the positive effect of 'human-
izing the enemy', a sentiment very close to the (original) author's heart, as is evi-
dent from the emotional departure-scene which follows shortly at the beginning of
KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+.
It should not be overlooked that once Keret awakes, El 'disappears' from the
story. He will return as a guest at the wedding reception, but he cannot be sup-
posed to have monitored his client's actions in the interim.
KereCs dynasty stands at the centre of the poet's concern and creation.
It is simply not true that the king is portrayed at the beginning of
the poem as impoverished note how easily Keret dismisses El's offer
of 'silver and gold' in the dream, and the king of Udm's bribe sub-
sequently duri ng the siege. He lacks progeny, but not for having
been bereaved; like Dan'el , he lacks a male heir for not having sired
one! Now just as the birth of a son in Aqhat does not signal the
completion of the story but more nearly its commencement, so too
does the birth of Keret's offspring provide the impetus for moving
the story to its climax. The truly i mportant developments in the
story come after the birth: in the case of Aqhat, the lad's treacher-
ous murder by the goddess Anat and her Sutean mercenary, fol-
lowed by the homicidal act of bl ood-redempti on by the hero's sister.
I n the case of Keret, the 'meat' of the story is the king's illness and
the behavi our of his offspring in response. Two of them, without
aspirations to the throne, are devoted, loving, and obedient. The
third, predesdned by birth as heir-apparent, is the spoiled-brat antithe-
sis. The attempted putsch by Yassib and the thunderous curse called
down on his head by his enraged father (K TU 1. 16 = RS 3. 325+
vi) bring the story full circle as it drives home the principal mes-
sage: Keret is miserable at the beginning of the story for want of a
son and heir; he is equally miserable at its conclusion precisely
because of his son and heir. If the curse were not so funnyY assib
examining his teeth in the cup of his handthe ending would indeed
be sad. Thi s is the essence of the poem as tragi-comedy, mixing the
tears of laughter with those of pain. The fate of the 'house of Keret' is thus of no particular
interest either to the poet or his audience. The real 'star' of Keret is
neither the king nor the gods but the invisible Moi ra who like the
poet delights in irony and makes the human life-experience at once
fascinating and unpredi ctabl ethe very qualities required of a good
2. 2. 6. 1 For P a r k e r ( 1977, 167), the poem of Keret is a conflation
of three originally i ndependent stories executed by different poets at
different times and with variable degrees of editorial skill. 'Our con-
clusion . . . is that the first section [= A] of Keret originally stood on
its own, and the material dealing with Keret's sickness [= B] was
attached to it by the insertion of the promise [= vow] passage into
the j ourney to Udm . .
Up to this point Parker is echoing Merrill.
But he goes further in positing multiple authorship and in his under-
standing of the Yassib episode (K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi) as an
'originally i ndependent story . . . tacked [iic] onto section B' ( P ar k er
1977, 169). The alleged 'third story' (C) is of course quite incomplete,
and is assumed to have continued on (a) no longer extant tablet(s).
It follows accordingly that 'we are scarcely in a position to speak of
the theme or function of the whole work' ( P ar k er 1977, 174). Here
too (cf. critique of Ginsberg above) the assumption of incomplete-
ness serves as a safeguard against criticism based on literary con-
siderations; the 'answers' to difficult questions can be conveniently
assumed to lie in the unattested and empirically unverifiable 'here-
after'. E.g. it would be most surprising if a literary work which
had evolved in this 'tacky' way could be shown to have a unifying
theme or structure. Yet according to Parker, the combination of story
A and the 'neatly grafted' story yields, remarkably, a unified theme
described by him as 'the vulnerability and helplessness of the king
on the one hand, but also the benevolent power and wisdom of El
on the other."
9 We have discussed earlier some of the weaknesses in Merrill's
argument for the secondary nature of the vow episode. I n his mono-
graph P ar k er ( 1989) tries to meet one of these objections, but in
so doing actually reinforces it. Parker acknowledges that (a) the reason for suspecting the
vow is its absence from the list of detailed instructions in the dream-
theophany of K TU 1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ which the king subsequently
'The poets [TTD] who thus extended the poem . . (PARK ER 1977, 167).
PARK ER 1977, 174. In PARK ER 1989 he claims to have discovered significant
structural differences between A and B. But at best these differences do not neces-
sitate a distinction of authors. They are certainly consistent with the stylistic ver-
satility and literary virtuosity of a single writer.
carries out to the letter and which include, incidentally, a sacrifice
to the god Baal, presumably to enlist his support for the venture;
(b) a good 'grafter' would accordingly have encountered little diffi-
culty in maki ng the necessary adj ustment. Therefore (c) the omis-
sion was motivated ideologically, viz., by reverence for El's reputation.
The grafter did not want to make El responsible for the subsequent
debacle. Setting aside the conjectural and suspiciously ad hoc nature
of this latter supposition, it is surely clear that it effectively undermines
the case for multiple authorship. The same pious concern for El's
reputation could as easily have motivated the original author of the
poem! In other words, the vow-episode loses through this 'explanadon'
its entire value as an empirical indication of multiple authorship.
20 The case for viewing the Yassib episode as secondary
Parker's own contribution to the hypothesis of a composite work
is devoid of even the prima facie evidence supporting the secondariness
of the vow episode. One suspects that the very idea owes its birth
to the widely held view of the poem as lacking, in its extant form,
a conclusion, and hence needs have been continued elsewhere. It
seems i mprobabl e that Yassib would make his one and only appear-
ance at the end of the story. The missing conclusion, it is supposed,
will have described how Yassib was punished for his insolence by
forfeiting his claim to the throne in favour of his younger sister
Octavia, the favourite of El and the gods (.sgrthn. abkm. etc.). Were such a denouement actually attested, it might well
be taken to support a theory of compositeness and multiple author-
ship, for it would totally contradict, in substance and spirit, much
of what has transpired in the poem up to this point. The fear is however unfounded. I n point of fact, the role
of Yassib is much more firmly rooted in the story than is readily
apparent from his single appearance in K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi.
Parker's hypothesis appears to antedate the realization that the baro-
Here too the influence of O.T. scholarship is readily apparent. Bible scholars
commonly assume 'pious glosses' in the text originating with 'pious J ews' of the
post-exilic era.
niai council in K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ v-vi was only ostensibly
convened to 'weep for Keret', and tbat its agenda was secretly polit-
ical: to confirm Yassib as successor in the event of Keret's demise
a decision ultimately taken, albeit after stormy debate.
' Wi th this
'certificate' in hand, Yassib has no reason to challenge his father
duri ng the latter's illness (as Parker suggests he ought to have done
if his role were original); he need but bide his time until the king's
i mmi nent demise. It is only when his expectations are frustrated by
Keret's miraculous recovery that he makes a pathetic attempt to unseat
hi m. Y assib, for whose confi rmati on so much energy had been
expended but whose true character the author has skillfully con-
cealed up to this point in the story, is now revealed at the conclu-
sion for the 'wi mp' that he is! There are two points to be emphasized in connection with
Parker's hypothesis: (a) that story the king's illnessis securely
tied to the figure of Yassib and his succession and can never have
existed independently thereof; (b) that the case for the Yassib episode
as an i ndependent story C hangs entirely on the assumption that the
poem is not concluded at the end of K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi. The final point to be made against Parker's case is the cat-
astrophic consequences which the deletion of the Yassib episode has
on the literary structure and message of the poem. If Keret were a typical 'happy endi ng' narrative, the story
(Parker's story in particular) ought to have ended with the king's
recovery (much as Merrill's 'original story' ought to have ended with
the weddi ng reception in K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+!). For if at the
beginning (K TU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+) the king is alone and in tears,
and then subsequently, facing death, he is tearfully embraci ngpos-
sibly for the last timehis beloved 'blossom' Octavia (KTU 1.16 =
RS 3.325+ ii 50ff.), he is surely smiling from ear to ear, surrounded
by his faithful wife and adoring children, at the feast described (lacon-
ically) in K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi 15-21; and his resumption of
The language of the council's decision can be presumed identical with the res-
olution presented by its president, the rk-il (KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ 18-21): 'rb.
p. lymg
krt/sbia. p'
[j ]^(.) 'In 'When Keret arrives at the western
horizon (i.e., dies)|Our lord, at the setting sun|Then will [Ya]ssib rule over us'.
Cf. MARGAL I T 1982, 425; 1995, 252-2.
work as king of Bt-Hbr (ibid., 11. 22-4) ought to have been greeted
with much fanfare and public celebration. The 'addition' of the episode of filial infidelitya sin pun-
ishable by death in the Bible and which the very name 'Aqhat' (lit.,
'the-obedient-one') attests to as heinous in ancient Canaani te soci-
etyturns this would-be happy endi ng on its head at the same time
as it brings the story full-circle to tragi-comic conclusion. I n K TU
1.14 = RS 2. [003]+ Keret is miserable for want of a son and heir;
at the end of K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi he is miserable for hav-
ing obtained a son and heir. Nothi ng more can or need be said.
2.2.7 But a word should be said, in conclusion of our critique,
on vestiges of the historical approach to the poem still current. Parker writes:
I would see the origin of the poem in a story about a king who under-
took a campaign against another king to claim the king's daughter as
his bride. Negotiations between the king resulted in the ceding of the
woman in question, and hence in the marriage of the two and the birth
of children. . . . It is this much that forms the most solid basis for those
who claim that die poem reflects historical events . . .' (PARK ER 1989, 39) Thi s statement, I submit, is as true (or false) of Keret as it
is (mutatis mutandis) of Hamlet, J ulius Caesar, or Antony and Cleopatra,
none of which can be considered 'historical' works reflecting histor-
ical events. They are works of the imagination, pure fiction, in which
historically attested personal and geographical names, scraps of his-
tory, social and religious customs are expertly utilized as trappings
for the plot and its characters by craftsmen minutely knowledgeable
in historical arcana andal l i mportandymasters of disingenuity in
the service of artistic integrity. But even if the poet be inspired by a 'real event'whi ch
in the case of Keret one is entitled to doubtthi s determination is
no more consequential for understandi ng the poem and its author,
than is the Danish chronicle which inspired Shakespeare's Haml et.
At most, such knowledge can produce some learned footnotes to the
text, enhanci ng its appreciation by cognoscenti but irrelevant and
boring for poet and audience alike.
2.3 The story in outline, the message in detail
2.3.1 Although there is no hard evidence to indicate that the poem
of Keret was ever the subject of dramati c presentation in a theatre
or like setting, it is useful, and certainly not misleading to summa-
rize its contents as if it were. The material is most amenabl e. The 'prologue' in the openi ng lines of K TU 1.14 = RS
2. [003]+, now largely defective, introduced the hero, Keret, as king
of Bt-Hbr, situated '[by the se]a'. The king is a man of valour
([gbr. hyl]) and a devotee of El (glm. il) who is his 'patron' (ab); but
he is wretched for want of wife and children to fill his 'naked' (
palace. Seven dmes was Keret wed, but each marriage ended abrupdy,
for the most part tragically with the death of the spouse; in one
case, in childbirth. The absence of a (male) heir apparent causes his
seven brothers to cast greedy eyes on his throne.
Comment: (1) 'Bt-Hbr by-the-sea' ([gblt. y]rr) is a pseudonymic rid-
dle to be solved by the audience in the course of the poem/pl ay.
(2) By presenting the king as a devotee of Elin contrast to the Baal-
worshipping poet and his audi encethe author conveys the message
that the story is about a historical figure of long-ago, the era of the
Keret is thus a 'patriarchal narrative'. The members of
the hero's clan (lim || umt) are to be found roami ng the steppelands
between the (Phoenician) coast and the Euphrates ([
]</. nhr). (3)
Except for the royal backdrop, the scene is uncannily reminiscent of
For the author of Keret, this 'patriarchal era' began with Ditanu (Ug. dtn, var.
ddri) cited obliquely in KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 2-3 || 13-5) thought to have
lived in the early MBA (ca. 2100 BCE; cf. K I TCHEN 1977, 131-42; HF.LTZER 1981,
1 10) and developing into an eponymous ancestor. It needs be emphasized how-
ever that Keret's Ditanu-ancestry does not make him a direct ancestor of the Ugaritic
kings Niqmaddu and Ammittamru (KTU 1.161 = RS 34.126). Like Abraham,
Ditanu is 'the father of many [Amorite] nations'. This much however can be said:
the city-state kingdoms which speckled the Phoenician and north-Syrian coastline
in the early 2nd millennium BCE were all ruled by classes of Amorite stock. The
dynastic houses of Byblos and nearby Ugarit in particular could accordingly have
been related by ties of blood and/or marriage, and both of them to clans residing
in Bashan (cf. KTU 1.108 = RS 24.252: 23-4). The phrase qbs. dtn, roughly 'union
of Ditanu' (KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 2-3 || 13-5), like its parallel rpi. ars (ibid.,
KTU 1.108) denotes the transnational aspect of this consanguinity, the word ars
'land' contrasting with socio-political terms like qrt 'city' and mlk 'kingdom'. (This
usage of ars [Heb. 'eres] survives in the Hebrew Bible in the phrase 'am-h-'res,
denoting an institution of landed gentry who can 'make or break' a king. Cf. pro-
visionally MARGAL I T 1995, 255-6.)
the El-worshipping, Harran-based patriarchs of the Bible, one of
whom complains bitterly that he is without (legitimate) heir and who
subsequently sends his trusted servant to obtain a wife for his son
in the 'old country'.
2.3.2 Act 1, Scene 1 The curtain rises on the king about to retire for the night
to his sleeping chamber which he enters shedding tears of self-pity.
Curl ed up in bed in a foetal position, he falls asleep. His patron
deity now appears in his dream, having heard the heart-rendi ng sobs
of his valiant servant. Wise but not omniscient, El inquires as to the
cause of the king's distress. Ever the jester, he speculates whether
Keret, dissatisfied with the modest extent of his kingdom, has designs
on his own; or perhaps, he wonders aloud, the king is short of money
to cover his regal expenses. In reply, the king assures his patron that
he wants for nothi ng materi al , and that his only wish, and the
panacea to his pain, is to sire a family, sons in particular. El is sympathetic; and the remai nder of the dream (and
scene) is devoted to divine monol ogue wherein the deity issues a
series of detailed instructions as part of an elaborate plan for the
hero to realize his ambition. At the centre of the plan is the full
mobilization of the kingdom for a military expedition to the (Bashan-
ite) kingdom of Udum(u), to be followed by a siege and ultimatum
to its king: surrender your eldest daughter, the fair Hry, to be Keret's
wife (or face the consequences).
2.3.3 Scene 2 The King awakens with a start, but with total recall of the
dream which he immediately begins to implement to the letter. He
attends first to his personwashi ng (for cleanliness) and rouging (for
war) then to the gods to whom he offers sacrifice, and then to the
business of war.
Comment: (1) El's oneiric thcophany is part and parcel of nomadi c/
Amurritic religion centering on El and his consort Asherah. El resides
in the subterranean fresh-water deep which feeds the palm-trees of
the oasis where the nomad pitches camp. When the latter retires for
the night and sets his sleepy head down to rest, he is lulled to sleep
by the gurgling stream nearby. It is both logical and natural that
El, residing close by, should pay him an occasional visit in his dream,
especially when the nomad is troubled. (2) Again, the correspondence
with the biblical tradition-complex (in its and versions particularly)
is uncanny. The El(-Shaddai)-worshipping patriarchs receive their
divine visitations in nocturnal dreams. The same is true of the El-
worshipping Aramean clairvoyant Balaam of the DAPT. Y HWH, by
contrast, never appears in a dream to his servant Moses,
and there
are no dream-theophani es in the Hexateuch outside Genesis and
Num. 22-4. (3) The characterization of both El and his protg is
parodical. The valiant warrior of the prologue is totally deconstructed
by the pathetic king crying himself to sleep like a baby. Crying is
womanish (2 Sam. 1:24; Lam. 1:2, etc.) and a sign of weakness in
men except in well-defined special circumstances. It never occurs to
the biblical author to depict Abraham as weeping in Gen. 15; nor
does the son-less Dan'el weep when petitioning for a son (1.17). Both
are in contrast with the similarly situated Hannah (1 Sam. 1:10).
The proverbially wise El (by dint of age and experience) is parodied
by means of the patently ridiculous plan which he concocts: the total
mobilization of the kingdom, including the sick, the blind, and the
newly-wed normally exempt from military draft, and a strenuous and
very expensive seven-days march to the hinterland region of Bashan
for no better reason or exigency than to obtain (yet) a(nother) wife
for the king. Were this not enough, the poet will subsequently inform
us that Pbl, the king of Udum(u), is himself a devotee of El, and
his kingdom a 'gift' (un) from this same deity (K TU 1.14 = RS
2. [003]+ vi 12-4). All El need have done was to send an oneiric
message to Pbl and the fair princess would have been on her way
to Bt-Hbr.
Thi s contrasting of exaggerated means utilized for triv-
ial ends is of course a staple of comedy and burlesque (cf. the Marx
Cf. Num. 12:6 8. A later tradition, no longer familiar with the religio-histor-
ical presuppositions of the patriarchal faith, attributed this fact to the uniqueness
of Moses' prophetic status.
He could also have spared Udum the pains of siege, and its monarch the
pangs of uncertainty, by revealing himself in a dream to Pbl and thereby confirm
Keret's ultimatum as indeed inspired and supported by divine degree. But then El
would be seen to be truly wise and compassionate rather than the comical dotard
intended by the poet.
brothers), a contrast further accentuated here by the disparity be-
tween the normally peacable and compassionate El (Itpn. dpid) advising,
and devizing, a strategem of war.
(4) The use of parody at this
early stage in the story must be understood as setting the tone for
all that ensues. It is the dramaturgi c equivalent of Shylock's 'pound-
of-flesh' bond contracted (ostensibly) 'in a merry sport', and to the
over-reaction of foolish king Ahasuerus (Est. 1) to the queen's refusal
of a royal summons (itself a parody of a king 'ruling from I ndia to
Ethiopia'). It serves notice that the poem of Keret is a species of 'mock
epic', perhaps the oldest of its kind in recorded history.
2.3.4 Scene 3 The army of Bt-Hbr marches in battle array to Udm
(= Udumu in the land of Ga<shu->ru [EA 256]). The march is
broken up into two more or less equal segments: 3 days from Bt-
Hbr to Tyre, where Keret pays an unscheduled (or at the least unan-
ticipated in the dream) visit to the shrine of Asherah, El's wife, where
he takes a vow (cf. Gen. 28) that if his mission be successful (one
senses clearly the insecurity of this valiant warrior) he will pay to
Asherah's shrine 'twice [his bride's] weight in silver, thrice in gold'. Three days later, on the seventh day of the campai gn,
Keret's army arrives at Udum and camps outside its walls after hav-
ing cleared the countryside. There follow the futile efforts of Pbl,
king of Udum, and his queen Na'amat to relieve the siege, first
by offering Keret a bribe of silver, gold, three horses and chariot
(with attendant squire), and, simultaneously, sending messengers to
offer sacrifice atop nearby Mt. Inbb, the mythological abode of the
(war-)goddess Anat. To no avail; Keret is adamant (and the gods,
by implication, unresponsive): only the surrender of beautiful Hry
in the description of whose (as yet unseen) beauty (he has only El's
word for it) the king waxes poeticwill suffice to remove the siege
(cf. mutatis mutandis 2 Sam. 20:14-22). The scene concludes with Hry
taking tearful leave of her family and friends as she sets out for
Keret's camp and her new life as queen of Bt-Hbr.
One may note the uncanny if fortuitous resemblance of El's plan with that of
Portia's 'virtuous father' (The Merchant of Venice), mocking the 'holy men [who]
at their death have good inspirations'. El's plan is similarly 'inspired'.
Comment: (1) On the identifications of Udm and Mt. I nbb respec-
tively, cf. M a r g a l i t 1995, 225-43. (2) Although formally a marri ed
couple, El and Asherah do not live together (cf. K TU 1.4 = RS
2. [008]+ iv).
(3) The fact that the king's initiative, for all its good
intentions, eventually lands him in hot water couldif Keret were a
'serious' piece of literaturebe taken as implying the futility of human
endeavour and the advisability of resignation to divine will. But if,
as I maintain, Keret is tragi-comical, then the crisis precipitated by
the king's ill-fated initiative (the result, be it recalled of his absent-
mindedness) can and should be seen as contributing to his portrayal
as a pathetic figure, a 'Schlemiel' or 'Sad-Sack' who can do no right,
a master bungler. Keret, like Dan'el , is a 'talker', not a 'doer'. (4)
This characterization of the king is underscored by Pbl and Na'amat's
reluctance to become Keret's in-laws. After all, such an attitude is
not self-evident given Keret's credentials. A king of the backwater
kingdom of Udum would normally have given his eye-teeth for a
liaison with the royal house of Bt-Hbr, alias Byblos. However,
Keret's reputation as a matrimonial 'jinx' has preceded him to Udum.
2.3.5 Act II Scene 1. The reception celebrating the marriage of Keret
and Hry is attended (i.a.) by the gods, including El and Baal. Asherah
is conspicuous by her absence. Duri ng dinner, Baal prompts El to
toast the newly-wed couple. El is glad to oblige: raising his wine-
glass, his blessing consists of a promise that Keret's wife will bear
him multiple offspring (cf. Gen. 15:5, etc.): seven || eight boys and a
like number of girls. The eldest of the boys, to be named Yassib, will
be Keret's heir (poetically, he will be nursed by goddesses); the youngest
of the girls, 'Octavi a', will be El's favourite (bkr, literally, 'first').
Comment: (1) The senior gods arrive at the party in pairs; the
'assembly', consisting of the mi nor (younger) and anonymous gods,
' The separation of El and Asherah on the mythopoeic level is surely a reflection
of the transformation of their originally pastoral-nomadic cult following the seden-
tarization of their worshippers. El is put out to pasture in the Upper J ordan Valley,
his domain extending from the foot of Mt Hermon near Dan as far as the Sea of
Galilee. But his consort starts up a new career among Tyrians as rbl. alrt. ym 'Lady
Asherah-of-the-Sea' where she is presumably worshipped as the patroness of fisher-
men (cf. her attendants qdl. wamrr described (KTU 1.3 = RS 2.[014]+ vi 10-1;
K TU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ iv 2-4) as dgy. rbl. alrt. y m 'fishermen of Lady Asherah-
arrive in threes. The absence of Asherah is accentuated by pairing
El with Baal. Anat (here labelled 'Rhmf [Heb. rehem]) is accompa-
nied by the similarly bellicose Reshef. Kathir-and-Hasis, sporting a
binomial name, escorts himself (our poet is a 'kibitzer'). (2) The
choice of Rhmy as an alias for Anat is motivated by two consider-
ations: (a) the alliteration with Rip; (b) the synonymity with (
both referring to the female genitalia.
27 Scene 2. The scene shifts to the (unspecified) domicile of
Asherah. Seven years, and several birth-days, have elapsed and Keret's
pledge is still unpaid. With the king now in default, Asherah takes
her own vow: to make Keret pay . . . with his life!
Comment: 'Heaven has no rage . . . nor hell no fury, like a woman
scorned'. Cf. also Ps. 50:14, Eccl. 5:3. Scene 3. A party in Keret's homemore precisely, his atr
for the nobility of Bt-Hbr, its 'Bulls' and 'Stags' in the poet's saucy
language. I n preparati on, the king instructs his queen to 'dress-up
like a mai den' (km[.n]
rt) by hiding her bulges, doing up her hair,
and mani curi ng her fingernails. The ostensible purpose of the party
is to 'weep' (ritually) for the ailing Keret. But the secret agenda is
political, viz., to confirm the juvenile Yassib as heir and successor
to the throne of Bt-Hbr upon the king's supposedly imminent demise.
Once this political purpose is made known to the guests at the party,
a furious debate erupts, accompani ed by shouting and clenched fists,
in the course of which the 'president' (irk. il, lit., 'chief member')
stands up to speak and pledges the support of the assembly for the
young prince. The ailing king replies. I nvoking the private parts of
the president's wife, he blesses him for his support. He then informs
the council that he expects to die within the month, blaming his
misfortune on Athirat's abiding hatred for his kingdom. His personal
fault he passes over in silence. However, the king's remarks, far from
stilling debate, add fuel to its fire, in the course of which both the
king and his queen are forced to intervene to restore order. The
king accuses his opponents of 'drinking his blood', while the queen
repri mands her guests for their i ndecorum as well as for their insin-
Cf. DEEM 1978; MARGAL I T 1995, 241 2. The basic meaning of 'nh is 'open
up', normally of speech. Its use with sexual activity (cf. Ex. 32:18b) reflects a per-
ceived symmetry between oral and vaginal anatomy (cf. Prov. 30:20).
uation that the king might be feigning illness in order to obtain an
endorsement of the crown-prince as successor to the throne. Hry
assures the noblemen that Keret's illness is, unfortunately, neither
dream nor fantasy; and he has the body sores and fever to prove
it! The conclusion of the scene is lost, but a political victory for the
royal family is a necessary inference.
From this moment on, Yassib
is heir-apparent in fact as well as in theory, and his enthronement
evidently a matter of days.
Comment (1) The location of the banquet in a tent (hmt) set up
in the family atr or burial-ground (cf. K TU 1.17 = RS 2.[004] i-ii)
points to a kispum or mrzfi, i.e., a feast associated with the cult of
the ancestral dead (dbh. ilm). Thi s would furnish a convenient pre-
text for convening the nobles and a suitable occasion for 'beweep-
ing' the sick king. It also is consistent with the all-male guest list as
well as the king's instructions to his wife to dress appropriately (cf.
K TU 1.4 = RS 2. [008]+ iii 10-22). Thi s banquet is definitely a
'stag affair'.
(2) The scene implies the existence of a political group whose
authorization the king requires to transfer power to his son and thus
establish a dynasty. This council of barons is a fcudalistic body whose
duties, and prerogatives, are to 'advise and consent'. Neither servile
nor rubberstampi ng, it can make or break a king. A residue of tri-
bal confederation, this group of grandees may be seen as the socio-
political equivalent and 2nd-mi l l enni um precursor of the biblical
'am-h'res. (3) It is further implied in this scene that while the legit-
imacy of the dynastic principle is acknowledged, its cultural roots
are shallow indeed. The tribal tradition of charismatic leadership,
understood in terms of military prowess, is still very much alive, and
it goes far towards explaining the fierce opposition to the blank-
cheque endorsement of the king's son, still very young and untried
in battle and leadership. (4) Keret is in all likelihood (portrayed as)
The spirit and circumstances of Keret's speech are strongly reminiscent of the
speech delivered by Hattusi1i before the panku-assembly: 'Behold I have fallen
sick. . . . Behold, Mursilis is now my son . . .' It may not be too venturesome to
suggest accordingly that the missing portion of Keret's speech may have been for-
mulated in a vein similar to the continuation of Hattusilis' address: 'In the hour
when a call to arms goes forth . . . you . . . must be [at hand to help my son]. When
three years have elapsed he shall go on a campaign. . . . If you take him (while still
a child) with you on a campaign, bring [hi m| back [safely].' (Translation apud
GURNEY 1990, 171).
the first member of his family to have occupied a throne, which he
may well have seized by overthrowing an i ncumbent ruler. His rise
to powerand this is probabl y the extent of the story's historicity
(which in any case is only presupposed by the narrative)would
have been a model I drimi who, with a band of ruffians and outlaws,
conquered Alalakh and set himself up as king. Like Keret's El-religion
and his affiliation with a clan dispersed in the Syrian steppeland,
the present scene reflects the political ethos of an earlier epoch, viz.,
the formative stages of Amorite settlement in Phoenicia and N. Syria
and the struggle to establish the legitimacy of dynastic kingship in
a society barely weaned from non-hereditary charismatic leadership
and tribal organization.
2.3.6 Act III Scene 1. As the scene opens, preparations are underway
for Keret's funeral (although the king is still quite alive). The sound
of caterwauling womenthe poet prefers the comparison with howl-
ing dogs and coyotesfills the royal mansion. Overcome emotionally
by these depressing sounds and by the realization which they spur
of his father's i mmi nent demise, the loving and devoted son I lhu
approaches the king's bedside. Wi th tears rolling down his pubescent
cheeks, he queries his father in disbelief (in the process giving expres-
sion to the current ideology of divine kingship in Canaan): 'Is Keret,
the divine offspring of El and Athirat, not immortal?! Do gods die?!' The compassionate Keret responds with words of com-
fort to his distraught son; and by way of occupational therapy coun-
sels him to set out on a mission to sister Octavia, residing elsewhere,
and to bring her home. To spare her sensitive feelings, the pretext
is to be an invitation to a family feast rather than a funeral. (But
since Keret's funeral will doubtless be followed by a lavish wake
cf. K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ i 18-31the lie is truly lily-white.) I lhu
obediently complies and takes his leave.
Comment: The text at this point is in disarray, resulting in the dis-
memberment and dislocation of I lhu's speech. The awareness of this
disturbance by a subsequent copyist led to its rewriting; but the cor-
rected version unfortunately found its way into the second column
of K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+, causing yet another disturbance. (2) We
are not i nformed here either as to the reason for Octavia's residence
away from home or its location. If this information was not forth-
comi ng in a no longer extant part of the preceding text (e.g., at the
end of K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii), the poet left it to the audience
to fathom the answers from the continuation. Scene 2. After climbing a mountai n and praying there (to
Baal!) for a safe j ourney, I lhu sets out. Arriving at Octavia's con-
vent-residence (hmh<m>), he squats on a nearby hillock, with the
gateway-entrance in view, to await his sister. As she emerges from
the gate, on her way to fetch water, Octavia espies her brother. I n
her excitement, she drops (more likely, hurls) the encumberi ng vessel
in her hand and makes a dash to embrace I lhu, her head now nest-
ling tenderly in his shoulder. But it does not take long for Octavia
to collect hersel fand to sense that brother Ilhu has not just dropped-
by for a chat. Her female intuition tells her that something is awry,
possibly relating to her father. To her query, 'is father ill?' I lhu
replies that, of course, all is well with the king, and that he has
come to invite her to a family party. Sensing her incredulity, Ilhu
unfolds his cover-story with lavish improvisation: it will be a sump-
tuous affair, attended by the gods and the who's-who of Bt-Hbr;
musical entertai nment will be provided by nubile lasses singing songs
'to set one on fire'. He himself, I lhu continues in his prevaricating
best, was asked by the king to go out and trap birds as delicacies
for mother Hry and brother Yassib; 'and since father knows that
my hunti ng would take me near where you live, he thought it might
be nice to extend you an invitation. So here I am!'. Octavia's response leaves no doubt as to her incredulity.
First she asks her brother to pour a cup of wine from his portable
j ug. After removing the plug, I lhu obliges. She now turns to her
brother and, in a tone mixing hurt pride with barely concealed anx-
iety, she asks: 'Why do you make a fool of me? How long has father
been ill?' Faced with such precocity, Ilhu breaks down and pro-
ceeds to tell his sister the sorry truth. Upon hearing this, the heart-
broken Octavi a cries out and shudders (V hi); she commences a
funereal song-and-dance around her brother. She then repairs with
him to the parental home. Upon arrival, Octavia enters, silently and abashcdly, her
father's bed-chamber. Approaching his bed, she kisses him affectionately
on his feverish forehead. She is his little 'blossom' (ib). She leaves
shortly thereafter, heeding her father's request to climb a mountai n
and pray there for his recovery.
Comment: (1) Though not expressly stated, it is a reasonable infer-
ence from this portion of the narrative that Octavia has become a
nadtu-priestess, or nun, residing in a cloister and in the service of
the sun-goddess, Shapsh. Among other things, this hypothesis will
explain (a) why Octavi a is residing away from her parental home;
(b) why I lhu does not even consider entering the gateway to notify
his sister of his arrival. As a female retreat, it is presumably off-limits
to men. (2) Octavia's funereal song-and-dance, encircling her brother,
is described in language similar to that used by Ilhu to describe the
wailing-women in Keret's house. Thi s may help to explain the intru-
sion here of extraneous material originating as a (corrected) version
of I lhu's plaintive speech to his father. (3) It is typical of Ugaritic
epic literature to portray women as superi or in intellect and/or
courage to men;
and the present encounter of brother and sister
is certainly no exception. El compares unfavourably with Athirat,
Dan'el with his daughter Pughat, and I lhu with Octavia.
2.3.7 Scene 3. The text of this scene is very fragmentary, and
its contents consequently are obscure. The king's illness, like Aqhat's
murder, has resulted in drought, and the stocks of grain, wine, and
oil are depleted. A set of obscure ritual acts, intended presumably
to induce rainfall, is followed by a delegation of farmers to the king,
presumably (since the continuation is lost) to apprise him of the sit-
uation and to ask for help.
A considerable part of the text summarized above is missing, and the sum-
mation at certain points presupposes the correctness of the restorations. Cf. the dis-
cussion in MARGAL I T 1995, 264 - 89 for this and other matters relating to this passage.
It is also not uncommon in O.T. literature: Adam is clearly inferior in intel-
lect to wife Eve (which is why the 'wily' snake takes her on first). The same holds
true for Isaac and Rebekkah, Barak and Deborah, Sisera and J ael, Haman and
Esther, etc. A notable exception is David and Michal. The latter is possibly the
most 'trag(ed)ic' figure in the entire Bible: bright, beautiful, and courageousand
an habitual 'loser'.
Anat is only seemingly an exception: for while nominally female, she acts and
dresses like a (violent) man, and is therefore the villain of Aqhat. She contrasts both
with her virtuous brother Baal and the heroine Pughat; and the poet does not stop
short of ridiculing the penis-envy of this self-hating goddess by depriving her of the
coveted bow once acquired (KTU 1. 19 = RS 3. 322+ i).
Comment: We have here another expression of the 'ideology of
divine kingship': the illness of the king induces a paralysis of Nature.
However, there is no more reason here than in the previous instance
to assume that this ideological stance reflects the authorial point-of-
view. Like the portrait of the sick hero, and (shortly) the inept gods,
this ideology is also subject to satirization, as if what is true of the
great Baal (K TU 1.5 = RS 2.[022]+ ii 5-7) is true of the pathetic
king of Bt-Hbr. Scene 4. The desperate situation created by the king's ill-
ness sets the stage for a curious development: the artisan god, Kathir-
wa-Hasis, whose wisdom (say the gods) is second only to El's, is
approached by a delegation of the divine assembly'El's sons' (
bn. il)and asked to take an urgent message to a hitherto and other-
wise unknown character named lis and his (characteristically un-
named) wife, bearing the title ngr(t) of the House/Templ e of El, (var.
Baal). I n the message promptly delivered by the hobbler Kathir-wa-
Hasisdescribed by the poet as runni ng with the grace of an ass
lis is instructed to go up to the tower and to shout at the top of
his lungs'like a waterfall || like a bull' to the inhabitants of the
city. The sequel is lost, and with it presumably the statement of pur-
pose, viz., a call to prayer and supplication on behalf of the dying
king and the drought-imperiled kingdom.
Comment The present scene, if correctly interpreted, brings the
satirical tone of the poem strongly to the fore; indeed, the satire
comes close to becomi ng farce. El is in deep trouble: his plan for
his protg has miscarried, and the protg himself and his famished
kingdom are teetering on the brink of disaster. El's distress signal
(which one may presume to have been lost in the lacuna at the
beginning of K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ iv) has been picked up by
the assembly of his sons which now goes into (pathetically ineffectual)
action. In their infinite divine wisdom they turn to the wise but crip-
pled Kathi r to deliver an urgent message to the temple crier (ngr)
or mu'addin
and for good measure, to his wifeto summon the
The semantic correspondence of Ug. ngr and the Arabic mu'addin (< 'dn (II)
'cause-to-hear, announce') is very close indeed. The Ugaritic term is cognate with
Akk. nagaru 'Ausrufer, Herold' (. , 711). The translation 'herald' in the present
context is, however, misleading in that it implies a palace functionary charged with
making public pronouncements. Ils is rather a temple functionary; and since his j ob
is to summon the faithful to prayer, he is necessarily (a) mortal, and (b) a Bronze-
Age Canaanite precursor of the Islamic mu'addin.
faithful to prayer and supplication, without which the gods can do
nothi ng to save Keret and his kingdom. From here it is surely but
a small step to the conclusion that the 'sons of EP (notably exclud-
ing heroic and virtuous Baal) can do nothing because they are good
for nothing. Scene 5. The race is on to save Keret's life, for which pur-
pose El has convened the divine assembly in emergency session. El
arrives accompani ed by wife Athirat. He opens the session with a
plea to his consort to spare Keret's life. Asherah replies that the
king's life 'is in the hands of his wife Hry': she (now that the king
is incapacitated) has to pay Athirat 'twice her weight in silver, thrice
in gold' (with the interest waived) if Keret is to be cured. Even El cannot apparentl y raise such a sum, much less
Keret, whose kingdom is down at the heels. The 'father of man'
turns accordingly to his sons for help; but they remain deafeningly
silent, either because they are cowed by the presence of their mother
or they are simply at a loss for ideas. El is now left with no choice
but to deal personally with the probl em. His solution: to create a female exorcist named 'tqt (<
'(cause to) remove'), the details of which are obscured by the tablet's
poor state of preservation. But they are not beyond recovery. El cre-
ates his creature, in primordial fashion, from (red) clay (cf. J ob 33:6),
inserts snake-poison into her vagina (to thwart reproduction?), chris-
tens her over a cup of sanctified wine, and then brings her to life
by 'pouri ng' into her mouth '[the soul] of a god and the blood of
a [human]'. Fortified by El's blessing and directed by his detailed
instructions, S
tqt flies off to Bt-Hbr.
Comment: (1) The divine assembly, as we learn from K TU 1.15 =
RS 3.343+ ii, is made up of the mi nor deities consisting of the
sonsnot including daughtersof El. It corresponds, one may assume,
to the 'council of princes' reflected in 1 Kgs. 12:8ff. The presence
of Athirat is thus a breach of protocol warranted by the emergency
as well as by the divine mother's direct responsibility for creating it.
(2) Athirat's offer at first sight seems to hold the key to a satisfac-
tory resolution of the crisis. However, it must be remembered that
after fifteen births and nursing periods, the once streamlined Hry is
now bulging at both waist and bosom (cf. above, [= K TU
1.15 = RS 3.343+ iv 10-3]). (3) The echoes of cosmogony in this
scene are part of the parody. Like the exaggerated mobilization in
K TU 1.14 = RS 2.[003]+, the creation of S'tqt is a case of mock-
heroic 'overkill'. What S'tqt does for Keret could, and would, have
been done by any run-of-the-mill exorcist in Bt-Hbr. El, says the
poet, may be very wise (who else knows how to create life?); but he
is sorely lacking in common sense. Scene 6 describes how S'tqt saved Keret's life. Upon arrival,
she immediately gets down to business. She fastens a string to the
patient's navel and places a wreath of medicinal leaves on his fever-
ish head, while repeatedly wiping his brow of sweat. She then opens
his mouth and forces him to eatwe are not told whatand presto!
the king is well. A rejuvenated Keret promptl y orders wife Hry to
slaughter a fading l amb for di nner to celebrate his recovery.
Comment The poet's feminist bias finds expression here once again.
J ust as the woman Athirat foils the male El's plan, so the female
S'tqt saves the day (while foiling the foiler). But woman's superior
intelligence, courage, and enterprise are, alas, not enough to alter
the existential 'female condition': S'tqt, like Athirat, is subordinate
and subject to El. The 'tree' of Athirat cannot exist without El's
fertilizing water, and S'tqt will die, without fruit, once her mission
is accomplished, as will Pughat, whose heroism is recounted in a
tale named for her brother (in marked contrast to the 'book of
Esther'). Scene 7. The crown-prince and hei r-apparent, whose birth,
heralded by the gods, fulfilled his father's most fervent wish, makes
his firstand l astappearance in this scene, as if to say: if you meet
him once, it is enough for a lifetime. Obviously displeased and dis-
appoi nted by his father's dramati c recoveryYassib, be it recalled,
is still an adolescent!he decides to act. Encouraged by 'the fiend
at his elbow', he enters the throne-room where his father is seated
and orders him to step down, on grounds of incompetence in the
discharge of his royal duties. Keret's reaction is a mixture of rage
and anguish; and as the curtain falls there resounds a curse, at once
fearsome and funny, called down by the king on the head of his
perfidious son.
Comment: (1) Keret's recovery obviated a tragic end to the story;
but the finale is its tragi-comic equivalent. For upon hearing his son's
words, the king might well have wished he were dead. (2) Yassib is
'instructed' (V wsr) by his j i nn (Ug. ggr)he is a school-boy listen-
ing to the wrong teacher. (3) The charges laid by Yassib against his
father are instructive for the insight they provide to the Canaani te
view of kingship. The most i mportant task of the king is not to lead
in battle (which is precisely what Keret does in K TU 1.14 = RS
2.[003]+) but to administer justice fairly and compassionately (some-
thing he is never seen to do).
The Canaani te king is first and fore-
most a 'judge', in contrast to his Amorite counterpart whose claim
is based on personal charisma as a warrior proven in batde (gibbr
hayyil). I n this sociological sense, Aqhat is older than Keret, in that the
former describes its (male) heroes, young and old, in terms derived
from the military lexicon. Keret is a mlk,
Dan'el a gzr. (4) In addi-
tion to ferocity and hilarity, the curse also contains the most impor-
tant clues, suitably and cleverly embroi dered into the finale, to the
identity of pseudonymic Bt-Hbr, lit., 'House-of-Union'.
The king
calls on 'Astarte-name-of-Baal'i.e., Baal atand Yassib's dislodged
teeth are to fall out 'altogether', for which the poet chooses the rare
(b)gbl (Palmyrene-Aramaic gbl 'communi ty', MHeb. gbl 'to mix-
together (as porridge)', which plays on the original form of 'Byblos',
i.e. GBL /Gubl a (Heb. Gba).
2.4 The moral of the story (in sum)
2.4.1 The moral of the story is clear, a proud and praiseworthy
testimonial to the venerable Stoic tradition commandi ng the alle-
giance of the wise throughout the ages:
Contrast the description of the (non-royal!) j udge Dan'el! For all their impu-
dence, Yassib's words thus contain a germ of truth. This motif of 'truth from the
mouth of babes' is especially promi nent in Aqhat (cf. MA RGA L I T 1989, passim).
Noteworthy too is Absalom, like Yassib motivated by a desire to depose his father,
who sets himself up as a j udge in the gateway, intercepting his father's 'clients', in
order to establish his credentials for kingship.
As well as (Heb. s'a) a title which he (presumably) shares with the other
members of the Bt-Hbr nobility.
Cf. Akk. /)ibru(m), a Canaani te loanword denoting 'clan' (OB) and 'in gather-
ing (of fruit)' (LB)cf. AHw, 344. In the 11th cent. Egyptian Wen-Amon story,
f}-b-r denotes a joint commercial venture (AJVET 27, n. 17). ^l(fbr and Igbl are thus
fully synonymous terms. Grand the plans of gods and man,
But when the day is done
Bones broadly scattered dry in the sun,
For ironic Moi ra the fray hath won.
And nought remains for Apollo's progeny,
But to sing her praise
In comic agony.
2.4.2 'Life', not 'kingship', stands at the centre of Keret as it does in
Aqhat and Baal-Mot. But whereas Baal-Mot focuses on the uncanny
dialectic of Life and Death on the (awesome) cosmic plane, Aqhat
and Keret focus on the (absurd) human-life condition, the former on
its tragic aspect, the latter on the tragi-comic ('if it weren't so funny,
it would be sad . . .'). If Aqhat is a Canaani te Haml et, Keret is a
Canaani te Merchant of Venice. Like his great English counterpart,
the Canaani te bard is a master at mani pul ati ng emotion; but to mis-
take him for a 'politician' (or a 'preacher'), and his art for propaganda
(or a sermon), is at once an insult and a betrayal. Our poet- i ndeed any poet (of integrity)writes (or sings)
for an audience which is 'free', not 'captive'. He is by nature the foe
of tyranny, be it of the body or of the mi nd. He is anathema equally
in Plato's Republic and in Augustine's 'City of God'. He kneels (only)
in the Templ e of Moi ra, at the feet of Apollo.
What J . HUI ZI NGA (Homo loudens) has said of 'play' is equally true of writing
poetry: 'all play is a voluntary activity. Play to order is no longer play; it could at
best be a forcible imitation of it. By this quality of freedom alone, play marks itself
off from the course of the natural process. It is something added thereto and spread
out over it like a flowering, an ornament, a garment.' (Beacon ed., 1955, 7).
Elsewhere (ibid., 132) he rightly observes that poetry as such is a form of play.
3 T h e S t o r y of A q h a t ( K T U 1. 17- 19)
N i c o l as W y a t t
3.1 Introduction
Tablets RS 2.[004], 3.340 and 3.322+349+366, discovered in the
'Hi gh Priest's House' on the acropolis at Ras Shamra-Ugari t in 1930
and 1931,
were quickly established as constituting the same literary
work.- The menti on of Danel by name in another third-season find
from the same location, RS 3.348 (I V D = 1 Rp = UT 121 = CTA
20 = K TU 1.20), led to the initial incorporation of this tablet in
the series, but its successor Rpum tablets were never thus regarded,
and for practical purposes it too was eventually discarded from the
No authorship is menti oned on any of the tablets. However, the
lower edge below K TU 1.17 vi reads [ ]prln, (KTU
prln) and is gen-
erally restored on the basis of K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ vi 54-5 as
[spr.ilmlk.bny.lmd.atn.]prln, thus restoring the name of I limilku, the
scribe to whom K TU 1.1-6 = RS 3.361, 3.367, 3.346, 2.[014]+,
2. [008]+, 2. [022]+, 2. [009]+ and K TU 1.14-16 = RS 2. [003]+,
3.343+, 3.325+ are attributed (with colopha at 1.4 viii lower edge,
1.6 vi 54-8 and 1.16 vi 59 lower edge). RS 92.20 1 6
(as yet un-
published) also apparently bears the name of Ilimilku. I n the case
of the published tablets, the script is similar in all the tablets at-
See BORDREUI L - PARDEE ( 1989, 26, 30- 32) . The most widely used numbering
systems for the texts are as follows:
2. [004] 2D 2 Aqht CTA 17 KTU 1.17
3. 340 3 D 3 Aqht CTA 18 KTU 1.18
3. 322+ 1 D 1 Aqht CTA 19 KTU 1.19
The tablets are located as follows: KTU 1.17, 19 in the Louvre (AO 17. 324 and
AO 17.323 respectively), KTU 1.18 in the British Museum (AO 17.325 = BM
Published by VI ROL L EAUD 1936a (Editio Princeps).
Typical expressions are 'clearly at least one further tablet must have followed':
GI BSON 1975, 66. 'At least four tablets': DE MOOR 1987, 224. PARKER 1992, 99,
134- 5, still evidently had a fourth tablet in mind, but refrained from identifying it
with KTU 1. 20 = RS 3. 348. See also PARK ER 1997, 49.
Provisionally KTU 9.432. See CA UOT 1992, BORDREUI L 1995a, 2.
tributed to Ilimilku, so that the identification is reasonable.
As will be clear from the synopsis below, considerable portions of
Aqhat are missing. K TU 1.17 is a tablet originally of six columns,
of which two are entirely missing, while the beginning and end of
the four surviving columns are missing (an estimated twelve or so
lines in all on the recto, and on the verso, with a shearing break
down the upper surface, perhaps twenty or so), with the wedge-
shaped breaks on columns i and vi resulting in even further loss.
K TU 1.18 is a tablet of four columns originally, of which two are
entirely missing. Again, the begi nni ng and end of the surviving
columns are missing (some twenty-five lines or so), and wedge-shaped
breaks further reduce the surviving text, with no complete lines in
col. i, and only nine complete in col. iv. K TU 1.19 is the best pre-
served of the three; the only substantial losses here result from fri-
able edges along the three sections into which the tablet has broken,
with the additional loss of a central section in col. i, the bottom
right hand corner of col. ii, the top corner of col. iii, and a small
vertical section in the lower part of col. iv. The surface is also eroded
at the beginning of col. i and in the upper central section of col.
iv. At a rough estimate, from these three tablets slightly over half
the lines are missing, say approximately 430 from an original 840
(fourteen columns of ca 60 lines each), or fifty-one percent. While
these figures are not set in stone (or clay), any adequate interpreta-
tion of the text must remain provisional, having to take into account
the fact that it can never tell more than half the story.
3.2 Synopsis of the story
Substantial portions of the text are missing, as we have noted. The
following narrative sequence can however be understood.
17 i Danel has no son and so performs devotions to obtain divine
assistance. For six days he sacrifices to the gods, apparently
spending every night in the temple. On the seventh day Baal
intercedes for him, asking El to provide a son who will per-
form all the filial duties necessary for a father to be blessed.
El blesses Danel and promises . . .
For recent discussion on the programme of Ilimilku see WY A T T 1997, 1998a
and below in this chapter. I also enlarge on his significance at 13.4.2 below.
ii a son. The son is probabl y born in the missing section
between the columns, and news is brought to Danel, who
rejoices and holds a feast in his palace for the goddesses of
iii missing
iv missing
Kothar arrives, bringing a composite bow as a gift. He is
feasted/' and the bow is given to Aqhat. . .
vi A feast is apparently taking place. Anat asks Aqhat to give
her the bow. He tells her to take the raw materials to
Kothar: he will make her one. She persists in her demand,
and offers him immortality. Aqhat tells her to stop lying,
and says that a bow is in any case a man's weapon. She
departs to El in a rage, accusing Aqhat of impiety.
18 i Anat threatens El that she will be violent if she does not get
her way, and he gives her a free hand. She approaches Aqhat,
seemingly mollified, inviting him to go hunti ng with her.
ii missing
iii missing
iv After a successful hunt, Anat summons Y atipan, instructing
him to assume the form of a falcon, and pounce on Aqhat,
killing him. He does so . . .
19 i and the bow falls into the river and is shattered. Anat min-
gles regret for the bow with a savage assault on Aqhat's
corpse, which she tears in pieces. Back in his capital, unaware
of what has happened, Danel sits to dispense justice; Pughat
sees the withering of the plants, and sensing a disaster, rips
Danel's cloak. He utters a curse.
ii Danel, still evidently not appreciating the situation, wishes
that his son would harvest the now shrivelling grain. Two
messengers arrive and tell of Anat's complicity. Danel . . .
iii then curses the falcons. As each falls from the sky in turn
he examines its entrails. Those falcons found to be empty
are healed. Finally he finds Aqhat's remai ns in Sumul 's
stomach, and buries him. He then goes round the country,
This is the folk-tale idiom for worship with sacrifices, but uses the figure of
face to face, person to person, communication between deity and devotee.
iv cursing all the villages in the vicinity of the murder. Aqhat
is mourned for seven years, Danel concluding the rites with
a sacrifice. Pughat then dons armour beneath her woman's
clothes, and sets off to find Y atipan. Already half drunk,
and thinking that she is Anat, he demands wine, and while
she plies him with it boasts of his expl oi t. . J
As can be seen from this synopsis, there are tantalizing gaps in the
narrative. Particularly uncl earand consequently open to variations
in reconstructive guessworkis the sequence of events in K TU 1.18.
The synopsis above represents this author's readi ng of the story.
Again, the last column of K TU 1.19 breaks off at the most inop-
portune moment. It is commonl y supposed that Pughat went on to
kill Y atipan, which would provide a relatively satisfying dnouement,
but would leave Anat, the true villain of the piece, unscathed. On
the other hand, as pointed out below,
this is to apply our moral
expectations to a divine power, and may misread the author's inten-
tion. Whether or not K TU 1.20-22 = RS 3.348, 2.[019], 2.[024]
have any close relationship with Aqhat must remain an open ques-
tion. But while they are narrative in form (and they appear to be
three versions of substantially the same narrative, though Pitard opines
below 6.4that tablets K TU 1.21 and 1.22 = RS 2. [019], 2. [024]
may be two parts of one whole), we cannot assume that the men-
tion of Danel proves a link, since a number of stories may have
been attached to the same figure.
The following translations have been published: VI ROLLEAUD 1936a, GASTER
1936, 1937, 1938. 1950, 257-313, 1961, 316-76, C . H . GORDON 1949, 84 103,
1977, 9-29, FRONZAROLI 1955a, DRI VER 1956, 48-67, J I RKU 1962, 115-36, AI STLEI TNER
1964, 65-82, GI NSBERG 1969, 149-55, CAUOT - SZNY CER 1974, 401 58, CL EAR
1976, 50-69. XEL L A 1976, 1982, 193-216, GI BSON 1978, 103-22, COOGAN 1978,
27-47, MARGAI .I T 1989a, DEL OL MO I J TE 1981a, 327-401, DE MOOR 1987, 224-66,
AI TKEN 1990, BALDACCI 1996, 333-65, PARDEE 1997a, 343-56, PARKER 1997, 49-80,
WY A TT 1998c, 245-312.
Other studies include CASSUTO 1938, BARTON 1940, STOCKS 1943, GI NSBERG 1945a,
1945b, OBERMANN 1946, HERDNER 1949b, GRAY 1957, 73-91 = 1965, 106-26,
EI SSFELDT 1966, K OCH 1967, KAPEL RUD 1969, 70-82, HI L L ERS 1973, DI J KSTRA -
DE MOOR 1975, DRESSLER 1975, 1979, 1983, GI BSON 1975, WATSON 1976, . ,
1976, DI J KSTRA 1979, MARGAI .I T 1981a, 1983a, 1983b, 1984a, 1984b, 1989a, DEL
OL MO I J TE 1984a, 115-42, CAHJ OT 1985, 1987, 1990, PARKER 1987, 1989, 99-144,
COOPER 1988, DE MOOR 1988a, AI TKEN 1989a, 1989b, 1990, HUSSER 1995, 1996.
For a fuller bibliography down to 1988 see MARGAL I T 1989a, 503-6.
3.3 History of interpretation*
V i r o l l e a u d ( 1936) published the editio pnceps of the Aqhat tablets.
He accepted I limilku's authorshi p of the present narrative, whatever
their antecedents,
and dated the tablets to the mid-fourteenth cen-
tury ( 1936, 82) . On genre he was imprecise, referring to 'legends'
( 1936, 83) and to 'mythological texts' ( 1936, 85) , or even both together
( 1936, 109) without demur. By ordering them as he did (n. 1) he
inevitably missed the logical progression which was subsequently
recognized. Many of his explanations of the vocabulary have had to
be revised, but his study is not to be underestimated as i mportant
pioneering work, however much may now be of primarily historical
interest. An interesting instance is his discussion ( 1936, 87- 96) of the
names of the characters. He concluded (p. 96) that Aqhat is 'a mem-
ber of the family of the god of death; he is, in effect, one of the
gods who dies . . .'; he resumed this argument later (p. 110), claim-
ing that Mot 'personifies the ripe ear of wheat', with the result that
Aqhat is also supposed to be 'the harvest-genius'. There was an un-
fortunate tendency to draw conclusions of this kind in early Ugaritic
scholarship, which it took decades to escape. Everything was alle-
gorical! The result was the wholesale application of various permu-
tations of the seasonal interpretation (a variant on the myth-and-ritual
theme) to all the larger compositions, with a consequent delay in
the recognition of more balanced assessments. Virolleaud also under-
stood the terms qst ('bow') and qs't ('arrows') to mean 'chalice' and
'vases' respectively," which rather destroyed the symbolic centrepiece
of the whole story.
C as s u t o 1938, in a brief note on the text, placed the tablets in
what is now regarded as the correct order, and recognized Aqhat's
human nature. B a r t o n 1940 drew attention to the apparent links
There is insufficient space to offer a complete survey here, and much of the
earlier discussion is in any case now outmoded. I shall therefore merely oudine one
or two salient features of early discussion, and concentrate on later work. For lit-
erature before their respective publication dates see also the surveys in CAQUOT -
SZNYCER - HERDNER 1974, 401-15, DEL OLMO LETE 1981a, 327-401, and MARGALIT
1989a, 3-92.
He writes of them being 'redacted in the fourteenth century' and of a con-
siderable lapse of time between their original formation and reduction to writing
by Ilimilku (VIROLLEAUD 1936a, 83). This dating is now in course of modification.
See PARDEE 1997c, 376 n. 2, and below, 13, nn. 284, 289, 311.
VIROLLEAUD 1936a, 117, 203-5.
of the narrative with the Galilee region,
while G i n s b e r g 1945a,
1945b, recognized that Danel was a king, and in his detailed treat-
ment of a number of key passages broadly set Aqhat studies in their
present mode.
Gaster developed his views through a number of articles and two
editions of Thespis ( G a s t e r 1936, 1937, 1938, 1950, 257-313, 1961
[1966 printing], 316-76). We may take his final account as his con-
sidered view. He treated Aqhat as myth, and classified it as 'the disap-
peari ng god type'. It is a purely literary work as it stands, but with
its roots in ritual drama: 'it was, au fond, nothing but an artistic trans-
formation of the ti me-honored seasonal drama'.
After offering a
synopsis of the narrative, in which the reader may feel uncomfort-
ably that he is being led more by rhetoric than by hard facts, he
launched into his interpretation (1961 [1966], 320-7).
'If our basic approach is correct,' he averred, 'this story will go back
to a primitive seasonal myth relating how a mortal huntsman chal-
lenged the supremacy of the goddess of the chase and how his sub-
sequent execution for this impiety caused infertility upon earth.'
He went on to invoke Tammuz, Osiris, Adonis 'and the like'. We
can see the patterni ng process at work. Onl y the prior assumption
of some seasonal theory (probably also misrepresenting fundamental
elements in these traditions too) could justify a parallel treatment.
More substantial, however, was his invocation of the Ori on myth.
Thi s is indeed a widespread tale (in my view possibly quite inde-
pendent of Tammuz and company), of the hunter who confronts
and insults a goddess or is in some way brought to her attention.
Unfortunately, Ori on is the subject of a large number of myths, and
not one of them corresponds very closely to the plot of Aqhat. It
requires a synoptic approach to discern any extensive parallels between
what are essentially variations on a theme. Furthermore, Ori on is
inseparable from the constellation of the same name, while Aqhat
One of the grounds for considering that the rulers of Ugarit were originally
from the Hauran-Galilee region lies in the familiarity of the tradition with the
toponyms of the region. See discussion, with further references, in MARGAL I T 1989a,
14- 7.
GASTER 1961 (1966), 316.
GASTER 1961 ( 1966) 320- 6. See also GRUPPE 1906, i 69- 70 (cited Gaster),
FONTENROSE 1981, GRAVES 1960, i 151- 4 (41), and ASTOUR 1967, 163- 75 (discussed
below). Graves' explanation of Aqhat ( 1960, i 153- 4) , apart from calling it a Hittite (!)
myth, interprets it astronomically.
has no obvious links with the stars;
and while it would be nice
to find them, we should beware of assuming them on the basis of
'parallels' some centuries younger. But Gaster's work on this aspect
deserves more extensive re-evaluation as our knowledge of the stel-
lar dimension to Ugandan religion, now known only fragmentarily,
develops further. But even establishing a stellar basis does nothing
for the explication of a text from which any such putative elements
are now clearly missing.
D r i v e r (1956, 8) gave only a slight treatment of the significance
of the story. He stated that the theme of Aqhat 'is a righteous king's
need of a son', but a couple of paragraphs later wrote that 'the mai n
theme of the myth is clearly the death and resurrection of Aqhat',
thus introducing a new perception of what concerned the narrator,
before concluding that in view of the damaged condition of the mate-
rial 'no satisfactory interpretation of the myth is possible'! Thi s final
assessment is certainly the most cautious. But it should be noted that
Driver raised two interesting issues: the probl em of whether Danel
was a king, and the death and resurrection motif.
A s t o u r (1967, 163-75) referred to Gaster's treatment of Aqhat in
relation to Ori on, but, without discounting it and noting its Meso-
potami an antecedents, argued that a much closer figure for fruitful
comparison is the Greek Actaeon. He noted that Actaeon's mother
Autono was daughter of Cadmus and Harmoni a, thus evincing a
Semitic pedigree, since Cadmus and the whole Boeotian tradition
reflect West Semitic influence. He argued (p. 165) that the two
names, Aqhat and Actaeon, are related, and that not only are both
torn asunder, one by 'eagles' (rather falcons),
the other by dogs
(falcons and dogs are animals in the service of hunters), but (p. 167)
that in both stories there is a seasonal element, the fifty hounds of
Actaeon representing the cycle of the year, while Aqhat's death pro-
vokes a severe drought. Like Gaster, he went on to suggest a stel-
lar element behind the Ori on parallels (p. 168), and noted that the
latter's name, too, is susceptible of a Semitic etymology (y'Sr, 'r) and
may even appear in the form aryn as an Ugaritic personal name.
GASTER'S (1961 [1966], 322) linking of the bow with the constellation of Canis
maj or is certainly intriguing!
"' The only hint at a richer background is Pughat's epithetal yd't hlk kbkbm, 'who
know(s) the courses of the stars', K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ ii 2-3 etc.
WYATT 1998C, 284 and n. 151.
Cf. GRONDAHI . 1967, 27, 220, 365. 'Hurrian?': DLU, 54.
He further argued for a link between Sumul {ml), 'mother of the
eagles (falcons)' and Greek Semele.
C a q u o t - S z n y c er ( 1974, 409) drew attention to the incomplete
state of the text and advised caution in interpretation. Critical of
mythological and seasonal interpretations, they insisted (p. 413) that
the story was neither history, not historical epic, nor myth, and was
not the subject of seasonal, national or exceptional recital. They
found a definition of its genre elusive, but compared it with Gilga-
mesh, Adapa and Etana, ragardi ng it as an Ugaritic 'classic' (con-
veniently vague!). They did not use the term, but to j udge from their
treatment (p. 414) appear to have assessed it as wisdom literature.
G i bs o n ( 1975) set out to clarify thinking on the nature of myth
and other genres. Noti ng that one of K i r k ' s ( 1971, 268) features of
myth was the fantastic dimension, he noted such features in Aqhat
(and Keret), but added that 'a speculative or perhaps better, an ide-
ological bias' (p. 62) should be present for a narrative to qualify as
myth. But he denied any link between the present narrative and Uga-
ritian royal ideology. The scenes such as the confrontation between
Anat and Aqhat, which he considered to have an ideological dimen-
sion, he regarded (p. 67) as 'secondary, supplying for all their vigour
only the backcloth against which Daniel's piety is put to the test'.
He further opined that the bow too was a secondary feature, and
that in a putative fourth tablet Aqhat was finally restored to life.
I r v i n ( 1978, 76- 78) dealt briefly with Aqhat in the broader con-
text of ancient Near Eastern tales. Her treatment was too cursory
to contribute much to the discussion, but she served the useful pur-
pose of highlighting the conventional folklore motifs to be found in
the story.-
I n his edition of the texts, d e l O l mo L et e 1981 offered an exten-
sive analysis of Aqhat. He classified it as 'epic', along with Keret, and
ran through the scenes, analyzing the literary sub-type of each episode,
drawing on parallels in biblical and other ancient Near Eastern lit-
eratures. I n reverting to a general statement of the text's 'sense and
function' (pp. 354- 64) , he reiterated its epic nature, judging it however
ASTOUR read the D N sml at K T U 1. 39 = R S 1. 001. 14, but this is now dis-
MA RGA L I T 1989a, 58, characteristically summed up their exposition as an
account of 'a pastor or a priest. . . [who] teaches platitudes'!
She identifies them according to THOMPSON 1955- 8.
more 'mythical' than Keret, since the deities are more involved as
dramatis persona, and not merely invoked in conventional religious
terms. 'The gods avenge themselves' in response to Aqhat's inso-
lence, he stated (p. 355), discerning a general theological argument
here, and the supreme god 'has to yield to the caprice of an infe-
rior deity'.
Thi s theological quality makes it difficult to estimate a
historical basis for the story, as though that were desirable. Del Ol mo
Lete attempted to give a serious theological account, but his assess-
ment of 'the caprice of the gods, their amoral conduct' (p. 356)
seems to me to misconstrue the significance of mythological
He later (p. 358) drew attention to another theological point, the
contrast between Danel who is obedient to the gods and receives a
positive response, and Aqhat who confronts them and is accordingly
rebuffed. But while this is true in terms of narrative device, and of
psychology and pastoral theology, it perhaps disguises the real prob-
lem on a purely metaphysical level, which is that the different deities
encountered in the story are quite differently motivated in their rela-
tionships with humans. That is, the deities as reifications of certain
metaphysical principles are credited with their own motivation, which
operates independently of immediate human motivation. Anat is after
all, as goddess of war and hunting, by nature vicious, pitiless and
scheming. That is the role she is constructed to play. We are left
feeling that no amount of diplomacy on Aqhat's part would have
saved him. Certainly no amount of piety on Danel's part does him
any good.
Margalit has written a number of studies on Aqhat, culminating
in his large-scale commentary ( M ar g al i t 1981a, 1983b, 1984c, 1989),
the first study on a single narrative from Ugarit on this scale.
Thi s
is extremely thorough, but is a very difficult volume to work with,
in view of its division into separate blocks dealing with the same
For my slightly different assessment of the general theological principles at
work see below,
I am writing here of the mental disposition rather than the literary genre,
though the two naturally overlap. As though grappling with this issue, del Olmo
Lete (p. 356 and n. 90) writes that Aqhat is 'nearer "myth" than the "epic of Kirta"',
and (n.) '[Aqhat's] intermediate position between saga and myth is recognized'.
'Caprice' is also a term appearing in de Moor's assessment (below). For further
observations on the adequate assessment of myth see 13.4 below.
The studies on the Baal cycle by DE MOOR (1971) and VAN ZI J L (1972a) are
not formal commentaries in the same sense, and in any case the Baal material is
altogether more heterogeneous than Aqhat or Keret.
materials from different perspectives and no adequate cross-refer-
encing aids. Tryi ng to achieve this duri ng use is a taxing occupa-
tion. It begins (pp. 3-92) with a useful survey of previous work,
though this is perhaps excessively negative, not to say waspish, in its
assessment of others' efforts.
There follows a prosodie analysis (pp.
93-105), separated by nearly four hundred pages from the appen-
dix on the principles of Ugaritic prosody (pp. 495-502). It is fair to
say that Margalit has ploughed a lonely furrow on this topic, for
few have expressed support for his approach, or are as optimistic as
he that he has solved the considerable problems the topic raises.
Following the initial position-statement on prosody, he offered a
textual analysis (pp. 107-14), followed by a text layout (unvocalized,
pp. 117-41); this is followed in turn by a translation (pp. 143-66),
then by textual and epigraphic notes (pp. 167-246), and finally by
a literary commentary, prefaced by short units of the unvocalized
text (again!) and punctuated by excursi on various topics (pp. 247-
469), before an exegetical overview, a brief statement on Ugaritic
literature and the Hebrew Bible and the final appendix. Two theo-
retical positions domi nate the work, the non-royal nature of Danel
(on which see further below), and the so-called 'Ki nneret hypothe-
sis', according to which the narrative is at home in the Galilee region.
He even considered the Kinneret to be an actor in the drama (p. 411:
'the personified Ki nnereth, "unwilling" to disclose the identity of the
assailant, must be punished as "accessory after the fact"'). This seems
a trifle excessive.
Parker has written two studies ( P ar k er 1987,
1989, 99-144) on
Aqhat. I n the former, he deplored the atomistic nature of previous
philological approaches to the poem, and the patternistic bias of reli-
gious approaches. The time had come for a literary approach. While
caution must be urged in view of the fragmentary nature of the text,
a useful approach, on essentially form-critical terms, was the estab-
lishment of the types of traditional material employed.
The treatment of K APEL RUD 1969 encapsulates this rather well: 'Author (sic)
states at the outset (p. 70): "The Aqht text is still an enigma, and so far no satis-
factory solution of its problems has been found". Had he limited himself to this
statement, the net balance of author's contribution would have been more positive
than it is in fact.' Some put-down!
Published in the M.H. Pope Festschrift (MARK S - GOOD 1987). Given as an
SBL paper in 1980, and discussed briefly in MA RGA L I T 1989a, 716.
Cf. discussion of del Ol mo Lete above.
any consistent thrust uniting those peculiarities may be treated as
the theme of the whole' (p. 71). He isolated five mai n sections, and
treated each in turn. These are as follows, in his treatment.
A), the birth of Aqhat, deals with the familiar theme of the child-
less hero who appeals to the god for help; the god responds, and
the child is born. The Egyptian tale of the Doomed Pnce and the
Hurri an Appu story, the story of Hannah and Samuel in I Samuel,
and the Ugaritic Keret story, are cited as comparabl e examples of
the type.
B), the bow of Aqhat, describes the making and delivery of the
bow. The account of Kothar's visit has analogues in Genesis 18:116
and 19:1-16. Shari ng certain traits is 2 Kgs 4:8-17, and a modified
version of the form appears in 1 Kgs 17:916.
C), the death of Aqhat, describes Anat's coveting of the bow, her
overtures to the hero, and confrontati on with El when rebuffed, cul-
mi nati ng in her being given a free hand in accomplishing Aqhat's
death with Y atipan's help. Compari son is made with the hero with
I shtar in Gilgamesh, both episodes deriving from an older Vorlage, and
also with Anat's dealing with El in K TU 1.3 = RS 2.[014]+.
D), the consequences of Aqhat's death. Parker noted that the nar-
rative movement almost comes to a standstill in this section, apart
from describing a number of ritual activities which accompany the
inevitable environmental consequences of Aqhat's murder. Aware-
ness of Aqhat's death (as the cause of drought) dawns only slowly,
and then Danel's curses are directed towards the birds who have
devoured his son,
and to the cities held responsible for unresolved
homicides in their neighbourhoods. No similarly extended parallels
from ancient near eastern literature are cited.
E), Pughat's mission of vengeance. Compari sons scholars have
made with the stories of J udi th and J ael and Sisera are noted. While
the latter connection is discounted, extensive similarities with the for-
mer are discussed.
PARKKR 1987, 77, notes that while the language in Baal and Aqhat is remark-
ably similar, the theme of the goddess' insubordination before the high god is far
less apposite in the former. He adduces a closer relationship between Aqhat and
PARKER 1987, 79, appears to hold the father of the raptors responsible. In fact
it is their mother, Sumul, who is so described, in KTU 1. 19 iii 28- 39. The birds
are identified as vultures, p. 78. For the present author they are rather falcons.
Parker concluded that Aqhat would have originally ended with an
account of the fulfilment of Pughat's vengeance, and a return of fer-
tility to the land,
but with no reference to Aqhat's restoration to
life. He ended with an assessment in which the mythological empha-
sis drawn by previous scholarship was played down, while the social
dimension was highlighted as the mai n theme of the author's inten-
tion. He made some interesting observations on gender roles, con-
trasting Anat's 'innate and blatant masculinity' with Pughat's 'assumed
and concealed masculinity' (p. 82). his conclusion raises a number
of questions (expressed rhetorically) rather than providing answers
for them. He saw the possibility of a critique of the values of the
contemporary monarchy and administration.
Useful as this analysis of the structures and congeners of the Aqhat
story are, it does not actually tell us much about the moral or ide-
ological dimensions which may lie behind it (that is, the author's
intention). If his final questions had been answered, we might have
some clear idea where Parker stood. Margalit, though too harsh in
his judgment,
is perhaps justified in complaining that this tells us
more about comparati ve literature than about Aqhat. It certainly
shows the relatively sterile nature of analysis which gives no account
of why an author works in this or that way, beyond the fact that it
all boils down to 'traditional themes'.
Parker returned to the topic in a further study ( P ar k er 1989).
Here he set out the broad characteristics of Ugaritic narrative verse,
as it was evidenced in particular in the Keret and Aqhat stories. He
then turned to Aqhat itself (pp. 99-144), and outlined much the same
discussion as above. His conclusion was extended to a demonstra-
tion of how, while drawing on common mythic and legendary themes,
the author(s) ('composers') have, 'by adopti ng, transformi ng and
combi ni ng several different traditional narratives, produced a larger
work of striking unity' (p. 142). Again he emphasized the familial
values promoted in the story, as distinct from conventional mytho-
logical themes, raised the question of authorial motive, and now sug-
gested that as a piece of 'classical' literature in Ugarit, Aqhat may
Does he mean an element of the 'fertility cult' here? He does not say. At
most, what can be said is that fertility represents divine blessing, while sterility is
the outcome of a curse, and in broad terms fertility also has to do with royal power
and its effective implementation. The loss of a prince is a threat to a kingdom.
However, PARKER notes ( 1987, 83) the lack of overt emphasis on royal issues.
MARGAL I T 1989a, 72.
have afforded its readers and hearers the opportunity of seeing them-
selves mi rrored in the world of the story, 'a satisfying portrayal of
life in an idealized past era, a life with its own tragedies, but also
with its own orderly and beautiful institutions that in the end pre-
vailed' (p. 143).
I n his translation of the texts, d e M o o r 1987, 2 2 4 - 6 6 , made a
number of comments on the literary features of the story. I n keeping
with his broader assessment of Ugaritian theology,
he saw Aqhat as
dealing 'with life and death, and with the fate of man who all too
often appears to be the victim of divine caprice'. Read in the light
of his earlier and later treatments of Ugaritic theology, this is not a
perspective to be taken seriously, since he appears to have envisaged
a culture incapable of the moral insight to question its own bank-
rupt theology. The authors are thus as benighted as their literary
characters. At best Ilimilku reflects a disillusioned and pessimistic
oudook supposedly typical of the Late Bronze Medi terranean world.
I nto this scenario d e M o o r (1990, 97 = 1997, 99) wove an argu-
ment developed some years earlier (de M o o r 1988a), discerning in
Aqhat a further outworking of the seasonal pattern he had previously
argued to be the foundati on of the Baal Cycle (de M o o r 1971). In
the 1988 article he expressed the principle thus: 'Ilimilku . . . delib-
erately wove a seasonal pattern into the Legend of Aqhatu out of
his conviction that life on earth revolves according to a circular pat-
tern that had been laid down in the pristine age of myth' (p. 61).
He then proceeded to fix episodes in the narrati ve in sequence
through the calendrical year in the same manner as had been done
for the Baal cycle. The substantial objections raised by some schol-
ars to the seasonal interpretation were dismissed as of no conse-
quence (de M o o r 1988a, 75 n. 6).
A i t k en (1990)
offered a very thorough analysis of the narrative
from a folk-literature perspective, drawi ng on the work of Propp,
Dundes and Dolezel. He saw the narrative structure in terms of a
series of different thematic levels, and of alternating patterns; 'lacks'
DE MOOR 1986b, 1990, 42-100 (= 1997, 41-102). For my views on this issue
see 13.3 below.
See DE MOOR 1990, 99 (= 1997, 101). In my view the observations made here
result from a mistranslation of K T U 1.19 ii 34-36. For my translation see WY A T T
1998c, 301.
This is the published form of an Edinburgh PhD dissertation from 1978. The
latest entries in the bibliography are from 1984.
being 'liquidated' (not the most apposite term in view of Aqhat's liq-
uidation!) as desires were met or situations reversed (e.g. a son for
the hero, a bow for the hero, the bow for Anat, and so on) or a
status quo maintained. Among the oppositions a set of equivalences
(called 'the synonymous sequence') is also developed, and periodic rep-
etition (e.g. searching the falcons' gizzards for the remains of Aqhat
maintain tension and development to a climax. Aitken was able to
achieve this, quite legitimately, in spite of the considerable gaps in
the narrative, and showed the tight construction of the surviving text,
and, as he put it (p. 206), 'of the skill and artistry of its narrator,
the Ugaritic teller of tales'.
3.4 Some recurrent and unresolved issues in Aqhat
A number of individual episodes and themes in the story have been
the subject of particular discussion.
3.4.1 The Incubation theory
Like O b e r ma n n (1946), Gaster interpreted the temple episode (KTU
1.17 i) as an incubation scene,
as did Gray,
del Ol mo Lete
Thi s view has however been persuasively challenged by
M a r g a l i t 1989a, 260-6, and by H u s s er 1992, 29-62, 1996, 93-5,
who marshall substantial arguments against the i ncubati on inter-
pretation. Margalit, citing H a mi l t o n ' s (1906) study, observes that
none of the conditions required is fulfilled: chthonian gods are not
involved, no illness is involved, there is no reason to think that
Danel's sleeping is part of the ritual, there is no direct theophany,
and no cultic personnel are involved. Furthermore, no other ancient
Near Eastern candidate fulfils the conditions either, and we are left
with a late hellenistic institution with no obvious points of contact.
Husser's original discussion was complex and extended, taking Ober-
mann on at every j uncture. His later paper summarized his mai n
findings, broadly in accord with Margalit. He noted that it was gaps
in the text, filled out in academi c imagination, which appeared to
justify the incubation interpretation. Furthermore, it was not to Danel
GASTER 1961, 316.
GRAY 1969, 296.
DEL OLMO LETE 1981a, 332- 3, 1984a, 119 20, 1984b.
PARKER 1987, 72; 1992, 100.
that Baal drew near (in a theophany), but to El, to whom he speaks
about Danel in the third person. If 'incubation' is to be used to
describe the scene, it requires a considerable extension of the clas-
sical meani ng of the term.
3.4.2 The occasion of Aqhat's birth
When was Aqhat born? The conventional interpretation of K TU
1.17 ii has been that it is part of the build-up to the account of the
birth of Aqhat, which must have been narrated in the gap follow-
ing. Thi s is explicitly stated, for instance, by M a r g a l i t 1989a, 147,
and in some other discussions appears to be assumed, though not
spelt out (e.g. P a r k e r 1987, 73). But a convincing case has been
made by Caquot - Sznycer, and developed further by Husser, that
the birth must have taken place in the gap between the end of
col. i and the beginning of col. ii.
The later presence of the Kotharat
is to be understood, no doubt, as for that purpose, but they evi-
dently delay for some days after, perhaps to confirm a safe birth
and the healthy state of the child. On this alternative interpretation,
the arrival of the Kotharat and the counti ng of days and months in
K TU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] ii refer not to conception and pregnancy,
but to the immediate post-natal period and the child's infancy.
3.4.3 Aqhat's encounter with Anat
The encounter between Anat and Aqhat in K TU 1.18 i (in partic-
ular 1. 24) has also given rise to much discussion. The key part of
the text reads at.ah.wan.x[ ]. It has been frequently restored, to read
Was there a sexual encounter between Aqhat and
Anat? Thi s was asserted by A l b r i g h t (1944, 33-4), but rejected by
G i n s b e r g (1945b, 19). The best argument against the common view,
i.e. that there was, is that of D r e s s l e r 1979, followed by X e l l a
1984b. I have accepted this view.
CA>UOT - SZNY CER 1974, 405, 425 n. f., HUSSER 1996, WY A T T 1998C, 262
N. 50.
Note the pluperfect sense of 'rb bbth ktrt, 'the skilful goddesses had entered his
house', in KTU 1. 17 ii 26: HUSSER 1996, 91- 2, WY A T T 1998C, 264 and n. 61.
Thus KTU
Instead of 'You are my brother and I am your sis[ter]', the passage is to be
read 'Come, brother, and I shall [ ]'. The putative reading a[htk\ is impossible. See
WY A T T 1998C, 279 and n. 132.
3.4.4 Danel's social status
There has been some debate as to whether Danel is a king. G i n s b er g
(1945a, 4 n. 6) noted that Danel sits at both threshing-floor and city
gate to dispense justice, citing 1 Kgs 22:10, 2 Chr. 18:9 as paral-
lels, and also noting the widespread ancient Near Eastern use of the
royal theme of caring for widows and orphans. G i bs o n (1975, 66)
remarked that 'Danel is only once called a king', as though apolo-
gizing for the author's loose use of language! He preferred to see in
Danel a patriarch of the J oban or Abrahami c kind. The formal royal
view has not gone unchallenged, as noted above. M a r g a l i t (1989a,
253-4, 278, 292-3, 309, 361 2, 410, 424-7) in particular has been
most persistent in arguing that Danel is not to be seen as a king.
His arguments (1989a) were as follows, though the case was made
more by assertion than by demonstration. A premonarchi cal society
was envisaged by Margalit (p. 309), in which 'notables' dispensed
justice. Danel's 'political status is that of unus (doubtfully primus) inter
pares. He is one of the "city elders" . . . ' (p. 361). Finally, he did not
recognize the sense 'king' of mlk in K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ iii 46.
He construed it (1989a, 163, 410) as 'your down-course' (Ar. may I).
I n view of Gibson's comment, it is worth noting that with substan-
tial portions of the text missing, not too much should be made of
the apparent hapax appearance of mlk here. Margalit's case can hardly
be said to be very strong, and much rhetoric and repetition can
hardly substitute for reasoned discussion.
The counter-arguments are as follows. Firstly, the title mt rpi, how-
ever it is taken, has a royal significance. I n my translation (1998c,
250 n. 5) I have taken it in the sense 'man (i.e. ruler) of Rapha'.
The alternative sense is to take it as a promise of Danel's later (post-
mortem) incorporation into the rpum (deified dead kings of high rank).
To this cf. the element in the blessing of Keret which foresees his
inclusion among the rpum, K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 2-4, 13-5).
Secondly the blessing formula restored at K TU 1.17 i 34-6, on
the strength of K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ ii 16-20, is to be construed
as explicitly royal in its object. As J ackson and Dressier have noted,
there is a close affinity between the scene described and the Uga-
ritian royal seals.
Within this formula, the form
bd reappears (pace
Margalit), with reference to Danel, at K TU 1.17 i 36 (previously
J ACKSON - DRESSLF.R 1975. See also WY ATT 1997, 787-9.
misread as .bdh, with precedi ng word-divider), and this too is an
explicitly royal title.
Thirdly, Danel also performs an action reminiscent of El himself
at K TU 1.17 i 10-11, in placing his feet on his footstool. Thi s is
to be understood as an accoutrement of royal rank (cf. Ps. 110:1).
Fourthly, the description in K TU 1.17 i of Danel 'enrobed' (uzr)
for the performance of his devotions may be an allusion to the rit-
ual garment in which Ugaritian kings are shown robed in various
Fifthly, as already observed by Ginsberg (above), Danel's sitting
at the city-gate to j udge, at K TU 1.17 4-8, 19 i 19-25, and partic-
ularly the reference to widows and oi phans as the beneficiaries of his
dispensation of justice (a clich for royal justice throughout ancient
Near Eastern literature; contrast Keret at K TU 1.16 vi 33-4, 45-50!)
is the fulfilment of a specifically royal duty. Margalit's attempt to
democratize this is without substance.
Sixthly, the use of hkl at K TU 1.17 i 26, 43, ii 25, is most rea-
sonably to be construed as denoti ng a royal palace. To accept it as
less is to require that the term is used as a sustained hyperbole. The
former alternadve is altogether the more natural. While it is of course
the pair-word to bt, it is used elsewhere in the Ugaritic corpus only
of kings' and gods' 'houses', that is, palaces in the first instance and
temples in the second.
Finally, the form mlk occurring at K TU 1.19 iii 46 is most rea-
sonably to be taken to mean 'king', with reference to Danel him-
self, as the subject of the verb in the sentence. The syntax raises no
problems, and an appeal to Arabic cognates is unnecessary.
These pieces of evidence represent a prima facie case for Danel's
kingship, and it can only be the prior assumption that he is not a
king which can challenge their cumulative force. On the other hand,
the anti-monarchical case requires the demolition of the whole argu-
ment, point by point. The royal status of Danel is not necessarily
an essential element in the broad interpretation of the story, for the
heroes of tales are often kings or the sons of kings, and it merely
adds an aristocratic gloss to the narrative; but it also lends some
support to the view expressed below that the story has been given
A king is 'bd DN, 'servant (or "gardener"WYATT 1990b) of DN'. Thus with
J udahi te kings 'bdyhuoh, 'servant of Yahweh', or 'gardener of Yahweh'.
See WY A T T 1998C, 251 n. 6.
an ideological twist by Ilimilku. Qui te apart from its interpretative
significance, the fact remains that Danel's kingship appears to be
taken for granted.
3. 4. 5 The bow
Dressier and Hillers have both drawn attention to the significance
of the bow in the story of Aqhat. It is evidently of some consider-
able i mportance, since the desire for it motivates Anat to murder
the hero. In the broadest sense it is a symbol of power. But what
else is it?
H i l l e r s (1973) argued that it was in effect a phallic symbol. Its
theft by Anat would constitute an act of emasculation. He read into
this a number of modern psycho-literary insights.
D r e s s l e r ( 1975) countered that much of Hillers' argument cen-
tred on damaged text (and its restoration), hardly a sound basis for
far-reaching hermeneutical claims. The bow was indeed a masculine
symbol, but not a phallic one. That is, it pointed to manly virtues,
but without explicidy sexual innuendo. He drew attention to H o f f n er ' s
( 1966) discussion of gender-symbols in defence of his own restrained
view, and rebutted each instance of an ancient literary allusion to
bows, arrows and quivers in which Hillers had discerned a sexual
i nnuendo.
3.4.6 What becomes of dead men?
The retort offered by Aqhat to Anat's offer of eternal life in exchange
for the bow has long puzzled scholars. M a r g a l i t ( 1989, 307- 10) ,
while having nothing to say on the specific matter of post-mortem exist-
ence, presents Aqhat's observations in K TU 1. 17 vi 3 6 - 3 8 as an
allusion to the Neolithic liming of skulls attested at J eri cho. The idea
that a LBA text would be preserving ritual details of a very specific
kind (and long discontinued, to judge from mortuary evidence through-
out the intervening period) seems most unlikely to me, and may be
discounted. The further idea that LBA people might discover such
ancient skulls (lying in shallow deposits) and contemplate their mean-
ing (p. 309), while a charmi ng idea, is scarcely a sufficient basis for
postulating a systematic anthropology of death. The more general issue
of the nature of beliefs regarding the afterlife has been dealt with
at some length by S p r o n k ( 1986) , who takes a maximalist line, much
in the tradition of D a h o o d ( 1970) , who cited the present passage in
his argument for a positive view of the afterlife, and even attributed
a firm belief in a beatific vision to the psalmists.
The following translation of K TU 1. 17 vi 36~38
4 6
represents my
rather less fulsome view of the matter. The key word in the prob-
lem of translation has been hrs occurring in 1. 37. I have explained
it as representing perhaps a misspelling of the more common hrs,
'gold'. D i j k s t r a - de M o o r ( 1975, 190) offered the same explana-
tion, considering hrs however as a parallel form, de M o o r ( 1987,
239) later abandoned this view in favour of 'potash', but I consider
that his initial insight was to be preferred.
Man, (at his) end, what will he receive?
What will he receive, a man (as his destiny?
Silver will be poured on his head,
gold on top of his skull,
[and] the death of all I shall die,
and I shall surely die.
As I read this, Anat does indeed voice the possibility of a life after
death, probably based on the beliefs held regarding dead kings, all
of whom are 'divine' in some sense (cf. K TU 1.113 = RS 24.257.
13-26, where each RN is prefixed by il). Some dead kings (though
to j udge from the evidence, legendary rather than historical figures,
since no members of the king-list apparently qualify) are even given
the accolade rpum (cf. 6.4), which I understand to denote dead and
deified kings, comparabl e perhaps to the heroes of the Greek cult.
However, while this idea is here broached, and Ilimilku may indeed
be floating the idea through the agency of Anat's speech, he also
offers through the medi um of Aqhat's wholly negative answer a sound
critique of such unrealistic views.
Cf. WY A T T 1998C, 274 and n. 115. I have modified the third colon here. The
colon begins spsg, translated in 1998c as 'a precious substance
', and variously trans-
lated as 'glaze' (|| 'quicklime': GI BSON 1978, 109), 'enamel' (|| 'whitewash': DEL
OL MO L ETE 1981a, 378), 'glaze' (|| 'potash': DE MOOR 1987, 239), 'a coating' (|| 'lime-
plaster': MARGAI .I T 1989, 151). 1 noted (1998c, 274 n. 115) that this is reminiscent
of Prov. 26:23, where the expression kesep siggim, was read by GI NSBERG (1945b,
p. 2I n. 55) as k-spsg\ym\, 'like glaze' on the strength of the Ugaritic. But this argu-
ment may be regarded as circular, in which one unknown is used to interpret
another. Perhaps the original kesep is to be retained in Proverbs, and restored to
the Ug. text as <k>spsg || hrs/*/j'rs. The -sg(ym) remains unexplained in both cases,
but that is another issue. But Ugaritic is relatively stereotypical in its use of regu-
lar word-pairs, and ksp || for s is fairly commonplace, occurring many times in the
repertoire. Furthermore, the Heb. term is pi. in form, while the Ug. is sg., thus
reducing the appearance of a seemingly identical terminology.
3.5 New angles on Aqhat
The present author has attempted
to inteipret the work of Ilimilku
overall, as motivated in all probability by the concerns of his office
as priest and sacrificer of the king. Such a substantial amount of
material (K TU 1.1-6, 1.14-6, 1.17-9, perhaps 1.10, and now 9.432
= RS 92.2016, still unpublished as this goes to press) by one named
person, however we apportion his editorial and compositional input,
is quite remarkable in the Late Bronze, and we may at least ask
whether he did not have some broad ideological concern to express.
Worki ng on the basis of the view, now under challenge, that the
Ni qmaddu of the colopha is Ni qmaddu II, it is proposed that we
have in this substantial opus a legitimization of the new king, whose
reign may have begun in inauspicious circumstances (death of a prior
claimant? usurpation?), whose claim required every kind of support
available in a hearts and minds campai gn. The place of Aqhat in
this hypothetical programme was almost circumstantial, since the
weighty arguments were already spelt out in the Baal myths and in
Keret. But it would tend to reinforce some features of the Keret story:
thus the restitution of the blessing episode to the text would tend to
confirm the author's view that Danel is indeed a king. Thi s in turn
would highlight the significance of the magnificent bow, fit for a
god, and of course of its function as a royal weapon (the king as
hunter is an analogue of the king as warrior), and thus attach a
peculiar i mportance to Aqhat, the hapless recipient of this wonder.
While not in the same form as the search for Baal and the allusion
to it in searching for help for Keret, Danel's search for Aqhat's
remains is perhaps intended to invoke the same theological associa-
tions, as though Baal's death is a type of a king's, here a future
king, with an aspiration to some happy hereafter. This of course is
what Anat offers the prince, but which he sharply rejects. Are we
to see in the raising of such questions a grappling with issues which
tradition has indeed sanctified by habit, but whose answers are no
longer regarded as good enough? Ilimilku might thus be seen as one
of O'Shaunessy's poets, the movers and shakers of the world.
I n attempti ng to identify the poet's motivation (as well as to quan-
tify his personal input into a representation of essentially traditional
WY A T T 1997, 1998a. See also notes to the text in 1998c, 34- 6, 176- 8, 246- 8
(written before 1998a), where I initially explored some of the ideas in question.
material), I am of course entering into a mode as subjective as that
which I have implicitly or explicitly criticized above in other schol-
ars' work. But there seems to me to be a world of differencehow-
ever difficult it may be to achieve itbetween attempti ng to foist
on an ancient author one's contemporary prejudices and discover-
ing what were indeed his own concerns in the matter. I n the mat-
ter of the 'caprice' of the gods, menti oned by two authors cited, I
think we have an example of the all too common tendency to allow
modern theological values, al ready commonl y i mported into the
Hebrew Bible, and declared to be resident there, to affect the agenda.
Not content with an invented 'biblical world view' which is more
often that of the post-reformati on peri od, there seems to be an
attempt to make Ilimilku himself an early reformer! Yet I see no
tension at all in broad matters of metaphysics between Ilimilku and
his world. So far as the internal and traditional theology of Aqhat is
concerned, and which there is no reason to believe is under attack
by Ilimilku, the kind of perspective outlined below ( 13.4.2) is to
be discerned: polytheistic theory at the same time offers a coherent
overall structure at the macrocosmic level for the mai ntenance of
meani ng and value in the world, and in the interaction of its par-
ticular deities accommodates the microcosmic realities of individual
problems, individual decisions and their consequences, and the ten-
sions which are bound to exist between the real and the ideal world.
Anat's behavi our is predictable, and in no way a reflection of inad-
equate or i mmoral theology. As the embodi ment of precisely the
dysfunctional aspect of the world, represented by all forms of killing
(hunting and war), she is a terrible power to encounter. Aqhat's brisk
rebuttal of her overtures, while commandi ng our respect, inevitably
brings on his own head the whole weight of the traditional sanction
on those who bl aspheme (sc. question the divinely ordained order of
things). There is a degree of tragedy and of awful inevitability, as
the sequence of automati c cursing and automati c revenge is set in
train, but this does no more than express in graphic terms the prin-
ciple of accountability.
On the matter of genre, there has been much discussion on that
of the Keret and Aqhat stories. Are they myths, legends or sagas?
When myth is defined as 'stories about the gods' (e.g. by Gunkel
and Eissfeldt), then the presence of human characters in the story
compromises any attempt to categorize the story as myth. Since no
such inhibitions seem to affect discussion of mythology in any arena
other than the biblical one (where also it is arguably an inappro-
priate basis for classification, since it really belongs to a polemic
rather than a detached analysis), it may be regarded as irrelevant to
serious discussion of the Ugaritic texts. More to the point is perhaps
the matter of authorial intention. If myth be defined, as it is likely
to be in social scientific terms, as stories bearing an ideological (which
may include a religious) or paradi gmati c message to their public,
then the issue of the nature of the characters, divine, human, or even
animal, is secondary. These elements are important. Fables, folk and
fairy tales, though they contain characters drawn from myth, have
lost the absolute imperative of the ideological norm, which demands
obedience to a conventional set of values, duties and taboos, and
effectively authorizes sanctions against non-conformists. But an ele-
ment of freedom in the development of a tradition exists. Thus the
myth (e.g. the Chaoskampf, which is integral to the mai ntenance of
royal ideology) may slowly evolve into other forms, such as 'St George
and the dragon', which retains vestiges of ideology, and the 'Celtic
dragon myth', which does not. Thus genre is not absolute, as a given
narrative may be developing from one genre to another.
We noted above del Ol mo Lete's and Parker's remarks on the
matter of genre. These highlighted, to my mi nd, the inadequacy of
the 'genre' approach, in so far as it seeks to establish literary types,
each with its own distinctive mental disposition, attitude to history,
to religion, and so on. These divisions are part of our need to struc-
ture our thoughts on such issues, and all too frequently bring a sledge-
hammer to crack a nut. Absolute categorizations, of the 'saga',
'legend', 'myth', 'epic' kind, are always subjective, if only because
no one agrees on definitions, and merely cut off various avenues of
retreat from the absolute j udgments which each genre is felt to entail.
I prefer like many scholars to speak more neutrally of the 'story' of
Aqhat (and of Keret), noting different tendencies on various issues. This
avoids hostages to fortune, and still leaves narrators free to indulge
in a degree of eclecticism, perhaps drawi ng on different, or even
hybrid genres, and us free to estimate the broad mental stance of
the tradition, unencumbered by the demands imposed by arbitrary
The most obvious starting-point for an assessment should be the
global one of the LBA Weltanschauung of Ugaritian culture, as estab-
lished through broad studies of its cosmology, theology, mythology
and ritual forms. I am entirely happy to call this 'mythological', in
the sense in which a modern religious response in devotion, scripture-
reading and cult remains mythological, since it operates on a different
level from the purely empirical. 'Mythological' is the more useful in
that while it relates to myth, it may also denote quasi-mythic fea-
tures in other genres, such as deities featuring as characters, the sus-
pension of empirical laws for narrative effect, and so on.
Aqhat is to be seen as a story, built up as Parker showed around
a number of motifs, and as Aitken showed around a number of
themes, motifs, formul ae and word-pairs. The stages of its literary
prehistory are no longer recoverable, partly on account of the con-
siderable skills of the tradents, partly because no one motivation
seems evident in its construction; but in the hands of Ilimilku there
is a case to answer that the poet pressed it into service in the inter-
ests of royal propaganda. To this extent it has become an ideolog-
ical text. And in so far as Ilimilku has brought an ideological element
into traditional material, he has blurred the distinction between gen-
res, and produced composite works.
3.6 Some observations on style
A number of commentators have remarked on the 'patriarchal' char-
acterization of Danel, undoubtedl y with an eye to similarities in the
presentation of the patriarchs of the Genesis narratives. There too
a domestic, almost bucolic gloss is given to narrative themes which
address the most urgent needs of human societies, their very phys-
ical survival, expressed most typically in the yearni ng of a man for
a son, who will support him in his declining years and perform his
obsequies. There is a surprising tautness to the text (well illustrated
in Aitken's treatment), with no word too many and an action that
proceeds deliberately, its pace tailored to the various levels of mean-
ing requiring weaving into the whole.
The fourfold repetition of the duties of the pious son, for instance,
is no mechanical overkill by a poetaster, but a skilful development
of one of the main themes of the story. While it is unprovable, it
is worth suggesting that this is one of I limilku's own insertions into
the traditional Vorlage, since it is so germane to his own concerns, if
my analysis is correct. I n K TU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] i 26-33 the for-
Much biblical historiography is 'mythological' in this sense.
mula is voiccd by Baal, interceding on Danel's behalf with El. In
1.17 i 42~7 (and the missing conclusion) it is repeated by El in his
response to Baal. These two narrations therefore take place in heaven,
in the divine abode. As 1.17 ii becomes legible in 11. 1-8 the for-
mul a is already being repeated in a message by an unnamed deity
to Danel, confirming the promise of the birth that has now taken
place, and finally, the fourth instance, in 1. 17 ii 16- 23, Danel him-
self repeats the formula as guarantee of divine blessing. Not only is
this a classic instance of the 'semantic rectangle' (J AMESON 1972,
163- 7) in use as a literary tool, but it shows a clear progress from
an idea deliberated among the gods and only finally, via a revela-
tion, appropri ated by the human recipient. The theological weight
this confers on the text goes far beyond the merely folkloric.
A similar technique is used in the episode of Danel searching
the gizzards of the raptors. In the three successive scenes in K TU
1.19 = RS 3.322+ iii (edge and) l -14a, 14b-28a and 28b-40a we
see Danel progressively home in on the place where his son's remains
lie. Firstly a rather unfocusscd look among falcon-gizzards in gen-
eral; then an examination of Hargab's gizzard, and finally the dis-
covery in Sumul's gizzard of fragments of the hero. Thi s time there
is only a threefold repetition; but this too is masterly, for with the
semantic rectangle incomplete it leaves the reader with a sense of
tension, of a search not really brought to a final conclusion. Thi s is
further heightened by the consequent threefold treatment of the curs-
ing of localities held responsible. Again, the sense of tension. The
reason for this is surely that the real culprit is still at large. We may
see the problem resolved on one level with the probable vengeance
wrought on Y atipan by Pughat, appropriately disguised as Anat, as
the final col umn breaks off. On another level Anat is of course to
blame, and yet as a goddess she must remain above formal, or at
any rate articulated suspicion. It is on account of no weakness, and
certainly of no theological bankruptcy, that the goddess appears to
emerge unscathed. While her cruelty is not perhaps to be compared
in too facile a manner with Y ahweh-El Shaddai's inscrutability in
J ob, we are faced with the same fruitless search for the fulfilment
of human expectations in the face of the divine nature.
For further comments on Anat's theological significance see below, 13.4.
I n both contexts too, in Genesis and Aqhat, we discern ideologi-
cal concerns either overtly expressed, or simmering beneath the sur-
face. The patriarchs are royal and priesdy ancestors, and Danel is
a king, whose fecundity determines the future of his kingdom. The
domestic flavour is deceptive: in their final form both traditions are
pregnant with ideological power.
4 T h e RPUM T e x t s
W a y n e T . P i t ar d
4.1 Introduction: the tablets
The so-called "Rpurr or 'Rephanr texts, K TU 1.20 = RS 3.348 (CTA
20, UT 121), K TU 1.21 = RS 2.[019] (CTA 21, UT 122) and K TU
1.22 = RS 2. [024] (CTA 22, UT 124, 123), are three small frag-
ments of at least two large, multi-columned tablets.' They preserve
in very broken form a portion of a narrative concerning a group of
beings called rpum.'
While extremely problematic and ambiguous,
these texts have played an important role in the discussion of Ugaritic
and Canaani te concepts of death and the afterlife, as well as in the
reconstruction of the Ugaritic political and social order.
Two of the fragments (K TU 1.21 = RS 2. [019] and 1.22 = RS
2. [024]) were found duri ng the second season of excavations (1930),
either inside the House of the High Priest on the acropolis or in the
rubble directly outside the southern wall of the house.
The third
K TU 1.20 = R S 3.348 was first published in VI ROL L EAUD 1936a, 228-30, in
his editio pnnceps of the Aqhat Epic. The other two, K TU 1.21 + RS 2. [019] and
K TU 1.22 = RS 2. [024], along with a rdition of K TU 1.20, first appeared in
VI ROL L EAUD 1941a. Besides the transcriptions in the standard collections (CTA and
= CAT), a recent edition of the texts, with extensive photographs, may
be found in PI TARD 1992. Maj or translations include VI ROL L EAUD 1941a, 1-30;
DRI VER 1956, 66-71; AI STLEI TNER 1964, 83-86; CAQUOT etat. 1974, 461-80; GORDON
1977, 29-31; COOGA N 1978, 48-51; L ' HEUREUX 1979, 129-59; DEL OL MO L ETE
1981a, 405-24; SPRONK 1986, 163 77; DE MOOR 1987, 266-73; DI J KSTRA 1988,
35-51; L EWI S 1996b, 128-31; L EWI S 1997, 196-205; WY A T T 1998C, 316-23.
The meaning of the word is usually related to the root rp', which means, 'to
heal'. The correct pronunciation of rpum in Ugarit remains controversial. The two
most popular proposals are (1) rpi'ma, vocalizing it as a participle, which would
mean, 'healers', and (2) rapi'ma, a stative form that can be rendered, 'the healthy,
hale ones'. See the discussion of the possibilities in L 'HEUREUX 1979, 215- 21; PARDEE
1981- 82, 266; and NACCACHE 1995.
Unfortunately the inventory lists for the first two seasons were lost, probably
during World War II (cf. BORDREUI L PARDEE 1989, 13). It is known that these
tablets were registered with topographic points that were marked on ground-plans
that still exist. The tablets of the second season were numbered with points 210- 64.
Unfortunately, excavations that year took place all along the western side of the
house, in the street along its southern boundary, in the room to the west of the
southern entry, and in a room to the east of the larger interior courtyard. So these
topographic points are scattered throughout the house (see the plan in BORDREUI L -
PARDEE 1989, 25). Because the third fragment and most of the other literary texts
were found in the entry room or just outside the doorway, it seems probable that
was discovered the following year in or near the house's southern
doorway, in the same area where the Keret and Aqhat epics emerged,
along with some of the Baal tablets. Of the three texts only K TU
1.22 = RS 2. [024] preserves some complete lines. K TU 1.20 = RS
3.348 contains parts of two columns on one face. The left column
is made up of the right halves of eleven lines of text, while the right
col umn preserves somewhat over half of twelve lines. K TU 1.21 =
RS 2.[019] preserves part of a single col umn on one face (the right
two-thirds of thirteen lines), but only the last five letters of one line
on the other side. The largest of the three fragments, K TU 1.22 =
RS 2. [024] preserves a left col umn of twenty-eight lines, twenty-two
of which are complete, and a badly broken right column of twenty-
six lines, with only about one-third of each line preserved. On the
other side of the latter tablet are two identifiable letters, plus frag-
ments of two others, each the first letter of a line. We thus have an
aggregate of 95 attested lines, only 22 of which are complete, while
an additional 24 are somewhat more than half-preserved.
K TU 1.21 = RS 2. [019] and 1.22 = RS 2. [024] may come from
a single tablet. The scripts of both appear to have been written by
the same scribe, probabl y I limilku, who also produced the other
maj or narrative texts in the archive. On the other hand, K TU 1.20 =
RS 3. 348 seems to belong to the work of a different scribe (cf. P i t a r d
1992, 75, n. 8), and thus presumably to a separate tablet. Since the
literary tablets found in this archive range in size from about 200
to about 500 lines, we may conclude that the 95 lines attested on
the rpum texts are probably no more than a quarter and perhaps
only one-tenth of the lines that would have existed on the two tablets
when intact.
I n the entire collection of narrative poetic texts from Ugarit few
are as obscure and difficult to interpret as the rpum fragments. Rarely
have the ambiguities of a vowelless script and the piecemeal preser-
vation of so many damaged lines conspired so powerfully to frus-
trate attempts at drawi ng decisive conclusions about a text. The
broad context within which the action depicted in these fragments
occurs is quite obscure, and only a few things about the events
described in the preserved lines can be discerned with certainty. It
is clear that the characters called the rpum (also designated with the
parallel terms ilnym, 'godly ones', and ilm, 'gods') are invited to a
banquet. At least one invitation seems to be given by the king of
the gods, Ilu (K TU 1.21 = RS 2. [019] ii 8), but virtually identical
invitations are offered five other times in the three fragments, each
in a broken context that does not allow us to confirm whether these
come from the same deity. Each invitation seems to be followed by
a description of the j ourney to the banquet.' Both K TU 1.22 = RS
2.[024] and K TU 1.20 = RS 3.348 seem to describe the arrival of
the group at a threshing floor, where the banquet is apparently given,
and K TU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] i 10-25 describes the feast as lasting
for a week. On the seventh day, it appears that the god Baal arrives.
But his function in the story, and indeed the purpose of the gather-
ing of the rpum for the banquet remains unclear, and the text breaks
off at this point. Beyond these few elements of the story, little cer-
tainty about the plot of the narrative and its meani ng is possible.
Not only is the larger context of the fragments lost, but the bro-
ken nature of the narrative makes it impossible to ascertain even
some of the basic elements of the preserved story line. For exam-
ple, not only is it uncertain whether all six invitations are offered
by the same character, but it is also unclear whether the invitation
is addressed to the same set of rpum, or whether different groups of
rpum are being invited to the feast. Further, the fragments contain
almost no information about the characteristics and identity of the
rpum. I n fact, about all we can say with certainty about them is that
they travel by chariot and that they eat heartily at the feast. One
passage in the more complete column of K TU 1.22 = RS 2.[024]
(col. i, lines 4-10), seems to describe a company of rpum who arrive
at the banquet, but the text, though completely preserved, is frus-
KTU 1.21 = RS 2.[019] and KTU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] were discovered either in
the street or in the room west of the entry.
Four of the five versions of these lines in KTU 1.21 = RS 2. [019] and KTU
1.22 = RS 2.[024] appear to read (with the possibility of some variation) atrh. rpum.
lldd I atrh.ltdd.ilnym, while the last version of these lines, which directly precedes the
description of their arrival at the banquet, drops the I before the one preserved Idd.
This is also the case in KTU 1.20 = RS 3.348, where the lines appear in col. ii 1.
The ambiguity of the I has encouraged several interpretations of the lines. Some
take it as an emphatic particle, and thus render these lines with the understanding
that the rpum are travelling in each case; thus, for example, 'After him the shades
verily proceed' (GORDON 1977, 30-31). Others propose that the I is a precative par-
ticle and that the lines should be translated with jussive force, either as part of the
invitation (e.g., SPRONK 1986, 169 72: 'May the rpum flutter to the holy place'), or
as an expostulation of the poem's narrator (e.g., LEWI S 1996b, 129: 'To his shrine,
shades, hasten'). DI J KSTRA 1988, 41- 43 and others have argued that the / is best
understood as a negative particle. They suggest that the rpum refuse to hasten until
they are finally convinced by the fifth invitation (thus, 'After him the shades did
not move').
tratingly ambiguous. One finds critical words here that may be inter-
preted either as proper names of the rpum, or as verbs describing
actions taken by some of the story's characters.
I n other cases, one
cannot be sure whether certain construct nouns are to be construed
as singular or plural. Thus the mhr b'l, mhr
nt, and rpu b'l, in lines
8-9, may be titles of individual characters (i.e. 'the warrior of Baal',
'the warrior of Anat', and 'the rpu of Baal'),
or they may designate
large numbers of persons (i.e. 'the warriors of Baal', 'the warriors of
Anat', and 'the rpum of Baal').
The ambiguity here makes it impos-
sible to use this section to help define the nature of the rpum.
Other problems arise. How is one to understand the relationship
between the three fragments? Since K TU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] and
K TU 1.20 = RS 3.348 both describe the arrival of the rpum at the
threshing floor where a banquet is served, is it best to assume that
the two fragments are separate versions of the same scene, fortu-
itously overlapping,
or are they describing two different banquets?
The latter interpretation is possible since K TU 1.20 = RS 3.348
depicts the banquet as being hosted by a human, Danel, a character
also known from the Aqhat epic, while the banquet of K TU 1.22 =
RS 2.[024] may be hosted by Ilu. Since the former text almost cer-
tainly comes from a different tablet, it may actually be part of a
completely different narrative that just happened to have a similar
convocation of the rpum as a story element.
I n addition, what is the relationship between K TU 1.22 = RS
2.[024] and K TU 1.21 = RS 2.[019]?
Do they belong to a single
Beyond this problem of interpretation, the translations just quoted also point up
another maj or ambiguity in these lines. The word alrh may be analyzed as a prepo-
sition with a suffix, 'after him', or it can be understood as a noun, atr, 'place, shrine'
with a possessive pronoun, 'to his shrine', or simply a directional marker, 'to the
For example, is tmq in line 8 a verb (as translated by DRI VER 1956, 69; L 'HEUREUX
1979, 152-53; CAQUOT 1974, 474-75; SPRONK 1986, 171; DE MOOR 1987, 272; LEWI S
1997, 203) or the proper name of a character (as translated by AI STLEI TNER 1964, 85;
DEL OL MO L ETE 1981a, 423; DI J KSTRA 1988, 47; WY ATT 1998c, 321 n. 38)? The same
question arises concerning the word yhpn in line 9. Some commentators take it as
a proper name (AI STLEI TNER 1964, 85; DEL OL MO L ETE 1981a, 423; DI J KSTRA 1988,
47; WY A TT 1998c, 321); others as a verb (GORDON 1966, 141; DRI VER 1956, 69;
L 'HEUREUX 1979, 152-53; SPRONK 1986, 171; DE MOOR 1987, 272; LEWI S 1997, 203).
Rendered thus by DRI VER 1956, 69; CAQUOT et al. 1974, 474-75; DEL OL MO
L ETE 1981a, 423; DI J KSTRA 1988, 47; WY A TT 1998C, 321.
Transl ated thus or similarly in GORDON 1966, 141; AI STLEI TNER 1964, 85;
L 'HEUREUX 1979, 152- 53; SPRONK 1986, 171; DE MOOR 1987, 272; LEWI S 1997, 203.
E.g. DE MOOR 1987b, 267; DI J KSTRA 1988, 35-39.
See DI J KSTRA 1987b for a discussion of this issue.
tablet, or may they belong to two separate ones, once again over-
lapping in the part of the story recounted? The latter possibility
cannot be ruled out, since the vast majority of the lines in K TU
1.21 = RS 2. [019] i are repeated in K TU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] ii. I n
particular, the former preserves two invitations to the rpum, followed
by two descriptions of them making the j ourney toward the shrine
or palace, while the latter has a threefold appearance of the same
basic lines. Woul d such an extraordinary amount of repetition in
two small fragments of a single tablet be plausible, or is it better to
identify them as duplicates? Again, there is no definitive argument
for either interpretation. The amount of repetition is indeed sur-
prising in such a small number of preserved lines. On the other
hand, multiple reiterations are well attested in the Ugaritic poems,
and it is possible to develop scenarios of the story that would allow
for so many recurrences of the invitation (e.g., that different groups
of rpum are being invited to the feast).
And finally, is there a relationship between these fragments and
the Aqhat epic? The appearance of Danel in K TU 1.20 = RS 3.348
has led a number of scholars to argue that the rpum texts are the
remains of a fourth tablet of the Aqhat narrati ve." They interpret
the banquet as a preliminary to the restoration of Aqhat to life or
some similar dnouement which would have brought the story to its
conclusion. The problem with this proposal is that, apart from the
presence of Danel in this text, there is nothi ng in the rpum texts that
suggests that the action described in these fragments relates in any
way to such a proposed scenario. Others have pointed out that Danel
may have been the subject of more than one narrative at Ugarit,
and that his presence here does not require that the fragments be
related to the other known narrative in which he plays a role.
this point it seems best not to insist on a relationship between them
and the Aqhat story.
4.2 The Identity of the Rpum
Undoubtedl y the biggest hi ndrance to gaining a proper understand-
ing of these texts is the uncertainty about the nature of the rpum,
See for example the four-fold repetition of the duties of an ideal son in the
Aqhat epic (KTU 1.17 = RS 2. [004] i 25-33; 42-7; ii 1-9; 14-23).
" For example, SPRONK 1986, 160-1; CA QUOT et al. 1974, 463; DE MOOR 1976,
332; MARGAL I T 1989a, 464-5; GRA Y 1965, 126-9.
E.g. PI TARD 1992b, 73; DI J KSTRA 1988, 36; and L EWI S 1996b, 119.
the pri mary characters in the narrative. In spite of their appearance
not only in these texts, but also in a few others,
scholars have been
unable to reach a solid consensus on their identity. The pri mary
proposals include the following:
(1) They are ghosts of the dead, most likely the spirits of deceased
kings, and perhaps of the nobility. Several scholars argue that these
spirits were thought of as deified.
(2) They are a group of deities who j oi n Ilu in special gatherings
and who are called upon to protect the king and his city.
(3) They are living members of the aristocracy, perhaps an elite
group of chariot warriors, or perhaps a group of priests involved in
rituals of fertility. I n this context the term may be viewed as a tribal
name, probably related to another tribal designation, Di tanu, which
appears in parallel with rpum in the Keret epic and in K TU 1.161 =
RS 34.126.
(4) A number of scholars argue that the term may in fact be used
to designate more than one of these three groups.
4.2.1 The rpum as spirits of the dead
The most commonly-accepted proposal is that the rpum are spirits of
the dead.
There are several good reasons to support this identification.
(1) The cognate of rpum in biblical Hebrew, r'p'm, has as its pri-
mary meaning, 'spirit of the dead, ghost'. The same meani ng attaches
to the word in Phoenician.
(2) K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126, in which the rpu ars, 'the rpum of the
earth', and the rpim qdmym, 'the ancient rpum\ appear in the context
of a funerary ritual, suggests that they have a relationship to the
dead. I n this context they are summoned to take part in the funeral
of Ni qmaddu I I I of Ugarit (late 13th century) and perhaps to bless
the new king, 'Ammurapi . I n the ritual, the summons of the 'ancient
rpum' is followed immediately by the invocation of the spirits of two
identifiable, deceased kings of Ugarit (not explicitly referred to as
rpum, however). Scholars have argued that the 'rpum of the earth'
They are also mentioned in KTU 1.161 = RS 34.126, a funerary ritual text;
in the Keret epic (KTU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 3 and 14); at the conclusion of the
Baal cycle (KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ vi 46), and perhaps in KTU 1.108 = RS
24.252.23-4 and KTU 1.82 = RS 15.134.32, both of which are damaged.
See for example, CA QUOT 1960; DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ - SANMARTI N 1976c; POPE
1977; SPRONK 1986, 161-96; FORD 1992; WY A T T 1998C, 315 n. 1.
and the 'ancient rpun are royal ancestors of 'Ammurapi from the
distant past. Since the word, ars, 'earth', was sometimes used to des-
ignate the netherworl d, one can render rpu ars, 'the rpum of the
(3) A passage at the end of the Baal epic K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ vi
45-9) contains two bicola in which the four words rpim, ilnym, ilm,
and mtm may be understood as synonymous with one another: p \ p thtk.ilnym | 'dk.ilm \ hn.mtm.'dk. Thi s may be translated
as 'Shapshu (the sun goddess), you rule over the rpum, | Shapshu,
you rule over the godlike ones. | The gods are your company, |
See, the dead are your company'. It should be noted, however, that
these interpretations of K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126 and 1.6 = RS
2. [009]+ are by no means certain (see below). They cannot be con-
sidered decisive for favouring this identification of the rpum.
4.2.2 The rpum as deities
Much of the same evidence can be used to argue that the rpum are
better understood as deities, rather than spirits of the dead.
scholars would identify them specifically as mi nor netherworld dei-
ties, closely associated with Baal. Others have proposed that the term
may designate any deity, maj or or minor, who is called upon by Ilu
to perform a special function. Arguments for identifying the rpum as
deities include the fact that the term rpum is several times paralleled
by the term ilnym, 'godlike or godly ones', quite plausibly a divine
title, and perhaps by the term ilm, 'gods' as well."' Arguments against
identifying them as the dead (as described above) and for seeing
them as deities instead also include the following:
(1) Later meanings of words do not always parallel earlier meanings
of the cognates in other languages. Thus the Hebrew and Phoenician
See SCHMI DT 1994, 83- 92 and L ' HEUREUX 1979, 116- 9 for a history of this
view. L ' HEUREUX also argues that the rpum of our texts are deities, not spirits of
the dead, though in other passages the word may designate such spirits. See ibid.
205- 6, 215- 30. The idea that the rpum are deities should be distinguished from the
view of those who argue that the dead are deified at Ugarit and thus can be
identified as both spirits of the dead and gods.
The occurrences are: KTU 1. 20 = RS 3. 348 i 1- 2; KTU 1.21 = RS 2. [ 019]
i 3-4, 11-2; KTU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] ii 5-6; all relatively certain, but all in bro-
ken contexts, and in KTU 1.6 = RS 2. [ 009] + vi 45- 9. Parallels with the word dm,
'gods', probably occur in KTU 1. 20 = RS 3. 348 ii 1 2 and 8- 9, both, however,
in very broken contexts.
cognates are far from decisive. The context of a word like rpum
within the local literature is more significant for its interpretation.
However, nothi ng in our three rpum texts specifically points to a
ghostly identity for the rpum. I n fact, there is no hint in any of the
fragments that the regular habitation of the rpum is the netherworld.
The only clear action tells of the rpum prepari ng their chariots, trav-
elling to a threshing floor and having a feast, none of which par-
ticularly hint that the beings are spirits of the dead. Near Eastern
evidence for spirits of the dead travelling from the netherworld in
horse-drawn chariots is nil, while such transportati on for deities,
whether from the netherworld or elsewhere, seems quite reasonable.
The lack of netherworld indications in the rpum texts might suggest
that, while K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126 indicates a connection between
the rpum and funerary activities (see below), their sphere of activity
may not necessarily be restricted to that realm.
(2) Although the rpu ars and rpim qdmym of K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126
are involved in a funerary context, this does not mean that they are
necessarily spirits of the dead. They may also be identified plausi-
bly as deities. The names of the beings specifically identified in K TU
1.161.4-7 as rpum are not attested as royal names of Ugarit (or else-
where), but in fact resemble divine names more than human ones
(see particularly the composite name, sdn-w-rdn, (lines 6, 23) and tr
'limn (lines 7, 23-4). When the two recognizable, deceased kings of
Ugarit are named (lines 11-2, 25-6), each is designated as mlk, 'king',
rather than rpu. Thus those who are obviously spirits of the dead
appear to be given a different designation in the text. I n sum, the
evidence from this tablet does not compel one to identify the rpum
as ghosts.
(3) The reference to the rpum in the Baal Epic (K TU 1.6 = RS
2. [009] vi 45-9), which can be interpreted as equating the rpum with
the dead, is in fact ambiguous, because the word, mtm, often trans-
lated 'the dead' in this passage, could actually be a homonym well
attested at Ugarit that means 'humans'. I n this case, the passage
may be translated, 'Shapshu, you rule over the rpum, | Shapshu, you
rule over the godlike ones. | Gods are your company, | See, humans
are your company'.
If this is the correct rendering, there would
be no direct parallel connection between the first bicolon and the
second, as assumed by those who suggest that all four words refer
See SCHMI DT 1994, 84- 8.
to the dead. Rather, the two extol the i mportance of Shapshu in
her relations with various elements of the world orderthe rpum/ilnym,
mi nor gods, perhaps related to the netherworld; then ilm/mtm, the
divine and human spheres as a whole.
Although none of the three points made here disproves the identification
of the rpum with the dead, they each emphasize the fact that none
of the arguments for such identification is fully compelling. On the
other hand, while the texts are compatible with the view that the
rpum are deities, none of them require that meani ng to make sense.
4.2.3 The rpum as living persons
Some scholars have argued that at least certain of the Ugaritic ref-
erences to the rpum are best understood as referring to living per-
I n this interpretation, they are usually identified as an elite
group of chariot warriors who had strong connections with the king.
Those who support this idea argue primarily from the passage in
the Keret epic, K TU 1.15 = RS 3.343+ iii 2- 4 and 13-5 in which
Keret is praised by Ilu himself: 'Greatly exalted is Keret in the midst
of the rpum of the earth (or land), | in the gathering of the assem-
bly of Di tanu'. Supporters argue that 'rpum of the earth' in this pas-
sage can hardly refer to the spirits of the dead, since it would be
i nappropri ate in the context of the exaltation of Keret to proclaim
his preemi nence among the dead.
The 'assembly of Di tanu' (qbs
dtn), the phrase that is parallel to rpu ars in the passage, can plausi-
bly be identified as a designation for the leaders of the Di tanu clan.
Thi s suggests an earthly, political and social context for the rpum.
The military imagery of our three rpum texts (especially the use of
chariotry and the appearance of what seems to be a military host
in K TU 1.22 = RS 2. [024] ii 4-10) fits reasonably into this read-
ing as well. Most scholars who identify the rpum as living humans
See L ' HEUREUX 1979, 1207 for a history of this type of proposal. More
recently see SCHMI DT 1991, 71- 121 for a detailed defence of the argument, includ-
ing a number of new elements. GRA Y 1949 argued that the rpum were elite lead-
ers, perhaps heads of clans, or perhaps priests, who accompanied the king in rituals
designed to insure fertility of crops. This view has generally not been followed.
Those who believe that the rpum are spirits of the dead or deities dispute this,
arguing that since the rpum play an important role in the preservation and support
of the king, Keret's exaltation in the midst the ancestors is a reasonable image to
use in the story. See POPE 1977, 166- 7; FORD 1992, 73- 6.
also assume that even after these chariot warriors died, they con-
tinued to be called rpum, so that there were both living and dead
rpum. Thi s would explain the origin of the usage of the term for the
dead. Note is often made of the fact that the Bible refers to an
ancicnt tribe of giants, located in northern Canaan and Transj ordan
before the establishment of I srael, as rephaim (Gen. 14:5, 15:20; Deut.
2:11, 20; 3:11, 13; J os. 12:4, 13:12; 17:15). Known for their mili-
tary prowess, these rephaim are thought to be a dim memory of the
elite warrior class of that name in the Late Bronze Age. So again
we find some plausible arguments, but again none of the texts used
to support the interpretation provide irrefutable evidence. Plausible,
alternative interpretations of each of these passages have been made.
Thus in the final analysis, no decisive conclusions about the iden-
tity of the rpum can yet be drawn. It is quite possible, as several
scholars have argued, that the word had more than one meani ng in
the Ugaritic texts and that different contexts require different mean-
ings. On the other hand, other scholars have made plausible cases
for seeing all the occurrences of the word as referring to a single
group of beings, either spirits, gods, or humans. Onl y further dis-
coveries of texts relating to the rpum are likely to improve the pre-
sent situation.
From the preceding discussion, it is clear that these texts are ex-
ceedingly ambiguous and that great caution should be used in draw-
ing upon them to reconstruct aspects of Ugaritic or Syro-Palestinian
culture. I n many cases such caution has not been employed, so that
the rpum texts have been used extensively as the basis for elaborate
descriptions of Ugaritic concepts concerni ng afterlife by scholars who
identify the rpum as spirits of the dead.
A similar situation has also
occurred in some of the reconstructions of the Ugaritic military and
For example, DE MOOR 1976, 329- 33 and SPRONK ( 1986, 155- 6, 170- 4) , using
KTU 1. 22 = R S 2. [ 024] ii 5- 7 and KTU 1.21 = R S 2. [ 019] i 5 - 6 as their pri-
mary sources, reconstruct an event at the Ugaritic New Year Festival in which the
deceased nobility, the rpum, are brought back to life, along with Baal, their patron.
But such a reconstruction relies for its foundation upon the identification of the
rpum as spirits, which remains uncertain, alongside problematic readings of both key
passages. Their interpretation of the first passage is based on questionable render-
ings of two problematic verbs, the first of which (his ytb, which occurs twice here)
is based on a misreading of the text (the verb is y'bs, instead), and the second, qym,
more plausibly rendered as a noun than a verb (see VAN DER T OORN 1991, 52). In
the second passage, they must reconstruct both of the critical verbs needed for their
its relation to the royal house by those who view the rpum as living
elite warriors.
' It is i mportant not to place too much interpreta-
tional weight on ambi guous and probl emati c texts such as these.
Before they can be used as sources for dealing with the wider issues
of Canaani te religion and society, a clearer understandi ng of the
texts themselves is necessary.
See, for example, GRA Y 1952, 39- 41.
5.1 Introduction
The incantation can be defined as 'rhythmi c or formulaic words of
power to accomplish a desired goal by binding spiritual powers'.' A
number of Ugaritic texts written in alphabetic script unearthed in
Ras Shamra and Ras I bn Hani fit, completely or in part, under this
heading. I n none of these texts, however, do we find a word specifically
denoting the incantation, like Akkadian siptu.
Thi s word is attested
at the end of a syllabic Akkadian incantation found in Ras Shamra
'against fire' (RS 17.155).
We do find the more general indication
mnt? Thi s has an equivalent in Akkadian mintu. I n Akkadian incan-
tations it is used next to siptu. It seems to refer in the first place to
the act of reciting and repeating the incantation, because it is derived
from the verb man,
'to count' (cf. Hebrew mnh). I n K TU 1.24 =
RS 5.194:46-7, mnt denotes the enumerati on of goddesses listed in
the following lines. It is paralleled by spr, 'list'. I n K TU 1.82 = RS
15.134:20 and K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244 it is used in texts that as
a whole can be labelled as incantations. I n other 'pure' incantations,
like K TU 1.96 = RS 22.225 and K TU 1.169 = RI H 78/20, this
or another general term for the genre is missing.
It appears to be impossible to distinguish the 'Ugaritic I ncantations'
Also, the calling of divine beings by their names at the end
of K T U 1.24 = RS 5.194 may have had some kind of magical pur-
pose. The same can be said of other parts of some of the mythical
or ritual texts. Add to this, firstly, that is often difficult to distinguish
L UDWI G 1987, 151.
For the much larger corpus of Akkadian incantations see the surveys by FRBER
1981, 1984 and 1987.
Cf. ARNAUD 1995a. Within the context of the incantations' 'fire' can be regarded
as a reference to demons; cf. KTU 1.2 = RS 3.367 i 3, where the demoniacal
helpers of Yam are described as 'one, two fires'.
See on mnt PARDEE 1988, 206- 8. According to DE MOOR 1987, 248 the mas-
culine mn is attested in KTU 1. 19 = RS 3. 322+ i l l .
Cf. the expression man iptu, 'to recite an incantation', in Akkadian, cf. CAD
, III, 89.
Cf. J EFFERS 1996, 18, facing the same problem with regard to the more gen-
eral theme of magic and divination.
a prayer from an incantation, in the second place, that as a rule
magical and related texts are difficult to interpret, and that, finally,
many of the tablets concerned are damaged, then it comes as no
surprise that in the editions of and commentari es on Ugaritic texts
we find different proposals for classification:
According to Avishur the only texts which 'can clearly be classified
as incantations' are K TU 1.100 = RS 24.244; K TU 1.107 = RS
24.251+; and K TU 1.169 = RI H 78/20.
Xella lists under 'preghieri ed incantesimi': K TU 1.65 = RS 4.474;
K TU 1.123 = RS 24.271; K TU 1.100; and K TU 1.107.
DE MOOR comes to five incantations as 'more or less i ndependent
prayers without ritual prescriptions', next to incantations 'embed-
ded in rituals': K TU 1.82 = RS 15.134; 1.83 = RS 16.266; K TU
1.169; K TU 1.93 = RS 19.054; and K TU 1.108 = RS 24.252.
Dietrich - Loretz come to eight alphabetic texts that in their view
are representative of this 'Gattung', leaving out two thematically
related but heavily damaged texts. They subdivide these eight texts
into four categories:
(1) 'Evokationen kniglicher Ahnen': K TU 1.124 = RS 24.272
and K TU 1.161 = RS 34.126;
(2) 'Beschwrungen gegen Krankhei t, Unfruchtbarkei t, Dmonen,
Folgen von Trunkenhei t und Totengeistern': K TU 1.13 = RS
1.006; K TU 1.82; K TU 1.114; K TU 1.169;
(3) 'Beschwrung gegen Schlangengift': K TU 1.100;
(4) 'Beschwrung gegen die schdliche Naturkrfte': K TU 1.23 =
RS 2.002.'
Caquot lists K TU 1.82; K TU 1.114 = RS 24.258; K TU 1.100;
K TU 1.107; and K TU 1.169 under the heading 'tablettes mythico-
magi ques'."
AVI SHUR 1981, 13.
XEL L A 1981, 207-50.
DE MOOR 1987, 175-90.
DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1988b, 328-7. In KTU
the following texts are also marked
as possible incantations: 1.20-22 = RS 2. [024], 2. [019], 2. [024]; 1.65 = RS 4.474;
1.86 = RS 18.041; 1.96 = RS 22.225; 1.107 = RS 24.251+; and 1.123 = RS
24.271. Apparently, these belong to the 'damaged' or 'related' texts referred to by
Dietrich - Loretz.
" CAQUOT 1989, 51-123. It is remarkable that he pays no attention to these
texts in his survey in CAQUOT 1979b.
I n his description of Ugaritic religious practices in daily life del
Ol mo Lete mentions as 'conj uras': K TU 1.100; K TU 1.107; K TU
1.82; K TU 1.96; and K TU 1.169;
and as 'recelas mgicas': K TU
1.124 = RS 24.272:13-5 and K TU 1.114:29-31.
A recently published survey of documents from the biblical world
contains as examples of Ugaritic incantations: K TU 1.100; K TU
1.169; K TU 1.114; and RS 92.2014.'
Apparently the old Ugaritic texts on these matters cannot be clearly
classified. It is better in this situation not to put too much weight
on our modern definitions and choose a more general approach to
the Ugaritic texts about human efforts to have an influence upon
the supernatural, from raising one's hands in prayer to binding hos-
tile spiritual powers by magic. This means that the boundaries between
'literary' and 'cultic', and those separating 'myth', 'incantation', 'rit-
ual', and 'god lists' are not always as clear as editors of a handbook
might want them to be.
5.2 Speaking to the gods in hymns and prayer
The genre of prayer appears to be rare in the texts of anci ent
One should not, however, conclude from this that the people
of Ugarit did not have deep religious feelings or that they were reluc-
tant to address their gods direcdy. The lack of separate hymns or
prayers is simply due to the fact that praising the gods or seeking
their favours is usually set in a larger context. Recitation of the great
myths can be seen as a means of expressing respect for the gods
and their glorious deeds. For instance, telling each other about Baal's
victory over Y am and Mot with the words of the myth of Baal
expresses one's confidence in the power of the supreme god over
chaos and death. The hymn addressed to the sun-goddess Shapash
at the end of the myth (K TU 1.6 = RS 2.[009]+ vi 45-53) is put
in the mouth of Anat, but it is also a way in which the people of
Ugarit thankfully praise the sun-goddess for watching over the bound-
aries between night and day, the world of the living and the world
of the dead. Hymni c elements can also be found in the second part
DE L OL MO L ETE 1992a, 241-60 = 1999, 359-87.
DEL OL MO L ETE 1992a, 261 = 1999, 388.
HA L L O 1997, 295-8; 301-5; and 327-8.
Cf. WATSON 1984a, 360 and MI L L ER 1988.
of the much debated text K TU 1.108 = RS 24.252,
which is dis-
cussed below together with texts related to necromancy. Hymns also
seem to have formed a standard element in Hurri an prayers accom-
panyi ng incense offerings (K TU 1.44 = RS 1.007; K TU 1.51 = RS
1.027; K TU 1.54 = RS 1.034+; K TU 1.128 = RS 24.278; K TU
1.131 = RS 24.285).
I n the legend of Aqhat we hear of his father Daniel praying (Ug.
sly) for rain (K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ i 38 46). He calls on the
name of Baal, as 'rider of the clouds', and on his 'delightful voice',
that is of the thunder heralding comi ng showers. I n a subsequent
scene, Daniel beseeches (Ug. sly) the gods that the small stalks in
the dry land may shoot up (KTU 1.19 ii 15-25).
It is more common for prayer to be part of ritual actions, as we
can see in the legend of Keret. The command to raise the hands
(in prayer) is paralleled by a reference to a sacrifice to El (K TU
1.14 = RS 2.[003]+ ii 22-3). We can also find this combination in
the ritual text K TU 1.41 = RS 1.003+, with prescriptions about the
annual celebration of the grape harvest in the month 'First of the
Wi ne'. The text ends with the same call for prayer as in the legend
of Keret. In K TU 1.87 = RS 18.056, a copy of K TU 1.41, these
last lines containing the reference to the king's prayer are missing.
The action described in K TU 1.41:50-5 is situated in another place:
not in the temple, but on its roof; and it refers to a sacrifice offered
to an unknown deity (prgl sqrn). Thi s is probably a deity of Hurri an
origin. So the expansion of the text can be explained as due to later
Hurri an influence upon an older Ugaritic ritual. The king is said (or
prescribed) to offer a recitation (yrgm mlk), but we hear nothing of
its contents. Perhaps building on the assumption of Hurri an influence
one should think here of something like the Hurri an incense prayers
menti oned above. These texts all follow a similar pattern: after the
headi ng we read the names of the gods to whom the prayer is
addressed, together with a short hymn. The gods are asked to come
and receive the offerings and then to do something on behalf of the
suppliant. The texts end with mention of the messenger and in some
AVI SHUR 1994, 297-8 even speaks of the entire text as a 'hymn in honor of
EF, because of the striking similarity with Hebrew psalms and its vocabulary being
reminiscent of that found in hymns.
Cf . DI ETRI CH - MA Y ER 1994.
Cf. DE MOOR 1987, 252, n. 190 and MARGAL I T 1984b, 140-1; for a different
interpretation of 'ahl see DEL OL MO L ETE - SANMARTI N 1996, 16.
cases with promises of new offerings and a final doxology. The words
spoken by the king according to K TU 1.41:53, on the roof of the
temple, could have been something like this calling up the gods and
asking their favours. Because the tablet is damaged here, it is not
clear whether this invocation is accompani ed by the king wiping his
face (mh pnh)
or by clapping his hands (mh ydh).
The reference to
prayer in line 55, back in the temple, could be related to the clos-
ing hymn in the Hurri an incense prayers.
I n the older secondary literature K TU 1.65 = RS 4.47 4
been interpreted as a prayer to El and the assembly of the gods.
More recently commentators of the text appear to be reluctant to
classify it. Xella points to the resemblance of the first lines (naming
El, the sons of El, the family of the sons of El, the assembly of the
sons of El, and tkmn-w-snm) with the repeated address of the ritual
text K TU 1.40 = RS 1.003+. He assumes as a working hypothesis
that K TU 1.65 is some sort of prayer.
Dietrich - Loretz take this
text as a scribal exercise.
I n his elaborate study of this text Avishur
also concludes that the old view (of H.L. Ginsberg) that this text is
a prayer, seems to be closest to the truth. Compari son with the
Qpmran War Scroll (chapters 4- 6 and 9, about names with as a
second element to be written on banners and weapons) leads him
to classify it as a list of war banners.
Because these banners are
'battle cries intended to arouse the deity to assist the warriors', this
text resembles a prayer. Al though much remai ns uncertai n, one
should not rule out the possibility that this is indeed the text of a
prayer, related to sacrifices as menti oned in K T U 1.40, calling up
the gods (lines 1-5), appealing to the consideration of the supreme
Cf . DE MOOR 1987, 159, 165, and DE TA RRA GON 1989, 154, 159.
Cf. L EVI NE DE TARRAGON - ROBERTSON 1997, 299, 301. On the clapping of
hands serving 'to intensify the accompanying words and perhaps even to effectuate
the action' see Fox 1995.
Cf., for instance, BERNHARDT 1975, 239-40: 'Bittgesang an El und die Versamm-
lung der Gtter'. See on this text AVI SHUR 1994, 308-9, who also lists and discusses
previous research.
Cf., for instance, BERNHARDT 1975, 239-40: 'Bittgesang an El und die Versamm-
lung der Gtter'.
X EL L A 1981, 213: 'almeno come ipotesi di lavoro, una sorta di "preghiera"'.
DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ 1981, 64- 7; in their translation of this text in 1988 they
call it 'Opfer fr El und seine Reprsentanten'; note also the problems with classify-
ing this text in ATI /
, 91: 'scribal exercise?, invocation of II?, prayer?, incantation?'.
AVI SHUR 1994, 326, 525,
gods by referring to their noble character (6-9) and nami ng places
and divine attributes in and with which these words have to be
recited (lines 1 Off.). Del Ol mo Lete sees it as a 'cultic invocation of
the divine panoply and to its apparent presence in the sanctuary'.
In his opinion this primarily concerns Baal's weapons, celebrated in
A more generally accepted exampl e of a prayer in al phabeti c
Ugaritic is the end of the ritual text K TU 1.119 = RS 24.266.
Thi s text starts as a common prosaic ritual prescription about the
right time, place, and sort of sacrifice to the right god. I n line 26
there is a transition to a direct address to Baal by referring to the
probl em of a strong foe attacking the gates of the city. The style
changes here from prose to poetry.
The prayer (sit, line 34; cf. the
verb in K TU 1.19 = RS 3.322+ i 39) is introduced by the com-
mand: 'raise your eyes to Baal' (line 27). The request to drive away
the enemy is accompani ed by a number of vows and sacrifices by
the suppliant, in exchange for Baal's help. The text ends with the
statement, repeating the words at the beginning, that Baal will hear
the prayer.
K TU 1.123 = RS 24.271
is probably best described as a bene-
diction,'" because of the repeated lm in the openi ng lines, followed
by a number of divine names. The text seems to end in a similar
way, the last word being again slm. Lines 14ff. mention righteous-
ness and mercy. Thi s is reminiscent of K TU 1.65 and can be inter-
preted in the same way as expressing the hope for and confidence
in a positive attitude of the gods towards the one saying these words.
However, any interpretation of this text in its present severely dam-
aged state must remain uncertain.
DEL OL MO L ETE 1992C, 255; cf. also DEL OL MO L ETE 1992a, 228-9 = 1999,
341- 3 and WATSON - WY A TT 1997.
See on this text XEL L A 1981, 25-34; WATSON 1984d, 360-2; DE MOOR 1987,
171-4; MI L L ER 1988; DEL OI .MO L ETE 1989; DEL OL MO L ETE 1992a, 197-205 =
1999, 292-306; PARDEE 1993, 213-7; AVI SHUR 1994, 253-6; WATSON 1996b.
On this phenomenon see especially PARDEE 1993a.
Cf. XEL L A 1981, 216- 3, with references to the older literature.
DE MOOR 1970 312; RAI NEY 1974, 191. CAQUOT 1979, 1404 and DI ETRI CH -
L ORETZ 1981, 74- 5, suggest that it is a scribal exercise. KTU
, 135, gives as the
possible genre: 'prayer, liturgy?, scribal exercise'.
5.3 Binding hostile supernatural forces by incantations
The texts discussed under this headi ng are the ones that best fit the
narrow definition of an incantation given at the beginning. It concerns
i ndependent texts with words of power used against evil forces from
the realm of gods and demons. The interpretation of these texts is
very difficult, not only because of the state of conservation of most
tablets, but also because of the genre of the texts, with unknown
vocabulary and often without a clear structure or line of thought.
The best example of an Ugaritic incantation is K TU 1.169 =
RI H 78/20.
Although there is much difference of opinion among
the interpreters about many details, it is generally accepted that we
are dealing here with a spell to drive off evil powers causing sick-
ness, with the help of Baal, Horon and Ashera. It is not clear which
disease is meant here,
nor which power is causing it; according to
some it is indicated by dbbm in lines 1 and 9, although it is trans-
lated in different ways: 'flying demons' (de Moor), 'tormenters' (Pardee),
or 'accusers' (Fleming). Others (Dietrich - Loretz, Caquot) relate it
to Akkadian dabbu, 'word', and interpret it as a reference to the
words spoken to expel the (unnamed) demon. This difference of opin-
ion returns in the interpretation of kspm (line 9) as 'sorcerers' indi-
cating the black magic of demons, but according to others the magic
with which one can expel the forces of evil.
There is more consensus about the verbs used in connection with
the expelling magic : ydy (line 1), 'to drive off', and gr/(line 9), 'chase
away'. Both are used in the legend of Keret in the repeated ques-
tion 'who among the gods is able to cast out {ydy) the disease, to
expel (grs) the illness?' (K TU 1.16 = RS 3.325+ vi 10-28). I n line
10, in close connection with ksp and grs, we find the root hbr. Thi s
is reminiscent of the use of hbr in the Hebrew Bible and Akkadian
abru, 'to bi nd', in Mesopotami an incantations. Avishur points to
Deut. 18:10-11 and to Isa. 47:9 with the word pair hbrym || kpym,
'enchantments 11 spells', and to a similar pair in the Akkadian Maql-
Cf. AVI SHUR 1981; DE MOOR, 255-7; DE MOOR 1987, 183-6; DI ETRI CH -
L ORETZ 1988, 333-6; CAQUOT 1989, 53-60; FLEMI NG 1991; DEL OL MO L ETE 1992a,
259-60 = 1999, 385-6; PARDEE 1993, 211-3; FLEMI NG 1997; WY A TT 1998C, 442~9.
DE MOOR 1980b, 257, and 1987, 184, n. 13, assumes that the patient suffered
from a 'cataleptic or epileptic seizure', Pardee thinks of 'male sexual disfunction'.
According to J EFFERS 1996, 67- 8, one can leave open both possibilities.
So here hbr would denote the negative influence of evil
spells. Avishur translates: 'Horon will expel the binders and the Y outh
soothsayers', relating the last word (d
tm) to Hebrew yd'ny. Dijkstra
interprets these terms in a similar way, but he assumes a positive
meaning: 'Horon be the enchanter, and the Y oung Man the one
who provides knowledge.
I n the hymn at the end of the Baal myth
this word pair hbr || d
t (K TU 1.6 = RS 2. [009]+ vi 49-50) would
have the same meani ng. Most commentators, however, prefer the
more common meani ng of hbr, 'friend', and d't, 'intimate'.
I n the text we hear of the one who has to recite the incantation:
'the /^-priest' (line 3). Thi s title is also used in the colophon of the
Baal myth (K TU 1.6 vi 57) and seems to refer to a high-ranking
I n K TU 1.40 = RS 1.002:32 we find the related verb par-
allel to dbh, 'to sacrifice'. According to some interpreters this officiant
used a staff as a magic device,
but the meani ng of the word ht
denoting it (line 5) is, again, disputed.
Thi s person executing the
incantation by word and probably also by gestures and other ritual
activities can be compared to the Mesopotami an incantation priest
called ipu. It is interesting to note that this exorcist is often men-
tioned in the colophon of the incantation texts as a scholar who
wrote and checked the tablet.
Other correspondences with Mesopotami an incantations are the
use of similar metaphors, especially the spirits being said to leave
'like smoke'
and the naming of gods acting on behalf of the oppressed
against the evil spirits. In some Mesopotami an rituals the incanta-
tion priest even says that it is not he himself who speaks, but that
it is an incantation of Ea
or Ninkilil, 'lord of the incantation.
Thi s
AVI SHUR 1981a, 22-3.
DI J KSTRA 1985, 150.
Cf . DEL OL MO L ETE - SANMARTI N 1996, 126- 7 and 172. DI ETRI CH - L ORETZ
1988b, 335 translate 'Genossen || Komplizen'. According to J EFFERS 1996, 33 both
suggested meanings of hbr are related: 'comrades can be linked together by sworn
words, oaths and the like'.
Cf . VAN SOL DT 1988 and FLEMI NG 1991, 146.
Cf. FLEMI NG 1991, 148-50.
Cf. DEL OL MO L ETE - SANMARTI N 1996, 202-3.
See the texts mentioned in CAD A, II, 434, s.v. ipu a.
See, for instance, Maql V: 166-169 (translation by FRBER 1987, 265). Cf.
AVI SHUR 1981, 18; FLEMI NG 1991, 146; and WATSON 1994b, 405-6.
Cf. CAD , II, 431-2, s.v. ipu a.2; CAD III, 90, s.v. siptu e.2'.
Cf., for instance, the recently discovered incantation against Lamatu, discussed
by MI CHEL 1997.
can be compared to K TU 1.169 = RI H 78/20 beginning with the
statement that it is the breath of Baal which drives out the evil spir-
its. Unfortunatel y, the text is broken here. Next to Baal a special
function seems to be reserved for Horon (lines 9-10) and Ashera
(line 16).
A number of these basic elements of K TU 1.169 are also found in
another clear example of an incantation in alphabetic Ugaritic script:
K TU 1.82 = RS 15.134.
Thi s seems to be a collection of six
different incantations, to be recited on different occasions, but also
sharing common elements (such as the reference to the snake in lines
6 and 35). The fourth part is explicitly introduced as an incantation
with the technical term mnt (see p. 270) in its first line (= line 20).
Like K TU 1.169, this text is difficult to interpret, but it gives us
more i nformati on about the gods invoked to help and especially
about the demons to fight. The benign gods are Baal (lines 1 and 6),
his consort Anat (line 11 and twice in line 39), and the sun-goddess
Shapash (line 6). The evil forces they have to destroy are:
Tunnan (line 1), known from the myth of Baal (K TU 1.3 = RS
2. [014]+ iii 40) as a monstrous helper (dragon) of Y am, the god
of the sea, one of Baal's pri me opponents. According to the myth
Tunnan is slain by Anat. He also seems to have been menti oned <