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VÁZQUEZ HOYS, A . Mª: Historia Antigua Universal. Próximo Oriente y Egipto, Madrid, UNED, 3ª edición, noviembre 2001. ISBN: 84-362-3884-2(O . C.); 84-362-3883-4-(Tomo I, 2ª parte), Depósito Legal M.14.087, pp. 933-987



Museo de Beiruth(Líbano)

Sarcophagus of King Ahiram with a phoenician inscription, limestone

Byblos, royal tombs, 10 century B.C.

Detail of the sacrophagus of Ahiram, 13th century B.C

(National Museum of Beirut).




Masterpiece of the National Museum, this sarcophagus is characterized by the reliefs and inscription decorating it. Traces of red paint can still be seen. On the long sides of the coffin, a funerary banquet scene is depicted showing the king seated on his throne receiving offerings from a long procession of people. On the narrow sides, women wailing in sign of mourning are represented.
The inscription starts on the coffin tub and continues on the cover:
Coffin which Itthobaal son of Ahiram, king of Byblos, made for Ahiram his father, when he placed him for eternity. Now, if a king among kings, or a governor among governors or a commander of an army should come up against Byblos and uncover this coffin, may the sceptre of his rule be torn away, may the throne of his kingdom be overturned and may peace flee from Byblos. And as for him, may his inscription be effaced...
It is the oldest text written with the Phoenician alphabet. The Phoenicians spread this alphabetic script all over the Mediterranean which earned them the reputation, among the Greeks, of having invented the alphabet.