Sarcophagus of King Ahiram with a phoenician inscription,
Byblos, royal tombs, 10 century B.C.
of the sacrophagus of Ahiram, 13th century B.C
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
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.