Levantine Epigraphy and History in the Achaemenid Period

Tue 25 - Thu 27 Jun 2013, 19:00

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

The Achaemenid period in the Levant is generally considered an obscure part of history. However, since 1980, epigraphic discoveries and research have thrown new light on this period.  A variety of aspects will be presented across three evening lectures on this subject.

Tuesday 25 June 2013
Levantine Epigraphy and Phoenicia: the kingdoms of Byblos, Sidon and Tyre during the Achaemenid period

The Persian “king of kings” had to rely on the Phoenician navy in his wars against Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean and Phoenicia played the most important part in the satrapy of ‘Avar-Nahara. Since 1980, the dates of important royal Sidonian inscriptions have been revised and various new inscriptions from Byblos, Sidon and Tyre as well as new numismatic studies have been published. They shed new light on the history and extent of the Phoenician kingdoms, especially on their relations with Palestine.

Wednesday 26 June 2013
West Semitic Epigraphy and the Judean Diaspora during the Achaemenid Period: Babylonia, Egypt, Cyprus
According to the Biblical texts Kings and Jeremiah, after the fall of Jerusalem, King Nebuchadnezzar deported part of the Judean population to Babylonia while other Judeans took refuge in Egypt. Apart from in the book of Ezekiel, the Bible does not tell us much about their life there. New epigraphic data can now reveal how the Judean refugees’ lived.

Thursday 27 June 2013
Levantine epigraphy and Samaria, Judaea and Idumaea during the Achaemenid period

The historical interpretation of the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah is much debated and these books essentially concern Jerusalem and Judea. The publication of various – mainly Aramaic – contemporary inscriptions (papyri, ostraca, seals, seal-impressions, coins etc) sheds new light on the daily life and religion of the Persian provinces of Samaria, Judaea and Idumaea, especially during the 4th c. BCE. They help us to understand several Biblical texts in their historical and economical context.

Professor André Lemaire, École Pratique des Hautes Études

About the Speaker:
Professor André Lemaire, École Pratique des Hautes Études, has worked in the field of West Semitic epigraphy in the first millennium BCE. for more than forty years and published many new Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician inscriptions as well as new historical interpretations. He is especially interested by the connection between West Semitic epigraphy and the biblical tradition and was a member of the Editorial board of Vetus Testamentum for 36 years.

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