Alba Fucens, a City Not Even the Roman Gods Could Protect

Alba Fucens, a City Not Even the Roman Gods Could Protect

Italy is visited by millions of tourists each year for its many remarkable ancient ruins, fascinating heritage sites, incredible food, and beautiful countryside. Because there is such an abundance of historical locations to visit, many sites are not as well known. One of these is Alba Fucens, which contains some of the finest early Roman ruins in Italy. This once a bustling town at the foot of Monte Velino was largely destroyed by marauding pirates in the Middle Ages .

The History of Alba Fucens

The town which once stood on this site was ancient. It was founded by the Aequi, a tribe who lived in the area before the establishment of Rome. They were a hardy mountain people and were among the most implacable foe of the Early Roman Republic .

Alba Fucens, originally a hillfort, was finally conquered in the Third Samnite War (298 to 290 BC). The area was occupied by the Romans who sent citizens to colonize the town, although the Aequi were given many rights. During the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC), the city refused to send soldiers to help in the war against Hannibal and it appears that the population of the town was punished.

The location of Alba Fucens, central Italy, Europe (Google Maps)

Alba Fucens prospered during the Social War (91 to 88 BC), when many Italian allies revolted against Roman rule since they stayed loyal. By this time the town was losing its Aequi culture and was increasingly Latin in culture and language.

As Alba Fucens was located in a very strategic position, it was fought over during the many civil wars. These eventually led to the fall of the Roman Republic in the First Century BC. Reports in primary sources state that the hill-top town was used to hold captured foreign kings .

Based on archaeological evidence found at the site, Alba Fucens prospered in the Imperial period (27 BC to 476 AD). Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the town became part of the Ostrogothic and Lombard kingdoms.

From the 9 th century AD, Arab pirates and raiders, known as the Saracens, were ravaging the coasts of Italy and conquering territories. As they became more brazen, they ventured inland. In the 10 th century they attacked Alba Fucens, destroyed it, and enslaved much of the population. The town was almost completely depopulated and entered into a period of decline.

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Illustration by David Aubert, Maugis fighting the Saracens in Aigremont, 15 th century ( Public Domain )

Alba Fucens was completely abandoned when the survivors established the nearby town of Massa d'Albe. Belgian archaeologists investigated in the mid-20 th century and did much to conserve the ruins.

The Remains of the Once Prosperous Alba Fucens

The abandoned town is located in Abruzzo, Central Italy, in a mountainous region with many historic sites. Despite its sack by the Saracens there are still spectacular ruins to be seen. The remaining town walls, roughly 2 miles (3.2km) long, encircle the site and are among the best-preserved in all of Italy.

According to inscriptions, the amphitheater was built by the Praetorian prefect Naevius Macro. The circular structure , with tiers of seats encircling an open space, afforded the crowd a great view of the games held here. The remains of this once popular venue and its original entrance stand as a testament to the durability of Roman construction.

The town of Alba Fucens, Abruzzo, Italy ( ValerioMei / Adobe Stock)

The foundations of many private and public buildings are still visible, including Alba Fucens’ original market and the columns located in this area. The thermal spa is very impressive with its mosaics, and what would an ancient Roman city be without its shrines, these one dedicated to Hercules, Isis and Apollo. Or a partly standing Roman wine bar, sadly no longer trading. Studies have shown that their sewage system was unique and one of the most sophisticated ever found from the Roman period.

On the hill above the abandoned town stands the Church of San Pietro which has an interesting blend of Romanesque and Byzantine motifs and designs and dates back to the 12th Century. Stones and columns from the Temple of Apollo were used in its construction. San Pietro’s apse is much admired as are several mosaics in the church. From this higher vantage point, ancient page shrine and remining stones that once belonged to the Temple of Apollo are visible. A castle ruined in the 15 th century during the French invasion of Italy is close to Mount Velino.

Roman road through Alba Fucens with ruins and original wall ( e55evu/ Adobe Stock)

How to see Alba Fucens

Alba Fucens is in Abruzzo, approximately 50 miles east of Rome. The site is not far from the town of Massa d'Albe and there is a car park adjacent to the site. Admittance is free.

Top image: Alba Fucens, Roman archaeological site with amphitheater. Monte Velino mountain with snow, Abruzzo region, central Italy

Source: ValerioMei / Adobe Stock

By Ed Whelan

History of the Jews in Romania

The history of the Jews in Romania concerns the Jews both of Romania and of Romanian origins, from their first mention on what is present-day Romanian territory. Minimal until the 18th century, the size of the Jewish population increased after around 1850, and more especially after the establishment of Greater Romania in the aftermath of World War I. A diverse community, albeit an overwhelmingly urban one, Jews were a target of religious persecution and racism in Romanian society – from the late-19th century debate over the "Jewish Question" and the Jewish residents' right to citizenship, to the genocide carried out in the lands of Romania as part of the Holocaust. The latter, coupled with successive waves of aliyah, has accounted for a dramatic decrease in the overall size of Romania's present-day Jewish community.

Romanian Jews - יהודים רומנים - Evrei români
Total population
est. 280,000 to 460,000
Regions with significant populations
Romania3,271 (2011 census)
9,700 (core population, 2002 est.) [1]
8,000 (2018 estimated population) [2]
Israel276,588 (emigrants to Israel 1948-2010) [3]
450,000 (2005 estimated population) [4]
Romanian, Russian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Yiddish, English
Judaism and other religions and belief systems (including atheism)
Related ethnic groups
Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Moldovan Jews, Bessarabian Jews, Ukrainian Jews, Hungarian Jews, Romanians

Jewish communities existed in Romanian territory in the 2nd century AD, after Roman annexation of Dacia in 106 AD. During the reign of Peter the Lame (1574–1579) the Jews of Moldavia, mainly traders from Poland who were competing with locals, were taxed and ultimately expelled. [5] The authorities decided in 1650 and 1741 that Jews have to wear clothing evidencing their status and ethnicity. [6] The first blood libel in Moldavia (and, as such, in Romania) was made in 1710, when the Jews of Târgu Neamț were charged with having killed a Christian child for ritual purposes. [7] An anti-Jewish riot occurred in Bucharest in the 1760s. [8] During the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774, the Jews in the Danubian Principalities had to endure great hardships. Massacres and pillages were perpetrated in almost every town and village in the country. During the Greek War of Independence, which signalled the Wallachian uprising of 1821, Jews were victims of pogroms and persecutions. In the 1860s, there was another riot motivated by blood libel accusations. [9]

Antisemitism was officially enforced under the premierships of Ion Brătianu. During his first years in office (1875) Brătianu reinforced and applied old discrimination laws, insisting that Jews were not allowed to settle in the countryside (and relocating those that had done so), while declaring many Jewish urban inhabitants to be vagrants and expelling them from the country. The emigration [ dubious – discuss ] of Romanian Jews on a larger scale commenced soon after 1878. By 1900 there were 250,000 Romanian Jews: 3.3% of the population, 14.6% of the city dwellers, 32% of the Moldavian urban population and 42% of Iași. [10]

Between the establishment of the National Legionary State (September 1940) and 1942, 80 anti-Jewish regulations were passed. Starting at the end of October, 1940, the Romanian fascist movement known as the Iron Guard began a massive antisemitic campaign, torturing and beating Jews and looting their shops (see Dorohoi Pogrom), culminating in the failed coup accompanied by a pogrom in Bucharest, in which 125 Jews were killed. [11] Military dictator Ion Antonescu eventually stopped the violence and chaos created by the Iron Guard by brutally suppressing the rebellion, but continued the policy of oppression and massacre of Jews, and, to a lesser extent, of Roma. After Romania entered the war at the start of Operation Barbarossa, atrocities against Jews became common, starting with the Iași pogrom. According to the Wiesel Commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were murdered or died during the Holocaust in Romania and the occupied Soviet territories under Romanian control, among them the Transnistria Governorate. An additional 135,000 Jews living under Hungarian control in Northern Transylvania also perished in the Holocaust, as did some 5,000 Romanian Jews in other countries. [12] [13]

On the current territory of Romania, between 290,000 and 360,000 Romanian Jews survived World War II (355,972 persons, according to statistics from the end of the war). [14] During the communist regime in Romania, there was a mass emigration to Israel, and in 1987, only 23,000 Jews lived in Romania.

Today, the majority of Romanian Jews live in Israel, while modern-day Romania continues to host a modest Jewish population. In the 2011 census, 3,271 declared to be Jewish.

The Great Wall

Trajan was succeeded by his cousin Hadrian, a good and true man, who had received an excellent education, and was very talented. Hadrian had fought with Trajan in most of his campaigns, and gladly accepted the title of emperor, which the legions gave him, and which was confirmed by the Roman senate.

The first act of the new emperor was to reward his soldiers for their devotion, and his next, to pardon all who had ever injured him. Thus, we are told that on meeting an enemy he said: "My good friend, you have escaped, for I am made emperor."

Hadrian was very affable, and always ready to serve others. When asked why he, an emperor, troubled himself thus about others, he replied: "I have been made emperor for the benefit of mankind and not for my own good."

Instead of continuing to enlarge the Roman Empire, as Trajan had done, Hadrian now said that it was large enough so he did all that he could to have it governed properly. He did not always remain at Rome, but made a grand journey through all his vast realm.

Accompanied by able men of every kind, he first visited Gaul, Germany, Holland, and Britain. Everywhere he went he inspected the buildings, ordered the construction of new aqueducts, temples, etc., and paid particular attention to the training of his armies. He shared the soldiers' fatigues, marched at their head twenty miles a day in the burning sun, and lived on their scanty fare of bread, lard, and sour wine so none of his men every dared complain.

Wherever he went, Hadrian planned great improvements and in Britain he built a rampart, or wall, seventy-three miles long, to protect the Britons from the barbarians who at that time lived in Scotland. Then, passing through the western part of Gaul, Hadrian went up into Spain, and from thence into Africa.

He also visited the East, and made a long stay in Athens, where he took part for the first time in a religious ceremony called the Eleusinian Mysteries. During his stay there, he ordered that the Temple of Jupiter should be finished, and heard much about the new religion which the Christians taught.

Although he had at first objected greatly to the Christians, Hadrian now began to like them, and even proposed to place Christ among the Roman gods, as Tiberius is said to have done many years before.


After the fall of Troy, Aeneas went to Italy and founded Lavinium. His son Ascanius founded Alba Longa.

Amulius stole the kingdom from his brother Numitor, and made Rhea Silvia a Vestal virgin. She became the mother of Romulus and Remus. The boys were thrown into the Tiber, but were nursed by a wolf and brought up by Faustulus. When they were grown up, they restored the kingdom to Numitor. Romulus founded Rome in 753 (?) B. C., having slain his brother in a moment of anger. He admitted as citizens all who chose to come. To obtain wives for them, he stole the women of the Sabines and others. War followed. By the disloyalty of Tarpeia, the Sabines were permitted to enter the city. The stolen women made peace between the two nations.

The people of Rome were divided into patricians, clients, slaves, and plebeians. The patrician alone had the rights of a citizen. The government was carried on by the king, the senate, and the citizens. The senate was made up of the heads of families. The assembly of patricians, or citizens, was called the comitia curiata.

After Romulus had been taken to the gods, he appeared in a vision and predicted that Rome would become the capital of the world.


Note: Alternative names are shown in brackets.

Male Edit

  • Abarta doer of deeds
  • Abcán
  • Abhean
  • Aed
  • Aengus (Óengus)
  • Ailill
  • Aillen
  • Amergin Glúingel
  • Balor
  • Bith - father of Cessair
  • Bodb Dearg
  • Bres
  • Brian, Iuchar & Iucharba
  • Builg - a god of the Fir Bholg [2]
  • Cermait
  • Cian
  • Cichol
  • Conand
  • Corb
  • Creidhne
  • Crom Cruach
  • The Dagda (Dáire)
  • Dian Cecht
  • Donn[3]
  • Ecne
  • Elatha
  • Goibniu
  • Labraid
  • Lén
  • Lir
  • Luchtaine - a carpenter god
  • Lugh
  • Mac Cuill
  • Mac Cecht
  • Mac Gréine
  • Manannán mac Lir
  • Miach
  • Midir
  • Mug Ruith
  • Neit, Irish god of war, husband of Nemain and/or Badb
  • Nuada (Nechtan, Elcmar) [4]
  • Ogma god of speech and language, eloquence and learning
  • Seonaidh
  • Tethra
  • Tuirenn (Delbáeth)

Female Edit

  • Achall - daughter of Cairbre Nia Fer
  • Achtland - Queen who crossed over to síde and became immortal to marry a Tuatha Dé Danann as she was never satisfied with mortal men
  • Aibell - the guardian spirit of the Dál gCais
  • Aimend - the daughter of Óengus Bolg
  • Aífe - character from the Ulster Cycle, mother of Connla
  • Áine - goddess of summer, wealth and sovereignty
  • Airmed - goddess of healing and herbalism [5]
  • Anu - goddess of the earth and fertility [6]
  • Banba, Ériu & Fódla - tutelary triumvirate of goddesses, sisters, eponymous for Ireland (mainly Ériu)
  • Bec - a goddess associated with a magical well
  • Bébinn (Béfind) - goddess associated with birth or an underworld goddess in both Irish and Welsh mythology
  • Bé Chuille - a good sorceress
  • Bláthnat - a character in early Irish literature, a king's daughter, wife of the warrior Cú Roí and the lover of his rival Cú Chulainn
  • Bodhmall - druidess, sister of Fionn mac Cumhaill's father, one of Fionn's childhood caretakers
  • Boann - goddess of the river Boyne
  • Brigid (Brigit) - goddess of poetry, healing, smithcraft and the springtime. She also has two sisters with the same name, forming a triad of goddesses [7]
  • Caillech (Beira, Biróg) - a divine hag, a creator deity, a weather deity, and an ancestor deity, also known as "Queen of Winter" in Scotland
  • Canola - the mythical inventor of the harp, an Irish goddess of music, inspiration and dreams
  • Carman - a warrior and sorceress from Athens
  • Cessair - a character from the Lebor Gabála Érenn, the leader of the first inhabitants of Ireland
  • Cethlenn - prophetess, the wife of Balor of the Fomorians
  • Clídna[8] - a Queen of the Banshees, sometimes a goddess of love and beauty, and the patron of County Cork
  • Clothru - daughter of Eochu Feidlech, mother and aunt of Lugaid, grandmother, grand-aunt and mother of Lugaid's son Crimthann Nia Náir
  • Danand (Danu) - daughter of Delbáeth, mother of Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba
  • Dechtere - the sister of Conchobar mac Nessa, mother of Cú Chulainn
  • Deirdre - the foremost tragic heroine in Irish legend and probably its best-known figure in modern times
  • Ernmas - an Irish mother goddess, mother to the eponymous Ériu, Banba, and Fódla, and the war goddesses Badb, Macha, and the Mórrígan among others
  • Étaín - the heroine of Tochmarc Étaíne
  • Ethniu (Ethliu) - the daughter of the Fomorian leader Balor and the mother of Lugh
  • Fand - an otherworldly woman, once appearing in the form of a sea bird, wife of Manannán
  • Finnabair[9] - a daughter of King Ailill and Queen Medb, of extraordinary beauty which causes hundreds of deaths in battle
  • Finnguala - daughter of Lir of the Tuatha Dé Danann, cursed by her stepmother to be a swan for 900 years until saved by the marriage of Lairgren
  • Flidais - a goddess of cattle and fertility, wife of High King Adamair
  • Fuamnach - Midir's first wife and a witch of the Tuatha Dé Danann, foster child of the wizard druid Bresal Etarlám
  • Gráinne - daughter of Cormac mac Airt, fiancee of Fionn mac Cumhaill, subsequently fiancee of Fionn's warrior Diarmuid Ua Duibhne
  • Grian - a pre-Christian goddess associated with County Limerick and Cnoc Greine ("Hill of the sun"), located seven miles from Knockainy her name simply means "sun"
  • Lí Ban - otherworldly woman, sister of Fand, also appearing as a sea bird once, daughter of Áed Abrat
  • Macha - a sovereignty goddess associated with the province of Ulster, particularly with the sites of Navan Fort and Armagh, one of the three sisters "the three Morrígna." She is associated with the land, fertility, sovereignty, war and horses.
  • Medb (Medb Lethderg, "Maeve") - Queen of Connacht, strong-willed, ambitious, cunning and promiscuous, an archetypal warrior queen, believed to be a manifestation of the sovereignty goddess
  • Mess Buachalla - mother of the High King Conaire Mór
  • Mongfind - a goddess the pagan Irish worshipped on Samhain, wife of High King Eochaid Mugmedón and mother of his eldest three sons, sister of Crimthann mac Fidaig
  • The Morrígan, ("The great queen") Badb ("Crow") & Nemain ("Battle frenzy"), also known as "The Thee Morrígna", are sister goddesses of sovereignty and war. They may foretell and grant death, doom or victory in battle. Sometimes the Morrígan is the name of all three combined into one goddess. Can manifest as a crow, three crows, a cow, wolf or eel.
  • Mór Muman (Mugain) - an euhemerised mother goddess and sovereignty goddess of the province, particularly of the Eóganachta, a queen of Munster and daughter of king Áed Bennán
  • Muirenn Muncháem - mother of Fionn mac Cumhaill [10]
  • Niamh - an otherworldly woman who carried away Oisín to live with her in her domain of Tír na nÓg, the Land of Youth for 300 years
  • Plor na mBan - the beautiful daughter of Oisín and Niamh
  • Sadhbh - the mother of Oisín by Fionn mac Cumhail, living before and after her togetherness with Fionn cursed as a doe
  • Tailtiu - the daughter of the king of Spain and the wife of Eochaid mac Eirc, foster mother of Lugh
  • Tlachtga - daughter of the arch-druid Mug Ruith, powerful druidess
  • Uirne - sister of Muirenn [10]

The Gaulish Celts inhabited the region corresponding to modern-day France, Switzerland, southern and western Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and northern Italy. The Brythonic Celts, or Britons, inhabited most of the island of Great Britain and later migrated to Brittany.

Male Edit

  • Abandinus - local god in Cambridgeshire
  • Abellio - a god possibly connected with apple trees
  • Aereda - a Gallic serpent god [11]
  • Alaunus - a god of healing and prophecy.
  • Alisanos (Alisaunus) - a mountain god [12]
  • Alus - an agricultural god [13]
  • Ambisagrus, a god of thunder and lightning, Ancestor God, Sky God, God of Wind, Rain & Hail [14]
  • Andeis - a Gallic god of the Pyrenees [11]
  • Ankou - a god of death
  • Apollo Cunomaglus - a hunter god [9]
  • Apollo Grannus - a healing god [9]
  • Arixus - a Gallic god of the Pyrenees [11]
  • Arpeninus - a Gallic god of the Pyrenees [11]
  • Artahe (Artehe) - a Gallic protector god associated with bears
  • Atepomarus - a Gallic horse god
  • Bedaius - a sea god [15]
  • Belatucadros - a god of war
  • Belenus - a god of healing.
  • Bergimus - god of heights and mountains [16]
  • Borvo - god of minerals and healing
  • Brasennus - a god for whom an inscription in the house of vilicus of Trumplini is dedicated [13]
  • Caletos - a god of the herd [17]
  • Caturix - war god of the Helvetii people
  • Cernunnos - god of animals and the underworld.
  • Cissonius - a god of trade [18]
  • Mars Cnabetius - a god of war [19]
  • Condatis - a god of the confluences of rivers
  • Cuslanus - a god associated with Jupiter[13]
  • Deus Latis - a Brythonic god whose role is unknown
  • Deus Ducavavius - god of the rivers [16]
  • Deus Orevaius - a little known god to whom an inscription at Cemenelum was dedicated [16]
  • Dorminus - a god of hot springs [16]
  • Intarabus - a god of the Treveri people
  • Erditse - minor deity known by only one inscription [20]
  • Esus (Hesus)(possibly) the God of vegetation
  • Glanis - a local god associated with a healing spring
  • Gobannus (Gobannos, Cobannus) - a smith god
  • Ialonus - a god of meadows
  • Ihamnagalla Sqnnagalla - a god for whom an inscription was dedicated by Gaius Octavian Capiton [16]
  • Jupiter Felvennis - a god of the sky [16]
  • Leno - patron god of Lérins [21]
  • Leucetios (Leucetius) - a god of thunder
  • Maponos (Maponus) - a god of youth
  • Matunus - a bear god
  • Moccus - protector of boars and pigs
  • Moritasgus - a healer god
  • Mullo - associated with Apollo
  • Nemausus - a god worshipped at Nîmes
  • Niskus - a sea god
  • Nodens (Nudens, Nodons) - a god of healing, the sea, hunting and dogs
  • Ogmios - god of eloquence
  • Paronnus - a god for whom a votive offering at Brixia was dedicated [16]
  • Rudiobus (Rudobius) - war god
  • Smertrios (Smertios, Smertrius) - a god of war
  • Sucellus (Sucellos) - a god of agriculture and wine
  • Taranis (Taranus) - a god of thunder
  • Toutatis (Caturix, Teutates) - a tribal protector god
  • Tridamos - bovine triplication and abundance
  • Ucuetis - blacksmith god
  • Vasio - possibly patron god of Vaison-la-Romaine
  • Vellaunus (Veraudunus) - possibly an ancestral god of death and the Underworld
  • Vernostonus - a Brythonic god, possibly a warrior or funerary god
  • Vindonnus - an epithet for Belenus
  • Vinotonus - His name may mean "God of the Vines"
  • Viridios (Viridius) - possibly a god of plants
  • Virotutis - epithet of Apollo
  • Visucius - Gallo-Roman god of trade
  • Vitucadrus - a god brilliant in energy [17]
  • Vosegus - a god of the Vosges Mountains

Female Edit

  • Acionna - a river goddess [8]
  • Adsagsona - goddess of the underworld and of magic [22]
  • Adsullata - goddess of the River Savubalabada
  • Aericula - a mother goddess [23]
  • Aeron - goddess of war and slaughter, tutelary river spirit in Wales
  • Alantedoba - an agricultural goddess [13]
  • Ancamna - goddess of the Moselle River
  • Ancasta - goddess of the River Itchen
  • Andarta - a goddess of war
  • Andraste - goddess of victory
  • Annea Clivana - a protective goddess associated with spirits
  • Arduinna - goddess of the Ardennes Forest
  • Arnemetia (Arnamentia) - a water goddess
  • Artio - goddess of the bear
  • Axona - goddess of the river Aisne [24]
  • Baeserta - a goddess of the Pyrenees [11]
  • Belisama - a goddess of lakes and rivers, fire, crafts and light
  • Bergusia - goddess of prosperity
  • Bormana - goddess of minerals and spring water
  • Bricta (Brixta) - a Gaulish water goddess, consort of Luxovius
  • Cailleach - the Scottish hag creator, destroyer, and oldest ancestor
  • Carlin - another name for the Cailleach or hag
  • Carpundia - a river goddess [8]
  • Cathubodua - a goddess of war
  • Caticatona - a water goddess [25]
  • Clota - matron goddess of the River Clyde
  • Clutoida - a river goddess [8]
  • Coinchend - a female warrior from the Otherworld
  • Coventina - goddess of wells and springs
  • Damara - a fertility goddess
  • Damona - consort of Apollo Borvo and of Apollo Moritasgus, a goddess of healing, fertility, and incubation
  • Dea Latis - a goddess of bogs and pools [21]
  • Dea Matrona - "divine mother goddess" and goddess of the River Marne in Gaul
  • Dea Sequana - goddess of the River Seine
  • Deae Vediantiae - mother goddesses [26]
  • Dervonnae - mother goddesses [27]
  • Dibǒnā - a fountain goddess [28]
  • Divona (Devona) - a Gallic goddess of a sacred spring used by the city of Burdigala as a water source
  • Dominae - mother goddesses [16]
  • Epona - fertility goddess, protector of horses
  • Erecura (Aeracura) - earth goddess [8]
  • Feminae - mother goddesses [16]
  • Gobróig - goddesses of wells and springs [29]
  • Habetrot - a Brythonic folkloric figure of spinning and healing, later euhemerized
  • Henwen - a sow goddess
  • Erecura - a goddess of death and fertility
  • Histria - a Gallic goddess of land [16]
  • Icaunus (Icauna) - a goddess of a river
  • Icovellauna - goddess of a sacred spring
  • Imona - a well goddess [30]
  • Inciona - a goddess of the Treveran people
  • Lerina - a patron goddess of Lérins
  • Litavis - an earth goddess
  • Maiabus - a Gallic goddess with a role similar to Maia[31]
  • Matronae Dervonnae - mother goddesses [26]
  • Matronae Vediantiae - mother goddesses [26]
  • Maximia - fountain goddess [32]
  • Melusine - an otherworldly figure associated with mermaid lore
  • Nantosuelta - goddess of nature, the earth, fire, and fertility in Gaul
  • Natae - goddesses whose roles are unknown [16]
  • Niskai - water sprites [27]
  • Ricagambeda - her name may mean "furrow"
  • Ritona (Pritona) - a goddess of the Treveri people
  • Rosmerta - goddess of fertility and abundance
  • Sabrina - goddess of the River Severn
  • Seixomniai Leuciticai - a Celtic goddess, equated with Diana[16]
  • Senua (Senuna) - an older Brythonic goddess of sacred springs
  • Sequana - goddess of the River Seine
  • Sirona - a goddess associated with healing springs
  • Sueta - a goddess of hot springs [16]
  • Suleviae - a triune version of Sulis
  • Sulis - goddess of the healing waters at Bath, England
  • Tamesis - goddess of the River Thames
  • Veica Noriceia - a war goddess [16]
  • Verbeia - goddess of the River Wharfe
  • Vesunna - a goddess who gave her name to the town Vesona, now in France [8]
  • Vibes - a goddess attested in Noricum[15]

The Welsh are the Britons that inhabit modern-day Wales (Welsh: Cymru). After the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain, many Brythonic territories came under Anglo-Saxon influence in Wales, however, Brythonic Celtic religion was largely retained. Many Welsh myths were later Christianized so it is sometimes difficult to determine if their characters were originally gods, mortals, or historical figures.

Male Edit

  • Afallach - descendant of Beli Mawr and father of Mabon ap Modron
  • Amaethon - god of agriculture
  • Arawn (Arawen) - king of the otherworld realm of Annwn
  • Avalloc
  • Beli Mawr - ancestor deity
  • Bladud
  • Bendigeidfran (Brân the Blessed) - giant and king of Britain
  • Cilydd
  • Culhwch
  • Dylan Ail Don
  • Efnysien
  • Euroswydd
  • Gilfaethwy
  • Gofannon (Govannon) - a smith god
  • Gwern[9]
  • Gwydion - magician, trickster, and hero in Welsh mythology
  • Gwyddno Garanhir
  • Gwyn ap Nudd
  • Hafgan
  • Lludd Llaw Eraint
  • Llŷr
  • Mabon - literary figure
  • Mallolwch (Matholwch)
  • Manawydan
  • Nisien (Nissien, Nissyen)
  • Pryderi
  • Pwyll
  • Taliesin
  • Urien
  • Ysbaddaden

Female Edit

  • Agrona - goddess of the river Ayr, and of war and slaughter
  • Arianrhod - Goddess of the moon and stars
  • Blodeuwedd - goddess of spring
  • Branwen - goddess of love and beauty
  • Ceridwen - a figure of rebirth and transformation
  • Cigfa - wife of Pryderi
  • Creiddylad - goddess of flowers and love [citation needed]
  • Creirwy - one of the three most beautiful maids in Britain, daughter of Ceridwen
  • Dôn
  • Gwenhwyfar - Arthurian figure
  • Modron, Welsh mythological figure, possible derivation of Dea Matrona
  • Nimue
  • Olwen
  • Rhiannon

The Celtiberians were the ancient peoples who inhabited modern-day Portugal and Spain. Some believe the Lusitani and Vettones were culturally Celtic. Nevertheless, they were at least Celtic-influenced.

Male Edit

  • Aernus[33]
  • Aernvs (Deo Aerno) [34]
  • Aetio[34]
  • Araco[34]
  • Ares Lusitani
  • Bandua[35]
  • Bormanicus (Bormo, Borvo)
  • Brigo (Brigus)
  • Cariocecus
  • Carneo[34]
  • Cernunnos - god of fertility, life, animals, and the underworld.
  • Cohue[36]
  • Cosus (Cossue, Coso) [37]
  • Crouga[36]
  • Deo Domino Endovellico[34]
  • Deo Durbedico[34]
  • Deo Nemedeco[38]
  • Deo Paramaeco[38]
  • Deo Turiaco (Turaeo) [38]
  • Endovelicus (Endouellicus) [31]
  • Enobolico (Indibilis)
  • Erriapus[39]
  • Issibaeo[34]
  • Kuanikio (Quangeio, Quangeius) [40]
  • Lugus[36]
  • Mermandiceo[38]
  • Picio[38]
  • Reue[41]
  • Salama[42]
  • Sucellus[43]
  • Tabaliaenus[44]
  • Tabudico[38]
  • Tongoenabiagus
  • Turiacus
  • Vorteaeceo[45]
  • Visucius[46]

Female Edit

  • Asidiae[34]
  • Ataegina (Ataecina) [33]
  • Besenclā (Besenclae) - a community and house protector [34]
  • Broeneiae[34]
  • Coruae[34]
  • Cosuneae[34]
  • Crougeae (Corougiae)
  • Deae sanctae (Burrulobrigensi) [34]
  • Deiba[45]
  • Epane (Epona, Iccona)
  • Erbina - a goddess of wild animals, hunting, and domestic security [33]
  • Ermae[34]
  • Flauiae Conimbriga (Flauiae Conimbrigae) [34]
  • Ilurbeda[47]
  • Lacipaea (Lacibiā, Lacibea) [33]
  • Laneana (Laneanis) - a goddess of springs and floods [33]
  • Losa[48]
  • Luna Augusta[49]
  • Mirobleo[38]
  • Munidis[33]
  • Nabia (Navia) - versatile goddess [33]
  • Nymphis[38]
  • Ocrimirae[38]
  • Reva (Reua) - personification of water flows [50]
  • Toga[33]
  • Trebaruna[33]
  • Trebopala
  • Tutelae[38]

Germania was a geographical region covering north-central Europe. Pannonia was a region in central Europe.

Male Edit

Female Edit

  • Apadeva - a water goddess [18]
  • Cissonia - a goddess of trade [18]
  • Nehalennia - a goddess of seafarers
  • Vesunna

Illyria is a region in the western part of the Balkan peninsula.

Male Edit

  • Andinus
  • Boria - a god of the North Wind [16]
  • Jupiter Arubianus[15]
  • Melesocus[16]

Female Edit

  • Eia - a healing goddess, later assimilated to Bona Dea[16]
  • Trita - goddess of health [52]
  • Venus Ansotica

The Picts were ancient peoples living in Scotland.

Female Edit

The Galatians were the ancient peoples who inhabited north-central Anatolia (modern-day Turkey).

Male Edit

A female deity named Carvonia is attested in a votive altar found in the Celeia region. Her name is thought to mean "deer" or "doe", based on similar words in Celtic languages. [56] [57]

Servius Tullius

The sixth king, Servius Tullius, was a monarch celebrated for particularly high achievement by the Romans. Yet to modern eyes, it appears as though several achievements of early Roman history have somehow been attributed to him as a means of attributing them to someone. For it seems doubtful that Servius was really responsible for all ascribed to him.

Servius Tullius’ origins are uncertain. His name may in fact be a corruption of the word servus (slave). The name itself was later only used by plebeians.

One story tells of him being the son of a household slave. (Though Livy writes he was a prince from the Sabine city of Corniculum held captive by the Romans).

Interestingly, there was also an Etruscan tradition, which claimed that Servius was in fact an Etruscan named Mastarna.

Legend also states that, when Servius was still a boy, his parents discovered him asleep in bed with his head covered by flames. Yet the sleeping child suffered no harm. Word of this momentous portent eventually reached Tanaquil, the wife of King Tarquin the Elder, who deemed it a sign that the boy was marked out for great things. Thenceforth Servius was a protégé of Rome’s powerful queen.

At the death of King Tarquin the Elder it was Tanaquil who assured Servius’ ascent to the throne. The sons of Ancus Marcius being implicated in Tarquin’s murder made it impossible for them to now contest the throne. They retired into exile.

Tarquin the Elder however had three sons Tarquin, Lucius and Arruns. To win their support, Servius shrewdly married them to his own daughters.

His position though was soon secured, when a war against the Etruscan city of Veii proved him to be an able military commander. In fact so impressive was his victory that in his 44 years in power he had no need to take to the field again.

The Romans believed Servius’ reign to have seen the first use of coinage in the city. Unlike the Greeks, early Roman society did not use money. Far more they bartered – salt for pottery, grain for wood, etc…

Where the system proved inadequate the Romans expressed value in for of ‘heads of cattle’. One such head of cattle was worth ten sheep.
The head of cattle (pecus) became the first Roman monetary unit. From this came the first Latin word for money – pecunia. A primitive monetary system evolved based on ingots of raw copper of the Roman pound (libra) of 327 g.

Such an ingot could then be broken up into yet different sizes and values.
King Servius was the first to have a stamp put onto the copper, until then it was just the raw metal. The design to have been used supposedly was either an ox or sheep.

King Servius Tullius is said to have enlarged the city. Romans also attributed the ‘Servian Wall’ to him, though it is most likely that he was this city wall was a product of the 4th century BC.

It is widely believed though that the agger, a set of defensive earthworks on the Quirinal, Viminal and Esquiline Hills were a legacy of his. It is therefore possible that, although not the Servian Wall, some lesser defensive cordon may have been set up around the city by King Servius Tullius.

After all, archaic Rome is believed to have possessed defences, albeit that we know very little about them. A major achievement of his reign appears to have been the transfer of the regional festival of Diana from Aricia to the Aventine Hill of Rome.

A temple was dedicated to the goddess on the Aventine Hill, not merely by the Romans but by the people of Latium. Archaeology seems to grant this story some support. The moving of a regional festival and the prestigious Temple of Diana to Rome seems to show that the city was of rising importance to the wider region.

Perhaps the most impressive idea ascribed to Servius Tullius is the census, which counted the people and ranked them in five classes, according to wealth.

(This division of the people by wealth is often referred to as a ‘timocratic’ system, after the Greek timo (worth) and kratia (rule) so literally ‘rule by worth’.)

The classes were divisions created to decide the voting rights of the people (with the rich enjoying most votes) and to help administer the levying of troops, as the higher a citizen’s class, the better armour and weaponry he was able to afford.

Servius is further said to have made the division of the people into three tribes for tax purposes: the ramnes, the luceres and the tities. (Hence the relation of the words ‘tribe’ and ‘tribute’.) These tribal divisions may have been ethnic in nature, though very little is known about them.

A further change of constitutional importance credited to Servius Tullius is his reform of the army, in particular his granting the army a political assembly in its own right, the comitia centuriata.

His reign is also closely associated with the construction of the great Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus (185 ft wide and 65 ft high). If it is believed that Tarquin the Elder begun the temple, most of its construction must have been completed under Servius Tullius. Especially bearing in mind the length of Servius’ reign, it is perhaps doubtful that Tarquin the Proud was the king to complete this great work, as tradition holds.

Legend tells of an outrageous coup that overthrew King Servius Tullius in old age. It was the ambitions of Servius’ daughter Tullia and her husband Lucius Tarquin which should prove disastrous to the old king.

Servius Tullius’ policies had made him unpopular with the senators and Lucius Tarquin was quick to exploit that. If the tale of the king’s slave origins is true, this also will not have helped. At some point a conspiracy was hatched to overthrow the king.

One day Tarquin simply arrived at the senate in royal robes and summoned the senators to acknowledge him in his position. Servius rushed to the senate, but was bodily thrown from the hall. In the chaos that followed King Servius was stabbed to death by hired assassins.

Roman legend adds a gruesome note, describing how Tullia later returned from the Senate, where she had seen her husband confirmed as the new ruler. When her carriage drove down the street in which her father Servius had fallen it ran across his dead body.

The street in which King Servius Tullius was assassinated and run over was henceforth known as the vicus sceleratus, the ‘street of guilt’.

6. Jupiter and the Bee

This myth is about a bee who was getting tired of having people and animal steal his honey. And he wished and prayed to the gods that he would have some kind of weapon to fight away the thieves but the gods did not grant his request. One fine day, he decided to personally ask Jupiter for help. The bee flew up to the heavens and brought Jupiter a gift of honey. Jupiter was pleased and he asked if what would the bee wanted in return. The bee wished for a sting so that he could kill any mortal who takes his honey. Jupiter was not happy with the bee’s wish but he still granted what the bee wanted but Jupiter said “ I will give every bee a stinger, but there must be a payment. For every bee who uses the sting, they must pay for it with their life. That way every bee will have a choice to die, protect, or share”.

1st Century BCE

98 BCE – Marius leaves Rome for Asia. Revolt in Lusitania

96 BCE – Ptolemy Aion bequeaths Cyrene to Rome by testament

95 BCE – Mithridates ordered out of Paphlagonia and Cappadocia.

91-89 BCE – Social War between Rome and its Italian allies

90 BCE – Roman setbacks in Social War. Lex Julia: Latins, Etruscans, and Umbrians remaining loyal to Rome are given Roman citizenship.

89-85 BCE – Fisrt Mithridatic War. – War with Mithridates VI of Pontus over his territorial ambitions.

89 BCE – Victories of Strabo and Sulla. Lex Plautia Papiria: Roman citizenship conceded to all allies south of the Po.

88 BCE – Proposal to transfer command in Asia from Sulla to Marius by tribune Sulpicius Rufus. Sulla seizes Rome. Mithridates overruns Asia Minor.

87 BCE – Cinna and Marius in control of Rome, massacre Sulla’s supporters. Sulla lands in Greece and besieges Athens.

87-84 BCE – Consulships of Cinna

86 BCE – Marius consul seventh time, dies. Sulla conquers Athens, defeat Mithridates armies at Chaeronea and Orchomenus.

85 BCE – Treaty of Dardanus with Mithridates.

84 BCE – Cinna killed. Carbo sole consul.

83-82 BCE – Second Mithridatic War

83 BCE – Sulla lands in Italy. Murena begins Second Mithridatic War

82 BCE – Civil War in Italy. Sulla victorious. Proscribtions in Rome. Sertorius leaves for Spain. Pompeu crushes Sulla’s opponents in Sicily.

81 BCE – Sulla dictator. Constiturional reforms. Pompey defeats Marians in Africa. Sertorius driven out of Spain.

80 BCE – Sertorius lands in Spain again.

79 BCE – Sulla resigns dictatorship. Sertorius defeats Metellus Pius

78 BCE – Death of Sulla. P.Servilis starts three year campaign against pirates

77 BCE – Pompey oppointed against Sertorius

76 BCE -Sertorius victorious against Metellus and Pompey

75/74 BCE – Death of Nicomededs who bequeaths Bithynia to Rome

74-64 BCE – Third Mithradatic War

74 BCE – Cyrene made Roman province. M. Antonius given commmand against the pirates. Mithridates invades Bithynia Lucullus sent against him.

73-71 BCE – Third Slave War

73 BCE – Rising of Spartacus at Capua. Lucullus relievesCyzicus, defeats Mithridates.

72 BCE – Successes of Spartacus. Assassination of Sertorius. Pompey victorious in Spain. Lucullus campaigns against Mithridates in Pontus. M.Antonius defeated by pirates of Crete.

71 BCE – Crassus defeats Spartacus. Lucullus defeats Mithridates, who flees to king Tigranes of Armenia.

69 BCE – Lucullus invades Armenia, captures its capital Tigranocerta

68 BCE – Mithridates returns to Pontus. Discontent in Lucullus army.

67 BCE – Pompey handed command against pirates. Pompey clears pirates from the Mediterranean.

66 BCE – Pompey given command against Mithridates, who is finally defeated. Pompey campaigns in Caucasus. Birth of Horace.

64 BCE – Pompey annexes Syria

63 BCE – Cicero consul. Caesar elected pontifex maximus. Seizure of Jerusalem by Pompey. Cataline Conspiracy. Death of Mithridates. Birth of Octavian.

62 BCE – Defeat and death of Catalina. Pompey settles matters in the east, returns to Italy and disbands his army.

61 BCE – Caesar governor of Further Spain. Revolt of the Allobroges. Aedui appeal to Rome.

60 BCE – Caesar returns from Spain, first triumvirate between Casesar, Crassus and Pompey.

59 BCE – Caesar consul. Pompey marries Caesar’s daughter Julia. Caesar given proconsulship of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum senate adds Transalpine Gaul to this.

58-51 BCE – Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul

58 BCE – Tribunate of Clodius – corn law. Cicero exiled. Cyprus annexed. Caesar defeats Helvetii and Ariovistos

57 BCE – Clodius and Milo riot in Rome. Return of Cicero. Caesar defeats Nervii and other Belgae

56 BCE – Conference of the triumvirs at Luca.

55 BCE – Second consulship of Crassus and Pompey. First stone theatre of Rome, built by Pompey on the Campus Martius. Caesar bridges the Rhine, invades Germany, then Britain.

54 BCE – Pompey, near Rome, governs Spain through legates. Death of Julia. Caesar’s second expedition to Britain. revolt in north eastern Gaul. Crassus prepares for Parthian campaign.

53 BCE – Rioting in Rome. Battle of Carrhae: Roman army defeated by the Parthians, Crassus killed, the Roman army standards taken as booty

52 BCE – Milo kills Clodius. Trial of Milo. Pompey sole consul. Revolt of Vercingetorix in Gaul. Siege of Alesia, Caesar victorious.

51 BCE – Parthian invasion of Syria

49-45 BCE -Civil War – Julius Caesar fighting the Pompeians

49 BCE – On January 10 Caesar crosses the Rubicon and marches on Rome in defiance of the Senate. Pompey leaves for Greece. Caesar dictator fir first time, for eleven days, passes emergency legislation. Caesar in Spain, defeats Pompeians.

48-47 BCE – Caesar becomes involved in Egyptian dynastic struggles

48 BCE – Caesar consul for second time.Caesar crosses to Greece, defeats Pompey at Pharsalus. Pompey flees to Egypt where he is stabbed to death on landing. Caesar in Egypt. Alexandrine War. Caesar makes Cleopatra queen of Egypt.

47 BCE – Caesar dictator for second time in his absence. Caesar defeats King Pharnaces II of Pontus. Caesar returns to Rome, then leaves for Africa.

46 BCE – Caesar crushes surviving Pompeian forces under Scipio and Cato at Thapsus. Caesar dictator second time, consul third time. Cato commits suicide. Caesar returns to Rome, reforms calendar. Caesar leaves for Spain.

45 BCE – Caesar dictator third time, consul fourth time. In battle at Munda in Spain the last Roman Republican resistance is crushed

44 BCE – Caesar dictator fourth time (for life), consul fifth time. March 15, Caesar murdered by Brutus, Cassius, and their co-conspirators acting for the Republicans. Octavian returns from Greece.

43 BCE – Second Triumvirate: Anthony, Octavian, Lepidus. Proscriptions. Cicero is murdered

42 BCE – Julius Caesar deified. Sextus Pompeius controls Sicily. Battle of Philippi: the Triumvirate defeat Brutus and Cassius, both of whom take their own lives

41 BCE – Antony visits Asia Minor, then Alexandria.

40 BCE – Agreement at Brunidisum divides the Roman empire. Antony marries Octavia. Parthian invasion of Syria.

39 BCE – Agreement at misenum between Antony, Octavian and Sextus Pompeius. Parthian defeated at Mt Amanus.

38 BCE – Naval successes of Sextus Pompeius. Defeat of Parthians at Gindarus. Antony captures Samosata.

37 BCE – Pact of Tarentum triumvirate renewed. Antony marries Cleopatra at Antioch.

36 BCE – Octavian granted tribunician immunity. Sextus Pompeius defeated at Naulochus. Lepidus ceases to be triumvir. Antony retreats through Armenia.

35 BCE – Octavian in Illyria. Death of Sextus Pompeius.

34 BCE – Antony celebrates triumph in Alexandria

33 BCE – Octavian consul for second time. Antony in Armenia. Antony and Cleapatra winter at Ephesus.

32 BCE – Octavia divorced by Antony. Octavian publishes Antony’s will in Rome. Antony and Cleopatra in Greece.

31 BCE – Octavian consul third time. (and hereon successivly until 23 BC). September 2, Octavian defeats Antony in naval battle off Actium

30 BCE – Tribunician powers granted to Octavian. In August, Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide in Alexandria

29 BCE – Octavian celebrates his Triumph in Rome, the doors of Temple of Janus are closed, the war officially ended, many legions disbanded, and land distributed to veterans. Dedication of Temple of Divus Julius.

28 BCE – The Senate, its numbers already somewhat reduced by Octavian, grants him the title of Princeps Senatus. Census held by Octavian and Agrippa. Mausoleum of Augustus begun.

27 BCE – January 13, Octavian makes the gesture of returning command of the state to the Senate and the people of Rome, receiving in return vast provinces and most of the army as his own. Three days later the Senate confers on him great powers, numerous honors, and the title of Augustus

27-25 BCE – Augustus directs the final subjugation of Spain and the administrative reorganization of Spain and Gaul

23 BCE – The Senate grants Augustus the titles and powers of Imperium proconsulare maius and tribunicia potestas for life, thereby turning over to him complete control of the State and ending the Roman Republic

23 BCE – The Senate grants Augustus the titles and powers of Imperium proconsulare maius and tribunicia potestas for life, thereby turning over to him complete control of the State and ending the Roman Republic

21-19 BCE – Without bloodshed Augustus wins back from King Phraates IV the Roman standards lost to the Parthians in 53

17 BCE – Secular Games (Ludi saeculares) celebrated as symbol of the new Golden Age brought in by Augustus

15 BCE – The territory of the Raeti and Celtic Vincelici (Tyrol,Bavaria,Switzerland) subdued, the new province of Raetia instituted

13 BCE – July 4, consecration ceremony of the Altar of Peace (ara Pacis) voted by the Senate to honor Augustus

12 BCE – Augustus takes title and position of Pontifex Maximus

13-9 BCE – Campaigns in Pannoia

12-9 BCE – Campaigns in Germany

9 BCE – 30 January, dedication of the completed Ara Pacis Augustae

5 BCE – Gaius Caesar, grandson of Augustus, named heir presumptive, princeps juventutis

4 BCE – most likely date for Birth of Jesus Christ

2 BCE – Augustus is awarded the honourific title of pater patriae. Lucius Caesar, brother of Gaius, likewise is name Princeps juventutis


Ras Shamra lies on the Mediterranean coast, some 11 kilometres (7 mi) north of Latakia, near modern Burj al-Qasab.

Origins and the second millennium Edit

Neolithic Ugarit was important enough to be fortified with a wall early on, perhaps by 6000 BCE, though the site is thought to have been inhabited earlier. Ugarit was important perhaps because it was both a port and at the entrance of the inland trade route to the Euphrates and Tigris lands. [ citation needed ] The city reached its heyday between 1800 and 1200 BCE, when it ruled a trade-based coastal kingdom, trading with Egypt, Cyprus, the Aegean, Syria, the Hittites, and much of the eastern Mediterranean. [5]

The first written evidence mentioning the city comes from the nearby city of Ebla, c. 1800 BCE. Ugarit passed into the sphere of influence of Egypt, which deeply influenced its art. Evidence of the earliest Ugaritic contact with Egypt (and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization) comes from a carnelian bead identified with the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I, 1971–1926 BCE. A stela and a statuette from the Egyptian pharaohs Senusret III and Amenemhet III have also been found. However, it is unclear at what time these monuments were brought to Ugarit. Amarna letters from Ugarit c. 1350 BCE record one letter each from Ammittamru I, Niqmaddu II, and his queen. [ citation needed ] From the 16th to the 13th century BCE, Ugarit remained in regular contact with Egypt and Alashiya (Cyprus). [ citation needed ]

In the second millennium BCE, Ugarit's population was Amorite, and the Ugaritic language probably has a direct Amoritic origin. [6] The kingdom of Ugarit may have controlled about 2,000 km 2 on average. [6]

During some of its history it would have been in close proximity to, if not directly within the Hittite Empire.

Destruction Edit

The last Bronze Age king of Ugarit, Ammurapi (circa 1215 to 1180 BCE), was a contemporary of the last known Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II. The exact dates of his reign are unknown. However, a letter [8] by the king is preserved, in which Ammurapi stresses the seriousness of the crisis faced by many Near Eastern states due to attacks. Ammurapi pleads for assistance from the king of Alashiya, highlighting the desperate situation Ugarit faced:

My father, behold, the enemy's ships came (here) my cities(?) were burned, and they did evil things in my country. Does not my father know that all my troops and chariots(?) are in the Land of Hatti, and all my ships are in the Land of Lukka? . Thus, the country is abandoned to itself. May my father know it: the seven ships of the enemy that came here inflicted much damage upon us. [9]

Eshuwara, the senior governor of Cyprus, responded:

As for the matter concerning those enemies: (it was) the people from your country (and) your own ships (who) did this! And (it was) the people from your country (who) committed these transgression(s). I am writing to inform you and protect you. Be aware! [10]

The ruler of Carchemish sent troops to assist Ugarit, but Ugarit had been sacked. A letter sent after Ugarit had been destroyed said:

When your messenger arrived, the army was humiliated and the city was sacked. Our food in the threshing floors was burnt and the vineyards were also destroyed. Our city is sacked. May you know it! May you know it! [11]

By excavating the highest levels of the city's ruins, archaeologists can study various attributes of Ugaritic civilization just before their destruction, and compare artifacts with those of nearby cultures to help establish dates. Ugarit also contained many caches of cuneiform tablets, actual libraries that contained a wealth of information. The destruction levels of the ruin contained Late Helladic IIIB pottery ware, but no LH IIIC (see Mycenaean period). Therefore, the date of the destruction of Ugarit is important for the dating of the LH IIIC phase in mainland Greece. Since an Egyptian sword bearing the name of pharaoh Merneptah was found in the destruction levels, 1190 BCE was taken as the date for the beginning of the LH IIIC. A cuneiform tablet found in 1986 shows that Ugarit was destroyed after the death of Merneptah (1203 BCE). It is generally agreed that Ugarit had already been destroyed by the eighth year of Ramesses III (1178 BCE). Recent radiocarbon work, combined with other historical dates and the eclipse of January 21, 1192, indicates a destruction date between 1192 and 1190 BCE. [12]

Whether Ugarit was destroyed before or after Hattusa, the Hittite capital, is debated. The destruction was followed by a settlement hiatus. Many other Mediterranean cultures were deeply disordered just at the same time. Some of the disorder was apparently caused by invasions of the mysterious Sea Peoples.

Kings Edit

Ruler Reigned Comments
Niqmaddu I Unknown First known Ugaritan king, known only from a damaged seal that mentions "Yaqarum, son of Niqmaddu, king of Ugarit". [13]
Yaqarum Unknown Second known Ugaritan king, known only from a damaged seal that mentions "Yaqarum, son of Niqmaddu, king of Ugarit". [13]
Ammittamru I c. 1350 BCE
Niqmaddu II c. 1350–1315 BCE Contemporary of Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites
Arhalba c. 1315–1313 BCE Contemporary of king Mursili II of the Hittites
Niqmepa c. 1313–1260 BCE Treaty with Mursili II of the Hittites Son of Niqmadu II
Ammittamru II c. 1260–1235 BCE Contemporary of Bentisina of Amurru Son of Niqmepa
Ibiranu c. 1235–1225/20 BCE Addressee of the letter of Piha-walwi
Niqmaddu III c. 1225/20 – 1215 BCE
Ammurapi c. 1200 BCE Contemporary of Chancellor Bay of Egypt. Last known ruler of Ugarit. Ugarit is destroyed in his reign.

Alphabet Edit

Scribes in Ugarit appear to have originated the "Ugaritic alphabet" around 1400 BCE: 30 letters, corresponding to sounds, were inscribed on clay tablets. Although they are cuneiform in appearance, the letters bear no relation to Mesopotamian cuneiform signs instead, they appear to be somehow related to the Egyptian-derived Phoenician alphabet. While the letters show little or no formal similarity to the Phoenician, the standard letter order (seen in the Phoenician alphabet as ʔ, B, G, D, H, W, Z, Ḥ, Ṭ, Y, K, L, M, N, S, ʕ, P, Ṣ, Q, R, ʃ) shows strong similarities between the two, suggesting that the Phoenician and Ugaritic systems were not wholly independent inventions. [14]

Ugaritic language Edit

The existence of the Ugaritic language is attested to in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BCE. Ugaritic is usually classified as a Northwest Semitic language and therefore related to Hebrew, Aramaic, and Phoenician, among others. Its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian. It possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), three cases for nouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, and genitive) three numbers: (singular, dual, and plural) and verb aspects similar to those found in other Northwest Semitic languages. The word order in Ugaritic is verb–subject–object, subject-object-verb (VSO)&(SOV) possessed–possessor (NG) (first element dependent on the function and second always in genitive case) and noun–adjective (NA) (both in the same case (i.e. congruent)). [15]

Ugaritic literature Edit

Apart from royal correspondence with neighboring Bronze Age monarchs, Ugaritic literature from tablets found in the city's libraries include mythological texts written in a poetic narrative, letters, legal documents such as land transfers, a few international treaties, and a number of administrative lists. Fragments of several poetic works have been identified: the "Legend of Keret", the "Legend of Danel", the Ba'al tales that detail Baal-Hadad's conflicts with Yam and Mot, among other fragments. [16]

The discovery of the Ugaritic archives in 1929 has been of great significance to biblical scholarship, as these archives for the first time provided a detailed description of Canaanite religious beliefs, during the period directly preceding the Israelite settlement. These texts show significant parallels to Hebrew biblical literature, particularly in the areas of divine imagery and poetic form. Ugaritic poetry has many elements later found in Hebrew poetry: parallelisms, metres, and rhythms. The discoveries at Ugarit have led to a new appraisal of the Hebrew Bible as literature. [ citation needed ]

The important textual finds from the site shed a great deal of light upon the cultic life of the city. [17]

The foundations of the Bronze Age city Ugarit were divided into quarters. In the north-east quarter of the walled enclosure, the remains of three significant religious buildings were discovered, including two temples (of the gods Baal Hadad and Dagon) and a building referred to as the library or the high priest's house. Within these structures atop the acropolis numerous invaluable mythological texts were found. These texts have provided the basis for understanding of the Canaanite mythological world and religion. The Baal cycle represents Baal Hadad's destruction of Yam (the god of chaos and the sea), demonstrating the relationship of Canaanite chaoskampf with those of Mesopotamia and the Aegean: a warrior god rises up as the hero of the new pantheon to defeat chaos and bring order.

Discovery Edit

After its destruction in the early 12th century BCE, [18] Ugarit's location was forgotten until 1928 when a peasant accidentally opened an old tomb while ploughing a field. The discovered area was the necropolis of Ugarit located in the nearby seaport of Minet el-Beida. Excavations have since revealed a city with a prehistory reaching back to c. 6000 BCE. [19]

Site and palace Edit

The site is a sixty-five foot high mound. Archaeologically, Ugarit is considered quintessentially Canaanite. [20] A brief investigation of a looted tomb at the necropolis of Minet el-Beida was conducted by Léon Albanèse in 1928, who then examined the main mound of Ras Shamra. [21] But in the next year scientific excavations of Tell Ras Shamra were commenced by archaeologist Claude Schaeffer from the Musée archéologique in Strasbourg. [22] Work continued under Schaeffer until 1970, with a break from 1940 to 1947 because of World War II. [23] [24]

The excavations uncovered a royal palace of ninety rooms laid out around eight enclosed courtyards, and many ambitious private dwellings. Crowning the hill where the city was built were two main temples: one to Baal the "king", son of El, and one to Dagon, the chthonic god of fertility and wheat. 23 stelae were unearthed: nine stelae, including the famous Baal with Thunderbolt, near the Temple of Baal, four in the Temple of Dagon and ten more at scattered places around the city. [25]

Texts Edit

On excavation of the site, several deposits of cuneiform clay tablets were found. These have proven to be of great historical significance.

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