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Commentationes R. DOLCE, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla in the Early and Old Syrian Periods: Some Suggestions (Tab. I-VI) . . . . . . . . . . . .

145-172

Libri ad Directionem missi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Bibliographiae H. NEUMANN, Keilschriftbibliographie. 66. 2007 (mit Nachtr채gen aus fr체heren Jahren) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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C O M M E N TAT I O N E S Human Beings and Gods at Ebla in the Early and Old Syrian Periods: Some Suggestions (TAB. I-VI) Rita DOLCE

The architectural documentation on Ebla is extensive. As is known, it comprises for the Early Syrian Period: the Royal Palace Complex G with the economic and administrative centre of the kingdom’s capital (SA.ZAxki)1, stretching from the southern area of the Acropolis to the southern, western and eastern slopes and to the terraced areas of the northern slope and the structures at the foot of the citadel (Fig. 1); a multi-purpose building on the north-western slopes of the Lower Town and, as became clear during the 2005 excavation campaign, a monumental temple in the southern Lower Town next to what were presumably the EB (Early Bronze) Period city walls 2. For the Old Syrian Period the architectural evidence comprises: a series of official secular buildings with a range of functions and numerous temples, both in the Lower Town and on the Acropolis (Fig. 2). For the MB (Middle Bronze) Period in particular, this evidence has made it possible to reconstruct, from various points of view and to varying degrees of definition, the urban layout of the town, the visual impact of the cityscape, the spatial and functional relations within the larger buildings, and even to interpret the function of some buildings in the ideological system of kingship that emerges from the layout of Ebla, the

For an interpretation of this logogram see Civil 1983: 240. The suggestion that Ebla’s Early Syrian urban perimeter wall was bounded by the fortified complex of the city’s Old Syrian Period, outlined some time ago (Matthiae 1977: 59 ff.; Dolce 1988: 102-103, 114) appears to be consistent with the 1997-1998 campaign’s uncovering of mud brick wall structures. These are associated with the EBIV city’s urban arrangement of surrounding walls and lie beneath MB ramparts just below the fortified complexes of the western (V) and northern areas (AA): cf. Dolce 2001: 20, note 32. 1

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Early Bronze IV Settlement Royal Palace G

Fig. 1 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla: Early Bronze IV settlement.

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Middle Bronze I-II Settlement Old Syrian Temple P2

Fig. 2 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla: Middle Bronze I-II settlement. The location of temple P2.

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capital of a great kingdom in inner Syria during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC 3. The abundance of finds belonging to various artefact classes in archaeological contexts has enriched our reference framework. In many cases, the distinctive nature of figurative monuments has been crucial in identifying the nature of the larger buildings. Specifically, for Old Syrian Ebla the titular deities of temples have in several cases been identified on the basis of the remains of figurative works in the specific areas concerned 4. Despite the quantity and importance of the data acquired over more than 40 years of excavation work, our current knowledge of the world of the gods of Ebla as it emerges from archaeological and artistic evidence nonetheless remains inadequate or hypothetical 5. In this context, one issue worthy of note is the disparity which currently exists for Early Syrian Ebla between the abundance of information carefully gleaned from philological studies on the texts of Palace G Archive documents on the Eblaite pantheon (and more generally on the economic implications and the prevailing air of opulence characterizing the circulation of goods in temple circles) and our limited finds in the field. By contrast, there is a disparity for Old Syrian Ebla between the huge quantity of archaeological documentation on the city’s sacred buildings, unique even when compared to the documentation from the key sites of MB Syria 6, and the lack of internal textual data on the pantheon and on divine hierarchies and their relations with the institution of the monarchy. The only exception is the main female deity, Ishtar, mentioned on the only

3 The literature on this subject is wide-ranging: Matthiae 1978; Matthiae 1995c: 104-111; Matthiae 1995a: 66-94; Matthiae 1993a; Matthiae 1995b; Matthiae 1998; Matthiae 2000b; Matthiae 2001; Pinnock 2001; Dolce 2001. On the functional interpretation and on the symbolic value of certain buildings and areas in MB Period at Ebla, see Matthiae 1979b; Matthiae 1981; Matthiae 1986. 4 Matthiae 1986; Matthiae 1993a: 652 ff.; Matthiae 1996a; Marchetti–Nigro 1997; Matthiae 1987: 480 ff.; Matthiae 1989b. 5 Matthiae alluded to this in 1992: Matthiae 1992a: 231-232. 6 From Alalakh to Qatna: Woolley 1955: 91-131; Heinz 1992: 1-18, 140-152. Excavations were continued throughout the ’90s at Mishrifé-Qatna by a joint Syrian-German-Italian mission that concentrated some of its archaeological research on the Palace area, which had already proved pivotal for the discoveries made by Du Mesnil du Buisson (Du Mesnil de Buisson 1935), and on the identification of the building’s various chronological and occupational phases: Novák–Pfälzner 2000: 262 ff.; Novák–Pfälzner 2001: 160 ff.; Novák–Pfälzner 2002: 210, 243-246; Novák–Pfälzner et al. 2003: 132 ff.; for a recent synthesis of the research and data see Pfälzner 2006: especially 165-168, and references; Barro 2003: 78-92. Dardaillon’s (2000) hypothetical reconstruction of the Old Syrian Period Palatine complex is supported by the data summary from the personal archive of the first discoverer of the site, now available.

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sculpture accompanied by an inscription found on the site, the statue of a sovereign of the Early Old Syrian Period, Ibbit-Lim 7 (Photo 1). Despite these difficulties, this article will attempt to piece together this fragmentary or one-sided evidence, using our partial archaeological data to propose the divine or human interpretation of some individual figures and, in some cases, to suggest an identification of individual deities and humans in Early Syrian and Old Syrian Ebla. The religious topography of Ebla in the Age of the Archives, an issue already partly tackled and outlined hypothetically in the historical and philological literature 8, is beginning to take shape thanks to archaeological excavations in the urban area of the city. This reconstruction is based on the still scarce, but nonetheless useful, data on the certain existence of some temples both on the Acropolis and in the Lower Town during the Classic Early Syrian Period. A degree of continuity in the function of some temple buildings is indicated by the long known existence beneath some buildings in the Lower Town and on the Acropolis, definitively identified as sacred during the Old Syrian Period (MBI-II) such as Temple N and Temple D, of earlier structures belonging to the Early Bronze IVA Period 9. This continuity has recently been corroborated by the aforementioned discovery of a large Temple in the southern Lower Town, the first EB temple hitherto so far extensively uncovered on the site, above which stands a similarly orientated Old Syrian temple10. 7 TM.68.G.61; see for the inscription: Gelb 1984; Gelb–Kienast 1990: 369-371. For references to the 20th-century dating, see Pettinato 1970: 73-74; Heltzer 1975: 317 and Owen 1987: especially 271. The latter largely agrees with the work’s attribution on an art-historical basis: see Matthiae 1995a: 186-187; Matthiae 1995c: 408; Matthiae 2000a: 189. For the probable role of this meki in introducing the highest cult of Ishtar, see Matthiae 2000b: 608-609. As regards interpretations of Ebla’s Amorite kingdom meki, some preliminary suggestions have been made by Dolce 2002a as well as in the earlier study “Du Bronze Ancien IVB au Bronze Moyen à Ebla. Limites et problèmes pour une définition chronologique relative pendant la période de la ville protosyrienne récente” presented at the International Congress “From Relative Chronology to Absolute Chronology: the 2nd millennium BC in Syria-Palestine” held at Rome’s Accademia dei Lincei, Nov 29th to Dec 1st, 2001, Roma 2007. 8 Milano 1990; Bonechi 1992. 9 Matthiae 1977: 107-110; Dolce 1988: 102, 113-115; Matthiae 1993a: 615, 634-637; Matthiae 1995b: 654 ff., 673 ff. For a preliminary analysis of this data set and the reign’s emerging profile following the destruction of Classic Early Syrian culture see Dolce 1999; Dolce 2001. 10 Architectural and archaeological results from the EBIVA Temple, the so-called “Temple of the Rock”, have recently been presented (Conference chaired by Matthiae, in Rome at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 13th January 2006; the 5th ICAANE conference, Madrid, April 2006) see Matthiae 2006. The typology of the MB Temple, only recently discovered, shows signs of both the development of the cella “Langraum” as well as a tripartite division of internal sacred space, features attested in the MB Temple D at Ebla. On the basis of the aforementioned typology, Temple D, located on Ebla’s Acropolis, was previously regarded as palatine: cf. Matthiae 1975b: 49-52, 57-59; Matthiae 1995a: 155ff.; Matthiae 2000a: 182; Matthiae 2003: 386-387. The

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Further evidence, albeit slight, on Ebla’s temples in the Early Syrian Period comes from the foundation substructures of the largest Old Syrian temple uncovered in the northern Lower Town, Temple P211 (Fig. 2), where an EBIV shrine12 has come to light. It is likewise probable that Area P as a whole was continuously used for religious purposes from the EBIV to the MB Periods, as suspected for some time on the basis of the extension of the Early Syrian Period building P4 and the EBIV(B) archaeological deposits beneath what later, in the Old Syrian Period, became the area sacred to the city’s patron goddess, Ishtar13. We can thus attempt to outline the topography of some places of worship in Classic Early Syrian Ebla. However, in contrast to the overlying temples of the Early Old Syrian and Classic Old Syrian Periods, these remain anonymous insofar as they lack features to connect them with a titular deity. On the other hand, most of the valuable artistic evidence from both Royal Palace G and building P4 lacks explicitly religious connotations, with the obvious exception of some specific works or classes of artefacts. In Palace Complex G this is true, for example, of the following: the statuette of a human-headed bull in gold and steatite from L.2764 in the Administrative Quarter14 (Photo 2a); the figure of a seated priestess from L.3600 in the southern Quarter of Palace G15 ; and, more generally, the court glyptics16 and the various remains of young bulls from the area of the Administrative Quarter and the North wing17 (Photo 2b, c). Lastly, as concerns building P4, we can recall in this context the remains of a pair of bulls, considered by P. Matthiae to be sacred in nature, in keeping with one of the supposed functions of this building as a persistence of the oldest of Syria’s traditions of the latter centuries of the 3rd millennium BC until the temple plan from Old Syrian Ebla has already been mentioned by Matthiae himself: Matthiae 1975b: 61. 11 Matthiae 1990a: 113, where the author already noted an older phase of building. 12 N. Marchetti and L. Nigro date the small structure to EBIVB: Marchetti–Nigro 1997: 1-3, fig. 2. 13 By 1993, Matthiae’s evaluation of a set of data on the northern and north-western area of the Lower Town (Matthiae 1993a: 633) outlined the persistence of sacred connotations in the extensive urban zone from the Early Syrian to Old Syrian Periods. In 1990 (see note 11) in reference to the structural plan of Temple P2, Matthiae discussed how the sacred building architectural traditions showed signs of continuity from the EB to MB Periods between inner Syria and the Euphrates river. 14 TM.76.G.850, found in various fragments in L.2764 of Palace G (Matthiae 1995c: 329). 15 From L.3600 of the Southern Unit of Palace G: cf. Matthiae 1995c: 317; Dolce 2008. 16 Matthiae 1979a: 22-25; Matthiae 1992a: 225 ff. In both studies the author presents an initial evaluation of the symbolic values that existed in royal glyptic production; Matthiae 1995c: 384-388; Matthiae 1995a: 101-105. 17 The finds come respectively from court L.2913 (Matthiae 1980a: 105-110; Matthiae 1995c: 318) and from L.8605. During the 2003 excavation season, an extremely well-executed crouching bull (TM.03.G.1249) was found on the floor of L.8605, the pupil of its left eye still in place.

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place where votive objects for the Temple on the Acropolis18 were made. These artefacts, made in the royal palace workshops, for the most part cannot with certainty be qualified as religious or cult objects. This fact conflicts with written sources from the Archives which contain the sometimes very detailed protocols (in the sense of the entirety of acts and their sequence) for rituals and ceremonies, clearly indicating the central importance of religion in the governance and economy of the kingdom19. Nonetheless, a contemporaneous examination of the data recovered from archaeological excavations, the analysis of figurative works of particular symbolic importance and texts from Ebla enables us to formulate some proposals. In this context, one part of this study has already found some useful parallels both in interpretations recently advanced by P. Matthiae 20 and the suggestions concerning some anthropomorphic sculptures made on a philological and epigraphic basis in an equally recent study by A. Archi 21. These sculptures are among the most important artefacts of Eblaite artistic heritage for the Classic Early Syrian Period (the phase of Mardikh IIB1-EBIVA) and were found in the official rooms of Royal Palace G 22. For the purposes of this enquiry, these three sculptures represent important evidence on the ideological system governing the legitimization of the ruling dynasty and the establishment of Ebla’s religious reference framework in the Age of the Archives. A. Archi has proposed an identification of the smallest fragment (TM.76.G.640), henceforth C 23 (Photo 3), with part of the head of the god 18 These artefacts were found amidst other precious finds of Egyptian or Eblaite palatine production: Matthiae 1993a: 631-633. 19 In relation to the extensive bibliography available on the subject, I would draw attention to the summary by Archi 1991; Archi 1995; and the first study on Eblaite royalty and its ritual ceremonies: Archi 1986. As regards research on specific aspects of the relation between religion, cult and the structure of the Eblaite monarchy, see Wilhelm 1992; Fronzaroli 1989; Bonechi 1989; Archi 2002c; Stieglitz 2002; Viganò 2000. Biga 2003 and Bonechi 2003 have devoted some contributions to these themes in the volume in honour of Pelio Fronzaroli. On the rituals that support the Eblaite dynastic structure, royal weddings and enthronement, see Fronzaroli 1993 and Biga 1998. To date, the most significant data from the Ebla texts on the values and functions of craft production related to cult and ritual, funerary and otherwise, pertain to the manufacture of cloth, clothes and jewellery: Archi 1999; Archi 2002b. 20 Conference held at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome on 13 January 2006, on the theme “New Archaeological discoveries in Ebla: the Temple of the Rock in the age of the Royal Archive”; cf. note 10. 21 Archi 2005. 22 The fragment of head TM.76.G.640 lay at the end of the staircase connecting the great court L.2752 with the upper storeys of the Palace, whilst the many fragments of the other t wo h e a d s ( T M . 7 7 . G . 2 0 0 a - d +15 7 +18 0 + T M . 7 8 . G . 3 0 0 a - b ; T M . 7 6 . G . 4 3 3 a - c +TM.77.G.175+116+155+184a-c+TM.78.G.178) were found dispersed on the floor of the gallery (L. 2862) which leads from the court (L.2913) of the Administrative Unit to the throne room (L.2866). 23 According to the editio princeps published some time ago by Matthiae 1980b.

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Kura, the most important male deity in the Eblaite pantheon 24. This identification is based in part on the texts, which state that daily food offerings “during the king’s meal” were reserved exclusively for Kura; these were certainly placed in the god’s place of worship, probably in the close vicinity of Royal Palace G 25. The surface treatment of the fragment is also compatible with the application of a metal mask, as explicitly indicated in the texts for the head of Kura 26. Finally, the identification relies on the supposed presence of a tiara crowning the top of the head 27. Given its size, the surviving portion of this work 28 indicates that the complete head was smaller than life-size and smaller than the other two heads also found in the Administrative Quarter of Palace G, henceforth A and B 29 (Photo 5b, c). A plausible reconstruction hypothesis 30 similarly suggests that it is the smallest in size in comparison with the reconstruction hypotheses already formulated for the other two heads 31. This fact is itself noteworthy in the context of major Eblaite sculpture. However, it only affects the validity or otherwise of the subject’s interpretation and its proposed identification with the main deity of the pantheon, Kura, were it the case that all three carved figures represented deities and were originally placed in the same place (of worship) — neither of these conditions can be accepted 32. What is significant, however, is the fact, to which attention has recently been drawn 33, that only for the head of this god is there reserved the yearly delivery of silver equal to 470 gr. (1 mina), the quantity considered suitable for coating the face 34. An identical quantity of metal (this time the more lowly bronze) was apparently used to “coat the [human, perhaps decapitated] head” of an illustrious person, an enemy of Ebla, IlbiIshar, to be fixed “on the king’s gate” 35. I therefore assume that this quantity of metal, precious or otherwise, was a standard measure for the coating of the heads, or rather faces, of

On this and other faculties of the god, see Pomponio–Xella 1997: 245 ff. Archi 2005: 83-84. Archi 2005: 84-85, agrees with Matthiae’s observations: Matthiae 1980b: 267. 27 This interpretation was once proposed by Matthiae 1980b: 267, and subsequently reconfirmed: Matthiae 1995a: 97-98; it was recently shared by Archi 2005: 83. 28 The fragment TM.76.G.640 is 12.5 cm high and 6.2 cm wide: Matthiae 1980b: 256. 29 In agreement with the criteria mentioned above, see note 23. 30 It has been suggested that the head C was originally made of four rather than six sections: cf. Matthiae 1980b: 264. 31 Matthiae 1980b: 267, note 26. 32 Matthiae 1980b: 258, 268; Matthiae 1995a: 99; Matthiae 1995c: 298-299. For an alternative opinion on the identity of the two heads, see Archi 2005: 92-98. 33 Archi 2005: 82. 34 Nevertheless, there appear to have been other deliveries of precious metals, in different quantities, once more for Kura’s head: Pomponio–Xella 1997: 227, 239, 240; Archi 2005: 81. 35 Biga, in: Archi 1990: 103; Archi 2005: 88-90. 24 25 26

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humans or the images of gods. This in turn presupposes a standard size for carved heads, relatively close to life-size. It should be noted that the hair-style presented by head fragment C, already usefully compared with some intact hair-styles in miniatures from Ebla itself 36, does not per se indicate the potentially divine nature of the subject even if, as has been suggested, the hair-style is completed with a chignon at the nape of the neck 37. This detail, the chignon, recurs in Early Dynastic and Akkadian Mesopotamia on the heads of gods and kings and other eminent individuals 38 ; it is attested twice at Ebla among the miniature sculptures of the palace area which do present the customary iconography 39. It is also worth noting that the rendering of the hair on the Eblaite head, with freely flowing locks, is rarely found in combination with a chignon at the nape in Mesopotamian artefacts; an example is the small ivory head from the Ancient Temple of Ishtar at Assur 40 (Photo 4). The practice of daily food offerings made exclusively to Kura during the royal meal and the epithet “god of the king” 41 which recurs in the texts, alongside the centrality of his prominent role as one partner in the divine couple in the marriage rites of the Eblaite dynasty and other rit-

Matthiae 1980b: 264 ff. Matthiae 1980b: 264; Archi 2005: 83. 38 One recalls images of the king Ishqi-Mari of Mari (for new readings of this and other personal names see Marchetti 2006, infra), the ensi Eannatum of Lagash, the god Ningirsu on the Stele of the Vultures, Sargon and one of the rulers of Akkad portrayed in the head from Nineveh: Moortgart 1969: pls. 84, 118, 119, 125, 154. The chignon hairstyle also appears on the representations of other illustrious characters: cf. Dolce 2002b: 204, note 17 (initial response to the remarks made by Marchetti 2006: 176-177, notes 58, 59). Variations of the hairstyle are found also on female personages: cf. Amiet 1976: 16, 79, fig. 11, pl. 10a (AO.10919); Dolce 2002b: 202203, notes 7, 11. Regarding this feature, the glyptic documentation from the Royal Cemetery of Ur seems to be, in my opinion, more consistent than Marchetti has recently asserted and in any case not limited only to the seal-impressions mentioned by him: Marchetti 2006: 178, note 64. This evidence is also referred to indirectly by Archi in his reference to the chignon hairstyle: Archi 2005: 83, 85. Moorey’s highly probable theory postulates that the chignon hairstyle in fact represented a wig: Moorey 1996. 39 Dolce 1995a: 128 ff., 314, fig. n. 87; Dolce 2002b. The second fragment of a chignon hairstyle (TM.03.G.781) comes from room L.2982 in the Southern Unit of Palace G. These works must have been part of decorative commemorative panels recounting the kingdom’s deeds as has already been suggested by Matthiae 1992a: 226-227; in my opinion this was probably used to single out the Eblaite kings, who wore turbans, from other members of the royal family or the lugal; cf. note 66. This hypothesis (sceptically recalled by Marchetti 2006: 193, note 125) suggested by Dolce 2002b because of the uniqueness of the work in the early Syrian Ebla’s documentation is now out of date as a result of new finds and related interpretations offered by the writer in a recent study which is currently in press. 40 It consists of the hairstyle of a miniature female figure, found in the cella of the level G temple in Assur, a building that has been attributed to the goddess Ishtar: Andrae 1922: 55-57, fig. 45, no. 62, pl. 29 (S22424). 41 Cf. p. 152; Pomponio–Xella 1997: 245. 36 37

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uals 42 have suggested that he was the dynastic god. It has also long been proposed, from the time of the earlier suggestion that this deity was in fact female, that there was a palatine temple in the cult area of the Acropolis near Royal Palace G 43 where his “living statue” resided 44. Whereas it is merely probable that the subject portrayed in head C was a deity, it is certain that a statue of the god Kura and a palatine temple dedicated to him existed in the Classic Early Syrian Period in the SA.ZAxki and were linked to the exercise and representation of kingship, past and present, in this specific architectural space 45. The archaeological remains brought to light some time ago on the Acropolis beneath the large Temple D, mentioned briefly at the beginning of this article, comprise the remains of the cella of an EBIV Period sanctuary, above which stand the structures of the great cella of the Old Syrian palatine Temple attributed to the goddess Ishtar 46. Here we will simply note that the goddess Ishtar seems to have played a very prominent role in the Old Syrian pantheon at Ebla, judging also from the archaeological and art historical data 47 ; she also appears to have 42 See Fronzaroli 1993 and related references. The god’s properties and his presence in other Eblaite rites are various: Biga 1998: 216-218; Pomponio-Xella 1997: 245-248. 43 Once again, for the philological data, see Archi 2005: 84. For a hypothesis on the topography of the god’s temple see Matthiae 1989b: 133-134, and more recently Matthiae’s remarks made at the conference held in Rome, at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 13 January 2006; cf. note 10. 44 On the permanent role of statues of the gods as living representations, see Oppenheim 1964: 171 ff., and more recently Matsushima 1993; Walker-Dick 1999; Winter 1992, Winter 2000. On the possible meaning of the mutilation of the heads of votive statues see Dolce 2006b. 45 The god Kura and his paredra the goddess Barama are, as we have learnt from the texts in the Archive, linked to the complex cult of the deceased illustrious ancestors of the dynasty and to the wedding rites of the new royal couple: Fronzaroli 1988: 30-31; Fronzaroli 1993; Biga 1998: 213-214 and references. It should be noted that the more salient stages of ceremonies, fundamental in the exercise of royal power, were enacted both inside SA.ZAxki and outside Ebla, as in the case of the mausoleum of Nenash. 46 Matthiae 1976: 201; Matthiae 1989a: 128. Matthiae clearly predicted the sacred nature of the area during the Early Syrian Period: cf. Matthiae 1994: 36; Dolce 2001: 15-17. On the reasons for the attribution of the Acropolis temple and Lower Town high cult area to the goddess Ishtar in the Archaic Old Syrian Period, see Matthiae’s recent return to the subject: Matthiae 2003: 386390. 47 On this subject, see Matthiae’s recent analysis: Matthiae 2001 and in particular Matthiae 2003: 389-392. The goddess Ishtar’s connection to at least one of Ebla’s Archaic Old Syrian Period meki, Ibbit-Lim, is demonstrated by the inscription on his statue (cf. note 7). This link may be extended to the ruling dynasty. Indeed, its existence is sealed by the name of “Star of Ebla” associated with one of Ebla’s meki in the now celebrated bilingual inscription, the so-called “Epic of Freeing”; this epithet refers to the goddess Ishtar as “Star of Venus”: see the HittiteHurrian text in Otten 1996. For a recent interpretation of the literary document and relevant literature, see De Martino 2000: 297, 310-311 which notes the attribution to the Hittite Middle Kingdom of the original Hurrian version of this text and the presence of three Eblaite kings with Hurrian names before the king who is the protagonist of the tale. For suggestions on the archaism of some parts of the poem on Ebla and on the possible link between the events and the “Second Ebla” see Dolce 2001: 27-28. For a different opinion (notwithstanding the existence of certain points of agreement with my hypothesis), see Archi 2002a: 22-24. If, ultimately, the events

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taken on the role of patron deity of the town and dynastic goddess 48. Ishtar must have taken on this role during the reform of Ebla’s theological framework which began with the advent of an Amorite dynasty and the kingdom’s vigorous cultural and political renaissance in as early as the beginning of the II millennium BC. This rebirth followed a period of relative recovery in the city — the dynastic capital — and of relative notoriety, as suggested both by archaeological data from the site itself and diplomatic sources of the III dynasty at Ur; some years ago I proposed defining this as the “second Ebla” phase 49. The change in the titular deity of the temple on the Acropolis from Kura to Ishtar, if it did in fact happen, must have been a particularly important event between the Early Syrian and the Old Syrian eras. The persistence of the sacred nature of this place and its role as palatine temple can be explained by the new configuration of the pantheon of Amorite Ebla during the Old Syrian Period, part of a (more) general process of syncretism and the expunging of native and foreign deities in Northern Syria during the II millennium BC 50. At the centre of this new pantheon we find none other than the goddess Ishtar, with features borrowed from a local female deity of the Early Classic Syrian Period (as we shall see). By contrast, the god Kura is overshadowed (or expunged); this deity probably disappears definitively only at the end of the Early Syrian Period along with the last remnants of the “second Ebla”. Unlike Kura, who, according to Archive sources, had only one city temple (in SA.ZAxki) 51, Ishtar also presided over the largest cult area in the Old Syrian Period Lower Town

evoked in the poem could be linked to the final destruction of the reign of Ebla during the Classic Old Syrian Period, according to a recent hypothesis made by Matthiae 2002: 572-573, the fall of the city and the end of its power may also be associated with the Hurrian king, Pizikarra of Nineveh, who is mentioned in the story. 48 Archi 2002a: 30-31; Matthiae 2003: 386-390. 49 Archaeological data from the Acropolis Temple D underlying levels, already mentioned above (see note 9), corroborate this; cf. especially Dolce 2001: 5-17, 24-25 and references. This datum was one of the first pieces of evidence in favour of the theory that a recovering town had existed in Ebla since the period of contemporary Ur III Dynasty: Dolce 1995b. Furthermore, evidence from the continuing excavation prompted me in 1998-99 to refer to a “second Ebla”: Dolce 1999; Dolce 2001. On the increasingly likely existence of a “proto-urban” centre at Ebla during the earlier EB Period, a long-lasting phase, before the golden age of the Palace G and Archives Period, see Matthiae 2000b: 571-578. For the epilogue of this city, which had nearly regained its strength by the 21st century BC, its topographic development and political role reaching its zenith during the MB, see the most recent hypothesis and revision of prior suggestions put forward by Matthiae 2002: 572-574. 50 Archi 2002a: especially 29 ff. 51 Milano 1990: 156. Textual references to food rations for the gods, offered in the uru-bar, i.e. in the extra-urban area of Ebla, have led to suggestions that this god also had a second important cult place outside the palatine context: see Milano 1990: 160-161. This hypothesis would be confirmed by recent archaeological discoveries : Matthiae 2006.

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with a series of monumental buildings and cult structures of enormous urban significance. Finally, it should be noted that if, as seems likely, the temple of the “god of the king” was located on the Acropolis, the fact that the only fragment of sculpture C ascribed to the head of Kura happened to be found lying on the steps of the stairway leading from the “Audience Court” to the upper floors of the Palace Complex G may indicate that it was deliberately thrown from above by a rampaging enemy or fell during the conflagration that enveloped the whole area of the Acropolis and put an end to the palace culture of the EBIVA Period. This supports the hypothesis that it belonged to the statue of the god positioned within the temple itself. Also found in close proximity to one another in the official palace area were the two relatively more intact heads mentioned above (A, B) (Photo 5b, c). These, together with the third head (C) (Photo 3), represent the most important examples of sculpture in the round from Classic Early Syrian Ebla and are in themselves unique in the cultural and artistic context of contemporary Syria and Mesopotamia 52. The two heads, which present different hair-styles, belong to male (A) and female (B) subjects. They have been interpreted as belonging to images of the royal couple, a projection of the divine couple Kura–Barama, as suggested by the rituals described in Archive texts 53. It should be noted that the two heads, largely reconstructed from numerous fragments 54, differ from each other and from the supposed head of Kura (C) in their original dimensions. The male head (A), in its original complete state, was actually larger than the female head (B) 55 and may have belonged to a statue taller than its companion 56. I would agree that the elaborate hair-style of the male subject (A) is a mark of distinction indicative of this figure’s prominent role 57. However, the statue’s bare head does not conform to the iconology/iconography hith-

Matthiae 1980b: 250 ff.; Dolce 1991: 240-244. Matthiae 1979a: 27-28; Matthiae 1980b: 268-269; Matthiae. 1995c: 298-299; Matthiae 1995a: 98-99. More recently Archi has stated his reservations concerning this theory, and has proposed an alternative hypothesis: Archi 2005: 92 ff., especially 96. 54 Matthiae 1980b. 55 Matthiae gives the dimensions of the reconstructed hairstyles: Matthiae 1980b: 267, note 26. Starting from these data the original height of head A was nearly 28 cm and that of head B nearly 18 cm, according to the estimate by M. Scardocci, whom I thank for her help. 56 Statue A could be nearly 1.68 cm high and the statue B nearly 1.08 cm, according to the measurement of proportional ratios in works of art by means of photogrammetry adopted by G. Azarpay for Gudea’s statues: Azarpay 1989; Azarpay 1990. 57 Matthiae 1980b: 268. 52 53

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erto known for the en of Ebla, who wears the “royal” turban 58. However, the hair-style of the lugal and the Mesopotamian gods with a chignon at the nape of the neck was known to the palace workshops, as proved recently by the two miniature carvings from Royal Palace G 59. The hairstyle of the female figure (B) similarly appears to be a mark of distinction of this individual and her role, and finds a point of comparison in the female figures which recur on the seal impressions from Palace G 60 (Fig. 3b). It should be noted that in the glyptics, heads surrounded by a horned diadem clearly belong to female deities 61 (Fig. 3a). The presence or otherwise of this divine attribute therefore enables us to distinguish between the roles and nature of female characters who, when depicted simply with freely flowing hair, cannot immediately be identified with deities. These have for some time been considered royal figures, in contexts where they occur together with the en, portrayed with his customary turban and attire 62. One detail which, in my opinion, is indicative of the special royal character of the female head (B) found as scattered fragments between court L.2913 and gallery L.2862 can be indirectly deduced from Eblaite glyptics. In these, the lady at the king’s side in mythical deeds and the goddess with a horned diadem are bare-chested. This is clearly incompatible with the official image of the queen (and in general of mortal females in the figurative culture of the time) 63 but is plausible for mythicized and deified royal ancestors, a suggestion already advanced for the glyptic images on a different basis 64. If, therefore, the aforementioned long-established analogy between the female head (B) and the lady of the glyptics is confirmed, the woman portrayed in the pair of statues from the Administrative Quarter of Royal Palace G is a queen par excellence in the history of Ebla, a heroic protagonist, alongside the king, in the dynasty’s future destiny. It is worth mentioning briefly in this context that this interpretation opens up new and intriguing lines of inquiry on the prestige of 58 An illustrious character wears this headgear; his image recurs in various courtly artistic works from Palace G, including wooden engravings, glyptics and composite reliefs. The headgear has long been interpreted as a distinctive feature of Eblaite royalty: Matthiae 1979a. 59 Cf. note 39. Matthiae claims the male hairstyle (head A) would have been finished by an item made of some sort of precious material placed on top of the head: Matthiae 1995c: 298. 60 Matthiae 1995a: 103-104, fig. 18. 61 The female personage (with horned diadem) occurs at least twice: Matthiae 1995a: 103, fig. 18 a,c; Matthiae. 1995c: 386 (TM.75.G.584); Matthiae recognized this divinity as a fertility goddess: Matthiae 1992a: 232, 234. 62 Matthiae 1992a: 232-233, 255 links them with “deified sovereigns”. 63 The context of the action in which the reigning couple would operate is also unusual; both king and queen would be portrayed as the protagonists dominating both mythical beings and wild animals. 64 Matthiae 1992a: 236.

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Fig. 3 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla, Palace G, drawings of seal-impressions: a) goddess with horned diadem (from Matthiae 1995a, fig. 18c); b) king and queen, mythical beings and wild animals (from Matthiae 1995c, fig. p. 136).

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women in the original conception of kingship and the influence this may have exerted, even in the long term up to the Amorite rebirth of the kingdom, on royal dynastic institutions and the structure of the Eblaite pantheon in which the male/female couple is a recurrent paradigm, with one particularly important exception — that of the goddess Ishkhara who does not have a companion god by her side and to whom we shall return later 65. Despite the very different sizes which can be deduced from the hypothetical reconstruction of the original statues, it therefore seems probable that these statues were positioned at either side of the entrance to the Palace throne room (L.2866). Their presence in the most imposing spaces devoted to the exercise of public and administrative power bore perennial witness to the couple at the origins of Eblaite kingship and the ruling dynasty, transposed onto a mythical past and therefore participants in the deeds that laid the foundations for the cosmic order and which were preserved for posterity in the palatine royal glyptics. The extra-temporal, or in any case not historically contingent, dimension suggested here for the couple portrayed in the two sculptures and in the glyptics deprives of significance any anomalies which might emerge from the representation of these figures were they understood to be illustrious sovereigns, past or present; rather, these images should be considered archetypes. Lastly, the palatine context in which these sculptures were found and to an even greater extent the specific area where they lay, gallery L.2862 in front of the throne room itself (L.2866) 66 (Photo 5a), are places associ65 Numerous figurative and textual documents from Early Syrian Ebla, and figurative evidence from Old Syrian Ebla, clearly focus on the high rank and role of some female figures; we refer to images of priestesses on both reliefs and miniature sculptures in the Early Syrian Period: Dolce 2008; Matthiae 1995a: 96; Matthiae 1995c: 317; as well as on well-known female figures on wooden engravings and seal impressions: cf. Matthiae 1995a: 101 ff., fig. 18, pl. 39; Dolce 2006a. We refer also to the role of the future queen in the ritual of dynastic weddings, during which she performs one part of the ritual actions on her own: see Fronzaroli 1993. The centrality of the royal couple is a prominent characteristic of the Early Syrian Ebla kingdom, as are the divine “couples” as part of its pantheon: cf. Stieglitz 2002. In Old Syrian Ebla the dynastic couple still occupies a prominent role in visual communication, as is attested by the presence of the images of “king and queen” on the cult basin in the temple of the Acropolis in the Amorite city and by the numerous male and female sculptures, interpreted as “couples”, that have been discovered in the vestibule of the Temple P2: cf. Matthiae 1995a: 191-192, pls. 127-128; Matthiae 1992b; Matthiae 1996b: 199-201, figs. 1-4. 66 Matthiae 1980b: 250 ff.; Matthiae 1980b: 268-269 argues that L.2866 should be interpreted as a “reception hall” with different functions from those in the “Audience Court” of the Palace G itself. The interpretation of the two sculptures mentioned above, that they were either the heads of statues or effigies placed on pedestals as suggested by Matthiae (Matthiae 1980b: 267), together with the estimates of their original dimensions (cf. note 56), has led me to conclude that other sculptures portraying royal Eblaite ancestors would not be present in gallery L.2862. On the other hand, Matthiae’s suggestion (Matthiae 1980b: 268-269) seems by now the most likely; he claims that dynastic celebrations through the kings’ images, whether deified or not, were found on decorative wall panels in the majority of the official rooms in the Palace, judging by the strik-

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ated with the exercise of secular power. Within the palace walls this power was probably wielded in the (symbolic) presence of the founders and guardians of the kingdom of Ebla; in the sacred areas of the SA.ZAxki (with all the topographical and ideological connotations of this definition) alliances and ceremonies of domestic and international importance were celebrated in the presence of the great gods of the pantheon, especially Kura and Hadad, the guarantors of treaties 67. Area P2. A Proposal Concerning Titular Deities in the Early Syrian Period As a counterpoint to Kura, the major god 68 in the Early Syrian pantheon at Ebla, we find Ishkhara, the greatest deity according to the texts. She is not the female partner in the divine couple, a role occupied by Barama 69, but apparently a single deity. However, Ishkhara appears beside Kura, often called “god of the king” 70, as another tutelary deity of the sovereign, in the hypostasis “Ishkhara of the king” and “goddess of the king” 71. In this capacity, her statue is venerated in the temple of Kura, presumed to be that erected on the Acropolis and connected with the dynastic cult; Ishkhara herself occupies a pre-eminent role in this cult 72. Whilst their specific nature as the tutelary deities of the dynasty may explain the coexistence of both gods in the palatine temple itself and the worship of their statues, Ishkhara’s evident condition as a “guest” in Kura’s house 73 confirms the textual data, which states that the goddess was the titular deity of a specific temple in Ebla 74. ing amount of remains both from Palace G and from the “royal” workshops in the building P South: cf. Matthiae 1995a: 100-101; Dolce 1995a: 312-313, 320; Matthiae 1998: 562-564, note 14. It is noteworthy that the royal Eblaite turban recurs in these miniatures: Matthiae 1995c: 300-301. 67 See Milano 1990: 156-159. Solemn rituals, including dynastic marriage, offerings and ritual use of oil, oaths and international treaties, took place in the temples of Kura and Hadad: Fronzaroli 1993, passim; Archi 1995: 134; Biga 1995: 141; Pomponio–Xella 1997: 52-54, 246-248; Biga 1998 and references; Viganò 2000. Matthiae’s claim that the god Hadad’s temple was located in the southern area of the Lower City of Ebla (area HH), in the large sanctuary called the “Temple of the rock” (see note 10), gives greater plausibility to various hypotheses that attribute divine titularity to some holy places in the Early Syrian Period, from the Acropolis (area D may be credited to Kura) to the Lower North-Western Town (Area P perhaps credited to Ishkhara) to the southern side of the settlement (area HH with Hadad); for a further hypothesis cf. Matthiae 2006. These elements, if well-grounded, could significantly improve our knowledge of the possible urban layout of the site well beyond the nucleus of the Royal Palace G. 68 Kura is defined in the texts as “father god”: Pomponio–Xella 1997: 247. 69 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 248; Archi 1995: 134; Archi 2005: 81; Stieglitz 2002. 70 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 245. 71 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 215; Archi 2002a: 28; Archi 2005: 84. 72 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 215, 237. For the consistent role of the goddess in dynastic worship and wedding rituals, see Fronzaroli 1993. 73 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 214-215, 237 (nos. 172, 178); Archi 2002a: 28. 74 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 215-216; Archi 2002a: 28.

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It should be noted that, unlike Kura for whom textual information on the daily rituals for “the god of the king” 75 supports the hypothesis that his sacred place was located on the Acropolis, the proposed identification of Ishkhara’s temple is less certain. The proposal is currently based only on some archaeological data, on the plausible assumption that the religious connotations of specific places persisted over the long term and on the significance of some characteristic traits shared, according to Archive sources 76, with Ishtar, the future patron deity of Ebla in the Archaic Old Syrian Period 77. Two of these three factors find confirmation in the archaeological remains in the area of Ebla’s largest Old Syrian temple, P2, in the NorthWest Lower Town (Photo 6a). This monumental sacred building, most of which has unfortunately been lost 78, is now definitively known to be that of the goddess Ishtar 79, after an earlier proposal that the shrine’s titular deity was the god Hadad 80. The north-west sector of the Lower Town, site of temple P2 and other places of worship indicating its dedication to the cult of Ishtar 81, has long been considered to have had a religious function since the EBIV Period on the basis of earlier structures. These include not only the partial extension beneath this area of the only other building contemporary with Palace G hitherto brought to light, P4 82, but also, and more importantly, the EBIV archaeological deposits beyond the eastern boundaries of Temple P2, and the remains, among the foundations of the temple itself, of a shrine ascribed to the EBIV 83 (Photo 6b).

Cf. note 70. Archi 1993; Archi 2002a; Pomponio–Xella 1997: 66-67. 77 On the patron and main female divinity of the city in the MB Ebla, see Matthiae 2003: 385-388. According to the most recent historical-archaeological analysis, preference for the goddess seems to have waned at Ebla somewhat in the MB II-Classic Old Syrian Period, in relation to the increasing supremacy of Yamkhad and its god Hadad. Recently, Archi has stated that he disagrees with this opinion, claiming that the goddess maintains her centrality throughout the MB Period: Archi 2002a: 30. 78 Matthiae 1990b: 410-414; Matthiae 1990a: 112 ff. 79 Indeed this divinity was not only the main goddess of the Old Syrian pantheon, but was also titular to the largest cult area of the north-western Lower City, where temple P2 was pivotal: cf. Matthiae 1993a: 640 ff., especially pp. 654-655; Matthiae 2001: 272 ff.; Matthiae 2003: 386 ff. 80 Matthiae 1990b: 412; Matthiae 1993b: 396; Matthiae 1995c: 396; for the hypothesis that attributes the EBIVA temple, which was recently found in the southeastern area of the Lower City, either to this god or to Kura see notes 10, 67 and 85. 81 Above all, Building P3 and the favissae (ritual deposits) with their contents found in the area between the two main monuments: Matthiae 1993a: 640-654, 656-662; Marchetti–Nigro 1997. 82 Matthiae 1993a: 633; Matthiae 1993c: 5-6; Matthiae 2006 for new discoveries. 83 Matthiae 1993a: 633, note 46; L. Nigro, in: Marchetti–Nigro 1997: 3, fig. 2, note 9; Dolce 2001: 17-19, note 30. 75 76

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It is therefore reasonable to assume continuity in this area’s religious function between the EB and MB Periods. In the specific case of Temple P2, this hypothesis is also borne out by the single-cella temple typology, which has significant EBIV precedents in inner Syria and along the Euphrates 84 and, finally, in Ebla itself, in the “Rock Temple” ascribed to the time of Royal Palace G and underlying an Old Syrian temple of a type identical to sanctuary D on the Acropolis 85. As already noted, it is clear from the texts that the goddess Ishkhara played a prominent role in the Early Syrian Eblaite pantheon. This is apparent from her special relationship with the king 86, her centrality in dynastic marriage rites and more generally the devotion of the ruling dynasty and, above all, her identity as goddess of love and fertility 87. It is worth mentioning that, according to the philological data, Ishkhara’s divine personality often tends to be superimposed on or combined with the traits of the contemporary goddess Ashtar 88. Many scholars now agree that the process of assimilation of Ishkhara with Ashtar/Eshtar (the future Ishtar) had already begun in the EBIVA Period and was completed in the MB Period in favour of the latter (i.e. Ishtar) 89. Here it is important to note that

84 From Halawa to Hassek Höyük: cf. Matthiae 1990a: 114 ff. and references. According to further excavation and up to date data, the structural typology of the Halawa temple (Building L) is clear: cf. Meyer–Pruss 1994: Karten 1, 7. See Hempelmann 2001: 150-152, Karten 1-2 for a description of the area A in question and the archaic layer 3 and for a discussion of the EB pottery from this area and its relations with the assemblage from Classic Early Syrian Ebla’s Palace G. The continuity up until the LB Period, of the MB I-II tripartite typology temple as exemplified at Ebla on the Acropolis (Temple D) and in the recently unearthed temple (area HH) of the southern Lower Town, is testified by Tell Mumbaqa’s sanctuaries: Werner 1994: 102-104, pls. 21-22; Werner et al. 2004: pl. 48. Finally, it should be noted that the location of the MB temple built on hill C of Tell Bi{aTuttul (cf. Strommenger et al. 1986: 30, fig. 16; Strommenger et al. 2002: 102-113, pl. 26) is peculiar in that it is surrounded by oval boundary walls. 85 Results from the 2005 season excavations of the southern Lower Town (area HH) were presented by Matthiae in 2006 (see note 10). Further excavation has revealed substantial continuity in the sacred character of the area and in the typology in antis of the sanctuaries during EBIVA, EBIVB and the MB Periods, showing an even more complex but certainly closed sequence of temple structures that spanned more than half a millennium. A further sign of continuity, one that is maybe more specifically connected to this location in the city, can be seen in the monumental single cella Classic Early Syrian Ebla temple (HH1) whose orientation and east access are analogous to those of the subsequent Old Syrian tripartite longitudinal temple (“Langraum”) that is superimposed above. 86 Cf. notes 71 and 72; Archi 1993: 72-75. For a preliminary analysis of the goddess see Pomponio–Xella 1997: 207-217. For an analytical profile of the divinity see Prechel 1996. 87 Pomponio–Xella 1997: 215. Archi argues in favour of the Syrian autochthonous nature of Ishkhara and the remarkable tenure and diffusion of her cult outside Syria: Archi 1992; Archi 2002a. 88 During the royal wedding celebrations, a statue devoted to Ashtar by the king was equal in value to the one he devoted to Ishkhara, proving that on certain occasions both were worshipped in equal measure; see Pomponio–Xella 1997: 66-67, 215-216; Archi 2005: 83. 89 Archi 2002a: 32; Prechel 1996, passim. See Pomponio–Xella 1997: 215-217 for a brief synthesis.

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during this process of syncretism Ishtar takes on the most important prerogatives of the Early Syrian god Kura, becoming patron of Ebla and dynastic deity 90 ; in these capacities she is installed in the Lower Town in Temple P2 and on the Acropolis in Temple D respectively. The goddess also takes on the distinctive traits of Ishkhara, such as the epithet “Ishtar of the king”, like the earlier “Ishkhara of the king” 91, or as goddess of love and fertility, again like Ishkhara who had also resided on the Acropolis (alongside Kura) and had her own place of worship in the city. The picture that emerges, based on data and evidence of varying significance, thus leads us to the plausible hypothesis that the house of Ishkhara stood in the very place where the imposing sanctuary of Ishtar rose at the time of the Amorite kingdom at Ebla 92 : Temple P2. The main goddess of the Early Syrian pantheon at Ebla may well have resided in this area, already viewed as sacred during the Age of the Archives and perhaps already elevated to the position of particular importance which it held until its destruction in the Classic Old Syrian Period. Finally, this potential scenario allows us to introduce some considerations on a fourth sculpture of a head in the round with deeply and very clearly incised human features, better preserved than those described above and carved from a single basalt block rather than assembled from separate pieces; this head has posed some still unanswered questions on the nature and identity of its subject as well as on its iconographic character and stylistic traits and, above all, its date. The head was found in the eastern sector of the vestibule of Temple P2 (Photo 7a), unfortunately on disturbed ground extraneous to the original archaeological context; however, its discovery in this sacred area may nonetheless be indicative of its actual topographical provenance 93.

90 Matthiae claims that Ishtar assumed some peculiar characteristics of a male divinity (i.e. Kura) in the Early Old Syrian Period; these would have eventually been transferred to another great god, the main one of the Syrian pantheon in the Classic Old Syrian Period: see Matthiae 2003: 391-392. 91 The privileged link between Ishtar and certain Old Syrian rulers can be clearly identified. This was the case with the meki Ibbit-Lim, as can be deduced from both the tone of the inscription on the latter’s statue and from the epithet of “star of Ebla”, bestowed on an Eblaite king in the “Epic of Freeing”: cf. note 47; Otten 1996: 272 ff. On the question see Matthiae 2000b: 608-610; Matthiae 2003: 389-392. For some suggestions of a possible chronology for the reign of Ibbit-Lim and more generally on the reconstruction of a feasible sequence for the meki of Ebla between the late EBIVB and MB Periods cf. Dolce 2002a: 222 ff.; Dolce 2007. 92 This hypothesis confirms the suggestion made by Matthiae during a conference held in Rome at the Accademia dei Lincei in 2005. 93 According to Matthiae 2001: 274. P. Matthiae has offered preliminary interpretations on the stylistic and chronological features of the sculpture: Matthiae 1990b: 429-431; Matthiae 1995c: 392; Matthiae 2000a: 170. More recently the author has again claimed that the head can be dated to Early Old Syrian Period: see Matthiae 2003: 391-392.

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The head is larger than life-size 94 and is clearly female given the elaborate hair-style (Photo 8): the thick plaits of hair forming two buns on either side of the head share some features with the hair-styles of subjects in the wooden carvings on luxury furniture from Palace G itself and the equally refined rendering of hair in some miniatures 95 ; the flat locks on the forehead held in place by a headband date back as far as the Early Dynastic Period in Mesopotamian statues of women 96 and persist until the beginning of the Akkad Period and beyond 97. As has been noted, a context within Mesopotamian figurative culture at the height of the III millennium BC is recognizable from the fact that the face was covered in metal, most probably a precious one, as indicated by the groove running around the face; the metal was applied by hammering 98 (Photo 7b), a technique that goes back to Proto-Historical Sumer tradition 99. The same chronological context is also suggested by the drawn-out rendering of the eye-cavities and in particular the fact that the eyebrows are carved rather than incised, as in a female head from Tello100 (Photo 9). Whilst some evidence from later Syrian history proves the use of gold (and silver) plating for images of deities101 or suggests this practice102, and 94 The head TM.89.P.318 (37 cm high, 34 cm wide) is slightly bigger than the female head (B) found in Royal Palace G: see p. 156 and note 55. 95 Although they are not entirely comparable, see the two female hairstyles TM.74.G.802; TM.74.G.675: Dolce 2006a: fig. 11. I am presently studying copious fragments of wooden engravings, all found in a single room (L.2601) in the North Wing of Royal Palace G, mostly belonging to what would have been representations of the hairstyles of human and mythical beings; cf. Matthiae 2001: 275-276, note 27. Matthiae 2001: 274 already highlights the relations of the composite structure of the Temple P2 head, that was made from various materials, with the early Syrian artistic production of composite precious works often found in Palace G. It is noteworthy that the composite technique in sculpture production, despite being widespread elsewhere in the MB Period, has not been observed on Old Syrian statuary from Ebla although many sculptures have been unearthed, unfortunately mostly found without their heads. Lastly, the structure and rigidity of the hairstyle on the Eblaite head create the effect of an ostentatious mass of hair. This was a feature of the female figure, believed to represent the goddess Ishtar, on the small stucco painted relief dating back to the archaic level H of the temple, devoted to this goddess at Assur: Andrae 1922: 54-55, pls. 27a, 28b-c (S23106). 96 Cf. Hansen 1975: 165, pl. 23b, from level VIIB of the Temple of Inanna at Nippur; Spycket 1981: 114, pl. 78a, from Tello, dated to ED Period. 97 Cf. Matthiae 1990b: 431, note 128, who mentions Spycket 1981: pl. 82, referring to a female head that conversely also shows the traditional chignon on the nape; Matthiae. 1995c: 392. 98 The archaic roots of this technique have been outlined by Matthiae 1990b: 430-431; Matthiae 2001: 274. 99 Such as the female mask of Uruk: Moortgat 1969: pl. 26. 100 Cf. the exemplary head just quoted: Spycket 1981: pl.78. It should be stressed that the pertinence of such comparisons is limited to the field of iconography and the technical aspects of these Mesopotamian and Eblaite works; the intrinsic diversity of sculptures both in size and in composite features remains. 101 See Matthiae 1990b: 430, note 127; Matthiae 1975a: 482, pl. XLVIII. 102 As is the case with the small bronze statuette of a god from the MBII Period, originally plated with gold: Matthiae 2000a: 201.

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evidence from MB Period Mesopotamia bears witness to its use for famous people103, the archaeological data from Early Syrian Ebla on this practice are less clear (in other words, the plating technique may have been used for both human, or even animal, figures and for deities)104. Moreover, for the Age of the Archives available evidence includes the discovery of numerous but extremely small pieces of gold foil, in larger quantities than silver foil, although the latter metal is often mentioned in the texts as a precious plating105. Quotations from Archive texts would seem to resolve this issue for the Classic Early Syrian Period: thin sheets of gold and silver are used to cover the face, the feet and the hands, and silver alone to cover the rest of the body of images of deities expressly mentioned by name106. The larger than life-size female head found in a secondary context in the Temple P2 area can therefore rightly be considered precious evidence on the image of the goddess Ishkhara, the titular deity of a temple in the Lower Town in the Classic Early Syrian Period. She was venerated in a spot perhaps already charged with particularly sacred significance, and which remained so in the future, with the advent of the goddess Ishtar, also female and already known in earlier times (the Ashtar of the texts). In the Early Old Syrian Period she becomes the city’s patron deity, in place of the god Kura, and takes on some significant traits previously belonging to the goddess Ishkhara107. The attribution of Old Syrian Temple P2 to the cult of the goddess Ishtar, now confirmed by an ample series of analogies108 and the highly probable hypothesis that the temple also housed the image of the god Hadad109 indicate, in my opinion, the continuity of the Early Syrian tradition of divine couples in the Eblaite pantheon. It is also indicative of the significant fact that the city’s patron deity welcomes the equally high-

As is the case with the bronze image dedicated to king Hammurapi: Matthiae 2000a: 101. Both documentation on gold coatings from the rooms of Royal Palace G, recently supplemented with new finds, and that from Old Syrian Ebla are fragmentary; only in some cases can the shape of the figures, human and animal, covered with this precious coating be reconstructed: Fiorentino 1995: 326-328; Matthiae 1995c: 486, 488. 105 Archi 1990; Archi 2005: 84 ff. 106 Archi 1990: 101-104. Economic factors may explain why Kura’s face was covered in silver rather than the more precious gold; indeed renewing the god’s metallic mask was systematic and occurred with a certain frequency. Equally, it may have been ritual reasons that determined the use of this precious metal for Kura. 107 Cf. Archi 2002a: 30-33. For this type of syncretism in textual evidence see Pomponio– Xella 1997: 216-217. 108 Matthiae 1993a: 617 ff.; Matthiae 2003: 386 ff. 109 Matthiae 1996a: 10; Marchetti–Nigro 1997: 3, note 11. Archi agrees with this hypothesis: Archi 2002a: 31. The presence of the god in area P was already suggested by Matthiae 1993b: 396. 103 104

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ranking deity of the other sex into their temple; thus Kura takes in Ishkhara and Ishtar perhaps takes in Hadad110. To the hypotheses formulated here I would like to add a final general consideration on the subject at hand: the world of outstanding men and the world of the gods in Ebla seem to converge on some fundamental values relating to royal and divine hierarchies and which take concrete form in the male/female couple of the ruling dynasty and the structure of the pantheon. The mythical view of the origins of the kingdom’s founders brings with it the centrality of the worship of royal ancestors and their supposed post-mortem deification; it also explains the close relationship between dynastic marriage rites and the “creation” of a “new” royal couple, in the image of Kura and Barama, in the abode of the deified deceased kings.

Bibliography Amiet, P. 1976 Andrae, W. 1922 Archi, A. 1986 1990 1991 1992 1993 1995 1999 2002a 2002b

L’Art d’Agadé au Musée du Louvre (Paris). Die archaischen Ischtar-Tempel in Assur (= WVDOG 39; Leipzig). “Die ersten zehn Könige von Ebla”, ZA 76, 213-217. “Données épigraphiques éblaites et production artistique”, RA 84, 101-105. “Ebla. La formazione di uno stato del III millennio a.C.”, La Parola del Passato 46, 195-219. “Substrate: Some remarks on the formation on the West Hurrian Pantheon”, in: H. Otten et al., Hittite and Other Anatolian and Near Eastern Studies in Honour of Sedat Alp (Ankara) 7-14. “Divinités sémitiques et divinités de substrat. Le cas d’Isˇhara et ˘ d’Isˇtar à Ebla”, MARI 7, 71-78. “La religione e il culto nel Periodo Protosiriano”, in: P. Matthiae et al., Ebla. Alle origini della civiltà urbana (Milano) 134-139. “Clothes in Ebla”, in: Y. Avishur – R. Deutsch, Michael. Historical, Epigraphical and Biblical Studies in Honour of Prof. Michael Heltzer (Tel Aviv) 45-54. “Formation of the West-Hurrian Pantheon”, in: K. A. Yener et al., Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. Papers in Memory of Hans G. Güterbock (Winona Lake) 21-33. “Jewels for the Ladies of Ebla”, ZA 92, 161-199.

110 At present we can only discuss the type and nature of the “divine hospitality” that may have occurred during the Early Syrian Period in area P2, before the proposed titularity of the goddess Ishtar of this holy place during the Old Syrian Period, given that Ishkhara appears in the documents of the Archive as a single goddess.

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Pomponio, F. – Xella, P. 1997 Les Dieux d’Ebla (= AOAT 245; Münster). Prechel, D. 1996 Die Göttin Isˇhara. Ein Beitrag zur altorientalischen Religionsge˘ schichte (Münster). Spycket, A. 1981 La Statuaire du Proche-Orient Ancien (Leiden/Köln). Stieglitz, R. R. 2002 “Divine Pairs in the Ebla Pantheon”, Eblaitica 4, 209-214. Strommenger, E. et al. 1986 “Ausgrabungen in Tall Bi{a 1984”, MDOG 118, 1-44. 2002 Tall Bi{a/Tuttul, VIII. Stadtbefestigungen, Häuser und Tempel (Saarbrücken). Viganò, L. 2000 “Rituals at Ebla II, ì-gisˇ-sag: A Purification Ritual or Anointing of the Head?”, JNES 59, 13-22. Walker, C. – Dick, M. B. 1999 “The Induction of the Cult Image in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Mesopotamian mı¯s pî Ritual”, in: M. B. Dick (ed.), Born in Heaven, Made on Earth. The Making of the Cult Image in the Ancient Near East (Winona Lake) 55-121. Werner, P. 1994 Die Entwicklung der Sakralarchitektur in Nordsyrien und Südostkleinasien (München/Wien). Werner, P. et al. 2004 Munbaqa-Ekalte, III. Die Glyptik (Saarbrücken). Wilhelm, G. 1992 “Zum eblaitischen Gott Kura”, VO 8, 23-31. Winter, I. 1992 “Idols of the King”, Journal of Ritual Studies 6, 13-42. 2000 “Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth: The Utility of Comparing Images in Worship in India and Ancient Near East”, in: M. W. Meister, Ethnography and Personhood (Jaipur/New Delhi) 129-162. Woolley, L. 1955 Alalakh. An Account of the Excavations at Tell Atchana (London). Via Tolmino 43 I-00198 Roma e-mail: ritadolce6quipo.it

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N e w g r o s h , Bernard, Chronology at the Crossroads: The Late Bronze Age in Western Asia. Leicester, Matador Publishing, 2007. XII-710 p., 10 fig. 16 × 24. £29.99. P a t r i , Sylvain, L’alignement syntaxique dans les langues indo-européennes d’Anatolie. Studien zu den Bog˘azköy-Texten, 49. Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007. 231 S. 17 × 24. 48,—. P e r n a , Massimo – P o m p o n i o , Francesco (ed.), The Management of Agricultural Land and the Production of Textiles in the Mycenaean and Near Eastern Economies. Studi egei e vicinorientali, 4. Napoli 2008. 155 p. 20,9 × 29,7. Diffusion: De Boccard, 11 rue de Médicis, F-75006 Paris. P o s t g a t e , Nicholas – T h o m a s , David (ed.), Excavations at Kilise Tepe, 1994-98: From Bronze Âge to Byzantine in western Cilicia. McDonald Institute Monographs. Cambridge / London, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research / British Institute at Ankara, 2007. Vol. 1: Text. XXIII-623 p., frontispiece, 357 fig.; vol. 2: Appendices, References & Figures. IX, p. 625-877, fig. 358-585. 21,8 × 28,5. £95.00. (Distribution: Oxbow Books, Oxford; David Brown Book Company, Oakville CT.) R a m e l l i , Ilaria (ed.), Atti di Mar Mari. Testi del Vicino Oriente antico, 7. Letteratura della Siria cristiana, 2. Brescia, Paideia Editrice, 2008. 234 p. 13,5 × 21,1. R o s e , Pamela J., The Eighteenth Dynasty Pottery Corpus from Amarna. Excavation Memoir, 83. London, Egypt Exploration Society, 2007. [IV]-301 p. with 33 fig. and 11 pl. 21 × 29,7. £65.00. R o s e , P. J., The Meroitic temple complex at Qasr Ibrim. With contributions by D. N. Edwards, G. Pyke, P. Wilson, J. Hallof and S.-A. Ashton. Excavation Memoir, 84. London, Egypt Exploration Society, 2007. II-VIII-170 p., 131 fig., 8 pl. 21 × 29,7. £65.00. R o t h e , Russell D. – M i l l e r , William K. – R a p p , George (Rip), Pharaonic Inscriptions from the Southern Eastern Desert of Egypt. Winona Lake (Indiana), Eisenbrauns, 2008. X-504 p., 55 maps. 21,8 × 28,5. $89.50. S c h r a m m , Wolfgang, Ein Compendium sumerisch-akkadischer Beschwörungen. Göttinger Beiträge zum Alten Orient, 2. Göttingen, Universitätsverlag, 2008. [VII]-355 S. (einschl. 51 Tafeln mit Kopien). 16,9 × 24. S e a r i g h t , Ann – R e a d e , Julian – F i n k e l , Irving, Assyrian Stone Vessels and related material in the British Museum. With contributions by Kenneth Kitchen, Marcel Marée and Shahrokh Razmjou. Oxford, Owbow Books, 2008. VIII-132 p., frontspiece, 68 pl. 21,5 × 30,4. £65.00.

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ISSN 0030-5367 Michele SIMONE, Direttore Responsabile Autorizz. Tribunale di Roma n. 2776 del 21.6.1953 del Reg. della Stampa FINITO DI STAMPARE NEL MESE DI MAGGIO 2009 SCUOLA TIPOGRAFICA S. PIO X – VIA DEGLI ETRUSCHI, 7 – 00185 ROMA

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R. Dolce, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla

TAB. III

Photo 5 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla, Palace G: a) the Administrative Unit, L.2862; secondary location of head A, B; b) the male head A (TM.77.G.200a-d+157+180+TM.78.G.300a-b); c) the female head B (TM.76.G.433a-c+TM.77.G.175+116+155+184a-c+TM.78.G.178).


TAB. IV

R. Dolce, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla

Photo 6 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla, Area P2: a) temple P2 of MB period; b) shrine of EBIV period.


R. Dolce, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla

Photo 7 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla, Area P2: a) discovering the basalt head (TM.89.P.318); b) the basalt head: detail of plating technique.

TAB. V


TAB. VI

R. Dolce, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla

Photo 8 – Tell Mardikh-Ebla, Area P2: the basalt head (TM.89.P.318).

Photo 9 – female limestone head from Tello (AO. 300; from Spycket 1981, pl. 78a).


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S U M M A R I U M

Commentationes R. DOLCE, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla in the Early and Old Syrian Periods: Some Suggestions (Tab. I-VI) . . . . . . . . . . . .

145-172

Libri ad Directionem missi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

173-176

Bibliographiae H. NEUMANN, Keilschriftbibliographie. 66. 2007 (mit Nachtr채gen aus fr체heren Jahren) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1*-117*

This periodical is indexed in the ATLA Religion Database, published by the American Theological Library Association, 250 S. Wacker Dr., 16th Flr., Chicago, IL 60606. E-mail: atla^atla.com; Web site: http://www.atla.com/


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Rome, Italie

Directeur:

Werner R. MAYER

Comité de rédaction:

Maria Giulia AMADASI GUZZO Agustinus GIANTO Vincent LAISNEY Philippe LUISIER Craig MORRISON

Administrateur:

Katia PAOLETTI

La revue paraît annuellement en 4 fascicules. Le prix de l’abonnement (à payer d’avance par chèque) est de 80 euros. Les volumes 1 (1932) à 15 (1946), reproduits photomécaniquement, ainsi que les volumes 25 (1956) à 76 (2007) sont en vente au prix de 100 euros, frais de port en plus. Les contributions écrites doivent êtres adressées à: Direction, Orientalia, Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Via della Pilotta 25, I-00187 Rome, Italie. La correspondance administrative doit être adressée à: Gregorian & Biblical Press, Piazza della Pilotta 35, I-00187 Rome, Italie. Tel. 06/678.15.67, Fax 06/678.05.88 (comptechèque postal IT 21 C 07601 03200 000034903005; Banca Prossima IT 28 O 033 5901 6001 00000006102 Swift BCITITMX).

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CommentationesR. DOLCE, Human Beings and Gods at Ebla in the Early and Old Syrian Periods: Some Suggestions (Tab. I-VI) . . . . . . . . . ....

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