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Ancient City of Ugarit

Ancient City The Ancient City of Ugarit Part 1

"Ugarit was an ancient port city at the Ras Shamra headland in northern Syria. Ugarit had close connections to the Hittite Empire, sent tribute to Egypt at times, and maintained trade and diplomatic connections with Cyprus (then called Alashiya), documented in the archives recovered from the site and corroborated by Mycenaean and Cypriot pottery found there. The polity was at its height from ca. 1450 BC until 1200 BC." Wikipedia


Ancient city known  Ugarit

Ancient city known as Ugarit


"In the late 1920s the ruins of an ancient city called Ugarit were found on the coast of Syria at a site called Ras Shamra. Among the ruins archaeologists discovered thousands of clay tablets with an unknown kind of writing on them. The writing looked like that used by the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians, a kind of writing called cuneiform, but the signs were unique, and far fewer in number. While the language that the Babylonians used-Akkadian-was written with hundreds of signs derived from the ancient Sumerian writing, the new tablets employed only 30 signs.
Ugarit was an important city in its time, but it was destroyed in the 13th century B.C.E. by invaders called the Sea Peoples. This was just before the Israelites began to settle in the land of Canaan. The people of Ugarit worshipped many gods and goddesses, among them El, Baal, Asherah, Anat and Astarte. Baal and Asherah are mentioned in the Bible as gods the Israelites should not worship." Click here for more information.


Red star points Ugarit

Red star points to Ugarit





Tell Ras ShamraThe Ancient City of Ugarit Part 2

Tell Ras Shamra contains the ruins of an ancient city known as Ugarit. The name was known, although the location was not, from references in the Amarna letters of Egypt and the political correspondence from ancient Mari prior to the discovery in 1928. The major excavator was Claude F. A. Schaeffer followed after his retirement by several other French directors. Excavations still continue in the face of growing urbanization both at the tell and at a seaside site a few kilometers away, Ras Ibn Hani.


cuneiform tablets

Cuneiform tablets

Apart from the architecture and artifacts of a wealthy, cosmopolitan center recovered, the significance of Ugarit is in the recovery of thousands of cuneiform tablets, written in several languages current in international circles of the day, but particularly a heretofore unknown language now bearing the name Ugaritic, after the site. When deciphered, the cuneiform signs used for writing were discovered to be based on the Semitic alphabet rather than on the syllabic signs of Mesopotamia. Even more important were the contents of the documents written in Ugaritic. Some were recovered from palace complexes and were primarily administrative and economic texts, opening a window on the international diplomacy and trade current before the city's destruction and demise c. 1180 BC. Others were recovered from temple complexes, including the legends and myths of Ugarit. Two legendary epics focus on ancient kings, Keret and Danel. Mythological texts recount the stories of Baal and Anath, Kathir-and-Khasis, El (the patriarch of the gods), Athtart, Mot (the god of sterility and death), Yam (the sea monster god) and others.

The myths and legends of Ugarit permit us to glimpse the conceptions of the supernatural that infused Canaanite life and thought and to observe their cultic rites and practices. The Canaanites were polytheists, and their gods were primarily deified aspects of nature. What we have is an unbiased view into the culture which dominated the land of Canaan into which the Israelites came, permitting us to understand the religious and cultural environment that in part Israel conquered and in part which conquered Israel. The Ugaritic literature and material continue to provide a rich source for comparative studies with biblical texts, including the Hebrew language, sociological, economic, monarchical, and religious areas. For the reference click here.

BIB903 Introduction to Ugaritic