Beautifully crafted stone work from Ugarit (Ras Shamra), Syria. Middle to Late Bronze. This great city was destroyed sometime around 1200 BCE. We still don’t know who sacked the city. Best guess is the “Greeks” on the move during this turbulent time in the Mediterranean. Almost nothing in the Southern Levant even comes close to this kind of stonework at that period of time.
Ugarit (Jan 2017)
Marilyn Borst, Nuhad Tomeh, and Salam Hanna made it possible for us to visit a site I never thought I would visit in my lifetime. Thank you.
Ancient Ugarit, Ras Shamra, outside current Latakia, Syria
This is the view of the (or an) entrance to the city pre-1200. Nothing of this beauty or scale existed in the Levant–especially the So Levant with the possible exception of ‘Asqalon–but that was Canaanite, of course.
“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.” Plagiarised from Wikipedia
Much of Israelite–but especially Judahite–Iron 2A-Hellenistic religion(s), anti-religion(s) are derivative of Ugaritic “culture” or what is represented by Ugaritic culture. In other words, major portions of the HB are directly or inversely transmuting No. Levantine culture, i.e. hatred of Baal and Asherah. Once again, I speculate that the OT/HB is a clash of Northern/Southern (Phoenician-Syrio-Egyptian) cultures and the war between fertility and desert religious worldviews.
But the good news in all this is I finally saw Ugarit in Jan 2017–I never thought I would see this site.