| "laugh at your
enemy O valiant ones, scorn, assail and crush your adversary
......disdain (him), trample (him) on the waters; .....moreover
prostate (him) .....on the sea, bind (him), hang (him)".
Isis words to the
newly dead to spur them to victory over any mythical adversary
who might bar the way to the afterlife
It is known that the supreme deity of
the Phoenicians Baal - Melkart of the Carthaginians, Hercales of the
Greeks, Beelzebul of the Bible - was a god of medicine.
Ptolemy mentions a temple in the
SE of Malta dedicated to Melkart. An inscribed stone found near St.
Dominic's Convent in Rabat dated to the 6th century BC refers to
Baal Hammon. Baal Hammon was the sky-god and god of fertility.
known also as Ashtar, Ishtar (to the Babylonians), Ashtoreth (to the
Hebrews), Tanit (to the Carthaginians) is known to have had a sanctuary
at Tas-Silg at Marsaxlokk in Malta. The Astarte sanctuary can be
identified with the temple of Juno mentioned by Cicero and with the
temple of Hera cited by Ptolemy. In origin, Astarte symbolized the
goddess of fertility whose domain embraced all nature, vegetable and
animal as well as human. Afterwards she became the goddess of love in
its noblest aspect as well as in its most degraded. The assimilation of
this fertility deity by the Maltese was made easier by the previous
concept of the Mother Goddess, the mysterious female "source of life",
to whom the great Maltese Neolithic Age temples including the one at
Tas-Silg were dedicated.
Bes, an African
was a beneficent deity and his ugly
appearance was meant to scare off evil spirits.He was originally
the protective deity of the royal house of Egypt, but came to be
a popular household deity throughout Egypt.
Other fertility-related deities are
known to have been venerated by the Punic Maltese. Talismans in the form
of faience amulet figurines representing Bes and
Toueris have been excavated from tombs in Malta and Gozo. Bes, an
African deity by origin, was a popular god known also in Egypt and
western Asia. He was a frightening dwarf with bow-legs and prominent
belly. Because of his ugliness, he was believed to frighten away evil
spirits. He presided over childbearing and was considered as a protector
of expectant mothers. He was also a marriage-god and presided over the
toilet of women. Toueris was another popular Egyptian goddess of
childbirth and symbolised maternity and suckling. She was represented as
a female hippopotamus with pendant mammae standing upright on her back
legs and holding the hieroglyphic sign of protection.
The Punic Maltese were concerned not
only with birth and fertility, but also with death. They believed in an
afterlife as evidenced by the care given to
their tombs and the talismans associated with death. A sixth century BC
bronze amulet sheath containing a small rolled-up piece of papyrus
bearing a Phoenician inscription with a representation to Isis was found
in a tomb at Tal-Virtu, limits of Rabat. The sheath with a cover in the
form of a falcon's head representing Horus - the Egyptian solar divinity
- belongs to a distinct class manufactured in rigid imitation of
Egyptian prototypes and widely diffused in Phoenicia and its colonies.
The inscription has been translated to read "laugh at your enemy O
valiant ones, scorn, assail and crush your adversary ......disdain
(him), trample (him) on the waters; .....moreover prostate (him) .....on
the sea, bind (him), hang (him)". These are the words of Isis -
protectress of the dead - addressed to the deceased and which ensured
her assistance for an unfailing victory over a mythical adversary
barring the way to the afterlife.
Medicine at geocities.com/hotsprings/2615/medhist/ancient.html
Who were the
the Purple People
History tells us that the
Canaanites, a tribe of Semitic origin, were first to inhabit the
Lebanese shores. Indeed their culture is said to form the basis
of the Aramaean culture of both Syria and of Israelite
Palestine. The Canaanites who traded with the Greeks became know
by them as Phoenicians.
Lebanon started to be called such by name sometime in the third
Millennium before Christ, when reference is made to the Pharaohs
of Egypt importing cedar wood from the mountains of Lebanon.
The term Phoenicia, from the Greek Phoenix, means purple-red,
and refers to the purple industry (the dye extracted from the
mollusc shell-fish and used to color cloth) of the early
The word Lebanon itself is an ancient Semitic term meaning
White, and the country was so called as the Lebanese mountain
summits remain snow-decked for most of the year. Seeking trading
partners, the Phoenicians sailed further away from the shores of
Lebanon, confident in their legendary vessels crafted in solid
By the end of the second century BC, they had colonized most of
the Mediterranean shore, establishing trading depots and
spreading the Semitic culture. The greatest of these colonies is
said to have been Carthage. From the Mediteranean, the
Phoenicians moved westward, eventually discovering the Atlantic
They rounded Africa, landed in England and Ireland and built
many cities in Western Europe and on the Atlantic coast of
Africa. But while the Phoenicians became legendary traders -
their wares included works of art, textiles, delicate glassware,
precious stones and perfume - their intellectual contribution to
society guaranteed their place in history.
They gave the world the twenty-two "magic signs" called the
alphabet, the first developed system of modern writing and
numerical figures. They also taught mankind the art of stone
building and glass manufacturing.
The Phoenicians spoke the
Phoenician language, later called Punic since the Roman word for
purple was Puniceus. In addition to their many inscriptions, the
Phoenicians, contrary to some reports, wrote many books which
have not survived. Evangelical Preparation by Eusebius of
Caesarea quotes extensively from Philo of Byblos and
Sanchuniathon. Further, the Phoenician Punic colonies of North
Africa continued to be a source of knowledge about the
Phoenicians. Saint Augustine (who spoke Punic, and calls it "our
language") refers to their books as containing much wisdom.Phoenicia -