See “Ancient Royal Library Found,” BAR 02:02; Queries & Comments, BAR 02:03; and “The Promise of Ebla,” BAR 02:04. History may not record that these articles appeared earlier than other publications, but scholarly journals, unlike BAR, frequently appear much later than they are dated. For example, as of this writing (January 1978), the most recent issue of the Biblical Archaeologist to appear is September 1976. When the next issue appears, it will be dated December 1976!



G. Pettinato, “Inscription de Ibbit-Lim Roi de Ebla”, Annales Archeologiquès Arabes Syriennes, Vol. 20, p. 75 (1970).


M. C. Astour, “Tell Mardikh and Ebla”, Ugarit-Forschungen, Vol. 3, p. 12 (1971).


F. T.-Dangin, Sumer et D’Akkad: Gudea, Statue B, V:53f., p. 108f., Paris, (1905), E. de Sarzec and Leon Heuzey, Decouterres en Chaldee, Vol. II, Paris, pls. 14–19; Partie Epigraphique, pl. X, (1884–1912). “Ibla” is but another pronunciation of the name “Ebla”. Scholars have long known that the cuneiform sign known to them as IB could be pronounced “ib”. Thus when Statue B of Gudea was uncovered at ancient Lagash and its inscription translated, the name “Ibla” first came to scholarly attention. While other documents used a different IB sign which could also be read “eb” it did not affect the pronunciation of “Ibla” until 1936 when Arthur Ungnad in his book Subartu showed that “Ibla” was written “e-eb-laa-pa” in a Hurrian text found at Boghazkoy (no. 409). The initial “e” indicated that to the writer of that document “Ibla” was pronounced “Ebla” (p. 51, no. 2). Albrecht Goetze underscored that pronunciation in 1953 and most scholars have used that form since.

On the other hand, I. J. Gelb of the University of Chicago has preferred to retain the older form “Ibla”: “In line with the trend for simple primary syllabic values which I have followed for years I read Ib-laKI (and Ibla), and do not feel obliged to transliterate the name as Eb-laKI (and Ebla) in conformance with the spelling URUE-eb-la-a-pa which occurs a thousand years later … ” (See his “Thoughts about Ibla”, Syro-Mesopotamian Studies Vol. I no. 1 p. 5, (1977)).


Mirjo Salvini, Keilschrifturkunden Aus Boghazkoi, Heft XLV, Berlin, no. 84, (1975). Here at last is the Hittite text (Bo. 409) referred to by A. Ungnad in his work Subartu, p. 51.


T. J. Meek, “Some Gleanings from the Last Excavations at Nuzi.”, Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research Vol. XIII, pp. 1–12, New Haven (1933).


L. Legrain, Royal Inscriptions and Fragments from Nippur and Babylon, P.B.S. vol. XV, p. 14 (1926); A. Poebel, Historical Texts, P.B.S. vol. IV, p. 177f. (1914).


Sarzec & Heuzy, op. cit. Partie Epigraphique, pl. LVII. H. de Genouillac, “Inscriptions Diverses”, Revue D’Assyriologie, Vol. 10, pp. 101f., (1913); G. A. Barton, Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad, pp. 138f., no. 8, New Haven (1929).


In 1966, before Ebla was identified, U. Bahadir Alkim made the following remark:

We see the Gaziantep and Islahiye areas as having been the scene of an uninterrupted settlement in the Third Millennium B.C., and representing an important regional culture. As has become apparent, this regional culture belonged to the people of a country (Ebla-Ursum? Hashshum?) who were masters in the use of metal and who had close relations with Southern Mesopotamia. [Italics in original] [U. Bahadir Alkim, “Excavations at Gedikli (Karahuyuk), First Preliminary Report”, Turk Tarih Kurumu Belleten, Vol. XXX, no. 117 Oct. 1966, p. 53].

The area Alkim was discussing (Islahiye) is located now in modern Turkey ancient eastern Anatolia, whose general area is now known from the Ebla archives to have been under Eblaite influence. So prophetic were those words that nothing need be changed including the italics. The discovery of the first 42 tablets revealed that Ebla’s industries involved not only textiles, ceramics, and wood carving (remarkably well preserved despite the fire which destroyed Royal Palace G), but also metal working. [Pettinato, “Testi Cuneiformi del 3 Millennio in Paleo-Cananeo Rinvenuti nella Campagna 1974 a Tell Mardikh-Ebla”, Orientalia, Vol. 44, fasc. 3, p. 365, (1975)].


G. Pettinato, “Relations Entre les Royaumes d’Ebla et de Mari au Troisieme Millenaire, d’apres les Archives Royales de Tell Mardikh-Ebla.”, Akkadica, Vol. I:2, pp. 24–27, (March–April, 1977).


The lone tablet discovered very recently at Terqa and published in 1977 by G. Buccellati (G. Buccellati, “A Cuneiform Tablet of the Early Second Millennium B.C.”, Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, Vol. I:4, pp. 135–142, (1977)) shows that Ebla may have administered other cities sometime in the past as well. On the basis of this single discovery and the impetus provided by the Ebla finds, the Terqa team will no doubt make every effort to discover the Terqa Archives.


Pettinato, Ibid., p. 27.


Ibid., p. 23.




The eight are Akkadian, Amorite, Ugaritic, Canaanite, Aramaic, (Classical) Arabic, South Arabic, and Ethiopic.


Private communication.


American Schools of Oriental Research Newsletter, nos. 3–4, p. 1, (Oct.–Nov., 1975).


Cyrus H. Gordon, “Where Is Abraham’s Ur?” BAR 03:02.


Matthiae, “Ebla in the late Early Syrian Period: The Royal Palace and the State Archives”, Biblical Archeologist, Vol. 39:3, p. 109 (1976).


D. N. Freedman, “A City Beneath the Sands”, Science Year: The World Book Science Annual, p. 194, (1978).


Anson S. Rainey, “Queries and Comments,” BAR 03:01.


Pettinato, op. cit., p. 48.


See Gelb, Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary, no. 2, Old Akkadian Writing and Grammar, p. 129, note 14, Chicago (1952, 1961). The translations are my own.


The names will be found scattered throughout numerous publications. The main sources are as follows: Pettinato, “Testi Cuneiformi del 3 Millennio in Paleo-Cananeo Rinvenuti nella campagna 1974 a Tell Mardikh = Ebla”, Orientalia, Vol. 44, fasc. 3, pp. 369–372, (1975), “Aspetti Amministrativi e Topografici di Ebla nel III Millennio Av. Cr.: A. Documentazione Epigrafica.”, Rivista degli Studi Orientali, Vol. L, fasc. I–II, pp. 1–14 (1976); “The Royal Archives of Tell Mardikh-Ebla”, Biblical Archeologist, Vol. 39:2, p. 49 (May, 1976), Gelb, op cit. p. 20. I have reconstructed some forms. For example, Pettinato gives the first name (in the first reference here, p. 370) under the form “du-bu-hu-ia”.


Private communication.


Pettinato, “The Royal Archives of Tell Mardikh-Ebla”, p. 48.


Pettinato, Akkadica [Vol. I] no. 2, p. 21, (1977).


My warmest thanks go to Dr. I. J. Gelb, Hershel Shanks and Professor Barry Ross of United Wesleyan College, each of whom read early copies of this paper and made numerous suggestions and corrections. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Gelb for his extensive and constructive remarks relating to the entire issue of the reading of the tablets and their interpretation. I alone remain responsible for any inaccuracies I may have retained.