Ada Yardeni

The piéce de rèsistance of the Ekron excavations is the Ekron Royal Dedicatory Inscription, which was embedded in the back wall of the Holy of Holies of Temple 650.It reads, “The temple which he built, Achish, son of Padi, son of Ysd, son of Ada, son of Ya’ir, ruler of Ekron, for Ptgyh his lady. May she bless him, and protect him and prolong his days, and bless his land.” The inscription gives Ekron the distinction of being the only Biblical city to be identified by a monumental inscription found in place at the site. The inscription does double duty, however, by showing that the Philistines remained Philistines even as they were borrowing from surrounding cultures. It describes Achish (or Ikausu) dedicating a temple to the goddess Ptgyh. Achish may be related to the name Achaean, meaning Greek, while the goddess Ptgyh is associated with the shrine at Delphi, in Greece, dedicated to Gaia, the Mycenaean mother-goddess. Both names, then, recall the Aegean origins of the Philistines or relations between Ekron and the Aegean as late as the seventh century B.C.E.