Todd Bolen/

WHAT’S UGARITIC GOT TO DO WITH IT? Dating to the middle of the second millennium B.C.E., this clay tablet from the site of Ugarit (Ras Shamra) in Syria is written in Ugaritic, a Northwest Semitic language, inscribed in alphabetic cuneiform script. It features the Baal Cycle, a mythological text that tells how the storm god Baal defeated first Yam (the sea god) and then Mot (death). Ugaritic helps illuminate Archaic Biblical Hebrew.