ERICH LESSING/ART RESOURCE, NY
AHIRAM’S EPITAPH. In 1923, archaeologists found the decorated and inscribed sarcophagus of Ahiram, king of Byblos, in the city’s necropolis. Written with the Phoenician alphabet, the royal inscription dates to the early tenth century B.C.E. Phoenician was a sister script to Old Hebrew. The inscription specifies that Ithobaal, Ahiram’s son, made this sarcophagus for his father, and it contains a curse for anyone who would disturb Ahiram’s remains. Reliefs on the sarcophagus picture a funerary banquet before the enthroned king.