Ruins of the outer wall and the "Damascus Gate"
|Alternate name||Tell Mardikh (Arabic: تل مرديخ)|
|Location||Idlib Governorate, Syria|
|Founded||c. 3500 BC|
|Abandoned||7th century AD|
Ebla (Arabic: إبلا, modern: Tell Mardikh تل مرديخ, Idlib Governorate, Syria) was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria, located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh. It was an important center throughout the Third millennium BC to the end of the first half of the Second millennium BC
Started as a small settlement in the early Bronze Age, it developed into a trading empire and later turned into an expansionist power that imposed its hegemony over much of northern and eastern Syria. Its language, the Eblaite language is now considered the earliest attested Semitic language, after Akkadian. The site is most famous for the Ebla tablets, an archive of about 20,000 cuneiform tablets found there, dated from around 2350 BC, written in both Sumerian and Eblaite languages and using the Sumerian Cuneiform which allowed a better understanding of Sumerian.
Ebla was destroyed during the 23rd century BC, it was then rebuilt and was attested in the records of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The second Ebla was a continuation to the first Ebla, it was destroyed at the end of the second millennia BC which paved the way for the Amorite tribes to settle in the city and form the third Ebla. The third kingdom flourished again as a trade center, it became a subject and an ally to Yamhad (modern Aleppo) until its final destruction by the Hittite king Mursili I in c. 1600 BC.
Ebla maintained its prosperity through a vast trading network, artifacts from Sumer, Cyprus, Egypt and as far as Afghanistan were recovered from the palaces of the city. The political organization of Ebla had unique features different from the Sumerian model. Women enjoyed a special status, the queen had major influence in the state and religious affairs, the pantheon was mainly north Semitic and included deities exclusive to Ebla.
- 1 History
- 2 Government and organizational scheme
- 3 People, language and culture
- 4 Economy
- 5 Religion
- 6 Discovery and excavation
- 7 References
- 8 External links
- 9 See also
A possible explanation of the word "Ebla" is "white rock", referring to the limestone outcrop on which the city was built. Ebla was first settled around 3500 BC, the early habitation period is designated (Mardikh I) and ended in 3000 BC, the city continued to grow supported by many surrounding satellite agricultural settlement, Ebla benefited from its role as an Entrepôt of growing international trade which probably began with an increased demand for wool in Sumer.
The first kingdom
|First Eblaite Kingdom
|Historical era||Bronze Age|
|-||Established||c. 2700 BC|
|-||Disestablished||c. 2290 BC|
|Today part of||Syria|
During the first kingdom Era, Ebla was the most prominent kingdom amongst the Syrian states especially during the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, which is known as the age of the archives in reference to the historical period covered by the discovered tablets of Ebla. The first and second kingdoms era is designated Mardikh II (3000–2000 BC), the first kingdom spans between 3000 and 2200 BC.
The early period is designated (Mardikh IIA) and spans between 3000 and 2400 BC. The earliest evidence on the earliest political phase of Ebla was identified with buildings located on the southern slopes of the acropolis in an area designated as CC, most important of them was building G2. The dates for the earliest kings known through the lists of Eblaites kings, implies that the first royal dynasty began with the building of G2 which was apparently a royal palace built c. 2700 BC. A sequence of 21 Kings was reconstructed before the five kings of the archive period.
The archive period is designated (Mardikh IIB1) and is marked by the palace G built after the former palace G2, and by political and militaristic dominance over the other Syrian city-states of northern and eastern Syria which were mentioned in the tablets. Most of the tablets, which date from that period, are about economic matters, but they also include royal letters, and diplomatic documents.
King Kun-Damu was mentioned in the archive two generations before Igrish-Halam, which suggest that he was a contemporary of king Ishtup-Ishtar of Mari (who is also mentioned in the tablets) and therefor, Kun-Damu can be placed in the middle of the 25th century BC. The period after Kun Damu saw a political weakness during the reign of Adub-Damu and a temporary subjugation accompanied by paying tribute to Mari during the reign of Igrish-Halam, but the reign of Irkab-Damu saw a great prosperity and an Eblaite counteroffensive against Mari, Ebla became a hegemonic state which at its greatest extent controlled an area roughly half the size of modern Syria. Half of the kingdom was under the direct control of the king and administered by governors, the other half consisted of vassal kingdoms paying tribute and supplying military assistance to Ebla, one of the most important vassals was Armi which was the most quoted city in the texts of Ebla. In total Ebla had more than sixty vassal kingdoms and city-states, including Khashshum, Gasur, Emar and Burman.
The viziers started to hold substantial authority during the reign of Irkab-Damu, amongst them Darmiya and Arrukum (Ar-Ennum), but the most powerful vizier was Ibrium who took office during the last two years of Irkab-Damu reign and continued to hold office during the reign of Isar-Damu, he kept his position for about 20 years and was succeeded by his son Ibbi-Sipish thus establishing a parallel dynasty of viziers next to the royal family. Ibrium is attested campaigning against Abarsal during the time of Arrukum, and waging a war against Armi in his ninth year as vizier, the texts mentions that the battle happened near a town called Batin (it could be located in northeastern Aleppo), and that a messenger arrived in Ebla with news about the defeating of Armi. He also conducted several campaigns against rebellious vassals and concluded a peace and trading treaty with Abarsal.
Ibbi-Sipish conducted a military campaign in his third year against a city called Bagara, the scribe which describes the campaign also quotes a military expedition against Armi, several other texts of Ibbi-Sipish mentions his campaigns against Armi, for example he received linen textiles for one of these campaigns. Ibbi-Sipish also campaigned against Ibal in the south and allied with Nagar and Kish to defeat Mari in a battle near Terqa, then the alliance attacked Armi and occupied it leaving Ibbi-Sipish son Enzi-Malik to reside in Armi.
Palace G was destroyed during the 23rd century BC; many theories were suggested for the cause, the date and the perpetrator. The destruction led to the burning of the palace which baked the clay tablets and preserved the royal archives.
High dating hypothesis: Giovanni Pettinato support a high dating for Ebla which would put the destruction at around 2400 BC, and propose that the perpetrator would have been a Mesopotamian ruler as Eannatum who boasted taking tribute from Mari or Lugalzagesi who claimed to have reached the Mediterranean.
Akkadian hypothesis: although the identification of Ebla with the Ibla mentioned by Sargon of Akkad has been challenged, Prof. Trevor R. Bryce attributed the act to king Sargon or his grandson Naram-Sin. Giovanni Pettinato at first supported the Naram-Sin theory, then proposed the high dating theory, while the discoverer of Ebla Paolo Matthiae supported the Naram-Sin theory then shifted to the Sargon theory as more probable. Sargon claimed that Dagon gave him Ebla while Naram-Sin denied his grandfather ever controlling Ebla, he wrote that No king whosoever had destroyed Ebla before him.
Mari revenge: Prof. Amanda H. Podany and Prof. Mario Liverani proposes that the destruction was caused by Mari as a retaliation for its humiliating defeat in Terqa, considering that the destruction happened three years after the battle of Terqa.
Natural catastrophe: Prof. Michael Astour wrote the "History of Ebla" for the Eblaitica journal (Vols 3 & 4), where he discussed the competing theories. According to Astour, the high dating offer a problem that there is a gap of more than a hundred years between Eannatum and Pettinato next candidate Lugalzagesi. As for the Naram-Sin theory, Astour points that the geopolitical map presented in the archives of Ebla doesn't correspond to the political situation during the time of Naram-Sin, and regarding the Sargon theory, difficulties arise due to the fact that Sargon mentions that his campaign in the north happened after his conquest of Sumer, while the geopolitical map presented in the tablets of Ebla indicate an era that precede Lugalzagesi (pre-Sargonic) sack of Kish. Astour also note the existence of a Mesopotamian city Ib-la, that might have been the city mentioned by the Akkadians.
Astour concludes that no invaders destroyed the palace G, but rather a natural catastrophe might have caused the blaze which ended the archive period. Astour base his theory on two facts, the first is that the destruction was limited to the area of the royal palace and the second is that there was no convincing evidence for looting. He ends by dating the fire to c. 2290 BC (Middle Chronology).
The second kingdom
The era after the first destruction is given the designation (Mardikh IIB2). The second Ebla lasted until its destruction c. 2000 BC (the 2000 date is a formal date, the event could have happened any time between 2050 and 1950 BC).
Although the whole of northern Syria including Ebla became a part of the Akkadian Empire during the reign of Naram-Sin, the first destruction cannot be considered a definitive one, the second Ebla has not yielded any evidence of a total break with its past heritage, Ebla maintained its earliest features combined with new elements of a new culture and a new dynasty. The transition between the Archive period (Mardikh IIB1) and (Mardikh IIB2) is marked only by the destruction of the palace, which was abandoned and a new royal palace was built in the northern part of the lower city (the archaic palace P5) in addition to a new temple that was built on the same area D of the old temple in the acropolis. However the Mardikh IIB2 period is ambiguous, no tablets were discovered and only one inscription that date to the end of this period has been found.
Archaeologist Alessandro de Maigret (judging by the surrounding cities that appeared during this period and were destroyed along with Mardikh IIB2) deduced that Ebla continued to be a center of trade, it was mentioned by Gudea of Lagash in one of his inscriptions where he asked for cedars to be brought from Urshu in the mountains of Ebla, indicating the still extended area that Ebla controlled as Urshu is located north of Carchemish in modern day Turkey.
The second kingdom had a connection with the Third Dynasty of Ur, a text that date to the seventh year of Amar-Sin mentions a messenger of the Ensí (Megum/Mekim) of Ebla. The current view is that Megum was a title of the ruler of Ebla, king Ibbit-Lim of the later third kingdom of Ebla also used this title, an Eblaite seal that reads the sentence Ib-Damu Mekim Ebla, was used in the 19th century BC by an Assyrian merchant named Assur-Nada from Kültepe, Ib Damu was the name of an Eblaite king from the early period of the first kingdom.
The second kingdom was destroyed by fire at the end of the 21st century BC or the first Half of the 20th century BC. the scale of the destruction is unknown as direct evidences were found only in the western side outside of the temple and in the area of residence E on the acropolis.
The third kingdom
|Third Eblaite Kingdom
|Historical era||Bronze Age|
|-||Established||c. 2000 BC|
|-||Disestablished||c. 1600 BC|
The third kingdom period is designated (Mardikh III) and is split into era A (2000–1800 BC) and era B (1800–1600 BC). the reason for the destruction of the second kingdom is unknown but the kingdom recovered and was settled by the Amorites. Ebla was rebuild during period A as a planned city in a short amount of time, the new foundations sealed off what remained of Mardikh II, new fortifications were built in two circles, one for the low city and one for the acropolis, in addition to new palaces and temples in the lower city. The city was laid out on regular lines and large public buildings were built on the acropolis including royal palac E. further construction took place in the following B period.
The first identified King is Ibbit-Lim son of Igrish-Heba, a basalt votive statue of his bearing his inscription was discovered and helped identifying Tell-Mardikh with Ebla in 1968, Ibbit-Lim designated himself as the Mekim of Ebla, this led Astour, David I. Owen and Ron Veenker to identify Ibbit-Lim with the pre-Amorite Megum of the Third Ur era, however the names of the king and his father are Amorite, therefor (according to Giovanni Pettinato) its assumed that the inhabitants of Ebla were predominantly Amorites which is consistence with the knowledge about most of the inhabitants of Syria during that time.
By the beginning of the 18th century BC Ebla became a vassal to Yamhad, a status kept till the end of both kingdoms. One of the known rulers of Amorite Ebla during that period was Immeya, a silver bowl bearing his name was found in the so-called tomb of the lords of the goats, along with it was an Egyptian ceremonial Mace presented by Pharaoh Hotepibre to the Eblaite King, the mace was put their with other Egyptian jewels indicating the wide connections and importance of Ebla.
Ebla is mentioned in tablets from Alalakh, the tablets mention the marriage of an Eblaite princess to a son of King Ammitaqum who belonged to a branch of The Yamhadite royal house. Indilimgur was probably the last king before the Hittite invasion, a seal of his crown prince was discovered in the western palace Q. The end came with the advance of the Hittite King Mursili I who destroyed both Ebla and Yamhad in c. 1600 BC.
The destruction of Ebla is attested by the fragmentary Hurro-Hittite epic Song of Release, discovered in 1983. In the epic an Eblaite assembly led by Zazalla refuses to release the prisoners of the city Ikinkalis that used to be a vassal of Ebla, Zazalla ignored the message sent by God Teshub to king Meki of Ebla for the release of those prisoners which provoked Teshub and caused his wrath to fell upon the city and destroy it.
Ebla never recovered from its third destruction. The city continued as a small village in the phase designated as Mardikh IV (1600–1200 BC). Later phase Mardikh V (1200-535 BC) was a rural type early Iron Age settlement that grow in size during its later periods. More development occurred during the Mardikh VI phase which lasted until 60 AD. The site was largely abandoned in the 2nd century AD during Mardikh VII which spans between 60 AD and the seventh century AD, some parts of the Site were sparsely populated until the third century AD and perhaps to the middle of the 1st millennium AD, then the site was forgotten till the discoveries of 1968.
Government and organizational scheme
Ebla was a large city, it consisted of a fortified rampart that encircled the lower city and an acropolis (upper city) in the middle, the fortifications were also protected by fortresses. during the first kingdom Era, the four gates of the city were double chambered, The acropolis was fortified and included the king palace (Palace G), and the main temple of Ishara (in area D). The lower city was divided into four districts each had a gate on the outer wall of the city. The parts of the lower city that surrounded the acropolis included many public buildings, the southern palace (in area FF) was located at the foot of the acropolis southern side and is considered the Vizier Palace. The northern part of the lower city contained the temple of Shapash (Temple N) and two palaces. The royal cemetery was located in the south of the lower city so is the temple of Resheph (Temple B1), the southeastern part of the lower city contained the temple of Hadad (in area HH).
During the second kingdom, the royal palace (the Archaic Palace P5) was built north west of the acropolis, in addition to the western palace (in area Q), while the intermediate palace, palace E and Ishtar temple (in area D) were built during the third kingdom.
The government consisted of the king (styled Malikum) and the grand vizier who heads the elders (Abbu) council and the administration. The central institution was located in the Acropolis, The queen had a share with the King in running the affairs of the state, the crown prince was involved in the internal matters while the second prince was involved in the foreign affairs. Most affairs including the military ones were handled primarily by the Grand Vizier who headed the administration, which consisted of 13 court dignitaries, each controlled between 400 and 800 men forming a Bureaucracy with a total of 11,700 persons. each of the four quarters of the lower city was governed by a chief inspector and many deputies. smaller cities were governed by governors, each governor was under the authority of the grand vizier. also women received salaries equaled to men and could accede to important positions and head government agencies.
Kings of Ebla
The Eblaites had a cult for dead monarchs. For the first kingdom monarchs, offering texts for divined kings were found and mention 10 monarchs. Another list in tablet TM.74.G.120 discovered by Alfonso Archi mentions a total of 26 kings. The dates for the first Kingdom are merely a chronological estimates and given by the (Middle chronology). No names were found from the second kingdom while only three historical monarchs are known from the third kingdom, Ibbit-Lim (c. 2000 BC), Immeya (c. 1750 BC), and Indilimgur. Third kingdom monarchs dates are also estimates and given by the (Middle chronology).
The First Kingdom monarchs
|Enmanu||c. 2740 BC|
|Namanu||c. 2720 BC|
|Da .. .||c. 2700 BC|
|Sagishu||c. 2680 BC|
|Dane'um||c. 2660 BC|
|Ibbini-Lim||c. 2640 BC|
|Ishrut-Damu||c. 2620 BC|
|Isidu||c. 2600 BC|
|Isrut-Halam||c. 2580 BC|
|Iksud||c. 2560 BC|
|Talda-Lim||c. 2540 BC|
|Abur-Lim||c. 2520 BC|
|Agur-Lim||c. 2500 BC|
|Ibbi-Damu||c. 2480 BC|
|Baga-Damu||c. 2460 BC|
|Enar-Damu||c. 2440 BC|
|Eshar-Malik||c. 2420 BC|
|Kum-Damu||c. 2400 BC|
|Adub-Damu||c. 2380 BC||short reign|
|Igrish-Halam||c. 2360 BC||ruled at least 12 years|
|Irkab-Damu||c. 2340 BC||rise of vizier Ibrium|
|Isar-Damu||c. 2320 BC||ruled about 30 years, rise of vizier Ibbi-Sipish|
People, language and culture
During the Mardikh I&II periods the population is estimated to have numbered around 40,000 people who lived in the capital and over 200,000 people for the whole Kingdom.
The Eblaites were Semites, and spoke the Eblaite language which Giovanni Pettinato and Mitchell Dahood believed it to be a West Semitic languages, however I. J. Gelb and others believed it was an East Semitic dialect, closer to the Akkadian language. Now it is commonly accepted that Eblaite is part of the east branch of semitic, and very close to the Akkadian language. The Eblaite pantheon mostly belonged to the northwestern semitic pantheon, and some deities were unique to Ebla.
Ebla held several religious and social festivals such as the rituals for the succession of a new king which normally lasted for several weeks. The society was in general less centered around the palace and the temple than the Mesopotamian society, the palace was designed around the courtyard which was opened toward the city in contrast to Mesopotamian palaces which resembled citadels and had narrow entrances and limited access to the courtyard, hence the Eblaite administration emphasized on being approachable by the people.
Mardikh III population was predominately Semitic Amorite, the Amorites were mentioned in the archives of the first kingdom as neighbors and rural subjects to the kingdom, they came to dominate Ebla after the destruction of the second kingdom, and formed the bulk of its population. The city witnessed a great construction upswing, many palaces, temples and fortifications were built. The Amorite Eblaites worshiped northwestern deities like the Eblaites of former periods, and maintained the sanctity of the acropolis which remained the center of the city.
During the first kingdom, The palace controlled the economy, but wealthy families managed their financial affairs without government intervention. The palace system was a redistributive one, the palace distributed food to permanent workers as well as to seasonal workers who worked for the palace. it is estimated that around 40,000 persons contributed to this system, but in general (unlike Mesopotamia) lands stayed at the hands of the villages which paid an annual share to the palace. The general basic economic system was Agro-Pastoral, the large herds of cattle were managed by the palace, the tablets reveal that the city's inhabitants owned about 200,000 head of mixed cattle (sheep, goats, and cows).
The real wealth of Ebla derived from trade, the city owed much of its prosperity to Mesopotamia, its wealth was equal to the most important Sumerian cities, the finds of the palaces reveals a formidable wealth, such as a small sculpture made out of precious materials like gold and black stones. Ebla was a major commercial center, its major commercial rival was Mari, with whom it fought a lengthy war estimated as lasting 80–100 years. The city's main articles of trade were probably timber from the nearby mountains (and perhaps from Lebanon), and textiles (mentioned in Sumerian texts from the city-state of Lagash).
Ebla possessed a wide commercial network reaching as far as modern Afghanistan, it also shipped textiles to Cyprus possibly through the port of Ugarit, but most of its trade seems to have been directed (by river-boat) towards Mesopotamia (chiefly Kish). The main palace G was also found to contain "antiques" dating from Ancient Egypt with the names of pharaohs Khafra and Pepi I. Handicrafts may also have been a major export, exquisite artifacts have been recovered from the ruins, including wood furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl and composite statues created from different colored stones.
Ebla continued to be a trading state during the third kingdom, which is evident by the many finds discovered at the site. Archaeology shows extensive exchange with Egypt and coastal Syrian cities like Byblos.
Ebla was a polytheistic state. During the first kingdom, The pantheon was formed by three genres of deities; the first and most common genre was the pairs (the deity and his female consort or divine twosomes that cooperate, such as the deities that created cosmos) as in the Egyptian and Mesopotamian pantheons. The second genre included single deities, while the third genre consisted of divine duos who were actually a single deity that had two different names. Eblaites worshiped few Mesopotamian and Hurrian deities, but in general they worshiped northern-Semitic gods, some of them unique to Ebla.
The first genre included the eastern Semitic head of the pantheon god Dagan (written as dDagan) and his consort (called simply Belatu meaning his wife). The Patron god of the city Kura (who was unique to Eblan), and his consort Barama. Another major deities included Hadad (Hadda) and his consort Habadu, Rasap and his consort Adamma.
The second genre included the Hurrian goddess Ishara who was the goddess of the royal family. Ishtar was also worshiped, but Ishara was far more important, having been mentioned 40 times in one of the monthly offering lists, while Ishtar was mentioned only five. Other deities included Nidakul who was exclusive to Ebla, the Mesopotamian God Utu, the Hurrian God Ashtapi, and Shipish the goddess of the Sun who had a temple dedicated to her cult.
The third genre included many gods such as the artisan god Kamish/Tit, in addition to Kothar-wa-Khasis, and the planet Venus represented by Shahar as the morning star and Shalim as the evening star. Eblaites also practiced the deification of dead kings. The four city gates were named (as suggested by Pettinato) after the gods Dagan, Hadda, Rasap and Utu, but which gate held which name is unknown. Overall, about forty deities are mentioned in the offering lists as receiving sacrifices.
During the third kingdom, Amorites worshiped the common northern-Semitic gods, but the unique Eblaite deities disappeared. Hadad, (whose consort became Atargatis) was the most important god, while Ishtar took Ishara's place and became the city's most important deity apart from Hadad.
Biblical connection theories
Among Pettinato's controversial claims, he suggested that there was a change in the Theophoric names shown in many of the tablets from *El to *Yah, indicated in the example of the transition from Mika'il to Mikaya. He regards this as evidence for an early use of the divine name Yah, a god who he believes later emerged as Yahweh (YHWH). Jean Bottéro has suggested that this shift may instead indicate the popular acceptance of the Akkadian god Ea, introduced from the Sargonid Empire.
On the other hand, both Archi and Anson Rainey, have suggested that the "-ya" is actually a diminutive ending used in shortened forms of personal names, while Hans-Peter Müller has argued that the cuneiform sign NI should be in this case interpreted as an abbreviation for ì(-lí) ("god") rather than as ià (*Yah), a view that Archi has since adopted with a modification, his reading been ì or lí. In any case, no list of gods or offerings mentions a deity by the name of Ya, and the connection with Yahweh is largely rejected today.
Many ancient Hebraic names that have not been found in other Near Eastern languages have been reported to occur in similar forms in Eblaite (Adamu, H'à-wa, Jabal, Abarama, Bilhah, Ishma-el, Isûra-el, Esau, Mika-el, Saul, David). A large number of Biblical locations (many of them known from other sources) have also been reported to occur in the texts, for example Ashtaroth, Sinai, Hazor, Lachish, Gezer, Dor, Megiddo, Joppa, Ur etc. Giovanni Pettinato has also claimed to find references to Sodom and Gomorrah.
However, much of the initial media excitement about supposed Eblaite connections with the Bible, based on preliminary guesses and speculations by Pettinato and others, is now widely deplored as "exceptional and unsubstantiated claims" and "great amounts of disinformation that leaked to the public". Contrary to many earlier claims, the present consensus is that "Ebla has no bearing on the Minor Prophets, the historical accuracy of the biblical Patriarchs, Yahweh worship, or Sodom and Gomorra". In Ebla studies, the focus has shifted away from comparisons with the Bible, and Ebla is now studied above all as an incipient civilization in its own right. The tide turned after a bitter personal and scholarly conflict between the scientists involved, as well as what some described as interference by the Syrian authorities on political grounds.
Three versions of a text described as an Eblaite creation hymn have been found. They have been translated by Pettinato as :
- Lord of heaven and earth:
- the earth was not, you created it,
- the light of day was not, you created it,
- the morning light you had not [yet] made exist.
These lines seem to have points in common both with known Sumerian creation stories and with the Biblical account. Nevertheless, Alfonso Archi has objected that the original text is unclear to the point of being incomprehensible, (texts from Ebla are difficult to read in general), leading him to conclude that "there is no Genesis creation story" in the Ebla documents.
Discovery and excavation
In 1964, Italian archaeologists from the University of Rome La Sapienza under the direction of Paolo Matthiae began excavating at Tell Mardikh. In 1968, they recovered a statue dedicated to the goddess Ishtar bearing the name of Ibbit-Lim mentioning him as king of Ebla. That identified the city, long known from Egyptian and Akkadian inscriptions. In the next decade the team discovered a palace (palace G) dating c. 2500 – 2000 BC. About 2,500 well-preserved cuneiform tablets were discovered in the ruins. About 80% of the tablets are written using the usual Sumerian combination of logograms and phonetic signs, while the others exhibited an innovative, purely phonetic representation using Sumerian cuneiform of a previously unknown Semitic language, which was called Eblaite. Bilingual Sumerian/Eblaite vocabulary lists were found among the tablets, allowing them to be translated.
Ebla's close link to southern Mesopotamia, where the script had developed, further highlights the links between the Sumerians and Semitic cultures at that time, the tablets provide many important insights into the cultural, economic, and political life in northern Mesopotamia around the middle of the third millennium BC. They also provide a good look into the everyday life of the inhabitants, as well as containing state revenues, Sumerian-Eblaite dictionaries, school texts, an archive of provisions and tribute, law cases, diplomatic and trade contacts, and a scriptorium where apprentices copied texts. The tablets also includes writings on Ebla's hymns, legends, scientific observations, and magic. The larger tablets had originally been stored on shelves, but had fallen onto the floor when the palace was destroyed. The location where tablets were discovered where they had fallen allowed the excavators to reconstruct their original position on the shelves, it soon appeared that they were originally shelved according to subject.
- Trevor Bryce. The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire. p. 210.
- Gordon, Cyrus H. Forgotten Scripts: Their Ongoing Discovery and Decipherment (Basic Books, New York, 1982) p. 155.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 248.
- Matthiae, Paolo. Gli Archivi Reali di Ebla - La scoperta, i test, il significato as cited in Ebla and its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East, ed. by Paolo Matthiae and Nicolò Marchetti, Left Coast Press, 2013, ISBN 1-61132-228-6, p. 182.
- William J. Hamblin. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. p. 239.
- Ian Shaw,Robert Jameson. A Dictionary of Archaeology. p. 211.
- Ross Burns. Monuments of Syria: A Guide. p. 155.
- Paolo Matthiae,Nicoló Marchetti. Ebla and its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East. p. 35.
- Gwendolyn Leick. Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. p. 54.
- Paolo Matthiae,Nicoló Marchetti. Ebla and its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East. p. 37.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 246 + 247.
- Hartmut Kühne,Rainer Maria Czichon,Florian Janoscha Kreppner. 4 ICAANE. p. 66.
- Trevor Bryce. Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 15.
- Hartmut Kühne,Rainer Maria Czichon,Florian Janoscha Kreppner. 4 ICAANE. p. 68.
- Lisa Cooper. Early Urbanism on the Syrian Euphrates. p. 64.
- William J. Hamblin. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. p. 240.
- Pettinato, Giovanni (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991) Ebla, a new look at history p.135
- Mark William Chavalas. New horizons in the study of ancient Syria. p. 33.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 207.
- Joan Aruz,Ronald Wallenfels. Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. p. 462.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 484.
- Stephen C. Neff. Justice Among Nations. p. 14.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 485.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 486.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 208.
- Amanda H Podany, Marni McGee. The Ancient Near Eastern World. p. 62.
- Giovanni Pettinato. The archives of Ebla: an empire inscribed in clay. p. 40.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 62.
- Wayne Horowitz. Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography. p. 82.
- Trevor Bryce. Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 16.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 63 + 64.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 68.
- Amanda H. Podany. Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East. p. 58.
- Amanda H. Podany. Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East. p. 59.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 123.
- Catherine Kuzucuoğlu, Catherine Marro. Sociétés humaines et changement climatique à la fin du troisième millénaire: une crise a-t-elle eu lieu en haute Mésopotamie? : actes du colloque de Lyon, 5-8 décembre 2005. p. 422.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 73.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 75.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 78.
- Trevor Bryce. Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 324.
- William J. Hamblin. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. p. 98.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 245.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 74.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 76.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 81.
- Hartmut Kühne,Rainer Maria Czichon,Florian Janoscha Kreppner. 4 ICAANE. p. 65.
- Horst Klengel. Syria, 3000 to 300 B.C.: a handbook of political history. p. 36.
- Giovanni Pettinato. Ebla, a new look at history. p. 23.
- Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza." Dipartimento di scienze storiche, archeologiche ed antropologiche dell'antichità. Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Rome, May 18th-23rd 1998, Volume 2. p. 1405.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 26.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 25.
- Paolo Matthiae,Licia Romano (2010). 6 ICAANE. p. 252.
- Gösta Werner Ahlström, Gary Orin Rollefson, Diana Vikander Edelman. the history of ancient Palestine from the palaeolithic period to Alexander's conquest. p. 141.
- Jack Cheng,Marian H. Feldman. Ancient Near Eastern Art in Context. p. 75.
- Watson E. Mills,Roger Aubrey Bullard. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. p. 226.
- Trevor Bryce. Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 25.
- Joan Aruz. Cultures in Contact: From Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean in the Second Millennium B.C.. p. 103.
- Horst Klengel. Syria, 3000 to 300 B.C.: a handbook of political history. p. 41.
- Giovanni Pettinato. Ebla, a new look at history. p. 22.
- Mogens Herman Hansen. A Comparative Study of Thirty City-state Cultures: An Investigation, Volume 21. p. 61.
- Marlies Heinz,Marian H. Feldman. Representations of Political Power: Case Histories from Times of Change and Dissolving Order in the Ancient Near East. p. 55.
- Joan Aruz,Kim Benzel,Jean M. Evans. Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.. p. 35.
- Douglas Frayne. Old Babylonian Period (2003–1595 BC). p. 807.
- Beatrice Teissier. Ancient Near Eastern Cylinder Seals from the Marcopolic Collection. p. 72.
- Horst Klengel. Syria, 3000 to 300 B.C.: a handbook of political history. p. 82.
- Pelio Fronzaroli. Semitic and Assyriological Studies: Presented to Pelio Fronzaroli by Pupils and Colleagues. p. 393.
- Trevor Bryce. The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia. p. 211.
- Mary R. Bachvarova, "Relations between God and Man in the Hurro-Hittite Song of Release," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Jan-Mar 2005
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 24.
- David Konstan,Kurt A. Raaflaub. Epic and History. p. 67.
- Wolfgang Helck,Eberhard Otto,Wolfhart Westendorf. Lexikon der Ägyptologie: Stele-Zypresse. -1986. -VIII p.-1456 col.-  dépl. p. 347.
- Margreet L. Steiner,Ann E. Killebrew. The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE. p. 421.
- Geoffrey W. Bromiley. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J. p. 537.
- Paolo Matthiae,Nicoló Marchetti. Ebla and its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East. p. 10.
- Margreet L. Steiner,Ann E. Killebrew. The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE. p. 422.
- Seymour Gitin,J. Edward Wright,J. P. Dessel. Confronting the Past: Archaeological and Historical Essays on Ancient Israel in Honor of William G. Dever. p. 85.
- Peter M. M. G. Akkermans,Glenn M. Schwartz. The Archaeology of Syria. p. 295.
- Samuel Edward Finer. The History of Government from the Earliest Times: Ancient monarchies and empires, Volume 1. p. 172.
- Giovanni Pettinato. Ebla, a new look at history. p. 75.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 122.
- Douglas Frayne. Pre-Sargonic Period: Early Periods, Volume 1 (2700–2350 BC). p. 210.
- Joan Aruz. Cultures in Contact: From Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean in the Second Millennium B.C.. p. 10.
- Cleavland ART museum
- C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky. Archaeological Thought in America. p. 230.
- Eric M. Meyers. The Oxford encyclopedia of archaeology in the Near East, Volume 2. p. 183.
- Robert Hetzron. The Semitic Languages. p. 7.
- Stefan Weninger. The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook. p. 340.
- Sarah Iles Johnston. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. p. 173.
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon,Gary Rendsburg,Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 209.
- Barbette Stanley Spaeth. The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions. p. 66.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 214.
- Hartmut Kühne,Rainer Maria Czichon,Florian Janoscha Kreppner. 4 ICAANE. p. 205.
- Brian M. Fagan,Charlotte Beck. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. p. 191.
- Amélie Kuhrt. The Ancient Near East, C. 3000-330 BC. p. 75.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 31.
- Giovanni Pettinato. Ebla, a new look at history. p. 168.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 209.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 217.
- Eblaitica vol 3.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 210.
- Mario Liverani. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. p. 213.
- International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament. Congress. Congress Volume. p. 83.
- Joan Aruz,Kim Benzel,Jean M. Evans. Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.. p. 34.
- Craig Davis, Jr. Dating the Old Testament. 2007. p. 93.
- Yoël L. Arbeitman. The Asia Minor Connexion: Studies on the Pre-Greek Languages in Memory of Charles Carter. p. 223.
- Douglas Frayne. Pre-Sargonic Period: Early Periods, Volume 1 (2700–2350 BC). p. 206.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 28.
- Alfonso Archi. Orientalia: Vol. 63. p. 250.
- Maciej M. Münnich. The God Resheph in the Ancient Near East. p. 261.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 27.
- Archi, Alfonso. "Ebla and Eblaite." In: Cyrus H. Gordon, Gary Rendsburg, Nathan H. Winter. 1992 Eblaitica. p. 10.
- Joan Aruz. Cultures in Contact: From Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean in the Second Millennium B.C.. p. 102.
- Lluís Feliu. The God Dagan in Bronze Age Syria. p. 8.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 30.
- Hans Gustav Güterbock,K. Aslihan Yener,Harry A. Hoffner,Simrit Dhesi. Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 31.
- The Epigraphic Evidence from Ebla and the Old Testament, Biblica 60 (1979). 556-60
- Biblical Archaeology Review 3/1 (1977) 38. A letter to the editor.
- Archi, Alfonso. "Ebla and Eblaite." In: Cyrus H. Gordon, Gary Rendsburg, Nathan H. Winter. 1992 Eblaitica. p. 11.
- Van der Toorn, Karel. 1996 Family Religion in Babylonia Syria and Israel Continuity and Change in the Forms of Religious Life. p. 282.
- Paas, Stefan, 2003. Creation and Judgement: Creation Texts in Some Eighth Century Prophets. p. 132.
- An early assessment was Clifford A. Wilson, The Impact of Ebla on Bible Records: The Sensational Tell Mardikh (1977).
- Mark W. Chavalas. Mesopotamia and the Bible. p. 41.
- Ivan Mannheim. Syria & Lebanon Handbook. 2001 P.241
- Ebla Update, Biblical Archeological Review 6:03, May/Jun 1980.
- James D. Muhly. "Ur and Jerusalem Not Mentioned in Ebla Tablets, Say Ebla Expedition Scholars," Biblical Archeological Review 9:06, Nov/Dec 1983. John Ankerberg,John Weldon. Ready With An Answer. p. 324.
- Alfonso Archi. The Epigraphic Evidence from Ebla and the Old Testament.
- An up-to-date account for the layman, written by the head of the archaeological team that uncovered Ebla is Paolo Matthiae, The Royal Archives of Ebla (Skira) 2007.
- Naveh, Joseph. Early History of the Alphabet: an Introduction to West Semitic Epigraphy and Palaeography (Magnes Press — Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1982:28); Stephen D. Cole, "Eblaite in Sumerian Script", The Biblical Archaeologist 40.2 (May 1977:49) briefly explained the misunderstanding that the 80% represented text in the Sumerian language.
- Stuart A. P. Murray. The Library: An Illustrated History. p. 22.
- Romano, Licia; Matthiae, Paolo (2010). 6 ICAANE. Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-06175-9.
- Pettinato, Giovanni (1991). Ebla, a new look at history. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-4150-7.
- Nathan, Nathan; Rendsburg, Gary; Gordon, Cyrus (2002). Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 978-1-57506-060-6.
- Hoffner, Harry; Yener, K. Aslihan; Güterbock, Hans; Dhesi, Simrit (2002). Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History: Papers in Memory of Hans G. Güterbock. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 978-1-57506-053-8.
- Fronzaroli, Pelio (2003). Semitic and Assyriological Studies: Presented to Pelio Fronzaroli by Pupils and Colleagues. Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-04749-4.
- Klengel, Horst (1992). Syria, 3000 to 300 B.C.: a handbook of political history. Akademie Verlag. ISBN 978-3-05-001820-1.
- Liverani, Mario (2013). The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-75091-7.
- Spaeth, Barbette (2013). The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-11396-0.
- Finer, Samuel (1997). The History of Government from the Earliest Times: Ancient monarchies and empires, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820664-4.
- Killebrew, Ann; Steiner, Margreet (2013). The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-166255-3.
- Bryce, Trevor (2009). The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-15908-6.
- Hamblin, William (2006). Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-52062-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ebla.|
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- Eblaite language
- Ebla tablets
- Biblical archaeology
- Cities of the Ancient Near East
- Short chronology timeline