Kilamuwa Stela

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The Kilamuwa Stela of King Kilamuwa

The Kilamuwa Stele is a 9th-century BC stele of King Kilamuwa, from the Kingdom of Ya'diya. He claims to have succeeded where his ancestors had failed, in providing for his kingdom.[1] The inscription is known as KAI 24.

The Kilamuwa Stele was discovered in Sam'al during the 1888-1902 German Oriental Society expeditions led by Felix von Luschan and Robert Koldewey.[2][3][4][5][6]

It is currently located in the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin.

Description of the stele[edit]

The stele is a 16-line text in the Phoenician language and written in an Old Aramaic form of the Phoenician alphabet.[7]

King Kilamuwa is shown standing on the upper left and addressing four Assyrian gods with his right arm and finger, where he imitates his Assyrian lords in a gesture called "Ubanu tarrashu" which designates "you are my god". His left hand is draped at his left side holding a wilted lotus flower, a symbol of a king's death.[8] He is dressed in king's regalia with hat, and his figure stands at the beginning of the first nine lines of the text.


The translation of the stele:

"I am Kilamuwa, the son of King Haya'. King Gabar reigned over Ya'diya but achieved nothing.
Then came Bamah, and he achieved nothing.
My own father, Haya', did nothing with his reign.
My brother, Sha'il, also did nothing.
It was I, Kilamuwa...who managed to do what none of my ancestors had.
My father's kingdom was beset by powerful, predatory kings, all holding out their hands, demanding to be fed.
But I raged amongst them like a fire, burning their beards and consuming their outstretched hands.
Only the Danunian kings overmastered me; I had to call on the King of Assyria to assist me...
I, Kilamuwa, the son of Haya', ascended my father's throne.
Under their previous kings, the [people] had howled like dogs.
But I was a father, a mother and a brother to them.
I gave gold, silver and cattle to men who had never so much as seen the face of a sheep before.
Those who had never even seen linen all their lives I clothed in byssus-cloth from head to foot.
I took the [people] by the hand and in their souls they looked to me just as the orphan looks to his mother."
"Whoever of my sons comes after me and interferes with this inscription, may he be dishonoured among the people...
And if anyone should damage this inscription,
Let Gabar's god Ba'al-Samad destroy his head,
And let Bamah's god Ba'al Hamon destroy his head..."
Together with Reχub-ʾEl, the Lord of the Palace.[9]

The actual text of the inscription in Hebrew font:

אנך כלמו בר חיא. מלך גבר על יאדי ובל פעל. כן במח ובל פעל. וכן אב חיא ובל פעל. וכן אח שאל ובל פעל. ואנך כלמו בר תמ(ת) מאש פעלת בל פעל הלפני(ה)ם. כן בת אבי במתכת מלכם אדרים וכל שלח יד להלחם. וכת ביד מלכם כם אש אכלת זקן וכם אש אכלמ יד. ואדר עלי מלך דננים, ושכר אנך עלי מלך אשר. ועלמת יתן בש וגבר בסות. אנך כלמו בר חיא ישבת על כסא אבי לפן המלכם הלפנים יתלנן משכבימ כם כלבים. ואנך למי כת אב, ולמי כת אם, ולמי כת אח. ומי בל חז פן ש, שתי בעל עדר. ומיבל חז פן אלף שתי בעל בקר, ובעל כסף, ובעל חרצ. ומי בל חז כתן למנערי, ובימי כסי בצ. ואנך תמכת משכבם ליד, והמת שת נבש כם נבש יתם באם. ומי בבני אש ישב תחתן ויזק בספר ז, משכבם אל יכבד לבעררם, ובעררם אל יכבד למשכבם. ומי ישחת הספר ז, ישחת ראש בעל צמד אש לגבר, וישחת ראש בעל חמנ אש לבמח, ורכבעל בעל בת.[10]


  1. ^ Kerrigan, The Ancients in Their Own Words, King Kilamuwa, p. 154-155.
  2. ^ Felix von Luschan et al, Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli. vol. 1: Einleitung und Inschriften, Spemann, 1893
  3. ^ Felix von Luschan and Carl Humann and Robert Koldewey, Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli. vol. 2: Ausgrabungsbericht und Architektur, Spemann, 1898
  4. ^ Felix von Luschan, Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli. vol. 3: Thorsculpturen, Georg Reimer, 1902
  5. ^ Felix von Luschan and Gustav Jacoby, Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli. vol. 4: Georg Reimer, 1911
  6. ^ Felix von Luschan and Walter Andrae, Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli. vol. 5: Die Kleinfunde von Sendschirli, Walter de Gruyter, 1943
  7. ^ The Kilamuwa Relief: Ethnicity, class and power in Iron Age North Syria, quote: "The inscription is in the Phoenician language, while the letters themselves are in an Aramaic script. This stands in sharp contrast to most inscriptions in the North Syrian region at this time, which were in Luwian or, more rarely, in Aramaic."
  8. ^ Kerrigan, p. 154.
  9. ^ Kerrigan, p. 155.
  10. ^ Tony Habboub (11 January 2010). "King Kilamuwa Phoenician inscription; Phoenician "Lingua Franca" of Levant, part 1". YouTube. Retrieved 17 July 2018.


  • Kerrigan, 2009. The Ancients in Their Own Words, Michael Kerrigan, Fall River Press, Amber Books Ltd, c 2009. (hardcover. ISBN 978-1-4351-0724-3)

External links[edit]