Inscription from Parahyba

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Inscription from Parahyba

The Parahyba Inscription (or Tablet of Paraíba ) is a controversial tablet with Phoenician inscriptions that was supposedly discovered in Brazil . It is supposed to provide evidence for the acceptance of transatlantic journeys by the Phoenicians to America (cf. Hypothetical voyages of discovery to America ).


In 1873 a tablet or stone was discovered in Parahyba (allegedly by a slave). The exact location is said to have been Pouso Alto near the Paraíba River, in a property of Joaquim Alves da Costa.

A year later, the director of the Brazilian national museum Ladislau de Souza Mello Netto published a copy. The original was lost. The board sparked discussions that lasted for decades. Ultimately, the falsification thesis prevailed in specialist circles. At that time, many allegedly Phoenician artifacts, e.g. B. Coins, discovered in South America, which later turned out to be forgeries (so-called Moabitica ). In addition, this find contradicted the doctrine - which was vehemently advocated in ancient American studies towards the end of the 19th and during the 1st half of the 20th century - that there was no pre-Columbian contact between the 'Old' and the 'New World' . In 1968, the American orientalist Cyrus H. Gordon examined the copy again and, on the basis of more recent findings about the Phoenician language , believed it to be authentic. Van den Branden , a colleague of Gordon, dates the content of the tablet to around 800 BC due to the Phoenician- Hebrew dialect used. B.C. Gordon, on the other hand, dates the text to around 500 BC. BC (he recognizes a Phoenician- Aramaic dialect in it). The Viennese Africanist and Berberologist Gerhard Böhm considers some fragments of the inscription to be of Iberian origin, but the entire inscription to be a forgery from the 19th century. According to FM Cross (1968), the inscription is "a pathetic mishmash of linguistic forms, spellings and scripts of different dates and places, cobbled together from manuals from the 19th century [...] a bare forgery." ( A pathetic mishmash of linguistic forms, of spellings, and of scripts of various dates and places patched together from nineteenth-century handbooks [...] a plain fraud. ) The Bonn theologian and aramaist Lienhard Delekat , on the other hand, spoke out in favor of the authenticity of the inscription in the following year. In any case, a definitive and final clarification of the question of the authenticity of the original find is no longer possible due to its disappearance.


German translation:

We sons of Canaan are from the city of Sidon , ship people and traders, we were cast to this distant shore, a land of mountains. We sacrificed a youth for the angry gods and goddesses. In the nineteenth year of Hiram , our mighty king, the guide, we went from Ezion-Geber to the Red Sea , and we set out with ten ships, and we were on the Red Sea together. For two years we circumnavigated the hot land that belongs to Ham , then we were separated from Jerub-Baal and we mourned our companions and we came here, twelve men and three women, to an island in the forest, which I, Methu-Astart, the Leaders, consecrated as property of gods and goddesses. Have mercy on us. "


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Frank M. Cross , The Phoenician Inscription from Brazil. A Nineteenth-Century Forgery. In: Orientalia 37, 1968
  2. ^ Lienhard Delekat : Phoenicians in America. The authenticity of the Canaanite (old Sidonian) inscription from Paraiba in Brazil , which became known in 1873, is proven in: Peter Hanstein, Bonn 1969, ( Bonner biblical contributions 32, ZDB -ID 525852-2 )

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