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Notes On Lundquist's Abraham In Ebla


John Williams

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A poster suggested that I look into some research on a possible location of a place name from the Book of Abraham. I'm certainly not anything more than a novice, but at the risk of looking extremely foolish, I thought I'd share the notes I took in researching this.

My (ignorant and uninformed) impressions on "Was Abraham at Ebla? A Cultural Background of the Book of Abraham" -- John M. Lundquist

Note to the FARMS editors: I believe it's Ebla, but in the text, Ebla and Elba are used interchangeably.

This article attempts to place Abraham in a northern Syrian locale so that a "match" can be made between the "plain of Olishem" in the text and a place name called "Ulisum."

First, we have some trouble with an apparent anachronism right off. Abraham 1:1 has land of the Chaldeans, but Abraham lived "in approximately the 20th century BC (in the 1900s BC)." The Chaldeans did not, however, settle the area until about 900 BC. But no matter, we have this helpful statement from the author:

We do not know where the Ur is in which Abraham was born, but more and more scholars today assume that it was in Turkey, near the site of Haran, the location of which we know with certainty (p. 1).

Contrast this with this from the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archeology and Anthropology:

Ur is known in the Bible as Ur of the Chaldees. This biblical name, Ur of the Chaldees, refers to the Chaldeans, who settled the area about 900 B.C. It is known as the ancient city of the Sumerian civilization and the home of Abraham, father of the Hebrews. Its ruins are between the modern city of Baghdad, Iraq, and the head of the Persian Gulf. The site is now known as Tall al Muqayyar, Iraq. The site of ancient Ur is located 140 miles south of Babylon. It was the capital of a small wealthy empire during the third millennium B.C. Most of the great ziggurat of Ur is still standing.

Further on we read that the reason for locating Ur north instead of the more accepted south is a theory advanced by Cyrus Gordon in 1958. Despite Lundquist's saying that "more and more scholars" support Gordon's theory, everything I've read says that Gordon's theory is widely rejected.

Cyrus Gordon, in his article “Abraham and the Merchants of Ura,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 17 (1958) 28-31, proposed the northern Mesopotamia city of Ura, a city that is mentioned in cuneiform texts, as the city from which Abraham came. According to Gordon, Abraham was a merchant prince who was involved in caravan trade. ... The majority of scholars today, however, still accept the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, located on the southern bank of the Euphrates, as the place referred to in the patriarchal narratives. They also accept the biblical tradition which affirms that the ancestors of Abraham came from southern Mesopotamia. (Claude Mariottini, Professor of Old Testament, Northern Baptist Seminary)

For further discussion of the arguments for and against Gordon's theory, see Alan R. Millard "Where Was Abraham's Ur?" (Biblical Archeology Review [May/June 2001]). http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/Ur.htm. It seems that Gordon's case (which is pivotal to Lundquist's case) is decidedly weak.

Lundquist describes the discovery of clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform characters, which give insight into the supposed milieu in which Abraham lived.

The Ebla tablets ... have suddenly filled in the historical, cultural, and religious landscape of North Syria in the centuries between about 2500 and 1800 BC. It was during the latter part of this period that Abraham would have lived in a presumably northern Ur (called Ur of the Chaldees in the Bible and the Pearl of Great Price)" (p.4).

Note again that Lundquist must assume a northern Ur for his theory to work. Aside from that, this raises a question for me: if cuneiform inscriptions on clay tablets were the contemporary means of writing in northern Syria, what was Abraham doing writing in Egyptian characters on papyrus?

With one exception, which I will discuss presently, I do not claim any direct confirmatory connection between the Book of Abraham accounts and information found in the Ebla tablets or elsewhere in recent archeological discoveries.

Let's see how he does.

The Book of Abraham implies a very strong Egyptian presence in northern Syria.... If we combine the evidence of the inscriptions of the Dynasty Six Egyptian Pharaoh Pepi I (about 2350 BC) which depict his campaign into Asia, along with an alabaster jar lid inscribed with the name of Pepi I found in the destruction levels of the great royal palace at Ebla, then we can see that it is perfectly acceptable to see a strong Egyptian presence in northern Syria (p.5).

Looking at this a little more in depth, we find that Pepi attacked Bedouins in the Sinai and Palestine, established an economic/political relationship and then withdrew. At best, the relationship was one between a vassal state and Egypt, but this does not mean that the locals adopted Egyptian customs or language, and there's no evidence to suggest that they did. A record describing the attacks (found in Egypt, no less) does not make for a "very strong Egyptian presence in northern Syria." The only other piece of Egyptian evidence is an inscription of Pepi's name on a jar lid found in the palace at Ebla. Now Lundquist is saying that because Pepi brought "a full entourage of Egyptian priests and other religious functionaries" this is evidence that "the Book of Abraham is giving us and accurate picture of a full-fledged Egyptian presence in northern Syria, complete with priests, bureaucrats, and all the benefits that an Egyptian Pharaoh would like to enjoy on a campaign" (p.5). This evidence does not suggest to me a "very strong presence."

Lundquist then goes on to say that since Abraham mentions "fine craftsmanship of wood and cloth" this somehow overrides the anachronistic mention that the altar used in the BofA was "such as was had among the Chaldeans."

We then get the 4 gods mentioned in Deimel's compilation of Mesopotamian deities (p.6). But why would Terah have been sacrificing to Mesopotamian gods if he were not from Mesopotamia, as Lundquist is arguing? Indeed, in the next paragraph, Lundquist tells us that northern Syrians were polytheists who worshipped Semitic Gods. But then Lundquist associates the Hebrew kokob (star), which appears in the BofA (as, remarkably, "star") with the Mesopotamian god kakob which also means "star." And thus, we see how astronomy was important to the northern Syrians, which would explain Abraham's delving into that subject.

And finally, we get to the heart of the matter: Olishem. Naram Sin, the king of Akkad, built a city near Baghdad. In one inscription we read:

Never, since the time of the creation of mankind, did any king, whatever, set Arman and Ebla to sword and flame. Now did Nergal [which is a deity] open up the path of Naram Sin the strong and he gave him Arman and Ebla. He also presented him with the Amanus, the Mountain of Cedars and the upper sea. And with the weapon of Dagon, who aggrandizes his kingdom, Naram Sin the strong, defeated Arman and Ebla and from the banks of the Euphrates as far as Ulisum, he subdued the peoples whom Dagon had given him, so that they carried the corvee basket for his god, Aba, and he could control the Amanus, the Mountain of Cedars.

Ulisum is possibly a place name in northern Syria. No plain is mentioned, but there could possibly be a connection, as the BofA mentions Olishem as being near Ur. But to make that connection possible at all Lundquist must place Abraham in the north, despite what appears to be scholarly near-consensus. And to make it all work, one must accept that northern Syrians worshipped both Semitic and Mesopotamian gods and had a "very strong Egyptian presence," despite the evidence. This seems like a very shaky supposition that rests on a number of leaps and conjectures. From what I've read, the journey of Abraham along the fertile crescent is still the most accepted and reasonable explanation.

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First, we have some trouble with an apparent anachronism right off. Abraham 1:1 has land of the Chaldeans, but Abraham lived "in approximately the 20th century BC (in the 1900s BC)." The Chaldeans did not, however, settle the area until about 900 BC.

Genesis 11 would seem to have the same anachronism since Moses is typically located in the 13-12th centuries BCE....

28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his sonâ??s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abramâ??s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

However, I don't think it unreasonable that in a transcribing/translational process one could refer to an area in terms familiar with the current audience. Whatever the name/inhabitants were at the actual time indicated, it is now known as Chaldea.

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Genesis 11 would seem to have the same anachronism since Moses is typically located in the 13-12th centuries BCE....

Yes, that was Chris Smith's point, I believe.

However, I don't think it unreasonable that in a transcribing/translational process one could refer to an area in terms familiar with the current audience. Whatever the name/inhabitants were at the actual time indicated, it is now known as Chaldea.

The bigger problem is that the altar is described as being "such as was had among" a people who did not yet exist.

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However, I don't think it unreasonable that in a transcribing/translational process one could refer to an area in terms familiar with the current audience. Whatever the name/inhabitants were at the actual time indicated, it is now known as Chaldea.
The bigger problem is that the altar is described as being "such as was had among" a people who did not yet exist.

How is that a problem in terms of what I just described?

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Genesis 11 would seem to have the same anachronism since Moses is typically located in the 13-12th centuries BCE....

Yes, that was Chris Smith's point, I believe.

Just to clarify, BCSpace seems to be suggesting that the fact that this anachronism shows up in the Bible as well means that it's either not really an anachronism or that it doesn't invalidate the historicity of the document. When I pointed out the parallel anachronism in Genesis, my point was that that's evidently where the BoA borrowed it from.

BC wrote,

However, I don't think it unreasonable that in a transcribing/translational process one could refer to an area in terms familiar with the current audience. Whatever the name/inhabitants were at the actual time indicated, it is now known as Chaldea.

Just so you're aware, this invalidates Lundquist's argument. Lundquist wants Ur of the Chaldees to be in North Syria (near the ostensible location of Ulisum), whereas the land known to the post-exilic redactor of Genesis as "Chaldea" was in Mesopotamia.

Gee has suggested that prior to appearing in Mesopotamia in 1000 B.C. the Chaldeans might have been in North Syria, so that there might have been an "Ur of the Chaldees" there in the time of Abraham (1800 B.C. or so). This argument strikes me as hopelessly contrived, especially since there was a real (read not completely conjectural) "Ur of the Chaldees" in Mesopotamia, although it wasn't "of the Chaldees" till a much later period. The Chaldeans also first appeared in southern, not northern, Mesopotamia and thus evidently did not come from North Syria.

BTW, I also argued on the other board that Ulisum of Naram-Sin fame is the same location as Ullaza of the Amarna letters and Egyptian execration texts. That means it would be a port city about 20 km north of Byblos, rather than a plain in our conjectural northern land of Ur as Abr. 1:10 and 20 would seem to indicate.

-Chris

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Just something to think on....

I was perusing wiki articles on Chaldea, Mesopotamia, and Iraq. (I know I know. It's just Wikipedia).

Chaldea is typically considered to have extended about 400 miles up the rivers from the Persian Gulf to about the Ramadi/Baghdad area. But a few centuries later, Chaldea came to mean all of Mesopotamia which apparently consists of the entire 'alluvium' which stretches it all the way up to Turkey.

Notice also the topography of Syria/Iraq. The very low part of the river plain goes all the way up to Turkey.

So, if the text has been redacted to meet the understanding of the current audience, the "head of the plain of Olishem" could easily be in northern Syria.

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Just to clarify, BCSpace seems to be suggesting that the fact that this anachronism shows up in the Bible as well means that it's either not really an anachronism or that it doesn't invalidate the historicity of the document.

I mean no such thing. In fact, it could mean that the Bible is also false according to the logic of the BoA critics. But what I meant is here is another example of a possible redaction. Acts 7 could also one one too (or just a direct reading from Genesis).

When I pointed out the parallel anachronism in Genesis, my point was that that's evidently where the BoA borrowed it from.

Another possibility (which I wouldn't necessarily agree with). Just so you know Chris, I was not aware you had made such an argument until now.

However, I don't think it unreasonable that in a transcribing/translational process one could refer to an area in terms familiar with the current audience. Whatever the name/inhabitants were at the actual time indicated, it is now known as Chaldea.
Just so you're aware, this invalidates Lundquist's argument.

I was not aware that I was trying to defend his argument per se though my thoughts on what John W was presenting do so by default.

Lundquist wants Ur of the Chaldees to be in North Syria (near the ostensible location of Ulisum), whereas the land known to the post-exilic redactor of Genesis as "Chaldea" was in Mesopotamia.

Again, not claiming to defend Lundquist and not claiming to be familiar with his argument other than what is posted here. However, I don't think it matters if the redactor(s) is Jewish or Egyptian or located in Chaldea proper.

Gee has suggested that prior to appearing in Mesopotamia in 1000 B.C. the Chaldeans might have been in North Syria, so that there might have been an "Ur of the Chaldees" there in the time of Abraham (1800 B.C. or so). This argument strikes me as hopelessly contrived, especially since there was a real (read not completely conjectural) "Ur of the Chaldees" in Mesopotamia, although it wasn't "of the Chaldees" till a much later period. The Chaldeans also first appeared in southern, not northern, Mesopotamia and thus evidently did not come from North Syria.

My understanding is that the Chaldeans were of Aramaean stock which puts their origins in Syria.

BTW, I also argued on the other board that Ulisum of Naram-Sin fame is the same location as Ullaza of the Amarna letters and Egyptian execration texts. That means it would be a port city about 20 km north of Byblos, rather than a plain in our conjectural northern land of Ur as Abr. 1:10 and 20 would seem to indicate.

I've not compared either yours or Lundquist's arguments but I notice that the kingdom of Naram-Sin stretches from Ur up through Ebla and over to Byblos.

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Why is there no mention of Abraham stopping or passing through Nineveh? The Bible and the Book of Abraham give a play-by-play of where they went and where they stopped. I'm sitting here looking at a map of the roads between Mesopotamia and see a huge turn out of the way for them to go to Haran from the southern Ur, unless they pass up from the southern Ur through Babylon, Agade, Asshur, Calah, Nineveh, and then over to Haran from there. There is no mention of these cities as stopping points in these texts.

However, if they took the alternate route from the southern Ur, they still would have had to pass through Babylon to Mari, and from there through the road to Carchemish that takes them through Aram Naharaim. They would have to then backtrack eastward from Carchemish to Haran, which would take them considerably out of the way.

The easiest way, the way of the road, to Canaan still would have been to leave the southern Ur, pass through Babylon, and go on to Mari, to Tadmor and then to Damascus through Aleppo, and then making their way southward. Not only is this a heck of a journey, going to Haran is out of the way, requiring backtracking unless passing through several of the most famous cities on the way. Taking the easy way out of the southern Ur would have avoided Haran entirely and gotten Abraham there to Canaan sooner.

But, if we place Abraham in the northern Ur, the problems of the texts pretty much vanish for the most part. A progenitor of Israel is called a "wandering Aramean" in the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 26:5. We know that Jacob secured two of his wives from that land, as did Abraham have his servant secure from the same land a wife for Isaac. This land was Aramaean land. The region around that area was called Aram Naharaim. In point of fact, Abraham sends his servant to the land of his father, which is falsely translated Mesopotamia in the KJV Bible. The true name of the land is Aram-Naharaim, or so says the Hebrew text. (See Genesis 24:10).

post-7377-1194603797_thumb.jpg

Abraham identifies that land as his country and as the place of his birth (24:4, the KJV and other translations rendering the word kindred here as elsewhere but it can be and is literally understood to represent the place of one's generation or bearing [as in childbirth]). In verse 7, he again speaks of the land and states that the LORD God took him from his father's house and the land of his "kindred," and from which the Lord brought him to the land in which he now lived (Canaan). This lends evidence to the northern Ur, as well as removing the difficulties that arise in traveling from the southern Ur. The term for land of my kindred there in verse 7 literally means land of my nativity or land of my birth! The phrase there can be compared with Genesis 11:28.

post-7377-1194603770_thumb.jpg post-7377-1194603784_thumb.jpg

Abraham is told to leave the place of his birth in 12:1. Later in life, Abraham sends the servant BACK to the place of his birth to obtain a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24:1-10 [4], and the servant stops in Aram-Naharaim and goes to the city of Nahor, which is in the same region. The servant does NOT go up there and back down to the southern Ur or anywhere else near that region; he goes to Aram-Naharaim, the land of Abraham's nativity, and stops. He picked up a wife for Isaac in the land of Abraham's nativity and went back south to Canaan. The southern Ur, could not, therefore, have been either in nor near the land of Abraham's nativity and the biblical evidence appears stronger for a northern Ur closer to Haran, in my view.

By the way, Cyrus Gordon was not the source of the northern Ur postulation. He merely revived it. There are many who still doggedly hold to the southern Ur but the question is far from settled. A Bible Encyclopedia I have in front of me clearly stated at the end of the article on the subject that the issue is far from settled. A Jewish Bible Commentary I also have in front of me also acknowledges difficulties with a southern Ur that are solved with the existence of the northern Ur.

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Why is there no mention of Abraham stopping or passing through Nineveh?

Thanks for giving me some stuff to chew on. As I said, I do not know much about these issues (obviously).

Here's what Alan Millard had to say about this issue:

Where Was Abraham's Ur?

Alan R. Millard

Hershel Shanks has reopened the debate raised long ago by Cyrus Gordon, about which Ur was Abraham’s.* Was the patriarch born in some northern Mesopotamian Ur rather than in Babylonia? I believe the case for identifying the Ur (of the Chaldees) in Genesis 11:28,31 (compare with Nehemiah 9:7) with Ur, now Tell el-Muqayyar, in southern Babylonia, remains strong, although the available information precludes certainty. For our purposes, I assume that there was a man named Abraham and that the stories about him are very ancient.

A number of cuneiform texts mention several places named Ur, or something very like it, but most can be dismissed so far as Genesis is concerned:

1: The Ebla tablets from the third millennium B.C. name Ura and Uru among scores of places within Ebla’s immediate neighborhood. There is nothing to show they had any particular importance, however.(1) According to an Alalakh text of about 1600 B.C., a village named Ur

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Why is there no mention of Abraham stopping or passing through Nineveh? The Bible and the Book of Abraham give a play-by-play of where they went and where they stopped. I'm sitting here looking at a map of the roads between Mesopotamia and see a huge turn out of the way for them to go to Haran from the southern Ur, unless they pass up from the southern Ur through Babylon, Agade, Asshur, Calah, Nineveh, and then over to Haran from there. There is no mention of these cities as stopping points in these texts.

As I read the BoA, I can't help but wonder if it refers to at least two journeys.

Abraham's first journey is indentified by motivation; by a search for knowledge (1:1-2). He apparently found this knowldge and became a high priest. During this first journey ("at this time" 1:8 ), he has a run in with priest of Pharaoh who likely has heard of Abraham because of his searching and questions and/or his status as a high priest after an order that rejects the Egyptian way of worship.

The second journey is identified by the motivation of famine (2:1) and the command of the Lord (2:3) to get busy and start that nation.

While I can handle notion of one journey, if two journeys are being mentioned here, it is notable that the first does not include much detail as to the road taken (except the end) whereas the second one has more detail. And thus we can find Abraham in a lot of places; perhaps mentioned in one record and not another. And who's to say he did not journey more than what all the purported histories combined report?

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There is another north/south connection possibly helping to expand the region of Ur and Chaldea and that is found in the cult of the moon god, Nanna/Sin. Sin was apparently the head of the pantheon from 2600-2400 BC which is a time, apparently, that Ur exercised dominion over the Euphrates valley.

The two big centers of this cult are Harran (the same 'Haran' many scholars think is the one Abraham travelled to) in modern Turkey to the north and Ur in the south.

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BTW, I also argued on the other board that Ulisum of Naram-Sin fame is the same location as Ullaza of the Amarna letters and Egyptian execration texts. That means it would be a port city about 20 km north of Byblos, rather than a plain in our conjectural northern land of Ur as Abr. 1:10 and 20 would seem to indicate.

There seems to be evidence against the Ullaza theory as that would not be in the direction Naram-Sin was going/conquering as he passed through Ulisum......

Naram-Sin, the mighty, The god Ea gave him no rival in the four quarters. He annihilatedYand heaped up a burial moundYNaram-Sin, king of Agade, commanderYof all the land of Elam, as far as Parahsum, and the land of Subartum as far as the Cedar Forest. Now when he went to Talhadum-no king (previously) had gone on such a campaign-Naram-Sin, king of Agade, went there and the goddess Astar gave him no rival. The governors of Subartum and the lords of the Upper <Lands> brought their offerings before himYWhereas, for all time since the creation of mankind, no king whosoever had destroyed Armanum and Ebla,the god Nergal, by the means of (his) weapons opened the way for Naram-Sin, the mighty, and gave him Armanum and Ebla. Further, he gave to him the Amanus, the Cedar Mountain, and the Upper Sea. By means of the weapons of the god Dagan, who magnifies his kingship, Naram-Sin, the mighty, conquered Armanum and Ebla. Further, from the side of the Euphrates River as far as (the city of) Ulisum, he smoot the people whom the god Dagan had given to him for the firdt time, so that they perform service for the god Ilaba, his god. Further, he totally (conquered) the Amanus, the Cedar Mountain. When the god Dagan determined the verdict (for) Naram-Sin, the mighty, delivered into his hands Rid-Adad, king of Armanum, and (when) he (Naram-Sin) personally captured him in the midst of his (palace) entryway, he (Naram-Sin) fashioned a statue of himself (made) of diorite and dedicated (it) to the god sin. Thus says Naram-Sin, the mighty, king of the four quarters: 'The god Dagan gave me Armanum and Ebla and captured Rid-Adad, king of Armanum. From the fortification wall to the great wall:130 cubits is the height of the hill (and) 44 cubits is the height of the wall. From the quay wall to the fortification wall: 180 cubits is the height of the hill (and) 30 cubits is the height of the wall. Total: 404 cubits in height, from ground (level) to the top of the wall. He undermined the city Armanum. (Inscription) on the side (of the monument facing) the chaple of the 'New Court'. From the river to the quay wall: 196 cubits is the height of the hill (and) 20 cubits is the height of the wall. From the river to the quay wall to the fortification wall: 156 cubits is the height of the hill (and) 30 cubits is the height of the wall. (RIME 2: 129-135)

Ulisum seems to be nearer to the Euphrates than to the Mediterranean Sea. When I saw Cedar Mountain, I thought the Byblos theory might have something to it as one often thinks first of Lebannon when thinking cedar. However, this is actually the Nur Mountains or Amonos Mountains in Turkey, in the direction (up the Euphrahtes) Naram-Sin was going.

Naram-Sin, the mighty, king of Agade, builder of the temple of the goddess Astarin Zabala. When the four quarters together revolted against him, from beyond the Lower Sea as far as the Upper Sea he smote the people and all the Mountain Lands for the god Enlil, and brought their kings in fetters before the god Enlil. Naram-Sin, the mighty, by theYauthority of the god Enlil, showed mercy to no one in those battles. (RIME 2: 138)

"Enlil". There is that moon God Sin again (or at least his father). Hmmmmmm

He reached the source of the Tigris River (and) the source of the Euphrates River and cut down cedar wood in the Amanus (Mountains) in order toYthe temple of the goddess Astar. Naram-Sin, the might king, of the four quarters, conqueror of US.GI, who smashed the weapon of all of (the land of) Subartum, who made firm the foundations of the army camps, Azuhinnum and its territory. After he smote it, its survivorsY, fourteen fortresses, for/toY, (RIME 2: 140-142)

Going to those river sources is not in the direction of Byblos. Same mountain range in Turkey (cedar).

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Hi BC,

You seem to be taking the phrase "from the side of the Euphrates River as far as (the city of) Ulisum" to mean that he traveled up the Euphrates river as far as Ulisum. Rather, I think this denotes the extent of his conquests. He smote the people of Dagan all the way from the Euphrates to Ulisum. Given that the Upper Sea is the Mediterranean and the Amanus probably denotes his empire's north-western limit, I think it's not unreasonable to think that Ulisum was its south-western limit.

When I discussed this issue with Her Amun some months ago, I concluded strictly on the basis of the Naram-sin inscription that Ulisum was probably in this region. Thereafter, I discovered that one scholar had made a connection between Ulisum and Ullaza (though he stopped short of saying they were identical) and toyed with the idea that they referred to the same location. I consulted with David, who thought it plausible, and yesterday I found an essay that appears to affirm my thesis, though I've not accessed its full text yet.

In any case, there's certainly no reason from the inscription to think that Ulisum was near the Euphrates.

-Chris

EDIT: This appears to be the source that article was quoting: http://books.google.com/books?id=Ew0dEP6Cz...4VUFfy60GMJLaPQ. It suggests that Ulisum and Ullaza were one and the same.

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You seem to be taking the phrase "from the side of the Euphrates River as far as (the city of) Ulisum" to mean that he traveled up the Euphrates river as far as Ulisum.

"Further, from the side of the Euphrates River as far as (the city of) Ulisum"

Seems pretty clear cut to me that Ulisim is near the Euphrates.

Given that the Upper Sea is the Mediterranean and the Amanus

Given that the Amanus are east of İskenderun, that skews the line of conquest farther north and away from Byblos and closer to the line of conquest I am seeing up the river valleys to Cedar Mountain, while. A little side jaunty or later conquest is certainly possible (ancient armies are always foraging). But in this case Naram-sin is just going up the valley.

When I discussed this issue with Her Amun some months ago, I concluded strictly on the basis of the Naram-sin inscription that Ulisum was probably in this region. Thereafter, I discovered that one scholar had made a connection between Ulisum and Ullaza (though he stopped short of saying they were identical) and toyed with the idea that they referred to the same location. I consulted with David, who thought it plausible, and yesterday I found an essay that appears to affirm my thesis, though I've not accessed its full text yet.

Anything is possible.

In any case, there's certainly no reason from the inscription to think that Ulisum was near the Euphrates.

Well that would be a conclusion that appears to conflict with the inscription and is based on the scholarship of one. Most scholarship I see at present show Naram-sin conquering Elam and the tribes of the Taurus Mountains, the Anatolian plateau from whence the two great rivers originate.

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Here's what I basically see described in the portion you colored blue in your first quote:

I especially do not see the southern arrow in the text at all which, btw, shows Ulisum to be close to the Euprates on course for Anatolia.

Edit: I am now seeing some scholarship claiming 'Cedar Mountain' to be a reference to the Jordan River Valley or the Mountains of Lebanon, just so you know. However, that still places Naram-sim off course.

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While I do still see Naram-sin's conquests thrusting more up into central Turkey, let's examine the Byblos claim (that Ulisum is 20km north of it) by taking the example of Byblos itself. Byblos, though a Phonecian city, was an ally of Egypt for centuries (possibly dating as early as the 4th Dynasty) and that places strong Egyptian influence in the proper local.

So now, what does the plain of Olishem have to represent in this case?

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Edit: I am now seeing some scholarship claiming 'Cedar Mountain' to be a reference to the Jordan River Valley or the Mountains of Lebanon, just so you know. However, that still places Naram-sim off course.

The reason why I am not going with 'cedar mountain' being Lebanon or Jordan is because I am seeing references for both Naram-sin and Sargon the Great referring to Amanus as being next to Uratu or in Armenia. And this puts Armanus up in the region of Anatolia and Armenia. For example...

Naram-Sin also recorded the Akkadian conquest of Ebla and Armani (also read Armanum or Armanim). The Assyrians, who are direct descendants of Akkadians, to this day refer to Armenians by the inscription form Armani. They were located between Carchemish and Ebla. To better police this area, he built a royal residence at Tell Brak, a crossroads at the heart of the Khabur basin of the Jezirah. Naram-Sin is supposed to have possessed an army of over 360,000 men, the largest size of any state up until that date. It enabled him to campaign against Magan (thought to be Oman) which also revolted; Naram-Sin, "marched against Magan and personally caught Mandannu, its king". The chief threat seemed to be coming from the northeastern mountaineers. A campaign against the Lullubi led to the carving of the famous stele, now in the Louvre. This newfound Akkadian wealth may have been based upon benign climatic conditions, huge agricultural surpluses and the confiscation of the wealth of other peoples.

Burroughs, William J (2006)"Climate Change in Prehistory:th end of the reign of chaos" (Cambridge University Press)

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"Further, from the side of the Euphrates River as far as (the city of) Ulisum"

Seems pretty clear cut to me that Ulisim is near the Euphrates.

Let's say for a minute that you're Naram-Sin. You want to emphasize how you've conquered "the four-quarters" (i.e. the entire world) and the whole "upper land". When you claim to have scourged the peoples of Dagon from point X to point Y, are you going to choose two points that are near each other? No, of course not. You're going to pick two points at the opposite extremes of the area you conquered. In this case, Amanus, Ullaza, the Euphrates, and the Upper Sea are basically the extremities of the "Upper Land". It should also be noted that several other locales Naram-Sin mentions are also fairly distant from one another. Ebla is relatively near Byblos; "below the Lower Sea" is the extreme southern part of Mesopotamia; and "Sumartu" is in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq. The modern-day Amanus mountain range borders the northest corner of the Mediterranean in Turkey. All these locations are juxtaposed in Naram-Sin's text in what seems to be no particular order, not to show the route he followed in pursuing his campaigns but rather to demonstrate the extent of his empire.

Given that the Amanus are east of İskenderun, that skews the line of conquest farther north and away from Byblos and closer to the line of conquest I am seeing up the river valleys to Cedar Mountain, while. A little side jaunty or later conquest is certainly possible (ancient armies are always foraging). But in this case Naram-sin is just going up the valley.

You simply cannot claim that Ebla was "up the valley". Nor do I see any reason to think that Ulisum is either.

While I do still see Naram-sin's conquests thrusting more up into central Turkey, let's examine the Byblos claim (that Ulisum is 20km north of it) by taking the example of Byblos itself. Byblos, though a Phonecian city, was an ally of Egypt for centuries (possibly dating as early as the 4th Dynasty) and that places strong Egyptian influence in the proper local.

As a port city, Ullaza certainly would have been exposed to Egyptian influences. However, Ullaza is not a plain and does not appear to be near anything answering to "Ur of the Chaldees". And if Haran is the "land of [Abraham's] birth" as you suggested, then we still have our problem. Ullaza is nearer to Haran than the Mesopotamian Ur is, but still isn't extraordinarily nearby. I see no particular reason to think that Ullaza/Ulisum is what is referred to in the BoA by the name Olishem.

-Chris

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Let's say for a minute that you're Naram-Sin. You want to emphasize how you've conquered "the four-quarters" (i.e. the entire world) and the whole "upper land". When you claim to have scourged the peoples of Dagon from point X to point Y, are you going to choose two points that are near each other? No, of course not. You're going to pick two points at the opposite extremes of the area you conquered. In this case, Amanus, Ullaza, the Euphrates, and the Upper Sea are basically the extremities of the "Upper Land". It should also be noted that several other locales Naram-Sin mentions are also fairly distant from one another. Ebla is relatively near Byblos; "below the Lower Sea" is the extreme southern part of Mesopotamia; and "Sumartu" is in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq. The modern-day Amanus mountain range borders the northest corner of the Mediterranean in Turkey. All these locations are juxtaposed in Naram-Sin's text in what seems to be no particular order, not to show the route he followed in pursuing his campaigns but rather to demonstrate the extent of his empire.

That's how I read it, sort of the "from sea to shining sea" bragging about the extent of the empire (which of course is what the inscription is intended to do).

You simply cannot claim that Ebla was "up the valley". Nor do I see any reason to think that Ulisum is either.

As a port city, Ullaza certainly would have been exposed to Egyptian influences. However, Ullaza is not a plain and does not appear to be near anything answering to "Ur of the Chaldees". And if Haran is the "land of [Abraham's] birth" as you suggested, then we still have our problem. Ullaza is nearer to Haran than the Mesopotamian Ur is, but still isn't extraordinarily nearby. I see no particular reason to think that Ullaza/Ulisum is what is referred to in the BoA by the name Olishem.

-Chris

And you still have the problems I noted with a very strong Egyptian presence, the anachronistic writing process, the anachronistic mention of Chaldeans, and the nonexistent plain. It seems to me a web of very delicate thread that has been woven to substantiate one place name. Still doesn't seem very strong to me.

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Let's say for a minute that you're Naram-Sin. You want to emphasize how you've conquered "the four-quarters" (i.e. the entire world) and the whole "upper land". When you claim to have scourged the peoples of Dagon from point X to point Y, are you going to choose two points that are near each other? No, of course not. You're going to pick two points at the opposite extremes of the area you conquered. In this case, Amanus, Ullaza, the Euphrates, and the Upper Sea are basically the extremities of the "Upper Land". It should also be noted that several other locales Naram-Sin mentions are also fairly distant from one another. Ebla is relatively near Byblos; "below the Lower Sea" is the extreme southern part of Mesopotamia; and "Sumartu" is in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq. The modern-day Amanus mountain range borders the northest corner of the Mediterranean in Turkey.

Sure. But you what you have is a "maybe" and a "could be" and a definition of Armanum that is different from most scholarship that I can see.

In addition, the argument for Ulisum being Ullaza in the first place is based on a desire to place Ulisum farther away from Egyptian influence than northern Syria which is inconsistent because it actually brings it closer and as we know, Byblos is centuries long strong ally of Egypt.

As a port city, Ullaza certainly would have been exposed to Egyptian influences. However, Ullaza is not a plain and does not appear to be near anything answering to "Ur of the Chaldees". And if Haran is the "land of [Abraham's] birth" as you suggested, then we still have our problem. Ullaza is nearer to Haran than the Mesopotamian Ur is, but still isn't extraordinarily nearby. I see no particular reason to think that Ullaza/Ulisum is what is referred to in the BoA by the name Olishem.

There cannot be a plain outside the city? In addition, we have already demonstrated a far greater extent of the concept of Ur and Chaldea, even all the way up to Haran.

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A notion you cannot demonstrate so far. Seems far stronger than Ulisum being Ullaza.

I'm not trying to demonstrate anything other than that Lundquist's article relies on a whole bunch of suppositions that are not well-supported. Do you really think it's a strong argument? I don't see it.

As for Chris' argument about Ulisum, that's his to defend.

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You know, in the source claiming that Ulisum could be Ullaza, there is a statement about the mountains and land in question..... "whatever the precise location of Aramanum" which is next to Ullaza. And then a reference to Rish-Adad or Rid-Adad, king of that land. Still showing Rid-Adad and that land being "up the river" as you put it and not in Lebanon or the coasts of Syria. And if Ulisum is nearby as the text indicates.....well, that doesn't seem to bode well for your case.

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