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Archaeology & History

Mysterious Palmyra 'lord of the universe' deity identified

By T.K. Randall
July 13, 2022 · Comment icon 5 comments

The ruins of Palmyra as they appear today. Image Credit: PD - Erik Albers
The mystery of an unknown god referenced in inscriptions from the ancient city of Palmyra has finally been solved.
Situated in modern day Syria, the ancient city - which served as a center for trade and flourished during the time of the Roman Empire around 2,000 years ago - has long been of interest to archaeologists.

One of its most enduring mysteries has been the identity of an unknown deity referenced in various inscriptions and referred to as "he whose name is blessed forever" or "lord of the universe".

Now though, the mystery may have finally been solved thanks to the work of Aleksandra Kubiak-Schneider - a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wroclaw in Poland.
By comparing the inscriptions with those found in ancient Mesopotamia, she was able to determine that the deity being referenced is most likely not a single god but several.

These multiple deities, which included Bel-Marduk and Baalshamin, were referenced collectively but not directly as a sign of respect by the people of the time.

According to Kubiak-Schneider, those who wrote the inscriptions may have been reaching out - not to a specific god - but to any who would listen to their prayers.

"There was no one anonymous god, every god who listened and showed favor to requests deserved an eternal praise," she told Live Science.

Source: Live Science | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hyperionxvii 2 years ago
Great, another one for my Sky Gods collection, you can never have too many!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
I'm surprised they didn't include El Agabal, who Roman Emperor Elagabalus was the High Priest of and named himself after and was then worshiped as Sol Invictus by Constantine the Great.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Tatetopa 2 years ago
Ah well, I was hoping for a benevolent god who did nice things anonymously.  So many gods just do it to impress people and  collect followers.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Wepwawet 2 years ago
The two titles 'He whose name is blessed forever' and 'Lord of the Universe' could also be used as alternate translations for the title of Atum, the All Lord. Atum was the lord of all time from it's beginning to end, and lord of all that the Egyptians believed to exist, even if he did not create the basic underlying fabric of the universe, which in their view was the waters of Nun, created by Ptah. So this Palmyran god could be a fusion of two or more gods, and I'm not saying that it would be Atum and Ptah, but they had been around for thousands of years and would have been familiar all around... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by jaylemurph 2 years ago
Heliogabalus knew how to party:   Oppressit in tricliniis versatilibus parasitos suos violis et floribus, sic ut animam aliqui efflaverint, cum erepere ad summum non possent. In a banqueting-room with a reversible ceiling he once buried his guests in violets and other flowers, so that some were actually smothered to death, being unable to crawl out to the top. —Jaylemurph 

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