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Last Updated on 23 Mar 2017

Author: Benedikt Eckhardt

CAPInv. 634: mrzḥ b‘ltk wtym’


i. Geographical area The Near East and Beyond
ii. Region Syria
iii. Site Palmyra


i. Full name (original language) מרזח בעלתך ותימא (PAT 2807, l. 1-3)
ii. Full name (transliterated) mrzḥ b‘ltk wtym’


i. Date(s) i - iii AD


ii. Name elements
Personal:Taima (see comments below)
iii. Descriptive terms מרזחא, mrzḥ’
Note mrzḥ’: PAT 2807, l. 1-3


i. Source(s) PAT 2807 (I-III AD)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Unclear (entrance billet?), in Aramaic
i.c. Physical format(s) Tessera, showing a seated goddess.
ii. Source(s) provenance Sanctuary of Baalshamin (?)


i. Comments That b‘ltk is a goddess (and not "à ton autel" as Dunand 1959: 105 translates) is now generally accepted. More problematic is tym’. Milik 1972: 111 takes it as an abbreviation of tymrṣw; this would point to the bny tymrṣw, "sons of Taimarsu", a known clan from Palmyra. Kaizer 2002: 230 seems to accept this view without discussion. Smith 2004: 234 refers to this group without discussion as a cult association "to the goddesses Baaltak and Taima"; this latter goddess would not be otherwise known from Palmyra, and the tessera shows only one goddess. Taima is attested as a place name in Arabia, which would make little sense here. It is also a personal name in Palmyra, but then written as tym‘’. Could this mrzḥ’ perhaps be in honour of the goddess Baaltak and headed by the woman Taima?
iii. Bibliography Dunant, Chr. (1959), 'Nouvelles tessères de Palmyre', Syria 36: 102-10.
Kaizer, T. (2002), The Religious Life of Palmyra. A Study of the Social Patterns of Worship in the Roman Period. Stuttgart.
Milik, J.T. (1972), Dédicaces faites par des dieux (Palmyre, Hatra, Tyr) et des thiases sémitiques à l’époque romaine. Paris.
Smith, M.S. (2004), Identity, Community, and State Formation at Roman Palmyra. Diss. Univ. of Maryland.


i. Private association Possible
Note An evaluation needs to focus on the expression "day 5" in l. 4. If the tesserae were really entrance billets for cultic meals, a reasonable interpretation could take mrzḥ’ as a festive occasion that lasted at least five days; the holder of the billet would have entrance on the fifth day. But this is not a necessary conclusion; the mrzḥ’ of Baaltak and Taima could also be an association (as is probable in the case of the mrzḥ’ of [Ne?]bu: CAPInv. 633) that celebrates a feast that lasted at least five days (this seems to be Kaizer's view, but based on Milik's understanding of Taima as an abbreviated version of the group-designation).