Phoenician (Punic) Script

Up Catalog

Malta 313

     In 1694 two cippi, small columns or pillars of marble, were discovered at the Tas Silg Punic Temple at Marsaxlokk, a fishing village southeast of Valetta on the island of Malta. A “cippus” is a small pillar with an inscription. On these cippi the inscription read, “To our Lord Melkart, the Lord of Tyre. The offerer is thy servant Abd-Osiri, and my brother, Osiri-Shomar, both of us sons of Osiri-Shomar, the son of Abd-Osiri. In hearing their voice, may he bless them.”
     The bilingual texts provided the key to deciphering the Phoenician script in the 18th century by Abbe Barthemeley of Paris. In 1964 Malta issued a stamp with a picture of a cippus, and a text in Phoenician script (Punic) and in Greek. I have not been able to determine whether the cippus on the stamp issued by Malta in 1965 is one discovered in 1694, but it seems likely that it is, and in any case they would be similar. One of the two discovered at Marsaxlokk has been preserved in the Phoenician hall at the National Museum of Malta in Valetta.

SCN 313