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A Nabataean Funeral Inscription


Funeral inscription of Itaybel, from Madaba. Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Jona Lendering.
Funeral inscription of Itaybel, from Madaba (Louvre)

"Itaybel" was the name of two Nabataean Arabs, grandfather and grandson, whose basalt funerary monument has been excavated near Madaba in modern Jordan. The younger one had the rank of camp commander, the other one was ᾽strtg᾽, a Greek loanword (στρατηγός, strategos) that has below been translated as "governor". The tomb was erected by one Abdobodat, the son of Itaybel Senior and father of Itaybel Junior.

There were two funeral inscriptions; one of these is now in the Vatican in Rome, the other in the Paris Louvre. Except for the line division, the texts are identical. The date mentioned in the final line of the inscription, the forty-sixth regnal year of king Aretas IV Philopatris, is identical to the year 37/38 of our era. The translation offered here was made by J.F. Healey.

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This is the tomb and two funeral monuments above it, which Abdobodat the governor made for Itaybel the governor, his father, and for Itaybel the camp commandant who is in Luhitu and Abarta, son of this Abdobodat the governor; in the territory of their rule, which they exercised twice for thirty-six years during the time of Aretas, king of the Nabataeans, lover of his people. And the above work was executed in the forty-sixth year.

Literature

J.F. Healey, "A Nabataean Funerary Inscription from Madaba", in: W.W. Hallo (ed.), Context of Scripture, vol.2 (2003), 193.
Online 2009
Revision: 29 August 2009
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