- Museum number
Brown fossiliferous limestone statue base incised with 25 lines of Sabaean inscription; dedication to Almaqah Tahwan, Lord of Awwam, of a golden statue by Alwahab and his sons for intercession for the life of his wife, Abhalak who has sinned. Praying for the kings of Saba and Dhu-Raydan, Yasinan Yuhan'im and Samir Yuhan'is for children and prosperity for the dedicant and for that of his family and property in the valley of Raman; a pair of deep marks in the centre of the top of the slab represent all that remains of the feet of the dedicated statue (which indicate that the right foot was slightly forward of the left), and prove that the slab was originally set upright; the slab was later laid flat with the inscription uppermost and re-used as a door socket, hence a shallow circular depression near the end of the 4th line.
- Production date
- 270 (circa)
Diameter: 4.30 centimetres (socket depression)
Height: 2.30 centimetres (Letter height)
Height: 80.50 centimetres
Length: 5.50 centimetres (statue foot socket)
Thickness: 10.50 centimetres
Width: 2.50 centimetres (statue foot socket)
Width: 25 centimetres
Depth: 1 centimetres (statue foot socket)
- Curator's comments
Lee Warner is the family-name of the previous owner. A separate individual with the name Philip H. Lee Warner of The Manor House, Bletchingley, Surrey and manager of Charles Whittingham & Griggs (Printers) Ltd, 6 John Street, Adelphi, London WC2, entered into extensive correspondence with Budge in 1922 and 1923, mainly on Egyptological and publishing matters (ANE Correspondence). A third individual, one Mr M.P. Lee Warner of 12 Charlbert Street, London NW8, deposited but subsequently withdrew a "S[ou]th Arabian slab" in the Museum on 11/5/64 (deposit book entry 1719). Whether these three individuals are related, and how two of them acquired South Arabian inscriptions, are uncertain.
Bowers catalogue entry
Dedication of a bronze statue to the god Almaqah
About 272/73 AD
Height 80.5 cm, width 25 cm, thickness 10.5 cm
From the Awwam temple at Marib
ANE 1921-9-26,1 = 125716 = S.O.C. 21
Presented by Mr W.H. Lee Warner
This remarkable 25-line Sabaean inscription refers to the dedication of a bronze statue to the god Almaqah Thahwan, “Lord of Awwam”, by Alwahab and his son. They offer prayers begging divine intervention in order to save the life of Abhalak, wife of Alwahab, who is said to have “sinned”. This statue is described as being specified in an oracle. The inscription continues by also asking in return that the god ensure that they remain in good favour with their kings of Saba and dhu-Raydan, that their lands continue to be fertile and that they are covered against all forms of sickness, disturbance and evil. The literal translation of the inscription is as follows:
“Alwahab and his son Hayw Athtar, Banay dhu-Aqban Farium, have dedicated to Almaqah Thahwan, lord of Awwam, this bronze statue which Al[ma]qah, lord of Awwam, commanded to his people by his oracle, because they asked him that he show mercy to his servant Alwahab son of Aqban and make the body live of his wife Abhalak, daughter of the Banu Naambarig - because she sinned - as it was decreed to him in his oracle. And that Almaqah Thahwan, lord of Awwam, shows them favour and the benevolence of their two lords Yasirum Yuhanim and Samir Yuharish, the two kings of Saba and dhu-Raydan. And that he continues to save and protect his servant Alwahab son of Aqban, his male children, in number [OR fortunate], well set up [and] healthy. And that Almaqah Thahwan, lord of Awwam, continues to give them excellent fruits and vegetables of all their lands, healthy, and coming from the valley of Raman. And that Almaqah, lord of Awwam, helps his people Alwahab [and] his son Hayw Athtar, and his servant Abhalak, Banay dhu-Aqban, against sickness and nuisance, and from humiliation and evil eye of an enemy. By Almaqah, lord of Awwam”.
Unlike most public South Arabian inscriptions which were inscribed over two or more ashlar courses set in the wall, and therefore often do not survive intact, this inscription was on a single block set upright as the base of the bronze statue referred to in the inscription. The pair of hollows at the top, each measuring 1 cm. deep and 5.50 cm. long, are all that remains of the feet of the statue. The appearance of this is thus indicated to have been in the form of a standing figure with the right foot placed slightly in front of the left. The slab was later reused as a door-socket, hence the shallow circular depression, measuring 4.30 cm. across, near the right end of the fourth line.
This inscription was presented to The British Museum in 1921 by Mr W.H. Lee Warner. Lee Warner had previously travelled extensively in southern Yemen and later published an important early article entitled “Notes on the Hadramaut” in the Geographical Journal in March 1931.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004-2005 17 Oct-13 Mar, California, Bowers Museum, 'Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality'
- Old abrasion over the entire face of the inscription
- Acquisition notes
- Deposited on behalf of Mr W.H. Lee Warner on 26 September 1921; accompanying letter from W.H. Lee Warner on Athenaeum headed paper, dated 22 September 1921 and addressed to Budge reads: "Referring to the Himyar inscribed stone about which I phoned to you [sic], the enclosed letter will ensure its delivery to your messenger" (ANE Correspondence, 1921). Content of inscription suggests that it may come from Marib.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: RES 4938 (siglum)
Miscellaneous number: SOC.21 (Semitic Old Collection registration number)