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Aramaic Inscriptions in the Palmyra Museum

New acquisitions
Khaled Al-Asʿad, Michal Gawlikowski et Jean-Baptiste Yon
p. 163-183


Sont présentées ici une soixantaine de nouvelles épitaphes araméennes de Palmyre, la plupart découvertes par le Musée de Palmyre aux alentours du mur nord de la ville antique. Ces épitaphes sont précédées de plusieurs nouvelles inscriptions de fondation et de concession de tombes. L’ensemble offre de nouveaux documents sur l’onomastique et la sculpture funéraire de Palmyre.

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Texte intégral

1Most of the inscriptions given below were found in excavations conducted by the Palmyra Museum in the Northern wall area. Over many years, Kh. al-As‘ad was clearing systematically the outer face of the city wall commonly attributed to Diocletian between the Museum of Palmyra and Diocletian’s camp at the Western end of the ancient ruins. During this work several hundreds of fragmentary sculptures were found, some of them inscribed. It is obvious that they were reused as building material in the fabric of the wall. Nearly all these monuments are funerary and were most probably taken from the tombs of the Northern necropolis which is extending in front of the wall.

2After a few new examples of foundation and concession inscriptions, some sixty new epitaphs are published, allowing to enlarge the onomastic stock of Palmyrene epigraphy.

Funerary foundations and concessions

1. Inv. 1518/9318

3Funerary plaque with a concession inscription. H. 41 cm, w. 32 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Inv. 1518/9318

gwmḥy’ [- - -]

d qšṭy[hwn - - -] ywl-

ys ’wrlys ’lys [- - -]-

4 ws ydy‘bl lywlys ’wr[l]-

ys ‘dwn br br‘th br m‘n

m‘lyk bb’ ‘l ymynk lh wlb-

nwhy wlbny bnwhy lyqrhwn d-

8 y ‘lm’ byrḥ ’lwl šnt


“The loculi [… ] of their rights [ … has ceded Iul]ius Aurelius Aelius […]us Yedi‘bel to Iulius Aurelius ‘Adwan son of Bar‘ateh son of Ma‘an, to your right as you enter the door, to him and to his sons and his grandsons, in their honour for ever. In the month of Elūl, year 554 (September 243 ad).”

4The object of the cession were some loculi “and their rights”, i.e. the right to dispose of them.

5L. 5: ‘dwn rather than ‘rwn, see Ingholt 1935, p. 104, nr. XII (where the resh are dotted, and the reading ‘dwn clear).

6After ad 212 all Palmyrenes have adopted the imperial gentilicia Iulius Aurelius while dropping any earlier gentilicia they might have had before (cf. Schlumberger 1942/1943, p. 54-55). This practice is contrary to what happened in the rest of the Roman Empire, where old gentilicia were kept and the gentilicium Aurelius was acquired by new citizens only. This difference was not explained until now and might have been the result of a municipal decree or a special imperial favour. In this case, a family of Aelii has kept (or reverted to) their gentilicium held since the time of Antoninus Pius or even Hadrian. Our Yedi‘bel boasted as a result at least three Latin names, while his fourth one could be his Greek proper name ending in -os.

2. Inv. 2983/9507

7A plaque in 3 fragments. Lower right quarter missing. W. 46 cm, h. 38 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Inv. 2983/9507

mlkw wtymrṣ[w] bny ḥggw br

tymrṣw zwzy ’l[..] ’ḥbr l’yd‘n

br yrḥbwl’ br ’yd‘n br yrḥbwl’

4 dhby sṭr’ m[qbl]’ w’tr’

mqbr’ dy [- -]’

[- - -] rb mdnḥyhw[n]

[- - -] btr kwt bnwr

[- - -] bnyhwn dy mlkw

8 [- - -]lqbr’ dnh

[- - -’n]š bmnth mgwḥ’

[- - -] mn lh’

8On the plinth:

[- - -] l‘lm’

9K written like P, Y vertical. Judging from the script, the date could be mid-2nd century.

“Malku and Taimaru, sons of agegu, son of Taimaru Zuzai Al[..], ceded to Aiad‘an, son of Iaribôla, son of Aiad‘an, son of Iaribôla dhby … the wall opposite and the place of sepulture of … their eastern … after Bonnur … the sons of Malku… for this tomb … nobody in his share form loculifrom here … for ever.”

10For the name zwzy, see RSP116 (ad241): it may concern the same family. The dictionary of Stark (1971, p. 68) cites several proper names of four letters beginning in Al-: ’lhw, ’lwr, ’lpy… The name dhby, “Golden One” (si vera lectio) is new.

11The object of the cession is “the wall in front” and some space already used for burial. At the end there was perhaps a clause prohibiting making of loculi (gw, known variant of gwm) in the part of the tomb conceded.

3. Inv. 1443/8601

12Upper left corner of a framed plaque. H. 25 cm, w. 17 cm, letters 12 mm.

Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Inv. 1443/8601

m‘r[t’ dh - - -]

br mq[ymw - - -]

br ‘lyš[’ - - -]

4 wl’ḥw[hy - - -]

yq[r - - -]

’[- - -]

“This cave … son of Moqimu, … son of ‘Alaiša … for his brother … honour …”

4. Inv. 1457/8672

13Lower left part of a plaque with inscription. W. 30 cm, h. 22 cm, letters 22 mm.

Figure 4.

Figure 4.

Inv. 1457/8672

[- - -] br [- - - ly]qrh[wn]

[- - -]’ [- - -]

[- - -]

4 [- - - ywly’ ’wrl]y’ ’[..]šm’ brt bl[n]w-

[r - - -]bḥyhy mn gwmḥyn tlt’

[- - -y]hb lklh wlbnh wlbn’

[- - -]

“…in their honour … [Iulia] Aurelia A[..]šema, daughter of Belnu[r] … during his life, from three niches … he has given to all and to his son and the sons …”

14The feminine name ’[..]šm’, with one or two letters missing in the lacuna, is new.

15In l. 5, gw written in a ligature.

16Date: around ad 200?


1. Inv. 2678/8984

17Funerary plaque with two half-figures of priests holding sacrificial vessels. W. 102 cm, h. 68 cm. On the left a priest with a laurel wreath on his modius, a veil hanging behind, attached on two rosettes with palm branches. The other priest has his face and the front of his modius broken. His right hand rests on the right shoulder of his son.

18Found on the grounds of the Desert Police (north from the Museum).

Figure 5.

Figure 5.

Inv. 2678/8984

19Inscription on the right:

[… b]r tybwl | ḥbl

“- - - son of Taibbol, alas!”

20Inscription between the two figures:

rg’ brh ḥbl

“ Raga (?), his son, alas!”

21The name rg’ could also be read dg’ (“fowl”), but the former is well attested in Arabic (“Hope”). See Harding 1971, p. 235 and 270, with reference to Littmann 1943, nr. 542.

22Date: mid-2nd century.

2. Inv. 1514/9295

23Fragment broken on the left side. Cursive, angular script. H. 17 cm, w. 11 cm.

Figure 6.

Figure 6.

Inv. 1514/9295

šlm[t] | brt | lšmš | ḥbl

“Šalmat, daughter of Lišamš, alas!”

24The names are very common. 3rd century script.

3. Inv. 1488/9407

25Arched undecorated stele, h. 36 cm, w. 24 cm.

Figure 7.

Figure 7.

Inv. 1488/9407

ḥbl m‘ny | br nwrbl

“Alas! Ma‘nai, son of Nurbel.”

26The form of the stele and the script point to a rather early date.

4. Fragment, no number

27Cursive and irregular script.

Figure 8.

Figure 8.

Fragment, no number

ṣlm[t - - -] | ’ḥt’ ’tt | zb[d]bwl ṭbt’ |ḥbl

“Image of - - - Aḥta, wife of Zabdibol, the good one, alas!”

28L. 2: alternatively, one could read ’dt’. It is a feminine name, as shown by the adjective bt’ in the following line.

29L.3: epithets pertaining to the qualities of the deceased are rare, although they are very common in Greek (χρηστός, χρήσιμος, λυπος).

303rd century script.

5. Inv. 1519/9319

31Broken fragment, h. 16 cm, w. 13 cm.

Figure 9.

Figure 9.

Inv. 1519/9319

[…]t’ br[t] | šlm’ br | ṭwr ḥbl. | ’tt b‘ly | br mlk’l | [ḥ]bl

“[…]ta daughter of Šalma, son of Ṭur, alas! Wife of Ba‘lai, son of Malak’el, alas!”

32wr is not attested , but see wr’ ‘mountain’ ou ‘duration’ (syr.). The script is irregular and partly cursive. For b‘ly, see 32, 37, 50, and especially 42 (b‘ly br zbyd’ br mlk’l). Obviously, several of them belong to the same family.

6. Inv. 2789/6278

33Fragment of a half-figure. No photo.

tm’ ’tth

“Tamma his wife.”

7. Fragment, no. unknown

34Cursive script.

Figure 10.

Figure 10.

Inv. 1519/9319

’qm’ br|t ḥyrn ’t|t lšmš | ‘šty | [ḥb]l

“Aqma, daughter of Ḥairan, wife of Lišamš ‘Aštai (?), alas!”

35L. 4 : ‘šty, hypocoristicon of ‘štwrg’?

363rd century script, irregular and partly cursive.

8. Inv. 1377/7939

Fragment, w. 19 cm, h. 12 cm, letters 15 mm.

Figure 11.

Figure 11.

Inv. 1377/7939

ḥbl | šm/qy

“Alas, Šamai (or Šaqai?) ”

37Very uncertain reading. Neither name is attested, not even in other dialects of Aramaic.

9. Inv. 2660/8943

38Half-figure of a woman. Head chipped off. Spindle and distaff in the left hand, trapezoidal fibula.

Figure 12.

Figure 12.

Inv. 2660/8943

39Over the left shoulder:

rtzyrn br | yd‘w br | rb’l [br] |...|...|...| br ḥ[ry] | dk’ ḥbl

“- - -, son of Iad‘u, son of Rabbel, son of [3 lines obliterated], freedman of Daka, alas!”

40Over the right shoulder, vertically, cursive:

[.]rtny brt | yd‘w ’by | ḥbl

“- - -, daughter of Iad‘u, my father, alas!”

41The names of the woman and her brother are new and uncertain. The man seems to have commissioned this tombstone for a daughter of his father (his own half-sister?) and another one for a freedman, whose relation to him was perhaps explained in the three missing lines.

42The name dk’ “pure”, is attested. For the same family, see CIS4030, 4050.’by “my father” does not occur as a personal name. The use of the first person affix is rare: see Nöldeke1904, p.92-93. Date: end of 2ndcentury–beginning of 3rdcentury.

10. Number unknown

43Half-figure of a man with a veil behind. Two tablets in his left hand. Vertical two lines over the left shoulder.

Figure 13.

Figure 13.

Half-figure of a man with a veil behind. Two tablets in his left hand. Number unknown

trn br | qrdwn ḥbl

“‘Atran (?), son of Kerdôn, alas!”

44On the tablets, letters b and ly (?)

45qrdwn is obviously the Greek name Κέρδων. ‘trn/‘tdn is attested only once and as a feminine name.

46Date: second half of 2nd century.

11. Inv. 2984/9508

47Plaque with a half-figure of a woman holding a jewel-box. Embroidered tunic under the cloak and veil. Upper left corner missing with a half of the head and probably a standing boy. H. 49 cm, w. 38 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 14.

Figure 14.

Inv. 2984/9508

b‘y’ brt | khyly br | ḥyrn ḥbl | wmqymw ’ḥwh | ḥbl

“Ba‘ya, daughter of Kohaili, son of Ḥairan, alas! And Moqimu, her brother, alas!”

48L. 1 : b‘y’ is otherwise unattested, but probably formed from the root b‘y, “to desire”.

49Date: second half of 2nd century; note the shape of -t, l.1, almost like in Syriac estrangela.

12. Inv. 2934/9458

50Fragment of a plaque: woman’s head and the upper left corner with inscription. W. 40 cm, h. 25 cm, letters 17 mm.

Figure 15.

Figure 15.

Inv. 2934/9458

’qm’ brt | ḥyrn ’ytyb[l] | ’‘rg | ’m’ dy mlkw | br nš’ br |ntnbl

“Aqma, daughter of Ḥairan Aitibel A‘arg, mother of Malku, son of Neša, son of Natanbel.”

51’‘rg and ntnbl are new. For the former, Harding 1971, p. 55 (“Lame”, see Littmann 1943, nr. 564). For the latter, “Bel has given” (hypocoristica ntny and ntn) BriquelChatonnet 1991, p.83.

52Date: 3rd century. For the shape of ‘ain, see 32.

13. Number unknown

53A man reclining, in Iranian dress. His head and feet are lost. He is holding a skyphos in his left hand. W. 73 cm, h. 44 cm.

Figure 16.

Figure 16.

A man reclining, in Iranian dress. Number unknown.

54On the skyphos, three lines, painted in red:

tymrṣw br | ‘t‘qb ’šgdt | ḥbl

“Taimarṣu, son of ‘Ate‘aqab Ašgadat, alas!”

55L. 2 : see šgd/r’ Inv XI, 26 (and šgry, CIS II, 3, 3994). Syriac šgdt’ is “almond”. For another example of the name, see Gross 2005, p. 90, nr. 1, obviously from the same family (tymrw w‘t’qb bny zbdbwl br ‘gylw ’šgdt).

56Date: end of 2nd or beginning of 3rd century.

14. Inv. 2935/9459

57Stele with a standing boy holding a bird. Lower part missing, broken at left. H. 22 cm, w. 22 cm.

Figure 17.

Figure 17.

Inv. 2935/9459

n’r[y] | zbyd[’ br] | mlk[w] | br [...] | [bl]

“Noarai Zebida, son of Malku, son of - - -, alas!”

58L. 1 : n’ry as in RSP 119 (Greek transcription Νοαραιος, see CIS II, 3, 3917).

59Date: beginning of 2nd century.

15. Inv. 2928/9452

60Rounded aniconic stele, lower part missing, broken at left. H. 20 cm, w. 21 cm, letters 30 mm.

Figure 18.

Figure 18.

Inv. 2928/9452

tymrṣw br | mlkw br [….] | ḥbl

“Taimarṣu, son of Malku, son of - - -, alas!”

61Date: 1st century script.

16. Inv. 2979/9503

62Fragment in soft limestone, broken at left and in the lower part. W. 38 cm, h. 26 cm. Red painted letters 40-55mm.

Figure 19.

Figure 19.

Inv. 2979/9503

lm’ dnh dy ‘[… br] | zbdbwl br ty[...] | wdy ’mtlt b[rt …] | wdy yrbwl[’ ...]

“This image is that of … son of Zabdibol, son of Tai…, and of Amatallat, daughter of …, and of Iarḥibola …”

63The word alma, usually translated as “statue”, is in singular and should have referred here to a plaque with three figures.

64Date: 1st century (script).

17. Inv. 2974/9498

65Stele with a standing woman holding spindle and distaff. H. 32 cm, w. 16 cm. Inscription very unclear.

Figure 20.

Figure 20.

Inv. 2974/9498

ḥbl | rmy | brt | ‘rym[’](?)

“Alas! Rami, daughter of ‘rym[’].”

66L. 2: The name rmy is elsewhere masculine. L. 4 : ‘Arima, “Shrewd” is attested (PAT 1506, 1585), but here letters are indistinct.

18. Inv. 2939/9463

67Head of a woman, part of a slab.

Figure 21.

Figure 21.

Inv. 2939/9463

68To the right, inscription:

[ḥb]l | ’mtbl | brt | […]m

“Alas! Amatbel, daughter of - - -.”

19. Inv. 3008/9549

69Head of a woman, to the left fragment of inscription. H. 26 cm, w. 48 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 22.

Figure 22.

Inv. 3008/9549

[ṣl]mt ’by’ [brt] | hrms br | ḥry […]

“Image of Abaya, daughter of Hermes, freedman of …”

70The form ’by‘ (CISII, 3, 4432, alternatively but less probably ’sy‘, see Stark 1971, p. 63) is known, ’by’ would result from the weakening of the final laryngeal (?). Hermes is common for freedmen at Palmyra (see Yon2002, p.276) as in the Roman world in general (see Gawlikowski 1998, p.145 and Solin2003, p.368-380).

71Date: 3rd century. Dotted resh.

20. Inv. 3012/9553

Figure 23.

Figure 23.

Inv. 3012/9553

72Rectangular stele of a man in himation, standing in front of a veil. Head and feet missing. H. 40 cm, w. 25 cm, red painted letters 10 mm.

73Inv. 3012/9553

74To the left:

šmg’ | br zbd|bl

“Šamga, son of Zabdibel.”

75The first name is a variant of smg’ which appears on an unpublished votive relief from the Allat sanctuary. See Harding1971, p.357 (šmj).

76Date: second half of 1st century.

21. Inv. 3007/9548

77Rectangular stele of a standing woman. Lower part and head missing. H. 20 cm, w. 23 cm, letters in red 12 mm.

Figure 24.

Figure 24.

Inv. 3007/9548

ḥbl ’mt’ | brt zbyd’ | br šm‘wn

“Alas! Amata, daughter of Zebida, son of Šim‘on.”

78Date: mid-1st century.

22. Inv. 3014/9555

Figure 25.

Figure 25.

Inv. 3014/9555

79Man’s head, left corner of the plaque, with inscription. H. 22 cm, w. 33 cm, letters 20 mm.

ṣlm | zbyd’ br | zbdbl br | ydy‘bl

“Image of Zebida, son of Zabdibel, son of Iedi‘bel.”

80Date: end of 1st century?

23. Inv. 3022/9565

81Half-figure of a man in himation, head missing. Plinth with inscription. H. 26 cm, w. 35 cm, letters 18 mm.

Figure 26.

Figure 26.

Inv. 3022/9565

ḥyrn br [..]ml’ [br] šmn’

“Ḥairan, son of [..]Male, son of Šamna.”

82šmn’: maybe šqn’ (šqn is known).

83Second half of 2nd century.

24. Inv. 2739/9198

84Funerary plaque with half-figure of a man in himation, a veil hanging behind. Face chipped off. H. 47 cm, w. 40 cm, letters 20 mm. Inscription to the right.

Figure 27.

Figure 27.

Inv. 2739/9198

mrywn | br whby br | mrywn ḥbl

“Marion, son of Wahbai, son of Marion, alas!”

85Date: end of 1st century.

25. Inv. 2512/8752

86Fragment of a plaque. Man’s head, inscription over the left shoulder. H. 35 cm, w. 27 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 28.

Figure 28.

Inv. 2512/8752

ml’ | br | ‘tnwr | ḥbl

“Male, son of ‘Atenur, alas!”

87Date: end of 2nd century.

26. Inv. 1463/8735

88Fragment of a plaque with inscription. H. 17 cm, w. 26 cm, letters 18 mm.

Figure 29.

Figure 29.

Inv. 1463/8735

tymw b[r] | zbdbl b[r] | tymw ḥbl

“Taimu, son of Zabdibel Taimu, alas!”

89Date: first half of 2nd century.

27. Inv. 2535/8779

90Upper part of a stele. Woman embracing a man to her left, a veil hanging behind him. H. 22 cm, w. 30 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 30.

Figure 30.

Inv. 2535/8779

š‘šmš ’mt[’] | brt | ‘gyl[w] | ’ḥ|th

“Ša‘šamaš. Amata, daughter of ‘Ogeilu, his sister.”

91The deceased Ša‘šamaš is a little boy, his big sister is consoling him. The patronymic is of course common to both.

92L. 1: compound of šmš “Sun”. See Stark 1971, p. 115 (on PAT 1358), s.v. š‘’ hypocoristicon of š‘’l “Servant of god” (Safaitic, Littmann 1904, p. 123).

93Date: beginning of 2nd century.

28. Inv. 2281/8273

94Stele with a standing boy holding tablets and a bird. Head broken off, once covered by a pointed cap. H. 43 cm, w. 25 cm, letters 25 mm.

Figure 31.

Figure 31.

Inv. 2281/8273

’dynt | brh | [ḥ]bl

“Odainat, his son, alas!”

95Date: second half of 2nd century.

29. Inv. 2787/8708

96Upper right corner of a framed plaque. Head and torso of a sleeping diner. H. 44 cm, w. 29 cm, letters 18 mm. Inscription on listel above.

Figure 32.

Figure 32.

Inv. 2787/8708

mlkw br ‘bdnš[- - -]

“Malku, son of ‘Abdnaḥaš[- - -].”

97bdnš means “Servant of Fortune”. See the name nšb in Palmyrene and ‘bdny in Syriac.

98Date: end of 2nd–beginning of 3rd century.

30. Inv. 2392/8614

99Half-figure of a man. H. 52 cm, w. 42 cm, letters painted in red 23 mm.

Figure 33.

Figure 33.

Inv. 2392/8614

100Above the left shoulder:

’hwdy | br ml’ | ssy ḥbl

“Ahewadi, son of Male Sasai, alas !”

101L. 1: ’hwdy (see ’hwd/Αεουαδου) or ’hwry (but pointed resh on the following line; see Stark 1971, p. 65). l. 3: hypocoristicon of ssn? (see Stark 1971, p. 102, on etymology).

102Date: second half of the 2nd century.

31. Inv.1440/8598

103Inscription from a funerary plaque, vertically over the left shoulder. Head chipped off. H. 22 cm, w. 22 cm, letters 10 mm.

Figure 34.

Figure 34.

Inv. 1440/8598

zbyd’ | br sby | zbyd’ | ḥbl

“Zebida, son of Sabi Zebida, alas!”

104See the preceding number, where the reading ssy is certain; here sby looks more plausible.

105Date: beginning of 3rd century.

32. Inv. 2384/8605

106Half-figure of a woman. H. 57 cm, w. 42 cm, letters 15 mm.

Figure 35.

Figure 35.

Inv. 2384/8605

107Over the left shoulder:

ḥbl | ‘tšb’ | brt | zbyd’ | ’tt ‘g’ | br b‘ly

“Alas! ‘Atešoba, daughter of Zebida, wife of ‘Ogga, son of Ba‘lai.”

108The ‘ain has a peculiar, inverted form. See 50 (b‘ly | br ‘gylw) and 5 above for the same family group. ‘tšb’ is rather unfrequent; in Greek, Αθησωβα (InvVIII, 64). Meaning uncertain.

109Date: second half of 2nd or 3rd century?

33. Inv. 2418/8648

110Half-figure of a man in himation, the head missing. H. 33 cm, w. 41 cm, letters 10 mm on the folded document in his left hand.

Figure 36.

Figure 36.

Inv. 2418/8648

lbt ‘lm’

“For the house of eternity.”

111Numerous parallel texts with the same inscription (see Balty 1996, p. 438, and n. 24 on p. 440-441).

34. Arched undecorated stele with 3 lines

Figure 37.

Figure 37.

Arched undecorated stele with 3 lines

‘gb’ brt | rmy [br] tymn’| ḥbl

“ ‘Agba, daughter of Rami, son of Taimna. Alas!”

112gb’ (in CISII, 3, 4436) is marked as uncertain by Stark (1971, p. 104, following CIS), but is congruent with the original reading of Spoer. The new inscription confirms the reading.

113Date: 1st century.

35. Inv. 2607/8865

114Upper right corner of a plaque. Man’s head, palm fixing the veil, inscription. H. 35 cm, w. 21 cm, letters 10 mm.

Figure 38.

Figure 38.

Inv. 2607/8865

ḥbl | tym[‘]md br | ’bw[hy ?]

“Alas! Taimo‘amed, son of Abuhi.”

115bw[hy ?]: “his father”. For family relationship names as personal names, see Nöldeke1904, p.92-93, but the man could be simply a son of unknown father.

116Date: end of 2nd century.

36. Inv. 1456/8670

117Upper right corner of a plaque. Sculpture missing, only the rosette fixing the veil remains. H. 18 cm, w. 16 cm, letters with red paint 18 mm.

Figure 39.

Figure 39.

Inv. 1456/8670

zb’ br | ‘ttn br | zb’ b[l]

“Zabba, son of ‘Attatan son of Zabba, alas!”

118The form ‘ttn is an already known contraction of the more common ‘tntn.

119Date: 2nd century.

37. Inv. 2428/8660

120Right half of a man’s half-figure. Veil. H. 46 cm, w. 18 cm, letters 12 mm.

Figure 40.

Figure 40.

Inv. 2428/8660

121Over the left shoulder:

mwq[…] | br | lšmš | b‘ly | ḥ[bl]

“Muq…, son of Lišamš, Ba‘lai, alas ”

122L. 1, not on the photograph; no name beginning in mwq– is attested. The same b‘ly family as in 32, 42 and 50.

38. Inv. 2580/8830

123Figure of a boy standing to the right of a half-figure of which only the outline of man’s hairdo and a palm attaching the veil remain vertically over the right shoulder. H. 21 cm, w. 21 cm, letters 10 mm.

Figure 41.

Figure 41.

Inv. 2580/8830

[’]bgr m/qlbṭ’ […].

124The reading [’]bgr (dotted resh) is fairly sure. The Syriac root lb means “to incite”, so mlb’, Melabbaa, could be a participle Pa‘el used as a name, but the first letter looks rather like a qoph. Date: 3rd century?

39. Inv. 2577/8826

125Woman standing on a plinth. To her right a man was standing, of whom only one foot remains. H. 53 cm, w. 33 cm, letters 10 cm.

Figure 42.

Figure 42.

Inv. 2577/8826

126Inscription in the upper right corner of the stone.

šlmt | brt | br‘t’ | ḥbl

“Šalmat, daughter of Bar‘ate, alas!”

127Date: first half of 2nd century.

40. Inv. 2572|8819

128Rounded stele with a niche in which a man is standing, wearing a himation. H. 44cm, w. 26cm, letters 18mm.

Figure 43.

Figure 43.

Inv. 2572|8819

129On the plinth:

zbyd’ br ‘wyd’ b[r] | blyd‘ vacat ḥb[l]

“Zebida, son of ‘Awida son of Bolyada‘, alas!”

130Date: 1st century.

41. Inv. 2471/8710

131Fragment with inscription. H. 21 cm, w. 13 cm, 23 mm.

Figure 44.

Figure 44.

Inv. 2471/8710

ḥggw br | tymrṣw | br ḥggw | qwz’

“Ḥagegu, son of Taimarṣu, son of Ḥagegu Quza.”

132qwz’ “weasel” in Syriac. New name at Palmyra, but see P. Euphr. 6-7 (Κωζα/qwz’). Nöldeke 1904, p.75-90, on animal names as personal names.

42. Inv. 1458/8683

133Upper left corner of a plaque. H. 14 cm, w. 18 cm, letters 20 mm.

Figure 45.

Figure 45.

Inv. 1458/8683

ḥbl b‘ly | br zbyd’ | br mlk[’l]

“Alas! Ba‘lai, son of Zebida, son of Malak’el.”

134Traces of the aleph in the last name.

135Date: first half of 2nd century.

43. Inv. 1461/8708

136Fragment of a plaque. Head missing, only end of veil and the palm left. H. 21 cm, w. 35 cm, letters 15 mm.

Figure 46.

Figure 46.

Inv. 1461/8708

mws’ bt | m‘ny br | zbdbwl | ḥbl

“Musa, daughter of Ma‘nai, son of Zabdibol, alas!”

137mws’ (from Greek Moῦsα) is attested only once, as a masculine name (PAT 0104). The reading mps’ is also possible —because the other waw in l. 3 is angular, though such name is unknown. L. 2: read m‘ny rather than mrny (mrn’, RTP 914a)

44. Inv. 2465/8702

138Woman’s head, left upper corner of a plaque. H. 27 cm, w. 28 cm, letters painted in red 15 mm.

Figure 47.

Figure 47.

Inv. 2465/8702

’qm’ | ’tt | ’rws | šlmt | br[t] | …

“Aqma, wife of Eros. Šalmat, daughter of…

’rws is Greek Ἔρως, new at Palmyra in transliteration.

139Date: first half of 3rd century.

45. Inv. 2719/9144

140Half-figure of a woman. H. 62 cm, w. 45 cm.

Figure 48.

Figure 48.

Inv. 2719/9144

[b]ty brt | [y]ry br | whblt | [b]l

“[.]tai, daughter of Iarḥai, son of Wahballat, alas!”

141bty seems to be a most obvious restoration, as one letter only is missing at the beginning of the following line (one can think as well of ‘ty or the like).

142Date: first half of 3rd century.

46. Inv. 2721/9153

143Half-figure of a man. H. 52 cm, w. 46 cm.

Figure 49.

Figure 49.

Inv. 2721/9153

ḥbyby br | [b]ryky | [rb]’ | [ḥ]bl

“Ḥabibi, son of Bareiki the elder, alas!”

144L.3: a short name ending with is also a possibility.

145Date: second half of 2nd century.

47. Inv. 2548/8795

146Half-figure of a woman. H. 50 cm, w. 41 cm.

Figure 50.

Figure 50.

Inv. 2548/8795

’p’ brt | mqymw | ḥbl

“Apa, daughter of Moqimu, alas!”

147p’ is new (this reading seems better than ’y’ or ’w’).

148Date: second half of 2nd century.

48. Inv. 2611/8869

149Half-figure of a woman holding a baby. A girl standing to the left. H. 58 cm, w. 42 cm.

Figure 51.

Figure 51.

Inv. 2611/8869

šbḥyt | dy mtq|ry’ ṭṭ’ | ’tt ‘gyl | yrḥy brh | ’mt’ brth | ḥbl

“Šabḥit, also called Tita, wife of Ogeil. Iarḥai her son, Amata her daughter, alas!”

150One would expect yy’ for Titia. The name šbyt is new; it is formed on the root šb “to praise”, see CIS 4382: šby.

151Date: end of 2nd century.

49. Inv. 2446/8680

152Fragment of a double stele with veils, one man’s head preserved.

Figure 52.

Figure 52.

Inv. 2446/8680

153Inscription over left shoulder.

(left) šlmn | gdymt | bl

“Šalman, (son of Gadimat,) alas!”

154See Nabatean gdymt, Greek Γαδιμαθος.

(right) [šl]mlt | [..]’dynt | [b]l

“Šalamallat, [son of] Odainat (?), alas!”

155The reading ’dynt is rather uncertain, but the alternative qrynw or qrynt does not make any sense.

156Date: second half of 2nd century.

50. Inv. 1439/8583

157Upper left corner of a slab. Letters painted in red.

Figure 53.

Figure 53.

Inv. 1439/8583

b’ brt | šmšgrm | br bny bzy | ’tt b‘ly | br ‘gylw | bl

“Ḥabba, daughter of Šamšigeram, son of Bene Bazi, wife of Ba‘lai, son of ‘Ogeilû, alas!”

158Rather than two known personal names in l.3, we prefer the sense “member of the Bazy family”. For bzy (“Falcon”), cf. InvVIII, 24. Another stone from the tomb of the b‘ly family (cf. 5 above).

159Date: mid-2nd century.

51. Inv. 1438/8582

160Fragment, upper right corner of a slab.

Figure 54.

Figure 54.

Inv. 1438/8582

’qm’ | brt | ‘zy b[r] | mlkw | bl

“Aqma, daughter of ‘Azzai, son of Malkû, alas!”

161RTP707, 708 for ‘zy (shortened form of ‘zyzw, Stark 1971, p. 105).

162Date: 2nd century.

52. Inv. 2452/8688

163Man’s head and upper right corner with inscription. H. 27 cm, w. 31 cm, letters 18 mm.

Figure 55.

Figure 55.

Inv. 2452/8688

mqymw | br yrn | bl

“Moqimu, son of Ḥairan, alas!”

164Date: beginning of 2nd century.

53. B 2817/9330

165Double bust, man at right, woman on left, two veils behind, inscription between them. H. 46 cm, w. 53 cm, letters 19 mm.

Figure 56.

Figure 56.

B 2817/9330

‘lyt | w‘ttn | bny | ’spwr|q | bl

“Aliyat and ‘Attatan, children of Asporaq, alas!”

166L.4-5: ’spwrq is the Iranian name Aspōrag or Spurrag, see Gignoux2002, 145 and 846a respectively. The Greek form of the name Σποράκης is attested for a phylarchos of Anthemousias (Osrhoene) in the time of Trajan (Dio68, 21); in Latin Sporacius (at Rome, ICURVI, 16012). See as well P.Euphr.5, where a lady is from the village of Magdala of Sphorakene (κώ(μης) Μαγδάλης τς Σφωρακηνς): Feissel & Gascou1995, p.114-116.

167Date: mid-2nd century.

54. B 2838/9352

168Broken upper right corner. H. 20 cm, w. 15,5 cm, d. 6 cm, red letters 20 mm.

Figure 57.

Figure 57.

B 2838/9352

mlkw br | yrbwl’ | br tym[- - | - -]

“Malku, son of Iarḥibola, son of Taim…”

169The broken letter at the end could be a resh or a ‘ain, allowing restitutions tymrw or tym‘md, respectively.

55. B 2871/9365

170Upper part of a slab, man’s head preserved. Inscription painted in red in the right corner . H. 24 cm, w. 41 cm, letters 17 mm.

Figure 58.

Figure 58.

B 2871/9365

whblt | br zbd’ | bbw bl

“Wahballat, son of Zabda Babu, alas!”

171The name bbw is new.

172Date: second half of 2nd century.

56. B 2860/9374

173Fragment. H. 24,5 cm, w. 16 cm, red letters 16 mm.

Figure 59.

Figure 59.

B 2860/9374

[ḥ]bl | [t]m’ | br[t] | mqymw | š[l]mny | ’tt | nbwzbd | dnh

“Alas! Tamma, daughter of Moqimu Šalmanai, wife of this Nabuzabad.”

174L. 2: the left leg of the first letter must be the remains of a t. L.5: it is tempting to supply šlmny, even if the name (see CISII, 3, 4198) is marked as doubtful by Stark (1971, p.114).

57. B 2987/9514

175Half-figure of a woman broken on the right. H. 53 cm, w. 30 cm, letters 21 mm.

Figure 60.

Figure 60.

B 2987/9514

šgl | ’mt | zbd’ | lyt’ | dy nbwz’ | bl

“Šegel, maid of Zabda, (and) girl of Nebuza, alas!”

176mt means “female servant” in Aramaic, but in Palmyra appears here for the first time independently, and not in compound proper names. lyt’ (as Ταλιθα in Mark 5:41) is the feminine form, previously not attested in Palmyra, of ly’ “child, young person” (sometimes “the younger” as opposed to rb’ “the elder”), but was translated by “servant” as well (as puer in Latin). This interesting text shows that there was a semantic distinction between the two, insofar as Šegel is a servant of one man and otherwise dependent on another.

177Date: 2nd century

58. Arched stela, with standing woman

178Head broken.

Figure 61.

Figure 61.

Arched stela, with standing woman

bl | ’mtlt | brt | nbl

“Alas! Amatallat, daughter of Ḥennibel.”

179L. 2: last letter at the end of the following line.

180Date: 1st century.

59. Fragment of a slab

181Broken on the left. Cursive script.

Figure 62.

Figure 62.

Fragment of a slab

d/r[- - -] | m[- - -] | b[l] | bwzd/r[- - -] | d/rtym[- - -] | br tym[w- - -] | qbwr[’- - -] | b[l]

No translation of this fragmentary epitaph is possible.

60. A bearded head on a fragment of a loculus slab

182Inscription in the left corner.

Figure 63.

Figure 63.

A bearded head on a fragment of a loculus slab

šlmn br | šlmn slwqw|s

“Šalman, son of Šalman Seleukos.”

183Date: second half of 2nd century.

61. Fragmentary plaque

Figure 64.

Figure 64.

Fragmentary plaque

bl ’qm[’] | brt ml[- -]

“Alas! Aqma, daughter of Mal[- -].”

184qmt is another possible reading. The father’s name was mlkw or ml’.


185(F for funerary foundations and concessions)

186’bgr 38

187’bwhy 35

188’by’ 19

189’dynt 28; 49?

190’hwdy 30

191’wrly’ [F4]

192’wrlys F1

193t’ 4

194’yd‘n F2

195’ytybl 12

196’lys F1

197’mt’ 21; 27; 48

198’mtbl 18

199’mtlt 16; 58

200’spwrq 53

201’‘rg 12

202’p’ 47

203’qm’ 7; 12; 44; 51; 61

204’rws 44

205’šgdt 13

206bbw 55

207bzy (bny bzy) 50

208blyd‘ 40

209blnwr F4

210bnwr F2

211b‘y’ 11

212b‘ly 5; 32; 37; 42; 50

213bryky 46

214br‘t’ 39

215br‘th F1

216bty 45

217gdymt 49

218dhby F2

219dk’ 9

220hrms 19

221whby 24

222whblt 45; 55

223zb’ 36

224zbd’ 55; 57

225zbdbwl 4; 16; 43

226zbdbl 20; 22; 26

227zbyd’ 14; 21; 22; 31; 32; 40; 42

228zwzy F2

229ḥb’ 50

230ḥbyby 46

231ḥggw F2; 41

232ḥyrn 7; 11; 12; 23; 52

233ḥnbl 58

234ṭwr 5

235ṭṭ’ 48

236ydy‘bl F1; 22

237yd‘w 9

238ywly’ [F4]

239ywlys F1

240yrbwl’ F2; 16; 54

241yrḥy 45, 48

242khyly 11

243lšmš 2; 7; 37

244mws’ 43

245ml’ 23; 25; 30

246mlbṭ’? 38

247mlk’l 5; 42

248mlkw F2; 12; 14; 15; 29; 51; 54

249m‘n F1

250m‘ny 3; 43

251mqymw [F3]; 11; 47; 52; 56

252mrywn 24

253n’ry 14

254nbwz’ 56

255nbwzbd 56

256nwrbl 3

257nš’ 12

258ntnbl 12

259sby 31

260slwqws 60

261ssy 30

262‘bdnḥš [.]29

263‘g’ 32

264‘gb’ 34

265‘gyl 48

266‘gylw 27; 50

267‘dwn F1

268‘wyd’ 40

269‘zy 51

270‘lyš’ F3

271‘lyt 53

272rym’ 17

273‘šty 7

274‘tnwr 25

275‘t‘qb 13

276‘trn 10

277‘tšb’ 32

278‘ttn 36; 53

279qwz’ 41

280qlbṭ’? 38

281rdwn 10

282rb’l 9

283rg’ 1

284rmy 17; 34

285šbḥyt 48

286šgl 57

287šlm’ 5

288šlmn 49; 60

289šlmny 56

290šlmt 2; 39; 44

291šmg’ 20

292šmn’ 23

293šm/qy 8

294šm‘wn 21

295šmšgrm 50

296š‘šmš 27

297tybwl 1

298tymw 26

299tymn’ 34

300tym‘md 35

301tymrṣw F2; 13; 15; 41

302tm’ 6; 56

Uncomplete Names

303[- - -]m’ 18

304[.]rtny 9

305rtzyrn 9

306[…]t’ 5

307’[. .]šm’ F4

308’l[- -] F2

309mwq[- -] 37

310ml[- -] 61

311ty[- - -] 16

312tym[- -] 54

As always, it is both a duty and a pleasure to thank the Directorate General of the Antiquities and Museums for the permission to work in the museum of Palmyra. We wish to thank as well the present Director of Antiquities in Palmyra, W. al-As‘ad, the Director of the Museum, Kh. al-Hariri, and the whole museum team who were extremely helpful during our work.

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Balty (J.-Ch.) 1996 « Palmyre entre Orient et Occident : acculturation et résistances », AAAS 42, Palmyra and the Silk Road, p. 437-441.

BriquelChatonnet (Fr.) 1991, « Un petit autel votif palmyrénien », Semitica 40, p. 83-87.

Feissel (D.) & J. Gascou 1995, « Documents d’archives romains inédits du Moyen-Euphrate, I, les pétitions (P. Euphr. 1 à 5) », JournSav, p. 65-119.

Gawlikowski (M.) 1998, « Deux publicains et leur tombeau », Syria 75, p. 145-151.

Gignoux (Ph.) 2002, Iranisches Personennamenbuch II/2, Mitteliranische Personennamen, Noms propres sassanides en moyen-perse épigraphique, Vienna.

Gross (A. D.) 2005, « Three New Palmyrene Inscriptions », E. Cussini (ed.), A Journey to Palmyra. Collected Essays to Remember Delbert R. Hillers, Leiden, p. 89-102.

Harding (G. L.) 1971, An Index and Concordance of Pre-Islamic Arabian Names and Inscriptions, Toronto.

Ingholt (H.) 1935, « Five Dated Tombs from Palmyra », Berytus 3, p. 57-120.

Littmann (E.) 1904, AAES IV C, Safaitic Inscriptions, New York.

Littmann (E.) 1943, PAES IV C, Safaitic Inscriptions, Leiden.

Nöldeke (Th.) 1904, Beiträge zur Semitischen Sprachwissenschaft, Strasbourg.

Schlumberger (D.) 1942/1943, « Les gentilices romains des Palmyréniens », BEO 9, p. 53-82.

Solin (H.) 2003, Die Griechische Personennamen in Rom: Ein Namenbuch2 I, Berlin.

Stark (J. K.) 1971, Personal Names in Palmyrene Inscriptions, Oxford.

Yon (J.-B.) 2002, Les notables de Palmyre (BAH 163), Beirut.

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AAES Butler (H.C.) et al., Publications of an American Archaeological Expedition to Syria in 1899-1900, New York, 1903-1914.

CIS Corpus inscriptionum semiticarum.

Inv Cantineau (J.) et al., Inventaire des inscriptions de Palmyre, 12 vol., Beirut-Damascus, 1930-1975.

PAES Butler (H.C.) et al., Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Leiden, 1904-1949.

PAT Hillers (D.R.) & Cussini (E.), Palmyrene Aramaic Texts, Baltimore, 1996.

RSP Gawlikowski (M.), Recueil d’inscriptions palmyréniennes provenant des fouilles syriennes et polonaises récentes, Extrait des mémoires présentés par divers savants à l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 16, Paris, 1974.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1.
Légende Inv. 1518/9318
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre Figure 2.
Légende Inv. 2983/9507
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 3.
Légende Inv. 1443/8601
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Figure 4.
Légende Inv. 1457/8672
Fichier image/jpeg, 196k
Titre Figure 5.
Légende Inv. 2678/8984
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Figure 6.
Légende Inv. 1514/9295
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 7.
Légende Inv. 1488/9407
Fichier image/jpeg, 220k
Titre Figure 8.
Légende Fragment, no number
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Titre Figure 9.
Légende Inv. 1519/9319
Fichier image/jpeg, 212k
Titre Figure 10.
Légende Inv. 1519/9319
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Figure 11.
Légende Inv. 1377/7939
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Figure 12.
Légende Inv. 2660/8943
Fichier image/jpeg, 168k
Titre Figure 13.
Légende Half-figure of a man with a veil behind. Two tablets in his left hand. Number unknown
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Figure 14.
Légende Inv. 2984/9508
Fichier image/jpeg, 380k
Titre Figure 15.
Légende Inv. 2934/9458
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Figure 16.
Légende A man reclining, in Iranian dress. Number unknown.
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Figure 17.
Légende Inv. 2935/9459
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k
Titre Figure 18.
Légende Inv. 2928/9452
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Figure 19.
Légende Inv. 2979/9503
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Figure 20.
Légende Inv. 2974/9498
Fichier image/jpeg, 332k
Titre Figure 21.
Légende Inv. 2939/9463
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Figure 22.
Légende Inv. 3008/9549
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Figure 23.
Légende Inv. 3012/9553
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre Figure 24.
Légende Inv. 3007/9548
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Titre Figure 25.
Légende Inv. 3014/9555
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Figure 26.
Légende Inv. 3022/9565
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre Figure 27.
Légende Inv. 2739/9198
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Figure 28.
Légende Inv. 2512/8752
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Figure 29.
Légende Inv. 1463/8735
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 30.
Légende Inv. 2535/8779
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 31.
Légende Inv. 2281/8273
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 32.
Légende Inv. 2787/8708
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Figure 33.
Légende Inv. 2392/8614
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 34.
Légende Inv. 1440/8598
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 35.
Légende Inv. 2384/8605
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Figure 39.
Légende Inv. 1456/8670
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Figure 37.
Légende Arched undecorated stele with 3 lines
Fichier image/jpeg, 212k
Titre Figure 38.
Légende Inv. 2607/8865
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 40.
Légende Inv. 2428/8660
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Figure 41.
Légende Inv. 2580/8830
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Figure 42.
Légende Inv. 2577/8826
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Figure 43.
Légende Inv. 2572|8819
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Figure 44.
Légende Inv. 2471/8710
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Figure 45.
Légende Inv. 1458/8683
Fichier image/jpeg, 96k
Titre Figure 46.
Légende Inv. 1461/8708
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Figure 47.
Légende Inv. 2465/8702
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Figure 51.
Légende Inv. 2611/8869
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 49.
Légende Inv. 2721/9153
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Figure 50.
Légende Inv. 2548/8795
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Figure 52.
Légende Inv. 2446/8680
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Figure 53.
Légende Inv. 1439/8583
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Figure 54.
Légende Inv. 1438/8582
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Figure 55.
Légende Inv. 2452/8688
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Titre Figure 56.
Légende B 2817/9330
Fichier image/jpeg, 328k
Titre Figure 57.
Légende B 2838/9352
Fichier image/jpeg, 288k
Titre Figure 58.
Légende B 2871/9365
Fichier image/jpeg, 200k
Titre Figure 59.
Légende B 2860/9374
Fichier image/jpeg, 196k
Titre Figure 60.
Légende B 2987/9514
Fichier image/jpeg, 308k
Titre Figure 61.
Légende Arched stela, with standing woman
Fichier image/jpeg, 332k
Titre Figure 62.
Légende Fragment of a slab
Fichier image/jpeg, 240k
Titre Figure 63.
Légende A bearded head on a fragment of a loculus slab
Fichier image/jpeg, 252k
Titre Figure 64.
Légende Fragmentary plaque
Fichier image/jpeg, 220k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Khaled Al-Asʿad, Michal Gawlikowski et Jean-Baptiste Yon, « Aramaic Inscriptions in the Palmyra Museum  », Syria, 89 | 2012, 163-183.

Référence électronique

Khaled Al-Asʿad, Michal Gawlikowski et Jean-Baptiste Yon, « Aramaic Inscriptions in the Palmyra Museum  », Syria [En ligne], 89 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 juillet 2016, consulté le 21 septembre 2017. URL :

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Khaled Al-Asʿad

Palmyra Museum

Former director

Michal Gawlikowski

Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw

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Jean-Baptiste Yon

CNRS, Lyon

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