§139 The Queen’s Lookout

The Queen’s Lookout

(0139) Text: l ‘m bn ḥn bn ḥnn bn s²hyt bn s¹ny bn ks¹ṭ bn ‘bdhm [bn b‘r bn] s²h[r bn rṭḫ] w ḫrṣ mlkt ’l yhd f h[y] lt w rḍy s¹lm

Translation: By ‘m son of Hn son of Hnn son of Shyt son of Sny son of Kst son of ‘bdhm son of B‘r son of Shr son of Rth and he was on the lookout for the queen of the Jewish people so, O Lt and Rdy grant security.

Commentary: It is uncertain which queen this would refer to, but Berenice seems the most likely candidate, given that she was the client queen of Chalcis and de facto queen of Batanaea (and thus queen of the Jewish people) alongside her brother Agrippa II. Indeed, she is sometimes referred to as a queen in surviving epigraphs (e.g., AE 2006.1578: “[r]egina Berenice”). This was found a modest distance outside Batanaea’s borders, rendering the identification even more plausible. The inscription is in Safaitic and so the text is rendered here in transliteration instead of transcription, given difficulties in reproducing the latter (e.g., use of boustrephedon, non-standard characters).

Provenience: stateless desert region (Al-‘Īsāwī, Syria) 53-81 CE

Bibliography: OCIANA #0027104*