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Ebla was an ancient city in what is now Northern Syria.



Ebla is approximately one kilometre0.621 miles
49.71 chains
from the road between Aleppe and Hamath in Northern Syria, and approximately half way between those two places, in a mound known as Tell Mardikh.[1]


The site was excavated by Professor Paolo Matthiae from 1964, and in 1968 he discovered a statue dedicated to the goddess Ashtar. The statue had the name of a king of Ebla, Ibbit-Lim, and this was the first positive identification of the city, which had previously been known from Sumerian, Akkadian, and Egyptian documents.[1]

In 1974, 42 tablets were found, bearing a cuneiform script. The following year, 15,000 tablets were found. And in 1976, another 1,600 tablets were found.[1]

However, this was not the main library of the palace, which is yet to be found.

The tablets

Many of the tablets were large, up to 40 cm1.312 feet
15.748 inches
long, and having up to 3,000 lines on a single table.[1] The tablets include geographic names (260 in one tablet), lists of animals, fish, and birds, lists of professions, and names of officials.[1]

The work of translating the tablets fell to Professor Giovanni Pettinato, from the University of Rome, like Matthiae.[1]

The city

The tablets indicated that Ebla was divided into two sections and had a population of 260,000 people.[1]

Ebla was a centre of trade, and had contacts with places all over the Near East.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Wilson, Clifford, Ebla Tablets: Secrets of a forgotten City, Master Books, March 1979, ISBN 978-0685950159
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