The mystery of an unknown god referenced in inscriptions from the A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ city of Palmyra has finally been solved.
Situated in modern day Syria, the A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ city – which served as a center for trade and flourished during the time of the Roman Empire around 2,000 years ago – has long been of interest to archaeologists.
One of its most enduring mysteries has been the identity of an unknown deity referenced in various inscriptions and referred to as “he whose name is blessed forever” or “lord of the universe”.
Now though, the mystery may have finally been solved thanks to the work of Aleksandra Kubiak-Schneider – a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wroclaw in Poland.
By comparing the inscriptions with those found in A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ Mesopotamia, she was able to determine that the deity being referenced is most likely not a single god but several.
These multiple deities, which included Bel-Marduk and Baalshamin, were referenced collectively but not directly as a sign of respect by the people of the time.
According to Kubiak-Schneider, those who wrote the inscriptions may have been reaching out – not to a specific god – but to any who would listen to their prayers.
“There was no one anonymous god, every god who listened and showed favor to requests deserved an eternal praise,” she told Live Science.