Public Religious Sentiment and Personal Piety in the Ancient Near Eastern City of Emar during the Late Bronze Age

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Abstract

The textual finds from the Late Bronze Age city of Emar on the Euphrates River are one of the significant archaeological discoveries in ancient Syria. They provide an almost unparalleled source of information regarding an urban community that preserved the customs and religious beliefs of its semi-nomadic origins. As part of the Hittite empire, it accepted some of the imperial cultic practices, but on the whole, held on to its traditional rituals and cultic practices. This article surveys the rituals of the city that were concerned with the installation of the city's priestesses and the celebration of the festivals in honour of its major gods. A discussion of personal piety as manifest in the ephemeral documents and the private names of the citizens of the city follows.

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