Of the shorter inscriptions of the Phoenicians, by far the greater number were attached either to votive offerings or to tombs. Some hundreds have been found of both classes, but they are almost wholly without literary merit, being bald and jejune in the extreme, and presenting little variety. The depositor of a votive offering usually begins by mentioning the name and title, or titles, of the deity to whom he dedicates it. Then he appends his own name, with the names of his father and grandfather. Occasionally, but rarely, he describes his offering, and states the year in which it was set up. Finally, he asks the deity to bless him. The following are examples:—
INSCRIPTION OF UM-EL-AWAMID
“To the lord Baal-Shamaim, [the vow] which was vowed by Abdelim, son of Mattan, son of Abdelim, son of Baal-Shomar, of the district of Laodicea. This gateway and doors did I make in fulfilment of it. I built it in the 180th year of the Lord of Kings, and in the 143rd year of the people of Tyre, that it might be to me a memorial and for a good name beneath the feet of my lord, Baal-Shamaim, for ever. May he bless me!"
INSCRIPTION ON A CIPPUS FROM CARTHAGE
“To the lady Tanith, and to our master, the lord Baal-Hammon; the offerer is Abd-Melkarth, the Suffes, son of Abd-Melkarth, son of Hanno."
INSCRIPTION ON A CIPPUS FOUND IN MALTA
“To our lord Melkarth, the lord of Tyre. The offerer is thy servant, Abd-Osiri, and my brother, Osiri-Shomar, both [of us] sons of Osiri-Shomar, the son of Abd-Osiri. In hearing their voice, may he bless them."
INSCRIPTION ON A MARBLE ALTAR, BROUGHT FROM LARNAKA
“On the sixth day of the month Bul, in the twenty-first year of King Pumi-yitten, king of Citium and Idalium, and Tamasus, son of King Melek-yitten, king of Citium and Idalium, this altar and these two lions were given by Bodo, priest of Reseph-hets, son of Yakun-shalam, son of Esmunadon, to his lord Reseph-hets. May he bless [him]."