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KNMY inscription

KAI 79

The KNMY inscription (KAI 79 or CIS I 3785) is an inscription in the Punic language from Carthage that is believed to record a so-called "molk" child sacrifice.[1] The text is inscribed on a 55 cm high stela that was discovered in 1922.[2]

In this inscription KNMY, a Carthaginian slave (or "servant"), says that he "vowed" (nador) "his flesh" (BŠRY, cf. Hebrew beśarō) to the two major gods of Carthage, Tinnīt-Phanebal and Ba‘al-Ḥammon, which is understood to mean that he sacrificed a child of his (Krahmalkov translates BŠRY as "<this child> of his own flesh"[3]).

The name rendered in Punic as KNMY is not otherwise known. It is not Semitic, but probably Libyan or Berber.[4] The inscription ends with a curse for those who might remove or damage the stela.

Text of the inscription

The inscription reads:[5][6][7]

(line 1) LRBT LTNT PN B‘L (Dedicated) to the Lady (to) Tinnīt-Phanebal
(2) WL’DN LB‘L ḤMN and to the Lord (to) Ba‘al-Ḥammon,
(3) ’Š NDR KNMY is (the sacrifice) that KNMY vowed,
(3-5) ‘/BD ’ŠMN‘MS / BN B‘LYTN —the sl/ave of Esmûnamos / son of Ba‘alyaton—:
(5-6) BŠ/RY his fl/esh.
(6) TBRK’ May you (Tinnīt-Phanebal and Ba‘al-Ḥammon) bless him (KNMY)!
(6-8) WK/L ’Š LSR T ’B/N Z And any/one who (= if anyone) shall remove this st/one
(8) BY PY ’NK without the permission of myself
(8-10) W/BY PY ’DM BŠ/MY and / without the permission of someone in my n/ame,
(10-11) WŠPṬ TNT PN / B‘L BRḤ ’DM H’ then Tinnīt-Phanebal will condemn / the intent of that person!


  1. ^ Roschinski, Hans Peter (1988), 'Punische Inschriften zum MLK-Opfer und seinem Ersatz' [Punic inscriptions regarding the MLK-sacrifice and its substitute], in: Butterweck, Christel (1988). Grab-, Sarg-, Votiv- und Bauinschriften (Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments, Vol. II.4: Religiöse Texte). Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus. pp. 606–620. ISBN 978-3-641-21767-9.
  2. ^ Dussaud, René (1922). "Trente-huit textes puniques provenant du sanctuaire des ports à Carthage [38 Punic texts from the harbour sanctuary at Carthage]". Bulletin archéologique du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques (France): 243–260: 246–248. Retrieved 17 December 2022. (BnF Gallica)
  3. ^ Krahmalkov, Charles R. (2000). Phoenician-Punic Dictionary. Leuven: Peeters / Departement Oosterse Studies. pp. 113, 496. ISBN 90-429-0770-3.
  4. ^ Roschinski (1988), p. 612(note).
  5. ^ Donner, Herbert; Rölig, Wolfgang (2002). Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften (5 ed.). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. p. I, 20.
  6. ^ Roschinski (1988), pp. 612-613.
  7. ^ Krahmalkov (2000), pp. 101, 113.
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KNMY inscription
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