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Persephone Punic stele

The stele, shown in the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum

The Persephone Punic stele is a marble bas-relief stele of the Greek deity Persephone above a short punic inscription.[1]

The stele is in the Turin Archaeology Museum, with inventory number 50782. The Punic inscription is known as KAI 82 and CIS I 176.


It was first published in 1881, although it had been in the Turin museum for several years prior. The museum's curator at the time - Ariodante Fabretti - sent material to Ernest Renan which Renan stated proved "that the monument entered the museum through the care of an Italian consul at La Goulette, and that, consequently, it comes from the ruins of Carthage."[2]

However, in 1988 Maria Giulia Amadasi Guzzo and Serena Maria Cecchini argued that it may in fact come from Sardinia, like many of the other Punic artefacts in the Turin Museum: "The formula used in the inscription is known, but is not the most common among Carthage inscriptions... [but] is on the contrary very widespread in Sardinia: it is the rule on the Nora Stone and appears in four examples at Sulcis, where the inscribed stelae are few and often fragmentary".[3]


The Persephone Punic stele on the left, in the Archaeological Museum of Turin. On the right is the Carthage Festival inscription.

The stele measures 37 x 20 x 7 cm.[1]

The image of Persephone includes a diadem on her head, covered by a headscarf, and she is holding a bouquet of flowers. It is framed by two Doric columns, below a triangular area containing a squatting panther with its head turned back. The right antefix has an eleven-leaf palmetto; the left hand side is broken.


The inscription has been read as follows:[4]

  • Transcription: ndr ʿbdk mlkytn hšpṭ bn mhrbʿl hšpṭ
  • Translation: Vow of your servant MLKYTN the suffete, son of MHRBʿL the suffete.


  1. ^ a b "Cultura Italia: stele punica figurata con iscrizione". Cultura Italia, un patrimonio da esplorare - (in Italian). Retrieved 2023-07-02.
  2. ^ Ernest Renan, Gazette archéologique: revue des Musées Nationaux 1881-82, UN EX-VOTO CARTHAGINOIS, p.76: "La commission du Corpus ïnscriptionum semiticarum doit la communication du curieux monument carthaginois qui fait partie de cette livraison à M. Ariodante Fabretti, correspondant de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, conservateur du Musée de Turin. Il fait depuis plusieurs années partie de ce musée. Les renseignements que M. Fabretti a bien voulu nous transmettre prouvent que le monument est entré au musée par les soins d’un consul d’Italie à la Goulette, et que, par conséquent, il provient des ruines de Carthage."
  3. ^ Cecchini, Serena Maria; Amadasi Guzzo, Maria Giulia (1990). "La stele CIS I, 176: Carthage et son territoire (1988)". Histoire et archéologie de l'Afrique du Nord: Carthage et son territoire dans l'antiquité. Colloques internationaux sur l'histoire et l'archéologie de l'Afrique du Nord (in French). CTHS. p. 107. ISBN 978-2-7355-0201-1. Retrieved 2023-07-02. La formule employée dans l'inscription est connue, mais n'est pas des plus courantes parmi les inscriptions de Carthage... La formule de la stèle C.I.S. I, 176, inconnue dans les inscriptions de Malte et de Sicile, est au contraire bien répandue en Sardaigne: elle est de règle sur les stèles inscrites de Nora; elle apparaît dans quatre exemples à Sulcis, où les stèles inscrites sont peu nombreuses et souvent fragmentaires et où un seul exemple mentionne la divinité: Tanit, sans parèdre, ce qui est très rare ailleurs.
  4. ^ Moriggi, Marco (2011). "Phoenician and Punic Inscriptions in the Museo di Antichità di Torino (Turin, Italy)". Egitto e Vicino Oriente. Pisa University Press S.R.L. 34: 81–94. ISSN 0392-6885. JSTOR 24233436. Retrieved 2023-07-02.
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Persephone Punic stele
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