An important Near Eastern port city that, before the rise of the Phoenicians, constituted a principal trade link between the peoples of the Mesopotamian plains and the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean region. Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) was located on the coast of northern Syria a few miles north of the modern town of Latakia. Adjoining the Fertile Crescent, the site of Ugarit was inhabited at least as early as 6000 b.c. and probably earlier. In the centuries and millennia that followed, the town flourished, mainly because of its strategic location as a trading post. Pottery and/or writing tablets from many surrounding cultures have been found in Ugarit, including examples from Sumeria, Babylonia, Assyria, Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Cyprus, Crete, and Greece. In the second millennium b.c. the city came under the influence of the Egyptians, who periodically campaigned in Syria. Later it appears that Hurrians controlled Ugarit, which may actually have become part of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni for an undetermined period. If so, Ugarit became independent after Mitanni's fall in the fourteenth century b.c. It was during this period, lasting roughly from 1450 to 1200 b.c., that the city reached its height of wealth and power. Its fall at the close of this period was both sudden and unexpected. Ugarit was one of the cities sacked and destroyed during the upheavals brought about by the invasions of the so-called Sea Peoples in the early twelfth century b.c.
   Following its destruction, the site of Ugarit was eventually overgrown by soil and vegetation and was forgotten. Then, in 1928, a local Syrian farmer accidentally uncovered part of a Ugaritian cemetery while plowing his field. Soon, the French, who controlled Syria at the time, sent archaeologist Claude Shaeffer, from a museum in the French city of Strasbourg, to begin investigating the site. Considered to be among the most important ancient excavations in the Near East, the digs at Ugarit subsequently yielded a vast treasure trove of artifacts and information relating not only to the city itself but also to Mesopotamia and other neighboring regions. Shaeffer and other excavators unearthed a palace containing some ninety rooms arranged around eight courtyards. They also found libraries filled with well-preserved clay tablets. Because Ugarit was a thriving trading center, the writings on the tablets are in several languages, among them Su-merian, Akkadian (the language of the Babylonians and the Assyrians), Hurrian, and the local tongue, dubbed Ugaritic by scholars. Some tablets also feature ancient symbols and scripts from Egypt, Cyprus, and Crete. Another important discovery was that of a Ugaritic alphabet with thirty letters based on sounds. Like their Phoenician counterparts, the scribes of Ugarit were experimenting with a way to simplify the existing, complex cuneiform and hieroglyphic writing systems. it remains uncertain whether the Ugaritic alphabet developed before or after the Phoenician one, which was subsequently adopted by the Greeks and other European cultures.
   See also: Hurrians; languages; trade; writing

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

См. также в других словарях:

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  • Ugarit — Entrance to the royal palace at Ugarit …   Wikipedia

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  • Ugarit — Ugarit …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Ugarit — Ugarit,   kanaanäische Stadt an der Mittelmeerküste, heute die Ruinenstätte Ras Schạmra am gleichnamigen Kap, nördlich von Latakia, Syrien; im Altertum Handelsmetropole und bedeutendes Kulturzentrum, seit etwa 2400 v. Chr. keilschriftlich… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ugarit — Ugàrit m DEFINICIJA pov. grad u Siriji, značajna sredozemna luka u 2. tisućljeću pr. Kr.; danas Ras Šamra …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Ugarit — [o͞o gär′it, yo͞ogär′it] ancient city in NW Syria …   English World dictionary

  • Ugarit — /ooh geuh reet , yooh /, n. an ancient city in Syria, N of Latakia, on the site of modern Ras Shamra: destroyed by an earthquake early in the 13th century B.C.; excavations have yielded tablets written in cuneiform and hieroglyphic script that… …   Universalium

  • Ugarit — geographical name ancient city Syria on Mediterranean coast …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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