Some 300 small monolithic altars like this one have been found in Palmyra. Most of them are fire altars: small altars used to burn offerings, in this case incense grains. This type of altar has a pyramid-shaped upper section carved with an upper cupule. They may have been used to commemorate a religious festival or a major event in the life of the dedicant. Palmyrene temples must have contained large numbers of them. The altar bears a dedication to a deity written in Palmyrene, which is difficult to decipher here. It also bears a relief of two standing men wearing a belted tunic and mantle. The man on the left places his hands on his temples while the man on the right raises both arms to either side of his head in a gesture of beseechment.

Nature: Limestone altar

Dimensions: H.: 53 cm; L.: 22 cm

Origin: Palmyra

Date: 2nd-3rd centuries  CE

Writing: Inscription in the Palmyrene alphabet

Language: Palmyrene, dialect derived from Aramaic

Inventory number: AO 11450