Must read information!

Below are excerpts re: child sacrifice from a book by a Historian, Professor
David Abulafia. The book is entitled: “The Great Sea” A Human History of the
Mediterranean.

The excerpts below from pages 81 and 82 specifically refer to Baal but I
encourage you to read all the excerpts.

I would add that even today child sacrifice is alive and well in the form of
abortion and in Britain on average over 500 unborn children are killed every
day.

Abortion sacrifices children on a mass industrial scale that even the Baal
and Molech worshippers
of ancient times were unable to achieve.

Professor Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at the University
of Cambridge and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, and was Chairman of
the Cambridge History Faculty.

His book looks at the history of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea
including the practice of child sacrifice in a number of these cultures.

Excerpts from “The Great Sea”:

* Pages 65 & 66 – “The religion of the Canaanites was also adopted – with
variations – by all but one of the peoples of the region, and even those who
opted out – the Hebrews – were not quite so exceptional, for their prophets
berated them for following Canaanite practices. The Israelites also knew the
Phoenician practice of sometimes immolating their first-born children in
sacrificial rituals that incurred the wrath and horror of the biblical
prophets and subsequently of Roman writers: ‘you shall not give any of your
seed to set them apart for Molech’.

* Page 75 – “………something that was real enough in the Phoenician
world, and was practised with especial fervour in Carthage: a human
sacrifice, intended to secure the good grace of the god Melqart at the
moment of the city’s foundation.

………..Early Carthage was not, then, sealed off from the developing
world of Greek trade and colonial settlement. Homer’s contempt for
‘Sidonian’ traders was the result of contact between the Phoenician and
Greek trading spheres. Remarkably, the Greek pottery was deposited as a
foundation offering underneath the shrine known as the tophet, where child
sacrifices took place………………”

* Page 76 – “…….Another feature reminiscent of Tyre was the existence of
purple dye factories, and so it was more than a trading station: it was a
centre of industry, including the production of iron goods. Its boom period
was the seventh century BC, and at this time child sacrifices became
increasingly common, though why this should have been so is far from clear.

* Pages 81 & 82 – “Though the Phoenicians intermarried with native peoples,
they did not lose their distinctive eastern Mediterranean culture, their
identity and identification as ‘Tyrians’ or ‘Canaanites’; nothing
demonstrated this more forcibly than the practice of human sacrifice, which
they carried with them from the land of Canaan. It was a practice that gave
rise to deep abhorrence among biblical and classical authors: the story of
the failed sacrifice of Isaac is one among many biblical invectives against
child sacrifice. If anything this practice increased in intensity in the new
settlements, especially Carthage, Sulcis and Motya. In the tophet at
Carthage, which lay to the south of the city and can be visited today,
children were offered to Baal for 600 years; in the last 200 years of the
city, 20,000 urns were filled with the bones of children (and, occasionally,
small animals), making an average of 100 urns a year, bearing in mind that
one urn might contain the bones of several children. The tophets were
special places of reverence. Very many urns contained the remains of what
seem to have been stillborn, premature and naturally aborted infants, and in
a society where infant mortality must have been high, many other remains
must be those of children who died naturally. The tophets were thus
graveyards for children who died prematurely; once adulthood was achieved,
burial replaced cremation. So, while human sacrifice did occur, as biblical
and classical sources insist, it was less common than the vast number of
jars containing infants’ charred bones at first sight suggests, increasing
in scale when great emergencies threatened, as the supreme way of appeasing
the gods. Two Greek historians report that when Carthage was besieged by the
tyrant of Syracuse in 310, the city fathers decided that they needed to
appease Baal, whose displeasure noble families had incurred by sacrificing
child slaves in place of their own firstborn; 500 noble children were then
offered to their angry god. A fourth-century stele from the tophet at
Carthage portrays a priest in a flat, fez-like headdress and a transparent
robe, carrying a child to the place of sacrifice. The practice, described by
classical and biblical texts, was to place the living child on the extended
arms of the statue of Baal; sacrificial victims then would drop, alive, from
the arms down into the burning fiery furnace that raged beneath. Child
sacrifice was a way of affirming their identity as servants of Baal, Melqart
and the Phoenician pantheon and as Tyrians hundreds of years after their
forefathers had migrated from Lebanon to North Africa, Sicily and Sardinia.
So, while the artistic output of the Phoenicians – and particularly of the
Carthaginians – may appear lacking in originality, these were people with an
overpowering sense of their identity.”

 

Written by Wilfred Wong