My soul, that is in this stele

Some 2,700 years ago in the ancient city of Sam’al, in what is now modern Turkey, an elderly servant of the king sits in a corner of his house and contemplates the nature of his soul. His name is Katumuwa.

He stares at a basalt stele made for him, featuring his own graven portrait together with an inscription in ancient Aramaic. It instructs his family, when he dies, to celebrate ‘a feast at this chamber: a bull for Hadad harpatalli and a ram for Nik-arawas of the hunters and a ram for Shamash, and a ram for Hadad of the vineyards, and a ram for Kubaba, and a ram for my soul that is in this stele.’

This stele might be one of the earliest written records of dualism: the belief that our conscious mind is located in an immaterial soul or spirit, distinct from the matter of the body.

Read more courtesy of Johnjoe McFadden via Aeon.co

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