Blane W. Conklin, «Arslan Tash I and other Vestiges of a Particular Syrian Incantatory Thread», Vol. 84 (2003) 89-101
The first part of this article is a new translation and interpretation of the first incantational plaque from Arslan Tash in northern Syria. Each of the three succeeding sections identifies and discusses elements of this incantation that find resonance in texts from Ugarit, Egypt, and the Hebrew Bible, respectively. At Ugarit we find texts predating Arslan Tash which describe incantational activity involving Horon and the Sun-deity, both of whom are present in the Arslan Tash text, and who have similar roles in the two traditions. Horon is also present in Egypt during the last centuries of the city of Ugarit, and is there also associated with the Sun-deity and performs similar functions as at Arslan Tash. In the Passover account of Exod 12 there are several elements in common with Arslan Tash, albeit in the distinctive form that might be expected in the theological and literary tradition of the Hebrew Bible.
There are two texts from the 24th archeological campaign (1961) at Ras Shamra, ancient Ugarit, that provide a cultural precedent for the Arslan Tash incantation. They are not incantations per se, but stories that illustrate or explain incantations, which Pardee has classified as "para-myths" or "historiolae"26. In each of them, the deities H9o=ra4nu and S0aps\u (corresponding to H9awro4n and S0ams\ in AT1) are both involved in effecting a solution to a serpent problem. Though the date of these texts is uncertain, the kingdom of Ugarit fell around 1185 B.C., thus these texts are at least five centuries older than AT1.
RS 24.244 is very well preserved from beginning to end. In it, a mare who has divine ancestry asks her mother, S0aps\u, to take a message to twelve different deities, requesting a cure for snake venom, each of whom in turn fails to effect a cure, except for the last one, H9o=ra4nu. In this text S0aps\u functions as a messenger 27, a natural task for an entity who is on a constant circuit through the sky by day and through the underworld by night. When H9o=ra4nu gets the message, he goes to see the mare (line 61), then heads to a Mesopotamian city and gathers tree and plant parts, with which he neutralizes the venom (lines 62-67). H9o=ra4nu then returns to his home and his effective eradication of the venom is described (lines 67-69) 28. He next pays the mare a visit at her home (lines 70-76), where she has locked herself in her house, which is referred to as the "house of incantation". The story closes with H9o=ra4nu requesting entry into the house, and the mare demanding a bride-price of serpents, to which H9o=ra4nu agrees.
RS 24.251 is very poorly preserved, and though H9o=ra4nu is present, his role is unknown. S0aps\u , however, takes a quite prominent place in this story. Someone (S0RG.ZZ) is here the victim of a poisonous snake bite (in contrast with the previous text, where no event of snake bite is recounted). From the sky S0aps\u calls to the victim, asking what is wrong. The text then becomes too broken to understand anything significant. When the part of the text that is readable, or at least reconstructible, resumes, S0aps\u is being entreated to "gather the fog...gather the venom...destroy X from the mouth of the