Phoenicians in America: Is the Paraiba Stone of Brazil Genuine?

The main purpose of this article is not to change the mind of skeptics, rather to clarify the interpretation of the Paraiba Inscription of Brazil written in ancient old world Phoenician. Fraud or genuine, the scientific method would require at least as much for the research of such a claim. The benefits will either help clarify the extent to which ancient Phoenician was understood by 17th Century scholars or it will help determine the greater extent of the Old World‟s discovery of America.

For the purposes of this study, Hebrew is to be read from right to left (in the opposite direction of English). Hebrew writing contains three letter root words (occasionally two) with affixes added to the word to expand its meaning. Most of these affixes used in this lesson are labeled in the chart below: Affix Prefix/Suffix ‫ ו‬Vav P ‫ ב‬Bet P ‫ כ‬Kaf P ‫ ל‬Lamed P ‫ מ‬Mem P ‫ ה‬He P ‫ ה‬He P ‫ ה‬He P ‫ א‬Alef P ‫ י‬Yud P ‫ נ‬Nun P ‫ ת‬Tav P ‫ ש‬Shin P ‫ ם‬Mem S ‫ ת‬Tav S Meaning and, but at, in, with, by like, as to, for from the a question(?) involuntary action I will he will we will they will whom, that Plural Plural Type . Conjunction Preposition “ “ “ Article Interrogative Verb tense: Causitive “: 1st person future “: 3rd person future “: 1st person future plural “: 3rd person future (feminine in Bible) Pronoun Masculine Feminine

The alleged forged inscription was circulated by Ladislau de souza Mello Netto in 1872. Netto, the interim director of the Museu National in Brazil, claimed the inscription was Phoenician (an ancient

Instead there is very little in common. proved that there was an ancient American contact with the Old World. Yet. it is highly suspicious that the stone itself has never been found and that it was said to be found in four pieces much like the Moabite Stone of King Mesa found in Jordan and published in 1870. Netto was described as having an interest in pre-Columbian Old-World contact with the Americas. this line of reasoning should continue to compare the two inscriptions for commonalities that would expose a work of fraud. The remaining 31 lines relay the acts of King Mesa in victory. that is. especially regarding word for word matches. however. These speculations and opinions may be useful in confirming the methods and mindset of a potential fraud. From this interpretation a foundation will be laid towards the purpose of the Phoenician inscription. Brazil. Taking a closer look ourselves reveals little or no commonalities that a fraud would have eagerly been ready to copy. Using an unbiased scientific method. The common elements that . Consider the Brazilian Paraiba inscription found in 1872 to the Jordan Moabite Stone from 1870. Massachusetts. nor of their character assessment of him. they do nothing to determine the value of the inscription itself. There is not even a sequence of even two words that match. As well. The critics of Netto used the Moabite stone as a precursor to a fraudulent Paraiba inscription. but on an interpretation of the inscription itself. Brandeis University. This research focuses. not on the opinions of contemporary scholars of Netto‟s day. A translation was also provided in 1967 by Cyrus Herzel Gordon. Waltham. expert in Semitic languages and head of the Department of Mediterranean Studies. As shown above. In the opinion of those who believe the inscription is a fraud. The first three lines from each inscription are given below: These initial three lines of 34 from the Moabite stone were chosen for their similarity with the Paraiba inscription. the first three lines of each inscription. have very little resemblance wording. The reasoning that Netto would have had access to this Moabite stone research two years before coming forward with the Paraiba stone. expansion and city building and have very few common words with the 8 lines of Phoenician words from Brazil. the assumptions stop there.Sematic language) and since it was found on a farm in Paraiba. the most similar lines.

like Julius Caesar perhaps. not an analysis of the scholarly decipherment of the Paraiba inscription provided by Gordan. not concealing his exaggerated enthusiasm about Phoenician sailing against the odds to South America and earnestly defended the existence of Atlantis…. five years earlier. Nor would a serious skeptic hold to the fact that. “Et tu. however. Yet. which includes the year of the reign of the current king. this line of reasoning stretches into complete conjecture and eventually a character assassination of Netto himself. More from the Zeitschrift document: … the so-called discovery of a Phoenician inscription in Brazil would provide Ladislau Netto a rare opportunity to see his name registered by the greatest cultural centers of the world… If it is not enough to regard Netto as the nerd of all geeks. Maybe there is someone who enjoys knitting that we can get to decipher the stone. At some point is there any mercy for the guy? No wonder he eventually recanted his belief and said there was some anonymous fraud out there. Joffily of Brasilia in the 1972 Zeitschrift der DeutschenMorgenlaendischen Gesellschaft No doubt that further information was the unscientific character assassination of Netto. What a nut.occur are those of writing style and etiquette. analyzed the apocryphal text without seeking further information about the finding… Geraldo I. we should regard Netto as freakish as Plato who believed the same. the newer find must therefore be a fraud. even these aspects differ remarkably between the inscriptions. a leading Semitic scholar. Each inscription begins with a personal introduction. is there a person willing to use the scientific method toward this reasonable inquiry: “What does the inscription itself prove if anything?” . Consider what was said of Netto himself from the same document: …. Alas. And who would one expect to attempt a decipherment of a Phoenician inscription found in Brazil other than someone interested in evidence of pre-Columbian transatlantic contact with America? It is clear that a skeptical scholar considering such a theory will not attempt a decipherment of an alleged Phoenician inscription from America. since both stones were reported broken in four pieces. well at least consider him too ambitious. An in depth study of the inscription itself is required. Perhaps a fraud could be sparked into writing a fake inscription after reading the newly published work on the Moabite stone. consider these lines regarding the character of Cyrus Gordan: …but with a very fertile imagination and believes in these sensational divulgations. He knew and possessed reasonable Hebraic knowledge on Phoenician inscriptions. Then they both include a sign of respect for the gods. To clarify the attempt of skeptics to focus on the character of the researcher. Brute?” must have been his last words to the land owner of the stone who wanted nothing to do with his good name being tarnished.

However. in 1967 archaeologists found the Deir Alla Inscription in Jordan. where Alef was replaced with Vav in certain cases. the possibility exists that a genuine Phoenician carver may have abbreviated certain words. missing the suffix Yod which would confirm the plural and the construct of. Alef 1st Person Plural present tense in Aramaic Dialect (Daniel 3:16/Ezra 5:11) Those who believe the Paraiba Stone is a fake would point out that Phoenician as a Canaanite language is not Aramaic. the Phoenician Paraiba Stone inscription reads: Paraiba Stone – Line 1: ‫נחנא בן כנענ מצדנ מהקרת המלך סחר השלך‬ are cast / trade/kingdom/from East/from Sidon/Canaan/children/we (are) We are children of Canaan from Sidon of the Eastern Kingdom of Merchants and are cast The Semitic triple letter root words are underlined below with dashes joining the affixes to each word: ‫שלך‬-‫מלך סחר ה‬-‫ת ה‬-)‫קד(מ‬-‫ה‬-‫צדן מ‬-‫א בן כנען מ‬-‫נחנ‬ cast merchant kingdom east Sidon Canaan child we Line One Affix Chart: Root Type Affix Purpose We Pron. a current Hebrew dictionary and a survey of the contemporary inscriptions and writing. Since the Paraiba Phoenician inscription was found in Brazil in 1872.Based on the interpretation of former scholars. Yet. which are telling of a fraudulent inscriber unfamiliar with the language. not Aramaic. is not an acceptable argument to substantiate the Paraiba Stone as a fraud. Canaan Noun Netto adds the Mem as a suffix for Canaanites. However. Sidon Noun Mem Preposition from East Noun Mem Preposition from Heh Article the Tav Suffix construct indicating of. The fraud camp would argue that there should be a consideration of such misspellings. the likelihood that it is genuine has increased because Aramaic grammar is found on the Phoenician script. Also. This word is missing a letter Mem before the Tav . the presence of the Alef where there is usually a Vav contradicts the occurrence of the Canaanite Shift of the mid-Second Millennium. The conclusion is that the Canaanite Shift and Phoenician dialect as Canaanite. its combination of Aramaic and Phoenician grammar supports an acceptable standard of the script that modern scholars were only aware of in 1967. which is written with a blend of Aramaic and South Canaanite writing. This is a misspelling and would require the Yod. Child Noun We are children of (accompanied by pronoun modifier). To the contrary. which is often the case with regards to stone carved inscriptions.

The word for beside could easily be translated as „gold‟ with a slight misspelling. a little excessive. Perhaps these are the efforts of a truly lost Phoenician somewhat vigilant in prayer due to his circumstances. which may be the case. only slight abbreviations appear genuine. which is an educated guess vs. He likely did not fraud a text he could not sufficiently translate. I pray. revealing something of the beliefs of these ancient castaways. Paraiba Stone – Line 2: ‫נא אל א י צד ח(י)קת ארץ הרם ונשת בחר לעליונם‬ gods/choice gift/offering/mountains/land/central / beside/where/hither/I pray I pray here beside a central land of mountains (with this) offered choice gift to the Most High Gods Without the complete analysis used in line one. The only clear word he used forced out of the Phoenician text is stone. Kingdom Noun Heh Article the Merchant Noun Missing construct of. where a Century later others are able to better decipher. These excessive additions should elaborate on an abbreviated text. Gordan translates the word as city. so often without making his attempt sound. the text as it stands is legible by studying potential root words and affixes. which adds weight to the argument that the actual stone is needed for a complete analysis. there appears to be no difference between the „n‟ and „l‟ letter sounds. He also added words at the beginning with this stone monument is set up by. Paraiba Stone – Line 3: . but of strict honesty. Why would Netto not twist his imagination to use this word so much associated with King Hiram and the ships of Solomon‟s Temple unless the work was actually not an attempt at fraud.and is likely abbreviated. For instance. however. Netto translates the word as stations (for trading). All things considered. while also considering their desperate circumstances. I pray. It is not clear why a fraud would write. Gordan‟s interpretation reads: and offered a young man to the gods. This use of the involuntary prefix is an indication of a refined knowledge of grammar more likely used by one who speaks the language than by a 17th Century hoaxer. Plausibly saving space. Netto adds several Yods here to the text (‫ ) יה ייקרת יהייי‬and translates in order to establish. a misspelling of the Phoenician „d‟ where an „r‟ is required. however. is used three times in the text. In this case. but rather the best 17th Century attempt at a decipherment. This research toned down the wording to a choice gift. consider the following points: I pray. Care in decipherment is needed where a slight difference in the letter occurs. the actual translation of verb cast with involuntary prefix. for the most part confirmed from Gordan‟s research. Cast Verb Heh Causative prefix clarifying that the merchants were cast off involuntarily. Netto‟s translation is not a fraudulent attempt. It is likely that Gordan is correct.

It appears Gordan is more skilled at translating a genuine artifact. Paraiba Stone – Line 6: ‫מיד בעל ולא נה את חבר נא ונבא הלם שנם־עסר‬ 12 / hitherto/ come/now/companions/among/remain/and not/ Baal/by the hand . Paraiba Stone – Line 5: ‫בים יחד השתם שנם סבב לארץ לחם ונבדל‬ ‫ונהיה‬ separated/of Ham/of the land/around/two/assuredly/ together/at sea/we were we were at sea together assuredly two years around the land of Ham separated The three-lettered Hebrew word for separated is modified by two prefixes: the Vav representing and. which somehow modifies the verb to separate. (still) strong It is true that many of the facts associated with the Biblical Hebrew text regarding the building of Solomon‟s Temple with the help of King Hiram‟s trading vessels.‫לחרם מלכ נא אבר‬ ‫בשנת תשעת־ועשרת‬ ‫ועליונת‬ strong / I pray/King/of Hiram / 19 / in year /of the goddesses and Most High Goddesses in year 19 of King Hiram. Their caravans would be much safer with local inexpensive items. However. Gordan appeared aware of this abbreviation in his decipherment where Netto fell short. before such fraudulent explanations can be assumed. Biblical events are confirmed often enough in archeological finds of the Middle-East. Paraiba Stone – Line 4: ‫בימ־סף ונ נסע עם אנית עשרת‬ ‫ונהלו מעצון־גבר‬ 10 /ships/ with/journeyed/thereby/at the Red Sea/from Ezion-geber/from the valley from the valley of Ezion-geber at the Red Sea thereby journeyed with 10 ships A consideration of the trading items given by the Phoenicians related to what they exchange with inhabitants of the African coast would assist the research in understanding the advantage of merchants from Sidon embarking from the Red Sea around Africa to the Mediterranean instead of the other way around. is that the ships arrive at the city itself with foreign goods which are more valuable to the region than those goods they carried over land from Sidon to Ezion-geber. without the necessitating fraudulent claims. A fraudulent person might attempt to underscore this event from the Hebrew Bible. Following the sentence structure. and the Nun. I pray. The advantage for Sidon. More study is needed regarding new discoveries in the use of Phoenician scripts as they relate to this text. the affix Nun appears to contract the words we were separated uniting the beginning of the line to the end while eliminating the necessity of three more letters to carve.

Paraiba Stone – Line 8: ‫יחלנא‬ ‫ועליונת‬ ‫עליונם‬ ‫חבלתיא‬ sure hope / and Goddesses / Most High Gods/ a pledge a pledge to the Most High Gods and Goddesses (with) sure hope Perhaps no words can be added to such a phrase…. while Netto misses the Nun-we-have affix. Paraiba Stone – Line 7: ‫מתם ושלשת נשם באי חדת אש אך כי מת עשרת אבר‬ bow the knee/rich/men/whom/sure/I make/new/at this land/women/and three/men men and three women at this land devoted I make. The sentence is difficult to translate. For instance. In two cases above. while Gordan picks up on most of them. in the word ten where the Hebrew uses only the letter Sin. even whom men of wealth bow the knee The interpretation used in this article differs in line seven and eight from Gordan‟s decipherment more than any other lines. Gordan translates no longer with our companions including every two letter word in the sequence. Netto translates carried far away from their companions which appears to be adding misused educated guesswork from earlier in the text to fill in the words he is having trouble deciphering. it is unlikely that he would pick up on this style of language and use it consistently throughout a fraudulent text to make his work appear more genuine. This is the second indication of a clearly Aramaic-only word on this inscription. as it relates to the word for pledge at the beginning of line 8. now we have come here 12 A similar abbreviation is used as in the above line with this lines phrase we have the hand of Baal and no (longer) remained among our companions. Object phrase order often used in classical Semitic. much less that the Phoenicians preferred the Aramaic. It is suggested here that a further study of the vow or pledge used in the Hebrew Bible‟s II Chronicles 6:22. . Following the reasoning of Netto as a fraud. he would not have likely even known of the Aramaic use of the Samekh in place of the Sin. All things considered it is more likely to be a genuine inscription written by a person who speaks the language together with these minute specifics of the dialect. Netto appears to know half of the roots and affixes. ‫ש‬. not the Samekh. may help clarify the understanding of the making of the pledge interpreted above. the inscriber used this surrounding of the sentence with the main idea of the phrase in a Verb. he more than likely would have used the word for ten written in the Hebrew Bible which contains the Sin. this word „ten‟ stands out as a flag word for a genuine Phoenician inscription made by a merchant influenced by Aramaic traveling Jews. Subject. Gordan picks up on the abbreviation. It involves understanding the abbreviation of I make from the Alef and Shin in line 7. Moreover. a language confirmed to be blended into the Phoenician text of Deir Alla in the Jordan. If Netto was copying from what limited Semetic resources he had. Another interesting find only in Aramaic contexts is the use of the letter Samekh ‫ס‬. using his translation telling of a very limited understanding of early Semitic writing. Again. Therefore.

We sacrificed a youth to the celestial gods and goddesses in the 19th year of our mighty King Hiram and embarked from Ezion-geber into the Red Sea.: We are children of Canaan from Sidon of the Eastern Kingdom of Merchants and are cast. mountainous and arid. I pray. Former translations: The underlined words correspond with the common elements between former translations and the one presented in this article. and carried far away from their companions. Netto‟s translation (50+% accurate) from 1872 reads: This stone monument has been cut by Canaanites of Sidon who. from the valley of Ezion-geber of the Red Sea. So we have come here. have taken possession. after having embarked colonists in 10 ships. We voyaged with 10 ships and were at sea together for 2 years around Africa (Ham). a land of mountains. Of whom I. set out on a voyage in the 19th year of the reign of Hiram our powerful king. and became separated from the flagship. under the protection of the gods and goddesses. Devoted. servant of the powerful goddess Astarte. We were cast up on this distant shore. in order to establish trading stations in distant lands. Am I. since Hiram worked with Solomon in gathering resources from abroad to make his temple in Jerusalem. the Admiral. I pray (still) strong.The Complete Paraiba Stone Translation: The words of a stranded Phoenician in South America in the 6th Century b.c. May the gods and goddesses come to my aid. . We were separated by the hand of Baal and no longer remained among our companions. a man who would flee? Nay! May the celestial gods and goddesses favor us well.e. 12 men and 3 women. They departed from Ashongaber in the Red Sea. the unhappy Metu-Astarte. here beside a central land of mountains (with this) offered choice gift to the Most High Gods and Goddesses in year 19 of King Hiram. 12 men and 3 women at this new land. we have come here. Thereby (we) journeyed with 10 ships and we were at sea together assuredly two years around the land of Ham. Then we were separated by the hand of Baal and were no longer with our companions. a pledge to the Most High Gods and Goddesses (with) sure hope. even whom men of wealth bow the knee. Conclusion: It makes sense that the ships of Hiram would have Phoenicians who were aware of the Aramaic dialect. I make. I pray. 10 men and 3 women arrived here on this unknown coast. Gordan‟s translation (90+% accurate) from 1976 reads: We are Sidonian Canaanites from the city of the Merchantile King. into New Shore.

have taken possession. It was only in the late 19th Century that such an inscription was found for comparison and confirmation. bend my own knee and pledge to the Gods and Goddesses in full http://www. May the gods and goddesses come to my aid. In 1967. His confession sounds prideful. a non-Aramaic Semitic language would borrow from the http://www. the inscriber speaks of his status as high enough for men of wealth to bow before him in his devoted pledge to the Most High Gods and Goddesses. Grand Rapids. What was linguistically possible in the 17th Century could not have fraudulently produced such a refined Phoenician inscription. 1970. The Englishman‟s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament. that being the Deir Alla from Jordan. In essence. he is saying.jpg http://nephicode. letter for letter. Gordan is far more successful with over 90% understanding of the Phoenician inscription of the Paraiba Stone.html Hebrew-English Holy Scriptures. Instead he believes the work is genuine. we know of those from among the Vikings. was a sign of humility not pride in this culture. which essentially would not give a second glance to claims outside of the norm.” Most of these words he has to accept as misspelled or force into the Netto. He is not forging what he does not http://www. but has only partial linguistic understanding of the text. who did not forge the script. References: http://patagoniamonsters. but a similar confession by the Roman Centurion before Jesus of Nazareth was regarded favorably by from the Middle East.There are at least two striking instances where Aramaic linguistic habits are used in this Paraiba inscription.htm who travelled the globe in search of new lands and found them in the Americas. The scholastic atmosphere Netto had to face was cluttered with the eras‟ socio-political bias.badarchaeology.wikipedia. In reality. This is what you would expect from an actual genuine archaeological find. but now http://en. Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. As well. of India and China.livius. Instead. servant of the powerful goddess Astarte. St Ives Those early critiques that declared this inscription a fraud appeared more interested in defaming the character of Netto than actually testing the script word for word. A 17th Century fraud would very likely not have been aware that Phoenician. We build upon the shoulders of former scholars in our understanding of genuine texts. What he does not understand he fills in with educated guesses and his own cultures assumptions. 2002. wrote his educated guess about the prayer as: “Of whom I.html https://en. therefore. there were sailors before Columbus.boloji. In 1872. together with the contemporaries who assisted him.wikipedia.html http://www. England: Clays Ltd.html http://www. “I‟m devotedly pleading to heaven. Acknowledgement of status. do manage to decipher 50% of the inscription. Netto.” It is not the sort of prayer you would expect a 17th Century forger to come up with.wikipedia.flavinscorner. . much less interpret I whom rich men bow the knee. especially when such embellishments were frowned upon by contemporaries of Netto.gentlewisdom. the unhappy Metu-Astarte.