The Candler Scribe's Tablet
Interpreted by Tom Cox
My interest in history extends to historic properties. In the 1990’s we acquired the
1903 home of Asa Candler, the Founder of The Coca-Cola Company located in
Atlanta’s first subdivision, Inman Park.
Exploring this wonderful 12,000 square foot home with 26 stained glass windows
and nine fireplaces kept me busy.
However, an unexpected discovery in the attic excited me more than finding old
ads from 1916 to 1920.
It was a greenish/gray clay tablet with writing on it. The writing, at first glance, had
what appeared to be a number “2501”. My first thought was that this was a piece of
slate, which had been etched with the number.
My out-of-the-box curiosity got the better of me and I began to learn more about
this enigmatic tablet.
The tablet is about 8” x 14” x 1”. It has cleanly cut or sawed edges. The etching
appeared to be drawn with a stylus, not carved, and that would mean the drawing
was done when the tablet was wet and soft when the image was made into it. The
color of the tablet has various shades of green, black and blue-green.
Then, with all these observations whirling around in my mind, I remembered that
before paper and ink came around (The Egyptians were first with papyrus), that
scribes responsible for keeping records in the Mediterranean carried with them a
quick drying clay dust, a tray and stylus to record events, accounts decrees, etc.
When preparing to write, the scribe would mix some of the clay dust with water
and pour it onto the tablet, which was flat and had a short border all around. Once
the mixture reached a workable consistency, the scribe could begin “writing” onto the
surface, which dried to permanent status soon after the information was recorded
producing a permanent record.
This appeared to be the case with this tablet.
I was curious why Asa Candler would keep such an apparently insignificant object.
I knew Candler loved history and had seen articles about his interests and
artifacts finds. Then, by accident, I found a newspaper article describing his finding
of the very tablet I now have. He told the reporter that he had been walking on his
property near the confluence of Peavine Creek and Peachtree Creek. (This is now
part of the land he donated for the campus of Emory University-Atlanta).
He found the tablet jutting out of a bank on the creek.
Now, my interest increased and I began to look more closely at the tablet and try
to understand its reason for existence. I was turning it around in my hands. When I
turned it upside down it shocked me and made me laugh out loud.
What I was now looking at was the Old Lybian phrase used when consecrating an
object to Baal.
The tablet upside down read: “Dedicated to Baal”.
Now, I have an ancient scribe’s stylus-written tablet with a Mediterranean sun God
dedication memorial found in a creek bank in Atlanta, Georgia, by the Founder of the
Asa knew he had something, just like he knew he had something in the marketing
of a soft drink.
I wish I could tell him what he found.
Copyright © 2015 Thomas D. Cox, Sr. All Rights Reserved.No information illustrations,
photographs or any other part of this paper may be reproduced in
any form without the expressed, written permission of the author.
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