Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Three coats of arms of Sir Hugh Wake over a royal Fatimid building inscription
Ascalon
1150 and 1241
Marble, carved and painted
H: 63; L: 149; D: 8 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1995-3731
 
 
This plaque attests to the upheavals experienced by the city of Ashkelon over the course of a century of war. While the Arabic inscription commemorates the construction of the defensive wall built by the Fatmids againt the Crusaders in 1150, the coats of arms Sir Hugh Wake of County Lincoln in England carved over it to attest to the 1241 Crusader restoration of the city's fortifications as protection against the Muslims.

The inscription relates that in the year 1150, during the days of the Fatimid Sultan al-Zafir, a tower was built (in Ascalon) by the order of the Grand Vizer of Cairo. Construction was carried out by the governor and qadi (judge) of Ascalon. The inscription contains the titles and honorifics of these officials, along with prayers and blessings.

Publications:
Sharon, M., A New Fatimid Inscription from Ascalon and its Historical Setting. 'Atiqot 26: 61–86., 1995
Rozenberg, S. (ed.), Knights of the Holy Land: The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1999
Chronicles of the Land, Archaeology in the Israel Museum Jerusalem, Dayagi-Mendels Michal, and Rozenberg, Silvia (eds.), The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 2010

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir