Episode 1.3 – The Colonies of Vassals

The Nora Stone - a 9th century Phoenician votive stele from Nora, Sardinia
The Nora Stone from Nora, Sardinia

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The Late Bronze Age collapse was the first domino to fall that allowed the Phoenician city of Tyre to rise to the top. The resulting circumstances permitted Hiram I to consolidate religious, political and economic power within himself and his dynasty. To seal the deal, he also propped up the Phoenician god Melqart and his consort, Astarte. The resulting milieu allowed the Tyrians to take their trading to new heights. With newer economic opportunities and the aegis of Melqart, the Tyrians began a program of colonization that lasted for centuries. The Tyrians rowed their boats to all corners of the Mediterranean. Within a few hundred years, they found themselves establishing trading posts, industrial centers, and even full-blown settlements in Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, Malta, Sicily, Libya, the Balearic Islands and Spain. There was no place in the Mediterranean that the Phoenician trader didn’t get to see.

Today, we will take a closer look at the regions that the Tyrians chose to colonize. We will try to make sense of their geographical choices and attempt to see what these choices tell us. We will examine the archaeological timeline of this colonization and compare it to events in mainland Phoenician to help us understand what Tyre was really after. We will study some of the claims made by the ancient Greco-Roman authors, as well as explore the archaeology found at these settlements. And we will do this by taking a tour of the Mediterranean Sea. And we will begin our trip on the island of Cyprus.

Ready? Let’s go.

The first stop for a trader after venturing out of Tyre was Kition, a settlement on Cyprus. Kition is arguably the oldest Tyrian settlement anywhere in the Mediterranean, dating to the 10th century BC. It was one of many Tyrian colonies here. At first, Tyre’s various Cypriot colonies were just trading posts. Over time, the local copper mines induced the development of smelting workshops in these towns. But, eventually, Kition outshone all the others, emerging as the lone copper smelting center on the island. Due to her proximity to Tyre, domicile arrangements here appeared earlier than in other places.

The closest sites outside of Cyprus to exhibit any signs of a Phoenician presence are the islands of Rhodes and Crete. Perhaps these were just posts for trading with the Ionian Greeks that lived on the coast of Anatolia, for we do know from the literature that the Tyrians carried their trade to the Greeks as well. Maybe they were resting stops for sailors on their way to other parts of the Mediterranean, as we had seen in the last episode.

Further West of Cyprus, Rhodes & Crete was Sicily. Since Sicily is going to take center stage as we progress further into Carthage’s history, it warrants a more detailed treatment here, than is necessary for other regions. And since Sicily is essential for the history of the Mediterranean in general, the ancient authors, too, have spilled much ink on her. We will first consider what Thucydides has to say about Sicily and then examine his claims in the light of modern archaeology. There’s quite a bit of claiming and counter-claiming going on here, so I’m going to try and keep things as simple as possible.

Thucydides makes three specific claims about the Phoenicians on Sicily. First, he claims that the Phoenicians occupied Sicily before the Greeks. Second, Thucydides claims that the Phoenicians settled the entire coast of Sicily before the Greeks’ arrival. And third, he argues that when the Greeks founded Naxos in the eighth century BC, the Phoenicians moved to the western end of the island and confined themselves there. His third claim seems to be a natural result of his first two claims.

All three of Thucydides’ claims, however, are archaeologically untenable. At least at first glance. First, the earliest Phoenician remains on the island can only be reliably dated to the eighth century, which is the century in which the Greeks began occupying the island’s eastern edge. Thus, the first of Thucydides’ claims become suspect. Second, there is no direct evidence to suggest that the Phoenicians ever occupied the eastern edge of the island, let alone her entire coast. They seemed to have planted themselves directly in the West, thus, rendering Thucydides’ second claim suspect, too. In other words, archaeologically at least, the Greeks and the Phoenicians seem to have landed on Sicily at about the same time, and on opposite ends of the island. And if the archaeological evidence reflects reality, then the Phoenicians planting themselves directly in the West also means that they never had to move out of the East, thus also negating Thucydides’ third claim.

Based on this evidence, some historians have suggested that Thucydides just made his claims up. These historians claim that in Thucydides mind, if the Phoenicians came from the eastern direction, then they should have settled the east of Sicily first. But since in Thucydides’ time they had settled the West and couldn’t be found anywhere in the east, he needed to explain how it was that they got there. So he made up the story of how they had settled the east, spread over the entire island, and then shifted to the west upon the arrival of the Greeks.

But if Thucydides is wrong, and the Phoenicians did plant themselves directly on the Western edge of the island, then why should the Phoenicians have avoided the east in the first place? The answer may come from Diodorus. Diodorus observes that the Phoenicians had made their mark everywhere: Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, Spain. However, they avoided Southern Italy. Diodorus suggests that this was on account of a “formidable war-like race of people.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell us who these people were. Southern Italy is a mere hair’s breadth away from eastern Sicily. If the Phoenicians wanted to avoid landing in southern Italy, then it stands to reason that they decided not to settle so close to it on Sicily, too. Hence, when they first arrived, they landed in the west, as opposed to the east.

Such things, however, are never quite so simple. One artifact does seem to vindicate Thucydides’ first claim, at least. Of all of the Phoenician archaeological artifacts available anywhere outside mainland Phoenicia, the absolute earliest actually comes from Sicily, found under the sea, off of the coast of Selinus, an ancient Greek settlement, now known as Selinunte. It is a statuette of a pagan deity in its characteristic Middle Eastern pose, that of holding a lightning bolt in one hand, as though about to strike someone with it. Earlier scholars dated it to the eleventh century BC. But more recent analysis only allows us to date the statuette to the tenth century. Either way, it’s still earlier than all the other evidence from the island itself. Consequently, this might vindicate Thucydides’ first claim that the Phoenicians were in Sicily before the Greeks, since the archaeological evidence for Greek habitation of Naxos doesn’t appear until the 8th century BC.

There is also another monkey wrench. Some experts on Greek and Phoenician pottery suggest that the earliest Greek pottery found in Eastern Sicily bears traces of Phoenician artistic styles. But not just any Phoenician styles; styles that can be dated roughly to the tenth and eleventh centuries BC. In other words, if the implications of this argument are valid, then, the Phoenicians were on the Eastern end of Sicily before the Greeks came. When the Greeks came, they settled alongside the Phoenicians. The Greeks, working close to the Phoenicians, adopted these Phoenician artistic styles. Hence, it is possible to vindicate, though barely, Thucydides’ second claim as well.

If the arguments extrapolated from the existence of the Selinuntine statuette and the Phoenician artistic styles adopted by the Greeks on Sicily are valid, then Thucydides’ claim that the Phoenicians moved to the Western edge of Sicily, and confined themselves there, also becomes correct.

Archaeologically, the first Phoenician settlements on Sicily were at Motya and Panormus. A third, named Solus, was added much later. Motya was an island in an almost landlocked lagoon on the western end of Sicily. The earliest evidence for the site comes from the 8th century. Initially, it may have just been a trading post, or perhaps an anchorage on the way to Sardinia and northern Italy. However, later the site was used for evaporating sea water using windmills to produce salt. Panormus, though, has been challenging to excavate, because most of it is under the modern city of Palermo. Solus, though identified in the literature as a Phoenician city, hasn’t yielded anything earlier than the Roman period.

Closest to Sicily was the island of Sardinia. When the Phoenicians arrived here, they found the local Nuragic people, to have already developed a significant material culture. More importantly, they were already mining the local copper mines. With the arrival of the Phoenicians, Sant Imbenia, a site in the north-west of the island, became a mixed Phoenicio-Nuragic settlement. Like Kition, it became a copper smelting center; with the Nuraghes mining the ore and the Phoenicians smelting it.

In copper, both the Phoenicians and the Nuraghes found common cause with another civilization, that of the Etruscans of central Italy, with whom they actively traded. Evidence of this trade comes not only from Sant Imbenia but also from the Etruscan iron smelting center, Pithecusa, where the archaeology shows a mixed, Etruscan, Greek and Phoenician habitation.

Sardinia also became host to a Phoenician fort, Monte Sirai, built atop the ruins of a native Sardinian fort. Its proximity to the site of Sulcis indicates that the purpose of the fort was the defense of Sulcis.

Phoenician sites on Sardinia can only be dated as far back as the 8th century. But one artifact, a stone stele found near Nora, makes it possible to push that date further back by about a hundred years. Nora is also the oldest Phoenician settlement on Sardinia. It was said to have been founded by Phoenician settlers from Spain, possibly as a vanguard to keep the shipping lanes to Spain open to the Phoenicians but closed to everyone else. The settlements at Tharros, Sulcis and a few other places followed shortly after the Phoenicians first settled Nora.

Towards the west of Sardinia were the Balearic Islands. The most famous colony here was Ebusus, now a renowned holiday destination, known as Ibiza. The traditional literature ascribes this colony’s founding to the Carthaginians, though the earliest excavated artifacts appear to be all Tyrian. The tradition also attributes a date of 654 BC to the site’s foundation which, archaeologically, is just about right. Ibiza produced multiple products: the purple dye, garum, which is a sauce made out of fermented fish, salt and wool.

Further west of the Balearic Islands was the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Phoenician trading stations dotted this coast: Akra, Lenke, Abdera, Malacca, Sexi. As a sailor moved further West and South along the coast, he would finally arrive at the Pillars of Hercules, which we know today as the Straits of Gibraltar. Once a sailor passed these, he would find himself at the ancient Phoenician city of Gades.

For the Tyrians, Gades held a particular significance. To understand its importance, we must return to the stone we left behind in Nora, Sardinia a few seconds ago. The Nora Stone, as it is conveniently called, has a note on it, written in the Phoenician language. By comparing the script of this Phoenician writing to other Phoenician inscriptions, scholars have dated this stone to the ninth century BC. In fact, this is the oldest Phoenician inscription that has been found anywhere outside Phoenicia proper. The Nora Stone is also the earliest piece of archaeological evidence ever discovered for the presence of Phoenicians on the island of Sardinia.

While everybody agrees on the style of the script used on it, there is no consensus on what the note means. There are two principal interpretations. One interpretation is that it is a declaration of a military victory. Milkaton, son of Shubna, a general of the Tyrian King ‘Pummay’ (assumed to be Pygmalion), fought and won a war against the inhabitants of “Tarshish.” In this interpretation, the word “Tarshish” could be referring to any city on Sardinia. The other interpretation suggests that it is a votive stele in which Milkaton, son of Shuba, an admiral, is giving thanks to the god Pummay for saving his fleet from a storm, while on his way to “Tarshish.”

One interpretation considers Pummay to be the Tyrian King, Pygmalion. The other finds Pummay to be a god. One places “Tarshish” on Sardinia. The other doesn’t specify any location for “Tarshish.” One is referring to a victory in war. The other is referring to a nearly failed maritime endeavor. Pygmalion was alive during the 9th century, so it is possible that the note is declaring a victory on his behalf. But the key element working in favor of the second interpretation is that there is not one inscription anywhere, let alone in Sardinia, that identifies “Tarshish” as a city on the island. In fact, this is the only epigraphic evidence that “Tarshish” even existed.

Tarshish, however, is mentioned, of all places, in the Bible. At one point, the Bible refers to Tarshish as a type of ship. The Bible recalls that Hiram and Solomon sent their “ships of Tarshish” to a place called Ophir to acquire gold. Sometimes, the Bible uses “Tarshish” to refer to certain kinds of merchandise. At other times, the Bible uses “Tarshish” to refer to a distant land. Again, the Bible recalls Hiram and Solomon sending fleets to “Tarshish.” From there, they would return after three years, bringing with them ivory, monkeys, peacocks, gold, silver, tin, iron and lead.

Two ancient places have names similar to “Tarshish.” One is Tarsus, a city in ancient Anatolia. Though Tarsus could provide some of the raw minerals that we know came from “Tarshish,” the city is landlocked. Besides, the journey from Tyre to Tarsus and back would take only a few months, not three years. Clearly, Tarsus cannot be the Biblical “Tarshish.” The other candidate is the ancient Iberian kingdom of Tartessos.

The Greeks had known Tartessos since Mycenaean times, and the classical Greek literature of later times echoes this ancient memory. The Tartessians were famous as resellers of tin acquired from the Oestrymnides Islands or the Cassiterides Islands. The reason the Bronze Age is called the Bronze Age is that people in the Bronze Age used things made of bronze. Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin. While copper was abundant throughout the Mediterranean, as evidenced by the copper smelting towns of Kition on Cyprus and Sant Imbenia on Sardinia, tin was not. Tin was rare. The ancient lore identified two sets of islands, the Oestrymnides, and the Cassiterides, as sources of tin. The Tartessians acquired it from them and sold it to others. Though, it must be said, that no one has yet discovered where the Oestrymnides or the Cassiterides are, and whether or not these two names actually refer to different locations.

Tartessos was also famous for its silver mines. And it was these mines that became the source of Tyre’s wealth. Diodorus claims that the Tartessians were unaware of the value of the silver ores found in their backyard. The Phoenicians made a fool out of them by offering them cheap golden or ivory trinkets in exchange for it. It is on account of this Tartessian silver that we find the city of Gades where it is.

The literature records that a Tyrian oracle commanded the Tyrians to find an appropriate site on Iberia to build a settlement. Their first two attempts at locating such a place were unsuccessful. On their third, a storm veered them off course. After the storm, they made landfall at an inlet. Here they made the appropriate sacrifices to confirm the site’s worthiness. And hence, Gades was born.

The Gades inlet lies at the mouth of the river Baetis, which today is known as the Guadalquivir. It is a natural harbor, at the end of a long narrow peninsula and surrounded on three sides by water. This arrangement makes it easily defendable by land and easily accessible by sea.

The earliest evidence for Gades goes only as far back as the 8th century. Archaeological evidence from the nearby site of Huelva, however, suggests that the Phoenicians had been in Iberia since the 9th century BC. Huelva was an industrial town with massive furnaces for smelting the silver sold to them by the Tartessians. Over time Gades became the central transport hub for the trade with Tartessos. The silver ore from Tartessos came down the river Baetis and landed at Gades. From there it was taken to Huelva to be smelted. The silver ingots would then be brought back to Gades, from where the Tyrians would transport it back to Tyre.

Gades became the administrative center for Tyrian affairs in Spain. We know from the literature that, unlike her sisters elsewhere, not only did Gades boast public buildings and not just did the Tyrians build a temple to Melqart here, but Tyre also blessed her with the presence of a governor. Usually, Tyrian colonies required no oversight because simple trading posts were low in the order of priority. But Gades was important, and it needed an overseer. The Gadians also sent one-tenth of the city’s public revenue back to Melqart’s temple in Tyre. The presence of a governor, public administration buildings and the temple to Melqart, along with the yearly tithe to Tyre meant the Tyrian King had his eyes on Gades. The acquisition of Tartessian silver was a royal affair.

Unfortunately, much of Gades now lies under modern Cadiz. With the few excavations that archaeologists have done so far, they have found very little of what the literature mentions about it.

So far, we’ve only explored the regions in the Mediterranean itself, plus Spain. We have neglected Tyre’s colonies in North Africa. The bulk of the discussion on Phoenician Africa will come when I discuss Carthage’s empire since most of the archaeological evidence for the African colonies suggests a Carthaginian hand in their founding. For now, we’ll consider only the principal colonies here, which, I must add, also strongly indicate a Carthaginian foundation, as opposed to a purely Tyrian one.

Directly opposite Gades, on the Atlantic coast of Africa, was the city of Lixus. It used to lie on an inlet which the river Lixus has since silted. It was situated on the slope of a hill, separated from the hinterland by a river and a valley. At the time, the site was a rich source of elephants. The Tyrians sent back the acquired ivory to Tyre, where it was carved and sold as a luxury item. Also on the menu at Lixus were gold and slaves. Lixus was home to another shrine of Melqart, which Pliny considered to be “of even greater antiquity than the one at Gades.”

About 600 miles further south of Lixus was the settlement of Mogador. She was the most distant Phoenician site ever found. Mogador was a trading post used for the production of the famous purple-dye. Here, there are signs of seasonal habitation, but no permanent settlement. Archaeologists have found Greek pottery here from the seventh and sixth centuries. Some historians surmise that Mogador may have been a gold bartering station, where natives of other African regions brought gold to trade for Carthaginian goods.

Beyond the Pillars of Hercules on their eastern side were the colonies of Siga, Utica, Carthage, Lepcis Magna, Sabratha and a few others, which we’ll get to explore when we take a tour of Carthage’s holdings in Africa.

If you plotted all of Tyre’s settlements on a map of the Mediterranean, you would observe that they appear to concentrate at three specific points.

(1) around the Pillars of Hercules
(2) in the Balearic Islands and
(3) in the middle of the Mediterranean at Sicily, Sardinia and around the Cap Bon Peninsula on the African mainland.

The placement of these sites suggests that the Tyrians were extremely protective of their Tartessian silver. The Straits of Gibraltar were blocked off by colonies of Gades and Lixus. The Balearic settlements could police any shipping approaching Spain from the east. Colonies on the Cap Bon were on a point closest to Sicily and so were able to block off the southern Mediterranean. And the northern Mediterranean pinch point was protected by the settlements in Sardinia.

Why were they protecting this route so diligently? We can understand this by observing the timeline of this colonization and compare it to events back in Phoenicia. Archaeologically, the earliest that you could claim that the Tyrians were out and about is the tenth century. This date coincides perfectly with the rise of Hiram I. The Tyrians may have been out and about before Hiram. But it was Hiram that consolidated religious, political and economic power into himself and his Royal House. Hiram himself actively directed the Tyrian colonization program, as is evidenced by his frequent sponsorship of trading expeditions to Tarshish. Melqart’s presence at numerous colonies and the yearly tithes the colonists paid to the temple at Tyre are additional evidence of this. Economics fed religion. And religion at Tyre was political.

What is also clear from the archaeological record is that the early ventures weren’t meant to be permanent. Permanent colonies only began to appear in the century after Hiram. The permanence intensified in the hundred years after that. The question is: Why? Why now? What is absent before and in Hiram’s time that in the ninth and eighth centuries causes Tyrian colonization to intensify and become permanent? To answer that question, we must return to the Levant.

In the year 911 BC, Adad Nirari ascended the throne of Assyria. And just like Thutmose III of Egypt a few centuries before him, he began a program of conquest. He brought his tributary vassals under his direct control. He conquered Aramaean territories. He subdued some Neo-Hittite and Hurrian populations. He fought and defeated one after the other, Shamash-Mudammiq and Nabu-Shuma-ukin I, Kings of Babylon. Adad Nirari’s grandson Ashur Nasirpal II continued his grand father’s program of conquest. And before he even laid a finger on them, a number of the Phoenician city-states paid him a tribute.

Ashur Nasirpal’s son, Shalmaneser II, succeeded him. By all accounts, Shalmaneser was even more aggressive than any of his ancestors. He began his campaigns with an incursion into the border regions of today’s Turkey and Syria. As a result of this campaign, he, too, was paid tribute by “kings of the sea coast,” which presumably included the kings of the Phoenician city-states.

Shalmaneser continued his campaigns year after year. His primary objective was to subjugate the various Aramaean kingdoms. However, no matter how hard he tried, he could not dislodge them. Year after year, he campaigned against the Kingdom of Aram-Damascus and her allies, but he failed every single time. Arqa and Arwad, two Phoenician city-states, were among her allies. But it is curious to note which of the Phoenician cities was not allied to Aram: Byblos, Sidon, and, you guessed it, Tyre. Though no chronicle mentions it, I think that Tyre and her sisters had a prior arrangement with the Assyrians. Their previous tributes to both Ashur Nasirpal and Shalmaneser might have granted them a special “tributary vassal” status that kept the Assyrian juggernaut at bay.

Following Shalmaneser, Assyria became embroiled in struggles elsewhere on her borders. And Egypt, who had previously ruled the roost, was now embroiled in internal conflicts, too. The resulting power vacuum allowed the Phoenician cities to flourish. Aram-Damascus became powerful, and the Phoenicians took full advantage of the trade opportunities that arose thence. Damascus provided Tyre with her wines and the wool that the Tyrians used to make their purple-dyed garments.

When Adad Nirari III succeeded the Assyrian throne in the 8th century, he made sure that he would not leave Damascus’ power unchecked. With his military intervention, Damascus began to decline. As a result, the Kingdom of Israel reclaimed lands that she had lost to Damascus a little while earlier. The Phoenicians were already trading with Damascus. With Israel now rising again, they made her their partner once more.

The Assyrians did not annex the Phoenician cities outright. They knew that they were the geese that laid golden eggs. Kill them, and the tribute that filled Assyria’s coffers would stop flowing. The Assyrians were addicted to Phoenician cash. They needed to keep their war machine going. Iraq, Iran, Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Anatolia & Cyprus were already under their yoke. To protect and expand this already vast territory, they needed to keep their legions on the move. And to do that, it was necessary that tribute keeps flowing into the Assyrian coffers. This tribute also allowed the Assyrian kings to ensure the loyalty of their nobility. They did this through grants and tax exemptions. It even paid for the construction of grand monuments that secured the obeisance of the commoners.

Paradoxically, Assyrian overlordship also brought prosperity to the Phoenician cities. For them, Assyrian overlordship meant stability. And stability gave the Phoenicians greater access to markets in the greater Middle East.

Though tributary vassals, Tyre, and her sisters always played a double game. They rebelled every chance they got. The pattern repeated itself like clockwork. The Assyrians would become embroiled in problems elsewhere in their empire. The Phoenicians would sense weakness among the Assyrians and engage in active rebellion, mostly by providing support to one of Assyria’s enemies. The Assyrians would send in a contingent of troops to deal with the uprising, which they would quash. As a result, The Assyrians would tighten their grip on the rebel city.

When Tilgath Pileser III ascended the Assyrian throne late in the eighth century BC, Tyre would find herself strait-jacketed. Tyre had rebelled, but Tilgath Pileser reconquered her. To ensure further Tyrian cooperation after that, he assigned a governor to oversee Assyrian interests directly. This governor administered the Tyrian ports. He brought the Tyrian precious metals trade under his scrutiny. In addition to the annual tribute, he also levied a customs duty on all imports. He also imposed an embargo on the very lucrative export of luxury goods from Tyre to Egypt. Adding insult to injury, this governor even required that the King of Tyre open his mail in the governor’s presence!

To cough up the tribute initially, Tyre and her sisters had dug up mines in the mountains of northern Syria, which yielded to the Phoenicians copious amounts of silver. But Tilgath Pileser conquered Syria. And with that conquest, Tyre and her sisters lost their primary source of cash, the one that allowed them to feed the Assyrian war beast. With Assyrian over-lordship also came the closure of eastern markets that lay on the routes into Mesopotamia, further diminishing Tyre’s ability to cough up the required cash. But Tyre was still expected to pay her tribute and her customs duties as well as furnish Assyria’s need for luxury goods and construction materials. The Tyrians needed an alternative.

The Assyrian onslaught into the coastal regions of the middle east coincides perfectly with the appearance of proper stone architecture and domicile in many of the Tyrian colonies throughout the Mediterranean. The patterns of settlements that I discussed at the end of the last episode correlate very neatly with Tyrian history on the mainland. In the period after Tyre’s independence from Egypt, there is no evidence of Phoenician colonization, which coincides perfectly with the view that any settlements at this stage would be small anchorages, or, at best, temporary trading posts. With Hiram’s rise at Tyre, and his systematic program of economic, political and religious consolidation, the archaeological evidence begins to yield faint echoes of an effort at establishing more long-term trading networks. When the Assyrians start to throw their weight around, however, stone structures become evident in the archeology of the colonies. And when Tilgath Pileser III throttles the chokehold a little bit more, the use of stone at these settlements just balloons in comparison to the previous periods.

Making the settlements permanent might have been the result of refugees opting to leave Phoenicia and call the colonies their homes. There are faint echoes of this in the literature. King Luli of Tyre chose exile and escaped to Cyprus when faced with an Assyrian siege. One can even imagine domestic upheavals caused by the Assyrian hegemony, leading to further migration among the elites. After King Luli’s exile, the Assyrians chose the next King of Tyre and put him on the throne. One can imagine at least a few disgruntled nobles wanting to opt out of this quagmire and move to the colonies.

But there is a more pertinent reason. The silver route to Gades becomes manifest only when Assyria asserts her hegemony over Phoenicia. And because this trading circuit was crucial to Tyre’s existence, she could not tolerate anyone else sharing in the spoils. By placing permanent colonies at the critical pinch points along the route, Tyre not only opened the way to Gades to herself, but she also closed it for everyone else. She had to because if she didn’t, she was toast. There was no other way for her to ensure her survival.

But threats to her survival were never far behind. There seems to be a law governing the universe that whenever someone tries to control something, things happen that make the situation worse rather than better. And that is precisely what happened when the Greeks hit the colonization scene. The relationship between the Phoenicians and the Greeks is a difficult one. There are positives, with an active trade developing between the two sides and both sides adopting the elements of the other’s culture and religions. And there are negatives, with conflicts erupting between the two sides every so often.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Time’s almost up for this episode so we will have to make the Greeks, and their relationship with the Phoenicians, subjects of the next one.


  1. Warmington, B. H. Carthage. London: Roberta Hale & Company, 1969 (Buy from Amazon, also here & here)
  2. Miles, Richard. Carthage Must Be Destroyed. London: Penguin Books, 2010 (Buy from Amazon, Buy audiobook from Audible)
  3. Picard, Gilbert-Charles and Collette Picard. The Life and Death of Carthage. Translated by Dominique Collon. New York: Taplinger Publishing Company, 1968 (Buy from Amazon, also here)
  4. Lancel, Serge. Carthage: A History. Translated by Antonia Nevill. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Limited, 1995 (Buy from Amazon)
  5. Hoyos, Dexter. The Carthaginians. Oxford: Routledge, 2010 (Buy from Amazon)

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