Did the fabled Phoenicians ever actually exist? | The Spectator

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Did the fabled Phoenicians ever actually exist? | The Spectator

"In Search of the Phoenicians explores the links that connected these people, language and religion foremost among them, while emphasising the absence of ties based on nationhood and ethnicity. To the extent that we can gauge how Phoenicians looked at themselves, ties and communities were more based on cities, families and religious practices than on anything else. The cult of the Tyrian god Melqart, for instance, known to Greeks as Herakles, tied together Phoenician settlements throughout the Mediterranean, in addition to the Greek diaspora. The child-sacrifice cult of Baal Hammon (Kronos in Greek, generally Saturn in Latin) seems not to have caught on to the same degree.

"No one called themselves 'Phoenician' in Phoenician, not least because phoenix is a Greek word -- for palm tree. From all the available evidence, the first person to identify himself as Phoenician was the writer Heliodorus from Emesa (in what is today the Syrian city of Homs) in the 4th century."


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