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Book: Finding Myth and History in the Bible

Chapter: A view from the West: The relationship between Phoenicia and “colonial” worlds in the Persian period

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.23756


The aim of this study is to investigate the relationships between the western “colonial” Phoenician world and Achaemenid Persia, pointing out the pivotal role still played by the Levant, as foreseen by Giovanni Garbini in several occasions. The chronological context embraces the 6th century and the first half of the 5th, when deep and continuous exchanges occurred on a broader level among Phoenicia, Cyprus, Egypt and the Phoenician “colonies”. It was a period of renewed circulation of people and products, as well as ideas, words (scantly known) and images. The contacts between East and West are particularly reflected in certain official aspects of colonial life, from the political and administrative organization (as derived from the Persian administration or from the organization of Phoenician centers like Sidon), to the urban planning and religious practices (sharing some specific deities, some cultic structures, or some cultic objects or images). Nevertheless, the results of this study indicate that the development of local western costumes and material culture show regional traits, and testify an ethnic and social composition within the colonial population, especially its lower class, organized on regional bases and distant from the Eastern world.

Chapter Contributors

  • Ida Oggiano ([email protected] - ioggiano) 'Pontificio Istituto Biblico and Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico'