Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Phoenician Artifacts

We owe more to Phoenician culture than we'll probably ever know. They colonized the Mediterranean, developed the first widely-used phonetic alphabet, and developed one of the earliest urban civilizations west of the Fertile Crescent. It is thanks to them that the Romans began developing their massive Empire – most of which they took from the Carthaginians in war. Let's take a quick look at some of their more interesting artifacts.

This ceremonial mask of Ba'al Hammon was likely used in various rites and rituals designed to curry the favor of the Carthaginian chief deity. It is made from Terra Cotta. Date unknown

This coin dates somewhere between 310-290 BCE, and features the moon goddess Tanit, the highest of the goddesses worshiped in Carthage. She was the patron of life, fertility, and war, and is closely linked to Artemis of the Greeks, Diana of the Romans. Her symbol is very similar to the Egyptian Ankh.

This statue is meant to represent a man praying. It comes to us courtesy of the Phoenician colonists in the Balaeric Islands (near Spain) and is made of Terra Cotta and gold.

This is either a pendant or a brooch, and was discovered on the site of Carthage itself. It dates to the 3rd or 4th century BCE, and looks pretty cool. Whether it is meant to represent an average Carthaginian or is some kind of divine image remains unknown.

Pax vobiscum

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