Friday, August 13, 2010

Site of Phoenician City is Reconsidered

Phoenician ship, from ancient bas relief.

The ancient Phoenician city of Aüza ~ known only from written records dating back 3,500 years ~ may have been in a different location than experts have long thought. By studying ancient maps and records, emeritus classics professor Sir John Boardman of the University of Oxford has pinpointed a more likely site.

“Too many people have wanted to put it much too far away,” Boardman says. Where previous historians have thought Aüza was probably far to the west, beyond Carthage in Tunisia, he puts it at a site known as Aziris, nearer to Egypt and Phoenicia. Aüza was a port city used to give the Phoenicians a foothold on the African continent.

According to LiveScience, the confusion over the site for Aüza likely stemmed from the many names the site of Aziris has had over time, and the poor records identifying where Aüza actually was. Though Boardman can't be sure he's gotten to the bottom of the matter, he thinks Aziris is the most likely place to have hosted Aüza.

The Phoenicians were a seafaring civilization that thrived between 1550 BC and 300 BC, famous for their shipbuilding capabilities and seamanship.“They were exploring the Mediterranean the same time the Greeks were,” Boardman said. “It's fashionable to think they were in rivalry, but it's much more likely they were friendly to each other.”

Click here for the article.

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