Event Subtitle / Short Description
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Speaker & Affiliation
Co-sponsored by Near Eastern Studies
The Iron Age Mediterranean (early first millennium BC) offers us the enticing opportunity to step back from our well-trodden classical perspectives and reconstruct an alternative narrative that centers other groups, that is, not Greeks and Romans. Foremost among them are the Levantines known then as well as now as Phoenicians, but also other local cultures that were relatively obscure even then and that remain neglected in historical reconstructions: I mean Sardinians, Tartessians, Sicels, Cypriots, North African groups, etc. Yet their part of the story can be painstakingly reconstructed through archaeology and the scrutiny of a fragmentary and mediated documentary archive. So, what does a global view of this “other” Mediterranean look like? By contextualizing Phoenician commercial expansion and colonization (particularly that of Tyre), and by focusing on select cultural sites such as the alphabet, monumental statues, sphinxes, and volute (“Proto-Aeolic”) capitals, López-Ruiz argues that Phoenician encounters with local groups lie behind a selectively adopted “orientalizing kit” that spurred the emergence of new outlooks among local elites, including Greeks, from Iberia to Cyprus and Israel. While we know these interactions shaped Iron Age cultures in profound ways, the Phoenician role in this cultural transformation has not been always recognized and is poorly integrated in our Mediterranean histories, especially among classicists.