Dr Jessica Nitschke, research associate, Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University

Before the Greeks there were the Phoenicians. Originating in Lebanon, the Phoenicians sailed across the Mediterranean and beyond, trading and colonising. They were a dominant presence in the Mediterranean for most of the first millennium BCE. The Greeks and Romans learned much from them, including writing, agriculture and warfare. However, the Phoenicians remain hazy in the modern imagination and most of their written records have not survived. This course will investigate the question ‘who were the Phoenicians’ through a close look at some key texts and artefacts. The first lecture will consider how the Phoenicians are depicted in Greek and Latin literature and the Bible, the texts through which modern scholars first learned about them. The second lecture will examine
archaeological evidence from sites in Spain, Italy, Tunisia and Lebanon.



  1. Greedy knaves and skilful craftsmen: the Phoenicians in classical and Biblical literature
  2. From Tyre to Cadiz: Phoenicians through the archaeological record


Recommended reading

Quinn, J. 2017.  In Search of the Phoenicians.  Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Woolmer, M. 2011. Ancient Phoenicia: An Introduction. Bristol: Bristol University Press.



Date: Monday 20–Tuesday 21 January
Time: 11.15 am 
COURSE FEES: Full R236 Staff & Students R118
Venue: Classroom 2A Kramer Law Building UCT