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Urban plan of Cyrene (Kyrene)

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kyrene

Site plan of Late Classical and Hellenistic Cyrene, the main city of the Greek colonies in Cyrenaica

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A SMALL SPARTA FAR AWAY FROM GREECE: THE LIPARIAN ISLES

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By  Periklis Deligiannis

 

Aristonothos

Aristonothos vase 700-650 BC

The renowned “Aristonothos vase” (about 700-650 BC) manufactured in Magna Graecia by Aristonothos and discovered in Caere of Etruria (Etruscan Caisra). Its vase-painting of a naval battle (image below) provides us with a very good representation of the ships used by the Greek and the Etruscan sea-fighters (almost identical), and of naval warfare during the acme of the Aeolidae Islands (Archaic period).


The Aeolidae (Aeolian) or Liparae (Liparian) Isles is a cluster of small islands in Sicily,  northwest of the Straits of Messina. In this article I will deal with an unknown aspect of their history which is related with a very interesting episode of the ancient Greek colonization.
In Sicily, around 580 BC, the Selinuntian Greek colonists finally resigned from claiming disputed lands from their Geloan brethren (in which lands, Acragas was founded) in exchange for aid by Dorian settlers coming from Rhodes and the Anatolian Greek colony Cnidos (Knidos), who arrived in western Sicily through Gela. Pentathlos, the leader of the Rhodian and Cnidian colonists, was a Cnidian like most of his men.
The Selinuntians used the Cnidian and Rhodian reinforcements in their ongoing war against the Elymians and the Phoenicians. They helped them to establish a new Greek colony at Cape Lilybaion (Latin Lilybaeum), just 10 kilometers south of Motya. They were trying to establish a new Doric power against Motya (the main Punic colony on the island) and Carthage, while they would deal with the subjugation of the Elymian Segesta which resisted stubbornly their expansion. The Selinuntians, Cnidians and Rhodians joined forces against the Elymi, Sicilian-Phoenicians and Carthaginians.
Diodorus Siculus states that the main battle between the two blocs took place near Lilybaeum, obviously in the hinterland between Selinus (Selinunte) and Segesta. Pentathlos was killed; the Greeks were defeated (580/576 BC) and immediately after, the Elymi and the Carthaginians attacked Lilybaion and drove off from there the Cnidians and Rhodians.

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THE SELINUNTIAN WARS of the 6th cent.BC.

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By  Periklis Deligiannis

segestaA pure Greek-type temple in Segesta (main temple of the city).


CONTINUED FROM   THE PHOENICIAN-GREEK STRUGGLE IN SICILY &THE FOUNDING OF SELINUS (7th-6th c. BC.)

In 580 BC the Selinuntians finally resigned from claiming the disputed land from Gela (in which land, Acragas was founded) in exchange for aid by Dorian settlers coming from Rhodes and the Anatolian Greek colony Cnidos (Knidos), who arrived in western Sicily through Gela. Pentathlos, the leader of the Rhodian and Cnidian colonists, was a Cnidian like most of his men.

Athena Promachos1

A beautiful reenactment of Archaic Greek hoplites by the Spanish Historical Association Athena Promakhos (copyright: Anna Belen Rubio). Note the double crest of two snakes facing each other on the Corinthian helmet of the hoplite on front, and his arm-protector with the sculpted emblem of  Gorgo (gorgonion). The same gorgonion emblem  is depicted in his Argive shield.  The two snakes facing each other are sculpted in his bell-type cuirass as well.  In the Orient, the hoplites were known as brazen (bronze) warriors.  The Siciliot and Italiot Greek warriors did not differ from those of mainland Greece.

The Selinuntians used the Cnidian and Rhodian reinforcements in their ongoing war against the Elymians and the Phoenicians. They helped them to establish a new Greek colony at Cape Lilybaion (Latin Lilybaeum), just 10 kilometers south of Motya. They were trying to establish a new Doric power against Motya (the main Punic colony on the island) and Carthage, while they would deal with the subjugation of Segesta which resisted stubbornly their expansion. The Selinuntians, Cnidians and Rhodians joined forces against the Elymi, Sicilian-Phoenicians and Carthaginians.

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THE PHOENICIAN-GREEK STRUGGLE IN SICILY &THE FOUNDING OF SELINUS (7th-6th c. BC.)

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By Periklis Deligiannis

Selinunte

Aerial view of the archaeological site of Selinus (Selinunte).

During the period when the ancient Greeks were colonizing the eastern coast of Sicily (late 8th century BC), the Phoenicians kept their own emporia (commercial stations) in the western part of the island. It seems that Panormos (modern Sicilian capital Palermo) was the oldest Phoenician colony. Motya was founded around 700 BC by the Phoenicians of Carthage. Her location was very strategic and well protected, having been founded on an island near the Sicilian coast. Simultaneously, the Carthaginians founded the emporia  of Mazara and Macara on the southwestern coast, whose Phoenician origin has been verified by their Canaanite names and by archeology. Macara was probably founded on the site of a former Minoan ‘emporion’ or naval base, because the Greeks called the town ‘Minoa’ and later ‘Heraclea Minoa’ (or just ‘Heraclea’). Some archaeologists have theorized that the subsequent town of Thermae Himeraiae, which was founded by the Carthaginians after the destruction of the nearby Greek city Himera (late 5th century BC), was in reality a Phoenician colony that existed before the foundation of the latter. According to this hypothesis, when the Greeks founded Himera, they drove off the Phoenicians from Thermae but when the Carthaginians destroyed Himera, they refounded the old Punic colony.

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MASSALIA (MARSEILLE): FORGOTTEN ANCIENT SEA POWER – PART II

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 By  Periklis    DeligiannisAntibes

Antibes  during  the  Renaissance,  the  ancient  Greek  Antipolis,  the  third  largest  Massaliot  colony.  The  ancient  Greek  city  covered  about  the  same  area.

CONTINUED  FROM  PART  I

       The  Gauls  (Celts)  gradually  extended  their  territory  in  modern  South  France  at  the  expense  of    the  Ligurians,  the  Iberians  and  the  Wasconians  (ancestors  of  the  Basques),  either  by  conquest  or  by  the  direct  adoption  of  the  La  Tene  culture  by  the  aforementioned  natives  and  thence  their  upcoming  Celtisization.  At  first,  the  Massaliots  did  not  clash  with  the  newcomers.  As  we  have  seen,  the  two  peoples  were  familiar  to  each  other  due  to  their  trade  and  the  beneficial  effect  of  Massalia.  Now  they  had  territorial  contact  also.  Besides  their  common  commercial  interests,  they  had  common  geopolitical  as  well,  since  they  both  ruled  Ligurian subjects.  In  the  early  4th  century,  the  entire  Gaul  had  become  a  Massaliot  zone  of  commercial  and  cultural  influence.  For  this  reason,  the  Massalialiots  had  very  little  or  no  regard  for  the  control  of  the  Iberian  Peninsula  and  the  Columns  of  Hercules  (modern  Gibraltar)  which  they  had  left  to  the  Carthaginians.  After  all,  the  Carthaginian  power  prevented  them  from  this  aim.  The  only  interesting  for  both  peoples  beyond  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  was  the  tin  of  the  Cassiteridae  islands  (probably  the  Isles  of  Scilly  in  Cornwall),  which  however  the  Massaliots  acquired  without  problems  via  the  commercial  roads  of  Gaul.  In  contrast,  the  Carthaginians  had  to  undertake  the  long  and  dangerous  sea  voyage  from  the  Mediterranean  to  Britain  via  the  Atlantic,  because  the  roads  of  Gaul  remained  forever  closed  to  them  due  to  the  Massaliot  influence  in  the  land.  Because  of  this  situation,  there  was  an  unofficial  agreement  between  Massalia  and  Carthage,  whereby  Gaul  was  a  Massaliot  zone  and  the  Iberian  Peninsula  was  a  Punic  zone.  Later  the  agreement  became  official,  when  the  two  sides  fixed  the  boundary  between  the  two  zones  in  the  River  Iber  (modern  Ebro  in  Aragon,  Spain).

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