JWST 4550

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2016-2017.

The Phoenicians have long been an enigma, a people defined by distant voices. Originating from present-day Lebanon, they were Semitic speakers, renowned seafarers and transmitters of an innovative alphabet that transformed how Mediterranean and Near Eastern folk wrote their languages. Having left us virtually no texts of their own, their history has resembled a patchwork of recollections from Old Testament and Hellenistic times. Recent archaeological discoveries, however, reveal patterns of trade, colonization and socioeconomic transformations that make the Phoenicians less enigmatic while raising new questions. Our class explores the third and second millennium Canaanite roots of the Phoenicians, as well as the Biblical and Greco-Roman perceptions of their early first millennium heyday. We will explore the Phoenician homeland and its colonies, and investigate their maritime economy, language, and religion through both archaeological and textual sources. Temporally the focus is on Phoenician rather than Carthaginian or Punic history, thus up to about 550 BCE. The class has a seminar format involving critical discussions and presentations of scholarly readings, and requires a research paper.

When Offered Spring.

Breadth Requirement (GHB)
Distribution Category (CA-AS)

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