maandag 10 november 2014

Phoenicians in Egypt


Egypt and the Phoenicians.


The last two weeks I tried to reconstruct the presence of the Phoenicians in Egypt. You could have seen my contributions on Abd-Simbel, Abydos, Elefantina, Memphis, Saqqara and Thebe. Now follows a short overview.


We know 27 inscriptions and 119 graffiti made by the Phoenicians in Egypt. We find the Phoenicians all the way along the Nile in most of the important towns. In capital letters: old Egyptian names.


32° NB





            Bubastis – BAST                   1 inscription                no name

30°      Heliopolis - IOENOB

            Sakkara                                  4 inscriptions              4 names

            Memphis – MENNOEFER   6 inscriptions              18 names










26°      Abydos – ABEDJOE                        49 graffiti                   78-79 names

            Thebe  - WASET                   7 inscriptions              10-12 names





24°      Elefantine                               60 graffiti                   78 names






22°      Aboe Simbel                          4 inscriptions              10 names



21° NB


From 5 inscriptions with 19 names we don’t know the place of origin.

The tangible presence of the Phoenicians is limited to the 6th-1st century BC. 50% of all personal names (c.220) are coming from the 5th century BC, 18% from the 4th century BC and 14% from the 3rd century BC.


Besides to the personal names we are aware of other facts, such as the Phoenician sailors that were sent around Africa by the farao Necho (610-595 BC). Farao Psammetichus II (595-589 BC) made an expedition to Kush where he made use of Phoenician soldiers. Farao Amasis (568-526 BC) did the same to Nubia. The Persian king Darius I finished the work of Necho on the channel between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. In the wadi Toumilat on the route between the Nile and the Red Sea the presence of the Phoenicians is attested. In Techna in the Fayoum is the cult of Astarte noticed. In the oasis of Bahariya deep in the desert a grave of Padi-Astarte has been found. In Buchéum (15 km from Thebe) the so-called sign of Tanit has been detected, but that is doubtful. It could also be an Ankh sign! Most of all we find the Phoenicians in Memphis, where they had their own quarter in the town. Herodotos II 112:

“His successor was a man from Memphis, named by the Greeks as Prooteus. Nowadays there is still a beautiful and well kept domain, that is located in the southwest of the Hephaistos temple. Around that domain live the Phoenicians from Tyre and the whole neighbourhood is called the Tyrian camp. On the area of that domain of Prooteus is located a temple, that bears the name of a strange Aphroditè.” That must have been Astarte!