later BERENICE (Benghazi) Libya.
The settlement lay on a low hill, now partly
occupied by a cemetery, between salt marshes that were
then lagoons linked with the sea by the present inner
harbor of Benghazi. Probably settled from Cyrene early
in the 6th c. B.C., it was replaced ca. 247 by a new city,
on the coast a little to the SW, named Berenice in honor
of the wife of Ptolemy III. The change of location is almost certainly due to the silting-up of the lagoons. Berenice ceased to exist by the 11th c. A.D., and Benghazi
(named after a holy man, Ibn-Ghazi) did not arise until
the 15th c. During the period 1835-1911, when Benghazi
was expanding under Turkish rule, many stones from
Euesperides were removed. In 1946 Hellenic potsherds
were found beside the salt marshes, and in 1950-51 a
collection of surface sherds was made. The ground plan
of an ancient city, with streets, insulae, and houses, extending between the Muslim cemetery on the top of the
hill and the salt marshes, was revealed by air photography, which also shows parts of the city walls, enclosing
an area ca. 750 x 350 m. The quantities of Hellenic
pottery excavated in 1969 confirmed the rediscovery of
Euesperides. Stratified levels were found going back from
the Early Hellenistic period to the 6th c. B.C. Most of the
houses were of mudbrick on stone foundations.
Occasional finds of mosaic floors, etc., attested the
position of Berenice under Benghazi and its cemeteries.
Excavations (1971-74) in the old Turkish cemetery of
Sidi Khrebiesh revealed remains of buildings and pottery
from Hellenistic until Byzantine times and part of a late
town wall. A stele of the 1st c. B.C. found in 1972-73
refers to civil disturbance and attacks by pirates. Inscriptions of the 1st c. A.D., found previously, mention the
separate magistrates of the Jewish community and a
Near Benghazi are several sites of legendary interest.
The Hesperides with their golden apples were said to
have occupied a luxuriant sunken garden for which
several natural hollows in the plain about 10 km E of
Benghazi provide a plausible setting. One of them has
an underground pool, which possibly accounts for the
location of the river Lethe there. Lake Tritonis is thought
to be Ain es-Selmani, and it has been suggested that
the hill of Euesperides itself between the lagoons might
represent the island mentioned by Strabo (17.3.20
Sethe, “Berenike,” RE
R. G. Goodchild, “Euesperides, a Devastated City Site,”
26 (1952) 208-12; Benghazi, The Story of a
(1962); C. H. Kraeling, Ptolemais
G.D.B. Jones & J. H. Little, “Coastal Settlement in Cyrenaica,” JRS
61 (1971) 65-67; J. H. Lloyd et al., SLS Ann.
. 3-5 (1971-74); J. M. Reynolds, ibid., 5 (1973-74).