This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
μητρὸς ἀδελφεός. Some see in the relationship a misunderstood tradition of the matriarchate (i. 173. 4 n.), but it is probably accidental. The lady's name was Argeia (vi. 52). Theras is no doubt ‘a fictitious eponym’, and many critics deny the Cadmeans were Phoenician (v. i.). For H.'s mythical genealogies and their bearing on his chronology cf. App. XIV. 2, where the ‘eight’ (§ 5) generations are given.
Μεμβλίαρεω: Studniczka (p. 53) makes this a Greek name = ‘the new-comer’ (cf. μέμβλωκα), which is a sufficiently reckless etymology. Κάδμος γάρ. On the subject of the Phoenicians in Greece, most diverse views are held. I. The Negative Argument. Beloch (Griech. Gesch. p. 75) maintains that the Phoenicians never really settled in the Aegean, that their regular voyages to Greece did not begin before the eighth century B. C. (p. 74), and that Minos, Phoenix, Cadmus, Europa (p. 168) are all ‘good Greek gods’; the sea empire of Minos is a mere inference from names, and ‘Phoenix’ is explained as a sun myth (‘the blood-red’, p. 75). The grounds for this ultra-scepticism are: (1) That the Phoenicians do not appear in the oldest parts of Homer; unfortunately for Beloch's argument, there is no general agreement which are the oldest parts. (2) The scanty traces of Semitic influence on Greek vocabulary; even the words for sea-faring are native; Beloch contrasts Latin borrowings in this department from Greek. Meyer, i. 476, gives a list of words borrowed by Greeks and Semites from some common source. (3) Cyprus was certainly influenced by the Phoenicians (cf. v. 104 nn.); but it lies outside the ordinary lines of Greek development. Archaeology has already crushed one part of Beloch's negative argument by proving the reality of Cretan sea-power, although it has at the same time disproved the opposite view (Thirlwall, i. 141), that the Cretan sea-power was Phoenician. With regard to the rest of Beloch's argument, in spite of Reinach's warning against ‘Le Mirage de l'Orient’, many scholars still believe that the Greeks were to some extent right in attributing importance to Phoenician influences in Greece. Meyer (ii1. 89, 1893) wrote: ‘The voyages of the Phoenicians in their historical importance can be compared with the discovery of America in the fifteenth century. They introduced the sea into history.’ ‘Many of the data (as to their settlements in the Aegean) may be untrustworthy; to explain them all as unhistorical is impossible’ (ib. § 90). II. Evidence for Phoenician Settlement. The main kinds of evidence used for tracing the presence of Phoenicians in Greece are (ib. 91), apart from statements of ancient historians: (1) The evidence of names, both geographical (e. g. Mount Atabyris in Rhodes compared with Mount Tabor; the river Iardanus in Crete, Soli in Cilicia) and personal, e. g. the Corinthian hero Melicertes (i. e. Melcarth). For other instances cf. Abbott, History, i. 50; but this evidence is most uncertain. (2) The evidence of remains, e. g. the beds of murex shells at Cythera and on the Euripus. (3) The evidence of family traditions, e. g. the priests of Poseidon at Ialysus (Diod. v. 58), the family of Thales (i. 170. 3 n.). (4) The evidence of cult; the ritual impurity of some of the cults of Aphrodite may have been borrowed, or, at any rate, developed (e. g. at Corinth; cf. i. 131. 3 n.) under Phoenician influence. It must be admitted, however, that all these lines of evidence are in themselves weak; it is only their cumulative force, coupled with the danger of rejecting a tradition held by the Greeks so firmly, that makes it safer to accept Phoenician influence in Greece as a fact. III. Lines of Phoenician Influence. The following points may be suggested as to it: (1) Phoenician trade and settlements, so far as they existed in Greece, belong to the period immediately succeeding the downfall of the ‘Mycenaean’ civilization. (2) They entered the Aegean by Rhodes (cf. the oriental objects in the necropolis of Camirus, and u. s. for Ialysus). (3) From Rhodes one line of Phoenician influence went by Crete and the Islands (cf. Thuc. i. 8. 1) to Cythera (i. 105. 3), to Corinth, and perhaps to Attica (cf. the story of the bull of Marathon); the name of the deme Melite may be Semitic (cf. ‘Malta’). Another line went up the east coast of Asia Minor to the Propontis and to Thasos (cf. vi. 47. 2 for the Phoenician mines). (4) Whatever view may be held as to Phoenician cult influences (and these are generally accepted at Cythera and at Corinth), there seems no doubt that the Greeks learned the purple fishery and the art of mining from the Phoenicians. (5) The alphabet was introduced from the East by them (v. 58 n.). (6) But with one possible exception, what Thucydides says of Sicily (vi. 2. 6) was in the main true of Greece proper—they occupied ἄκρας τε ἐπὶ τῇ θαλάσσῃ . . . καὶ τὰ ἐπικείμενα νησίδια ἐμπορίας ἕνεκεν. The exception just referred to must now be discussed. IV. Was there a Phoenician Settlement in Boeotia? (For a full discussion of the evidence cf. Bérard, Les Phéniciens et l'Odyssée, i. 224 f.) To the Greeks of H.'s time this was the most important fact in the Phoenician story (ii. 49. 3; v. 57. 1); but it is perhaps the most uncertain in the whole cycle of the legends. Against the reality of Cadmus it may be argued: (1) That an older myth attributed the foundation of Thebes to Amphion and Zethus, the sons of a native nymph (Od. xi. 262). (2) That the supposed Phoenician features in the story, the guiding ‘cow’ and the ‘seven’ gates, are not original (cf. Busolt, i. 252. n. 2). (3) That the oldest story of Thebes has elements in it which are clearly native, e. g. the ‘earth-born’ Σπαρτοί (Pind. Isth. i. 30). (4) That though ‘Qedem’ certainly is a Semitic word for ‘East’, there is no parallel for the derivation of such a proper name as ‘Cadmus’. (5) That H. himself tells us that the Gephyraeans, whom he seeks to prove Cadmeans, themselves believed they came from Eretria (v. 57. 1). On the other hand, the supposed priority of the non-Phoenician foundation myths is by no means certain, and the improbability is great that later invention would settle on Boeotia for the main Phoenician settlement in Greece. Geographical position, too, argues strongly in favour of the truth of the myth; a Phoenician settlement in Boeotia commanded alike the Euripus, the Corinthian, and the Saronic gulf, for Megara was probably part of Boeotia in early times (cf. Strabo 405), and so that district was, as Ephorus said (Strabo 400), τριθάλαττος. As Bérard (i. 226) well says: ‘Continental Greece, under Franks, Catalans, Venetians, had in Boeotia the centre of its commercial routes.’ There was probably a trade-route from the Euripus to the Corinthian gulf, past Thebes, Orchomenus, and Crisa, as well as one over the passes of Cithaeron to the Saronic gulf. Hence it would be at least possible that the Phoenicians made their chief settlement in Boeotia.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.