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Hellenistic Phoenicia [Hardcover]

John D. Grainger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 107.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Nov 1991
The Phoenicians have long been known for their trading, colonizing, and seafaring skills, but their history has too often seemed to stop short at the time of Alexander the Great. Alexander's destruction of the city of Tyre, however, only marked a new stage in Phoenician history, not its end. During the next three centuries this numerically small people had to live in a violent world dominated by Greeks and Macedonians. Their cities were destroyed, their land was reduced in size, and then divided up among mutually hostile kings. Yet they survived and enjoyed long periods of peace in which they evidently prospered.

This is the first full account of Hellenistic Phoenicia. Within the basic chronological framework of their political history, the study pursues the themes of trade and economic history and the Hellenization of the Phoenicians' culture. The adaptation of the Phoenicians to life in the Hellenistic world shows a number of features common to that world as a whole, but also some which are distinctive to the Phoenicians themselves. A final chapter considers the changes in their role in the world outside their homeland.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (7 Nov 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198147708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198147701
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,143,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

After Alexander the Great sacked Tyre in 332 B.C. the Phoenicians practically drop out of history. John D. Grainger makes a scholarly and diligent effort to recover them in the first full-length modern study of the long Phoenician twillight under Greco-Macedonian rule. (The Historian, Autumn 1993)

substantial merits of this book. It abounds in acute observations and, far more than many books of which the same might be said, fills a real gap, contributing substantially to a growing body of new work on the "other" side of the Hellenistic world. (F.W. Walbank, The Classical Review, Oxford University Press 1992)

This book is a most welcome contribution to the study of the Phoenicians...There is not doubt at all that Grainger's book is a solid piece of scholarly work. Besides, Grainger writes in a very clear style which is free from jargon. His reasoning is very cogent and his methodological approach is very sane... Grainger has definitely made a contribution to the area of Phoenician studies, especially to those scholars interested in the Phoenicians of the Levant during the Hellenistic period. He has written in such lucid English, that even the layman can enjoy this scholarly book. (Anthony J. Frendo, published review, no source.)

It abounds in acute observations and, far more than many books of which the same might be said, fills a real gap, contributing substantially to a growing body of new work on the 'other' side of the Hellenistic world. (F.W. Walbank, Peterhouse, Cambridge, The Classical Review)

Thus G. provides a good survey and discussion of the limited evidence regarding the political histories of the cities of Hellenistic Phoenicia in the Hellenistic period. Grainger does a good job of bringing the scattered evidence for his subject together and raises interesting questions. (Nigel Pollard, University of Michigan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 4.1 (1993))

John Granger ... here makes sense of a difficult and neglected topic ... Grainger has used every conceivable scrap of evidence - literary, epigraphical, numismatic, and archaeological ... this is sound scholarship. (Thomas Kelly, University of Minnesota, History, Spring 1993)

Graingr is good on use of literary sources and good on numismatics. His maps, and comments on archaeological remains, are illuminating. The discussion of the relevance of epigraphical texts to the understanding of Phoenician trade ... is very clear and balanced. This is par excellence, then, an academic monograph for the nineties. (Paul McKechnie, Prudentia, Vol. XXIV, No. 2, November 1992)

Many will find of considerable interest the examination of Central Places theory in the light of the Hellenistic data (L L Grabbe,)

After Alexander the Great sacked Tyre in 332BC the Phoenicians practically drop out of history. John D Grainger makes a scholarly and diligent effort to recover them in the first full-length modern study of the long Phoenician twilight under Greco-Macedonian rule. (Doyne Dawson, The Historian, Gall 93, vol 56)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The Phoenician cities were situated on the coast of what today is mainly Lebanon, the major cities being Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Tripolis and Arados. The book is a narrative history of the cities and their relationships with each other and the ruling powers of the hinterlands, from the time of the Macedonian conquest up to the triumph of Augustus and the final "Hellenization" of the eastern Mediterranean.

I have just read the author's "Seleukos Nikator", published in the previous year to this book, and this is almost a sequel, as Seleukos is a major player in the first chapter - "The Time of Troubles 360-287BC". Seleukos, Ptolemy and their successors wander in and out of the story, as their campaigns take them from Syria to Palestine and back. There are 6 narrative chapters, taking the story down to Augustus, and a seventh, on "The Phoenicians Overseas" looking at their activities to the east and west, for there were Phoenician traders operating in the Gulf and India.

The author, as seen in his book on Seleukos, is a master of the sources, and is able to examine various authorities' interpretations of the patchy evidence from the period, dismissing some theories, expanding on others, and offering a few interpretations of his own, while carefully pointing out areas where nothing is currently known.

The Phoenician cities can be likened to Greek city states, rivals jostling with each other for dominance and status, interested mainly in gaining control of their hinterlands, maintaining their independence from the great powers of the day, and trying not to be on the wrong side when the music stopped at the end of a war or revolt in the latest empire to be passing by.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A battleground for Arabs and Jews" - Pompey the Great 64BC 19 Mar 2011
By Fluffy Bunny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Phoenician cities were situated on the coast of what today is mainly Lebanon, the major cities being Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Tripolis and Arados. The book is a narrative history of the cities and their relationships with each other and the ruling powers of the hinterlands, from the time of the Macedonian conquest up to the triumph of Augustus and the final "Hellenization" of the eastern Mediterranean.

I have just read the author's "Seleukos Nikator", published in the previous year to this book, and this is almost a sequel, as Seleukos is a major player in the first chapter - "The Time of Troubles 360-287BC". Seleukos, Ptolemy and their successors wander in and out of the story, as their campaigns take them from Syria to Palestine and back. There are 6 narrative chapters, taking the story down to Augustus, and a seventh, on "The Phoenicians Overseas" looking at their activities to the east and west, for there were Phoenician traders operating in the Gulf and India.

The author, as seen in his book on Seleukos, is a master of the sources, and is able to examine various authorities' interpretations of the patchy evidence from the period, dismissing some theories, expanding on others, and offering a few interpretations of his own, while carefully pointing out areas where nothing is currently known.

The Phoenician cities can be likened to Greek city states, rivals jostling with each other for dominance and status, interested mainly in gaining control of their hinterlands, maintaining their independence from the great powers of the day, and trying not to be on the wrong side when the music stopped at the end of a war or revolt in the latest empire to be passing by. The author estimates the joint population of the main cities to be roughly equivalent of Athens at its height, so the individual cities are not contenders as major powers themselves, but their fleets would make a big contribution to any contending power. Hence their constant attempts to gain local rights and local territory in exchange for their aid, but to keep out of the way of sieges. Occasionally, of course, they meet someone who doesn't take "can we talk about this" for an answer. The author has commented on Alexander's lack of a sense of humour in his previous book.

This is a readable and erudite book, but it is about the Phoenician cities, and not an account of the campaigns, battles and conquerors, who only appear as and when they impact on the cities. If you know a little about the period, then you'll be able to follow the story without trouble, although due to the fragmentary sources, even general histories of the period can be confusing, as characters come and go, with little more than their names known to us. The author however, does try to explain who everyone is, and what they are up to when they appear.

Note - I borrowed this book from a library; make your taxes work for you!

Further recommended reading by John D. Grainger:
The League of Aitolians (Mnemosyne, Supplements)
The Syrian Wars (Mnemosyne, Supplements)
The Roman War of Antiochos the Great (Mnemosyne, Supplements)
Hellenistic and Roman Naval Warfare 336BC - 31BC
Alexander the Great Failure: The Collapse of the Macedonian Empire (Hambledon Continuum)
Seleukos Nikator: Constructing a Hellenistic Kingdom
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