The Phoenicians traveled the Mediterranean long before the Greeks and Romans, trading, establishing settlements, and refining the art of navigation. But who these legendary sailors really were has long remained a mystery. In Search of the Phoenicians makes the startling claim that the “Phoenicians” never actually existed as such. Taking readers from the ancient world to today, this book argues that the notion of these sailors as a coherent people with a shared identity, history, and culture is a product of modern nationalist ideologies—and a notion very much at odds with the ancient sources.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, Society for Classical Studies
Josephine Quinn is associate professor of ancient history at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Worcester College. She is the coeditor of The Hellenistic West and The Punic Mediterranean.
"[A] marvellous book. . . . Entertaining and accessible. . . . In Search of the Phoenicians represents the best of ancient history writing today."—David Mattingly, Times Literary Supplement
"Quinn's narrative is both exhilarating and cautionary because it shows how antiquity can be reimagined to promote ideological prejudices."—G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books
"Extraordinary. . . . In Search of the Phoenicians demonstrates both how important the interpretation of antiquity is for the present, and how important the history of interpretation is for understanding the past."—Robert L. Cioffi, London Review of Books
"[A] pioneering study. . . . This is exactly what scholarship should be. . . . Quinn can also communicate readily with readers who are not specialists in Mediterranean civilization."—John Butler, Asian Review of Books
"Quinn's ambitious study ties history and political science together to reveal the ways that antiquity remains relevant today."—Publishers Weekly
"Compelling."—Justin Marozzi, The Spectator
"Provocative, brilliant and original."—Arab News
"An enjoyable and intellectually rewarding read."—History Today