The Iliad: How Much Fact - How Much Fiction

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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Postby Minimalist » Sun May 18, 2008 8:30 pm

Not in the 3d century, BC. Rome was more or less self-sufficient as most of the population was small farmers who also provided the manpower for the army.

Success at empire building led to the growth of large plantations which dispossessed those small farmers and led to the creation of the Roman mob.

By the time Carthage was re-established as a Roman colony in 46 BC that had all changed and Rome needed constant grain imports to sustain the mob and avoid riots. There were other towns in North Africa, Thapsus, Utica and Lepcis Magna come to mind, and these were both trading and agricultural centers. You are right that by the first century BC North Africa was a major agricultural area...something which is not true 2,000 years later, is it?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Postby Ishtar » Sun May 18, 2008 10:22 pm

Minimalist wrote: You are right that by the first century BC North Africa was a major agricultural area...something which is not true 2,000 years later, is it?


As we know, north Africa was much more fertile then, due to a more temperate climate, as we've also seen from the cave art at Tassili-n-Ajjer in Algeria.

But we should also consider that if the Out of Africa theory is correct, the Magdalenians would probably have stayed at what we now call Carthage for a while as they gradually migrated up through and into Europe.

Also on Min's point about it being at one time a Phoenician trading post - the language the Carthaginians spoke, Punic, is a subset of Phoenician. Carthage also 'inherited from Tyre' the knowledge about how to make the Phoenician purple. As this recipe was as secret as Coca Cola's is today, it's unlikely the Phoenicians would have given it away - unless to other Phoenicians....
Last edited by Ishtar on Sun May 18, 2008 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ishtar » Sun May 18, 2008 11:15 pm

Interesting Wiki snippet:


Hannibal (Punic Hanniba'al חניבעל, Ba'al is my grace, or Ba'al has given me grace), son of Hamilcar Barca (247 BC – ca. 183 BC,[1][2][3][4][5] short form Hannibal) was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician, later also working in other professions, who is popularly credited as one of the finest commanders in history.


Hannibal had two brothers who were also named after Ba'al. So er...were the Phoenicians Canaanites then? It's all very confusing ... :?
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Postby rich » Sun May 18, 2008 11:27 pm

From Wikipedia:

Baal of Tyre
Melqart is the son of El in the Phoenician triad of worship, He was the god of Tyre and was often called the Ba'al of Tyre


Also from Wikipedia:

"Ba'al" can refer to any god and even to human officials; in some texts it is used as a substitute for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven.
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
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Postby Ishtar » Sun May 18, 2008 11:41 pm

Hi Rich

My point was... Ba'al is a very important Canaanite god. Also he appears to be important to the Carthiginians, who could be a branch, or cousins of the Phoencians ....So it looks as if all these peoples were very closely linked ...the Cathaginians, the Phoenicians and the Canaanites.

This is a Eurekan new thought to be me, so I apologise if I'm reinventing the wheel. Just tell me, and I'll shut up. :lol:
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Postby rich » Sun May 18, 2008 11:51 pm

The Carthaginians were decended from the Caananites, and both had their core religions derived from the Phoenecians.
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
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Postby Ishtar » Sun May 18, 2008 11:58 pm

Thank you. I'll shut up now. 8)
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Postby rich » Mon May 19, 2008 12:02 am

Direct from Wiki - again:

Carthage was notorious to its neighbors for child sacrifice. Plutarch (ca. 46–120 AD) mentions the practice, as do Tertullian, Orosius, Diodorus Siculus and Philo. Livy and Polybius do not. The Hebrew Bible also mentions what appears to be child sacrifice practiced at a place called the Tophet ("roasting place") by the Caananites, ancestors of the Carthaginians, and by some Israelites.



And also:
Carthaginian religion was based on Phoenician religion.


That being said (or quoted) it also does have another section that says legend says Queen Dido founded Carthage.
Queen Elissa (also known as "Alissar", and by the Arabic name[5] اليسار also اليسا and عليسا), who in later accounts became known as Queen Dido, was a princess of Tyre who founded Carthage.


and
According to legend it was founded by Phoenician colonists under the leadership of Elissa (Queen Dido).


So maybe the Caananites were Phoenecian too. Or maybe Wiki is wrong. :D
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Postby rich » Mon May 19, 2008 12:04 am

Ish - Please don't shut up - it's been all too quiet on the board lately. It needs to be LIVENED UP!!!! :D :D
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
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Postby dannan14 » Mon May 19, 2008 12:44 am

So it probably isn't a stretch to think that Ba'al could also be a god's name which ends in El? That would make sense if Caananites founded Carthage.
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Postby Ishtar » Mon May 19, 2008 1:42 am

So you think that watching me falling arse over tit at least makes for some good entertainment? :lol:

Trouble is, I never paid attention at school when we did Carthage and Ur ... if only I'd known I was going to need it later in life. As it was, we were never taught the context of anything. One minute, we were up to our necks in the Tudors. The next minute, the teacher's saying "Right, now we're doing Carthage," and I'd think "Why?" as I gazed out of the window day dreaming about my latest boyfriend ... and that's not even to mention algebra which I still haven't figured out the point of....

Luckily, though, I had a natural gift for writing and I loved reading old stories - myths and legends and so on...So the world has found some small use for me after all! :lol:
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Postby Ishtar » Mon May 19, 2008 1:55 am

dannan14 wrote:So it probably isn't a stretch to think that Ba'al could also be a god's name which ends in El? That would make sense if Caananites founded Carthage.


Like Dido's real name - El - issa?
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Postby Digit » Mon May 19, 2008 2:06 am

So you think that watching me falling arse over tit at least makes for some good entertainment?


Yes! :lol:
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Postby Ishtar » Mon May 19, 2008 2:06 am

rich wrote:Direct from Wiki - again:

Carthage was notorious to its neighbors for child sacrifice. Plutarch (ca. 46–120 AD) mentions the practice, as do Tertullian, Orosius, Diodorus Siculus and Philo. Livy and Polybius do not. The Hebrew Bible also mentions what appears to be child sacrifice practiced at a place called the Tophet ("roasting place") by the Caananites, ancestors of the Carthaginians, and by some Israelites.



I think we have to accept the uncomfortable fact that our ancestors practised human sacrifice and child sacrifice. There's too much evidence to show it... for instance, at Catal Hoyuk there's a huge stone that looks very much like an altar with traces of animal and human blood on it.
Last edited by Ishtar on Mon May 19, 2008 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ishtar » Mon May 19, 2008 2:06 am

Digit wrote:
So you think that watching me falling arse over tit at least makes for some good entertainment?


Yes! :lol:


OK..... :lol:
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