Greek and Phoenician Colonizations in the Iberian Peninsula

Here we will work contents related to the Comenius Project "Colonization and migration", which is being developed by the IES Parque de Lisboa in collaboration with other European schools.

We are going to study the mutual cultural influences between colonizers and colonized people. We will focus on key areas of life such as language, politics, art, philosophy, traditions and how these affected their daily life.

Each Comenius partner will cover one topic or period of this "historical journey". We will focus on Greek, Phoenician and Roman colonization across the Mediterranean Sea and how those colonizations affected the Iberian Peninsula.


THE GREEK AND PHOENICIAN COLONIZATION

(By Alvaro Sánchez, Marta Martínez, Javier Naranjo, Juan Camilo Rodriguez, Rosselveth Vargas)

Greek and Phoenician colonizations routes

Ancient History Encyclopedia
Ancient History Encyclopedia




1- Phoenician and Carthaginian colonization

The Phoenician colonization is earlier by several centuries of colonization Greek. The first Greek products reached the West in Phoenician ships, and have appeared in Phoenician factories, or indigenous villages directly related to the Phoenician settlements. The influence due to the Phoenician trade, invaded the Iberian Mediterranean coast and caló deeply in the interior of the country, up to the Tagus. Does not seem that the Phoenicians or Greeks were interested in the Iberian Peninsula, but in the metals. The Phoenicians, in la plata, according to a text of Diodorus Siculus.

Phoenician sarcophagus. 470 B.C.
Phoenician sarcophagus. 470 B.C.

Phoenician sarcophagus
Phoenician sarcophagus



From the 9th century a. C. developed in the South of the Iberian Peninsula a powerful monarchy, called the Kingdom of Tartessos, which we know the most important King of name Arganthonios. This Hispanic Kingdom was full of Phoenician factories on the Mediterranean coast, and they controlled for a long time its fabulous mineral wealth, which exported to Carthage, Sicily, the Greece Magna and the Aegean.

Ruins in Tartessos, Huelva.
Ruins in Tartessos, Huelva.


The height of the Punic presence in the Peninsula comprises VI and III BC. Their first foundation was located in Ebusus on the island of Ibiza, which later became the center of trade and a strategic point to naval dominence through out the West of the Mediterranean sea, later settling in the rest of the Balearic islands.



Coins found in Ebusus, Ibiza
Coins found in Ebusus, Ibiza


This first phase of Carthaginian colonization was the legacy of the Phoenician colonization. The Carthaginians substituted the Phoenician, installing themselves in the Phoenician comercial factories, where they could control the products from the inner Peninsula, especially the Castulo mines (Linares).This phase was followed by a second phase (towards the end of III BC), a more military phase, that lead to the occupation of the South and South-East of the Peninsula, this may have been the cause to the disappearance of the kingdom of Tartessos.

The conflicts for the control over the Mediterranean, which started with another state that was in the phase of growth and expansion -Rome -, provoked the change in the Carthaginian politics. The Carthaginians interviened directly in the Peninsula creating Cartago Nova (Cartagena) and started a systematic exploitation of the mines of Sierra Morena, El Moncayo and Almaden. Their armies were made by mercenaries, recluted from the indigenous populations in the Iberian Peninsula

Terracota, Puig
Terracota, Puig













The Carthaginian cultural legacy is still present in the funerary objects from the most improtant necropolis like the terracota (objects made with mud) in Puig.





The legacy from the phoenician colonizations was very important, although it only affected the Mediterranean costal areas y and the valley of the Guadalquivir. The Phoenician influence in Hispania the introduction of iron, the Potter lathe, and the painting of vessels; the writing of new techniques to extract minerals; techniques of construction of temples and homes; the work of the ivory; the introduction also mosaic of pebbles, of oil and wine, chicken, and probably the purple; Warrior techniques, such as the battering ram of the chariot of war and the coat of arms; a type of clothing that presupposes the use of the fibula; of the use of lamps for light, aromas of burn, and so on. In religion (temples, gods, burial rituals), the Phoenician influence was profound. Fantastic animals, such as taps, Sphinx, etc, those brought to the West the Phoenicians.external image mcaos15collarnecropolisfenicia4254lgmp4.jpg
These Mediterranean colonies gave:
  • New crops, such as the olive and the straw.
  • Development in using ceramics.
  • Adaptation to new currency, key to comercial development.
  • The alfabet. First the Phoenician , later the Greek.
  • Artistic ruins: the Phoenician sarcophagus in Cadiz, the Phoenician treasure from Aliseda, the Greek city of Emporion...

2- Greek Colonization

Greece has always been a poor country, without fertile soil, so these characteristics encourage the greeks to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the east and west betwween the eighth century BC and AC VI to find richest regions. In his desire to approach the trade of metals and following the route of the western Mediterranean islands, the Phoceans (by Greek sailors who came from the Ionian city of Phocis, in present day Turkey) founded Massilia (Marseille) on the south coast of France, which was the starting point for the establishment of colonies in the Spanish Mediterranean coast from the eighth and seventh centuries BC

The Mediterranean Sea saw how the Greeks founded different colonies, apart from the area of Phoenician and Carthaginian influence. These settlements were independent cities . Emporiom (Ampurias), which was founded around the year 600 B.C., is the most famous Greek settlement on the Iberian Peninsula.Some years larter Emporion was used as the first Roman military base. The Greek colonies that were established on the Mediterranean cost were supposed to stay where they were, so they created their own industry, their own currency and their own agriculture, imitating the Greek lifestyle and culture.

In most of the Greek colonies mentioned in the texts above there no archaeological remains left. It is possible that the greeks used the Iberian and Phoenician sites for trade with the Indians, and some of these sites were eventually given Greek names. it's been archeologically proved that the following colonies were founded by the Greeks: Rhode (Rosas) and Emporion (Ampurias), and as to other references of other foundations such as Hemeroskopeion (Denia), Mainake (Vélez Málaga) and Akra Leuke (Alicante) still have no archaeological confirmation as to who founded them.


The Greek influence was very important in Mediterranean Iberian populations, among which spread its alphabet, its ceramic production, the craft industry, religion and art ...

People living in the Iberian Peninsula benefited from Greek colonization because Greeks brought new crops such as grapes and olives; they taught to Iberian natives how to use iron and shared them too new mining techniques and new pottery techniques. Furtherrmore, greeks created several new salinas to make salted fish and brought a new coinage. And, indeed, greeks developed cities, taught to iberian people a new writting system and left their mark on native art.

3- Greek and Phoenician colonies in the Iberian Peninsula

The Colonization Process in the Iberian Peninsula was carried out by Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians. It began by the contacts made while trading with the villages located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In the Iberian Peninsula, the colonization process started in the year 900 BC and affected the east and south coastal areas. Trading and the increasing exchanges with the colonizers caused a better development of the areas involved as they obtained new products and technology. Art, culture, currency, alphabet, urbanism, new crops, new craft techniques, etc. New towns, colonies and comercial factories were established such as Malaka, Carteia, Gades, Rhodes and Emporiom. were attended by the people from the inner peninsula.


Greek Colonization in the Iberian Peninsula
Greek Colonization in the Iberian Peninsula



Greek colonies in the Iberian Peninsula

Emporion


Emporion ruins arexternal image Empuriabrava.10.jpge located in beautiful surroundings by the Mediterranean sea, just above the beaches named Playa Moll Grec and Muscleres



Ampurias,that means market or comercial harbour, in latin Emporiae, were a greece and roman city that was located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, in the region of AltoAmpurdan. Was built in 575 a.C by Focean's colonizators like a comercial sitein the west Mediterranean.




The Palaiápolis, «ancient city», was established as a comercial port where they could stop and trade in front of the river Fluviá. when the Greeks arrived, the indigenous became producers of consumption goods that would be traded with the Helens for the the most precious goods, such as, wine. It started depending on Massalia, as we can observe in the great numer of ánforas massaliotas found from that era. In the year 550 b. C. Estrabón established a second foundation on the mainland, which experiments a great urbanistic development. In the century V b. C. there is a great era of prosperity which was based mostly on Greek trade, especially with the Athenian provisioning. political and comercial agreements were established with the indigenous population, which was found within the proximty of the city of Indikadue to its situation in the comercial route between Massalia y Tartesos, the city became the great economic and comercial center as well as the biggest Greek colony in Iberian Peninsula.



Greek mosaic pavements
Greek mosaic pavements




There is a main, from which others are born on both sides, that will give the area sacred temples.The rectangular houses are located in the corners of the streets.
The houses preserve numerous mosaics paintings and ornamentation, it can the distribution of the same ones turns with enough clarity as well as: the sewer, a factory of saltings, a Forum, an Amphitheatre and a Basilica between other many constructions.






















The ruins of Emporion (video)


The temples of the sacred zone are:
  • The Asklepiós Temple, Dedicated to the Greek God of the medicine, Asklepiós, that we still have a magnificent sculpture

The Asklepios sculpture
The Asklepios sculpture

The Asklepios temple
The Asklepios temple







TheSerapis Temple, dedicated to Zeus Serapis, a Isis and for his son Harpócrates.It is better preserved, His plant is squared, this placed on a podium with lateral perrons and has a portico of 4 columns.His designer was Numas, An egyptian architect brought to Emporiom.

The sculpture of Zeus Serapis
The sculpture of Zeus Serapis

Besides the temples they are of emphasizing the civil and public houses:
    • Casa d'Atrio: It is a familiar housing constructed with a central court.
    • Casa de Peristilo: Another housing of similar structure, with central court.
    • La Plaza central -Agora-: It is the center of the economic activity and politics of the city. In there is locates the Stoá,that is the building destined for the above mentioned activities.
    • Markets and shops: Different buildings that flank the street principal.

Agorá y Stoá (s.II a.C)
Agorá y Stoá (s.II a.C)


Emporion's Dracma

external image Dracma-d-Emporion_imagelarge.jpg



We can see on the obverse the head of the nymph Arethusa and on the reverse there is a pegasus, the city simbol, and the legend "emporiton"






Rhode

Former Greek colony placed in the gulf of Roses. It lasted over one century and was always in commercial competition with Emporion (From ends of the IV century until ends of the III century) It coined fundamentally drachmas and divisors of silver and even some trace of bronze.
 Acropolis of Rhodes.Temple.
Acropolis of Rhodes.Temple.


His typical coins have Aretusa-Artemis's bust in the obverse and the rose (sight from below) the back.
Many centuries later Rodhes would return to issue coin in times of visigodos (c.575-702).

Rodhe's Dracma
external image Dracma-de-Rhode_imagelarge.jpg

Ullastret: An Iberian village

The city was founded in the sixth century B.C. and since the end of this century was equipped with a powerful wall, that we can see in this photo.

external image pl_fb288e6d2aaef08984cd2af4d4947f3e.jpeg

Inside the city you can see remains of houses and tanks used to store grain, as well as public spaces, such as several temples.

external image ruinas-ibericas-ullastret_205449.jpg

Its inhabitants were autochthonous people that received the influence of the Phoenician and Greek settlers. The Iberian, therefore, is a cultural concept, mixture of the indigenous and Phoenician - griego-cartaginés.

Their economy was based on agriculture and cattle but also in trade. They traded with products craftsmen made and minerals that they exchanged. They had their own monetary system and were coining their own currency. Iberian society, by the colonizer's influence, got organized into a hierarchy, as it is estimated by studying the different funeral apparels. It was a specialized society, as it has been estimated by his ceramics - formed by peasants, craftsmen, merchants, warriors.

His political organization was already of state type, with States formed by one or several cities with a system of monarchic government, under the government of the régulos.

Burial. IV century B.C.Founded in the necropolis of Puig deSerra
Burial. IV century B.C.Founded in the necropolis of Puig deSerra


The arqueologic collection of Ullastret is formed by two iberian villages the Puig of Sant Andreu and the Illa d'en Reixac, and the necropolis of Puig of Serra.Puig of Sant Andreu is the last deposit that you can visit actually.

The first houses of rectangular floor for mediterranean colonial influence ,builded with walls of stone and adobe.
The deposits in the stone are rest of previous silo's to the construction of the houses.



Sagunto

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This is Sagunto nowadays.Althoug there are no Greek ruins left, Sagunto was a Greek colony. Afterwards, it became an important Hispanic-roman city in the 3th century. It was an important city and Romans and Cartaginians fought among them to control the city.

This video gives you some information about Sagunto.



Hemeroskopeion
IIt was the first Greek colony on the Iberian Peninsula.The arrival of the Greeks settlers was narrated by Estrabon in one of his books.
Estrabon was born in Ponto in the 63 b.C.In his Third book about Iberia he talks about the legendary city of Hemeroskopeion.

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This is the rock of Ichaf near Hemeroskopeion.


Phoenician colonies in the Iberian Peninsula

Gadir

There are two zones of influence in the Phoenician colonization: a Western centralized in Cádiz, "Gadir" which means walled city, and another East located in the provinces of Granada and Malaga, where they founded Malacca - Malaga - Sexi - Almuñécar - and Abdera - Adra-. The contribution of the Phoenicians to the mainland culture has been important, not only economically to be the first people based on a "trade", but by cultural or industrial contributions: urbanism, alphabet, Eastern religions, new techniques in metallurgy and pottery.

Around 1100 BC, the Phoenician city of Tiro founded Gadir - Cádiz. the foundation of the Phoenician city dates from the year 1100 BC — Strabo and Velleius Paterculus-. Currently we have no great architectural remains, we only know that they are under the current city of Cadiz. Its location was due to the proximity of the silver and gold mines, metals needed for trade with the East.

Cadiz (Gadir)
Cadiz (Gadir)


The most important remains are burial chambers of great blocks found in the current shipyards, which appeared the best sarcophagi of Phoenician manufacturing - S V BC. They are highlighting the ruins of the Temple of Melqart, located on the island of Sancti Petri and the remains of the Phoenician channel.

 Melkart . Phoenician god
Melkart . Phoenician god



















Gadir coin (Cádiz)
Gadir coin (Cádiz)



Malacca

Malaka was founded by phoenician in the seven century B.C. , in the stuary river Guadalhorce. They trayed to achieve the natural resources of these region. There were a lot of economical causes that impelled phoenician's sailors to settle there, like the wood richess for smelting furnace.
Among the economic activities that these colonies developed, should refer to the fishing industry for the production of purple and salting; It was even minting coins. These lands were a border between two worlds: the settlers of the coast and the Iberians of the interior.
In the second half of the 6th century most of the Phoenician colonies became Carthaginian colonies. The conquest of Tiro by Nebuchadnezzar in the year 573 Carthage became the heiress of Phoenician trade. The Punic Carthage created around a business empire in which the southern coast of Spain played a prominent role.


Potery. Necropolis El Jardín (Málaga)
Potery. Necropolis El Jardín (Málaga)


Phoenician coin
Phoenician coin