Syrian and Phoenician diasporas: Inscriptional evidence

Comments: People migrated from Syria and Phoenicia (on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea, just north of Israel) to a variety of places, mainly for engaging in shipping and trade, it seems. The inscriptions and monuments  from Delos, an important trading centre, are most impressive. Quite often we find signs that such immigrants continued to honour the ancestral deities of their homelands while also finding a place for themselves in their society of settlement in other ways. The photo in the banner of this site is an example of this.  It is a bilingual (Greek and Palmyrene) dedication from Rome to the Palmyrene “ancestral deities” Aglibol (Moon) and Malakbel (Sun) by Iahari (Heliodoros in the Greek) son of Haliphi from Palmyra in Syria (IGUR I 119-120; 236 CE).

Syrians was a term used as a self-designation, but “Phoenicians” was most often a Greek-outsider term for a variety of different peoples who would self-identify (by city of origin) as Tyrians, Sidonians, Byblians, and Berytians, as some of the inscriptions here show.

You can read more about Syrian diasporas, including many of these same inscriptions, in Harland’s article  “Other Diasporas: Immigrants, Ethnic Identities, and Acculturation” (link).


Athens and the Piraeus

Delos Island

Other Greek Islands


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