Putting Phoenicia on the Map. From the Greeks to Ernest Renan’s Mission
- Cartographer, IGN. Chargé d’enseignement, Université Paris-Est, France
Keywords: Phoenicia, toponymy, mapping, identity, Lebanon, Greeks, Roman Empire, Ernest Renan
Abstract. This study questions the anachronism about Phoenicia, often thought to have ended when Alexander the Great conquered the Levant. However, toponymic evidence suggests that Phoenicia came into existence with and after Alexander’s conquests. Then it became an administrative division of the Roman Empire, to subsist as an ecclesiastical title down to Ottoman times. It was only in 1861 that the French scholar Ernest Renan invented and mapped “Phoenician archaeology.” Later interpretations of Renan’s view, converging with Biblical projections, led to the anachronistic use of “Phoenicia.” This anachronism still governs historiography and politics in the Levant today.