Ancient History Podcast: Phoenicians Among Others

In the very first episode of the Ancient History podcast we talk to Denise Demetriou about her new book Phoenicians Among Others (Oxford, 2023), which discusses the Phoenician immigrants who moved throughout the Mediterranean and how they adapted to and influenced their host communities.


Hi Duncan, I am very glad you liked the episode!

The discussion, and Denise Demetriou’s book, is concerned with Phoenician migrants in the Mediterranean world. As such, Phoenician communities in Mesopotamia, for instance, are not covered. That would certainly make for an interesting topic, though!

The driving factors for colonisation in the ancient world is a widely debated topic. Indeed, even the nature of ancient colonisation is subject to debate. As for Denise Demetriou’s book, this is less a matter of colonisation and more about immigration, with the Phoenician subjects of the book being those who integrated into host communities, not colonisers. Again, the drivers of colonisation is another interesting topic, one that would make for a very interesting podcast episode!

The Greeks and Phoenicians are certainly the best attested colonising groups. There were plenty of communities of immigrants throughout the Mediterranean world, however, such as Thracians, Scythians, and North Syrians, to name but a few. Some of these came freely, as craftspeople or mercenaries, and some immigrant communities arose due to large numbers of slaves in cities.

Let us know what you would like to see discussed in future episodes!

Owain Williams

Thank you! Hopefully the first of many.
Really insightful discussion about a fascinating subject. I may have missed these points, and I’ll have to read the book but…
1. Is there any discussion of similar “Phoenicians” communities inland (in Assyrian, Babylonian or Achaemenid Persian territories), and what changed for them with post-Alexandrian Hellenisation?
2. What started colonisation – why did the diaspora of both Hellenes and Phoenicians happen – was it a similar trigger for both?
3. Were there other colonial migrant groups that are less well studied and understood?

Duncan Whinton-Brown

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