Tag Archives: Phoenician mythology

What Did Sanchoniathon, Phoenicia’s Ancient Historian, Write?

PIC BYBLOS LEBANON – courtesy onemilegrads.blogspot

Sanchuniathon, (flourished 13th century BC?), ancient Phoenician writer. All information about him is derived from the works of Philo of Byblos (flourished ad 100). Excavations at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in Syria in 1929 revealed Phoenician documents supporting much of Sanchuniathon’s information on Phoenician mythology and religious beliefs. According to Philo, Sanchuniathon derived the sacred lore from inscriptions on the Ammouneis (i.e., images or pillars of Baal Amon), which stood in Phoenician temples.
  — From Encyclopædia Britannica.

Eusebius says that Philo placed Sanchuniathon’s works into nine books. In the introduction to the first book he makes this preface concerning Sanchuniathon:

“These things being so, Sanchuniathon, who was a man of much learning and great curiosity, and desirous of knowing the earliest history of all nations from the creation of the world, searched out with great care the history of Taautus, knowing that of all men under the sun Taautus was the first who thought of the invention of letters, and began the writing of records: and he laid the foundation, as it were, of his history, by beginning with him, whom the Egyptians called Thoyth, and the Alexandrians Thoth, translated by the Greeks into Hermes.”

The following translation is from I. P. Cory’s Ancient Fragments (1828/1832). Cory has provided citations for the passages in Eusebius’ work from which this epitome of Sanchuniathon has been reconstructed.

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