Abstract and Keywords
The Phoenician presence in modern-day Morocco and Algeria started no later than the beginning of the eighth century bce, with the city of Lixus on the Atlantic and its temple of Melqart, one of the oldest in the Phoenician diaspora. There was a process of intensification during the second half of the seventh century bce, with sites springing up along the main river valleys or on small islands close to the coast, such as Mogador and Rachgoun. These sites were founded to control the agricultural and cattle industries, as well as the trade in exotic goods such as ivory, purple dye, and luxury citron wood. This process continued during the first half of the sixth century bce, when for the first time less important rivers were occupied as ports of call. It is difficult to identify a Carthaginian colonial presence, since a large part of the evidence for a “Punic” presence on the Algerian coast belongs to the period of the Numidian kings, beginning in the third century bce. However, these must have been tributary cities which also obligatorily sent mercenaries to the Carthaginian army.
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