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date: 16 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Already in antiquity and throughout western history, Phoenicians provided a model of constitutional balance and good governance, an example of economic expansion, and an example of literate culture. As Orientalist narratives gained favor in the nineteenth century, however, Phoenician civilization was relegated to the margins, and negative stereotypes such as their alleged sensuality and depravity were emphasized. As pseudo-scientific racist theories spread, their allegedly Semitic trait of the pursuit of commercial gain formed a stark contrast to the presumed Indo-European or “western” preference for wealth base upon agriculture. In the last decades, assumptions about their essential character have been challenged, and interest in the study of Phoenicians through archaeology and historiography has grown. As the chapter shoes, popular reimaginations of Carthage in western culture also have geared toward positive connotations of resilience and entrepreneurship.

Keywords: ideal constitution, economic imperialism, Orientalism, infant sacrifice, ritual prostitution

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