Carolina López-Ruiz is Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Mythologies in the Divinity School and the Department of Classics at the University of Chicago. She specializes in Greek and Near Eastern mythology and religion, cultural contact, and the Phoenician-Punic world. She is co-director of the University of Chicago excavations at the Phoenician site of Cerro del Villar in Málaga, Spain. López-Ruiz has published articles and books on the interactions between the Phoenicians and local groups in Iberia and on cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean, including Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia: Phoenician, Greek, and Indigenous Relations (2009, co-edited with M. Dietler), Tartessos and the Phoenicians in Iberia (2016, with S. Celestino), and most recently the award winning monograph Phoenicians and the Making of the Mediterranean (2021).
February Bible & Archaeology Fest 2024
Who were the Phoenicians and what were they doing in Iberia?
In this talk López-Ruiz will offer a brief overview of who we understand the Phoenicians to be, and of their crucial role knitting new networks across the ancient Mediterranean. We will Zoom in on Iberia, which is a phenomenal testing ground to examine the question of what may have led the Phoenicians and specially Tyre to settle abroad. In Iberia, their centuries-long habitation produced an economic and cultural transformation of local landscapes and societies, paralleled to the “orientalizing” phenomena we see among Etruscans, Greeks, and others in the same centuries. At the same time, the Phoenician diaspora itself was inseparable from the historical developments back in the Levant, of which the books of the Hebrew Bible are a crucial witness.