088211 - E RIC C SAPO A N I NTERNATIONAL C OMMUNITY OF T...

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Unformatted text preview: E RIC C SAPO A N I NTERNATIONAL C OMMUNITY OF T RADERS IN L ATE 8 TH– 7 TH C. B.C. K OMMOS IN S OUTHERN C RETE aus: Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 88 (1991) 211–216 © Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn 211 An International Community of Traders in Late 8th-7th c. B.C. Kommos in Southern Crete Kommos, 1 one of the few usable harbours on the south coast of Crete, was a major port town, perhaps the major port town of southern Crete, during the Late Minoan period, espe- cially LM III, when the site shows extensive trade connections with Cyprus, the Levant and Italy. 2 By the end of LM IIIB, the site was completely abandoned, but its natural advantage again attracted merchants as early as the late 10th c. B.C. These first Iron Age merchants, very probably Phoenicians, made only a very restricted use of the site: the limited remains would characterize it as a regular "pit-stop" rather than a "trading post;" there is certainly no evidence of permanent settlement. 3 They built a temple which enclosed a tripillar shrine (of a familiar Phoenician type) and left behind over 200 fragments of Phoenician pottery, mainly "torpedo" jars and (possibly) one inscription. This "Phoenician presence" is strongest in the 9th c. B.C., a time of intense Phoenician activity in the West and the Tyrian colonization of North Africa. The tripillar shrine continued to be worshipped until about 650 B.C., possibly long after Phoenician activity ceased in the area. The use of the harbour and temple site was never exclusively Phoenician. Local Greeks seem to have frequented the site from the time of its first use as a sanctuary. The late 8th and 7th century B.C. yield ample evidence of an in- crease in Greek mercantile activity, culminating in the construction of a number of buildings in the sanctuary around 630 B.C. (one of which was almost certainly a depot for merchandise passing through the area). Though this activity generally coincides with the period of Greek expansion to the Southern Mediterranean, Naucratis and Cyrenaica, Kommos' trade connec- tions are characterized chiefly by East Greek, Peloponnesian and some Central Greek imports. By 600 B.C., quite suddenly, the Kommos site fell once more into disuse (though it would be partially revived by the later 6th century B.C.). It would help throw a little light on this dark period of Greek history if we were able to identify the nationalities of the Greek merchants who superseded the Phoenicians and perhaps for a time even shared the use of the Kommos site with them. However specific and unam- 1 The following abbreviations are used: Gallavotti 1979-80 C. Gallavotti, "La firma di Aristonothos e alcuni problemi di fonetica greca," in Fil¤a! Xãrin : Miscellanea di Studi Classici in Onore di Eugenio Manni (Rome 1979-80) vol....
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088211 - E RIC C SAPO A N I NTERNATIONAL C OMMUNITY OF T...

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