Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bonus 27 - Two Inscribed Phoenician Columns

Emperor Justinian Public Domain
The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei.
DVD-ROM, 2002. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.
In the 6th century, a Greek historian by the name of Procopius of Caesarea (ca. AD 500-?), an adviser to Belisarius under emperor Justinian, recounts how the Canaanites who had built a fortress at Tigisis in Numidia, North Africa “had left two columns inscribed in the Phoenician language wherein they claimed that they had fled from Joshua the son of Nun”1. Procopius reports: 
They [the Canaanites] also built a fortress in Numidia, where now is the city called Tigisis [probably in Algeria]. In that place are two columns made of white stone near by the great spring, having Phoenician letters cut in them which say in the Phoenician tongue: “We are they who fled from before the face of Joshua, the robber, the son of Nun” (History of the Wars of Justinian 4.10.21-22).
In addition to Procopius, Moses of Khoren, an earlier Armenian historian (AD 370-86), also mentions the two inscriptions on the Phoenician columns2. as well as an anonymous Greek historians (AD 630) in the Chronicon Paschale . “The inhabitants of these [islands, i.e., the Balearic Islands north of Algeria and east of Spain] were Canaanites fleeing from the face of Joshua the son of Nun.”3. As Wood points out: “It is highly unlikely that the Phoenicians of North Africa would have invented such a demeaning tradition to explain how they came to be in North Africa.”4.

1.  Anthony J. Frendo, “Two Long-Lost Phoenician Inscriptions and The Emergence of Ancient Israel,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 134, no. 1 (January 2002): 37.
2. Ibid. 40.
3. Ibid. 40.
4. Bryant G. Wood, “Extra-Biblical Evidence for the Conquest,” Bible and Spade 18, no. 4 (2005): 98.

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