This is the first book in English about the earliest historical civilization in the western Mediterranean, kwn as Tartessos. Endowed with extraordinary wealth in metals and strategically positioned between the Atlantic and Mediterranean trading routes at the time of Greek and Phoenician colonial expansion, Tartessos flourished in the eight-seventh centuries BCE. Tartessos became a literate, sophisticated, urban culture in southwestern Iberia (today's Spain and Portugal), enriched by commercial contacts with the Aegean and the Levant since at least the ninth century. In its material culture (architecture, grave goods, sanctuaries, plastic arts), we see how native elements combined with imported orientalizing invations introduced by the Phoenicians. Historians of the rank of Herodotos and Livy, geographers such as Strabo and Pliny, Greek and Punic periploi and perhaps even Phoenician and Hebrew texts, testify to the power, wealth, and prominence of this westernmost Mediterranean civilization. Archaeologists, in turn, have demonstrated the existence of a fascinating complex society with both strong local roots and international flare. Yet for still-mysterious reasons, Tartessos did t attain a Classical period like its peer emerging cultures did at the same time (Etruscans, Romans, Greeks). This book combines the expertise of its two authors in archaeology, philology, and cultural history to present a comprehensive, coherent, theoretically up-to-date, and informative overview of the discovery, sources, and debates surrounding this puzzling culture of ancient Iberia and its complex hybrid identity vis-a-vis the western Phoenicians. This book will be of great interest to students of the classics, archaeology and ancient history, Phoenician-Punic studies, colonization and cultural contact.
Sebastian Celestino is a full time researcher at the CSIC (Spain) and the Director of the Institute of Archaeology of Merida (Badajoz). He has been active as a field archaeologist for decades and has directed, among others, the excavations of Cancho Roano. He has published abundantly on Iberian porto-history and archaeology, and Tartessos in particular. Among his books are Cancho Roano (2001, Madrid), Estelas de guerrero y estelas diademadas: la precolonizacion y la formacion del mundo tartesico (2001, Barcelona), and Tarteso: Un viaje a los confines del mundo antiguo (Trebled, 2014), and the coedited volumes on El periodo orientalizante (2 vols., 2005, Merida) and Contacto cultural entre el Mediterraneo y el Atlantico (siglos XII-VIII and). La precolonizacion a debate (2008, Madrid). Carolina Lopez-Ruiz is Associate Professor of Classics at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She has published articles on Greek and Near Eastern literatures and mythology and topics related to the Phoenician presence in the western Mediterranean. She is the co-editor of Colonial Encounters in Ancient Iberia: Phoenician, Greek, and Indigenous Relations (2009, Chicago, with Michael Dietler) and the author of When the Gods Were Born: Greek Cosmogonies and the Near East (2010, Cambridge, MA). Her recently edited book Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation (Oxford 2014) challenges the traditional view of the classics by situating Greek and Roman mythology in its broader Mediterranean context. She is the co-editor (with Brian Doak) of the Oxford Handbook of the Phoenician and Punic Mediterranean (in preparation).