maandag 13 oktober 2014

To the end of Phoenician ARWAD

To the end of Phoenician Arwad.
When the end of Phoenician Arwad is approaching there is an increasing amount of inscriptions. In the middle of the 4th century appears a healer-god Shadrapa on a memorial stone: “This is the memorial stone, which was dedicated by Pilles, son of Abday to his lord Shadrapa, because he has heard his prayer.” On a seal we can read the name of the dual god Melqart-Rešep: “Belongs to Baalyaton, the man of god (’š el), dedicated to Melqart-Rešep.” On coins Dagon is replaced by the head of a male deity, possibly Baal-Yam (Lord of the Sea), the equivalent of the Greek Poseidon or Roman Neptune, who wears a pointed beard represented by lines, while his hair and whiskers are represented by pellets. On the reverse below the waves, a hippocamp or a dolphin is sometimes added, while above the galley, the Phoenician letters MA standing for Milk Arwad sometimes appear. These coins continued in circulation until Alexander captured Arados in 333 BC when a new mint was established by Alexander, at which coins of Alexander were struck with the monogram of Arados.
With the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333/332 BC Arwad is governed by Geraštarte. His son Abdaštarte is the commander of the fleet. Arwad is the first of the Phoenician cities to surrender to Alexander. Arrianus (II,13) tells us that the whole kingdom from Marathos to Sigo and Marriamme is given to Alexander after his victory at Issus over Darius. Abdaštarte is the successor as king of Arwad with the name Straton until 323 BC. Tyros is the only Phoenician town who is imprudent to make demands on Alexander with the consequence of a siege of many months. The fleet of the other Phoenician cities is ordered to block Tyros by the sea and Arados contributes to that fleet. It is the first and only time that Arados is so evident acting against Tyros. They must have done that sick at heart, but they must have thought, that they had no other choice. 
When Alexander conquers also the eastern part of the Persian Empire we learn from Arrianus (VI 22,4) that the Phoenician pedlars are following his army. All the way to Gedrosia they load on their pack-animals Arabic-gum and nard. It is the caravan-trade in which the Phoenicians also excel. Very probable the Arwadians were responsible for this, because they hold from ancient times the trade route to Mesopotamia and further on. Aristobulus accompanies Alexander on his journey to the east and he writes down that Alexander found at Babylon the fleet that had sailed with Nearchus up the Euphrates from the Persian Sea. In addition a fleet from Phoenicia consisting of 47 ships had been brought to Babylon to meet him. Alexander intended to colonize the Persian Gulf, because he thought that it would become just as prosperous a country as Phoenicia. Undoubtedly Arwad has participated in this new fleet on the Euphrates. The colonization-project never came to execution, because Alexander dies. After the death of Alexander Arados belongs most of the time to the empire of Seleucus, while southern Phoenicia is most of the time under the Ptolemaic state of Egypt.
Seleucus treated Arados with caution because it was his only important harbour in the Mediterranean and it possessed a considerable fleet. The Aradians, moreover, had a flourishing sea-trade and it was not in the interest of Seleucus to endanger their cooperation by inconsiderate interference in their affairs. So, Arados became pretty much independent and prosperous in this period around 300 BC.
See: Seleucus I and the foundation of Hellenistic Syria, H.Seyrig in WARD p.59.

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