dinsdag 27 januari 2015



Melilla lies on the south-eastern flank of the Tres Forcas Puninsula (Cap des Trois Fourches), where Africa’s northern shores are washed by the waters of the Mediterranean. Thanks to its privileged position. It is and always was the gateway to Africa. Melilla was founded by the Phoenicians under the name of Rusaddir and was subsequently occupied in turn by Carthaginians and Romans. The Phoenicians were present in the 8th-6th century BC. The town had different names: Herma, Akros, Metagonium and Rusaddir.
The Phoenicians and Punics left some remnants behind: In the necropolis Cerro de San Lorenzo there were graves in 1904 with amphorae and jars from the 3rd century BC. All this is now vanished. Other excavations were undertaken on the Plaza de armas and in Melilla La Vieja. Furthermore there a Neo-Punic inscription on a coin with the letters: Rš’dr. Another inscription (N1 Jongeling) contains the name of a man: Bodaštart = in/from/through the hands of Aštart. The coins of Rusaddir are studied in: La moneda de Rusaddir, una hipotesis de trabajo, Pilar F.Fernandez Uriel Gerion 2004). It is a study of the monetary emission from the coins in which is analysed the diffusion and also the possible reading in the light of all the historic documentation.
- a coin found in Cherchel (1st century BC) with the Hebrew letters RSADR = R(u)SAD(i)R.
- 3 other coins from the Casa del Gobernador. One coin comes out of Tamuda with the Punic letters: RSA. These coins measure ca.24 mm and have a weight of 11,3-9,6 gram.
Finally P.F.Fernandez Uriel tries to connect these coins with Aštart, Baal-Melqart and Aštart-Tinnit. Even a relation with the town Arados comes into the picture.
Many classical writers are familiar with the name!
Pomponius Mela (I 29) mentions the town as “the little town Rusigada…”. Plinius (NH V 18) has the name Rhysaddir and Ptolemeus (IV 1,3/4,1) comes with the Greek names:
Pουσσαδιριον, Pουσάειϱον, Pμσάδειϱον = R(o)usadeiron. Ps.Skylax describes the town as : Akros, the city and the gulf …”. Strabo (XVII 3,16) pays more attention to the accompanying cape: Akra Megàle = Aκρα Ϻεγάλη. This is the promuntorium Rusaddi=peninsula Guelaïa = Cap Tres Forcas. The name means: great cape or mighty cape.
Under emperor Caligula Rusaddir comes under direct control of the Romans (41 AD). It was in Roman times when Rusaddir came to be treated as a part of Iberia for administrative purposes. De It.Ant (p.4.11) calls it now Colonia Rusaddi.
In 484 AD the town is mentioned during a bishops-council in Carthage.
The invasion of Africa by the Vandals saw the city razed to the ground.

- M.Taradell, Marruecos punico, Tétuan 1960, p.63-73.
- M.Taradell, La necropolis punico-mauritana del Cerro de San Lorenzo en Melilla in: I Congresso archeologico del Marruecos espanol, Tétuan 1953, p.253-266.
- J Février, Inscriptions puniques et néopuniques in : Inscriptions antiques du Maroc I, Paris 1966, p.81-132.
- E.Gozalbes-Cravioto, Novedades de numismatica de la Mauretania Occidental, Ant.Afr. 34 (1998) p.21-30.

- L.Ruiz Cabrero, Dos grafitti punicos de Melilla in : Studi di Egittologia e Antichita Puniche 17 (1998) p.55-65 (2nd-1st cent.BC).

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