The logo of the Melammu Project

The Melammu Project

The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

  The Melammu Project
   General description
   Search string
   Browse by topic
   Search keyword
   Submit entry
   Open search
   Thematic search
   Digital Library
   Submit item
   Ancient texts
   Submit link
  Contact us

  The Newsletter
  To Project Information >


Ziggurats in Phoenicia (1)

Printable view
Topics (move over topic to see place in topic list)

07 Crafts and economy

02 Religious and ideological symbols and iconographic motifs

6th century BCE
Aramaic culture

A specimen of the earliest Sidonian numismatics from 450-435 BCE depicts a ziggurat structure unique in Phoenicia. It is a stepped pyramid, resembling a Mesopotamian ziggurat. Just such a structure was unearthed by M. Dunand’s excavations in Sidon, in the gardens of Bustan esh Sheikh near Sidon. Dunand describes it as a podium with a ziggurat-like construction from the Neo-Babylonian period, early to mid-sixth century BCE, which follows the plan of a typical Babylonian temple. It was built by the Sidonians and subsequently altered by them in the Persian period. The method and construction are clearly Phoenician with parallels in Byblos and in the temple of Jerusalem. The Sidonian structure was the podium of the temple of Ešmun, and it may belong to either of the last two kings of the dynasty of Ešmunazôr: Bod-Aštart or Yatonmilk. It may be that being vassals of the Babylonians, the Sidonians built a ziggurat to ingratiate themselves, and the ziggurat indicates the industry and receptivity of the Phoenicians. By being dedicated to Ešmun, the foreign impact was absorbed and integrated into the Phoenician world.


Azize 2005, 188Azize, Joseph. The Phoenician Solar Theology. An Investigation into the Phoenician Opinion of the Sun Found in Julian's Hymn to King Helios. Gorgias Dissertations 15. Piscataway: Gorgias Press 2005.
Betlyon 1982, 3-4Betlyon, John Wilson. The Coinage and Mints of Phoenicia. The pre-Alexandrine Period. Harvard Semitic Monographs 26. Chico CA: Scholars Press 1982.

Amar Annus

URL for this entry:

No pictures