necnon Poenicarum

Introduction and Purpose

According to generally accepted estimates, the corpus of Phoenician-Punic inscriptions comprises more than 10,000 inscriptions from every country of the Mediterranean region. The sheer quantity and scattered nature of the documents, spread over a very wide span of time, have had an adverse effect on research and caused considerable difficulties in the knowledge, availability and use of these sources. As yet there is not even a simple, complete and reliable list of existing Phoenician inscriptions, still less a critical edition of them. There are only incomplete collections or anthologies, most of which need to be brought up to date.

This situation has had repercussions on the very knowledge of the Phoenician language, making it difficult to revise and update basic study tools (grammars, dictionaries, concordances, lists). This state of affairs has seriously restricted the role that epigraphic documentation – the only direct written source of Phoenician culture – should play in general historical information.

In order to tackle these problems and to try to resolve them, the project called CIP (Corpus Inscriptionum Phoenicarum necnon Poenicarum, also known as the PhDB or Phoenician Data Base) came into being. Its purpose was to make Phoenician texts (presented with rigorous and uniform criteria) available to the academic community.