On the fifth day, we departed the misty Erice early in the morning to head to the ancient Greek city of Selinunte. Selinunte plays an important role in our readings from Book 6 of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, as it is strife between Selinus and Egesta which incites the Egestaeans to seek out Athens’ assistance in war. Needless to say, we Classics enthusiasts were pretty excited to explore this impressive archeological site.
Within the acropolis of Selinunte lies a remarkable mosaic of the Phoenician goddess, Tanit (pictured above). Although it is perhaps not aesthetically pleasing, this mosaic provides important evidence of a Carthaginian presence in Selinunte. The image depicts the goddess standing between two staffs of some sort. She is often depicted as a stick figure, as seen here. Tanit is typically associated with prosperity, commerce, and trade. For this reason, she served as a patron of the Carthaginian sailors who were conducting trade across the Mediterranean sea. This image in the pavement was likely before the entrance of a home. It might have provided good luck for an ancient Carthaginian businessman who once lived here in Selinunte.