Phoenician Colonists

From An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack

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Spanish historians add their testimony, and claim the Phoenicians as their principal colonizers. The Hispania Illustrata,a rare and valuable work, on which no less than sixty writers were engaged, fixes the date of the colonization of Spain by the Phoenicians at 764 A.C. De Bellegarde says: "The first of whom mention is made in history is Hercules, the Phoenician, by some called Melchant." It is alleged that he lived in the time of Moses, and that he retired into Spain when the Israelites entered the land of promise. This will be consistent with old accounts, if faith can be placed in the inscription of two columns, which were found in the province of Tingitane, at the time of the historian Procopius.[5] A Portuguese historian, Emanuel de Faria y Sousa, mentions the sailing of Gatelus from Egypt, with his whole family, and names his two sons, Iberus and Himerus, the first of whom, he says, "some will have to have sailed into Ireland, and given the name Hibernia to it."

Indeed, so strong has been the concurrent testimony of a Phoenician colonization of Ireland from Spain, and this by independent authorities, who could not have had access to our bardic histories, and who had no motive, even had they known of their existence, to write in confirmation of them, that those who have maintained the theory of a Gaulish colonization of Ireland, have been obliged to make Spain the point of embarkation.

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[5] Procopius.—Hist. Gen. d'Espagne,vol. i. c. 1. p. 4.


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