Settlements > Tharros



Tharros, an ancient city located on the western coast of Sardinia (Italy), has a rich history that intersects with the broader Hellenistic period and the legacy of Alexander the Great. Although Tharros itself was primarily a Phoenician and later Carthaginian settlement, it came under the influence of Hellenistic culture during and after Alexander's conquests. Here's an exploration of the connections between Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic period, and Tharros:

Alexander the Great

  1. Conquests and Influence:
    • Mediterranean Expansion: Alexander the Great's conquests from 336 to 323 BCE significantly impacted the entire Mediterranean region. His campaigns spread Greek culture and influence far beyond the traditional boundaries of Greece.
    • Hellenization: The spread of Greek culture, known as Hellenization, was a major consequence of Alexander's conquests. This cultural diffusion influenced various regions, including parts of the western Mediterranean.

Hellenistic Period

  1. Cultural Diffusion:
    • Hellenistic Influence: After Alexander's death, the Hellenistic period saw the spread of Greek culture, language, and art across the Mediterranean. This included areas under the influence of Carthage, such as Sardinia.
    • Integration of Cultures: The Hellenistic period was characterized by the blending of Greek and local cultures, leading to a rich tapestry of shared artistic and cultural practices.


  1. Historical Background:

    • Phoenician and Carthaginian Settlement: Tharros was originally founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BCE and later came under Carthaginian control. It was an important trading hub due to its strategic location.
    • Roman Conquest: The city later became part of the Roman Empire after the Punic Wars (264-146 BCE), which saw the defeat of Carthage by Rome.
  2. Hellenistic Influence in Tharros:

    • Trade and Cultural Exchange: During the Hellenistic period, Tharros, like many other Mediterranean cities, experienced significant cultural exchange due to its role in maritime trade routes.
    • Artifacts and Architecture: Archaeological findings in Tharros, such as pottery, inscriptions, and architectural elements, show a mix of Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Greek influences, reflecting the broader Hellenistic cultural milieu.

Key Features and Findings in Tharros

  1. Urban Layout:

    • Grid Plan: The urban layout of Tharros included a grid plan, which was a common feature in Hellenistic city planning. This indicates the influence of Greek urban design principles.
    • Public Buildings: The city had several public buildings, including temples, baths, and a necropolis, which show a blend of different architectural styles.
  2. Temples and Religious Sites:

    • Syncretism: The temples in Tharros often combined elements from different cultures, including Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Greek deities and architectural styles.
    • Sanctuaries: Excavations have revealed sanctuaries dedicated to various gods, showing the integration of Greek religious practices with local traditions.
  3. Necropolis:

    • Funerary Practices: The necropolis at Tharros contains tombs and grave goods that reflect a mix of Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Greek burial customs. The presence of Greek-style pottery and inscriptions is particularly notable.


Tharros, while primarily a Phoenician and Carthaginian city, was significantly influenced by the Hellenistic culture that spread across the Mediterranean following the conquests of Alexander the Great. The city's archaeological remains reveal a blend of different cultural influences, showcasing the impact of Hellenization during the Hellenistic period. Through trade and cultural exchange, Tharros became a part of the broader Mediterranean world that was increasingly interconnected by Greek culture and influence. The legacy of Alexander's conquests is evident in the cultural syncretism and architectural features found in Tharros, reflecting the enduring impact of the Hellenistic era on this ancient city.


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