Gold Mines of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
||en.wikipedia is is a non-peer-reviewed website with agenda and is anti-Lebanese & anti-Semitic
South-East Africa a major source of Phoenician gold import?
Himyaritic Occupation of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) Considered
In giving an
outline sketch of the arguments supporting the hypothesis of the Himyaritic
occupation of Rhodesia, it should first he stated that this branch of the
Semitic family was, at the earliest dawn of history, occupying Yemen.
the Phoenician kingdoms on the Eastern Mediterranean came the offshoots Phoenician
colonies of Carthage, Sardinia, Malta, Sicily, Cyprus, Hippo, Utica, Pelusium,
Cilicia (Tarsus), Memphis (in Egypt), and those in most parts of the Mediterranean.
These were the people who worked for tin in the British Isles, whom, some
believe, left the memoria standing to this day of their nature-worship in
Ireland, Scotland, England, and even in Iceland, and who gave Spain its earliest
history. Whether they were the same people who erected the stone temples,
circles, and monolith in South America and the South Sea Islands is a question
not arising in connection with Monomotapa. Later we shall notice the connection
of Rhodesia with the Mediterranean Phoenician Canaanites.
Some of the
arguments advanced as to the Himyarites having occupied Rhodesia may be stated
- The almost
identical resemblance pointed out by Professor Müller between ancient
temples in Zimbabwe and that of the Himyarites.
by analogy can also be applied to almost all the Zimbabwes in Rhodesia
that were built during the first Zimbabwe period.
emphasises the Himyaritic occupation of Monomotapa, but believes the images
of the birds found at Zimbabwe represented the zodiacal light, the previous
and the after-glow. M. Naville is especially of opinion that there exists
a strong connection between Venus, the star of the Himyarites, and the
goddess worshipped at Zimbabwe.
- The historical
fact that the Himyaritic nation was enormously rich in gold.
1700 B.C., on the Egyptian monuments, were depicted the exports of Punt,
such as ostrich feathers, leopard skins, giraffes, lions, cynocephalus
apes, elephants' tusks, and ingots of gold, all essentially products
of South-Eastern Africa. Aristeas, Agatharcides, and Old Testament references
-such as "The merchants of Sheba ... were thy merchants; they occupied
in thy fairs [markets]...with all precious stones and gold" (Ezek.
xxvii. 21, 22) ...all testify to the enormous gold holding of the Himyarites,
who supplied the then known world with the metal.
is common agreement of authorities that the Himyarites imported gold.
states that the gold brought to Rome did not come from Arabia.
- The great
majority of recognised archaeologists and antiquarians of Europe who have
written on this question express views favouring the hypothesis that the
first occupation of this country was that of the Himyarites while the minority
of such writers do not argue against the suggestion.
the decipherer of Himyaritic inscriptions, states: "So much is absolutely
certain, that Himyar then possessed almost the whole of East Africa. Such
a possession, however, was not won in a night, but rather presupposes…centuries
in the Geographical Journal (July, 1893), fully describes the commercial relations
of the Himyarites with South-East Africa, and deals with their analogy of
the ancient religion and the worship practised by the ancients at Zimbabwe.
in Monomotapa (P. 77), writes: "So far as it is possible to judge, it
seems probable that it was the people of Saba (the Himyarites) who landed
on the coast of Sofala, penetrated to the mines, and established a colony
there." To concrete Mr. Wilmot's conclusions (pp. 86, 89) in condensed
form, we find he is of opinion that most probably the Himyarites of Yemen
first discovered the place and erected the temples for their stone-worship
and worked for gold.
states that the Himyaritic king Kharabit was in 35 A.D. in the possession
of the East Coast of Africa to an indefinite extent.
note a connection between the name of the Sabze, or Sabi River, in Rhodesia,
and the kingdom of Saba, or Sheba. The Sabaea, or Sabi, forms the great natural
outlet to the coast for the populations of Rhodesia between the Zambesi and
In the Preface
to Mr. Baines' work it is stated "Saba (Monomotapa and Rhodesia) lies
more inland behind Sofida, and is supposed by some authorities, including
Josephus to be the ancient kingdom of the queen who visited Solomon. This
region is drained by a river called the Sabia.'
Dr. Karl Peters
finds in the name Massapa (or Massaba) indication of art ancient Himyaritic
settlement. He discovered near Injakalfura a great number of betyli* such
as formed an object or emblem of religious worship in the oldest Semitic cults,
and among these betyli he found a phallus, such as were connected with the
original Semitic nature-worship. He describes the ruins of Injakalfura as
being built in precisely the same style as those of the Semitic races.
in favour of the Himyaritic occupation are bound up in those employed to prove
that Ophir was the modern Rhodesia, which we shall now consider in outline
The vexed question
as to whether the land of Monomotapa (Rhodesia) was the land of Ophir can
best be stated by considering the Himyaritic occupation, for we find from
sacred and secular writings that it was the merchants of Sheba who, in addition
to being the gold merchants of the whole world, also exported to the Phoenician
centres of Tyre and Sidon practically all the enormous quantity of gold those
wealthy cities required, and which history avers they possessed — "Tyre
heaped up…fine gold as the mire of the streets" (Zech.). It is
admitted that the gold mines of the Ural Mountains could not have contributed
more than a fraction of the quantity of gold possessed by the Phoenician Canaanites.
Old Roman and Grecian historians are unanimous in stating that the Himyarites
were the gold merchants of the world and that they purveyed it to all the
then known countries, but none suggest that the gold came from Yemen, while
all assert that it was brought by the Himyarites.
Baitulia = sacred stones. Phoenician = Bêthül. These stones
were considered not merely the "dwelling-place of God," but
even as God Himself — Wilmot, P. 41.
If, it is asked,
the Phoenician Canaanites had then been in occupation of Monomotapa (Rhodesia)
as their gold-producing colony for this country was ever in ancient days occupied
for the main purpose of gold winning, and not for mere colonisation and settlement
what possible need could there have been for them to have bought their gold
from the Himyarites?
The terms "Ophir"
and "Tharshish" of Scripture are essentially generic. There were
at least two places to which the name "Tharshish" was applied. "Ophir"
was employed as the title of a country rich in natural resources, as is the
modern title of "El Dorado." The location to which this generic
title of Ophir was applied must have been either in India or South-East Africa,
unless we suppose with Prof. Keane that Ophir was not the gold-yielding land,
but the gold mart, the importer and distributor of the precious metal. Practically
all gold came from the south; it was not found in Yemen to any appreciable
The Indian Ophir,
if it existed, could only have been the Malabar Coast. Mr. Bent writes:
has never furnished large quantities of gold to the commercial world.
In fact, it was frequently an article of import into that country. So
far as ivory is concerned, it is well known that Asiatic elephants were,
from time immemorial, made use of as beasts of burden, and that their
value in this way prevented their slaughter."
whose opinions are inclined to favour the location of Ophir in India are few,
and these are by no means unanimous amongst themselves, nor are they at all
emphatic in stating the arguments in favour of such location. Besides, in
their discussions on this question they lacked the information we now possess
as to the later discoveries of ancient ruins in Rhodesia.
the same period" (Biblical Ophir period) "comprises the exploits
of the man who first explored India, viz. Alexander the Great. Among his followers
were many who would have collected news about a gold-belt in India, provided
that the latter actually existed. But no gold country whatever existed there;
on the contrary, all Indian tribes were almost devoid of gold, and Arrianus,
our best and most reliable source of information about the campaigns of Alexander
the Great, states as emphatically as possible as follows:
and his army have refuted most of the stories in this direction, with the
exception of some who have obviously made incorrect statements. It has thus
been ascertained that all the Indians through whose territories Alexander
and his army marched (and he marched through many of them) have no gold.'
Therefore it is evident that India cannot possibly be the Ophir of antiquity."
South-East African Ophir
All the imports
brought by Hiram for King Solomon could only have been obtained in one country.
His voyages were made every three years (see later). Only Africa could have
furnished them altogether.
according to biblical and secular writings, the principal export of Ophir.
always been known in ancient history as being the great gold-producing
country of the world.
authorities, such as Bruce, Huet, Quartremere and Guillain, as well as
the great majority of later writers on the Rhodesian ruins, in considering
the historic gold output of this country, favour the claims of Monomotapa
(Rhodesia) to be the Ophir of Scripture. Mr. Wilmot (pp. 36, 37) writes:
" The African Ophir was inland from the Sofirla coast in South-East
Africa (Monomotapa)." Again, Mr. Wilmot (pp. 86-99), summing up the
arguments of authorities, writes. "The preponderance of evidence
is decidedly in favour of the principal Ophir of Scripture having been
inland from the Sofala coast in the country of Monomotapa!' Mr. Bent,
who examined several of the ruins and visited the ancient gold-workings,
arrives at the same conclusion.
in Rhodesia of ancient ruins, dating from practically prehistoric times,
some of which are known to have been standing in 1100 B.C., the orientation
and astronomical lines of which, in some instances, testify to an age
considerably earlier than that period. The styles of architecture show
several periods of occupation, each of which, it is computed, covered
many centuries of years. The internal evidences, gained by exploration
in the ruins, show that the principal industry of the ancient occupiers
was that of gold mining. Such monster buildings were not erected for an
in Rhodesia of ancient gold-workings, covering areas of many hundreds
of square miles, and most extensive alluvial and shed gold-workings by
the ancients. ("In very remote times there existed, as is known from
Egyptian monuments, a trade from South-East Africa into the Red Sea…
There are other indications that gold used to come from East Africa, but
so far as we know it has never been obtained in quantity from any part
of the coast between Mozambique and Cape Guardafui Thus there are grounds
for believing that a traffic between the Red Sea and the coast south of
the Zambesi may have existed from very remote times of its late, existence
there is, of course, no doubt." — Professor Bryce, Impressions
of South Africa.
Mr. J. Hays
Hammond, the gold-mining engineer, in 1894, the very early days of modern
prospecting of gold-belts in Rhodesia, examined certain portions of some
of the gold-belts, and reports: "That an enormous amount of gold
has been obtained from these workings in the past is, however, unquestionable.
Millions of pounds sterling worth of gold have undoubtedly been derived
from these sources.” Later computations, embracing ill the at present
ascertained gold areas in Rhodesia, based on a very partial estimate as
to the amount of reef extracted by the ancients, and also taking such
reef at only a portion of the value per ton of the present Rhodesian output
over the mill-plates, show that the ancients must have extracted very
many millions of pounds sterling worth of gold from the Rhodesian portion
of Monomotapa alone. (Mr. Telford Edwards, one of the leading mining engineers
in Rhodesia, in 1897 estimated the value of the ancient output of gold
from this country at £75,000 sterling at least.)
of the ancients working for gold in Rhodesia is admitted by authorities
to have covered both previously and subsequently that period in which
biblical references were made to Ophir. These references, twelve in all,
range from Genesis to Isaiah, and consequently cover the whole of Jewish
history before the exile.
of Monomotapa were known to the world before Hiram's time. (Note: the
ancient Grecian legends as to voyages for gold describe what may have
been the voyages round Africa to the Monomotapa gold export centre.)
for King Solomon's gold, ivory, slaves, apes, precious stones, sandalwood,
and peacocks every three years. The Scriptures do not state how long these
voyages required to accomplish. In any event, the gold for export awaited
him, and had not to be obtained and afterwards taken down to the coast
after his arrival. The gold obtained in the single voyage (I Kings ix.
28) was four hundred and twenty talents, or a present value of four million
pounds sterling. (RAWLINSON in Phoenicia)
states that Rhapta (also mentioned by Ptolemy) was a dependency of Sabaea
or Yemen, and Dean Vincent imagines Rhapta to have been ten degrees south
of the Equator (near Quiloa).
tradition largely associates South East Africa with Ophir and the Queen
of Sheba. For example, Conto, a Portuguese writer, referring to Mount
Fura, in Rhodesia ("Fura" is believed by some to be a corruption
of "Ophir"), where there are very extensive and Cyclopean ancient
ruins, states that the Kafirs called it Fur, and the Moors, Afur.
He fixes Rhodesia, and mentions the Masouve, River (Mazoe) and Tete, on
Since the Night
of Time, Africa has always been recognised as the chief ivory-producing country
of the world. Here elephants have no value as beasts of burden; all are wild.
Ancient historians all allude to the enormous quantity of ivory annually exported
from Africa, and of the trade with South East Africa in ivory. Elephants are
still found in Rhodesia, but now mainly in Northern Rhodesia, where the ivory
trade still flourishes.
The slaves brought
by Hiram to King Solomon came with the same expedition as the gold and ivory.
It is most probable that the gold and slaves came from the same country and
by the same port.
were, according to bas-reliefs, cynocephalus, and a species common
to South-East Africa. "Precious stones" might have been diamonds,
for which South Africa is famous. “Sandal-wood” is a generic title,
and many woods found in South-East Africa can fairly come under this title.
"Peacock" is also a genetic title to cover all birds of brilliant
plumage, and such are plentiful here.
conveys the prevailing opinion of his times with regard to the location of
Ophir when, in Paradise Lost, xi. 399-401, he writes
and Quiloa, and Melind, And Sofala (thought Ophir) to the realm Of Congo,
and Angola farthest south."
The people of
Sofala, according to their own traditions and Portuguese records, have always
associated the memory of the Queen of Sheba with the country lying inland
behind the coast country of Sofala.
Ogilby, in his
folio on African geography, principally, however, translated from Dapper,
who again quotes Alvarez, says, "Yet divers make Ophir the same with
Sofala, because it bath much gold and ivory, and if all the mainland included
between the river Magnice and Quarna and submitting unto Monomotapa, be all,
as Barros calls it, Sofala, as well as the rest on the sea-coast, it can with
great reason be judged that this country be none but the Golden Ophir of Solomon,
partly because of the houses there to be found near the gold mines, not built
after the manner of the country, but seem the work of foreigners, and partly
because of the inscriptions being strange and unknown. Moreover, Lopez, in
1) is voyage to the Indies, affirms that among the inhabitants of this country
there remain books which show that Solomon every three years had his gold
thence… Besides gold and ivory, this region produced apes (dog-faced
baboons) in myriads, and if for peacocks we read ostrich feathers, and for
almug trees we substitute ebony, or stink-wood, it leaves nothing to be desired."
Old Testament references to Ophir and Arrianus it is evident that India cannot
possibly be the Ophir of antiquity. Only other coast countries of the Indian
Ocean can come into consideration, and Arabia and equatorial East Africa have
been mentioned in connection with the Ophir problem.
this assumption stands the clear text of the three most reliable and oldest
passages of the Old Testament, viz. Kings ix. 26-28 and x. 11, 22. It seems
unintelligible how anyone who compares these passages in a literal and critical
translation (for instance, that by Professor Kautsch), could assert that the
passage in chapter x. verse 22 did not allude to Ophir. It was emphatically
stated that we had to deal with a sea navigation which extended to remote
countries, in fact, to the end of the then known world and it is therefore
clear that this gold land of antiquity could neither have been on the coast
of the Red Sea nor on that of equatorial Africa or Arabia. One thing which
appeared to he established beyond doubt was that the territories known today
as Southern Rhodesia were, one thousand years before the Christian Era, a
gold-producing country of a large extent, and colonised by the early Semitic
races round the Red Sea, viz. by Phoenician Canaanites and Himyarites."
early in the eighteenth century on the voyages of Solomon, declares that he
feels compelled to accept the fact that the place called "Ophir,"
from which gold was fetched by the Tyrian fleet, was unquestionably on the
south-cast coast of Africa, in that part known under the names of Mozambique
and Sofala; that at the time when King Solomon reigned and Phoenician navigators
traded with these shores; and that this commerce was anterior to the exact
period referred to in Scripture. For the gold of Ophir was known to the Idumeans
before the time of David, and the Book of Paralipomenon (the Chronicles) records
the fact that this prince received a portion of it. "To seek out the
origin of this commercial movement we must go back to those hardy pioneers
(probably the Himyarites who were able to show the Phoenician Canaanites the
geographical position of Ophir and lead them to the mines of gold." Mr.
Wilmot observes, "This is indeed true. The fleet of King Hiram never
discovered Ophir. Its treasures were known previously, and we are therefore
now confronted with the fact that some of the Zimbabwes of Monomotapa were
built more than one thousand years before the Christian Era."
Karl Peters, in stating his case for the location of Ophir in Monomotapa, quotes,
inter alia, the following:
sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with
the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold,
four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon' (I Kings
ix. 27, 28).
[the queen of Sheba] gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold,
and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such
abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from
Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones' (I Kings x. 10, 11).
king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house
of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing
accounted of in the days of Solomon. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish
with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing
gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.'
"In I Chronicles
xxix. 4, 'I have given,' says David, ‘even three thousand talents of
gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver,
to overlay the walls of the houses withal.’
"The best-based theories are three, of which the one places Ophir in
Arabia, another in India, and the third one in South Africa," and adds,
" I, personally, since I have been studying this problem, have always
been of opinion that we have in the Semitic word 'Ophir,' or 'Afer,' the root
of our present name of the continent of Africa, 'Africa' being the Latin adjective
of 'Afer.' This purely philological derivation led me to believe at once that
we must look for Ophir not in Arabia and India, but in some part of Africa."
Ophir has been
placed in Armenia, in Phrygia, in Spain, in Peru, in the Malayan Peninsula,
in Ceylon, and in Sumatra. Christopher Columbus, says Dr. Peters, was firmly
convinced that he had found Ophir in the West Indies, and reporting to the
King of Spain on his third voyage, he writes, "The mountain Sopoto "
(the name for Ophir, which in the Septuagint is written "Sophora"),
" which it took the king’s (Hiram) ships three years to reach,
on the island of Haiti, has now come with all its treasures into the possession
of their Spanish majesties."
lines show where he thought Ophir to be located:
the rich Peru, And there, sir, are the golden mines, Great Solomon's Ophir."
arguments in favour of Ophir being the present Rhodesia by no means exhaust
the tale of "proofs" advanced by those authorities that favour this
theory. Unfortunately, when this question was raised in the principal papers
and scientific journals in Europe a few years ago, there was practically little
or no evidence from Rhodesia forthcoming. Mr. Bent (1891) had only visited
some ten ancient ruins, and he speaks of thirteen others he was told of, and
several of the ruins mentioned by Mr. Bent were of minor importance, and of
the later Zimbabwe periods. Even Professor Bryce, who in 1895 visited Rhodesia,
says: "I have heard of ten or twelve pieces of wall in different parts
of the plateau (Mashonaland and Matabeleland); probably others exist!' All
the late writers, excepting Dr. Schlichter, mention a less number of ruins
than Mr. Bent refers to, and the majority of them are the same identical ruins.
The most able,
exhaustive, and reliable arguments are undoubtedly those advanced in the works
of Dr. Schlichter, on the question of the ancient ruins in Rhodesia, while
Dr. Karl Peters has many further "proofs" gained in the Mount Fura
district, (the gold mines of Mount Furn were, in 1721, known to the Portuguese
as "Ofura.") which place very few writers on this subject appear
to have visited.
But from the
more than five hundred ruins known to exist in the Rhodesian portion of Monomotapa,
of which (thanks to the discoveries of Messrs. Neal and Johnson, the sole
lessees under the grant to explore all ancient ruins south of the Zambesi)
we propose in this work to give particulars concerning some two hundred ruins,
and further proofs may probably be forthcoming to strengthen the theory advanced
by those who already thoroughly believe that Rhodesia is the Ophir of the
Scriptures. Additional evidences may also probably he afforded by the many
known ruins scattered over the present Portuguese portion of Monomotapa. However,
it is beyond the sphere of the writers of this work to indulge in any theories
on the Ophir question, their province being to state all information of authoritative
character concerning the actual ruins themselves, and allow these facts to
tell their own story.
Subsequent Occupation of Monomotapa (Rhodesia) by the Phoenician Canaanites
in outline the arguments in support of the theory of the Himyaritic occupation
of Monomotapa, we come to consider, also in outline, the arguments in favour
of the subsequent occupation of Monomotapa by the Phoenician Canaanites.
In course of
time, by natural absorption, the Phoenician Canaanites became not only the
masters of the Mediterranean and northern seas, but of the Indian Ocean and
the colonies that the Himyarites had planted along with trading with these
The theory is,
and it appears well founded so far as it can be proved, that the
Canaanites, who had then become the premier explorers, merchants, navigators,
miners, and metallurgists of the world, occupied among other former Himyaritic
colonies, the country of South-East Africa, which included Monomotapa, or
Monomotapa, they introduced fresh features in building, as shown not only
by new Zimbabwes, which they themselves are believed to have erected in Monomotapa,
but by the extensions and reconstructions of the original Zimbabwes.
In the Great
Zimbabwe, the peculiarity of building in terraces rising in tiers is altogether
absent, and the original portions of Zimbabwe itself are held to have been
built in the earliest period of ancient architecture extant in Rhodesia. Of
course, at Zimbabwe there are reconstructions and extensions of the original
building, and these reconstructions and extensions are of various periods,
with the features of such periods prominent.
But in several
parts of Rhodesia and other portions of Monomotapa there have been erected
on the slopes or summits of the kopjes massive structures which, while following
generally the first Zimbabwe type, have been built in three or more high-terraced
tiers rising to the summit of the hills, surrounding them, and sometimes completely
covering them. This "wedding-cake" feature, as it has been termed,
is absent in all Zimbabwes built in the first period. Yet all these later
Zimbabwes present all the evidence of having been erected by nature-worshippers,
and contain the orientated temple "open to heaven," the sacred circle,
the conical towers "the high places", the monoliths, and every evidence
of Phallic worship. This class of Zimbabwe is represented, among many others,
by Dhlo-dhlo, Regina, Meteme, and Khami.
a marvellous similarity between these later Zimbabwes and many of the three
thousand nauraghes, or terraced fortresses, which cover the island of Sardinia.
In both the Rhodesian and Sardinian erections evidences of nature-worship
are abundant. "The age," writes Mr. Wilmot, "of the Sardinian
nauraghes goes back to a remote antiquity — to the Bronze Age —
to a time when the Romans were not known on the Tiber!' Geyard (p. 6) writes:
"I have no hesitation in considering the numerous round edifices of Sardinia,
which are known under the name of nauraghes, as monuments of the worship of
Baal." Moreover, by some of the authorities on this question, it is believed
that these ruins were erected…for Phoenician worship are to be found
in the Sardinian nauraghe ruins, both monoliths and stones, with the most
unmistakable emblems representing a religion so vicious and debasing that
in Palestine it incurred the righteous denunciations such as were hurled against
Tyre and Sidon and the "high places" of Samaria where Baal was worshipped.
Some of the
arguments advanced in support of the theory of the Phoenician occupation of
Monomotapa may be mentioned, as follows:
absorption by the Phoenician of the influence and commerce of the Himyarites
in the Southern Ocean and its coasts, which occurred during the period
in which Monomotapa was worked by the ancients for gold.
of later Zimbabwes in Monomotapa which, while adhering to the type of
the first Zimbabwe period, yet had a development in architecture peculiar
to themselves, and their marvellous similarity in this respect to the
nauraghes of Sardinia.
representation of the same form of worship, with Phallic emblems, both
in Rhodesia as well as in Sardinia or other Mediterranean colonies of
Phoenicia, which are admitted by high authorities to be Phoenician. Betylae
(sacred stones), as found so plentifully in Rhodesia, have been discovered
in all countries once subject to Phoenician influence.
at Zimbabwe of the soapstone cylinder of quern shape, with rings of rosettes
on the top, and sides, which rosettes are believed to represent the sun,
and are common in phallic decoration. This cylinder, which is considered,
as undoubtedly Phoenician, is similar to the one found at the Temple of
Paphos, in Cyprus, which was once a leading Phoenician colony. The rosettes
are also similar to those on the sacred cone of the great Phoenician Temple
of the Sun at Emesa, in Syria, and also to the rosettes on the Phoenician
sepulchral stelae in the British Museum.
of the soapstone birds at Zimbabwe, pronounced by authorities similar
to the images of the birds sacred to Astarte, worshipped by the Phoenician
Canaanites; also of Phallic emblems distinctly Phoenician.
at Zimbabwe, by Mr. Bent, of the soapstone ingot mould corresponding exactly
to the tin ingot, of undoubted Phoenician manufacture, discovered at Falmouth,
and which is now in the Truro Museum. (Professor C. Le Neve Faster, F.R.S.,
and states that Injakalfura, near the Zambesi, where Dr. Peters locates
Ophir, meant, "a great mine," corresponding to the name Wheat
Vur, in Cornwall. The old tin-smelters of Cornwall were Phoenician Canaanites,
and like the natives of mediaeval Monomotapa and of Rhodesia of to-day,
they used quills for holding the small quantity of gold obtained in their
of true Phalli.
of cones and conical buttresses. The cone (See Dr. Schlichter's works
for descriptions of conical towers) at Zimbabwe is held to be a facsimile
of the sacred cone in the Phoenician temple at Byblos.
record of the voyage of the Phoenician Canaanites under King Necho about
610 B.C. direct from the Red Sea to the coast of South-East Africa (Monomotapa).
could easily be enlarged upon and added to, but sufficient is shown to satisfy
one that, at any rate, some substantial grounds exist for believing that the
Phoenician Canaanites once settled Rhodesia and worked upon its vast areas
of gold reefs.
All the aid that
Portuguese records can render in elucidating the mystery that enwraps the
ruins is most ably summed up in Mr. Wilmot's book, Monomotapa. The
Portuguese hold of these inland territories (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries)
was singularly weak and tentative, far from permanent, and only comparatively
brief. Not being colonists, they were compelled to keep by force of arms what
they had conquered. They never completely subjugated the native tribes of
these parts, and consequently were always at war. Too timid to journey far
from the rivers that served as their lines of communication with the coast,
they did not penetrate to all parts of Monomotapa. Coming along the Mazoe
and Unifuli Rivers, they occupied the northern portions of Mashonaland, and
with the aid of their roughly built and loop-holed forts, they held for a
short time territory extending in a south-westerly direction as far south
as Sebakwe. There they established themselves for a time at their settlement,
about eight miles distance in a direct line N.N.E. of the Chicago-Gaika Mine,
on the north bank of the Sebakwe River. Here was built their last-known southerly
fort, the ruins of which now cover fifty acres of ground, with loop-holed
walls linking several kopjes on both sides of the river. The two cannon, one
bronze and the other iron, found at the ancient and important ruins at Dhlo-dhlo,
in the Upper Insiza district, and which bear the Portuguese coat of arms,
may have been bought, through the medium of the Jesuit missionary, from them
by Mombo, whose kraal was built among the ruins at Dhlo-dhlo; this Mombo being
the son of Mombo who lived in a kraal built among the ancient ruins of Thaba
Imamba, and who was skinned alive when the invasion by the Arnaswazie took
and Portuguese traders, however, succeeded in penetrating much farther into
the heart of the country. Jesuit missionaries are believed to have resided
in or near No. I. Ruin at Khami. The territory being so precariously held,
it is not at all surprising the Portuguese did comparatively little gold mining.
There are evidences of their having continued some of the workings of the
ancients, especially at the Bonsor Mine, and the discovery of their double-pointed
iron picks, from which the wood handles had totted away, once perplexed the
prospectors of Rhodesia. On the Zambesi they appear to have been far more
successful, as the number of their ruined forts and settlements along the
riverbanks seem to testify.
extracts from Monomotapa (Rhodesia), by the Hon. A. Wilmot
(p. xvii.) Mr.
Rider Haggard writes: "Mr. Bent proved to the satisfaction of most archaeologists
that the ruins of Zimbabwe are undoubtedly of Phoenician origin. There are
the massive and familiar Phoenician walls, there the sacred birds, figured,
however, not as the dove of Cyprus, but as the vulture of her Sidonian representative,
Astarte, and there in plenty the primitive and unpleasant objects of nature-worship,
which in this shape or that are present wherever the Phoenician reared his
shrines. There also stands the great building-half temple, half fortress —
containing the sacred cone in its inner court, as at Paphos, Byblos, and Ernesus…
Although some testimony is lacking, the many external evidences force the
student to conclude that these buildings must have been constructed and that
the neighbouring gold mines were worked by Phoenician Canaanites, or by some
race intimately connected with them and impregnated with their ideas of religion
(PP. 36, 37)
Mr. Wilmot writes: "The builders of the Zimbabwes in South-East Africa
and of the nauraghes in Sardinia were nature-worshippers of the early Phoenician
cult, when stone-worship was one of the leading features of that religion!'
arguments of MM. Perrot and Chipiez point to the fact the nauraghe builders
(in Sardinia) came from (Laptis Magna, another Phoenician city on the Mediterranean)
coast of Libya"
may venture to attribute a very remote antiquity of the Bronze Age to both
classes of buildings. Certainly we can scarcely be wrong in concluding that
the oldest of the Zimbabwes of South-East Africa were erected before the ninth
century B.C. There is little doubt that some of them existed when Hiram, King
of Tyre, obtained gold for the Temple of Solomon."
(p. 89) “Most
probably the Himyarites of Yemen discovered the place and erected temples
for their stone-worship, similar to those raised in Arabia, and put up their
Himyaritic inscriptions and worked for gold.
(P. 47) "In
the Zimbabwes of South-East Africa there are no images of gods — no
idols, except blocks of stone. This seems to give some indication of the early
periods when the temple forts were built. Of course, roughly hewn images of
birds have been found, but these are scarcely idols. The vulture was the totem
of the Himyarites."
(P. 48) "
In the ninth century B.C. the Phoenician religion began to decline. Though
it flourished in the Phoenician colony of Carthage, it languished in its original
(p. 73) "The
Phoenician Canaanites were so intimately connected with the colonisation and
settlement of the countries of the Southern Ocean that we must consider all
history there in connection with that of this great ancient people. They held
exactly the same stone-worship of the early Sidonian and Tyrian periods, and
their monuments and inscriptions testify that they unquestionably practised
the same religion as that professed by the men who built the South African
far as it is possible to judge, it seems probable that it was the people of
Saba who landed on the coast of Sofala, penetrated to the mines, and established
a colony there."
Canaanites and Israelites
founded on the works of Rawlinson and Kenfick
between the Phoenician Canaanites and Israelites was strikingly intimate,
the Israelites being a younger branch of the Semitic family, from which the
Phoenician Canaanites sprang.* The language of the Israelites was as closely
related to that of the Phoenician Canaanites as German to Dutch, or Portuguese
to Spanish, while the religion of the Phoenician Canaanites in their earliest
days was, like that of the Israelites, polytheistic. The kingdoms of Phoenicians
adjoined Palestine (known to the Phoenician Canaanites as Netu) on the north,
near the hills of Galilee, and places in Phoenicia are constantly alluded
to in both the Old and New Testaments; for instance, Tyre and Sidon, Paneas
(Caesarea - Philippi), Lebanon, Alount Hermon, Sarepta, Mount Carmel, Gebal,
of the Phoenician Canaanites was far anterior to the exodus of the Israelites
from Egypt. In judges we read that the Phoenician Sidonians "dwelt careless,
quiet, and secure." In area Phoenicia concentrated on the coastland,
and yet it became the world power of its time.
tribes are mentioned early in Genesis, while the names of Malchizadeck (Gen.
xiv. 18) and Abimelech (ib. xx. 2) are purely Phoenician. The Phoenician deities
of the polytheistic age — both adapted and original — such as
Baal, Astoreth, and Moloch, are frequently mentioned; also. Dagon (I Sam.
v. 2; Macc. x. 84), while the sacred stones, pillars, towers, and "high
places" of Phoenician worship are repeatedly referred to by the prophets.
The tribe of Zemarites (Gen. x. 18), Gebal (Joshua xiii. 5; PS. lxxxiii. 7;
Ezek. xiii. 5); Baal-Zephon, a Phoenician port (Exod. xiv. 2, 9); Elith, a
Phoenician colony (I Kings ix. 26-28); Akko, Acre (Judges i. 31); Tyre, "a
strong city" (Joshua xix. 29), Tartessus, a group of Phoenician colonies
in Spain (Gen. x. 4; Ps. lxxii. 10; Isa. 1xvi. 18); migration of Phoenician
Canaanites westward (Gen. xiv. 1-12); Gideon destroyed the sacred tower of
the Alidianites (Judges viii. 7); Phoenician trade with Israelites (I Kings
v. 9; Ezra iii. 7); Phoenician obtain wheat, honey and oil from the Israelites
(Ezek. xxvii. 17); Phoenician luxury (Ezek. xxvi. 16, xxvii. 3-25, xxviii.
13); Tyre, Phoenician capital (Ezek. xxvii. 3); Tyre wealthy in gold (Zech.
ix. 3); violence of Phoenicians (Ezek. xxviii. 16); Phoenician slave-traders
(Ezek. xviii, 13); “pleasant houses" of Tyre (Ezek. xxvi. 12);
Phoenician mining described (Job xxviii. I-II); Hiram furnished David with
cedar trees (1 Chron. xxii. 4); Phoenician fleet on Mediterranean and Indian
Ocean (I Kings ix. 27, 28, x. 15, 22); Hiram supplied Solomon with material
for the Temple (2 Chron. ii. 3-10); Phoenician artisans employed in the building
of the Temple (2 Chron. ii. 17, 18); Hiram manufactured ornaments for Solomon’s
Temple (2 Chron. ii. 14); Solomon conceded a district of Galilee to the Phoenician
Canaanites (I Kings ix. 11); Israelites build "high places" to Baal
(Jer. xxxii, 35, xix. 5); Ahab builds Temple of Baal in Samaria, also at Jezreel
(2 Kings xxi. 7, xxii. 6); Christ converses with a Phoenician woman (Mark
vii. 26); Phoenicia receives the gospel (Acts ix. 19 g); Phoenicia "nourished"
from Palestine (Acts xii. 20).
We also read
in Scripture that Solomon married a Phoenician princess, that he worshipped
in the Temple of Baal at Sidon, that the daughter of the King of Tyre and
High Priest of Astoreth Phoenician deity, married Aliab, King of Israel, that
Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, married Ahaziah, King
of Judah, when the Phoenician paganism became the State religion of Judah.
Israelites despised their polytheistic kinsmen on account of their worship,
hence we read that "the Israelites had no dealings with the Samaritans"
who had accepted the Phoenician worship. The "good Samaritan" was
most probably a Phoenician in religion, hence his kindly action to the distressed
Jew was remarkable. Note also the argument of the Phoenician woman as to the
place where God should be worshipped, the religion of the Phoenician Canaanites
being purely material, while that of the Israelites was spiritual.
of Solomon, though modelled in sonic respects upon the 'Tabernacle of the
Congregation,' must be regarded as essentially a Phoenician building, at once
designed by Phoenician and the work of Phoenician hands " (Rawlinson).
The two pillars
are considered to have been identical with the sacred pillars reared in the
Phoenician Temples of Baal.
See also Religion
of the Semites, by Robertson Smith.
As to Phoenician
and Carthaginian influence, both ascertained and conjectured, in Demerara,
Mexico, Peru, Yucatan, North America, Polynesia, and Europe, see Wilmot's
Monomotapa and various works on Phoenicia.
A. H. Keane, London, dealing with Dr. Peters' theory connecting the ancients
of Rhodesia with Egyptian Hamites, states: "Nothing so far has been advanced
to upset the view put forward by the late Mr. Theodore Bent that the first
colonisers and exploiters of South Zambesi were not Egyptian Hamites but Semites,
most probably Himyarites or Phoenician Canaanites, or both." Professor
Keane cites Herr B. Moritz in the Verhuandlungen der Gesellschaft für
Erdkunde, Berlin, 1896 pp. 2-9, who strongly opposed Dr. Peters' conclusions.
Dr. Peters has since been converted to the theory of the Himyaritic occupation
additional information about Phoenician Mining, follow this link.
in this site do not necessarily represent Phoenicia.org nor do they necessarily reflect those of the various authors, editors, and owner of this site. Consequently, parties mentioned or implied cannot be held liable or responsible for such opinions.