3 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 25

Motya : A Phoenician Colony in Sicily. By Joseph I.

S. Whitaker. (Bell. 30s. net.)—The siege of Motya by Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, in 398 B.c., is a well-known episode in Greek history, partly because it led to the intervention of Carthage in Sicily, partly, too, because the besieger's methods foreshadowed those of Alexander at the siege of Tyre sixty-six years later. Motya was, like Tyre, a Phoenician island-town ; it stood on the island now called San Pantaleo in a shallow lagoon north of Marsala, the ancient Lilybaeum, on the west coast of Sicily. It was connected with the land by a causeway. The townsfolk deeiroyed this, but Dionysius, like Alexander, built a mole on which his siege-engines were advanced towards the walls. He drove away the Punic fleet and at last took the town by a night attack and destroyed it. Motya was never rebuilt because Lilybaeum took its place, and its ruins remained undisturbed until Mr. Whitaker, a resident of Palermo, bought the island and persuaded the Italian Government to begin excavations. A full account of the results, with an interesting sketch of the history of the Phoenicians and their colonies in Sicily and many excellent photographs and plans, is given in this book, which has evidently been a labour of love. The small " Cothon " or artificial harbour of Motya has been discovered, and the solidly built walls with their gates and towers have been partly cleared, revealing traces of the siege. A house with rude mosaic floors has been laid bare. Two early burial-places on the island have yielded a considerable store of Phoenician pottery and other objects, with Attic and South Italian vases. Mr. Whitaker is justified in emphasizing the importance of this untouched site for Phoenician history, which is still very obscure and difficult. Motya, which is mentioned only on the occasion of its fall, can never have been a powerful city, but it was probably typical of many early Phoenician settlements.