This paper focusses on the animal presence in the archaeological records from the Phoenician island town of Motya (Sicily), which grew to prosperity from its settlement in the 8th century until its destruction in 397 bce
. Offering a preliminary review of this material, the paper discusses fantastic beasts, animals of the land, sea and air, creatures from Egyptian tradition and the faunal remains. As such, the overview will be more descriptive than analytic. While osteological evidence confirms the presence of domestic animals, such as poultry, pigs and pets, depictions on all sort of artifacts represent sphinxes and griffins, centaurs and sea-monsters, dolphins and every kind of fish, lions, bulls, horses, deer, pigs and dogs, and many kinds of birds from quails to eagles. Egyptian amulets express the great attraction felt towards the mysterious Nile valley. The great variety of animals attested in the iconography, and the various traditions in which they were depicted, are testament to the diversity of the town’s human population as well as their interactions with the wider Mediterranean world.
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