Music & Ritual: Bridging Material & Living Cultures

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 1

Music and Death: Razors, Stelae and Divinities in the Punic Mediterranean

Agnès Garcia-Ventura and Mireia López-Bertran

This paper explores the relationship between music and rituals in the Punic world. Despite the abundance of materials linked to music and the profusion of images representing musicians,
Phoenician and Punic music are not common topics of research. In this paper we focus our attention on Punic stelae and razors (from the 6th and 2nd centuries BC) in which musicians are represented. We pay special attention to the ones playing membranophones, which are the most frequent. We analyse them from two perspectives. First, we describe the instruments and the musicians in an attempt to define their use and to identify the performers. Second, we hope to shed some light on the role of music in the rituals held in cemeteries, and specifically at the tophet. More generally, we aim to add some musical accompaniment to the rites of the Ancient Western Mediterranean.

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