From their cities on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the Phoenicians founded a number of settlements in a territory stretching from Cyprus to the Iberian peninsula, the most notable being Carthage. This western branch of Phoenician culture is called Punic.

One of the most enduring achievements of the Phoenicians, who spoke a Semitic language, was the invention of the alphabet. Today we still use a descendant of this writing system, which was transmitted to us by the Greeks (1).

Characteristic Phoenician objects were imitated by other cultures and continued to be made for centuries (2–6). The rotund wine jug (7), for example, which found an echo in ancient Etruria (8), is also of Phoenician origin. The bowls with engraved decoration (9) are nice examples of their bronze working. Phoenician merchants spread the technique of glass working in the Mediterranean world. 6th–5th-century BC glass vessels were made using the core-forming technique invented in the 2nd millennium, but reflect the formal repertoire of Greek pottery (10–11).

The terracotta statue (12) exemplifies how the Phoenicians transformed a revolutionary invention in Greek Classical sculpture, contrapposto, to their own taste: while the weight of the body is not distributed equally between the two legs, the modelling of the upper body stays frontal.

The exhibition can only hint at the existence of the Iberian culture, the neighbour of the Phoenicians on the Iberian peninsula (13–15).