The History of Sardinia

Ancient History

Around 1000 B.C. the Phoenicians began to land with their

ships on the shores of Sardinia with increasing frequency. Setting sail from Lebanon, on their trade routes as far afield as Britain they needed safe anchorages for the night or to weather a storm.

With the local chieftains' consent the more common ports of call were those later named as : Caralis, Nora, Bithia, Sulcis, Tharros, Bosa, Torres and Olbia. They soon became important markets and after a time real towns inhabited by Phoenicians families who traded on the open sea and with the Nuragic Sardinians inland.


bronze statuette of a Nuragic chieftain and some Phoenicians

handicraft are in the Archeological Museum of Cagliari.

In 509 B.C., in view of the Phoenician expansion inland becoming ever more menacing and penetrating, the native Sardinians attacked the coastal cities held by the enemy who, in order to defend themselves, called upon Carthage for help. The Carthaginians, after a number of military campaigns, overcame the Sardinians and conquered the whole island apart from the most mountainous region, later referred to as

Barbaria or Barbagia.

For 271 years, the splendid Carthaginian or Punic civilization flourished alongside the fascinating local nuragic culture. A Nuragic massive

head of warrior and a Carthaginian

goddess are in the Archeological Museum of Cagliari.

In 238 B.C the Carthaginians, defeated by the Romans in the first Punic War, surrendered Sardinia which became a province of Rome.

The Romans enlarged and embellished the coastal cities and with their armies even penetrated the Barbagia region, thereby bringing down the Nuragic civilization.