The ancient city of Phoenix (Gr. Phoinix, Φοῖνιξ) was named after the mythological ‘Phoenix’ bird, which is believed to have originated from the Near East. The fact that the founders of Phoenix were culturally related to the Near East since the Bronze Age is evident from the city’s name, which was inspired by the Egyptian or Levantine origin of the mythological Phoenix. The name Phoenix is etymologically related to the phoenix and the date palm tree, which is believed to be reborn from its ashes every five hundred years. It is possible that the origin of the place name Phoenix refers to both the city and the date palm tree, and it may also contain the meaning of ‘date place.’
The settlement, which was known as Phoinix from the Archaic period to the end of the Hellenistic period, was recorded as Phoenix in Latin after the Roman Imperial period. It reflects the etymological roots of the settlement, continued uninterrupted in the Middle Ages and was referred to as Phoinikidou and Phiniketi in the records. After the late Ottoman period censuses, the settlement was called Fenaket, which is still used in the region. The name Fenaket is one of the indicators of the cultural and etymological continuity that has existed in the region for thousands of years.
The Bozburun Peninsula, where Phoenix is located, has been known as the “Carian Chersonese” or “Caria Peninsula” since the archaic period. It is known that it was also called ‘Tracheia Chersonesos’ or ‘Stony Peninsula’ in reference to its arid and stony geography. The Greek word ‘Tracheia’ seems to be evolved into Tarahya (Darahya, Darrahiya, Daraçya, etc.) in the Middle Ages. The name ‘Taşlıca,’ which means ‘stony village,’ still exists today and is a testament to the 2600-year-old naming that is suitable for the region’s geography and cultural landscape.
On the other hand, the name ‘Bozburun,’ which gives the peninsula its name today, comes not only from the grayness of the peninsula but also from the island strait in the bay that surrounds the Bozburun district today. It probably evolved from ‘Bosphorus’ and ‘Bosporanus’ in the ancient period.
As part of the Phoenix Archaeological Project (PAP), we hope that our ethnobotanical, anthropological, and archaeobotanical research will provide new data on the cultural landscape of Phoenix from antiquity to the present, including its etymological transformations that refer to the geography and landscape of the region.