Motya: Unearthing a Lost Civilization

Motya Book Cover The magical story of the discovery of a lost Phoenician city off the coast of Sicily


The New York Review of Books

…Servadio has an elegiaic description of them decaying in a gloomy villa in Palermo, reminiscent of the Prince’s spinsters daughters in the last chapter of The Leopard. Her book is a fascinating and quietly melancholy case study in social history.

The Sunday Telegraph

Motya is a tiny island just off the south-west coast of Sicily. The great archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann went there in 1875 to dig and pronounced it of no interest . It was left to Joseph Whitaker, the island¹s Victorian milord, to discover that there had been a great city beneath its sandy soil …. Gaia Servadio writes with lyrical reverence. Her emotional involvement in this scrap of land…is highly infectious.

The Birmingham Post

…Punic history is still largely a blank page. Perhaps this wonderfully evocative book will stir a few rich universities into transferring their attention from Egypt and South America…

The Tablet

For Servadio, the study of the Phoenicians and the Punics has been blighted by anti-Semitism and, consequently, a lack of material … but Servadio is in love with her subject, and this passion informs the writing