Gouvernement Princier de Monaco
Print this page

A port during Greek then Roman antiquity

“Monoikos, a Ligurian town” or Liguria: this is how Hecataeus of Miletus (550-475 B.C.) described Monoikos, a settlement which was very likely founded by a Ligurian tribe whose name, which was probably local, remains unknown. Another etymological idea is that the name Monoikos was derived from the Phoenician or Hebrew words Menihh or Monêhh, which mean “restful”.

A Greek port

There is a tempting hypothesis which traces the etymology of the toponym Monaco back to Hercules. Legend would have it that Hercules, founder of Monaco, was called “solitary” or “having one temple only” (monos-only and oikos-house). But Monoikos as such is found nowhere in Greek literature. Consequently, this explanation for the etymology of Monaco does not hold water, but it does shed light on the links which connect Monaco with the half-God. In fact, the hilly landscape of the future Principality and the paths to get there are reputed to have been traced through by Hercules, who was on his way to accomplish one of his labours.

The many coins which were found in Monaco, especially Carthaginian ones, from the beginning of the 4th century up until the reign of Alexander the Great (-337), attest to the integration of the port, whose zenith of activity was around 300 B.C., into the trade which took place in the Mediterranean Basin.

Portus Herculis Monœci, a Roman port

The port of Monaco became part of the Roman world when it was conquered in the 2nd century B.C. The port of Monaco was an essential refuge along the shipping route which connected Italy to the province of Narbonne and then to Hispania. The Roman army departed with the intention of conquering Hispania in 137 B.C., and Caesar himself came to Monaco in 50 B.C. Between the 3rd and 1st centuries, intense trading took place, as the quantity of amphorae, anchors, shipwrecks and cargoes which have been found show.

Sous titre :
500 B.C.

Date de début :

Type de bulle :

Ordre précédent/suivant :

Couronne ? :

Related Places :
Monaco - Port of Hercules

Related Symbols :
Hercules, mythical founder

Related Personalities :
Julius Caesar