With but two exceptions, no trace now remains of the shrines with which this paper deals, or at least no trace has been revealed by excavation. Practically the sole record of these buildings is to be found on the coins struck in the district during the period of the Roman Empire, and more especially during the third century of our era. The earlier coins, from the beginning of the coinage towards the end of the fifth century B.C., tell us something about the cults, but little of their furniture. But in the Roman age, especially during the time of the family of Severus and Elagabalus, there was a considerable outburst of coinage, which, in its types, reveals certain details interesting to the student of the fringe of Greek and Roman culture.
The evidence thus provided is necessarily disjointed, and concerns only the external, official aspects of the Phoenician religion. The inner truth of these things, it is safe to say, is hidden for ever: even the development from the primitive religion to the weird syncretistic systems of the Roman age is hopelessly obscure. One can only see dimly what was the state of things during the period illustrated by the monuments.