Located in what is the north of modern Libya was the Greek colony of Cyrenaica, with major cities of Euesperides and Cyrene. The residents of Euesperides moved to another Hellenistic city, Berenice, which was closer to the sea, around 250 B.C.
Phoenicians founded Lepcis Magna, a city in an area known as Tripoli (3 cities) in the 10th Century B.C. It became part of the Roman province of Africa c. 23 B.C.
Tripoli was the center of a group of three Phoenician cities, Tyre, Sidon, and Arados, located at the edge of an oasis. Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (888-859 B.C.) refers to Tripoli as Mahallata or Mahlata, Mayza, and Kayza, according to Names of Tripoli Through History (accessed 06/11/06).
Tripoli was captured by Romans in the 1st cent. B.C. and by the Vandals in the fifth century A.D.