We still poorly understand what Philo of Byblos was trying to accomplish when writing his Phoenician History. Philo is usually aligned with previous writers who gathered local antiquities in Hellenistic times (e.g., Berossos and Manetho). Instead, I highlight Philo's contemporary cultural referents and the bilingual and bicultural environment in Roman Syria-Phoenicia, as well as the intense relationship between the Hellenic and Phoenician heritage. Philo emerges as one more participant in the active construction of cultural and intellectual identities (inseparable from religion). His work makes sense in an imperial world increasingly interested in provincial exotica, local histories, and competing performances of Hellenism.