The background and history of phoenicia

Sidon, tyro and Byblos were the original cities and the most important, but cities developed in the colonies had the same distribution and constructive pattern. They were near the places of maritime transportation and had their necropolis near the city, on the outside of the walls that protected the city. It may be the origin of the word Phoenicia to describe the region where live the people who produced the purple tint used for dye the textiles.

The background and history of phoenicia

History Time Maps of the Phoenician Civilization Overview Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the fertile Crescent.

Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. Language The Phoenician alphabet was one of the first alphabets with a strict and consistent form.

It is assumed that it adopted its simplified linear characters from an as-yet unattested early pictorial Semitic alphabet developed some centuries earlier in the southern Levant.

The precursor to the Phoenician alphabet was likely of Egyptian origin as Middle Bronze Age alphabet from the southern Levant resemble Egyptian hieroglyphs, or more specifically an early alphabetic writing system found in central Egypt.

The oldest known representation of the Phoenician alphabet is inscribed on the sarcophagus of the King of Byblos, dating to the 11th century BCE at the latest.

Phoenicians and the Phoenician Experience

Phoenician inscriptions are found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Cyprus and other locations, as late as the early centuries of the Christian Era. The Phoenicians are credited with spreading the Phoenician alphabet throughout the Mediterranean world.

Phoenician traders disseminated this writing system along Aegean trade routes, to Creta and Greece.

The Greeks adopted the majority of these letters but changed some of them to vowels which were signifiable in their language, giving rise to the first true alphabet. Art Phoenician art lacks unique characteristics that might distinguish it from its contemporaries.

This is due to its being highly influenced by foreign artistic cultures: Phoenicians who were taught on the banks of the Nile and the Euphrates gained a wide artistic experience and finally came to create their own art, which was an amalgam of foreign models and perspectives.

Trade The Phoenicians were among the greatest traders of their time and owed much of their prosperity to trade. At first, they traded mainly with the Greeks, trading wood, salves, glass and powdered Tyrian purple. Tyrian Purple was a violet-purple dye used by the Greek elite to color garments.

As trading and colonizing spread over the Mediterranean, Phoenicians and Greeks seemed to have unconsciously split that sea in two: The two cultures clashed rarely, mainly in Sicily, which eventually settled into two spheres of influence, the Phoenician southwest and the Greek northeast.

The background and history of phoenicia

In the centuries after BCE, the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading power of the region. Phoenician trade was founded on the Tyrian Purple dye, a violet-purple dye derived from the shell of the Murex sea-snail, once profusely available in coastal waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea but exploited to local extinction.

The Phoenicians established a second production center for the dye in Mogador, in present day Morocco. Brilliant textiles were a part of Phoenician wealth, and Phoenician glass was another export ware. They traded unrefined, prick-eared hunting dogs of Asian or African origin which locally they had developed into many breeds.

To Egypt, where grapevines would not grow, the 8th-century Phoenicians sold wine, the wine trade with Egypt is vividly documented by the shipwrecks located in in the open sea 30 miles west of Ascalon. Pottery kilns at Tyre produced the big terracotta jars used for transporting wine and from Egypt they bought gold.

From elsewhere, they obtained other materials, perhaps the most important being silver from Iberian peninsula and tin from Great Britain, the latter of which when smelted with copper from Cyprus created the durable metal allow bronze.

It is also apparent that there was a highly lucrative Phoenician trade with Britain for tin. The Persians divided Phoenicia into four vassal kingdoms. They prospered, furnishing fleets for the Persian kings.

Phoenician influence declined after this. It is likely that much of the Phoenician population migrated to Carthage and other colonies following the Persian conquest.Phoenicia was an ancient civilization composed of independent city-states located along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea stretching through what is now Syria, Lebanon and northern Phoenicians were a great maritime people, known for their mighty ships adorned with horses’ heads in honor of their god of the sea, Yamm, the brother of Mot, the god of death.

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Phoenicia (/ f ɪ ˈ n ɪ ʃ ə /; from the Ancient Greek: Φοινίκη, Phoiníkē) was a thalassocratic, ancient Semitic-speaking Mediterranean civilization that originated in the Levant in Government: City-states ruled by kings. Canaan was situated at the crossroads of several cultures, and throughout its recorded history its art and literature illustrate a mixture of many elements: Egyptian, .

Rawlinson's comprehensive history of the Phoenician Empire is a must read for anyone interested in antiquity. From the preface: "Histories of Phoenicia or of the Phoenicians were written towards the middle of the present century by Movers and pfmlures.coms: Check Full Background Report to see complete work history.

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Canaan | historical region, Middle East |