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For other uses, see Phoenicia (disambiguation). Phoenicia_sentence_0


𐤐𐤕 / Pūt  (Phoenician) 
Phoiníkē  (Greek)Phoenicia_header_cell_0_0_0
CapitalPhoenicia_header_cell_0_1_0 None; dominant cities were Byblos (2500–1000 BC) and Tyre (900–550 BC)Phoenicia_cell_0_1_1
Common languagesPhoenicia_header_cell_0_2_0 Phoenician, PunicPhoenicia_cell_0_2_1
ReligionPhoenicia_header_cell_0_3_0 Canaanite religionPhoenicia_cell_0_3_1
Demonym(s)Phoenicia_header_cell_0_4_0 PhoenicianPhoenicia_cell_0_4_1
GovernmentPhoenicia_header_cell_0_5_0 City-states ruled by kings, with varying degrees of oligarchic or plutocratic elements; oligarchic republic in Carthage after c. 480 BCPhoenicia_cell_0_5_1
Well-known kings of Phoenician citiesPhoenicia_header_cell_0_6_0 Phoenicia_cell_0_6_1
c. 1000 BCPhoenicia_header_cell_0_7_0 AhiramPhoenicia_cell_0_7_1
969 – 936 BCPhoenicia_header_cell_0_8_0 Hiram IPhoenicia_cell_0_8_1
820 – 774 BCPhoenicia_header_cell_0_9_0 Pygmalion of TyrePhoenicia_cell_0_9_1
Historical eraPhoenicia_header_cell_0_10_0 Classical antiquityPhoenicia_cell_0_10_1
EstablishedPhoenicia_header_cell_0_11_0 2500 BCPhoenicia_cell_0_11_1
Tyre becomes dominant city-state under the reign of Hiram IPhoenicia_header_cell_0_12_0 969 BCPhoenicia_cell_0_12_1
Carthage founded (in Roman accounts by Dido)Phoenicia_header_cell_0_13_0 814 BCPhoenicia_cell_0_13_1
Cyrus the Great conquers PhoeniciaPhoenicia_header_cell_0_14_0 539 BCPhoenicia_cell_0_14_1
1000 BCPhoenicia_header_cell_0_16_0 20,000 km (7,700 sq mi)Phoenicia_cell_0_16_1
Preceded by

Succeeded by


Hittite Empire

Egyptian Empire

Achaemenid Phoenicia

Ancient CarthagePhoenicia_cell_0_17_0

Preceded byPhoenicia_cell_0_18_0 Succeeded byPhoenicia_cell_0_18_1

Hittite Empire

Egyptian EmpirePhoenicia_cell_0_19_0

Achaemenid Phoenicia

Ancient CarthagePhoenicia_cell_0_19_1

Phoenicia_cell_0_20_0 CanaanitesPhoenicia_cell_0_20_1
Phoenicia_cell_0_21_0 Hittite EmpirePhoenicia_cell_0_21_1
Phoenicia_cell_0_22_0 Egyptian EmpirePhoenicia_cell_0_22_1
Achaemenid PhoeniciaPhoenicia_cell_0_23_0 Phoenicia_cell_0_23_1
Ancient CarthagePhoenicia_cell_0_24_0 Phoenicia_cell_0_24_1

Phoenicia (/fəˈnɪʃə, -ˈniː-/; from Ancient Greek: Φοινίκη, Phoiníkē) was an ancient Semitic-speaking thalassocratic civilization that originated in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily modern Lebanon. Phoenicia_sentence_1

It was concentrated along the coast of Lebanon and included some coastal areas of modern Syria and Galilee (northern Israel), reaching as far north as Arwad and as far south as Acre and possibly Gaza. Phoenicia_sentence_2

At its height between 1100 and 200 BC, Phoenician civilization spread across the Mediterranean, from the Levant to the Iberian Peninsula. Phoenicia_sentence_3

The term Phoenicia is an exonym from ancient Greek that most likely described a dye also known as Tyrian purple, a major export of Canaanite port towns. Phoenicia_sentence_4

The term did not correspond precisely to Phoenician culture or society as it would have been understood natively, and it is debated whether the Phoenicians were actually a distinct civilization from the Canaanites and other residents of the Levant. Phoenicia_sentence_5

The Phoenicians came to prominence following the collapse (c. 1150 BC) of most major cultures during the Late Bronze Age. Phoenicia_sentence_6

They were renowned in antiquity as adept merchants, expert seafarers, and intrepid explorers. Phoenicia_sentence_7

They developed an expansive maritime trade network that lasted over a millennium, becoming the dominant commercial power for much of classical antiquity. Phoenicia_sentence_8

Phoenician trade also helped facilitate the exchange of cultures, ideas, and knowledge between major cradles of civilization such as Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Phoenicia_sentence_9

After its zenith in the ninth century BC, Phoenician civilization in the eastern Mediterranean slowly declined in the face of foreign influence and conquest, though its presence would remain in the central and western Mediterranean until the second century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_10

Phoenician civilization was organized in city-states, similar to those of ancient Greece, of which the most notable were Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. Phoenicia_sentence_11

Each city-state was politically independent, and there is no evidence the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single nationality. Phoenicia_sentence_12

Carthage, a Phoenician settlement in northwest Africa, became a major civilization in its own right in the seventh century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_13

Though the Phoenicians were long considered a lost civilization due to the lack of indigenous written records, academic and archaeological developments since the mid-20th century have revealed a complex and influential civilization. Phoenicia_sentence_14

Their best known legacy is the world's oldest verified alphabet, which they transmitted across the Mediterranean world. Phoenicia_sentence_15

The Phoenicians are also credited with innovations in shipbuilding, navigation, industry, agriculture, and government. Phoenicia_sentence_16

Their international trade network is believed to have fostered the economic, political, and cultural foundations of Classical Western civilization. Phoenicia_sentence_17

Etymology Phoenicia_section_0

The name Phoenicians, like Latin Poenī (adj. Phoenicia_sentence_18

poenicus, later pūnicus), comes from Greek Φοινίκη (Phoínikē). Phoenicia_sentence_19

The word φοῖνιξ phoînix meant variably "Phoenician person", "Tyrian purple, crimson" or "date palm." Phoenicia_sentence_20

Homer used it with each of these meanings. Phoenicia_sentence_21

(The mythical bird phoenix also carries the same name, but this meaning is not attested until centuries later.) Phoenicia_sentence_22

It is difficult to ascertain which meaning came first, but it is understandable how Greeks may have associated the crimson or purple color of dates and dye with the merchants who traded both products. Phoenicia_sentence_23

The Greek word may derive directly from the Phoenicians' endonym; the land was natively known as 𐤐𐤕 (Pūt) and its people as the 𐤐𐤍𐤉𐤌 (Pōnnim). Phoenicia_sentence_24

History Phoenicia_section_1

Main article: History of Phoenicia Phoenicia_sentence_25

Since little has survived of Phoenician records or literature, most of what is known about their origins and history comes from the accounts of other civilizations and inferences from their material culture excavated throughout the Mediterranean. Phoenicia_sentence_26

Origins Phoenicia_section_2

Main articles: Canaan, Retjenu, and Prehistory of the Levant Phoenicia_sentence_27

The Canaanite culture that gave rise to the Phoenicians apparently developed in situ from the earlier Ghassulian chalcolithic culture. Phoenicia_sentence_28

Ghassulian itself developed from the Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from a fusion of their ancestral Natufian and Harifian cultures with Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) farming cultures, practicing the domestication of animals during the 6200 BC climate crisis, which led to the Neolithic Revolution in the Levant. Phoenicia_sentence_29

Byblos is attested as an archaeological site from the Early Bronze Age. Phoenicia_sentence_30

The Late Bronze Age state of Ugarit is considered quintessentially Canaanite archaeologically, even though the Ugaritic language does not belong to the Canaanite languages proper. Phoenicia_sentence_31

Some scholars suggest there is evidence for a Semitic dispersal to the fertile crescent circa 2500 BC; others believe the Phoenicians originated from an admixture of previous non-Semitic inhabitants with the Semitic arrivals. Phoenicia_sentence_32

Herodotus believed that the Phoenicians originated from Bahrain, a view shared centuries later by the historian Strabo. Phoenicia_sentence_33

The people of modern Tyre in Lebanon, have particularly long maintained Persian Gulf origins. Phoenicia_sentence_34

The Dilmun civilization thrived in Bahrain during the period 2200–1600 BC, as shown by excavations of settlements and the Dilmun burial mounds. Phoenicia_sentence_35

However, recent genetic researches have shown that present-day Lebanese derive most of their ancestry from a Canaanite-related population. Phoenicia_sentence_36

Emergence during the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BC) Phoenicia_section_3

The first known account of the Phoenicians relates to the conquests of Pharaoh Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC). Phoenicia_sentence_37

The Egyptians targeted coastal cities such as Byblos, Arwad, and Ullasa for their crucial geographic and commercial links with the interior (via the Nahr al-Kabir and the Orontes rivers). Phoenicia_sentence_38

The cities provided Egypt with access to Mesopotamian trade as well as abundant stocks of the region's native cedar wood, of which there was no equivalent in the Egyptian homeland. Phoenicia_sentence_39

By the mid 14th century, the Phoenician city states were considered "favored cities" to the Egyptians. Phoenicia_sentence_40

Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, and Byblos were regarded as the most important. Phoenicia_sentence_41

The Phoenicians had considerable autonomy and their cities were fairly well developed and prosperous. Phoenicia_sentence_42

Byblos was evidently the leading city outside Egypt proper; it was a major center of bronze-making, and the primary terminus of precious goods such as tin and lapis lazuli from as far east as Afghanistan. Phoenicia_sentence_43

Sidon and Tyre also commanded interest among Egyptian officials, beginning a pattern of rivalry that would span the next millennium. Phoenicia_sentence_44

The Amarna letters report that from 1350 to 1300 BC, neighboring Amorites and Hittites were capturing Phoenician cities, especially in the north. Phoenicia_sentence_45

Egypt subsequently lost its coastal holdings from Ugarit in northern Syria to Byblos near central Lebanon. Phoenicia_sentence_46

Ascendance and high point (1200–800 BC) Phoenicia_section_4

Some time between 1200 and 1150 BC, the Late Bronze Age collapse severely weakened or destroyed most civilizations in the region, including the Egyptians and Hittites. Phoenicia_sentence_47

The Phoenicians appear to have weathered the crisis relatively well, emerging as a distinct and organized civilization in 1230 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_48

The period is sometimes described as a "Phoenician renaissance." Phoenicia_sentence_49

They filled the power vacuum caused by the Late Bronze Age collapse by becoming the sole mercantile and maritime power in the region, a status they would maintain for the next several centuries. Phoenicia_sentence_50

The recovery of the Mediterranean economy can be credited to Phoenician mariners and merchants, who re-established long distance trade between Egypt and Mesopotamia in the 10th century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_51

Early into the Iron Age, the Phoenicians established ports, warehouses, markets, and settlement all across the Mediterranean and up to the southern Black Sea. Phoenicia_sentence_52

Colonies were established on Cyprus, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands, Sicily, and Malta, as well as the coasts of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. Phoenicia_sentence_53

Phoenician hacksilver dated to this period bears lead isotope ratios matching ores in Sardinia and Spain, indicating the extent of Phoenician trade networks. Phoenicia_sentence_54

By the tenth century BC, Tyre rose to become the richest and most powerful Phoenician city state, particularly during the reign of Hiram I (c. 969–936 BC). Phoenicia_sentence_55

During the rule of the priest Ithobaal (887–856 BC), Tyre expanded its territory as far north as Beirut (incorporating its former rival Sidon) and into part of Cyprus; this unusual act of aggression was the closest the Phoenicians ever came to forming a unitary territorial state. Phoenicia_sentence_56

Once his realm reached its greatest territorial extent, Ithobaal declared himself "King of the Sidonians", a title that would be used by his successors and mentioned in both Greek and Jewish accounts. Phoenicia_sentence_57

The Late Iron Age saw the height of Phoenician shipping, mercantile, and cultural activity, particularly between 750 and 650 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_58

Phoenician influence was visible in the "Orientalization" of Greek cultural and artistic conventions. Phoenicia_sentence_59

Among their most popular goods were fine textiles, typically dyed with Tyrian purple. Phoenicia_sentence_60

Homer's Iliad, which was composed during this period, references the quality of Phoenician clothing and metal goods. Phoenicia_sentence_61

Foundation of Carthage Phoenicia_section_5

Main articles: Carthage, History of Carthage, and Punic Wars Phoenicia_sentence_62

Carthage was founded by Phoenicians coming from Tyre, probably initially as a station in the metal trade with the southern Iberian Peninsula. Phoenicia_sentence_63

The city's name in Punic, Qart-Ḥadašt (𐤒𐤓𐤕 𐤇𐤃𐤔𐤕‎), means "New City". Phoenicia_sentence_64

There is a tradition in some ancient sources, such as Philistos of Syracuse, for an "early" foundation date of around 1215 BC—before the fall of Troy in 1180 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_65

However, Timaeus, a Greek historian from Sicily c. 300 BC, places the foundation of Carthage in 814 BC, which is the date generally accepted by modern historians. Phoenicia_sentence_66

Legend, including Virgil's Aeneid, assigns the founding of the city to Queen Dido. Phoenicia_sentence_67

Carthage would grow into a multi-ethnic empire spanning North Africa, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, the Balearic Islands, and southern Iberia, but would ultimately be destroyed by Rome in the Punic Wars (264–146 BC) before being rebuilt as a Roman city. Phoenicia_sentence_68

Vassalage under the Assyrians & Babylonians (858–538 BC) Phoenicia_section_6

Main article: Phoenicia under Babylonian rule Phoenicia_sentence_69

As a mercantile power concentrated along a narrow coastal strip of land, the Phoenicians lacked the size and population to support a large military. Phoenicia_sentence_70

Thus, as neighboring empires began to rise, the Phoenicians increasingly fell under the sway of foreign rulers, who to varying degrees circumscribed their autonomy. Phoenicia_sentence_71

The Assyrian conquest of Phoenicia began with King Shalmaneser III, who rose to power in 858 BC and began a series of campaigns against neighboring states. Phoenicia_sentence_72

The Phoenician city-states fell under his rule, forced to pay heavy tribute in money, goods, and natural resources. Phoenicia_sentence_73

Initially they were not annexed outright—they remained in a state of vassalage, subordinate to the Assyrians but allowed a certain degree of freedom. Phoenicia_sentence_74

This changed in 744 BC with the ascension of Tiglath-Pileser III. Phoenicia_sentence_75

By 738 BC, most of the Levant, including northern Phoenicia, were annexed; only Tyre and Byblos, the most powerful of the city states, remained as tributary states outside of direct Assyrian control. Phoenicia_sentence_76

Tyre, Byblos, and Sidon all rebelled against Assyrian rule. Phoenicia_sentence_77

In 721 BC, Sargon II besieged Tyre and crushed the rebellion. Phoenicia_sentence_78

His successor Sennacherib suppressed further rebellions across the region. Phoenicia_sentence_79

During the seventh century BC, Sidon rebelled and was completely destroyed by Esarhaddon, who enslaved its inhabitants and built a new city on its ruins. Phoenicia_sentence_80

By the end of the century, the Assyrians had been weakened by successive revolts, which led to their destruction by the Median Empire. Phoenicia_sentence_81

The Babylonians, formerly vassals of the Assyrians, took advantage of the empire's collapse and rebelled, quickly establishing the Neo-Babylonian Empire in its place. Phoenicia_sentence_82

Phoenician cities revolted several times throughout the reigns of the first Babylonian king, Nabopolassar (626–605 BC), and his son Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 605–c. Phoenicia_sentence_83

562 BC). Phoenicia_sentence_84

In 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre, which resisted for thirteen years, but ultimately capitulated under "favorable terms". Phoenicia_sentence_85

Persian period (539–332 BC) Phoenicia_section_7

Main article: Achaemenid Phoenicia Phoenicia_sentence_86

In 539 BC, Cyrus the Great, king and founder of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, took Babylon. Phoenicia_sentence_87

As Cyrus began consolidating territories across the Near East, the Phoenicians apparently made the pragmatic calculation of "[yielding] themselves to the Persians." Phoenicia_sentence_88

Most of the Levant was consolidated by Cyrus into a single satrapy (province) and forced to pay a yearly tribute of 350 talents, which was roughly half the tribute that was required of Egypt and Libya. Phoenicia_sentence_89

The Phoenician area was later divided into four vassal kingdoms—Sidon, Tyre, Arwad and Byblos—which were allowed considerable autonomy. Phoenicia_sentence_90

Unlike in other areas of the empire, there is no record of Persian administrators governing the Phoenician city-states. Phoenicia_sentence_91

Local Phoenician kings were allowed to remain in power and even given the same rights as Persian satraps (governors), such as hereditary offices and minting their own coins. Phoenicia_sentence_92

The Phoenicians remained a core asset to the Achaemenid Empire, particularly for their prowess in maritime technology and navigation; they furnished the bulk of the Persian fleet during the Greco-Persian Wars of the late fifth century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_93

Phoenicians under Xerxes I built the Xerxes Canal and the pontoon bridges that allowed his forces to cross into mainland Greece. Phoenicia_sentence_94

Nevertheless, they were harshly punished by the Persian king following his defeat at the Battle of Salamis, which he blamed on Phoenician cowardice and incompetence. Phoenicia_sentence_95

In the mid fourth century BC, King Tennes of Sidon led a failed rebellion against Artaxerxes III, enlisting the help of the Egyptians, who were subsequently drawn into a war with the Persians. Phoenicia_sentence_96

The resulting destruction of Sidon led to the resurgence of Tyre, which remained the principal Phoenician city for two decades until the arrival of Alexander the Great. Phoenicia_sentence_97

Hellenistic period (332–63 BC) Phoenicia_section_8

Phoenicia was one of the first areas to be conquered by Alexander the Great during his military campaigns across western Asia. Phoenicia_sentence_98

Alexander's main target in the Persian Levant was Tyre, now the region's largest and most important city. Phoenicia_sentence_99

It capitulated after a roughly seven month siege, during which many of its citizens fled to Carthage. Phoenicia_sentence_100

Tyre's refusal to allow Alexander to visit its temple to Melqart, culminating in the killing of his envoys, led to a brutal reprisal: 2,000 of its leading citizens were crucified and a puppet ruler was installed. Phoenicia_sentence_101

The rest of Phoenicia easily came under his control, with Sidon surrendering peacefully. Phoenicia_sentence_102

Alexander's empire had a policy of Hellenization, whereby Greek culture, religion, and sometimes language were spread or imposed across conquered peoples. Phoenicia_sentence_103

This was typically implemented through the founding of new cities, the settlement of a Greek urban elite, and the alteration of native place names to Greek. Phoenicia_sentence_104

However, there was evidently no organized Hellenization in Phoenicia, and with one or two minor exceptions, all Phoenician city states retained their native names, while Greek settlement and administration appears to have been limited. Phoenicia_sentence_105

The Phoenicians maintained cultural and commercial links with their western counterparts. Phoenicia_sentence_106

Polybius recounts how the Seleucid king Demetrius I escaped from Rome by boarding a Carthaginian ship that was delivering goods to Tyre. Phoenicia_sentence_107

The adaptation to Macedonian rule was likely aided by the Phoenicians' historical ties with the Greeks, with whom they shared some mythological stories and figures; the two peoples were even sometimes considered "relatives". Phoenicia_sentence_108

When Alexander's empire collapsed after his death in 323 BC, the Phoenicians came under the control of the largest of its successors, the Seleucids. Phoenicia_sentence_109

The Phoenician homeland was repeatedly contested by the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt during the forty year Syrian Wars, coming under Ptolemaic rule in the third century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_110

The Seleucids reclaimed the area the following century, holding it until the mid-first century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_111

Under their rule, the Phoenicians were evidently allowed a considerable degree of autonomy. Phoenicia_sentence_112

During the Seleucid Dynastic Wars (157–63 BC), the Phoenician cities were fought over by the warring factions of the Seleucid royal family. Phoenicia_sentence_113

The Seleucid Kingdom, including Phoenicia, was seized by Tigranes the Great of Armenia in 82 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_114

With their strategically valuable buffer state absorbed into a rival power, the Romans were moved to intervene and conquer the territory in 62 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_115

Shortly thereafter, the territory was incorporated into the Roman province of Syria. Phoenicia_sentence_116

Phoenicia became a separate province in the third century AD. Phoenicia_sentence_117

Demographics Phoenicia_section_9

The Phoenicians were an offshoot of the Canaanites, a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples that emerged at least in the second millennium BC. Phoenicia_sentence_118

Though they were often known to outsiders as Canaanites, and continued to self-identify as such, the Phoenicians became a distinct people some time in the Late Bronze Age, between the 14th and 13th centuries. Phoenicia_sentence_119

A 2018 study of mitochondrial lineages in Sardinia concluded that the Phoenicians were "inclusive, multicultural and featured significant female mobility", with evidence of indigenous Sardinians integrating "peacefully and permanently" with Phoenician settlers. Phoenicia_sentence_120

The study also found evidence suggesting that Europeans may have settled in the area of modern Lebanon. Phoenicia_sentence_121

Genetic studies Phoenicia_section_10

See also: Archaeogenetics of the Near East Phoenicia_sentence_122

A 2008 study led by Pierre Zalloua found that six subclades of Haplogroup J-M172 (J2)—thought to have originated between the Caucasus Mountains, Mesopotamia and the Levant—were of a "Phoenician signature" and present amongst the male populations of the "coastal Lebanese Phoenician Heartland" and wider Levant (the "Phoenician Periphery"), followed by other areas of historic Phoenician settlement, spanning Cyprus through to Morocco. Phoenicia_sentence_123

This deliberate sequential sampling was an attempt to develop a methodology to link the documented historical expansion of a population with a particular geographic genetic pattern or patterns. Phoenicia_sentence_124

The researchers suggested that the proposed genetic signature stemmed from "a common source of related lineages rooted in Lebanon". Phoenicia_sentence_125

Another study in 2006 found evidence for the genetic persistence of Phoenicians in the Spanish island of Ibiza. Phoenicia_sentence_126

In 2016, the skeleton of 2,500 year old Carthaginian man was excavated from a Punic tomb in Tunisia, and was found bearing the rare U5b2c1 maternal haplogroup. Phoenicia_sentence_127

The lineage of this "Young Man of Byrsa" is believed to represent early gene flow from Iberia to the Maghreb, and is the oldest European lineage discovered in Africa. Phoenicia_sentence_128

A series of studies of different populations in the Levant suggest that Levantine Semites—such as Lebanese, Mizrahi Jews, Palestinians, and Syrians—are the closest surviving relatives of ancient Phoenicians. Phoenicia_sentence_129

One study found that the Lebanese share 93% of their DNA with Bronze Age Sidonians. Phoenicia_sentence_130

Economy Phoenicia_section_11

Trade Phoenicia_section_12

See also: Phoenicians and wine Phoenicia_sentence_131

The Phoenicians served as intermediaries between the disparate civilizations that spanned the Mediterranean and Near East, facilitating the exchange of not only goods, but knowledge, culture, and religious traditions. Phoenicia_sentence_132

Their expansive and enduring trade network is credited with laying the foundations of an economically and culturally cohesive Mediterranean, which would be continued by the Greeks and especially the Romans. Phoenicia_sentence_133

Phoenician ties with the Greeks ran deep. Phoenicia_sentence_134

The earliest verified relationship appears to have begun with the Minoan civilization on Crete (1950–1450 BC), which together with the Mycenaean civilization (1600–1100 BC) is considered the progenitor of classical Greece. Phoenicia_sentence_135

Archaeological research suggests that the Minoans gradually imported Near Eastern goods, artistic styles, and customs from other cultures via the Phoenicians. Phoenicia_sentence_136

To Egypt the Phoenicians sold logs of cedar for significant sums, and wine beginning in the eighth century. Phoenicia_sentence_137

The wine trade with Egypt is vividly documented by shipwrecks discovered in 1997 in the open sea 50 kilometres (30 mi) west of Ascalon, Israel. Phoenicia_sentence_138

Pottery kilns at Tyre and Sarepta produced the large terracotta jars used for transporting wine. Phoenicia_sentence_139

From Egypt, the Phoenicians bought Nubian gold. Phoenicia_sentence_140

From elsewhere, they obtained other materials, perhaps the most important being silver, mostly from Sardinia and the Iberian Peninsula. Phoenicia_sentence_141

Tin for making bronze "may have been acquired from Galicia by way of the Atlantic coast or southern Spain; alternatively, it may have come from northern Europe (Cornwall or Brittany) via the Rhone valley and coastal Massalia". Phoenicia_sentence_142

Strabo states that there was a highly lucrative Phoenician trade with Britain for tin via the Cassiterides, whose location is unknown but may have been off the northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Phoenicia_sentence_143

Industry Phoenicia_section_13

Phoenicia lacked notable natural resources other than its cedar wood. Phoenicia_sentence_144

Timber was probably the earliest and most lucrative source of wealth; neither Egypt nor Mesopotamia had adequate sources of wood. Phoenicia_sentence_145

Unable to rely solely on this limited resource, the Phoenicians developed an industrial base manufacturing a variety of goods for both common and luxury use. Phoenicia_sentence_146

The Phoenicians developed or mastered techniques such as glass-making, engraved and chased metalwork (including bronze, iron, and gold), ivory carving, and woodwork. Phoenicia_sentence_147

The Phoenicians were early pioneers in mass production, and sold a variety of items in bulk. Phoenicia_sentence_148

They became the leading source of glassware in antiquity, shipping thousands of flasks, beads, and other glass objects across the Mediterranean. Phoenicia_sentence_149

Excavations of colonies in Spain suggest they also utilized the potter's wheel. Phoenicia_sentence_150

Their exposure to a wide variety of cultures allowed them to manufacture goods for specific markets. Phoenicia_sentence_151

The Iliad suggests Phoenician clothing and metal goods were highly prized by the Greeks. Phoenicia_sentence_152

Specialized goods were designed specifically for wealthier clientele, including ivory reliefs and plaques, carved clam shells, sculpted amber, and finely detailed and painted ostrich eggs. Phoenicia_sentence_153

Tyrian purple Phoenicia_section_14

The most prized Phoenician goods were fabrics dyed with Tyrian purple, which formed a major part of Phoenician wealth. Phoenicia_sentence_154

The violet-purple dye derived from the hypobranchial gland of the Murex sea-snail, once profusely available in coastal waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea but exploited to local extinction. Phoenicia_sentence_155

Phoenicians may have discovered the dye as early as 1750 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_156

The Phoenicians established a second production center for the dye in Mogador, in present-day Morocco. Phoenicia_sentence_157

The Phoenicians' exclusive command over the production and trade of the dye, combined with the labor-intensive extraction process, made it very expensive. Phoenicia_sentence_158

Tyrian purple subsequently became associated with the upper classes and soon became a status symbol in several civilizations, most notably among the Romans. Phoenicia_sentence_159

Assyrian records of tribute from the Phoenicians include "garments of brightly colored stuff" that most likely included Tyrian purple. Phoenicia_sentence_160

While the designs, ornamentation, and embroidery used in Phoenician textiles were apparently well-regarded, the techniques and specific descriptions are unknown. Phoenicia_sentence_161

Mining Phoenicia_section_15

Mining operations in the Phoenician homeland were limited; iron was the only metal of any worth. Phoenicia_sentence_162

The first large-scale mining operations probably occurred in Cyprus, principally for copper. Phoenicia_sentence_163

Sardinia may have been colonized almost exclusively for its mineral resources; Phoenician settlements were concentrated in the southern parts of the island, close to sources of copper and lead. Phoenicia_sentence_164

Piles of scoria and copper ingots, which appear to predate Roman occupation, suggest the Phoenicians mined and processed metals on the island. Phoenicia_sentence_165

The Iberian Peninsula was known for being the richest source of numerous metals in antiquity, including gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, and lead. Phoenicia_sentence_166

The significant output of these metals during the Phoenician and Carthaginian occupation strongly implied large scale mining operations. Phoenicia_sentence_167

The Carthaginians are documented to have relied on slave labor for mining, though it is unknown if the Phoenicians as a whole did so. Phoenicia_sentence_168

Viticulture Phoenicia_section_16

The most notable agricultural product was wine, which the Phoenicians helped propagate across the Mediterranean. Phoenicia_sentence_169

The common grape vine may have been domesticated by the Phoenicians or Canaanites, although it most likely arrived from Transcaucasia via trade routes across Mesopotamia or the Black Sea. Phoenicia_sentence_170

Vines grew readily in the coastal Levant, and wine was exported to Egypt as early as the Old Kingdom period (2686–2134 BC). Phoenicia_sentence_171

Wine played an important part in Phoenician religion, serving as the principal beverage for offerings and sacrifice. Phoenicia_sentence_172

An excavation of a small Phoenician town south of Sidon uncovered a wine factory used from at least the seventh century BC, which is believed to have been aimed for an overseas market. Phoenicia_sentence_173

To prevent oxidation, vessels were sealed with a layer of olive oil, pinewood, and resin. Phoenicia_sentence_174

The Phoenicians established vineyards and wineries in their colonies in North Africa, Sicily, France, and Spain, and may have taught winemaking to some of their trading partners. Phoenicia_sentence_175

The ancient Iberians began producing wine from local grape varieties following their encounter with the Phoenicians, and Iberian cultivars subsequently formed the basis of most western European wine. Phoenicia_sentence_176

Shipbuilding Phoenicia_section_17

As early as 1200 BC, the Phoenicians built large merchant ships. Phoenicia_sentence_177

During the Bronze Age, they developed the keel. Phoenicia_sentence_178

Pegged mortise-and-tenon joints proved effective enough to serve as a standard until late into the Roman Empire. Phoenicia_sentence_179

The Phoenicians were possibly the first to introduce the bireme, around 700 BC. Phoenicia_sentence_180

An Assyrian account describes Phoenicians evading capture with these ships. Phoenicia_sentence_181

The Phoenicians are also credited with inventing the trireme, which was regarded as the most advanced and powerful vessel in the ancient Mediterranean world, and were eventually adopted by the Greeks. Phoenicia_sentence_182

The Phoenicians developed several other maritime inventions. Phoenicia_sentence_183

The amphora, a type of container used for both dry and liquid goods, was an ancient Phoenician invention that became a standardized measurement of volume for close to two thousand years. Phoenicia_sentence_184

The remnants of self-cleaning artificial harbors have been discovered in Sidon, Tyre, Atlit, and Acre. Phoenicia_sentence_185

The first example of admiralty law also appears in the Levant. Phoenicia_sentence_186

The Phoenicians continued to contribute to cartography into the Iron Age. Phoenicia_sentence_187

In 2014, a roughly 50-foot Phoenician trading ship was found near Gozo island in Malta. Phoenicia_sentence_188

Dated 700 BC, it is one of the oldest wrecks found in the Mediterranean. Phoenicia_sentence_189

Fifty amphorae, used to contain wine and oil, were scattered nearby. Phoenicia_sentence_190

Important cities and colonies Phoenicia_section_18

Main article: List of Phoenician cities Phoenicia_sentence_191

The Phoenicians were not a nation in the political sense, but were organized into independent city states that shared a common language and culture. Phoenicia_sentence_192

The leading city states were Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. Phoenicia_sentence_193

Rivalries were common, but armed conflict rare. Phoenicia_sentence_194

Numerous other cities existed in the Levant alone, many probably unknown, including Berut (modern Beirut) Ampi, Amia, Arqa, Baalbek, Botrys, Sarepta and Tripoli. Phoenicia_sentence_195

From the late tenth century BC, the Phoenicians established commercial outposts throughout the Mediterranean, with Tyre founding colonies in Cyprus, Sardinia, Iberia, the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Malta, and North Africa. Phoenicia_sentence_196

Later colonies were established beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, particularly on the Atlantic coast of Iberia, and the Phoenicians may have explored the Canary Islands and the British Isles. Phoenicia_sentence_197

Phoenician settlement was especially concentrated in Cyprus, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, northwest Africa, the Balearic Islands, and southern Iberia. Phoenicia_sentence_198

Phoenician colonization Phoenicia_section_19

To facilitate their commercial ventures, the Phoenicians established numerous colonies and trading posts along the coasts of the Mediterranean. Phoenicia_sentence_199

Phoenician city states generally lacked the numbers or even the desire to expand their territory overseas. Phoenicia_sentence_200

Few colonies had more than 1,000 inhabitants; only Carthage and some nearby settlements in the western Mediterranean would grow larger. Phoenicia_sentence_201

A major motivating factor was competition with the Greeks, who began expanding across the Mediterranean during the same period. Phoenicia_sentence_202

Though a largely peaceful rivalry, their respective settlements in Crete and Sicily did clash intermittently. Phoenicia_sentence_203

The earliest Phoenician settlements outside the Levant were on Cyprus and Crete, gradually moving westward towards Corsica, the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, and Sicily, as well as on the European mainland in Genoa and Marseilles. Phoenicia_sentence_204

The first Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean were along the northwest African coast and on Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. Phoenicia_sentence_205

Tyre led the way in settling or controlling coastal areas. Phoenicia_sentence_206

Phoenician colonies were fairly autonomous. Phoenicia_sentence_207

At most, they were expected to send annual tribute to their mother city, usually in the context of a religious offering. Phoenicia_sentence_208

However, in the seventh century BC the western colonies came under the control of Carthage, which was exercised directly through appointed magistrates. Phoenicia_sentence_209

Carthage continued to send annual tribute to Tyre for some time after its independence. Phoenicia_sentence_210

Society and culture Phoenicia_section_20

Since very little of the Phoenicians' own writings have survived, much of what is known about their culture and society comes from accounts by contemporary civilizations or inferences from archaeological discoveries. Phoenicia_sentence_211

The Phoenicians had much in common with other Canaanites, including language, religion, social customs, and a monarchical political system centered around city-states. Phoenicia_sentence_212

However, by the early Iron Age (roughly 1300 BC) they had emerged as a distinct people, with their culture, economy, and daily life being heavily centered on commerce and maritime trade. Phoenicia_sentence_213

Their propensity for seafaring brought them into contact with numerous other civilizations. Phoenicia_sentence_214

Politics and government Phoenicia_section_21

The Phoenician city-states were fiercely independent in both domestic and foreign affairs. Phoenicia_sentence_215

Formal alliances between city states were rare. Phoenicia_sentence_216

The relative power and influence of city-states varied over time. Phoenicia_sentence_217

Sidon was dominant between the 12th and 11th centuries BC, and exercised some influence over its neighbors, but by the tenth century BC, Tyre rose to become the most powerful city. Phoenicia_sentence_218

Phoenician society was highly stratified and predominantly monarchical, at least in its earlier stages. Phoenicia_sentence_219

Hereditary kings usually governed with absolute power over civic, commercial, and religious affairs. Phoenicia_sentence_220

They often relied upon senior officials from the noble and merchant classes; the priesthood was a distinct class, usually of royal lineage or from leading merchant families. Phoenicia_sentence_221

The king was considered a representative of the gods and carried many obligations and duties with respect to religious processions and rituals. Phoenicia_sentence_222

Priests were thus highly influential and often became intertwined with the royal family. Phoenicia_sentence_223

Phoenician kings did not commemorate their reign through sculptures or monuments. Phoenicia_sentence_224

Their wealth, power, and accomplishments were usually conveyed through ornate sarcophagi, like that of Ahiram of Byblos. Phoenicia_sentence_225

The Phoenicians kept records of their rulers in the form of tomb inscriptions, which are among the few primary sources still available. Phoenicia_sentence_226

Historians have been able to determine a clear line of succession over centuries for some city-states, notably Byblos and Tyre. Phoenicia_sentence_227

Starting as early as 15th century BC, Phoenician leaders were "advised by councils or assemblies which gradually took greater power". Phoenicia_sentence_228

In the sixth century BC, during the period of Babylonian rule, Tyre briefly adopted a system of government consisting of a pair of judges, known as sufetes, who were chosen from the most powerful noble families and served short terms. Phoenicia_sentence_229

In the fourth century BC, when the armies of Alexander the Great approached Tyre, they were met not by its king but by representatives of the commonwealth of the city. Phoenicia_sentence_230

Similarly, historians at the time describe the "inhabitants" or "the people" of Sidon making peace with Alexander. Phoenicia_sentence_231

When the Macedonians sought to appoint a new king over Sidon, the citizens nominated their own candidate. Phoenicia_sentence_232

Law and administration Phoenicia_section_22

After the king and council, the two most important political positions in virtually every Phoenician city state were that of governor and commander of the army. Phoenicia_sentence_233

Details regarding the duties of these offices are sparse, but it is known that the governor was responsible for collecting taxes, implementing decrees, supervising judges, and ensuring the administration of law and justice. Phoenicia_sentence_234

As warfare was rare among the mostly mercantile Phoenicians, the commander of the army was generally responsible for ensuring the defense and security of the city-state and its hinterlands. Phoenicia_sentence_235

The Phoenicians had a system of courts and judges that resolved disputes and punished crimes based on a semi-codified body of law and traditional. Phoenicia_sentence_236

Laws were implemented by the state and were the responsibility of the ruler and certain designated officials. Phoenicia_sentence_237

Like other Levantine societies, laws were harsh and biased, reflecting the social stratification of society. Phoenicia_sentence_238

The murder of a commoner was treated as less serious than of a nobleman, and the upper classes had the most rights; the wealthy often escaped punishment by paying a fine. Phoenicia_sentence_239

Free men of any class could represent themselves in court and had more rights than women and children, while slaves had no rights at all. Phoenicia_sentence_240

Men could often deflect punishment to their wives, children, or slaves, even having them serve his sentence in his place. Phoenicia_sentence_241

Lawyers eventually emerged as a profession for those who could not plead their own case. Phoenicia_sentence_242

As in neighboring societies at the time, penalties for crimes were often severe, usually reflecting the principle of reciprocity; for example, the killing of a slave would be punished by having the offender's slave killed. Phoenicia_sentence_243

Imprisonment was rare, with fines, exile, punishment, and execution were main remedies. Phoenicia_sentence_244

Military Phoenicia_section_23

As with most aspects of Phoenician civilization, there are few records of their military or approach to warfare. Phoenicia_sentence_245

Compared to most of their neighbors, the Phoenicians generally had little interest in conquest and were a relatively peaceful people. Phoenicia_sentence_246

The wealth and prosperity of all their city states rested on foreign trade, which required good relations and a certain degree of mutual trust. Phoenicia_sentence_247

They also lacked the territory and agricultural base to support a population large enough for anything other than city defense; each city had an army commander in charge of a defensive garrison, but the specifics of the role, or of city defense, are unknown. Phoenicia_sentence_248

Language Phoenicia_section_24

Main articles: Phoenician language and Punic Phoenicia_sentence_249

The Phoenician language was a member of the Canaanite branch of the Semitic languages. Phoenicia_sentence_250

Its descendant language spoken in the Carthaginian Empire is termed Punic. Phoenicia_sentence_251

Punic was still spoken in the fifth century AD, and known to St. Augustine of Hippo. Phoenicia_sentence_252

Alphabet Phoenicia_section_25

Main article: Phoenician alphabet Phoenicia_sentence_253

Around 1050 BC, the Phoenicians developed a script for writing their own language. Phoenicia_sentence_254

The Canaanite-Phoenician alphabet consists of 22 letters, all consonants (and is thus strictly an abjad). Phoenicia_sentence_255

It is believed to be a continuation of the Proto-Sinaitic (or Proto-Canaanite) script attested in the Sinai and in Canaan in the Late Bronze Age. Phoenicia_sentence_256

Through their maritime trade, the Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to Anatolia, North Africa, and Europe. Phoenicia_sentence_257

The name Phoenician is by convention given to inscriptions beginning around 1050 BC, because Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite dialects were largely indistinguishable before that time. Phoenicia_sentence_258

Phoenician inscriptions are found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Cyprus and other locations, as late as the early centuries of the Christian era. Phoenicia_sentence_259

The alphabet was adopted and modified by the Greeks probably in the eighth century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_260

This most likely did not occur in a single instance but in a process of commercial exchange. Phoenicia_sentence_261

The legendary Phoenician hero Cadmus is credited with bringing the alphabet to Greece, but it is more plausible that it was brought by Phoenician immigrants to Crete, whence it gradually diffused northwards. Phoenicia_sentence_262

Art Phoenicia_section_26

Phoenician art was largely centered on ornamental objects, particularly jewelry, pottery, glassware, and reliefs. Phoenicia_sentence_263

Large sculptures were rare; figurines were more common. Phoenicia_sentence_264

Phoenician goods have been found from Spain and Morocco to Russia and Iraq; much of what is known about Phoenician art is based from excavations outside of Phoenicia proper. Phoenicia_sentence_265

Phoenician art was highly influenced by the many cultures the Phoenicians traded and interacted with, primarily Egypt, Greece, and Assyria. Phoenicia_sentence_266

Greek inspiration was particularly pronounced in pottery, while Egyptian styles were most reflected in ivory work. Phoenicia_sentence_267

Phoenician art also differed from its contemporaries in its continuance of Bronze Age conventions well into the Iron Age, such as terracotta masks. Phoenicia_sentence_268

Phoenician artisans were known for their skill with wood, ivory, bronze, and textiles. Phoenicia_sentence_269

In the Old Testament, a craftsman from Tyre is commissioned to build and decorate the legendary Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, which "presupposes a well-developed and highly respected craft industry in Phoenicia by the mid-tenth century BC". Phoenicia_sentence_270

The Iliad mentions the embroidered robes of Priam’s wife, Hecabe, as "the work of Sidonian women" and describes a mixing bowl of chased silver as "a masterpiece of Sidonian craftsmanship." Phoenicia_sentence_271

The Assyrians appeared to have valued Phoenician ivory work in particular, collecting vast quantities in their palaces. Phoenicia_sentence_272

Phoenician art appears to have been indelibly tied to Phoenician commercial interests. Phoenicia_sentence_273

They appear to have crafted goods to appeal to particular trading partners, distinguishing not only different cultures but even socioeconomic classes. Phoenicia_sentence_274


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Women Phoenicia_section_27

As was common in antiquity, Phoenician women had few rights and were considered the property of their fathers or husbands. Phoenicia_sentence_275

Nonetheless, compared to their counterparts in most of the Mediterranean and western Asia, they appeared to have enjoyed some freedoms. Phoenicia_sentence_276

They took part in public events and religious processions, with depictions of banquets showing them casually sitting or reclining with men, dancing, and playing music. Phoenicia_sentence_277

In most contexts, however, women were expected to dress and behave more modestly than men; female figures are almost always portrayed as draped from head to feet, with the arms sometimes covered as well. Phoenicia_sentence_278

Although they rarely had political power, women took part in community affairs and had some voice in the popular assembles that began to emerge in some city states. Phoenicia_sentence_279

At least one woman, Unmiashtart, is recorded to have ruled Sidon in the fifth century BC. Phoenicia_sentence_280

The two most famous Phoenician women are political figures: Jezebel, portrayed in the Bible as the assertive princess of Sidon, and Dido, the semi-legendary founder and first queen of Carthage. Phoenicia_sentence_281

In Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid, Dido is described as having been the co-ruler of Tyre, using cleverness to escape the tyranny of her brother Pygmalion and to secure an ideal site for Carthage. Phoenicia_sentence_282

Religion Phoenicia_section_28

Main article: Canaanite religion Phoenicia_sentence_283

See also: Sanchuniathon Phoenicia_sentence_284

The religious practices and beliefs of Phoenicia were generally cognate to those of their neighbours in Canaan, which in turn shared characteristics common throughout the ancient Semitic world. Phoenicia_sentence_285

Religious rites were primarily for city-state purposes; payment of taxes by citizens was considered in the category of religious sacrifices. Phoenicia_sentence_286

Unfortunately, many of the Phoenician sacred writings known to the ancients have been lost. Phoenicia_sentence_287

Several Canaanite practices are attested in ancient sources and mentioned by scholars, such as temple prostitution and child sacrifice. Phoenicia_sentence_288

Special sites known as "Tophets" were allegedly used by the Phoenicians "to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire", and are condemned by Yahweh in the Hebrew bible, particularly in Jeremiah 7:30–32, and in 2nd Kings 23:10 and 17:17. Phoenicia_sentence_289

Notwithstanding these and other important differences, cultural and religious similarities between the ancient Hebrews and the Phoenicians persisted. Phoenicia_sentence_290

Canaanite religious mythology does not appear as elaborate as their Semitic cousins in Mesopotamia. Phoenicia_sentence_291

In Canaan the supreme god was called El (𐤀𐤋, "god"). Phoenicia_sentence_292

The son of El was Baal (𐤁𐤏𐤋, "master", "lord"), a powerful dying-and-rising storm god. Phoenicia_sentence_293

Other gods were called by royal titles, such as Melqart, meaning "king of the city", or Adonis for "lord". Phoenicia_sentence_294

Such epithets may often have been merely local titles for the same deities. Phoenicia_sentence_295

The Semitic pantheon was well-populated; which god became primary evidently depended on the exigencies of a particular city-state. Phoenicia_sentence_296

Melqart was prominent throughout Phoenicia and overseas, as was Astarte, a fertility goddess with regal and matronly aspects. Phoenicia_sentence_297

Religious institutions in Tyre, called marzeh (𐤌𐤓𐤆𐤄, "place of reunion"), did much to foster social bonding and "kin" loyalty. Phoenicia_sentence_298

Marzeh held banquets for their membership on festival days, and many developed into elite fraternities. Phoenicia_sentence_299

Each marzeh nurtured congeniality and community through a series of ritual meals, shared together among trusted kin in honor of deified ancestors. Phoenicia_sentence_300

In Carthage, which had developed a complex republican system of government, the marzeh may have played a role in forging social and political ties among citizens; Carthaginians were divided into different institutions that were solidified through communal feasts and banquets. Phoenicia_sentence_301

Such festival groups may also have composed the voting cohort for selecting members of the city-state's Assembly. Phoenicia_sentence_302

The Phoenicians made votive offerings to their gods, namely in the form of figurines and pottery vessels. Phoenicia_sentence_303

Hundreds of figurines and fragments have been recovered from the Mediterranean, often spanning centuries between them, suggesting they were cast into the sea to ensure safe travels. Phoenicia_sentence_304

Since the Phoenicians were a predominately seafaring people, it is speculated that many of their rituals were performed at sea or aboard ships, though the specific nature of these practices is unknown. Phoenicia_sentence_305

See also Phoenicia_section_29

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