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Mesopotamia; The Fertile Crescent
Transcript of Mesopotamia; The Fertile Crescent
Phoenicia was a relatively tiny strip of land located where we now know as the Middle East which is now part of Israel, Lebanon and Syria.
Instead of being a unified nation, it was a collection of city states with independent political systems.
It is important to note that Phoenicia only began to appear starting around 1500 B.C.E. (with the exception of Byblos which was formed as early as 3000 B.C.E.), while many of other nations from the Fertile Crescent began to appear around the same time as Byblos.
Nobility is the oldest recorded form of any Phoenician government.
The king was chosen from only the royal houses of Phoenician nobility.
Unique to the kings of Byblos and Sidon, the king was advised by a group of elders.
Similar in all Phoenician city states, the king's power was greatly influenced by powerful merchant families that attributed to the bulk of his wealth.
What is a Civilization
A civilization can be defined as; A congregation of humans who display advanced social, cultural, scientific and artistic abilities with the installation of some form of government.
An Introduction to Phoenicia
The city states
Five Important Factors Leading to Phoenicia's Success
Government and Laws
The fact that the Phoenician city states were united is something unique to a civilization of that time period. Other countries that used the city state principal, such as Greece were constantly at war with each other, while there is no evidence to support that the Phoenicians were ever at war with each other. This suggests a high level of collaboration with each other, perhaps meaning that Phoenician society had a strong sense of morals and enforced laws.
This speculation is supported by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. In (Aristotle, De Politica, Book II, Chap. 11), it states, "that the Phoenician institutions (government and law) was in some ways, better than that of the Greeks". A civilization is built upon order and safety and this is why we believe that Phoenician was so able to survive for almost 2500 years without being conquered.
The Phoenicians were masters of turning anything and everything into a profit.
One of the richest Ancient civilizations.
They were master sailors; using their abilities to trade their exotic treasures with people maybe as far as the Americas.
Traded cedar and fir trees to other neighboring countries.
Olives and wines were some of the few foods items traded.
Their most famous trade item is thought to be a purple dye, called Tyrian purple after the Phoenician city of Tyre. The dye became so popular that some royal families from other countries made it illegal for the common man to wear clothes of that color.
Trade network is known to have expanded as far as Great Britain, exploiting the local silver resource.
Also traded various spices, see through glass, ivory, gold and bronze.
Interestingly, it is believed that the Phoenicians may have been of the first people to rediscover the Americas. Although this theory has received a large amount of back lash from critics, there is much evidence to support this;
Traces of cocaine and tobacco have been found on the Phoenician embalmed dead, which ingredients can only be found in the Americas.
Carved slabs which seem to depict Phoenician gods and their way of life have been found all across the Americas. They been dated to the time of the Phoenicians.
Finally, there are hundreds of thousands, upon hundreds of thousands of pounds of copper unaccounted for across the North American Great Lakes. It is believed that the Phoenicians used copper ingots to hold their sailing ships together. The copper was believed to be mined from around 1500 B.C.E., the peak of the Phoenician Empire.
Cloth scrap featuring
Two Phoenician coins,
one picturing sailors
being guided by the
Phoenician sea god
Yama, the other
Science and Technology
The Phoenicians had a great deal of understanding for Science for a civilization that was from that time.
The Phoenicians were able to construct massive sailing ships that used ores when there was no wind.
Each ship board was grooved, set and placed until the entire ship was constructed.
These ships had massive cargo holds which could hold masses of treasure or up to an estimated 100 people comfortably.
Navigators understood the direction wind currents flowed and astronomers were able to discover the North star, allowing the Phoenicians to sail at night.
Discovered the first see through glass.
It is believed that the reason why Phoenicia had made so many technological advancements is because they didn't feel threatened from other countries.
America's Stone Hedge and the Phoenician Connection
Intelligence and Writing
The Phoenicians gave us the greatest gift that anyone could ever offer, the alphabet, which we use even today. The Phoenician alphabet would later be improved by the Greeks.
Alphabet comparison (1500 B.C.E. - Present Day)
The Phoenician language was one of the first languages to have an strict form.
Phoenician scholars wrote their accomplishments on papyrus, many of which no longer exist as they have either eroded or have been destroyed by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.E.. This means that much of what we know about the Phoenicians is from a outside source.
Known by very few people, America has their own miniature stone hedge as well. What is interesting however, is that while no one knows who exactly its creator was, during the summer solstice, the sun travels through a rock towards the directions of the stone hedge in England and Beirut, Lebanon, the home of the Phoenicians. While Britain and the Americas are places thought to have been visited by the Phoenicians.
The Phoenician Military
The Phoenician military was very unique as it was almost entirely a naval force. This was because their land borders were protected by mountains.
They were considered to be the Greek's greatest rivals from anything from science to economy.
In 539 B.C.E., Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Phoenicia. The Persians would use Phoenicia's massive navy to fight in the Greco- Persian Wars, (492- 490 B.C.E.).
The Phoenicians would serve in some of the war's bloodiest battles, such as the Battle of Salamis.
After being conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.E., it is believed that large portions of Phoenicians migrated to north Africa, creating the soon to be rival of Rome, Carthage.
A cutout from an ancient tablet, thought to display a Phoenician warship.
Some may wonder why the Phoenician military is considered by us to be such an important part in their history. We believe that although it may have not made as important contributions to the Ancient World, such as their contributions to science or the creation of the alphabet, it did protect the expansion of Phoenician influence for 1000 years which is an accomplishment in it self.
A Greek pottery cutout depicting the Greco-Persian Wars.
Why Should we Care About Phoenicia?
The Phoenicians established the greatest trade network of the Ancient World. Phoenician sailors spread their influence everywhere they traded. They drastically changed the World, exploiting it for everything they could, taking advantage of less advanced cultures and civilizations, that were just beginning to emerge. They had major contributions to science and to the future of the English language. This is why we believe that the Phoenician Empire is the greatest empire in ancient Human history.
1. "Phoenicians". 12 Sept. 2013. <WWW.org/Histphoenicians.html>.
2. "History of Phoenicia". 14 Sept 2013. <WWW.Ancient.eu.com/Phoenicia.com>.
3. "Phoenicians". 12 Sept. 2013. <WWW.Timemaps.com/civilizations/Phoenicians>.
4. "The Phoenicians". 15 Sept. 2013. <WWW.Lostcivilizations.net/Phonicianshist.com>.
5. Rawlinson, George. "Phoenicia; History of Civilization. London and New York. I&B. Taurius. July 25, 2005.
6. America Unearthed. A&E Network. Andy and Maria Awes. Television Documentary. August 2013.
7. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. "Ancient World; The Human Journey". Harcourt Education Company. Toronto. 2003.
So who were the Phoenicians?
History project by; Brayden, Jared and Taylor
The ruins of Sidon
The ruins of Tyre