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The Phoenician Civilization
Transcript of The Phoenician Civilization
Tyre was one of Phoenicia's major cities. It was rich in trade. Valuable goods from around the world were brought to this city. Also, the Bible has a quote on Tyre because people's astonishment on the overflowing bazaars. Here is the quote: "When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples. With your great wealth and merchandise, you enriched the kings of the earth."
There was a special coin in Sidon. They were silver with a trireme design on them. A trireme was an ancient Greek or Roman war galley with three banks of oars. Triremes were the kinds of ships people of ancient Greece and Rome, and Phoenicia used to sail and fight during wars. The silver Trireme coins are just simple but valuable symbols of what went on in ancient times.
The Phoenicians created the world's first alphabet. There were 22 consonants, but no vowels. Each sign stood for a certain, singular sound. This was a great change from cuneiform. Cuneiform was so complicated and hard to write and read, that only very highly educated and advanced scribes had these abilities. Once the Phoenicians created their alphabet, though, many more people adopted the basic skills of literacy. This also made trade easier because people who spoke different languages could communicate through writing. Also, this alpabet formed the basis of many of languages, including English.
The Phoenicians are known for being wonderful sailors and sea merchants. They used cedar from the cedar trees along the Lebanon Mountains to make brilliant ships that they sailed on to trade with the other civilizations they had friendships with. (The cedar was also a popular trading item) They would pack trading items on the ships and sail across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to other trading sites, crossing possibly other seas and oceans as well. They brought back rumors of terrrifying monsters that lived in the waters so that no one would be as good as them at sailing. The accomplishments of the Phoenicians were so great that they were sometimes nicknamed "the missionaries of civilization".
The Phoenician settlement was in the western part of the Fertile Crescent. It was in the present-day countries of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Cyprus.
Phoenicia's location greatly related to its trading and sea accomplishments. Being relevant to the Mediterranean Sea led it to its sailing routes and journeys. Also, the Phoenicians were in a great friendship with the Hebrews. Phoenicia's location is near Israel, Jordan, and Jerusalem themselves, which explains their relationships. The Phoenicians were also relevant to the Dead Sea, where scrolls of ancient civilizations of the Hebrews were located as well as Jordan, Jerusalem, and Israel.
The Phoenician Civilization
The Phoenicians were the best traders of the ancient world. They traveled to "far-away" places to trade various goods. Those were the locations of present-day Spain, England, and Africa. The main trading cities were Sidon and Tyre. Their bazaars were filled with food and animals from all around the world. The Phoenicians traded goods such as glassware (which they improved), iron tools, wine, and pottery. One amazing export was murex, which was a linen and woolen piece dyed with a unique purple dye from a shellfish. Murex improved their reputation because it was demanded much by royalty and very expensive, so they made friendships with leaders of other civilizations as well.
Valuable goods from around the world were brought to these cities Bazaars were always filled with foods such as honey, figs, spices, and olives, as well as warthogs, bears, and giraffes. The reason why this was so great for the people of Phoenicia was because others who had these goods in their possession could trade them for "wealthy" goods and riches. That could potentially make people of Phoenicia richer.
The Phoenicians lived from about 1,200 B.C.E. to about 539 B.C.E. They accomplished much during that time. They made friendships with the Hebrews and many other peoples and civilizations in present-day Africa, Asia, and Europe. They may have even be the ones who came up with how to survive sailing overseas. Also, their achievements with literacy by creating our first alphabet shaped the way we speak, read, and write, today. They kept polytheism alive, too because they believed gods watched over and created everything. Lastly, their main cities of Sidon and Tyre with their many bazaars and trading centers contributed greatly in its success regarding trading goods and location. The Phoenicians helped to shape the aspect of present-day life very much!
The religion of the Phoenicians was based on the processes and powers of nature. They worshiped many deities, but most of them were localized and under local names. A pantheon was in authority over the father of the gods, but a goddess was the main figure in the Phoenician pantheon. The deities each had a different name and traits. El, the protector of the universe, controlled the cycle of vegetation. Asherah-yam was the "lady of the sea". Astarte left offerings in shrine and sanctuaries as hopes for good harvest, relaxation and protection in homes, and the welfare of children. Phoenician religion changed overtime, though, because it was influenced by invaders. Deities from the Assyrian, Greek, Hence, Persian, Babylonian, Roman, and Egyptian religions became part of the religion of the Phoenicians.
By Sophie Anna Zawadzki
Origination and Conquering of Phoenicia
Phoenicia was originated in 1,200 B.C.E. It started out with the settlements of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Simyra, Berytus, and Arwad. Then, in a group of independent city-state ports during the early Iron Age, an unknown event occurred. Sea Peoples started coming from the north. They then conquered the Hittites and Egyptians respectively. The Phoenicians then began to possess power.
The Phoenicians were conquered by the Persians in 539 B.C.E. They were split into four vassal kingdoms- Sidon, Tyre, Byblos, and Arwad. At the kingdoms, they worked furnishing fleets for the Persian kings. Eventually, much of the population moved to Carthage and the work kingdoms were destroyed in Diodorus Siculus.
map of ancient
Phoenicia did not have just one ruler who controlled its civilization. Each city-state had one ruler that changed from time to time. Kingship is the oldest form of Phoenician government. The next king always had to be a member of the royal house, so the royal house were the people who chose the next leaders. The merchants and their families had a great influence on the public affairs, so the king actually had limited power. Associated with the kings, there was a council of elders in a few city-states. The government people were determined by judges and held short terms in office, sort of like in present-day America. Through all of this organized government, the Phoenicians never increased their federation. That was because there was no sense of unity in Phoenicia. They stayed in individual city-states and never united as one with a single government and ruler.
map of Israel, Jordan, and Jerusalem
network of Phoenician trade
ruins of Tyre
sea people sailing
Phoenicians being conqured
in the royal house
map of Mediterranean Sea and land and water near and around it