Phoenicians history. Phoenicians

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    Canaanite & Phoenician History & Culture

    Between the period of 1200 B.C. and 900 B.C. there was no major military power in Mesopotamia. Therefor smaller states like Phoenicia and the Hebrew kingdom were able to prosper. These kingdoms especially the Phoenicians started to trade throughout the Mediterranean region.

    Phoenicia (foh-NEE-shee-ah) Phoenicia is the Greek name for the country and
    people living on the coast of Syria in ancient times at the east end of the
    Mediterranean Sea. It is believed that economic opportunity and population
    pressures forced them out into the seas. The Phoenicians colonized many areas
    along the Mediterranean Sea. Areas where their colonies have been found:
    Sardinia Cyprus, and Carthage-most important and lasting colony By far they
    were superior to all peoples of that time in seamanship. Legend has it that an

    Egyptian pharaoh hired a band of Phoenicians to map and circumnavigate the
    coast of Africa. They are best remembered for their contributions in the
    establishment to trade with the many peoples living along the Mediterranean
    Sea. The Greeks received their alphabet from them as late as the 10th century
    B.C. or as early as the 15th. Other antiquities famed to the Phoenicians include
    carved ivories to be used in furniture, metalwork, and especially glassware.

    THE PHOENICIANS ROUTES OF THE PHOENICIANS The Fertile
    Crescent is roughly an arc-shaped area which stretches from the mouth of the
    Tigris and Euphrates rivers at the Persian Gulf, west to the Red Sea. About
    5,000 years ago it was inhabited by a race know as Semites. The Semites who
    lived in the eastern portion of the Fertile Crescent were Sumerians, Assyrians,
    and Babylonians. In the western portion lived the Amorites. Those Amorites
    who settled in what are today Lebanon, Syria, and Israel were know as
    Canaanites. Later, the Greek called them Phoenicians.

    PHOENICIANS IN HISTORY There is no doubt the the Phoenicians were
    among the most interesting people in history. Because they left so few written
    records of their own achievements, their history has been pieced together from
    records of all the other nations with which they came in contact, either through
    trade or through battle. Other information has been gathered from the work of
    archaeologists whose digging have unearthed tombs of their rulers or what little is left of their cities.

    Phoenician Alphabet

    The Phoenician Alphabet.

    THE OLDEST CITY IN THE WORLD Archaeologists have uncovered
    homes of farmers and fishermen in Gebeil dating back to 7000 B.C. They found
    one-room huts with crushed limestone floors and stone idol of god El. Because
    of these discoveries, it is thought that Gebeil (later known as Byblos) may
    actually be the oldest city in the world.


    TIES WITH EGYPT As far as back as 3200 B.C., the people of Gebeil
    (Byblos) were cutting down cedar trees in the mountains of Lebanon, to be
    shipped to Egypt and Mesopotamia for use in building ships and making
    columns for houses. In return, the Phoenicians brought back gold, copper, and
    turquoise from the Nile Valley and Sinai. Canaanite ceramic pieces have been
    found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 2999 B.C. In 1954, archaeologists
    found Cheops (khufu) at Giza. Cheops lived around 2550 B.C. The barge was
    made of Lebanese cedar wood and faint scent of the cedar was still in the grain
    at the time of its discovery.

    THE ALPHABET Sumerian cuneiforms (wedge shaped symbols in clay
    tablets) and Egyptian hieroglyphics (pictographs) were the only known forms of
    writing before the alphabet as we know it was developed. Both scripts, though
    separately created, used picture writing. Eventually, pictures or signs
    represented sounds. Finally, the pictures became so simplified that a whole
    word was written as a single sign. By about 1200 B.C., the Phoenicians had
    developed symbols which in time became a real alphabet. The Phoenician
    alphabet consisted of twenty-two symbols, all consonants. Each one
    represented its own sound. The Egyptian symbol for the ox head was given the
    Semitic name aleph and was sounded as "a." The symbol for house became
    Beth and was sounded as "b." It is easily see how the Phoenician alphabet was
    used to form the other alphabets which followed it. Aleph became the Greek
    alpha, Beth became beta. In time, these letters became the Roman letters A and
    B and eventually the English A and B, and so on for the entire alphabet. Once a
    written language was established, it was inscribed on Egyptian papyrus, a type
    of paper made of reeds. So, closely linked with papyrus with the city of Byblos
    (which traded cedar for the paper) that when the writing of the Hebrew
    prophets were translated into Greek the city's name was given to the great book
    - the Bible. Because the papyrus rotted away in the damp sea air and soil, there
    are practically no Phoenician writings left. Thus, the literature of the people
    who influenced the western world in her writing has largely vanished. Still,
    because Egyptian scribes copied the Phoenician letters after hieroglyphics were
    no longer used, and because artists in Ninevah inscribed them in stone, the
    alphabet remains with us. Alphabet

    THE CITY-STATES For the next three centuries, independent Phoenicia
    reached its height as a nation whose prime interests were trade, the arts, and
    religion. Organized into individual city-states, each Phoenician city was under
    its own form of government. Each had its own god and its own ruler, whose
    usually remained in power for life. Gebeil (Byblos) was a strong religious
    city-state. Sidon and tyre were cities of Business, industry, and navigation.





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    T, 27/07:
    I just got out of a class with the Art Institute, and he was telling us about the Phoenician alphabet. He had told us that the A, or Aleph for OX was a Phoenician symbol not an eqyptian symbol. Ox was the main transportation for the Phoenicians, which is why it was so important to them.

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    QUICK LINKS:

    Phoenicians:
    Phoenicians history
    Phoenicians overview

    Maya:
    Mayan Gods
    Mayan society
    Mayan Pyramids in Mexico - Teotihuacan

    Inca:
    Tiahuanaco and the Deluge