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The Phoenician Empire

Uploaded by Admin on Feb 12, 2001

The Mediterranean Sea has spawned many civilizations through history. The Phoenicians, which originated around 1200 BCE, is one example. Despite the rather small size of this civilization, its impact on our world has been considerable. Being a seafaring nation, the Phoenicians established colonies all over the Mediterranean area, including the present-day cities of Carthage and Tripoli. As notable traders, they shared cultures with many nations, which allowed their invention of the alphabet to spread throughout Eurasia. The Phoenician Empire continued to evolve until its eventual incorporation into the Persian and Macedonian Empires, around 400 BCE.

Phoenicia is an ancient region lying on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Empire peaked at around 1000 BCE, and developed until around 700 BCE. Phoenicia, now known as Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, was naturally isolated from other civilizations by the Lebanon Mountains in the east, and the great sea on the west. The small region stretched about 320 kilometers long and about 25 kilometers wide. This geographical isolation gave the Phoenicians enough protection to evolve into a strong nation, while giving it the freedom to trade and explore across the Mediterranean.

Although little is known about the ancient civilization, it is known that the government was, at least in part, a monarchy. Royalty was considered a matter of divine descent, so kings could not be chosen outside of the royal family. The merchant families also held much power in Phoenicia, due to their great influence in public affairs. Although the name Phoenicia implies that the civilization was a unified state, the nation consisted of separate city-kingdoms. Each Phoenician City was considered independent from one another, and was ruled by its own king.

Phoenicians were known as the most distinguished seafaring traders and merchants of the ancient world. In fact, they called themselves Kena'ani (or Canaanites), which is Hebrew for “Merchant”. They established trading colonies all over the Mediterranean Sea, including Carthage, Simyra, Zarephath, Byblos, and Tyre (Sur). Maritime trading also reached into the Atlantic Ocean to England. Some of the goods traded included glass, color dyes, metals, horses, ebony and ivory, linen, coral, honey, spices, oil and precious stones.

Maritime trading would not be possible for the Phoenicians without developed nautical technology. Phoenicians were known for having extremely advanced ships and navigation. Ships were built with a keeled hull, which allowed them to travel on the open seas. These ships used both oars...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   02/12/2001

Category:   History

Length:   3 pages (748 words)

Views:   1881

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