34 Facts About Phoenicians


Phoenicians were a Semitic-speaking people of somewhat unknown origin who emerged in the Levant around 3000 BC.

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Phoenicians came to prominence in the mid-12th century BC, following the decline of most influential cultures in the Late Bronze Age collapse.

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The Phoenicians developed an expansive maritime trade network that lasted over a millennium, helping facilitate the exchange of cultures, ideas, and knowledge between major cradles of civilization such as Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia.

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

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The Phoenicians established colonies and trading posts across the Mediterranean; Carthage, a settlement in northwest Africa, became a major civilization in its own right in the seventh century BC.

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Phoenicians were long considered a lost civilization due to the lack of indigenous written records, and only since the mid-20th century have historians and archaeologists been able to reveal a complex and influential civilization.

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

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

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Fourth-century BC Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Phoenicians had migrated from the Erythraean Sea around 2750 BC and the first-century AD geographer Strabo reports a claim that they came from Tylos and Arad .

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The Phoenicians had considerable autonomy, and their cities were reasonably well developed and prosperous.

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

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

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

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Phoenicians rose to power in 858 BC and began a series of campaigns against neighboring states.

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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.

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Phoenicians maintained cultural and commercial links with their western counterparts.

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Under their rule, the Phoenicians were allowed a considerable degree of autonomy and self-governance.

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Phoenicians did not refer themselves as such but rather are thought to have referred to themselves as "Kena?ani", meaning Canaanites.

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One 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 Semitic Phoenician settlers.

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Phoenicians served as intermediaries between the disparate civilizations that spanned the Mediterranean and Near East, facilitating the exchange of goods and knowledge, culture, and religious traditions.

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

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The Phoenicians developed or mastered techniques such as glass-making, engraved and chased metalwork, ivory carving, and woodwork.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Phoenicians'storians have determined a clear line of succession over centuries for some city-states, notably Byblos and Tyre.

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Phoenicians had a system of courts and judges that resolved disputes and punished crimes based on a semi-codified body of laws and traditions.

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

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Since the Phoenicians were predominantly seafaring people, it is speculated that many of their rituals were performed at sea or aboard ships.

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