Coordinates: 34°07′25″N 35°39′04″E / 34.12361°N
35.65111°E / 34.12361; 35.65111
knʿn / kanaʿan (Phoenician)
Φοινίκη / Phoiníkē (Greek)
1500 BC–539 BC
Phoenicia and its Mediterranean trade routes
City-states ruled by kings
Well-known kings of Phoenician cities
c. 1000 BC
969 – 936 BC
820 – 774 BC
Pygmalion of Tyre
Tyre in South Lebanon, under the reign of Hiram I, becomes the
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great conquers Phoenicia
Phoenicia (UK: /fɪˈnɪʃə/ or US: /fəˈniːʃə/; from the
Ancient Greek: Φοινίκη, Phoiníkē meaning "purple country")
was a thalassocratic ancient Semitic civilization that originated in
Eastern Mediterranean and in the west of the Fertile Crescent.
Scholars generally agree that it included the coastal areas of today's
Lebanon, northern Israel and southern Syria reaching as far north as
Arwad, but there is some dispute as to how far south it went, the
furthest suggested area being Ashkelon. Its colonies later reached
the Western Mediterranean (most notably Carthage) and even the
Atlantic Ocean. The civilization spread across the Mediterranean
between 1500 BC and 300 BC.
Phoenicia is an ancient Greek term used to refer to the major export
of the region, cloth dyed
Tyrian purple from the
Murex mollusc, and
referred to the major Canaanite port towns; not corresponding
precisely to Phoenician culture as a whole as it would have been
understood natively. Their civilization was organized in city-states,
similar to those of ancient Greece, perhaps the most notable of
which were Tyre, Sidon, Arwad, Berytus,
Byblos and Carthage. Each
city-state was a politically independent unit, and it is uncertain to
what extent the
Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single nationality.
In terms of archaeology, language, lifestyle, and religion there was
little to set the
Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other
residents of the Levant, such as their close relatives and neighbors,
Around 1050 BC, a
Phoenician alphabet was used for the writing of
Phoenician. It became one of the most widely used writing systems,
spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, where
it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures.
3 Phoenician alphabet
4 High point: 1200–800 BC
5 Decline: 539–65 BC
5.1 Persian rule
5.2 Macedonian rule
6.1 Genetic studies
7.2 Phoenician ships
8 Important cities and colonies
10.1.1 Attested 1st millennium BC
10.1.2 Attested 2nd millennium BC
11 Foreign relations
11.1 Influence in the Mediterranean region
11.2 Relations with the Greeks
11.2.3 Connections with Greek mythology
12 Ancient sources
12.1 In the Bible
14 See also
17 Further reading
18 External links
The name Phoenicians, like
Latin Poenī (adj. poenicus, later
pūnicus), comes from Greek Φοίνικες (Phoínikes). The word
φοῖνιξ phoînix meant variably "Phoenician person", "Tyrian
purple, crimson" or "date palm" and is attested with all three
meanings already in Homer. (The mythical bird phoenix also carries
the same name, but this meaning is not attested until centuries
later.) The word may be derived from φοινός phoinós "blood
red", itself possibly related to φόνος phónos "murder". It
is difficult to ascertain which meaning came first, but it is
understandable how Greeks may have associated the crimson or purple
color of dates and dye with the merchants who traded both products.
Robert S. P. Beekes has suggested a pre-Greek origin of the
ethnonym. The oldest attested form of the word in Greek may be the
Mycenaean po-ni-ki-jo, po-ni-ki, possibly borrowed from Egyptian
fnḫw (fenkhu) (literally "carpenters", "woodcutters"; likely in
reference to the famed
Lebanon cedars for which the
well-known), although this derivation is disputed. The folk
etymological association of Φοινίκη with φοῖνιξ mirrors
that in Akkadian, which tied kinaḫni, kinaḫḫi "Canaan" to
kinaḫḫu "red-dyed wool".
The land was natively known as knʿn (compare Eblaite ka-na-na-um,
phnka-na-na) and its people as the knʿny. In the
Amarna tablets of
the 14th century BC, people from the region called themselves Kenaani
or Kinaani, in modern English understood as/equivalent to Canaanite.
Much later, in the 6th century BC,
Hecataeus of Miletus
Hecataeus of Miletus writes that
Phoenicia was formerly called χνα khna, a name that Philo of Byblos
later adopted into his mythology as his eponym for the Phoenicians:
"Khna who was afterwards called Phoinix". The ethnonym survived in
North Africa until the 4th century AD (see Punic language).
Cover of a Phoenician anthropoid sarcophagus of a woman, made of
marble, 350–325 BC, from Sidon, now in the Louvre.
Sarcophagus of Eshmunazor II (5th century BC), Phoenician king of
Sidon found near Sidon, in southern Lebanon.
Main articles: Canaan, Retjenu, and Prehistory of the Levant
Herodotus's account (written c. 440 BC) refers to the myths of Io and
According to the Persians best informed in history, the Phoenicians
began the quarrel. These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores
of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and
settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say,
to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares
Egypt and Assyria ...
— Herodotus, The History, I.1
The Greek historian
Strabo believed that the
Herodotus also believed that the homeland of the
Phoenicians was Bahrain. This theory was accepted by the
19th-century German classicist Arnold Heeren who said that: "In the
Greek geographers, for instance, we read of two islands, named Tyrus
or Tylos, and Aradus, which boasted that they were the mother country
of the Phoenicians, and exhibited relics of Phoenician temples."
The people of Tyre in South
Lebanon in particular have long maintained
Persian Gulf origins, and the similarity in the words "Tylos" and
"Tyre" has been commented upon. The
Dilmun civilization thrived in
Bahrain during the period 2200–1600 BC, as shown by excavations of
Dilmun burial mounds. However, some claim there is
little evidence of occupation at all in
Bahrain during the time when
such migration had supposedly taken place.
Canaanite culture apparently developed in situ from the earlier
Ghassulian chalcolithic culture.
Ghassulian itself developed from the
Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from
a fusion of their ancestral Natufian and
Harifian cultures with
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) farming cultures, practicing the
domestication of animals, during the 6200 BC climatic crisis
which led to the
Neolithic Revolution in the Levant.
attested as an archaeological site from the Early Bronze Age. The Late
Bronze Age state of
Ugarit is considered quintessentially Canaanite
archaeologically, even though the
Ugaritic language does not
belong to the
Canaanite languages proper.
Main article: Phoenician alphabet
Sarcophagus of Ahiram, Phoenician king of Byblos, c. 1000 BC.
Phoenician alphabet consists of 22 letters, all consonants.
Since around 1050 BC, this script was used for the writing of
Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language. It is believed to be one of
the ancestors of modern alphabets. By their maritime trade,
Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to Anatolia, North
Africa, and Europe, where it was adopted by the Greeks who developed
it into an alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as
well as consonants.
The name "Phoenician" is by convention given to inscriptions beginning
around 1050 BC, because Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite
dialects were largely indistinguishable before that time. The
Ahiram epitaph, engraved on the sarcophagus of king Ahiram
from about 1000 BC shows essentially a fully developed Phoenician
Phoenicians were among the first state-level societies to make
extensive use of alphabets: the family of Canaanite languages, spoken
by Israelites, Phoenicians, Amorites, Ammonites,
Edomites, was the first historically attested group of languages to
use an alphabet, derived from the
Proto-Canaanite script, to record
their writings. The
Proto-Canaanite script uses around 30 symbols but
was not widely used until the rise of new Semitic kingdoms in the 13th
and 12th centuries BC. The
Proto-Canaanite script is derived from
High point: 1200–800 BC
Fernand Braudel remarked in The Perspective of the World that
Phoenicia was an early example of a "world-economy" surrounded by
empires. The high point of Phoenician culture and sea power is usually
placed c. 1200–800 BC. Archaeological evidence consistent with
this understanding has been difficult to identify. A unique
Phoenicia of silver hoards dated between 1200 and 800
BC, however, contains hacksilver with lead isotope ratios matching
Sardinia and Spain. This metallic evidence agrees with the
biblical attestation of a western Mediterranean
Tarshish said to have
Solomon of Israel with silver via Phoenicia, during the
latter's heyday (see 'trade', below).
Assyrian warship (probably built by Phoenicians) with two rows of
oars, relief from Nineveh, c. 700 BC.
Many of the most important Phoenician settlements had been established
long before this: Byblos, Tyre in South Lebanon, Sidon, Simyra, Arwad,
and Berytus, the capital of Lebanon, all appear in the Amarna tablets.
The league of independent city-state ports, with others on the islands
and along other coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, was ideally suited
for trade between the
Levant area, rich in natural resources, and the
rest of the ancient world. Around 1200 BC, a series of
poorly-understood events weakened and destroyed the adjacent Egyptian
and Hittite empires. In the resulting power vacuum, a number of
Phoenician cities rose as significant maritime powers.
Phoenician societies rested on three power-bases: the king; temples
and their priests; and councils of elders.
Byblos first became the
predominant center from where the
Phoenicians dominated the
Mediterranean and Erythraean (Red) Sea routes. It was here that the
first inscription in the
Phoenician alphabet was found, on the
Ahiram (c. 1200 BC).
Later, Tyre in South
Lebanon gained in power. One of its kings, the
priest Ithobaal (887–856 BC), ruled
Phoenicia as far north as
Beirut, and part of Cyprus.
Carthage was founded in 814 BC under
Pygmalion of Tyre (820–774 BC). The collection
of city-states constituting
Phoenicia came to be characterized by
outsiders and the
Phoenicians as Sidonia or Tyria.
Canaanites alike were called Sidonians or Tyrians, as one Phoenician
city came to prominence after another.
Decline: 539–65 BC
Main article: Achaemenid Phoenicia
A naval action during the siege of Tyre in South
Lebanon (350 BC).
Drawing by André Castaigne, 1888–89.
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Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great conquered
Phoenicia in 539 BC. The
Persians then divided
Phoenicia into four vassal kingdoms: Sidon,
Tyre, Arwad, and Byblos. They prospered, furnishing fleets for Persian
kings. Phoenician influence declined after this. In 350 or
345 BC, a rebellion in
Sidon led by
Tennes was crushed by
Artaxerxes III. Its destruction was described by
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great took Tyre in 332 BC after the Siege of Tyre.
Alexander was exceptionally harsh to Tyre, executing 2,000 of the
leading citizens, but he maintained the king in power. He gained
control of the other cities peacefully: the ruler of Aradus submitted;
the king of
Sidon was overthrown. The rise of Macedon gradually ousted
the remnants of Phoenicia's former dominance over the Eastern
Mediterranean trade routes. Phoenician culture disappeared entirely in
Carthage continued to flourish in North Africa. It
oversaw the mining of iron and precious metals from Iberia, and used
its considerable naval power and mercenary armies to protect
commercial interests. Rome finally destroyed it in 146 BC, at the
end of the Punic Wars.
Following Alexander, the Phoenician homeland was controlled by a
succession of Macedonian rulers: Laomedon (323 BC), Ptolemy I
(320), Antigonus II (315), Demetrius (301), and Seleucus (296).
Between 286 and 197 BC,
Phoenicia (except for Aradus) fell to the
Ptolemies of Egypt, who installed the high priests of
vassal rulers in
Sidon (Eshmunazar I, Tabnit, Eshmunazar II).
In 197 BC,
Phoenicia along with Syria reverted to the Seleucids.
The region became increasingly Hellenized, although Tyre became
autonomous in 126 BC, followed by
Sidon in 111. Syria, including
Phoenicia, was seized and ruled by king
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great of Armenia
from 82 until 69 BC, when he was defeated by Lucullus. In
Pompey finally incorporated the territory as part of the
Roman province of Syria.
Phoenicia became a separate province c. 200
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Phoenician sarcophagi found in Cádiz, now in the Archaeological
Museum of Cádiz; the sarcophagi are thought to have been imported
from the Phoenician homeland around Sidon.
A study by
Pierre Zalloua and others (2008) claimed that six subclades
of haplogroup J2 (J-M172) J2 in particular, were "a Phoenician
signature" amongst modern male populations tested in "the coastal
Lebanese Phoenician Heartland and the broader area of the rest of the
Levant (the "Phoenician Periphery")", followed by "
Cyprus and South
Turkey; then Crete; then
Malta and East Sicily; then South Sardinia,
Ibiza, and Southern Spain; and, finally, Coastal
Tunisia and cities
like Tingris in Morocco". (Samples from other areas with significant
Phoenician settlements, in
Libya and southern France could not be
included.) This deliberately sequential sampling represented an
attempt to develop a methodology that could link the documented
historical expansion of a population, with a particular geographic
genetic pattern or patterns. The researchers suggested that the
proposed genetic signature stemmed from "a common source of related
lineages rooted in Lebanon".
None of the geographical communities tested, Zalloua pointed out
subsequently (2013), carried significantly higher levels of the
proposed "Phoenician signature" than the others. This suggested that
genetic variation preceded religious variation and divisions and, by
the time it became Phoenicia, "
Lebanon already had well-differentiated
communities with their own genetic peculiarities, but not significant
differences, and religions came as layers of paint on top. Another
study found evidence for genetic persistence on the island of
Levantine Semites — Lebanese, Jews, Palestinians, and
are thought to be the closest surviving relatives of the ancient
Phoenicians, with as much as 90% genetic similarity between modern
Bronze Age Sidonians.
In 2016, a sixth-century BC skeleton of a young Carthaginian man,
excavated from a Punic tomb in
Byrsa Hill, was found to belong to the
rare U5b2c1 maternal haplogroup. The lineage of this "Young Man of
Byrsa" is believed to represent early gene flow from
Iberia to the
Map of Phoenicia.
Phoenicians and wine
Phoenicians were among the greatest traders of their time and owed
much of their prosperity to trade. At first, they traded mainly with
the Greeks, trading wood, slaves, glass and powdered Tyrian purple.
Tyrian purple was a violet-purple dye used by the Greek elite to color
garments. In fact, the word Phoenician derives from the ancient Greek
word phoínios meaning "purple". As trading and colonizing spread over
Phoenicians and Greeks seemed to have split that
sea in two: the
Phoenicians sailed along and eventually dominated the
southern shore, while the Greeks were active along the northern
shores. The two cultures rarely clashed, mainly in the Sicilian Wars,
and eventually settled into two spheres of influence, the Phoenician
in the west and the Greek to the east.
Phoenician plate with red slip, 7th century BC, excavated in Mogador
island, Essaouira, Morocco.
In the centuries after 1200 BC, the
Phoenicians were the major
naval and trading power of the region. Phoenician trade was founded on
Tyrian purple dye, a violet-purple dye derived from the
hypobranchial gland of the
Murex sea-snail, once profusely available
in coastal waters of the eastern
Mediterranean Sea but exploited to
local extinction. James B. Pritchard's excavations at
Lebanon revealed crushed
Murex shells and pottery
containers stained with the dye that was being produced at the site.
Phoenicians established a second production center for the dye in
Mogador, in present-day Morocco. Brilliant textiles were a part of
Phoenician wealth, and Phoenician glass was another export ware.
To Egypt, where grapevines would not grow, the 8th-century Phoenicians
sold wine: the wine trade with
Egypt is vividly documented by the
shipwrecks located in 1997 in the open sea 50 kilometres (30 mi)
west of Ascalon. Pottery kilns at Tyre in South
Sarepta produced the large terracotta jars used for transporting wine.
From Egypt, the
Phoenicians bought Nubian gold. Additionally, great
cedar logs were traded with lumber-poor
Egypt for significant sums.
Sometime between 1075 and 1060 BC an Egyptian envoy by the name of
Phoenicia and secured seven great cedar logs in
exchange for a mixed cargo including "4 crocks and 1 kak-men of gold;
5 silver jugs; 10 garments of royal linen; 10 kherd of good linen from
Upper Egypt; 500 rolls of finished papyrus; 500 cows' hides; 500
ropes; 20 bags of lentils and 30 baskets of fish." Those logs were
then moved by ship from
Phoenicia to Egypt.
Phoenician merchants and traders.
The Peutinger Map showing Tyre and
Sidon in the 4th century.
From elsewhere, they obtained other materials, perhaps the most
important being silver from (at least)
Sardinia and the Iberian
Peninsula. Tin was required which when smelted with copper from Cyprus
created the durable metal alloy bronze. The archaeologist Glenn Markoe
suggests that tin "may have been acquired from Galicia by way of the
Atlantic coast or southern Spain; alternatively, it may have come from
northern Europe (
Cornwall or Brittany) via the
Rhone valley and
Strabo states that there was a highly lucrative
Phoenician trade with Britain for tin via the
location is unknown but may have been off the northwest coast of the
Iberian Peninsula. Professor Timothy Champion, discussing Diodorus
Siculus's comments on the tin trade, states that "
actually says that the
Phoenicians sailed to Cornwall. In fact, he
says quite the opposite: the production of Cornish tin was in the
hands of the natives of Cornwall, and its transport to the
Mediterranean was organised by local merchants, by sea and then over
land through France, well outside Phoenician control."
Detailed map of Phoenicia
Tarshish (Hebrew: תַּרְשִׁישׁ) occurs in the Hebrew
Bible with several uncertain meanings, and one of the most recurring
Tarshish is a place, probably a city or country, that is far
from the Land of Palestine by sea where trade occurs with Palestine
and Phoenicia. It was a place where
Phoenicians reportedly obtained
different metals, particularly silver, during the reign of Solomon.
The Septuagint, the Vulgate and the Targum of Jonathan render Tarshish
as Carthage, but other biblical commentators read it as Tartessos
perhaps in ancient
Hispania (Iberian Peninsula). William F. Albright
(1941) and Frank M. Cross (1972) suggested
Tarshish might be
Sardinia because of the discovery of the Nora Stone and Nora
Fragment, the former of which mentions
Tarshish in its Phoenician
inscription. Christine M. Thompson (2003) identified a
concentration of hacksilver hoards dating between c. 1200 and 586 BC
in Palestine(Cisjordan). This silver-dominant Cisjordan Corpus is
unparalleled in the contemporary Mediterranean, and within it occurs a
unique concentration in
Phoenicia of silver hoards dated between 1200
and 800 BC. Hacksilber objects in these Phoenician hoards have lead
isotope ratios that match ores in
Sardinia and Spain. This
metallic evidence agrees with the biblical memory of a western
Tarshish that supplied
Solomon with silver via
Phoenicia. Assyrian records indicate
Tarshish was an island, and the
poetic construction of
Psalm 72 points to its identity as a large
island in the west — the island of Sardinia.
Phoenicians established commercial outposts throughout the
Mediterranean, the most strategically important being
North Africa, southeast of
Sardinia on the peninsula of present day
Tunisia. Ancient Gaelic mythologies attribute a Phoenician/Scythian
influx to Ireland by a leader called Fenius Farsa. Others also sailed
south along the coast of Africa. A Carthaginian expedition led by
Hanno the Navigator
Hanno the Navigator explored and colonized the Atlantic coast of
Africa as far as the Gulf of Guinea; and according to Herodotus, a
Phoenician expedition sent down the
Red Sea by pharaoh
Necho II of
Egypt (c. 600 BC) even circumnavigated Africa and returned
Pillars of Hercules
Pillars of Hercules after three years. Using gold obtained
by expansion of the African coastal trade following the Hanno
Carthage minted gold staters in 350 BC bearing a
pattern, in the reverse exergue of the coins, which
Mark McMenamin has
controversially argued could be interpreted as a map. According to
McMenamin, the Mediterranean is represented as a rectangle in the
centre, a triangle to the right represents India in the east, and an
irregular shape on the left represents America to the west.
In the 2nd millennium BC, the
Phoenicians traded with the Somalis.
Through the Somali city-states of Mosylon, Opone, Malao, Sarapion,
Mundus and Tabae, trade flourished.
The Greeks had two names for Phoenician ships: hippoi and galloi.
Galloi means tubs and hippoi means horses. These names are readily
explained by depictions of Phoenician ships in the palaces of Assyrian
kings from the 7th and 8th centuries, as the ships in these images are
tub shaped (galloi) and have horse heads on the ends of them (hippoi).
It is possible that these hippoi come from Phoenician connections with
the Greek god
Poseidon equated with the Semitic God "Yam".
The Tel Balawat gates (850 BC) are found in the palace of
Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian king, near Nimrud. They are made of
bronze, and they portray ships coming to honor Shalmaneser.
Khorsabad bas-relief (7th century BC) shows the transportation of
timber (most likely cedar) from Lebanon. It is found in the palace
built specifically for Sargon II, another Assyrian king, at Khorsabad,
now northern Iraq.
Important cities and colonies
From the 10th century BC, the Phoenicians' expansive culture led them
to establish cities and colonies throughout the Mediterranean.
Canaanite deities like
Astarte were being worshipped from
Cyprus to Sardinia, Malta, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, and most notably
Carthage (Qart Hadašt) in modern Tunisia.
Left, map of Phoenician (in yellow) and Greek colonies around 8th to
6th century BC (with German legend). Right, extent of Carthaginian
influence prior to 264 BC.
Cirta (modern Constantine)
Malaca (modern Guelma)
Igigili (modern Jijel)
Hippo (modern Annaba)
Icosium (modern Algiers)
Iol (modern Cherchell)
Tipasa (modern Tipaza)
Timgad (modern Timgad)
Kition (modern Larnaca)
Idalion (modern Dali, Cyprus)
Marion (modern Polis, Cyprus)
Karalis (modern Cagliari)
Lilybaeaum (modern Marsala) after the
Siege of Motya
Siege of Motya and its
Zyz (modern Palermo)
Oea (modern Tripoli)
Thubactis (modern Misurata)
The islands of Malta
Maleth (modern Mdina)
Ras il-Wardija in Gozo
Baal Saphon or
Baal Shamen, later romanized as Balsa (modern Tavira,
Lisbon was probably a Phoenician trading post, rather than a
Abdera (modern Adra) and its dependencies in the 3rd century BC.
Abyla (modern Ceuta, on the Moroccan coast)
Akra Leuke (modern Alicante)
Gadir (modern Cádiz)
Speculum Rotae (modern Rota)
Ibossim (modern Ibiza)
Malaka or mlk (modern Málaga)
Onoba (modern Huelva)
Qart Hadašt (Greek: Νέα Καρχηδόνα; Latin: Carthago Nova;
Rusadir (modern Melilla, on the Moroccan coast)
Sexi (modern Almuñécar)
Qart Hadašt (Greek: Καρχηδόνα; Latin: Carthago; Spanish:
Hadrumetum (modern Susat)
Hippo Diarrhytus (modern Bizerte)
Sicca (modern El Kef)
Thapsus (near modern Bekalta)
Phoenicus (modern Finike)
Lixus (modern Larache)
Tingis (modern Tangier)
Callista (on modern Santorini)
Calpe (modern Gibraltar)
Main articles: Phoenician language, Phoenician alphabet, and Alphabet
Phoenician alphabet was one of the first (consonantal) alphabets
with a strict and consistent form. It is assumed that it adopted its
simplified linear characters from an as-yet unattested early pictorial
Semitic alphabet developed some centuries earlier in the southern
Levant. It is likely that the precursor to the Phoenician
alphabet was of Egyptian origin, since Middle
Bronze Age alphabets
from the southern
Egyptian hieroglyphs or an early
alphabetic writing system found at Wadi-el-Hol in central
Egypt. In addition to being preceded by proto-Canaanite, the
Phoenician alphabet was also preceded by an alphabetic script of
Mesopotamian origin called Ugaritic. The development of the Phoenician
alphabet from the
Proto-Canaanite coincided with the rise of the Iron
Age in the 11th century BC.
This alphabet has been termed an abjad — that is, a script that
contains no vowels — from the first four letters aleph, beth, gimel,
Ahiram in the National Museum of Beirut
The oldest known representation of the
Phoenician alphabet is
inscribed on the sarcophagus of King
Ahiram of Byblos, dating to the
11th century BC at the latest. Phoenician inscriptions are found in
Lebanon, Syria, Israel,
Cyprus and other locations, as late as the
early centuries of the Christian Era. The
Phoenicians are credited
with spreading the
Phoenician alphabet throughout the Mediterranean
world. Phoenician traders disseminated this writing system along
Aegean trade routes, to
Crete and Greece. The Greeks adopted the
majority of these letters but changed some of them to vowels which
were significant in their language, giving rise to the first true
Phoenician language is classified in the Canaanite subgroup of
Northwest Semitic. Its later descendant in
North Africa is termed
Punic. In Phoenician colonies around the western Mediterranean,
beginning in the 9th century BC, Phoenician evolved into Punic. Punic
Phoenician was still spoken in the 5th century AD: St. Augustine, for
example, grew up in
North Africa and was familiar with the language.
Phoenician art lacks unique characteristics that might distinguish it
from its contemporaries. This is due to its being highly influenced by
foreign artistic cultures: primarily Egypt, Greece and Assyria.
Phoenicians who were taught on the banks of the
Nile and the Euphrates
gained a wide artistic experience and finally came to create their own
art, which was an amalgam of foreign models and perspectives. In
an article from
The New York Times
The New York Times published on January 5, 1879,
Phoenician art was described by the following:
He entered into other men's labors and made most of his heritage. The
Egypt became Asiatic, and its new form was transplanted to
Nineveh on the one side and to Greece on the other. The rosettes and
other patterns of the Babylonian cylinders were introduced into the
handiwork of Phoenicia, and so passed on to the West, while the hero
of the ancient Chaldean epic became first the Tyrian Melkarth, and
Herakles of Hellas.
Main article: Canaanite religion
See also: Sanchuniathon
The religious practices and beliefs of
Phoenicia were cognate
generally to their neighbours in Canaan, which in turn shared
characteristics common throughout the ancient Semitic
Canaanite religion was more of a public
institution than of an individual experience." Its rites were
primarily for city-state purposes; payment of taxes by citizens was
considered in the category of religious sacrifices. Unfortunately,
much of the Phoenician sacred writings known to the ancients have been
Like their Hebrew cousins the
Phoenicians were known for being very
religious. While there remain favourable aspects regarding Canaanite
religion, several of its reported practices have been
widely criticized, in particular, temple prostitution, and child
sacrifice. "Tophets" built "to burn their sons and their daughters
in the fire" are condemned by God in
Jeremiah 7:30-32, and in 2nd
Kings 23:10 (also 17:17). Notwithstanding these and other important
differences, cultural religious similarities between the ancient
Hebrews and the
Ba'al with raised arm, 14th–12th century BC, found at
Ugarit (Ras Shamra site), a city at the far north of the
Musée du Louvre
Canaanite religious mythology does not appear as elaborated compared
with existent literature of their cousin Semites in Mesopotamia. In
Canaan the supreme god was called El (𐤀𐤋, "god"). The
son of El was
Baal (𐤁𐤏𐤋, "master", "lord"), a powerful
dying-and-rising storm god. Other gods were called by royal
titles, as in
Melqart meaning "king of the city", or
"lord". (Such epithets may often have been merely local titles for
the same deities.) On the other hand, the Phoenicians, notorious for
being secretive in business, might use these non-descript words as
cover for the secluded name of the god, known only to a select few
initiated into the inmost circle, or not even used by them, much as
their neighbors and close relatives the ancient Israelites/Judeans
sometimes used the honorific
Adonai (Heb: "My Lord") in place of the
tetragrammaton—a practice which became standard (if not mandatory)
Second Temple period
Second Temple period onward.
The Semitic pantheon was well-populated; which god became primary
evidently depended on the exigencies of a particular city-state or
tribal locale. Due perhaps to the leading role of the
city-state of Tyre, its reigning god
Melqart was prominent throughout
Phoenicia and overseas. Also of great general interest was Astarte
(𐤀𐤔𐤕𐤓𐤕)—a form of the Babylonian Ishtar—a fertility
goddess who also enjoyed regal and matronly aspects. The prominent
Sidon was a healing god, seemingly cognate with
deities such as
Adonis (possibly a local variant of the same) and
Attis. Associated with the fertility and harvest myth widespread in
the region, in this regard
Eshmun was linked with Astarte; other like
Ishtar and Tammuz in Babylon, and
Religious institutions of great antiquity in Tyre, called marzeh
(𐤌𐤓𐤆𐤄, "place of reunion"), did much to foster social
bonding and "kin" loyalty. These institutions held banquets for
their membership on festival days. Various marzeh societies developed
into elite fraternities, becoming very influential in the commercial
trade and governance of Tyre. As now understood, each marzeh
originated in the congeniality inspired and then nurtured by a series
of ritual meals, shared together as trusted "kin", all held in honor
of the deified ancestors. Later, at the Punic city-state of
Carthage, the "citizen body was divided into groups which met at times
for common feasts." Such festival groups may also have composed the
voting cohort for selecting members of the city-state's
Carthage was based on inherited Phoenician ways of
devotion. In fact, until its fall embassies from
regularly make the journey to Tyre to worship Melqart, bringing
material offerings. Transplanted to distant Carthage, these
Phoenician ways persisted, but naturally acquired distinctive traits:
perhaps influenced by a spiritual and cultural evolution, or
synthesizing Berber tribal practices, or transforming under the stress
of political and economic forces encountered by the city-state. Over
time the original Phoenician exemplar developed distinctly, becoming
the Punic religion at Carthage. "The Carthaginians were notorious
in antiquity for the intensity of their religious beliefs."
"Besides their reputation as merchants, the Carthaginians were known
in the ancient world for their superstition and intense religiosity.
They imagined themselves living in a world inhabited by supernatural
powers which were mostly malevolent. For protection they carried
amulets of various origins and had them buried with them when they
Carthage as at Tyre religion was integral to the city's life. A
committee of ten elders selected by the civil authorities regulated
worship and built the temples with public funds. Some priesthoods were
hereditary to certain families. Punic inscriptions list a hierarchy of
cohen (priest) and rab cohenim (lord priests). Each temple was under
the supervision of its chief priest or priestess. To enter the Temple
Eshmun one had to abstain from sexual intercourse for three days,
and from eating beans and pork. Private citizens also nurtured
their own destiny, as evidenced by the common use of theophoric
personal names, e.g., Hasdrubal, "he who has Baal's help" and Hamilcar
[Abdelmelqart], "pledged to the service of Melqart".
The city's legendary founder, Elissa or Dido, was the widow of
Acharbas the high priest of Tyre in service to its principal deity
Dido was also attached to the fertility goddess Astarte.
Dido brought not only ritual implements for the worship of
Astarte, but also her priests and sacred prostitutes (taken from
Cyprus). The agricultural turned healing god
worshipped at Carthage, as were other deities.
supplanted at the Punic city-state by the emergent god
which perhaps means "lord of the altars of incense" (thought to be an
epithet to cloak the god's real name). Later, another newly
arisen deity arose to eventually reign supreme at Carthage, a goddess
of agriculture and generation who manifested a regal majesty,
An incense burner depicting Ba'al-Hamon, 2nd century BC
Baal Hammon (𐤁𐤏𐤋 𐤇𐤌𐤍) has attracted
scholarly interest, with most scholars viewing it as a probable
derivation from the Northwest Semitic ḥammān ("brazier"),
suggesting the meaning "Lord of the Brazier". This may be supported by
incense burners and braziers found depicting the god. Frank Moore
Cross argued for a connection to Hamōn, the
Ugaritic name for Mt.
Amanus, an ancient name for the Nur Mountain range. Modern
scholars at first associated
Baal Hammon with the Egyptian god Ammon
of Thebes, both the Punic and the Egyptian being gods of the sun. Both
also had the ram as a symbol. The Egyptian
Ammon was known to have
spread by trade routes to Libyans in the vicinity of modern Tunisia,
well before arrival of the Phoenicians. Yet
Baal Hammon's derivation
Ammon is no longer considered the most likely, as
Baal Hammon has
since been traced to Syrio-Phoenician origins, confirmed by recent
finds at Tyre.
Baal Hammon is also presented as a god of
Baal Hammon's power over the land and its fertility
rendered him of great appeal to the inhabitants of Tunisia, a land of
fertile wheat- and fruit-bearing plains."
"In Semitic religion El, the father of the gods, had gradually been
shorn of his power by his sons and relegated to a remote part of his
heavenly home; in Carthage, on the other hand, he became, once more,
the head of the pantheon, under the enigmatic title of
— Charles-Picard & Picard (1968), p. 45
Tophet funerary stelae, showing (below moon and sun) a symbol of
Tanit, queen goddess of Carthage
Prayers of individual Carthaginians were often addressed to Baal
Hammon. Offerings to Hammon also evidently included child
Diodorus (late 1st century BC) wrote that
Agathocles had attacked
Carthage (in 310) several hundred
children of leading families were sacrificed to regain the god's
favour. In modern times, the French novelist Gustave Flaubert's
Salammbô graphically featured this god as accepting such
Sign of Tanit, one of several variations.
Tanit during the 5th and 4th centuries became queen
goddess, supreme over the city-state of Carthage, thus outshining the
former chief god and her associate, Baal-Hammon.
represented by "palm trees weighed down with dates, ripe pomegranates
ready to burst, lotus or lilies coming into flower, fish, doves,
frogs... ." She gave to mankind a flow of vital energies.
Tanit may be Berbero-Libyan in origin, or at least assimilated to a
Another view, supported by recent finds, holds that
in Phoenicia, being closely linked there to the goddess
Tanit and Astarte: each one was both a funerary and
a fertility goddess. Each was a sea goddess. As
Tanit was associated
Ba'al Hammon the principal god in Punic Carthage, so
with El in Phoenicia. Yet
Tanit was clearly distinguished from
Astarte. Astarte's heavenly emblem was the planet Venus, Tanit's the
Tanit was portrayed as chaste; at
prostitution was apparently not practiced. Yet temple
prostitution played an important role in Astarte's cult at Phoenicia.
Also, the Greeks and Romans did not compare
Tanit to the Greek
Aphrodite nor to the Roman Venus as they would Astarte. Rather the
Tanit would be to
Hera and to Juno, regal goddesses of
marriage, or to the goddess
Artemis of child-birth and the hunt.
Tertullian (c. 160 – c.220), the Christian theologian and native of
Carthage, wrote comparing
Tanit to Ceres, the Roman mother goddess of
Tanit has also been identified with three different Canaanite
goddesses (all being sisters/wives of El): the above 'Astarte; the
virgin war goddess 'Anat; and the mother goddess 'Elat or
Asherah. Her being a goddess, or symbolizing a psychic
archetype, accordingly it is difficult to assign a single nature to
Tanit, or to clearly represent her to consciousness.
A problematic theory derived from sociology of religion proposes that
Carthage passed from being a Phoenician trading station into a
wealthy and sovereign city-state, and from a monarchy anchored to Tyre
into a native-born Libyphoenician oligarchy, Carthaginians began to
turn away from deities associated with Phoenicia, and slowly to
discover or synthesize a Punic deity, the goddess Tanit. A
parallel theory posits that when
Carthage acquired as a source of
wealth substantial agricultural lands in Africa, a local fertility
goddess, Tanit, developed or evolved to eventually become
supreme. A basis for such theories may well be the religious
reform movement that emerged and prevailed at
Carthage during the
years 397-360. The catalyst for such dramatic change in Punic
religious practice was their recent defeat in war when led by their
king Himilco (d. 396) against the Greeks of Sicily.
Such transformation of religion would have been instigated by a
faction of wealthy land owners at Carthage, including these reforms:
overthrow of the monarchy; elevation of
Tanit as queen goddess and
Baal Hammon; allowance of foreign cults of Greek origin
into the city (
Demeter and Kore); decline in child sacrifice, with
most votive victims changed to small animals, and with the sacrifice
not directed for state purposes but, when infrequently done, performed
to solicit the deity for private, family favors. This bold historical
interpretation understands the reformer's motivation as "the reaction
of a wealthy and cultured upper class against the primitive and
antiquated aspects of the Canaanite religion, and also a political
move intended to break the power of a monarchy which ruled by divine
authority." The reform's popularity was precarious at first. Later,
when the city was in danger of immanent attack in 310, there would be
a marked regression to child sacrifice. Yet eventually the
cosmopolitan religious reform and the popular worship of Tanit
together contributed to "breaking through the wall of isolation which
had surrounded Carthage."
"When the Romans conquered Africa, Carthaginian religion was deeply
entrenched even in Libyan areas, and it retained a great deal of its
character under different forms."
Tanit became Juno Caelestis, "and
Caelestis was supreme at
Carthage itself until the triumph of
Christianity, just as
Tanit had been in pre-Roman times." 
Regarding Berber (Libyan) religious beliefs, it has also been said:
"[Berber] belief in the powers of the spirits of the ancestors was not
eclipsed by the introduction of new gods--Hammon, or Tanit--but
existed in parallel with them. It is this same duality, or readiness
to adopt new cultural forms while retaining the old on a more intimate
level, which characterizes the [Roman era]."
Such Berber ambivalence, the ability to entertain multiple mysteries
concurrently, apparently characterized their religion during the Punic
era also. After the passing of Punic power, the great Berber king
Masinissa (r. 202–148), who long fought and challenged Carthage, was
widely venerated by later generations of Berbers as divine.
Attested 1st millennium BC
Gebory-Kon (Gebory = gabri? Kon = Chiun/Kiyun/Kaiwan/Saturn?)
Attested 2nd millennium BC
Baalat Gebal ("Lady of Byblos")
Baal Saphon, the
Reshef of the Arrow)
Influence in the Mediterranean region
Cadmus fighting the dragon. Side A of a black-figured amphora from
Eubœa, c. 560 – 550 BC, Louvre
Phoenician culture had a huge effect upon the cultures of the
Mediterranean basin in the early Iron Age, and had been affected by
them in turn. For example, in Phoenicia, the tripartite division
between Baal, Mot and Yam seems to have influenced the Greek division
Hades and Poseidon. The
Tartessos region probably
embraced the whole southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. Strab.
3.2.11). In various Mediterranean ports during the classical period,
Phoenician temples sacred to
Melkart were recognized as sacred to
Greek Hercules. Stories like the Rape of Europa, and the coming of
Cadmus also draw upon Phoenician influence.
The recovery of the Mediterranean economy after the late Bronze Age
collapse (c. 1200 BC) seems to have been largely due to the work of
Phoenician traders and merchant princes, who re-established long
distance trade between
Mesopotamia in the 10th century BC.
There are many countries and cities around the Mediterranean region
that derive their names from the Phoenician Language. Below is a list
with the respective meanings:
Altiburus: City in Algeria, SW of Carthage. From Phoenician: Iltabrush
Bosa: City in Sardinia: From Phoenician Bis'en
Cádiz: City in Spain: From Phoenician Gadir
Dhali (Idalion): City in Central Cyprus: From Phoenician Idyal
Erice: City in Sicily: From Phoenician Eryx
Malta: Island in the Mediterranean: From Phoenician Malat ("refuge")
Marion: City in West Cyprus: From Phoenician Aymar
Oued Dekri: City in Algeria: From Phoenician: Idiqra
Spain: From Phoenician: I-Shaphan, meaning "Land of Hyraxes". Later
Latinized as Hispania
Carthage: City in Tunisia: From Phoenician Qart Hadašt meaning "New
Cartagena: City in Spain ((Greek: Νέα Καρχηδόνα; Latin:
Carthago Nova; Spanish: Cartagena)) A colony of Carthage, which also
gave rise to Cartagena, Colombia.
Relations with the Greeks
Bowl with mythological scenes, a sphinx frieze and the representation
of a king vanquishing his enemies; Electrum, Cypro-Archaic I,
8th–7th centuries BC, from Idalion, Cyprus.
Towards the end of the
Bronze Age (around 1200 BC) there was
trade between the
Canaanites (early Phoenicians), Egypt, Cyprus, and
Greece. In a shipwreck found off of the coast of
Turkey (the Ulu
Bulurun wreck), Canaanite storage pottery along with pottery from
Cyprus and Greece was found. The
Phoenicians were famous metalworkers,
and by the end of the 8th century BC, Greek city-states were sending
out envoys to the
Levant (the eastern Mediterranean) for metal
The height of Phoenician trade was circa the 7th and 8th centuries BC.
There is a dispersal of imports (ceramic, stone, and faience) from the
Levant that traces a Phoenician commercial channel to the Greek
mainland via the central Aegean. Athens shows little evidence of
this trade with few eastern imports, but other Greek coastal cities
are rich with eastern imports that evidence this trade.
Al Mina is a specific example of the trade that took place between the
Greeks and the Phoenicians. It has been theorized that by the 8th
century BC, Euboean traders established a commercial enterprise with
the Levantine coast and were using Al Mina (in Syria) as a base for
this enterprise. There is still some question about the veracity of
these claims concerning Al Mina. The
Phoenicians even got their
name from the Greeks due to their trade. Their most famous trading
product was purple dye, the Greek word for which is phoenos.
The Phoenician phonetic alphabet was adopted and modified by the
Greeks probably in the 8th century BC (around the time of the hippoi
depictions). This most likely did not come from a single instance but
from a culmination of commercial exchange. This means that before
the 8th century, there was a relationship between the Greeks and the
Phoenicians. Though there is no evidence to support the suggestion, it
is probable that during this period there was also a passing of
religious ideas. The legendary Phoenician hero Cadmus
is credited with bringing the alphabet to Greece, but it is more
plausible that it was brought by Phoenician emigrants to Crete,
whence it gradually diffused northwards.
Connections with Greek mythology
In both Phoenician and Greek mythologies,
Cadmus is a Phoenician
prince, the son of Agenor, the king of Tyre in South Lebanon.
Cadmus for bringing the
Phoenician alphabet to
Greece approximately sixteen hundred years before Herodotus'
time, or around 2000 BC, as he attested:
Phoenicians who came with
Cadmus and of whom the Gephyraeans
were a part brought with them to Hellas, among many other kinds of
learning, the alphabet, which had been unknown before this, I think,
to the Greeks. As time went on the sound and the form of the letters
— Herodotus, The Histories, V.58
Due to the number of deities similar to the "Lord of the Sea" in
classical mythology, there have been many difficulties attributing one
specific name to the sea deity or the "Poseidon–Neptune" figure of
Phoenician religion. This figure of "Poseidon-Neptune" is mentioned by
authors and in various inscriptions as being very important to
merchants and sailors, but a singular name has yet to be found.
There are, however, names for sea gods from individual city-states.
Yamm is the god of the sea of Ugarit, an ancient city-state north to
Phoenicia. Yamm and Baal, the storm god of
Ugaritic myth and often
associated with Zeus, have an epic battle for power over the universe.
While Yamm is the god of the sea, he truly represents vast chaos.
Baal, on the other hand, is a representative for order. In Ugaritic
Baal overcomes Yamm's power. In some versions of this myth, Baal
kills Yamm with a mace fashioned for him, and in others, the goddess
Athtart saves Yamm and says that since defeated, he should stay in his
own province. Yamm is the brother of the god of death, Mot. Some
scholars have identified Yamm with Poseidon, although he has also been
identified with Pontus.
In his Republic, Greek philosopher
Plato contends that the love of
money is a tendency of the soul found amongst
Egyptians, which distinguishes them from the Greeks who tend towards
the love of knowledge. In his Laws, he asserts that this love of
money has led the
Phoenicians and Egyptians to develop skills in
cunning and trickery (πανουργία) rather than wisdom
In his Histories,
Herodotus gives the Persian and Greek accounts of a
series of kidnappings that led to the Trojan War. While docked at a
trading port in Argos, the
Phoenicians kidnapped a group of Greek
women including King Idacus's daughter, Io. The Greeks then retaliated
by kidnapping Europa, a Phoenician, and later Medea. The Greeks
refused to compensate the
Phoenicians for the additional abduction, a
fact which Paris used a generation later to justify the abduction of
Helen from Argos. The Greeks then retaliated by waging war against
Troy. After Troy's fall the Persians considered the Greeks to be their
In the Bible
Hiram (also spelled Huran), the king of Tyre, is associated with the
building of Solomon's temple.
1 Kings 5:1 says: "Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon;
for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the place of his
father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David."
2 Chronicles 2:14 says:
"The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father [was] a
man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, silver, brass, iron, stone,
timber, royal purple (from the Murex), blue, and in crimson, and fine
linens; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every
device which shall be put to him ..."
This is the architect of the Temple,
Hiram Abiff of
Later, reforming prophets railed against the practice of drawing royal
wives from among foreigners:
Elijah execrated Jezebel, the princess
from Tyre in South
Lebanon who became a consort of King
introduced the worship of her god Baal.
Long after Phoenician culture flourished, or
Phoenicia existed as a
political entity, Hellenized natives of the region where Canaanites
still lived were referred to as "Syro-Phoenicians", as in the Gospel
of Mark 7:26: "The woman was a Greek, a Syro-phoenician by birth".
Bible itself derives from Greek biblion, which means "book"
and either derives from, or is the (perhaps ultimately Egyptian)
origin of Byblos, the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal.
The legacies of the
The spread of the alphabet throughout the Mediterranean extended
literacy beyond a narrow caste of hierarchical priests.
They re-opened the trade routes in the
Eastern Mediterranean that
connected the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations after the long
hiatus of the
Bronze Age collapse
Bronze Age collapse recovered, beginning the
"Orientalising" trend later seen in Greek art.
They invented a more democratic and flatter oligarchic social
structure than any people prior to the Athenian revolution, and in
this were an inspiration to Greek constitutional government.[citation
They pioneered the development of multi-tiered oared shipping
throughout the Mediterranean region, being the first people exploring
beyond the Straits of Gibraltar.
They were the first
Eastern Mediterranean people to colonise the
Western Mediterranean in any significant way (The
Shardana may have
preceded them in Sardinia), opening up urban development and trade in
Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans freely admitted what they owed to the
Phoenicians, and Phoenician influence can be traced in the Iberian and
Celtic worlds from the 8th century BC onwards.
It is possible that Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, was of
Diogenes Laërtius writes that Crates once
chastised Zeno, crying out, "Why run away, my little Phoenician?"
Names of the Levant
Theory of Phoenician discovery of the Americas
Phoenicians (1500–300 B.C.)". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art
History. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
^ Oxford English Dictionary
^ Woolmer, Martin (2017). A Short History of The Phoenicians.
I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1780766171. Retrieved 27 February
^ Aubet (2001), p. 17.
^ "Phoenicia". Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved
^ Josephine Quinn (11 December 2017). In Search of the Phoenicians.
Princeton University Press. p. 24.
^ a b Markoe (2000) p. 111
^ a b Fischer, Steven Roger (2004). A history of writing. Reaktion
Books. p. 90.
^ "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon,
φοῖνιξ". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
^ Gove, Philip Babcock, ed. Webster's Third New International
Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. Springfield, MA:
^ Robert S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009,
^ Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet and Eric Gubel, Les Phéniciens :
Aux origines du Liban (Paris: Gallimard, 1999), 18.
^ Aubet, Maria Eugenia (2001-09-06). The
Phoenicians and the West:
Politics, Colonies and Trade. Cambridge University Press.
^ Mireille Hadas-Lebel, Entre la
Bible et l'Histoire : Le Peuple
hébreu (Paris: Gallimard, 1997), 14.
^ B. Landesberger has shown that kinaḫḫu should be read as
qinaḫḫu and was borrowed from Sumerian qìn (compare Akk uqnû,
Ugaritic iqnu, Syrian qʿnâʿ(a)/qunʿ(a), and Gk kýanos 'dark
^ Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica, Book 1 chapter 10 section 10
(translation 1 translation 2)
^ Ju. B. Tsirkin. "Canaan. Phoenicia. Sidon" (PDF). p. 274.
^ R. A. Donkin (1998). Beyond Price: Pearls and Pearl-fishing :
Origins to the Age of Discoveries, Volume 224. p. 48.
^ Bowersock, G.W. (1986). "
Tylos and Tyre.
Bahrain in the Graeco-Roman
World". In Khalifa, Haya Ali; Rice, Michael.
Bahrain Through The Ages
– the Archaeology. Routledge. pp. 401–2.
^ Arnold Heeren, p441
^ Rice, Michael (1994). The Archaeology of the Arabian Gulf.
Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-415-03268-1.
^ Rice (1994), p. 21.
^ Zarins, Juris (1992), "Pastoral nomadism in Arabia: ethnoarchaeology
and the archaeological record—a case study" in O. Bar-Yosef and A.
Khazanov, eds. "Pastoralism in the Levant"
^ Tubb, Jonathan N. (1998), "Canaanites" (
British Museum People of the
^ Woodard, Roger (2008), The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and
^ a b c Naveh, Joseph (1987), "Proto-Canaanite, Archaic Greek, and the
Script of the Aramaic Text on the Tell Fakhariyah Statue", in Miller;
et al., Ancient Israelite Religion . Coulmas (1996).
^ a b The date remains the subject of controversy, according to Glenn
E. Markoe, "The Emergence of Phoenician Art" Bulletin of the American
Schools of Oriental Research No. 279 (August 1990):13-26) p. 13. "Most
scholars have taken the
Ahiram inscription to date from around 1000
B.C.E.", notes Edward M. Cook, "On the Linguistic Dating of the
Ahiram Inscription (KAI 1)", Journal of Near Eastern
Studies 53.1 (January 1994:33-36) p. 33 JSTOR. Cook analyses and
dismisses the date in the thirteenth century adopted by C. Garbini,
"Sulla datazione della'inscrizione di Ahiram", Annali (Istituto
Universitario Orientale, Naples) 37 (1977:81-89), which was the prime
source for early dating urged in Bernal, Martin (1990). Cadmean
Letters: The Transmission of the
Alphabet to the Aegean and further
West before 1400 BC. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns.
ISBN 0-931464-47-1. Arguments for a mid 9th -8th century
B.C.E. date for the sarcophagus reliefs themselves—and hence the
inscription, too— were made on the basis of comparative art history
and archaeology by Edith Porada, "Notes on the
Sarcophagus of Ahiram,"
Journal of the Ancient Near East Society 5 (1973:354-72); and on the
basis of paleography among other points by Ronald Wallenfels,
"Redating the Byblian Inscriptions," Journal of the Ancient Near East
Society 15 (1983:79-118).
^ Markoe (2000), p. 108.
^ Zellig Sabbettai Harris. A grammar of the Phoenician language. p6.
^ Edward Clodd, Story of the
Alphabet (Kessinger) 2003:192ff
^ The Development of the Greek
Alphabet within the Chronology of the
ANE (2009), Quote: "Naveh gives four major reasons why it is
universally agreed that the Greek alphabet was developed from an early
1 According to Herodutous "the
Phoenicians who came with Cadmus...
brought into Hellas the alphabet, which had hitherto been unknown, as
I think, to the Greeks."
2 The Greek Letters, alpha, beta, gimmel have no meaning in Greek but
the meaning of most of their Semitic equivalents is known. For
example, 'aleph' means 'ox', 'bet' means 'house' and 'gimmel' means
3 Early Greek letters are very similar and sometimes identical to the
West Semitic letters.
4 The letter sequence between the Semitic and Greek alphabets is
identical. (Naveh 1982)"
^ Coulmas (1989) p. 141.
Phoenicia historical region, Asia". Encyclopedia Britannica.
^ Hoffman, Joel M. (2004). In the beginning : a short history of
the Hebrew language. New York, NY [u.a.]: New York Univ. Press.
p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8147-3654-8. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
^ Michael C. Howard (2012). Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval
Societies. P. 23.
^ Chamorro, Javier G. (1987). "Survey of Archaeological Research on
Tartessos". American Journal of Archeology. 91 (2).
^ a b c Thompson, C.; Skaggs, S. (2013). "King Solomon's Silver?
Southern Phoenician Hacksilber Hoards and the Location of Tarshish".
Internet Archaeology. 35 (35). doi:10.11141/ia.35.6.
^ A. B. Freijeiro, R. Corzo Sánchez, Der neue anthropoide Sarkophag
von Cadiz. In: Madrider Mitteilungen 22, 1981.
^ Zalloua, Pierre A.; et al. (2008). "Identifying Genetic Traces of
Historical Expansions: Phoenician Footprints in the Mediterranean".
American Journal of Human Genetics. 83 (5): 633–642.
doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2008.10.012. PMC 2668035 .
^ Maroon, Habib (31 March 2013). "A geneticist with a unifying
message". Nature. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
^ Tomàs, Carme (2006). "Differential maternal and paternal
contributions to the genetic pool of
Ibiza Island, Balearic
Archipelago". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 129 (2):
268–278. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20273. PMID 16323196. Retrieved 20
^ Lucotte, Gérard; Mercier, Géraldine (2003). "Y-chromosome DNA
haplotypes in Jews: comparisons with Lebanese and Palestinians".
Genetic Testing. 7 (1): 67–71. doi:10.1089/109065703321560976.
ISSN 1090-6576. PMID 12820706.
Jews Are The Genetic Brothers Of Palestinians, Syrians, And
Lebanese". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
^ Haber, Marc; Doumet-Serhal, Claude; Scheib, Christiana; Xue, Yali;
Danecek, Petr; Mezzavilla, Massimo; Youhanna, Sonia; Martiniano, Rui;
Prado-Martinez, Javier (2017-08-03). "Continuity and Admixture in the
Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and
Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences". The American Journal of Human
Genetics. 101 (2): 274–282. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.06.013.
^ Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth A.; Gosling, Anna L.; Boocock, James;
Kardailsky, Olga; Kurumilian, Yara; Roudesli-Chebbi, Sihem; et al. (25
May 2016). "A European Mitochondrial Haplotype Identified in Ancient
Phoenician Remains from Carthage, North Africa" (PDF). PLoS ONE. 11
(5): e0155046. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1155046M.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155046. PMC 4880306 .
PMID 27224451. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
^ Stager, L. E. (2003). "Phoenician shipwrecks in the deep sea". Sea
Sidon to Huelva: Interconnections in the Mediterranean,
16th–6th c. BC. pp. 233–248.
^ Cunliffe (2008), pp. 241-2.
^ Markoe (2000), p. 103.
^ Christopher Hawkes, "Britain and Julius Caesar," Proceedings of the
British Academy 63 (1977) 124–192
^ Champion, Timothy (2001). "The appropriation of the
British imperial ideology". Nations and Nationalism. 7 (4): 451–465.
^ Albright, W.F. (1941). "New light on the early history of Phoenician
colonization". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
83 (83): 14–22. doi:10.2307/3218739. JSTOR 3218739.
^ Cross, Frank M. (1972). "An interpretation of the Nora Stone".
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 208 (208):
13–19. doi:10.2307/1356374. JSTOR 1356374.
^ Thompson, C.M. (2003). "Sealed silver in
Iron Age Cisjordan and the
'invention' of coinage". Oxford Journal of Archaeology. 22 (1):
^ McMenamin, M. A. (1997). "The Phoenician World Map". Mercator's
World. 2 (3): 46–51.
^ Scott, J. M. (2005). Geography in Early Judaism and Christianity.
Cambridge University Press. pp. 182–183.
^ Markoe (2000).
Khorsabad (Room10c)". British Museum.
^ Claudian, B. Gild. 518
^ a b c A History of Malta
^ Baldacchino, J. G.; Dunbabin, T. J. (1953). "Rock tomb at Għajn
Qajjet, near Rabat, Malta". Papers of the British School at Rome. 21:
32–41. doi:10.1017/s0068246200006413. JSTOR 40310522.
^ Annual Report on the Working of the Museum Department 1926–27,
Malta 1927, 8
^ Culican, W. (1982). "The repertoire of Phoenician pottery".
Phönizier im Westen. Mainz: Zabern. pp. 45–82.
^ Annual Report on the Working of the Museum Department 1916–7,
Malta 1917, 9–10.
^ Luís Fraga da Silva (2008). "The Roman Town of Balsa" (PDF).
Associação Campo Arqueológico de Tavira, Portugal.
Luís Fraga da Silva (2003). "Tavira: Cidades e Região antes de
Portugal" (PDF). Associação Campo Arqueológico de
Portuguese). From Campo Arqueológico de Tavira
^ Aubet (2001).
^ Hogan, C. Michael (Nov 2, 2007). "Mogador: promontory fort". In
Burnham, A. The Megalithic Portal.
^ Coulmas (1996).
^ Millard, A. R. (1986). "The Infancy of the Alphabet". World
Archaeology. 17 (3): 396. doi:10.1080/00438243.1986.9979978.
^ "Ancient Scripts: Proto-Sinaitic". Ancientscripts.com. Archived from
the original on 2009-02-27.
^ "Discovery of Egyptian Inscriptions Indicates an Earlier Date for
Origin of the Alphabet". The New York Times. 1999-11-13. Retrieved
Phoenician alphabet and language".
^ Beck, Roger B.; Black, Linda; Krieger, Larry S.; Naylor, Phillip C.;
Shabaka,, Dahia Ibo (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction.
Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN 0-395-87274-X.
^ "Phoenician Art" (PDF). The New York Times. 1879-01-05. Retrieved
^ Moscati (1957), e.g., p. 40 & 113.
^ W. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites
(Edinburgh: A. & C. Black 1889; 2d ed. 1894; 3d ed. 1927); reprint
by Meridian Library, New York, 1956, at 1–15.
^ Cf. Julian Baldick, who posits an even greater and more ancient
sweep of a common religious culture in his Black God. Afroasiatic
roots of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions (London: Tauris
^ Gaster (1965), pp. 113-143, 114-5.
^ Harden (1962), pp. 83–4.
^ Much of what is now known about
Canaanite religion comes from one
source: cuneiform tablets found in 1928 at temple ruins of Ras Shamra
(ancient Ugarit). Gaster (1965), pp. 113-143, 114-5.
^ a b Brandon (1970), p. 173 ("Canaanite Religion").
^ Dmitri Baramki,
Phoenicia and the
Phoenicians (Beirut: Khayats 1961)
^ Markoe (2000), pp. 115–142.
^ Brandon (1970), pp. 512-3 ("Sacred Prostitution").
^ Brandon (1970), p. 448 ("Molech").
^ E.g., like the early Hebrews, in
Carthage little importance was
attached to the idea of life after death. Warmington (1964),
^ Brandon (1970), p. 258 ("El").
^ Cf. Cross (1973), pp. 10–75, i.e., "
'El and the God of the
Fathers" (13–43), "
Yahweh and 'El" (44–75); and pp. 177–186,
i.e., "'El's modes of revelation" in "
Yahweh and Ba'l" (147–194).
Baal was used instead of the storm god's name Hadad. Brandon
(1970), p. 315 ("Hadad"), p. 28 ("Adad - Mesopotamia"), p. 124
^ Moscati (1957), pp. 113-4.
^ Brandon (1970), pp. 29-30 ("Adonis").
^ Warmington (1964), p. 156 (as an epithet to hide a god's real name).
^ Brandon (1970), p. 655 ("YHVH"), p. 173 ("Canaanite Religion").
Phoenicia and Canaan: the rejuvenating
Melqart was the chief god
Eshmun the god of healing at Sidon,
Dagon (his son was Baal)
at Ashdod, Terah the moon god of the Zebulun. In Mesopotamia: the moon
god at Ur was called Sin (Sum: Nanna), the sun god
Shamash at Larsa,
the fertility goddess of
Uruk being Ishtar, and the great god of
Babylon being Marduk. Brandon (1970), p. 173 ("Canaanite Religion"),
p. 501 ("Phoenician Religion").
^ Carlyon, Richard. A Guide to the Gods (New York 1981) pp. 311, 315,
320, 324, 326, 329, 332-3.
^ Harden (1962), pp. 85-8.
^ Kinship status was not infrequently granted to genetically unrelated
persons. Cf., Meyer Fortes, Kinship and the Social Order. The Legacy
of Lewis Henry Morgan (Chicago: Aldine 1969) at 256.
^ Markoe (2000), p. 120, (MRZH, marzeh).
^ Warmington (1964), p. 148.
^ Cf., William Robertson Smith, Lectures on The Religion of the
Semites. Second and Third Series. 1890-1891 (Sheffield Academic
Press 1995), "Feasts" at 33–43.
^ Lancel (1995), p. 193.
^ Similarly, diaspora
Jews also sent material support for the second
Temple in Jerusalem until its fall in 70 CE. Cf., Allen C. Myers,
editor, The Eerdmans
Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, Michigan:
Eerdmans 1987), "Temple" at 989–992, 991.
^ a b Charles-Picard & Picard (1968), p. 45.
^ Warmington (1964), p. 155.
^ a b Abun-Nasr, A History of the Maghrib (1971) at 22.
^ Warmington (1964), p. 161 (ten elders, priesthood, Temple of
^ Lancel (1995), pp. 193-4.
^ Markoe (2000), pp. 129–130.
^ Warmington (1964), p. 157.
^ Warmington (1964), pp. 155–8. Warmington associates Melqart
with the pan-Semitic father god El. Regarding
Baal Hammon, "the
epithet [was] being used to avoid naming the name of the god" (p.
^ Lancel (1995), pp. 199–204.
^ Cross, Frank Moore (1973). Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Harvard
University Press. p. 26-28. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
^ Lancel (1995), pp. 195-6, entertains other etymologies for BL
HMN. If instead of HMN, one reads HM-N it would signify "protector".
One author finds his origin in the name of a mountain to the north of
Phoenicia, Amanus. Or the name may signify a small chapel, related to
continuity, hence safety. Cf. Lancel (1995), pp. 194–9.
^ Markoe (2000), p. 130. Markoe understands
Baal Hammon as
similar to Dagon, i.e., an agricultural god.
^ Cf., Harden (1962), Plate 41, "Stele of
Baal enthroned from
Hadrumetum" (Sousse, Tunisia). Said by Markoe (2000) to represent Baal
^ Soren, Khader & Slim (1990) in their chapter "The Precinct of
Death" (123–46), discuss rather thoroughly child sacrifice at
Carthage. They present archaeological findings (125–6, 131–9), and
cite the works of a dozen ancient authors (126–30), to substantiate
its macabre reality. The authors also try to understand it from the
perspective of its ancient practitioners (130–1, 142–5). They
review (139–41) the few modern critics who question whether in fact
the evidence is being misconstrued (e.g., the children died of other
causes) although the authors appear to find these counter-arguments
not convincing enough to refute all the ancient charges and modern
^ Lancel (1995), pp. 251-6, also reviews such counter-arguments
that, regarding the bones of small children found in the ashes of
funerary furnaces, they were already dead when placed in the flames.
Child sacrifice was offered to
Tanit as well as
Baal Hammon. Soren,
Khader & Slim (1990), pp. 63, 123.
Diodorus Siculus, Bibliothecae Historicae at XX, 14, 4, as cited in
Lancel (1995), pp. 197, 249.
^ Lancel (1995), p. 197. The novel inspired several operas.
^ On the symbol of Tanit, cf. Lancel (1995), pp. 201–4. Her
symbol may be related to the Egyptian symbol of life, the ankh. Lancel
(pp. 201–2), citing Bisi, Anna Maria (1982). "Simboli animati nella
religione fenicio-punica". In Lanternari, Vittorio. Religioni e
Civiltà (in Italian). 3. Bari: Dedalo. pp. 62–65.
^ In early inscriptions her name followed that of
Baal Hammon. Then
her title became TNT PN B'L or
Tanit face of Baal"),
and she was named before
Baal Hammon on ex-votos found in the Tophet
of Carthage. Lastly, she alone is indicated. Lancel (1995),
Tanit face of Baal" signifies
Tanit as the presence of the god
Baal. A similar epithet occurs in Hebrew religion, e.g., where ML'K
PNYW signifies the "angel of the presence" in Exodus 33: 14, and in
Isaiah 63: 9. Cross (1973), p. 30 n102.
^ Charles-Picard & Picard (1968), p. 153.
^ Neumann, Erich, Die Gross Mutter: Eine phänomenologie der
weiblichen gestaltungen des unbewussten (Zürich: Rhein Verlag 1956),
Ralph Mannheim as The Great Mother. An Analysis of the
Archetype (Princeton University: Bollingen 1955, 2d ed. 1963) at 311,
describes a relief of Tanith carved on a stone stelae (Plate 157b):
"Thus the winged figure of Tanith, the Carthaginian goddess of heaven,
standing beneath the vault of heaven and the zodiac, holds the sun and
moon in her hands, and is [flanked] by pillars, the symbols of the
Great Mother Goddess. But on the lower plane of the stele, we find the
same goddess stylized with upraised arms, possibly as a tree
assimilated to the Egyptian life symbol. Her head is the sun, an
illusion to the tree birth of the sun, and she is accompanied by two
doves, the typical bird of the Great Goddess." The "Egyptian life
symbol" refers to the ankh.
^ a b Warmington (1964), pp. 156-7.
^ Barton (1934), pp. 304-6:
"It seems probable, therefore, that Tanith was a pre-Phoenician
goddess of fertility of the Hamites, ...that she was so popular that
after the coming of the
Phoenicians they too worshipped her to such a
degree that she largely displaced their native goddess Astart."Barton
(1934), p. 305
Here the ancient Berbers were the local
^ Markoe (2000), pp. 118, 130.
^ Lancel (1995), p. 200: seventh century inscription at Sarepta
mentions TNT-'STRT, i.e., Tanit-Astarte.
^ There is some evidence contra: late Punic sacerdotal officials were
called MTRH ("bridegroom"), indicating the male role in a "sacred
marriage" to promote fertility, the "brides" of this seasonal rite
being females of the temple; the Hebrew prophet
Hosea condemned such
rites as "prostitution". Gaster (1965), pp. 113–143, 132.
^ Warmington doubts that temple prostitution was "a feature of
Carthaginian religion." Warmington (1964), p. 157.
^ Charles-Picard & Picard (1968), p. 152, regarding the
Astarte and Tanit.
^ Barton (1934), pp. 306, 306n5. Ceres is often identified with
the Greek goddess
Demeter (whose name signifies "earth mother").
^ Cross (1973), pp. 28-35, '
Astarte (29–30), '
Anat (31), and
^ Patai (1990) describes the goddess 'Anat, and the goddess 'Elat or
Ugaritic mythology, Anath is by far the most important female
figure, the goddess of love and war, virginal yet wanton, amorous yet
given to uncontrollable outbursts of rage and appalling acts of
cruelty. She is the daughter of El, the god of heaven, and of his wife
Asherah of the Sea. ... Her foremost lover was her brother
Baal. ... She was easily provoked to violence and, once she began to
fight, would go berserk, smiting and killing left and right." (60-2),
who adds that the Phoenician Philo of
Byblos (64–141) compared Anath
to the Greek virgin war goddess Athena. Also, Patai at 63-6 identifies
Anath with the biblical "Queen of Heaven". At 61 Patai, referring to
Anath in her rôle as goddess of love, mentions the Babylonian goddess
Ishtar, and remarks that both
Astarte and Anath as "typical goddesses
of love, both chaste and promiscuous... [were] perennially fruitful
without ever losing their virginity."
Asherah was the chief goddess of the Canaanite pantheon... at
Ugarit... . ...
Asherah figured prominently as the wife of El the chief
god. Her full name was 'Lady
Asherah of the Sea'--apparently her
domain proper was the sea, just as that of her husband El was heaven.
She was, however, also referred to simply as Elath or Goddess. She was
the 'Progenitress of the Gods': all other gods... were her children...
Asherah was a motherly goddess... ." Patai (1990), pp. 36-7. In
his chapter "The Goddess Asherah" (34-53), Patai discusses widespread
Hebrew worship of
Asherah until the 6th century B.C.E. Patai (52–3)
notes ancient inscriptions (one found near Hebron) evidencing an early
Jewish association of
Asherah with Yahweh, a view repugnant to later
^ Brandon (1970), p. 76 ("Anat"), p. 107 ("Asherah" and "Ashtart").
^ Jung (1969), pp. 3–41, 23: modern psychology understands "the
gods as psychic factors, that is, as archetypes"; pp. 151–81,
160–1, (The Psychology of the Child Archetype - 1940):
It is an "illusion that an archetype can be finally explained and
disposed of. Even the best attempts at explanation are only more or
less successful translations into another metaphorical language. ...
The most we can do is dream the myth onwards and give it a modern
dress. And whatever [our] explanation or interpretation does to it, we
do to our souls as well, with corresponding results for our own well
being. ... Hence the "explanation" should always be such that the
functional significance of the archetype remains unimpaired, so that
an adequate and meaningful connection between the conscious mind and
the archetype is assured. ... It represents or personifies certain
instinctive data of the dark, primitive psyche, the real but invisible
roots of consciousness." ... "The archetype... is a psychic organ
present in all of us. ... There is no 'rational' substitute for the
archetype any more than there is for the cerebellum or the kidneys."
^ Compare Lancel (1995), pp. 202-3.
^ Lancel (1995), p. 114: Himilco's acts of sacrilege and his
subsequent military defeat in Sicily, later his penance and suicide at
Carthage; thereafter, introduction to
Carthage of Greek goddesses
Demeter and Kore.
^ Charles-Picard & Picard (1968), pp. 146-54.
^ Lancel (1995), pp. 202-3, shows his criticism of the theory
Tanit was adopted in
Carthage when it passed from monarchy to
^ Giovanni Garbini, "Continuità ed innovazioni nella religione
fenicia" in Atti del colloquio in Roma: la religione fenicia (Roma
1981) pp 34–6. Cited by Lancel (1995), p. 203, as advancing the
theory of religious change re Tanit.
^ Brett, Michael; Fentress, Elizabeth (1997). The Berbers.
Wiley-Blackwell. p. 49.
^ Theodor Mommsen, Römische Geschichte, band 5 (Leipzig 1885, 5th ed.
1904), translated as The Provinces of the
Roman Empire (London 1886,
1909; reprint Barnes & Noble 1996) at 305, citing the ancient
Cyprian and Tertullian.
^ Mark S. Smith (1994). The
Baal Cycle: Volume I,
Introduction with text, translation and commentary of KTU 1.1-1.2.
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^ Straub, 3.2.11 (1976). TARTESSOS, SW Spain. The Princeton
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Canaan and Ancient Palestine". University of Pennsylvania
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^ Boardman, John (1964). The Greeks Overseas. London: Thames and
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^ L.H.Jeffery. (1976).The archaic Greece.The Greek city states
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^ Markoe (2000), p. 112.
^ Herodotus, The Histories, II.145.4.
^ Ribichini, S. (1988). "Beliefs and Religious Life". In Sabatino
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^ Habel, N.C. 1964.
Yahweh Versus Baal: A Conflict of Religious
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^ Ringgren, H. 1917. Religions of the Ancient Near East. Philadelphia:
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^ Baumgarten, A.I. (1981). The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos:
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^ Plato, Republic, IV (435e–436a)
Plato Laws V (747c)
^ Herodotus, The History, I.1.1-5.
^ Online Etymology Dictionary, s.v. "Bible". Retrieved November 27,
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Carayon, Nicolas, Les ports phéniciens et puniques, PhD Thesis, 2008,
The History of Phoenicia, first published in 1889 by George Rawlinson
is available Online under Project Gutenberg. Rawlinson's 19th-century
text needs updating for modern improvements in historical
Todd, Malcolm; Andrew Fleming (1987). The South West to AD 1,000
(Regional history of England series No.:8). Harlow, Essex: Longman.
ISBN 0-582-49274-2. , for a critical examination of the
evidence of Phoenician trade with the South West of the U.K.
Thiollet, Jean-Pierre, Je m'appelle Byblos, foreword by Guy Gay-Para,
H & D, Paris, 2005. ISBN 2-914266-04-9
Cerqueiro, Daniel. 2002. Las Naves de Tarshis o quiénes fueron los
Fenicios. Buenos Aires: Ed.Peq. Venecia. ISBN 987-9239-13-X
BBC Radio4 – In Our Time: The
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