Monday, February 8, 2016

History Documentary: Phoenicia and the Phoenicians, Full Documentary: Who Really Were The Phoenicians. History Documentary: Phoenicia, the ancient civilization

Who Really Were The Phoenicians?  Documentary on Evidence of the Lost Civilization of the Phoenicians.

Phoenicia (UK /fᵻˈnɪʃə/ or US /fəˈniːʃə/; from the Greek: Φοινίκη, Phoiníkē; Arabic: فينيقية‎, Fīnīqīyah) was an ancient Semitic thalassocratic civilization situated on the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent and centered on the coastline of modern Lebanon, Israel and Syria. All major Phoenician cities were on the coastline of the Mediterranean, some colonies reaching the Western Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1500 BC to 300 BC. The Phoenicians used the galley, a man-powered sailing vessel, and are credited with the invention of the bireme. By their innovations in shipbuilding and seafaring, the Phoenicians were enabled to sail as far west as present-day Morocco and Spain carrying huge cargoes of goods for trade. They were famed in Classical Greece and Rome as 'traders in purple', referring to their monopoly on the precious purple dye of the murex snail, used, among other things, for royal clothing, and for the spread of their alphabets, from which almost all modern phonetic alphabets are derived.

Although Egyptian seafaring expeditions had already been made to Byblos to bring back Lebanon cedars as early as the 3rd millennium BC, continuous contact only occurred in the Egyptian New Empire period. In the Amarna tablets of the 14th century BC, people from the region called themselves Kenaani or Kinaani. Much later, in the 6th century BC, Hecataeus of Miletus writes that Phoenicia was formerly called χνα (Latinized: khna), a name Philo of Byblos later adopted into his mythology as his eponym for the Phoenicians: "Khna who was afterwards called Phoinix".

Phoenicia is really a Classical Greek term used to refer to the region of the major Canaanite port towns, and does not correspond exactly to a cultural identity that would have been recognised by the Phoenicians themselves. The term in Greek means 'land of purple', a reference to the valuable murex-shell dye they exported.[8] It is uncertain to what extent the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single ethnicity and nationality. Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to ancient Greece. However, in terms of archaeology, language, life style and religion, there is little to set the Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other Semitic cultures of Canaan. As Canaanites, they were unique in their remarkable seafaring achievements.

Each city-state was a politically independent unit. They could come into conflict and one city might be dominated by another city-state, although they would collaborate in leagues or alliances. Though ancient boundaries of such city-centered cultures fluctuated, the city of Tyre in South Lebanon seems to have been the southernmost. Sarepta (modern day Sarafand) between Sidon and Tyre in South Lebanon is the most thoroughly excavated city of the Phoenician homeland.

The Phoenicians were the first state-level society to make extensive use of alphabets. The Phoenician alphabet is generally held to be the ancestor of almost all modern alphabets. They spoke Phoenician, a part of the Canaanite subgroup of the Northwest Semitic language family. Other members of the family are Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite and Edomite. However, due to the very slight differences in language, and the insufficient records of the time, whether Phoenician formed a separate and united dialect, or was merely a superficially defined part of a broader language continuum, is unclear. Through their maritime trade, the Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to North Africa and Europe, where it was adopted by the Greeks, who later transmitted it to the Romans. 

The Phoenicians: Map of Phoenicia and its Mediterranean trade routes

  • Byblos, Mount Lebanon (1200 BC–1000 BC)
  • Tyre, South Lebanon (1000 BC–333 BC)
  • Carthage (333 BC–149 BC)
Languages Phoenician, Punic
Religion Canaanite religion
Government Kingship (City-states)
Well-known kings of Phoenician cities
 •  c. 1000 BC Ahiram
 •  969 BC – 936 BC Hiram I
 •  820 BC – 774 BC Pygmalion of Tyre
Historical era Classical antiquity
 •  Established 1500 BC
 •  Tyre in South Lebanon, under the reign of Hiram I, becomes the dominant city-state 969 BC
 •  Pygmalion founds Carthage (legendary) 814 BC
 •  Cyrus the Great conquers Phoenicia 539 BC
 •  3200 BC est. 200,000 

 Credits: Wikipedia

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