The Phoenicians originated in modern day Lebanon. Their cities were located near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea; the Lebanon Mountains towered behind them. When the Phoenicians began expanding, instead of going over the mountains they expanded out into the sea. As the Phoenicians expanded they formed new colonies and established trade routes (see appendix A). However the Phoenicians exploration and trade did not stop in the Mediterranean, it extended into Brittany, pushed deep into Africa, and reached the Americas.
The Phoenicians traded and interacted with many civilizations and peoples. Despite these interactions our knowledge of the Phoenicians is neither comprehensive nor complete. Most of what is known is derived from what others have said about them. For example Plutarch, a Greek, wrote in the first century AD, long after the fall of the Phoenicians “they are a people full of bitterness and surly, submissive to rulers, tyrannical to those they rule, abject in fear, fierce when provoked, un-shakable in resolve, and so strict as to dislike all humor and kindness.”
This and many other accounts and sayings about the Phoenicians must be taken with a grain of salt as the Greeks and Phoenicians had their fair share of wars and conflicts with each other. Another opinion from a geographer, who also lived in the first century AD named Pomponius Mela portrays the Phoenicians in a much better light. “The Phoenicians were a clever race, who prospered in war and peace. They excelled in writing and literature, and in other arts, in seamanship, in naval warfare, and in ruling an empire.” Perhaps this provides a better picture of who the Phoenicians truly were.
Unfortunately there are very few surviving Phoe...
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Drawing from an Assyrian relief taken from Edey, Maitland. The Sea Traders. Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1974.
Xenophon, Oeconomicus, Chapter 8 accessed from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1173/1173-h/1173-h.htm on April 8th, 2014
Edey, Maitland. The Sea Traders. Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1974.
Harden, Donald. The Phoenicians. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962.
Holst, Sanford. Phoenicians: Lebanon’s Epic Heritage. Los Angeles: Cambridge and Boston Press, 2005.
McKay, John. et al. A History of World Societies: Volume 1 To 1600. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011.
Moscati, Sabatino. The World of the Phoenicians. trans. Alastair Hamilton New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1968.
Peterson, Barbara. Peopling of the Americas: Currents, Canoes, and DNA. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011.