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Phoenicians - the Phoenicians civilization

The Phoenicians lived on the coast between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of Lebanon. They first settled there at some date before 2500 B.C., and founded five main cities, of which Tyre and Sidon are the most famous. The Phoenicians lived by trade. Goods from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and North Africa were bought and sold.

They also produced goods of their own for sale, particularly timber from the cedar and laurel trees of Lebanon, a purple dye from a shell fish, wine, oil, textiles and other manufactured goods.

The Phoenicians civilization: The ruins of Tyre

The Phoenicians civilization: The map

The Phoenicians civilization:

The ruins of Tyre face the Mediterranean Sea on the Lebanese coastline. Tyre was one of the greatest of the Phoenician coastal cities. From it, the Phoenicians sailed through the Mediterranean, trading and establishing colonies, as shown on the map

The Phoenicians civilization:

The map shows that one of their routes took them as far as Cornwall in southwest England

Their land became part of successive Empires - Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian - but at some time in the eighth century B.C. the Phoenicians began to sail west into the Mediterranean and establish trading settlements.

They set up colonies in Sicily, Spain and North Africa, and even passed through the Straits of Gibraltar to Britain. Their two most important contributions to human development were their skill in sailing and their use of the alphabet. The Phoenicians developed this from the ideas of a neighboring tribe.

The Greeks took the alphabet over and the Romans adopted it. The cities of Tyre and Sidon prospered under Roman rule. Muslims overran Phoenicia and the rest of Syria in the A.D. 600's.

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