Ancient Phoenician Civilization
Due to the fact that the Phoenicians never left a written record of their history, little is known about the Phoenician Civilization. Almost all information about the Phoenicians comes from the records of the Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks. In fact their name, "Phoenicia" means land of palms in Greek. The land of Phoenicia lies along the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea, in what is present day Palestine and Syria.
The Phoenicians are credited to a major invention, possibly one of the greatest of all time, and that is the city. The city of Gebeil or Byblos has been found to contain homes of farmers and fishermen going all the way back to 7000 B.C. If these facts are true this would make Gebeil the oldest known city in the world.
It is said the Phoenicians had a huge amount of ties with Egypt. They used to trade cedar trees for use in building ships and houses. In return the Phoenicians received gold, copper, and turquoise.
The Phoenicians had no organized form of writing at their beginning, but would eventually develop one as time went on modifying Sumerian cuneiforms, and Egyptian hieroglyphics, both of which use pictures. This would eventually make their own form of writing with which pictures and signs were used for individual sounds.
Phoenicia was organized into city states, with focuses on trade, arts, and religion. Each of the city states were organized but had its own form of government. Each of these also had its own god and ruler who stayed in power his entire life. The city states were linked by ancestors, language, and writing. These city states were not located far from each other, perhaps a day or two march, however, these city states never united when they were individually attacked.
The Phoenicians were quite popular at their time because of their ability to make purple dye. They would use fish to make the dyes, and this process was so expensive only the rich citizens could afford it. Tyre was the main region where this done.
The key reason the Phoenicians are known in history is because of their oceanography. They Phoenicians were the first people who could navigate the seas efficiently and their civilization was based on sea life. They used the Mediterranean Sea to navigate, explore, and discover. They were a merchant civilization and traded dyes, fabrics, ceramics, glass, wine, crops, metals, and glass. The Phoenicians taught the Greeks navigation by the North Star, and basic ideas for ship models.