The Phoenicians - Doral Academy Preparatory

The Phoenicians
 Civilization began in the Mediterranean Sea
 Dominated sea trade across Mediterranean
 Developed from early Canaanites in Israel, Lebanon,
and Syria
 Phoenician civilization consisted of independent citystates
 Rulers were usually priest-kings
 Priest-kings shared power with leading merchant
families and a citizen assembly
Geography influenced Phoenician Life
 Lebanon mountains to the East
 Heavily forested; not much land to farm
 Sold purple cloth for high prices
 Craft workers made pottery and glass and metal objects
 Used trees to make furniture
 Few natural resources
 Dependent on trade with other cultures
 Imported (brought in) raw materials
 Gold, silver, tin, ivory, iron, etc.
 Exported (produced and sold) goods made of these materials
 Iron tools, weapons, wine, olive oil
Phoenicians and the Sea
 Location was ideal for sea trade
 Driven to find precious metals
 Right between Europe, Asia, and Africa
 Experts in navigation
 Great knowledge of wind patterns and ocean currents
 Used North Star to calculate location
 Explored islands in Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and North
African Coast
 Explored Atlantic Ocean towards Britain and West Africa
Phoenician colonies and city-states
 Trading Stations became colonies as populations grew
 Colony: area ruled by a distinct country
 Some colonies became wealthy city-states
 Carthage (North Africa)
 Destroyed later by Romans
Legacy of the Phoenicians
 Cultural Diffusion: Phoenicians’ culture was learned by
Romans and Greeks.
 Trade made it possible for their culture to spread
 Greeks used Phoenician standard of weights and measures
 Developed an alphabet with 22 symbols that made writing
much easier (cuneiform had hundreds of symbols)
 750 B.C.E: Greeks already using Phoenician alphabet to trade
 Greeks added vowels to alphabet
 100 B.C.E: Romans adapted this alphabet, which looked a lot
like ours