• famous for their dyed purple clothing called Tyrain Purple.
    • made from the extract of the murex snail
  • very influenced by the civilizations they interacted with via trade: Egyptians, Europeans, Romans, Greeks, Persians, etc
  • famous for intricatly carved ivory, colorful glass, bright and patterned textiles, and metal jewelry
No much is known about he Phoenicians' life, because their records were on Pupyrus which has since dissintegrated over time.
  • relied mostly on costal living: diet of seafood and tradition of fishing and sailing
  • monarchy: King Tyre 10th century BC
  • densley populated city-states
  • was not a fighting nation: subordinated intself to conquering powers in order to maintain commercial rights and autonomy
    • friendly with the Hebrews--> trade alliance with King Solomon
    • supplied the Persians with a fleet to attack Greece (300?)
    • was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC
  • everyday politics were dominated by large merchant families
  • Semetic
  • inspired by nature and the elements
  • worshiped the god Baal and goddess Astarte. made human sacrifices to god Moloch in times of panic
  • temples were often central social buildings within cities
  • had decorated burials and tombs
Ideas/ Tech
  • used cuneiform, but also had one of the first character alphabets.
  • best ship builders and navigators
    • their ships were superior to all others, giving them naval dominance
Trade/ Economics
  • "the great merchants"
  • were the main traders of Mediterranean
  • silver mines in Spain
  • traded raw materials (cedar, pine, metals), food (wine, spices, fish), and luxury goods (carved ivory, glass, and purple textiles)
  • linked the middle east and asia to europe and northern Africa
  • skilled Phoenician artisans were imported throughout the Mediteranean to aid with design and building
  • occupied the Syrian coast (now Lebanon), but had naval dominance of the Mediterranean. Their actual territory was very small, leaving little room for agriculture or outlying towns.
  • Tyre: one of the biggest cities, center of purple-dye industry
  • Sidon: other big city, center of glassmaking
  • Byblos: biggest city, center of cedar industry--> Phoenician Cedar was used to buil the Temple of Jeruselem
  • established colonies on various Mediteranean islands: Cyprus, Sardinia, Balearic islands
    • Carthage: one of the largest cities in the world with 400,000 people
  • controled the straigh of Gibraltar and much of the norther coast of Africa
Tyrian purple!
example of seabird motif
triremes were the famous Phoenician ships


Phoenician trade routes Re-Created:

"Lentoid flask [Levantine] (74.51.431)". InHeilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)