The Phoenicians

Heesue Kim, Mikayla Brenman, Maria Chung,and Claire Shepherd

Heesue Kim- Geographer

Long ago, there was an ancient civilization called Phoenicia. They settled all around the Medditeranean Sea. One part was located above Egypt. Phoenicians lived on the seacoast. Also, Phoenicia was a narrow strip of the Syrian coast, about 160 miles long and 20 miles wide. Phoenicians at the bottom of Spain after 800 B.C. Phoenicia once covered where Lebanon, Syria, and Israel is today.

The Phoenician's geography lead to their success and they were geographically lucky because the Mediterranean Sea is a good source of water. You could grow crops, go fishing, and you could take your boat to places. It is also good because their trade route reached to Spain, British Isles, and it was convinient.

Natural Resources were an important part of the Phoenicians' lives.An important export was a cloth dyed with Tyrian prple made by snails. This was an expensive and fine product. Cedar, pine wood, fine linen, embroderies, wine, metal work, glass, salt, and dried fish were other exports. Clay was another important natural resource because they lived by the ocean and water/sand/dirt=clay. Silver and gold got exported out of Phoenicia as a resource at 700 B.C.

The largest town in Phoenicia is Carthage. It was in a leading position and was founded by Dido at 814 B.C., but evidence shows that it was settled around the 8th century. Carthage made many new settlements and cities like Tyre, and Berot to keep their monopoly of trade. On the Tunisian coast of North Africa, a city named Utica was founded in 1178 B.C. Tyre got a Spanish colony at Gadir.

Mikayla Brenman-Historian


The Canaanites or Phoenicians most likely came from the region of the Persian Gulf. Historians believe that the Phoenicians arrived in Phoenicia about 3000 BC. No one knows where they were originally from, it is thought that they are from the Persian Gulf because some of the traditions are the same but no one knows for sure. They were given their names by the ancient Greeks. Their name comes from the Greek word phoinos which means red and since that’s the name the Greeks called them, the Phoenicians decided to use that name. Phoinos refers to a special purple dye from a specific type of seashell. Most likely, the first colony was Citium (which is in Cyprus). In the 9th century BC Citium was created. The 8th century and after is when Phoenicia expanded the most. The Phoenicians started colonies anywhere they went, in the north or south of the Mediterranean. They set up many different colonies around the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians would start trades with colonies all throughout the Mediterranean area. To know about far away lands they would communicate with others in different countries. In 600 BC the Phoenicians are thought to have sailed all the way around Africa and along the Atlantic coast of Europe. Carthage (the largest town founded by the Phoenicians) is on the northern African coast and is thought to be settled in the middle of the 8th century. Carthage quickly got the highest position among the other colonies near by. Phoenicia was the first to establish a big group of colonies and their trading was based on sea fare. The Phoenicians became the best sailors, navigators, and traders of the pre-classical world.


The Phoenicians were the most skilled shipbuilders and navigators of the pre-classical world and since they lived near the sea they made most of their living from it. The Phoenicians were very daring people; they would go into regions where no one else would even think about going. The Phoenicians were very brave people. As they went along they were very careful, they would guard their secrets, trading routes and also be careful to not let anyone know about what they knew about the wind and water currents. The Phoenicians have traveled farther than the Mediterranean coast, they passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and they founded the city of Cadiz which then was actually called Gadir (which is on the southern coast of Spain.) The Phoenicians were also good at carving ivory, working with glass and metal, and textiles.

Better or Worse

For about 500 years the Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians thrived the most in the 10th century because the surrounding nations weren't changing. The Phoenician king, Hiram, was a business ally with the king of Israel, Solomon. Over the centuries many different parts of Phoenicia were ruled by different foreign powers. (Some of the places that controlled Phoenicia were Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, ad Persia.) In 875 BC the Phoenicians got their freedom taken away by the Assyrians. The cities got abolished by the Assyrians when they tried to rebel against them, including Tyre. Phoenicia was never politically strong mostly because Phoenicia was very spread out. In 538BC- 333AD the Phoenicians were occupied by the Persians. During the Greco-Persian war the Phoenician navy would help the Persians. In 333 BC the Persian troops got defeated by the Greeks when Alexander the Great attacked the lower part of Asia. Alexander the Great tried to give a sacrifice to Tyre’s god but the city would resist. Since the Phoenicians resisted, 6 months later the city fell apart. After he conquered them it left a Greek mark in the area. By 332 BC Macedonians conquered Phoenicia; the Macedonians were led by Alexander the Great. The Phoenicians became a part of The Roman Empire (like many others) in 64 BC. Now Phoenicia is modern Lebanon and northern Syria.


Even though the king was powerful, his power was limited. The Phoenician king Hiram was a business ally with the king of Israel, Solomon. King Hiram of Tyre (the Phoenician king) lived through 989 to 936 BC.

Maria Chung-Antropologist

The Phoenicians believed in numerous gods. The main god and goddess were Baal, the god of sun, and Astarte, the goddess of fertility. These Phoenicians gods/goddess were inspired from the nature of Phoenicia---and the Phoenicians believed that they had good luck in nature because of these gods.

The Phoenicians had many skilled smiths; and because of that, the Phoenicians could trade lots of different objects with other communities. They city of Carthage was the main trading center in Phoenicia. The Phoenicians traded metal works, woods, glasses, salt, dried fish and wines with other colonies. The Phoenicians earned more advantages by having the trading center.

The Phoenicians were not only advanced with trading--- they were also advanced to communications---alphabets. The Phoenicians invented their own letters, or "alphabets". They were able to communicate more easily through these letters. This Phoenician "alphabet" had twenty two different letters. The language was similar to Hebrew and Latin these days.

Claire Shepherd- Archaeologist

 Writing or the alphabet was a special important to the Phoenician civilization. Writing impacted our was of life today big time. Without writing U.S.A. would still be farm land! All the other countries as well. The Greeks stole the alphabet from the Phoenicians and just changed it a little to “call” it theirs. A lot of people do not know the Phoenicians were the ones that created the alphabet. They just figure that the Greeks were the ones with the great minds. Great enough to create something as big as the alphabet.The Phoenician civilization believed a lot of what the Greeks believed in (mythology wise). Here’s one story, in Greek mythology the king so the gods was the all mighty Zeus. Legend had it that Zeus turned himself into a magnificent white bull by the sea shore when he saw Europa and suddenly he fell in love with her. Europa saw the white bull and then she put flowers around his neck. She climbed on the bulls back. Zeus started running with Europa on his back through the water to the island of Crete. When Zeus finally got to the island of Crete he transferred himself back into his human form. Europa had three sons with Zeus and also became the first queen of Crete. She later married Mions the king of Crete how adopted the three sons.