The awesomeness of the Phoenicians


Phoenicians were pretty badass and are one of the most interesting civilisations, namely because of the things we owe them for, like the alphabet.

The Phoenicians were situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, along what is now Lebanon between 1550 BC to 300 BC. They were a Semitic tribe, and prospered along with the Israelite kingdom to the south. Although not much is known about them due to the lack of their own historical records, we do know that they were one of the most sought after people in ancient times.

They were first to circumnavigate Africa and were excellent ship builders, sea people and navigators. In ancient times, the Phoenicians were known for their influence in trade. Their main product was purple die, and purple die garments.

They used the Murex sea snail and drove it to extinction in the local area. They were wily characters, selling dogs to surrounding cultures and providing wine to Egypt where grapes had difficulty growing. Besides these products they also sold glass, wood, pottery, fabric and more.

The most influential creation of the Phoenicians was the definitely the alphabet. Why I wouldn’t be able to type this if it wasn’t for them! They created a 22 letter alphabet with only consonants (hangman must’ve been tricky in those days). They spread their system through the Aegean trade routes to Egypt, Creta and Greece – where vowels were added, creating the alphabet we are more familiar with today.

The first findings of said alphabet was in the sarcophogas of King Byblos in the 11th century BC.

They declined when the Persians conquered them, and spread throughout the Mediterranean, mainly to Carthage, and the rest if history.


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