THE PHOENICIA PORTAL
Phoenicia (; from
Ancient Greek: Φοινίκη, Phoiníkē) was an
thalassocratic civilization that originated in the
Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, specifically modern
Lebanon. It was concentrated along the coast of Lebanon and included some coastal areas of
Syria and northern
Palestine reaching as far north as
Arwad and as far south as
Acre and possibly
Gaza. At its height between 1100 and 200 BC, Phoenician civilization spread across the Mediterranean, from Cyprus to the
The term Phoenicia is an
exonym originating from
ancient Greek that most likely described
Tyrian purple, a major export of
Canaanite port towns; it did not correspond precisely to Phoenician culture or society as it would have been understood natively. Scholars thus debate whether the Phoenicians were actually a distinct civilization from the Canaanites and other residents of the Levant.
The Phoenicians came to prominence following
the collapse of most major cultures during the
Late Bronze Age. They were renowned in antiquity as adept merchants, expert seafarers, and intrepid explorers. They developed an expansive maritime trade network that lasted over a millennium, becoming the dominant commercial power for much of classical antiquity. Phoenician trade also helped facilitate the exchange of cultures, ideas, and knowledge between major
cradles of civilization such as Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. After its zenith in the ninth century BC, Phoenician civilization in the eastern Mediterranean slowly declined in the face of foreign influence and conquest, though its presence would remain in the central and western Mediterranean until the second century BC.
Phoenician civilization was organized in
city-states, similar to those of
ancient Greece, of which the most notable were
Carthage. Each city-state was politically independent, and there is no evidence the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single nationality. The
Carthaginians, who descended from a Phoenician settlement in northwest Africa, emerged as major civilization in their own right in the seventh century BC. Their multi-ethnic empire, which maintained a strong
Phoenician identity, spanned the western Mediterranean and challenged the Roman Republic. The
destruction of Carthage by Rome at the conclusion of the Third Punic War in 146 BC marked the end of the last major, independent Phoenician state.
Long considered a lost civilization due to the lack of indigenous written records, academic and
archaeological developments since the mid-20th century have revealed the Phoenicians to be a complex and influential civilization. Their best known legacy is the world's
oldest verified alphabet, which they transmitted across the Mediterranean world. The Phoenician alphabet formed the basis of the
Greek alphabet, which in turn was adopted for the
Latin script, the world's
dominant writing system. The Phoenicians are also credited with innovations in shipbuilding, navigation, industry, agriculture, and government. Their international trade network is believed to have fostered the economic, political, and cultural foundations of Western civilization.
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Battle of Adys (or Adis) took place in late 255 BC during the
First Punic War between a
Carthaginian army jointly commanded by Bostar,
Hasdrubal and a
Roman army led by
Marcus Atilius Regulus. Earlier in the year, the new
Roman navy established
naval superiority and used this advantage to invade the Carthaginian homeland, which roughly aligned with modern
Tunisia in North Africa. After landing on the
Cape Bon Peninsula and conducting a successful campaign, the fleet returned to
Sicily, leaving Regulus with 15,500 men to hold the
lodgement in Africa over the winter.
Instead of holding his position, Regulus advanced towards the Carthaginian capital,
. The Carthaginian army established itself on a rocky hill near Adys (modern
) where Regulus was besieging the town. Regulus had his forces execute a night march to launch twin dawn assaults on the Carthaginians' fortified hilltop camp. One part of this force was repulsed and pursued down the hill. The other part then charged the pursuing Carthaginians in the rear and routed them in turn. At this the Carthaginians remaining in the camp panicked and fled. (
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Eighteenth-century depiction of the battle, showing the younger Scipio rescuing his wounded father
Battle of Ticinus was a battle of the
Second Punic War fought between the
Carthaginian forces of
Hannibal and the
Publius Cornelius Scipio in late November 218 BC. The battle took place in the flat country on the right bank of the
River Ticinus, to the west of modern
Pavia in northern Italy. Hannibal led 6,000 African and
Iberian cavalry, while Scipio led 3,600 Roman, Italian and
cavalry and a large but unknown number of
light infantry javelinmen.
War had been declared early in 218 BC over perceived infringements of Roman prerogatives in Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal) by Hannibal. Hannibal had gathered a large army, marched out of Iberia, through
over the Alps
(northern Italy), where many of the local tribes were at war with Rome. The Romans were taken by surprise, but one of the
for the year, Scipio, led an army along the north bank of the
with the intention of giving battle to Hannibal. The two commanding generals each led out strong forces to
their opponents. Scipio mixed a large number of javelinmen with his main cavalry force, anticipating a large-scale skirmish. Hannibal put his
cavalry in the centre of his line, with his light
on the wings. On sighting the Roman infantry the Carthaginian centre immediately charged and the javelinmen fled back through the ranks of their cavalry. A large cavalry
ensued, with many cavalry dismounting to fight on foot and many of the Roman javelinmen reinforcing the fighting line. This continued indecisively until the Numidians swept round both ends of the line of battle, and attacked the still disorganised
; the small Roman cavalry reserve, to which Scipio had attached himself; and the rear of the already engaged Roman cavalry, throwing them all into confusion and panic. (
Selected Phoenician inscriptions and language articles -
Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum (abbreviated CIS) is a collection of ancient
Semitic languages produced since the end of
2nd millennium BC until the rise of Islam. It was published in Latin. In a note recovered after his death,
Ernest Renan stated that: "Of all I have done, it is the Corpus I like the most."
The first part was published in 1881, fourteen years after the beginning of the project. Renan justified the fourteen year delay in the preface to the volume, pointing to the calamity of the
Franco-Prussian war and the difficulties that arose in the printing the Phoenician characters, whose first engraving was proven incorrect in light of the inscriptions discovered subsequently. A smaller collection – Répertoire d'Épigraphie Sémitique (abbreviated RES) – was subsequently created to present the Semitic inscriptions without delay and in a deliberately concise way as they became known, and was published in French rather than Latin. The Répertoire was for the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum what the Ephemeris epigraphica latina was for the
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.
The publication of the series continued until 1962. (
Selected Phoenician mythology articles -
The following are images from various Phoenicia-related articles on Wikipedia.
Nineteenth century depiction of Phoenician sailors and merchants. The importance of trade to the Phoenician economy evidently led to a gradual sharing of power between the king and assemblies of merchant families. (from
Face bead; mid-4th–3rd century BC; glass; height: 2.7 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (from
Major Phoenician trade networks (c. 1200–800 BC) (from
Female figurines from Tyre (c.1000–550 BC). National Museum of Beirut. (from
sarcophagi found in Cádiz, Spain, thought to have been imported from the Phoenician homeland around Sidon. Archaeological Museum of Cádiz. (from
Earring from a pair, each with four relief faces; late 4th–3rd century BC; gold; overall: 3.5 x 0.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (from
Map of Phoenicia and colonies prior to Roman conquest (from
Stela from Tyre with Phoenician inscriptions (c. fourth century BC). National Museum of Beirut. (from
Assyrian palace gate depicting the collection of tribute from the Phoenician cities of
Sidon (859–824 BC). British Museum. (from
Two bronze fragments from an
Mesopotamian theme of combat between man and beast. Phoenician artisans frequently adapted the styles of neighboring cultures. (from
Phoenician bowl with hunting scene (eighth century BC). The clothing and hairstyle of the figures is Egyptian, while the subject matter of the central scene conforms with the
Map of Phoenician (in yellow) and Greek colonies around 8th to 6th century BC (with German legend) (from
Ba'al with raised arm, 14th–12th century BC, found at ancient
Ugarit (Ras Shamra site), a city at the far north of the Phoenician coast.
Musée du Louvre (from
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