|Author||Canon George Rawlinson|
|Publication Date||October 15, 2008|
Phoenicia was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coast of modern day Lebanon, Syria and the geographical area of Palestine. Phoenician civilization was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean between the period of 1200 BC to 900 BC. Though ancient boundaries of such city-centered cultures fluctuated, the city of Tyre seems to have been the southernmost. Sarepta (modern day Sarafand) between Sidon and Tyre, is the most thoroughly excavated city of the Phoenician homeland. The Phoenicians often traded by means of a galley, a man-powered sailing vessel. They were the first civilization to create the bireme.
It is uncertain to what extent the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single ethnicity. Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to ancient Greece. Each city-state was an independent unit politically, although they could come into conflict, be dominated by another city-state, or collaborate in leagues or alliances. Tyre and Sidon were the most powerful of the Phoenician states in the Levant, but were not as powerful as the North African ones.
The Phoenicians spoke the Phoenician language, which had split from the Canaanite languages in the Semitic language family e.g. Arabic and Hebrew. Through their maritime trade, the Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to North Africa and Europe where it was adopted by the Greeks and Etruscans. In addition to their many inscriptions, the Phoenicians, contrary to some reports, wrote many books, which have not survived. Evangelical Preparation by Eusebius of Caesarea quotes extensively from Philo of Byblos and Sanchuniathon. Furthermore, the Phoenician Punic colonies of North Africa continued to be a source of knowledge about the Phoenicians. Saint Augustine knew at least a smat