by Karl Juergen Hepke
English, lightly shortened Version of the Spanish Original "Fenicia" by Sonia Barja in Historia Antigua Iberica
Its mountainous land , unsuitable for agriculture
(although strove to profit), directed its inhabitants to maritime activities.
Even more as the sea was imposed on the people, divided into small city states
separated by rocky spurs, so cabotage was better than roads for contact between
the cities, which were staggered from
The ethnic name that gave the Phoenicians themselves
were (kena 'ani ,'Canaanites') or (bin kena'an, "sons of
However, the term phoíniks can easily be derived from
a folk etymology "ponim" ethnonym," put " gentile. This
term strictly called
The Phoenician culture is an ancient civilization that
left no firm physical traces of its existence. Its geographic location in
history is the current
Yet unlike others, it left an important cultural
legacy to later civilizations, including a crucial link between the
civilizations of the
The Phoenicians were one of the first ancient peoples
to have a significant effect on the history of wine. Through contact and
commerce spread their knowledge of viticulture and wine production and they
spread several ancient vine varieties. They introduced or encouraged the
expansion of viticulture and wine production in several countries up to the
development of varieties suitable for the international market, as in
Also they could exert an indirect effect in the expansion of vineyards in France, often confused with the Greeks foceos, who founded the winemaker colony of Massilia (Marseille) in 600. BC. and brought wine production into inland.
Phoenician pottery was widely used and marketed, as well as colored glass objects and wool fabrics dyed with Tyrian purple, a dye extracted from a mollusc (the murex, Murex genus , whose name in Greek -Phoinikes-, derivative of phoinos "blood red" - identified both the dye and the people who traded it).
The Phoenicians developed a luxury goods industry in
high demand at the time and of high commercial value, such as jewelry, perfumes
and cosmetics. Trade was a major activity. It consisted initially in the form
of barter exchange of products made in
Subsequently, the invention of coins allowed more sophisticated business relationships. The need for long-range transport stimulated shipbuilding and improved navigation techniques.
They were the great merchants of antiquity. The
geography of their coasts, which favored the installation of ports, and timber
from their forests gave them the basics to build ships and organize shipping
companies . One was hired by the Persian king Darius I in the V century. C. To
some extent they succeeded in establishing a talasocracia or "ocean
governance" that allowed them to control the
During their long journeys they had to stock up at different points of their journey. Even are supposed inherent limitations of primitive navigation (avoidance of night navigation) which prevent voyages well above 60 km, although it has been proven that they could also ran much longer distances without touching port. By the time, these scales were transformed into places allowing permanent storage and stable trade with indigenous peoples, that historiography called factories or colonies, similar to the Greek colonies. The Phoenician colonization was a commercial phenomenon with settler ports, located in easily defended peninsulas or offshore islands, with no territorial gains inside.
Phoenician colonies were also established in the
vicinity of some cities with greater degree of civilization, where they
obtained concessions, as in the Egyptian city of
The secular rivalry, that kept Greek and Phoenician
trade routes and the establishment of colonies, led in the sixth century. BC.,
to a major military confrontation, the battle of Alalia (537 BC), in which the
Greek colony of Alalia focense faced the Carthaginian fleet, allied with the
Etruscans. It redefined the balance of power in the region. The Phoenician
factories spread practically throughout all southern Mediterranean shores and
islands: from Gadir, beyond the
Along the African coast are locations of Phoenician
foundation,Tangis, Lixus and Mogador (modern Morocco), Sidi-Behar Abdselam at
the mouth of the wadi Martil and KudiaTebmain -wadi Emsa-(now Algeria),
Utica-of which is thought to be the first colony founded, or maybe the second
after Gadir-, Hadramemtum, Leptis Minor, Leptis Parva and Thapsus (modern
Tunisia), Leptis Magna, Tripoli and Sabratha (now Libya). In the islands of the
western Mediterranean, Eubussus or Iboshim (Ibiza), Nora-Nurri-,Sulcis,
Tharros-San Giovanni di Sinis, Bithia and Olbia (Sardinia), Motia (Sicily) and
Malta. In the eastern
The oldest archaeological remains discovered to date
The foundation of the new Qart Hadasht (New Carthage,
Most of the Phoenician colonies were Tyrian (founded
It has been identified as characteristic feature of
Sidonian colonies in the
The Phoenician town helped create an important link between the Mediterranean civilizations and indeed between art forms of the ancient world, by imitation, fusion and dissemination of them, although it is not regarded as original creator of a great culture.
The Phoenicians used a phonetic alphabet which the Greeks adapted to their own language and, over time, became the model for subsequent Western alphabets. This alphabet consisted of twenty signs for consonants, and had no vowels, but it was very important because it was simple and practical, unlike other contemporaries alphabets , which only dominated the scribes and officials, after an arduous apprenticeship.
Phoenician culture was very important at the time but,
unfortunately, have been little trace of its history. We know of its existence,
especially through the texts of other people who came into contact with them,
including the Assyrians, Babylonians and later the Greeks. It looks primarily
at the ruins of the cities that were colonies of
Its productions are more artistic craft, and in its sculptures, pottery, jewelry and metal objects, dominates Egyptian influence from the tenth century BC. (Which is the earliest date that is typically assigned to Phoenician art), and Assyrian elements, until the seventh century BC. However, thereafter the Greek influence preponderates, sometimes even confused with the Greek productions as confuse the before made of the tenth century BC. with Assyrian and Egyptian.
The architectural forms are inferred more as drawings
of seals and other reliefs than as ruins of the buildings although there are
some remnants of architectural pieces found in
It was worshiped a stone or betilo usually consisting of a meteorite (stone fallen from heaven) in conical, form located in the middle of the room to which preceded an atrium surrounded inwardly with columns. It was the characteristic form that features also the sumptuous stone sarcophagi of the Phoenicians sidonitas, that adapted more or less the contour of the human figure, as also the Egyptians timber sarcophagi (anthropoid sarcophagi). Subsequently, this art was spreading along the Mediterranean coast where the Phoenicians had influence and brought it to those places, influencing local cultures, being a clear example Tartessos, which had an important acculturation.
All about the Phoenician and Punic literature is
surrounded by a halo of mystery given by the few remains that have been
preserved: all that remains is a series of inscriptions, few of which are
distinctly literary (only some historical narrative, poetry, etc. .), coins,
fragments of the history and the holy treatment of Magon, the Greek translation
of Hanno the Navigators voyage and the text of Poenulus by Plautus. Nevertheless,
it is a proven fact, that both in
The Phoenicians were the inventors of the alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet began as a series of ideograms, a set of symbols representing animals and objects. To these ideograms were assigned a value according to the name phonetically, in Phoenician language, of the animal or object represented. This alphabet contained only consonants, twenty in all. It was a simple system, which allowed the dissemination of knowledge and culture.
Subsequently, the Phoenician alphabet was adopted and modified by the Greeks to represent their language. The Greeks took some letters of the Phoenician alphabet and gave them a vowel value, due to linguistic differences between the two languages (Greek = Indo-European, Phoenician =Semitic). They also changed the pronunciation of some letters, and added some symbols to represent missing sounds in Phoenician . The Latin alphabet comes from the Etruscan alphabet, which was in turn an adaptation of the Greek alphabet.
The Hebrews also adopted the Phoenician alphabet, but given the similarity of their languages and their mutual influence by geographic proximity there was less modification as by the Greeks . The Phoenician alphabet has been in one way or another the base for Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and some scholars argue that it also led to the Asian subcontinent abugidas.
The gods , worshiped by the Phoenicians vary from city
to city . So the pantheon of
Usually represented standing on a lion and holding a
lotus flower and a snake. In other representations emphasize his character as a
goddess of fertility and appears touching the breasts or breast-feeding two
children. Assimilated into other cultures with different names such as the
Aphrodite of the Greeks, the Roman Venus or the Egyptian Isis. She had plenty
of sanctuaries in
Eshmoun was worshiped in
Baal was a god (possibly solar) of several villages in Asia Minor and his influence reached Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Chaldeans, Babylonians, Sidonians and Philistines. His meaning is close to that of master or lord. He was the god of rain and war. In the Bible, Baal (Ba'al ) is one of the false gods, whom the Hebrews worshiped sometimes when away from their worship of Yahweh. He was worshiped by the Phoenicians as the most important god of their pantheon and also had a wife named Baalit , represented as a beautiful woman. The spouse of Baal, was both a goddess of fertility and a young and impetuous goddess of war , who has been linked to the Egyptian goddess Hathor and the Greek Athena.
Ios, of warrior character, own calamities. It reached
in Ancient Egypt, from
Considered the first of the navigators of humanity,
the Phoenicians believed that this God had built the
Originally, Melqart was a divinity Phoenician of the
It was the Phoenician form of god Baal. Originally it
was a god of agricultural field, vegetation, fertility and spring, so their
ritual included a series of rites of death and resurrection annual cyclical, coinciding
with the seasons, however, was also a marine deity , he was a divinity
syncretic nature. He went on to be considered the "king of the city",
which is the etymological meaning of his name (melk king), and as patron of the
The Tyrians saw him as the leader of their sea voyages
and explorations, so they consecrated the temple founded at the same time as
the city of Cadiz on the other end of the main island, where today is the island
of Sancti Petri and in which, according to legend, Hannibal took the oath of
eternal hatred to the Romans before marching toward Sagunto and initiate the
Second Punic War. Although is also said that he did this as a child in
The place where the temple was located early in
He was attributed with the civilization of the savage tribes of the coastlands, the foundation of the Phoenician colonies and the introduction of law and order among men. In several archaeological rests, among which stand out the coins, he is often represented riding a hippocampus. In the late period of the Phoenician civilization, he was also considered the god of the sun which was in union with Baal and Moloch, malignant and benign forces of heaven. Away the hostility between them and therefore reduced the effect of solar glare and the cold winter. That is why in his altar should be a perennial fire.
Every day he followed the elusive Astarte until he was
in a remote corner of West and married her. Marriage brought the downfall of
the goddess and she became the sweet Ashera. The Greeks called him Melicertes
and compared him with Heracles because of the attributes that characterized
warriors. God protector , often depicted in reliefs of steles and in funerary
monuments. He is mentioned in the Bible, when speaking of the god Dagon ,who
was worshiped in the
It is possible, that in reality the name was used to
denote three different gods: First: Ben Dagon appears in Ugaritic texts in
fighting god Baal. Second : Dagan, Sumerian god of fertility, worshiped
throughout the ancient Near East, and finally, in
The description of the Bible agrees with that, seen in
the currencies of several cities, Philistine or Phoenician, in most of them is
represented as Dagon a composite figure, the upper body is human, and the
bottom is fish. It appears that it was a fish god Dagon, a fact that is not surprising
at all, since it seems to have been the chief deity of maritime cities such as
Some experts, however, do not give value to this data, and consider that Dagon was the god of agriculture. His opinion is based on the following statement of the Bible: "Dagon, is spike '[the Hebrew word for shank is dagan]." Dagon, after discovering the wheat and the plow, was called Zeus Plow "(2, 16). The same writer tells us (in Eusebius, Prep. Evang. 1, 6) that, according to ancient Phoenician legend, Dagon was one of four children born of the marriage of Anu, lord of heaven, with his sister, the land.
Contrary to the Baals, who were at the Canaanites especial local gods, seems Dagon to be respected as a national god for the Philistines (I Chronic 10,10). At him they atributed the result of the war, they thanked him with big sacrifice, among which are known those for the capture of Samson . To his temple they brought the trophies of their victories the bow, the armour and the head of Saul.
Paam, the meaning of it is none other than "phallus", in honor of which was performed ritual prostitution, very common among the Phoenicians and other ancient cultures and was carried out with prophylactic end.
Moloch was the supreme god and protector of the city
source: ancient civilizations.
Tags: CIVILIZATIONS-cultures , Phoenician culture
Published bySonia BARJA aThursday,
For more information read to this, written in a comprehensive and concise manner
GESCHICHTE VON ATLANTIS, der vergessene Ursprung unserer Kultur
von Karl Juergen Hepke
TRIGA-DER VERLAG, 2.Aufl. 2008, Hardcover, 268 Seiten, Eur 22,00 , ISBN 978-3-89774-539-1