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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Ancient Civilizations

World History - Ancient Civilizations
Who Were the Phoenicians?

The Phoenicians

Who Were the Phoenicians?
There never was a country called "Phoenicia." The land of the Phoenicians' was located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, Lebanon today. Sea people traders became an important society between 900 to 700 BC. There were two groups: The Canaanites from the South, and the Aegeans from the area around Greece.

Why Did the Phoenicians Become Great Traders?

Location. They were near the sea. The land was dry and hilly - bad for farming.

Assets. They had timber for ships, crafts, and trade.

Technology. Shipbuilding and navigation; first to make clear glass.

Sailing Adventures
By 600 BC, the Phoenicians had sailed around Africa. They traded by leaving goods on the shore. The people would come and leave something by it. If the Phoenicians thought it was a good trade, they would take the payment, and the people knew they could take the product. If not, the buyers could either leave more, or take their payment away.

Phoenician Ivory
A Phoenician Ivory Carving From About 800 BC

The Arameans were also traders, but not sea traders; they used camel caravans. Phoenicians and Arameans became socially strong, not military strong; they were traders, not fighters.

Daily Life

Writing - The Phoenician Alphabet
The Phoenicians used Mesopotamian cuneiform at first, simplifying cuneiform and hieroglyphics. They later developed and spread an alphabet, making widespread literacy possible. An alphabet is far easier to learn than 1,000s of picture symbols. The Phoenicians carried this alphabet wherever they traded. (The reason our alphabet is mostly straight lines is because the symbols are easier to make in clay.)

The Phoenician people wore long dresses. Men wore beads, long hair, and jewelry. They were known as the "Purple People" because of a dye they used in clothing. The purple dye was made from sea shells, and it cost so much to produce that only the rich could afford it.

Economy - The Phoenicians were traders.
Religion - Polytheistic
Government - Merchants led the government, made powerful through local councils.

Migration The Phoenicians went south toward the coast to a fertile area. In 1200 BC the Philistines came to Canaan and the area became known as Palestine. (Another group, the Hebrews, settled in Israel - The two groups have never gotten along.)

Phoenician Accomplishments

Inventing the Alphabet
Traders had to be able to write in order to keep track of their business transactions. The Phoenician alphabet used 20 symbols had only consonants - no vowels.

Early Money
Early Money Was Made in All Shapes and Sizes.

Inventing Money
Phoenicians used bullion and coins - no paper money. By 900 BC they started writing on their coins. Now, one must have money in order to trade.

Aramaic Language
People kept their own language, but Aramaic became the important second language - Like English is today.

Levant Culture
Phoenicians and Arameans blended together trade and became the important culture.

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Mesopotamia and the City of Sumeria

The Fall of Mesopotamia

Who Were the Phoenicians?

History of the Hebrew People

More Information
Compare Phoenician, Greek & Roman Alphabets

Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | Renaissance and Reformation |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era



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Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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