The first great navigators of the Mediterranean, the Phoenicians traded from their home in the Levant/Lebanon, to Egypt, Cyprus and on to the very western reaches of the Mediterranean.
They traded with the rich Egyptian rulers and settled trading colonies on the coast of many other cultures, spreading goods and cultural influences around the seas, creating a rich cross-fertilisation of arts, society and knowledge. But one of their greatest legacies is that they introduced the first alphabetical script in the world. From this, all Western literature would flow.
Archaeological Features & Sites to Look For;
As such great travellers, signs of their culture can be found over much of the Mediterranean coast.
Stone sarcophagi are an easy ‘spot’: plain and smooth for all except the feet and the head, they have Egyptian influences but look at those faces ...
Frustratingly, for creators of the concept of the alphabetic the thousands of inscriptions they leave are nearly all relating to one particular religious aspect/temple. Few other records (and no literature) have been found.
Phoenician Secrets, Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean by Sanford Holst (Santorini 2011) reveals theories about the Phoenicians and gives a positive and powerful insight into the impact and legacy of the elusive Phoenicians.
Carthage must be Destroyed by Richard Miles (Penguin 2011) charts the Rise and Fall of this ancient civilisation.
Top Archaeological Sites
Museums & Places To Visit
TV and catch-up on iPlayer & DVD
In our Time on Radio 4 is hosted by Melvyn Bragg and the always-accessible archives include several programmes related to the Phoenicians, including a recent 2014 episode simply entitle Phoenicians: