Phoenicians Today: Who are Phoenicians?
Lebanese 518 (40%) Some Lebanese 140 (10%) Lebs. & Neighbors 185 (14%) Mediterraneans 337 (26%) Others 108 (8%)
1288 Total votes
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Western/Latin and other alphabets come from the Phoenician alphabet? Beritus or Berytus (modern Beirut, Lebanon) had a very important School of Law in the Roman Empire? The Bible is called thus because it refers to the Phoenician city of Byblos ("marketplace of papyrus or byblinos" in Greek? King Solomon's great Temple was built in the style of Tyre's Melqart Temple by Phoenician artisans using the Cedars of Lebanon? The Egyptian Pharoahs employed Phoenician cedar for their wood needs? King Solomon, in his old age, became a worshipper of the Phoenician goddess Ashtarte? Melchizedek, the King of Salem (King of Jerusalem) and Priest of the Most High God (El Elion), who offered bread and wine to Abraham, was Phoenician? The Pentateuch (Moses' first five books, if not more, of the the Old Testament Bible, the Torah) was/were written down (transliterated) in Phoenician script? Jesus Christ visited Phoenicia and among the first to believe in him was a Phoenician woman? The bishops of all Phoenician cities were consecrated as bishops by the Apostles or their immediate successors? Tyre, Sidon and other Phoenician Christian cities and towns provided rest-stops and shelters for the Apostles on their way to convert the world? St. Jerome referred to Tyre as the place where St. Paul once knelt; and called Zarephath, Elijah's town? Phoenicians circumnavigated Africa? Phoenicians were the first to use the Pole Star for navigation? Phoenicians were able traders throughout the Mediterranean? Phoenicians colonized the far corners of the Mediterranean from the Island of Cyprus in the East to Spain and Gibraltar including the outer Atlantic coast and North Africa in the West? Britain was the Phoenicians' secret treasure of tin where the name "Britain" may be coming from Barr (land) of Tannic (Tin)? Hence Britannia did not come from Prutani, the name applied to the Celts by the Romans, and some claim that the Celts were Phoenicians. The Phoenicians reached North America BC and Punic inscriptions in Massachusetts and Iowa confirm this fact? In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer mentions Phoenicia, Phoenicians and Phoenician cities. The Phoenician possessed the science or art of dentistry as evident by the fine braces on a lower jaw of a scull? The Phoenician language is still spoken today in Malta (or Maltese is a mixture of Phoenician/Punic and other Mediterranean languages) ? To beef up their naval powers, conquerors employed the Phoenicians in building warship-fleets? The Phoenicians raised elephants on farms? The first parliament ever to convene in the Middle East met in the Phoenician confederate city of Tripoli? Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (193 - 211 AD) descended from early Phoenician settlers and spoke with a Phoenician accent? Pythagoras was Phoenician and was initiated into the 'Ancient Mysteries' of the Phoenicians c. 548 B.C. and studied for about 3 years in the temples of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos and that his father was a Phoenician merchant from Tyre? Archimedes c.287 B.C.-212 B.C., Greek mathematician, physicist, and inventor, died during the Roman assault on Syracuse while designing a catapult and the Carthaginians fought on his side to defend the city. Thales of Miletus (who was half Phoenician), one of the first great scientists, is said to have forecast the solar eclipse of the year 585 BC. Zeno of Citium was a glowing star in the pre-Socratic age but was ridiculed in Athens for his Phoenician appearance. Popes Anicetus (155 - 166 AD), John V (685-686 AD), Sergius I (687-701 AD) and Gregory III (741-752 AD) and Constantius were Phoenicians? Aristotle held up the constitution of Carthage as a model. Hasdrubal-Clitomachus added to Arcesilas a critical interpretation of certitude which makes him a forerunner of modern thought. St. Augustine was Phoenician. He wrote "...there was a great deal of virtue and wisdom in the Punic books". St. Jerome believed Punic erotic poetry to be pernicious and described it as "lewd". Many parts of the Old Testament were plagiarized from Phoenician literature, poetry, and religion, similar to plagiarizing of the Book of Job (for example ) from Babylonian tales? Phoenician sacrifice of children to the gods was copied/practiced by many Semites such as Abraham's attempt to sacrifice his son? The Phoenicians had a rough knowledge about pi (3.1416) at the time of Hiram and the building of Solomon's Temple? St. Frumentius, Phoenician from Tyre, converted Ethiopia to Christianity? Mochus, a Sidonian, wrote a work on the atomic theory.
Preface The largest web compilation & repository of studies about the origin, history, geography, religion, arts, crafts, trade, industry, climate, mythology, language, literature, music, politics, wars, archaeology and culture of the Canaanite Phoenicians. Note: Phoenicians, Canaanites and Punic/Carthaginians are the same people: Eastern Canaanites called Phoenicians by the Greeks and Western Canaanites called Punic by the Romans.
Missionaries of Civilization The Phoenicians were instrumental in disseminating their form of writing which became our modern alphabet and in opening up various civilizations and cultures of the Mediterranean basin to each other. Both sciences and pseudosciences spread from Egypt and Mesopotamia to Phoenicia and Anatolia. The Phoenicians, in particular, transmitted much of this knowledge to the various lands of the Mediterranean, especially to the Greeks. The direction taken by these influences can be followed from Egypt to Phoenicia, Syria and Cyprus. The evidence comes thanks to a combination of excavated art forms that prove the direction of movement, as well as to Greek tradition. The latter lays great stress on what the early Greek philosophers learned from Egypt. Mesopotamian influence can be traced especially through the partial borrowing of Babylonian science and divination by the Hittites and later by the transmission of information through Phoenicia. The Egyptians and Mesopotamians wrote no theoretical treatises; information had to be transmitted piecemeal through personal contacts.
Phoenician, what's in a name? It is not certain what the Phoenicians called themselves in their own language; it appears to have been Kena'ani (Akkadian: Kinahna), "Canaanites." In Hebrew the word kena'ani has the secondary meaning of "merchant," a term that well characterizes the Phoenicians.
The name 'Phoenicians,' was not what the Phoenicians called themselves but what the Greeks called them; the word means dark red in Greek and refers to the royal Tyrian purple dye that Phoenicians extracted from murex shells to dye cloth with and sold to the rich of the ancient world. The name appears in Psalm 45:14, in the phrase bat melek Ponnima (daughter of the king of the Phoenicians), which parallels bat Sor (daughter of Tyre) of verse 13. The same term, Ponnim (meaning the Phoenician language), appears in a comedy called Poenulus, by the Roman playwright T. Maccius Plautus (died 184 B.C.). The Latin poenus (noun) and punicus (adjective), as well as Greek phoinikos, refer to the term Phoenician.
Ethnic Origin and Language The Phoenicians probably arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean about 3000 B.C., however, nothing is known of their original homeland. What may be the most common ethnic origin they are considered to be is Semitic; however, some studies suggest that their original homeland may have been in the Indian sub-continent long before 3000 B.C. while other studies trace their origin, according to Irish records, to suggest that they descend from a Scythian King named Phoeniusa Farsa...according to the Irish this kings' descendents eventually populated the country of Phoenicia and named the country in his honor...Phoeniusa son.
They spoke Phoenician which is very close to Aramaic. Phoenicians had a language and culture like those of other Semitic peoples in the general area and may be said to have been identical with the Canaanites of North Palestine.
Geography and Major Cities Baalbeck Berytus Byblos Caesarea Carthage Sidon Tyre Zarephta
Political Structure and Colonies Their city states had a loose alliance and they established colonies in the far corners of the Mediterranean.
Religion and Mythology They worshiped fertility gods and goddesses and their belief system was influenced by other religions in the Eastern Mediterranean and had some influence on Greek and Roman mythologies. At the beginning of the Christian era, Phoenicians were the first to accept the new faith after the Jews.
Troubled History Phoenician cities, at the cross-roads of the East, were often invaded and subjugated by foreign conquerors which include Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Macedonians, Persians, and Romans, in addition to others. However, the Phoenicians were basically traders not warriors; and trade and war do not work well together.
Creators of Alphabet They created a form of alphabet which evolved and was adapted by the Greeks to become the backbone of modern alphabet.
Commerce and Other Achievements The Phoenicians were sea-faring traders who carried merchandise and goods across the Mediterranean. They circumnavigator Africa and used the Polar Star as a navigational guide.
Important Visitor to Phoenicia (as opposed to invaders) Herodotus, historian Jesus Christ of Nazareth Saint Paul Saint Peter and other Apostles Origen, Christian scholar Pythagoras, mathematician and philosopher Others (more to come)
Very Important Phoenicians (VIPs) Aquilina of Byblos, Christian martyr (died in 293 A.D.) Barbara of Baalbeck/Heliopolis, Christian martyr (died in 237 A.D.) Cadmus, "Teacher of the Phoenician Alphabet" Christina of Tyre, Christian martyr (died in 300 A.D.) Dorotheus, Jurist and Professor of Roman Law Eusebius Bishop of Berytus (Beirut) Eusebius of Caesarea, Christian Icon Frumentius, Saint, Apostle of Abyssinia Hanno, Circumnavigator of Africa Himilco, Voyager Hiram the Architect, Solomon's Temple Designer Jezebel Princess of Sidon and Queen of Israel (wife of King Ahab of Israel) John Mark Bishop of Byblos designated Bishop by St. Peter Pamphilus, Saint King Hiram of Tyre King Abi-Milki of Tyre King Ethbaal of Sidon (father of Princess Jezebel) King Ahiram of Byblos King Rib-Addi of Byblos King Zimrida of Sidon King Jabin of Hazor Mochus of Sidon wrote on the atomic theory Papinian, Jurist Perpetua and Felicity, Christian martyrs of Carthage (died in 203 A.D.) Philo of Byblos, Writer Porphyry of Tyre, Writer Pythagoras Phoenician Popes Sanchuniathon, Writer Thales of Citium Thales of Miletus, Astronomer Theodosia of Tyre, Christian martyr (died 293 A.D.) Ulpian, Jurist Zadok the Priest Zeno of Citium, Philosopher Zeno of Sidon, Philosopher Others (more to come)
Phoenician Art, Crafts, Music, and Literature They dyed cloth which was the prized possession of the rich and worked in precious metals and ivory. Most Phoenician literature is unknown or was lost. However, second hand information and some ecclesiastical Phoenician works survive. Traces of their music may still be found in some church music today.
The Logo or Coat of Arms © The logo or Coat of Arms is my own creation and it represents Phoenician achievements and mythology. The two creatures or mythological monsters -- part horse, part fish -- called hippocampus come from Phoenician antiquity and represent Phoenician mythology. (The Trade link, under the subtitle Transit Trade, contains an image of a Phoenician silver coin with an impression of the hippocampus monster and a Phoenician ship.) Further, on the top of the logo, a piece of marble with Phoenician script represents Phoenician alphabet. Beneath it, the cloth represents famous Phoenician dyed cloth. At the very bottom, amphorae represent vessels which were used to carry Phoenician merchandise, as they traded about the Mediterranean.
Approach to This History While researching material for this Web site, I have tried to be open to all new and sometimes controversial subjects. This is why some sections may contradict others in the same site, as well as contain quasi archaeology. Also, I have tried to be non-dogmatic in my approach, except when faced with blatantly outrageous claims. I am always willing and ready to shift paradigm. Further, I must insist, stress and categorically affirm that I have NO political, religious or ethnic agenda in promoting and disseminating information about my Phoenician Canaanites ancestors. Suggestions of nationalism, fanaticism or political propaganda are emphatically rejected. Phoenicia Died Out Misinformation A number of historians ignorantly claim that the name, Phoenicia ceased from use in 64 BC, when it became part of the Roman world. However, official records indicate that in 425 AD Phoenicia Prima was subdivided into two provinces, Phoenicia Maritima and Phoenicia Libanensis by the Romans. Further, excavations of at Tel Kadesh (158 BC) in Israel as well as the witness of Saint Augustine (400 AD), Church Councils of Tyre (449 & 515 AD), the Fall of Phoenicia to the Arabs (640 AD) and the honorary living title "Metropolitan of Phoenicia Maritima" which Lebanese bishops continue to carry today (MP3 Byzantine psaltica chants: Bishop of Beirut & Bishop of Tripoli -- see page with translation) are a few of many solid proofs that Phoenicia and its people live on despite the misinformation.
The Bible and/or Tanach and History Though there is some history in the Bible, Torah, Tanach and Apocryphal writings, using any of these books of faith for historical research and discussions is unacceptable. Having said this, I must confess that I am a Christian and do respect the Bible as a didactic source of faith. The said ancient scriptures and their mythological stories are unreliable historical sources; however, some historical outlines from the same books may be used in very general terms. This position may sound like that of the minimalist or nihilists (mentioned below) but it does not go to their extremes. Hence, the historicity of Kings Hiram, David and Solomon, Queen Jezebel, Ahab...etc. are allowable exceptions, in my opinion. So-called proofs of historical or genealogical significance based on these books are respectfully rejected dogma.
The Semites Bible fanatics continue to write to me about the Semites being the descendents of Shem using the Bible as supporting evidence. This claim is completely unfounded. The term Semites is applied to a group of people closely related in language but not necessarily of the same ethnic origin -- Arabs, Israelis, Phoenicians, Aramaeans, Syriac...etc. They inhabited parts of the Levant. Though the expression is derived from the Biblical "table" of nations and the people are supposed to be descendants of Noah's son Sem (Shem), the term does not have any historical origin. It came into use at the end of the 18th century* and thereafter became a standard technical term. Like many other common mistakes -- such as lumping all the peoples of the Middle East into one pan-Arab group -- the term Semite was adopted and used without denoting true ethnicity. ________________
- The term Semite was proposed at first for the languages related to the Hebrew by Ludwig Schlözer, in Eichhorn's "Repertorium", vol. VIII (Leipzig, 1781), p. 161. Through Eichhorn the name then came into general usage (cf. his "Einleitung in das Alte Testament" (Leipzig, 1787), I, p. 45. In his "Gesch. der neuen Sprachenkunde", pt. I (Göttingen, 1807) it had already become a fixed technical term. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII
For Stifling Phoenician History, I Accuse: Eurocentrism, Judeocentrism, Arabists and Fundamentalist Christians It became evident to me during my research that various forces impacted almost all Phoenician/Canaanite subjects. In short, I found that historians and archaeologists were predominantly inclined to Eurocentrism or Judeocentrism. Specifically, Phoenician thinkers were ignored and their work credited to the Greeks, Romans or Israelites.
N.B. The red-highlighted "formulae" are to be applied to all the paragraphs that follow though they don't negate racial intermarriages. Comments or correspondence regarding these points are regretfully not open for discussion. Abuse of open dialogue has made this measure necessary.
Phoenicians are not = to Arab, Israelis, sub-Saharan (black) Africans; Canaanites are = Phoenician Canaanites, Punic (north African Phoenicians)
On the other hand, Minimalists/Nihilists (as referred to by Biblical Archaeologists) dismiss the 5 books of Moses and with them the exile in Egypt of Israelites, Exodus...etc as nothing but fiction written later than 1000 BC. With that they dismiss the existence of Kings David and Solomon. Their position is considered anti-Semitic by some; and they claim that the Israelites were actually Canaanites themselves. By doing that they confuse Phoenician Canaanite history with Israeli history (see the page entitled "Stealing"). The same is further aggravated by some fundamentalist Christian's British Israelism and the confusion over equating Dan, the lost tribe of Israel, with the Phoenicians.
Roman Bad Press, Bible Writers, and Fanatics Also, anti-Phoenician sentiments were the result of bad press by Roman historians, particularly after the Punic wars, and Jewish zealotism and hate of Phoenician religion by Bible writers. This was particularly so because of the infestation of pagan worship in the religion of the Israel caused by Queen Jezebel of Israel (a Phoenician Princess). Fundamentalist obsession with the literal interpretation of their religious book or political fanaticism of others with various agenda cloud the truth.
Arabists and Arab nationalists' antagonism of Phoeniciology and their "Phoenician Complex" Many of various religious backgrounds from Arab countries, especially Lebanon and Levant Arabists simply cannot tolerate the mention of the Phoenicians or their descendent in the modern world. They assume such a mention has political and religious overtones. However, Phoenician blood runs through their own veins themselves and most people in the region -- Phoenician does not mean Maronite Christian only, something which nobody claims but which Arabists assume. Further, there is no reason for those aforementioned who suffer from this Phoenician Complex to deny their heritage. Such people have no shame and are fools to ignore their great heritage. Many people of the Western Mediterranean including European and North African Muslim, Arab countries proudly accept Phoenician as their heritage and ancestry. (see the page on Tunisia). Canaanite Phoenicians pre-date the Arabs, anyway.
Afrocentrism Afrocentrism is not without blame in smothering Phoenician contribution to the ancient world. Many historians and archaeologists of that persuasion claim that the Phoenicians Canaanites themselves where sub-Saharan African based on unscientific Biblical myths or some unfounded claims that associates Canaanites with Egyptians. They, therefore, deny the Canaanites their proper place in history . Phoenicians of the Eastern Mediterranean or the Western Mediterranean (such as famous Hannibal or the Phoenicians of Carthage, Spain, Portugal, Sicily...etc.), the Punic, were Semites*
- This statement does not negate the theory that all humans first evolved in Africa and thereafter populated the world.
What's New in Phoenicia?
What was Historical Syria and Phoenicia? Is there confusion? (Syria link)
Did the Phoenicians Introduce the Idea of Interest to Greece & Italy; if so When? (Debt-Interest link); & "City-specific coins" coinage (Money link)
Living Phoenicians: Who is Phoenician and who is Arab today? Updated page (LivingPhoenicians link)
Elissar, Dido, Queen of Carthage and her “shining city” (Elissar link); & Jezebel, Phoenician Queen of Israel. (Jezebel link)
Tertullian of Carthage, Early Church Father (Tertullian link); & Phoenician & Popes Phoenician Saint Augustine of Hippo ("Popes" & "Augustine" links left).
"In Perpetuum Honorum" to Emir (Prince) Maurice Chehab for saving treasures of the Lebanese National Museum. (Honorum link)
Chants honoring Lebanese archbishops today proclaiming them "Metropolitan Archbishops of Phoenicia Maritima." (Metropolitan link)
History of the Syriac Orthodox Church (Syriacs links); & Byzantines of the East, the Melkites ("Melkites" link)
Hall of Maps and Marinus of Tyre, Mathematical Cartographer (Maps or Marinus links)
Who was the Phoenician god Adon (Adonis) and how did his name become "Lord" in Hebrew? (Adonis link)
The Lebanese-Phoenicians are from Lebanon-Phoenicia and from nowhere else. (Lebanese Phoenicians link)
The Phoenicians in East Africa, From the Red to the Med. (EastAfrica link); & Phoenician Gold Mines of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia ("Zimbabwe" link)
Wenamun in Byblos: shopped for wood, a valued Phoenician commodity. (Wenamun and Wood links)
Phoenicians introduced the world to viticulture and wine appreciation. (Wine link)
Phoenician Canaanite History TIMELINE (TIMELINE link)
Phoenician Saint Pamphilus of Cæsarea, rich son of Berytus (Beirut) (Pamphilus link)
Chrysippus of Soli, Phoenician cofounder of Stoicism (Chrysippus link); & Jamblichus, Phoenician Neapolitan Philosopher ("Iamblichus" link)
Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Phoenician/ Punic Christian Martyrs from Carthage (Martyrs link)
Phoenician craftsworkers in Egypt ("Egyptcrafts" link)
Roman Emperors "Severus" of Phoenician blood ("Imperial" link)
Shattered Christian Minorities of the Middle East ("Minorities" link)
Porphyry Malchus of Tyre, the mathematician ("Porphyry" link)
Pythagoras, Phoenician/ Greek mathematician ("Pythagoras" link)
St. Frumentius, Phoenician Apostle of Ethiopia ("Ethiopia" link)
Phoenician discoveries and the Origin of the Olympic Games and the ancient Amrit Stadium & Archaeology & Sports History by Dr. Labib Boutros ("Olympics" & "Sports" links left).
Phoenicians Founded Genoa jointly with ancient ancestors of Celtic tribes ("Genoa" link)
Phoenician influence on Greek Religion, physical signs of this influence -- killer study ("Greek" link)
Himilco's voyage to Northeastern shore of Europe and updated information on Hanno the voyager ("Himilico" and "Hanno" links left).
How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs through Phoenician Christians and Other Eastern Christians. ("Science" link)
Phoenician Jerusalem, Urushalem, the City Founded by Shalem, Phoenician God of Dusk ("Jerusalem" link)
Genetic & Anthropologic study of the Lebanese, including the famous Y-chromosome study. ("Genetics" link) En español -- in Spanish.