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Old October 9th, 2015, 09:01 AM   #1
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Phoenician history


I have always been very curious about the Phoenician, I mean for me they are a small merchants' population that spread from Lebanon to North Africa, founded Cartage, the greatest enemy in Roman history, and get up to Spain and South Italy ( I admit it, the Phoenician relations with my country have something to do with my curiosity), I considered them an excellent example of adapting to situations ( they were conquered by the Persians and managed to became their greatest admirals), but I know my knowledge of them is really superficial: I want to know more, but on the net, at least on the Italian one, it looks like they left no traces, like we know few of them, like no books have been written about them, so what do we really know about them? Do we have Phoenician documents or do we use other populations' documents to rebuild their history ?
Plus, I'd like to learn their langauge, but again it looks like we don't know it, didn't they leave any written documents ? Don't we know how their language was like?
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Old October 9th, 2015, 09:25 PM   #2

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Some funerary inscriptions and small bits of late era Punic writing exist but most of the knowledge comes from earlier records around Tyre and records of Greeks. Romans wrote about them but did not bother to record many specific details and seemed to pass on rumors or stereotypes as readily as any accurate information.

I have not heard of any full Phoenician writings though maybe they exist or will be found. It is possible I might have missed something because I don't keep up as much as I used to but it also seems the Phoenicians aside from a few key cities left relatively small traces in most of the territories they nominally controlled.
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Old October 10th, 2015, 12:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ichon View Post
Some funerary inscriptions and small bits of late era Punic writing exist but most of the knowledge comes from earlier records around Tyre and records of Greeks. Romans wrote about them but did not bother to record many specific details and seemed to pass on rumors or stereotypes as readily as any accurate information.

I have not heard of any full Phoenician writings though maybe they exist or will be found. It is possible I might have missed something because I don't keep up as much as I used to but it also seems the Phoenicians aside from a few key cities left relatively small traces in most of the territories they nominally controlled.

So, what we really know about them? Do we know how was their society structured? On which resources they relied on ( where they only merchants or did they had a developed agriculture) ?
Why didn't they leave traces?
And again, what do we know about their language?
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Old October 10th, 2015, 05:28 AM   #4

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Thutmosis III mentions a people living on the coastal Levant called Fenkhu.
The term Phoenician is a very late phonetic rendition, quite possibly referring to those same peoples.
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Old October 10th, 2015, 07:56 AM   #5

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Tyre, Sidon, and other Phoenician cities in coastal Levant were not the same as Punic or Carthaginian though obviously related enough information is known to establish they did operate differently and were also centuries apart in time of golden ages so...

How the Punic societies functioned is largely a mystery. We have mentions mostly from Roman writers but they did not always agree and mentioned only small bit semi randomly. Archeology is slowly progressing our knowledge but can't answer complex social questions very well as it is up to modern interpretations.

I think enough Punic translations exist to reasonably understand the language but there exist very few long form examples of interest so Punic history is largely silent on cultural matters.

Last edited by Ichon; October 10th, 2015 at 07:59 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2015, 08:46 AM   #6
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Tyre, Sidon, and other Phoenician cities in coastal Levant were not the same as Punic or Carthaginian though obviously related enough information is known to establish they did operate differently and were also centuries apart in time of golden ages so...

How the Punic societies functioned is largely a mystery. We have mentions mostly from Roman writers but they did not always agree and mentioned only small bit semi randomly. Archeology is slowly progressing our knowledge but can't answer complex social questions very well as it is up to modern interpretations.

I think enough Punic translations exist to reasonably understand the language but there exist very few long form examples of interest so Punic history is largely silent on cultural matters.

What were the differences between the social cities and the Punic?
So, we know the language but we had few written documents about cultural matters, right? This means we know how the language worked but we lost documents written in Phoenician, by the way do we know if the Phoenician wrote about cultural matters? Did they develop a literature as the Romans and the Greek did ?
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Old October 10th, 2015, 09:30 AM   #7
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Hi,
I too am very interesting in the Phoenicians but as OP has said there is very little information on the internet.

I found this website has some useful information and articles (but has some rubbish articles): History of the Phoenician Canaanites

And I also read this book :
[ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phoenician-Secrets-Exploring-Ancient-Mediterranean/dp/0983327904/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444497812&sr=8-1&keywords=phoenicians"]Phoenician Secrets: Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean: Amazon.co.uk: Sanford Holst: 9780983327905: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dZOb50brL.@@AMEPARAM@@51dZOb50brL[/ame]
But as a work of history this book is mostly rubbish, but as entertainment and as an 'imagining' of Phoenician history its alright. Basically, the author tries to tie together some actual history with what he imagined might have happened, some of this imagined history 'rings' true but lots of its seems like crap (e.g. the Phoenicians become the Minoans).

This book is much better but is mainly about the Carthage and Punic wars:
[ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carthage-Must-Be-Destroyed-Civilization/dp/0141018097/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=13G2TD58XFZFSVRPRQT K&dpID=51vsRh80NPL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL200_SR13 0%2C200_"]Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization: Amazon.co.uk: Richard Miles: 9780141018096: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vsRh80NPL.@@AMEPARAM@@51vsRh80NPL[/ame]

If anyone knows any other decent Phoenician resources I would also be interested.

Thanks

Jerome
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Old October 11th, 2015, 08:32 AM   #8

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If I recall correctly, didn't some of the Phoenicians at one point sack a temple thus causing outrage as it was sacrilege?
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Old October 11th, 2015, 09:20 PM   #9
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Near as I can tell, the Phonecians were Western Semitic Caanaanites who, farther north in Lebanon had good harbours where city states developed and thus developed a maritime tradition while other Canaanites farther east remained agrarian and ultimately were conquered by Philistines and Israelites.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 04:40 AM   #10
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Near as I can tell, the Phonecians were Western Semitic Caanaanites who, farther north in Lebanon had good harbours where city states developed and thus developed a maritime tradition while other Canaanites farther east remained agrarian and ultimately were conquered by Philistines and Israelites.

So Israelites weren't Canaanites? If so, why are Hebrew and Phoenician languages related ?
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