It cannot be said that ancient Phenicia occupied vast territories, in comparison with other great powers of antiquity: Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Phenicia owned only a small piece of land. On the other hand, the Phoenician ships sailed the entire Mediterranean Sea, visited the shores of Spain, Greece, North Africa, and, perhaps, even went out into the Atlantic Ocean. In all the ports of the Mediterranean, Phoenician merchants carried on intensive trade, and the Phoenician pirates became famous for their desperate bravery. It was with the sea that the life of the Phoenicians was inextricably linked, and Phenicia itself can well be called the first great maritime power of antiquity, and our today's article is about it.It is not known for certain who the first Phoenicians were. Although their ancestors lived on the territory of the state of Phenicia back in the III millennium BC. That is, as evidenced by archaeological excavations.
Herodotus and other ancient historians name the islands in the Persian Gulf as the place of origin of the Phoenicians. Indeed, many modern researchers note the similarity of the Canaanite languages (which the Phoenicians actually spoke) and the South Arabian languages. The division may have occurred in the 4th millennium BC. That is, when part of the southern Arabian tribes settled on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, the place was excellent in every respect.
Nature gave the ancient Phoenicians all the opportunities for a fertile life, land, although there was not much, the one that was, was famous for its fertility, moist sea winds brought rains, thereby making artificial irrigation unnecessary. Since ancient times, dates, olives, grapes have grown in the orchards and vegetable gardens of the Phoenicians, and goats and sheep ran in the meadows. In a word, the favorable climate of Phenicia was undoubtedly one of the main assets of this country.
The Phoenician religion, which allowed human sacrifice, was of Semitic origin. They worshiped Baal and Astarte (the same as Bel and Ishtar), and in Tire the cult of Melkart was developed, which the Greeks compared with their Hercules. The Phoenicians built sanctuaries to their gods and in foreign lands; they had, for example, temples in Memphis, Jerusalem, Samaria, and other places. For export to foreign countries, they fabricated idols, so that in the field of religion they played an intermediary role.