- I. Geography and Topography.
- General Description; Acre, Achzib (§ 1).
- Region South of Tyre (§ 2).
- Tyre (§ 3).
- Region Between Tyre and Sidon (§ 4).
- Sidon (§ 5).
- Sidon to Beirut (§ 6).
- Beirut to al-Shakkai (§ 7).
- Tripolis and Environs (§ 8).
- Extreme Northern Phenicia (§ 9).
- II. Names and Ethnology.
- Names (§ 1).
- Ethnology (§ 2).
- III. Religion.
- Deities (§ 1).
- Cult (§ 2).
- IV. History.
- Till the Assyrian Period (§ 1).
- Assyrian to the Roman Period (§ 2).
- Trade and Discovery (§ 3).
I. Geography and Topography: (§ 1). General Description; Acre, Achzib. The term Sidonions or Sidonians is employed in the Old Testament to denote the Phenicians (cf. I Kings v. 6, xvi. 31), though their country is called Phenicia or Phenice (I Esd. ii. 17 sqq.; II Macc. iii. 5, etc.; Acts xi. 19, xv. 3, xxi. 2). The boundaries of the country can not be determined definitely, for the scanty allusions to the Phenicians do not tell how far inland their domains extended. That they did extend inland is certain (cf. I Kings v. 9), and Josephus states (Ant., XIII., v. 6; War, II., xviii. 1, IV., ii. 3) that the city of Cedasa or Cydyssa was a Tyrian stronghold on the border of Galilee. The Phenician coast falls into three natural divisions: southern Phenicia, from Ras al-Abjad to the Nahr al-'Awali, north of Sidon; central Phenicia, from the Nahr al-'Awali to al-Shakkai; and northern Phenicia, from al-Shakkai to Ras ibn Hani or to Ras al-Basit. In ancient history the southern and the northern divisions are alone important. The Philistine conquests permanently separated the southern cities from association with the Phenicians, and deprived them of such cities as Joppa and Dor; not until the Persian rule did the Phenicians again control these regions. Before discussing Phenicia proper brief mention should be made of two cities, Acre and Achzib. The former lies on a steep promontory extending southward into the sea and forming a natural haven of medium size with the eastern edge of St. George's Bay. Owing to deposits of silt the harbor is deserted, and trade is diverted to the neighboring Haifa. In ancient times this city was of importance because of its haven and the roads connecting it with the interior, especially the "way of the sea" (Isa. ix. 1). The city is mentioned by Sethos I. under the name of 'Aka about 1320 B.C., and about 380 Artaxerxes Mnemon made it his base in his expedition against Egypt. Ptolemy II. Philadelphus refounded the city and named it Ptolemais. It passed into the possession of the Seleucids in 198 B.C., and was an important military center in the Maccabean wars. In 65 B.C. Pompey brought it under the Romans, for whom it constituted the most important harbor of Palestine. In 1103 A.D. it was taken by Baldwin I., given to Saladin in 1187, retaken by the crusaders in 1189, and destroyed by Sultan Malik al-Ashraf in 1291. Rebuilt in 1749, the city has slowly increased, despite the attack of Napoleon in 1799 and the bombardment of the united English, Austrian, and Turkish fleet in 1840, until it now contains a population of about 11,000. Some nine miles to the north, and not far from the coast, lies the small village al-Zib, representing the Achzib of Judges xix. 29. A quarter of an hour to the north is the spring of 'Ain al-Mashairfah, which has been compared with the Misrephoth-maim of Josh. xi. 8, xiii. 6.
(§ 2). Region South of Tyre. Here the Jabal al-Mushakkah approaches the coast, and the ascent to the promontory of Ras al-Nakurah brings the traveler to Phenicia proper. To the north of the road stretches a small stony strip of coast in the form of a crescent to the second promontory, the Ras al-Abjad, or "White Promontory." The valley between the two promontories shows ruins of two ancient sites, Umm al-'Amud and Iskandarunah, the former perhaps being the ancient Ramantha or Ramitha, the Greek Leuke Akte, later called Laodicea, and the latter dating back, at least in name, to the Roman Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). In 1116 A.D. Iskandarunah was rebuilt by Baldwin I. as a base of operations against Tyre. The ancient road over the White Promontory runs for about forty minutes close to the declivity. In the course of centuries portions of it have been hewn in the rocks, and in especially steep places stone stairs have been cut, so that Josephus and the Talmud give as the ancient name of this road the "Tyrian Stairs."
(§ 3). Tyre. North of the Ras al-Abjad a small plain extends between the shores and the foot of the mountains of Galilee. The streams are shallow and have little water, though good springs are occasionally found, especially about an hour south of Tyre in the Ras al-'Ain and ten minutes to the north, both about a quarter of an hour from the shore. Three other wells and an aqueduct, the latter apparently of Roman architecture, are found about fifteen minutes north of Ras al-'Ain. It was doubtless the springs of this promontory which first attracted the Phenicians, which they also used for their city.
The distance from Ras al-'Ain to Tyre is an hour, and the plain with its sandy coast is one and a half miles broad. Modern Tyre, a town of some 6,000 inhabitants, lies on the northern side of a peninsula, while the ancient Phenician city was situated on an island. The prophet Ezekiel, like the Assyrian King Asshurbanipal, describes Tyre as built "in the midst of the seas" (xxviii. 2, cf. xxvii. 3-4, xxvi. 4), and the name itself means "rock." The island on which Tyre lay would seem to be the present peninsula where the modern town is situated. Of the buildings of the ancient city little is known. According to Menander of Ephesus (cf. Josephus, Apion, i. 18; Ant., VIII., v. 3), Hiram I., the contemporary of Solomon, rebuilt the old temples. Special mention is made of the temple of Heracles (Melkarth) and Astarte, while Herodotus (ii. 44) refers to the temple of Thasian Heracles, which is probably identical with the Agenorium of Arrian (Anabasis, ii. 25-26). According to Menander and Dius, Hiram extended the city to the east and there constructed the great square, or Eurychorum. The ancient city had two harbors, the Sidonian to the north, and the Egyptian to the south. The former is now choked with sand, and the latter has entirely disappeared. On the main land opposite the island lay a city called Old Tyre by Menander, Strabo, Pliny, and others. It would seem, however, that the city in question was really called Ushu, a name occurring in the Amarna Tablets and the Assyrian inscriptions, and probably in the Authu of Egyptian monuments. The patron deity of the city was Usoos, who was said to have been the first to sail the sea on a tree trunk, while his brother, Samemrumus, built huts of reed in Tyre (see SANCHUNIATHON). This legend seems to imply that the island city of Pyre was settled from the mainland. The accounts of "Old Tyre" vary so widely that it is uncertain whether one or more places are meant, or whether sites are referred to which belong to different periods. Ancient Tyre, which seems to have had an important suburb at Ras al-Ma'shuk, ceased to be an island city in consequence of the siege by Alexander the Great in 332, when he constructed a vast mole, four stadia long and two plethra wide, from the mainland to the eastern side of the island (cf. Arrian, Anabasis, ii. 17 sqq.; Diodorus Siculus, xvii. 40). The walls, said to be over 150 feet high, rendered the mole useless at first, but the Greek fleet bottled up the Tyrian ships in the harbors, whereupon the troops of Alexander were able to storm the relatively weaker ramparts on the south. In the taking of the city Arrian states that 8,000 fell, while 30,000 were sold as slaves, figures which imply a dense population. Tyre was not wholly destroyed, however, by the Greek conqueror, and in 316-315 it was besieged in vain by Antigonus for fourteen months. Coming under Seleucid control in 198, it apparently bought its autonomy in 126, later restricted by Augustus. On his journey from Miletus to Jerusalem Paul found Christians at Tyre (Acts xxi. 3-6), and a bishop of Tyre, Cassius, is mentioned at the Synod of Cæsarea toward the end of the second century. The crusaders were in possession of the city 1124-91 A.D., after which the Sultan Malik al-Ashraf occupied the place. 'The history of modern Tyre begins in 1766, when a sheik named Hanzar settled in the ruins and rebuilt them. After the destructive earthquake of 1837 the buildings were reconstructed by Ibrahim Pasha.
(§ 4). Region between Tyre and Sidon. The coast north of Tyre resembles that of the southern vicinity of the city. First the sandy shore, then a level plain stretching inland for about a mile, and then the beginning of the plateau of Galilee. Almost two hours north of Tyre is the mouth of the Nahr al-Kasimiyah, after which the strip of coast narrows, while the foothills are rich in tombs of various periods. At the foot of the range are traces of the old Roman road from Tyre to Sidon. North of the Wadi abu'l-Aswad is a ruined site called 'Adlun, apparently the town of Ornithopolis, mentioned by Strabo as a Sidonian colony. An hour farther north a promontory and a village bear the name of Zarafand, the Zarephath of the Bible (I Kings xvii. 9-10; Obadiah 20; Sarepta, Luke iv. 26). The Crusaders made Zarephath an episcopal see, and the Wali al-Khidr is held to mark the abode of the prophet Elijah. From Zarafand the coast bends westward, the first great rivers from the western slope of the Lebanon being found in the Nahr al-Zaharani and the Nahr Sanik. The gardens now begin, and become more numerous and more beautiful the closer the traveler approaches Zaida, the ancient Sidon.
(§ 5). Sidon. The modern city of Zaida is situated on a flat promontory between 200 and 300 yards wide, with a small rocky peninsula, 600 yards long. The northern quarter and a series of reefs and islands protect the inner harbor, while to the eastward stretches the outer harbor, which was used as an anchorage in summer. The peninsula bears the remains of ancient walls, and similar ruins are found on an island to the north of the harbor and on other reefs. The Phenician Sidon extended some 700 yards farther east than the modern town. The basalt sarcophagus of King Eshmunazar was discovered in 1855 ten minutes southeast of the city; in 1887, near the village of al-Halaliyah, seventeen magnificent Phenician and Greek sarcophagi were found, among them those of Tabnit, father of Eshmunazar, and the alleged sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Excavations since 1900 have revealed a temple of Eshmun on the Nahr al-'Awali, also ancient aqueducts. In the Old Testament a "Great Sidon" is mentioned (Josh. xi. 8, xix. 28). This phrase is repeated on the Taylor cylinder with the words "Little Sidon" beside it, though the basis of the distinction is as yet unknown. The ancient city of Sidon was destroyed by Artaxerxes Ochus in 348 B.C. Yet after Alexander and during the Roman period Sidon remained an important city. Paul, on his way to Rome, found Christians there (Acts xxvii. 3), and the bishop of Sidon attended the Nicene Council of 325. Later the city declined and in 637-638 surrendered to the Mohammedans without resistance. During the crusades it was repeatedly taken and refortified, last by Louis IX. of France in 1253. Seven years later it was sacked by the Mongols, and in 1291 came under the control of Malik al-Ashraf. Early in the seventeenth century Sidon was revived by the Druse Prince Fakhr al-Din. It likewise enjoyed the protection of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, but in 1840 was attacked by the fleet of the European allies.
(§ 6). Sidon to Beirut. The little plain about Sidon stretches to the north about to the Nahr al-'Awali, from the north side of which, about a half-hour from the city, the district of the Lebanon comprises the coast until near Tarabulus, or Tripolis, with the exception of Beirut and its immediate vicinity. This valley and the comparatively low passes near by were doubtless used in antiquity as the shortest road from Sidon to Damascus. The coast now becomes more stony, with no coast plain. Between the Ras Jedrah and the Ras al-Damur the towns of Platanus (or Platana) and Porphyreum must have lain, where Antiochus the Great defeated the general of Ptolemy IV. Philopator in 218 B.C. North of the Ras al-Damur is the mouth of the Nahr al-Damur, the Damuras, Demarus, or Tamyras of the ancients. A conspicuous point on the coast is the promontory of Beirut (Ras Bairut), with the city of the same name at its foot. To the east is a small well-populated plain on the banks of the Nahr Bairut, the ancient Magoras, as well as on the coast, which runs about six miles to the east and forms St. George's Bay. The background is formed by the steep terraces of Lebanon with green valleys, neat farm houses, and small villages on the lower slopes, higher up remnants of the once famous forests, and at the summit a bare sharp ridge. In ancient Phenicia the city was of no importance, though its name, which apparently means "wells," occurs in the Amarna Tablets, which designate the place as the seat of the Egyptian vassal Ammunira. Beirut attained prominence as the Roman Colonia Julia Augusta Felix Berytus. It was famed for its school of law and for its silk-weaving until it was damaged by the earthquake of 529. Its second period of prosperity began when the Druse Prince Fakhr al-Din (1595-1634) made it his chief residence. It is now the center of trade and commerce for the entire Syrian coast, especially as it has been connected with Damascus since 1895 by a railway. The city is the center of Syrian Christian culture, represented by American Presbyterian (The Syrian Protestant College) and Jesuit institutions of learning, and by German Protestant benevolent organizations. The British Syrian mission also maintains a series of schools, the Scotch mission works chiefly among Jews, Mohammedans, and Druses, while various French religious orders labor for the education of the natives and the care of the sick. This activity has spurred the non-Christian Syrians to establish schools. Beirut is the seat of a wali and contains about 120,000 inhabitants.
(§ 7). Beirut to al-Shakkai. Some two and a half miles east of Beirut the coast resumes its northerly course and soon reaches the mouth of the Nahr al-Kalb, the Lycus of the classics. The mountains here touch the water, and are crossed by the coast roads. The present road and railway from Beirut to the north is the closest to the sea level. Some ninety feet higher is the Roman road constructed by Marcus Aurelius about 176-180 A.D. Higher still three Egyptian and six Assyrian inscriptions or sculptures show that armies were led across this to promontory over a much steeper, but more accessible road, by Rameses II. about 1300, Tiglath-Pileser I. about 1140, Shalmaneser II. about 850, Sennacherib in 702, and Esarhaddon in 670 (see ASSYRIA, VI., 3, §§ 3, 7, 13). Later still, Greek, Roman, crusading, and Mohammedan armies passed over these roads, and finally the soldiers of the French expedition of 1860. The railway runs along the road to Ma'amiltain on the Bay of Juniyah. From this point the old road again follows the coast, and at the northern end of the bay is hewn through the rock. An hour and a half farther to the north is the Nahr Ibrahim, the classical Adonis, closely associated with the Aphrodite legend. This goddess, the Astarte (q.v.) of the Phenicians, had her famous temple near the source of the river, which issues from a cavern under the steep high wall of the Jabal al-Munaitirah. The ruins of the fane, 90 feet long and fifty-five feet wide, may still be seen, and probably represent the temple of Venus of Aphaka, destroyed by Constantine the Great in the fourth century. The modern village of Afka is situated fifteen minutes above the source. Near the village of al-Ghinah, on the southern bank of the river, sculptures were found by Renan representing the leaping goddess and the death of Adonis. The center of the Adonis cult, the Byblos of the Greeks and the Gebal of the Phenicians, the modern Jabail with about a thousand inhabitants, lies an hour and a half north of the mouth of the Nahr Ibrahim (see GEBAL). The rocky road along the coast leads to the town of Batrun, the ancient Botrys. North of the Nahr al-Jauz rises a broad promontory now called al-Shakkai, but called by the Greeks "face of God," apparently translating its Phenician name (cf. Gen. xxxii. 30; I Kings xii. 25).
(§ 8). Tripolis and Environs. At al-Shakkai central Phenicia ends. The road along the coast now crosses some small promontories, and then enters the plain of Tripolis, which spreads out at the mouth of the Nahr abu 'Ali, or the Nahr Kadisha. The modern Tripolis consists of the court of al-Mina on the northern edge of a low but rocky promontory, with a series of small islands enclosing the harbor, and the city proper, now called Tarabulus. The latter is situated on both banks of the Nahr abu 'Ali, about two miles from al-Mina. It owes its existence to the Mohammedans, who destroyed the former city on the coast in 1289. The city of the Phenicians and the crusaders, which probably occupied the site of the present al-Mina, had three distinct quarters occupied by Tyrians, Sidonians, and Aradians respectively. Before the Persian period, however, the city is not mentioned, its origin being obscure. From Tarabulus the coast bends westward, the resulting bay being called Jun 'Akkar. The coast is less rugged, especially where the Nahr al-Kabir or Nahr Laftara (the Eleutherus of the Greeks) approaches the sea. Through the broad plain thus formed the road leads to Emesa and Hamath in the valley of the Orontes. Between Tripolis and the Nahr al-Kabir a number of ancient cities were located. On the southern bank of the Nahr al-Barid was Orthosia, the Arab Artusiah or Artusi; and on the north bank of the Nahr 'Arka was Arka or Arke, the Roman Cæsarea Libani, where Alexander Sevens was born (now called Tell 'Arka). The site is also brought into connection with the Canaanitic Arkites (Gen. x. 17). Scarcely half a mile north of the Nahr 'Arka a village Syn existed in the fifteenth century, and this has been connected with the Sinites of Gen. x. 17; cuneiform inscriptions mention a site Sianu near Zimira and 'Arza. North of the Nahr al-Kabir rises the Jabal al-Anzariyah, receiving its name from the Shi'ite sect of the Nuzairi, who live chiefly on this mountain.
(§ 9). Extreme Northern Phenicia. The coast of northern Phenicia is, in general, milder and more attractive than in the southern and central portions, so that its cities were numerous. The first is Simyra or Simyrus, the Zumur of the Amarna letters, probably to be identified with the modern Zumrah between the Nahr al-Kabir and the Nahr al-Abrash. Two or three hours later the district of the ancient Aradians is reached, where, between the Nahr al-Kiblah and the Nahr Amrit, are extensive remains of the city of Marat, the Marathus of the Greeks, important during the Persian period, but destroyed in the struggles following the downfall of the Seleucids. On the coast, an hour farther north, is Tartus, the medieval Tortosa and the ancient Antaradus, first mentioned by Ptolemy in the second century A.D. The Phenician center on this part of the coast was the island city of Aradus (the Arvad of Ezek. xxvii. 8, 11, the modern Ru'ad or Arwad), situated between Amrit and Tartus on an irregular rock some 800 yards long by 500 wide. Of the ancient city little remains. The present inhabitants, between 2,000 and 3,000 in number, are expert boatmen (cf. Ezek. xxvii. 8). Arvad is mentioned as a Phenician city about 1500 B.C., and on its ships Tiglath-Pileser sailed the Mediterranean. Later it is repeatedly mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as a place "in the midst of the sea." The nearest port on the mainland was Carne or Carnus, the modern Karnun, an hour north of Tartus, where ruins of fortifications are still visible.
Other harbors reckoned to Arvad were Balanias or Leucas (the modern Baniyas), Paltus (the modern Baldah), and Gabala (the modern Jablah). Probably the population of this northern district was not exclusively Phenician, and Phenicians hardly had centers beyond it. North of the promontory of Ras ibn Hani was a Heraclea, the name of which suggests Phenician origin; and the city of Rhosus (the modern Arsuz) north of the Ras al-Khanzir, and the city of Myriandrus (Myriandus) are expressly said to have been in the hands of the Phenicians. The latter place was the predecessor of the modern Alexandretta or Iskandarun, but probably lay somewhat farther to the south.
II. Names and Ethnology: (§ 1). Names. The name Phenicia is derived from the Greek, occurring as early as Homer (Odyssey, xiv. 288, xv. 419) and Herodotus (i. 1-8, etc.). From this is derived the name of the country, Phenice (Odyssey, iv. 83, xiv. 291; Herodotus, ii. 44 sqq.), the form Phenicia being later. The meaning is uncertain. In the twelfth century Eustathius of Thessalonica, with probable correctness, advanced the view that it denoted "red," and referred to the color of the people. Movers derived Phenice from the Greek phoinix, "date palm," but this tree is seldom found in Phenicia, and is of inferior quality there. Nor is there any reason to suppose that the name of the country is derived from the Egyptian Fenkhu; about 1500 B.C. the Egyptians termed the Phenician coast from Acre to Arvad Zahi or Zahe. The Babylonians reckoned Phenicia in the land of Amurru; and after Tiglath-Pileser III. Syria and Palestine were also called the "land of the Hittites." A special name for Phenicia does not occur. Late Greek writers state that the Phenicians named themselves Canaanites (see CANAAN). The Phenicians seem to have called themselves after the names of their cities, Tyrians, Sidonians, etc. In the Old Testament, therefore, the name "Sidon" (Zidon) and "Sidonians," when not shown by the context to refer expressly to the city and its inhabitants (as in Gen. x. 19; Judges i. 31; II Sam. xxiv. 6; I Kings xvii. 9 [cf. Luke iv. 26]; Isa. xxiii. 2, 4, 12; Ezek. xxviii. 21-22), must be understood to connote Phenicia and the Phenicians in general (e.g., Deut. xiii. 9; Josh. xiii. 4, 6; Judges iii. 3; I Kings v. 6; Ezek. xxxii, 30). This linguistic usage, found current and continued by the Israelites, implies that Sidon was then the most important city of Phenicia. Later this usage disappeared, so that Herodotus ("History," i. 1) uses "Phenicians" to denote the population of the country. In later passages of the Old Testament (as Jer. xxv. 22; Joel iv. 4; Zech. ix. 2; I Macc. v. 15), as well as in the New Testament (Matt. xi. 21-22; Mark iii. 8; Luke vi. 17; Acts xii. 20), the formal phrase "Tyre and Sidon" denotes the Phenicians in general.
(§ 2). Ethnology. The inhabitants of the Phenician coast can not be separated from the pre-Israelitic population of Canaan. This is shown, in the first place, by community of language as evinced in inscriptions, proper names, individual words cited by classic writers, and the sentences placed in the mouth of the Carthaginian Hanno in the Poenulus of Plautus, which show that the Phenician language was essentially identical with Hebrew. Though this linguistic affinity does not prove ethnological unity, the absence of opposing data renders it probable. In view of the natural contour of Canaan it would seem that the coast was settled from the southern mountain-district northward. The problem whether the Phenicians were indigenous in Syria is a part of the broader question of the original home of the pre-Israelitic population of Canaan. The most plausible answer seems to be that given by Herodotus (i. 1, vii. 80), who affirms that the Phenicians formerly dwelt by the Red Sea, whence they journeyed across Syria to the Mediterranean, thus implying an original home in Arabia and conforming with the general trend of Semitic migrations. Winckler (Geschichte Israels, i. 126-132, Leipsic, 1895) has advanced the hypothesis that the Phenician and Canaanitic migration was the second to take place from Arabia, probably between 2800 and 1600 B.C. While there are thus no ethnological or linguistic reasons for regarding the Phenicians as a separate people, the events of history render it possible to speak of them as a nation. In their home, between the open sea and the almost impassable mountains, they became navigators and merchants, rather than an agricultural or pastoral people. Thus, on the one hand, their coherence with the Canaanites became ever more loose; and, on the other hand, their commercial interests developed a fresh bond of union. In Syria they never unfolded a strict nationality, for there was always a number of central points, consisting of the larger cities. The Phenicians accordingly called themselves Sidonians, Giblites, Carthaginians, and the like. To foreigners, however, they all seemed to be of one type, bold seamen, cunning and conscienceless traders. Through their enterprise and good fortune they brought the treasures of Babylonia and Egypt to the west, and thus essentially furthered the subsequent civilization of the Mediterranean lands.
III. Religion: The sources for a knowledge of Phenician religion and cult are scanty. The inscriptions contain little but names of gods whose pronunciation is often uncertain, and many formulas the meaning of which is obscure. The euhemeristic treatise on the cosmogony and theogony of the Phenicians, the "Phenician history" of Sanchuniathon (q.v.), can be used only with caution, if at all, for the older period. It is remarkable that in so maritime a people the cult of sea-gods was so slightly emphasized. Hesychius mentions a "Zeus of the sea," and at Beirut the eight Kabirs ("great ones, mighty ones") were held to be the discoverers and patrons of navigation. The fact that in the names of the gods thus far known no allusions to trade or navigation appear seems to imply that the Phenicians developed their religion not on the coast or as seafarers, but in another region where their life was not unlike that of the other Canaanites to whom they were akin.
(§ 1). Deities. The Phenician divinities were primarily local gods. Besides the gods of the cities, there were gods of the mountains. As possessors, they were called ba'al; as lords, adon; as rulers, melekh (see MOLOCH, MOLECH). Their worshipers were gerim, "protegés," or 'abhadhim, "servants." Sexual antitheses were prominent in their religious system. The divinities were usually named after the place where they were honored: Ba'al Zor, the god of Tyre; Ba'al Zidon, the god of Sidon; Ba'alath Gebal, the goddess of Byblus. When the Phenicians founded a new colony, they established there a new seat for the cult of their native gods, whose authority did not transcend the limits of the new settlement. In common parlance the Phenicians spoke of a ba'al or ba'alath without any qualifying phrase (cf. I Kings xviii. 19 sqq.), but there was no divinity so named. The feminine form ba'alath was relatively rare, its place being taken by ´ashtart, so that Astarte, or Ashtoreth, appears in the Old Testament as the goddess par excellence of the Sidonians (i.e., Phenicians; cf. I Kings xi. 5, 33, xxiii. 13; see ASTARTE; ASHERA; BAAL). Few Phenician gods are known by specific names. The one most frequently mentioned was Melkarth (Hercules), the "King of the City (of Tyre)." Eshmun, greatly honored in Sidon, and compared with Æsculapius, seems to have been a god of health and healing. Proper names often contain the divine names Zd ("Hunter, Fisher"[?]; possibly connected with the name Sidon), Skn, Pmy, and P'm, as well as a goddess Tnt (usually pronounced Tanith). Among the foreign gods were the Egyptian Isis, Osiris, Horus, Bast, and Thoth; the Syrian Resheph and 'Anat; and the Babylonian Tammuz, Hadad, and Dagon. The Phenicians, like the Canaanites, were accustomed to place by the altars sacred stones as the abode of the deity, pillars being substituted later for natural stones. Such pillars were called mazzeba, nazib, or hammanim (see MEMORIALS AND SACRED STONES), and were regarded as animate. In the cult of female divinities, the sacred stone was replaced by the sacred post; (representing the sacred tree), called Asherah (q.v.). The two pillars in the temple of Melkarth at Tyre (Herodotus, ii. 44; Josephus, Apion, i. 18) doubtless connoted the dualism found in nature. Still other sacred sites had groups of three pillars, apparently typifying a threefold phenomenon of nature.
(§ 2). Cult. The narrow local cults were later transcended by the widely worshiped Ba'al Shamem, or "Lord of Heaven," with his "goddess of the heaven of Baal" (cf. Herodotus, i. 105), who may be compared with the "queen of heaven" of Jer. vii. 18, and with the Carthaginian Cælestis. The signification of the divinity El is uncertain. He seems to have been first honored in Byblus, and was equated with Kronos by the Greeks, who said that he was worshiped with sacrifices of children in Phenicia, Carthage, and Sardinia (see MOLOCH, MOLECH). An important list of Carthaginian divinities is given in the deities invoked by Hannibal to witness his treaty with Philip of Macedon (Polybius, vii. 9). In Phenician cult there was nothing to distinguish them from other Canaanites. Sacred enclosures with altars, stones, and trees (posts), a cell or larger house for the image of the divinity (the architecture strongly influenced by Egypt), the firstlings of all productions for the deity, animal sacrifices, sacred dances, "votaries," priests, ablutions, and circumcision--all were present. The cosmogony presupposed a tripartite division into heaven, earth, and sea.
IV. History: (§ 1). Till the Assyrian Period. The earliest mention of the Phenician coast thus far known refers to its conquest by Sargon, king of Agade, in the middle of the third millennium B.C. Whether, however, this means the Phenicians proper is a problem, and Winckler holds that the campaign was waged against the pre-Phenician inhabitants, whose commercial activity and culture were later adopted by the Phenicians from the Arabian desert. About 1400 B.C. the Egyptian power, to which Thothmes III. had subjected the Phenicians a century previous, was waning, the Hittites were entering the country and the kings of the Amorites, Abdashirtu and Aziru, were attacking the Phenician cities, whose kings wrote in vain to Egypt for aid. Sethos I. and Rameses II. restored the Egyptian power, at least for the southern portion of Syria; but the supremacy of the Pharaohs came to an end, and the Philistines definitely settled in the land. The first prosperity of the Phenician cities began about 1000 B.C. Tyre became predominant, the supremacy of Sidon apparently being religious and civilizing rather than political. Hiram I. of Tyre, after receiving a gift of twenty Israelitic cities from Solomon, engaged in trade with him (see OPHIR; TARSHISH) and founded the colony of Citium in Cyprus, naming the town Karta Hadasht, or "new city" (Carthage). Under King Pygmalion the famous colony of Carthage is said to have been founded from Tyre, when what was probably an existing city received a new lord, a new cult, and a new name. Winckler holds that the impulse to migration which led the Phenicians to Canaan sent other emigrants from Arabia along the northern coast of Africa, and possibly into southern Europe, so that the "foundation" of Carthage was, in reality, merely its subjugation by Tyre. However this may be, the subordination of Carthage to Tyre led to the supremacy in the western Mediterranean of Tyre, which seems to have extended its sway over a number of Syrian cities also. While Hiram I. is always termed "king of Tyre" (II Sam. v. 11; I Kings v. 15, ix. 10), Ethbaal is called "king of the Zidonians" (I Kings xvi. 31), thus implying that Tyre and Sidon had meanwhile been united under the hegemony of the former. This is confirmed by the statement of Menander (cited by Josephus, Ant., VIII., xiii. 2) that Ethbaal founded Botrys (and also Auza in Lybia). The northern cities around Aradus, however, were unaffected by this predominance of Tyre.
(§ 2). Assyrian to the Roman Period. The invasions of the Assyrian kings Asshurbanipal and Shalmaneser II. in the ninth century were averted by the payment of tribute; but in 738 Tiglath-Pileser III. formed the Assyrian province of Simyra from the cities in the Eleutherus valley. Sennacherib vainly besieged Tyre five years (701-696), though it lost its possessions on the mainland, while Sidon became tributary and received a new king from Sennacherib. Later Sidon revolted against Esarhaddon, only to be destroyed in 675 and replaced by an Assyrian city. Later still, Tyre was attacked and, with Aradus, forced to make peace with the Assyrians. The decline of the Assyrian power was probably favorable to the Phenician cities, and Egyptian attempts to regain supremacy were unsuccessful. The Egyptians were driven from Syria by the Babylonians under Nebuchadrezzar II., who beleaguered Tyre in vain (585-573). But internal strife broke out in Tyre, and after rule by suffetes, or "judges," the city was forced to ask Babylon for a king. Under Persian rule, which was accepted unresistingly by the Phenicians, Sidon became predominant. In the days of Herodotus, Sidon, Tyre, and Aradus made the "Three Cities" (Tripolis), but in the reign of Alexander the Great the chief Phenician centers were Tyre, Sidon, Byblus, and Aradus. In the Persian period, Aradus extended its power along the coast farther than before; in the south Acre, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Carmel belonged to Tyre; Dor and Joppa to Sidon; and the entire coast to the fifth Persian satrapy. With the connivance of Nectanebo of Egypt, the Phenician cities, under Tennes of Sidon, revolted against Persia in 350, but were ruthlessly suppressed by Artaxerxes III. Alexander the Great found resistance only at Tyre, which he succeeded in reducing (see above). On the emergence of the Ptolemies and Seleucids from the confusion ensuing on the death of Alexander the Great, the Phenician cities came under Seleucus I. His successors also held Aradus and its vicinity, while the cities south of the Eleutherus were under the Ptolemies from 281 to 198. The kings of Sidon in the third century seem to have included Eshmunazar I., Tabnit, and Eshmunazar II., but on the death of the last-named Sidon apparently adopted a republican form of government, as Tyre did in 274. The other Phenician cities secured autonomy from the Seleucids, and these privileges were generally confirmed by the Romans. The Phenician language, however, was superseded by Aramaic, while the higher classes prided themselves on Greek or Roman culture.
(§ 3). Trade and Recovery. Phenician trade was carried on both by land and sea. Land traffic brought the products and treasures of Arabia, Babylonia, and Armenia, and later of Persia and India, to the Mediterranean. Commerce with Egypt was probably carried on chiefly by water, though the maritime commerce of Phenicia was scarcely as extensive as is commonly supposed. Colonies proper were to be found only in Cyprus and northern Africa, Gades in southern Spain probably being settled originally from Africa. The Phenician commercial settlements or factories along the shores of the Mediterranean do not deserve the name of colonies.
The Phenicians were primarily merchants, ever eager to adorn their markets with the best and newest (cf. Ezek. xxvii.). Such a people would not be likely to develop an individual art, and Phenician remains, dating at the earliest from the Persian period, show a mixture of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Greek elements. The Phenician coins were struck on Greek models, but in Aradus Persian weights were used, and Phenician in Byblus, Sidon, and Tyre. In architecture the Phenicians received their inspiration from the Egyptians, but they developed a marked individuality in the treatment of stone. The Phenicians were skilled in constructing aqueducts, as is shown by the stone pipes through which the island of Tyre was supplied with water. Their ability in building ships was famed in antiquity (cf. Ezek. xxvii.; Herodotus, vii. 96, 128). Their moral reputation, however, was indifferent, as the allusions of the Odyssey to their knavery amply prove. The Phenicians have won much unmerited fame as discoverers through the attribution to them by the Greeks of the invention of things which they merely transmitted. In Rome purple fabrics were called sarranus (from Sarra, "Tyre"), and the Tyrians are described as the best skilled in dyeing in purple. The art, however, was perhaps Babylonian. In like manner the Greeks thought that the alphabet originated in Tyre, especially in view of the power of the city about 1000 B.C. As a matter of fact Phenicia merely transmitted the alphabet, which probably originated in Babylonia like the cuneiform writing. And finally it may be noted that glass and faience, the invention of which was popularly ascribed to the Phenicians, were known in Egypt earlier than in Phenicia.