Thursday, January 23, 2020

The World of Phoenicia :: World History

The World of Phoenicia Around the 12th century BC, the Greeks gave the coastal region of the eastern Mediterranean the name Phoenicia. This name was so widely accepted that even the Romans adopted it at a later date. Phoenicia was the land between the Orontes River and Mount Carmel. The land was characterized early as the homeland or origination of the surviving Syro-Canaanite civilization. This unique civilization survived the many threats from other cultures of the 12th century BC. The Syro-Canaan civilization produced many interesting objects. Such objects included institutions, handicrafts, and maritime trading. All of these flourished immensely in Phoenician in this period (CANE, 1321). Phoenicia was neither a nation nor a country. Instead, Phoenicia was simply a "conglomerate of city-states that was distinguished from adjacent areas by its habitual outreach into the Mediterranean world" (Freedman, 349). Phoenicia was also known for its preferred dealing and trading with the Greeks and Indo-Europeans. Although it dealt and traded mainly with the Greeks, Phoenicia maintained a unique culture with its own religious beliefs, language, preferred trading techniques, and political setup. With help from their unique ways, the Phoenicians eventually began to expand through the Mediterranean, Near East, and the Middle East (Freedman, 349). Religion for Phoenicia, like many other Semitic cultures, played a very important role in the Phoenician culture. In the 12th century BC, the Phoenicians strongly believed in paganism and worshipped many gods. The gods' names, however, were not always consistent. Phoenicians had their own religious text, their own forms of prayer, and even had sacrifice within their culture. Gifts were also used as offerings and the Phoenicians also had a personal structure within their beliefs. All of these things helped form and keep the Phoenician religion quite unique and peculiar as well. Literary and epigraphic texts are part of the written sources of information about Phoenician religion. Literary texts include many sources such as the Hebrew Bible, Greek texts by Christian, classical, and Hellenistic writers. Epigraphic texts included cuneiform texts in Akkadian language and inscriptions in Phoenician language. One can easily notice all the different sources in which the Phoenician religious texts came about. Hence, the Phoenicians were exposed to many groups and many beliefs in which they built their own religious beliefs. It must be noted, however, that any source other than texts written by Phoenicians can not be solely relied upon and are secondary (Freedman, 358).

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