Who were the Phoenicians?Where and when did they live, what did accomplish (if anything), and why are they important to us?

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Phoenicians had a great sea trading empire. They were very famous for many things including the alphabet, cedar ships, and purple cloth. They were very involved in trade, art, and religion.

Phoenicia was an ancient civilization. Their civilization was spread throughout the Mediterranean between 1550 BC and 300 BC, although different sources debate the actual years. Phoenicia was organized into city-states. Each city-state was politically independent. They were very interesting but left few records. A great deal of the information we know about the Phoenicians has been gathered from other civilizations, as well as archaeologists. It is believed that they had many dealings with Egypt. For example, they would gather materials (such as cedar) for Egypt and in return they would get materials such as gold. 

Sanford Holst wrote a book named Phoenicians: Lebanon's Epic Heritage. Here you can find a wealth of information in regards to the Phoenicians.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Phoenicians were a people who lived in what is now Lebanon.  They became important around 1500 BC and remained important for hundreds of years, until at least 900 BC.

This group of people had many impacts on us today.  The most important of these is that we have gotten our alphabet from them.  Theirs was a true alphabet where each letter had a sound -- it was not a symbol for some thing.  The Phoenicians spread this and other ideas because they were important traders in the Mediterranean and even as far as England. The Greeks borrowed their alphabet and ours has come from the Greeks.


krishna-agrawala | Student

Phoenicia is the ancient name of the region that is now roughly the coastal areas of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. This name was used for the region by the Greek people. Phoenicians were the [people who lived in Phoenicia.

The Phoenicians had a highly developed civilization and were one of the most famous peoples of the ancient world.  They were highly accomplished sailors, navigators, and traders.  Phoenicians were among the first to send out explorers and to establish colonies throughout the Mediterranean Sea area, and beyond the Strait of Gibraltar.