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The Phoenicians:  Sailors, Traders, and Takers

The Phoenicians are one of the most important of all cultures in the ancient Mediterranean.  They were not empire builders, subjugators of peoples, or obtrusive to those they came in contact with.  Quite frankly, these sea-farers were busy with business and trade.  The spread of goods through the entire Mediterranean basin is due to the navigation techniques used by these forgotten people.

Navigation in the Mediterranean was relatively simple.  The coast line was a large oval in shape and if you stayed within eyesight of the shore a vessle was quite safe.  To return home you simply turned about and headed in the opposite direction.  Cross sailing, from Tunis to Italy for example, required more skill.  One had to learn to navigate with no landmarks.  It has been asserted that the Phoenicians were the first to recognize the North Star as a tool for ocean navigation.  This allowed them to sail to more distant locations and to peddle their wares to cultures far outside of the Mediterranean world.

Phoenician Vocabulary:

To learn more about the Phoenicians pick a topic:

Phoenician Maps, Colonies and Homeland
Phoenician Trade Goods
Phoenician Alphabet,Culture, and Achievements
The End of the Phoenicians

Phoenicians are not found as a cultural group today for a very simple reason.  They blended into wherever they landed.  The Phoenician culture was a mixture of sorts.  The mariners would absorb the cultures they came in contact with, take those elements home and mix them into the group.  The Phoenicians were eventually absorbed into the cultures that dominated the area.  They felt no particular love for any one element of thier own culture and just adapted to the leaders that conquered them.  This is in stark contrast to the peoples who were thier closest neighbors, the Hebrews, who fought tooth and nail to keep their culture from being corrupted by the invading armies that moved them about the continents of the world.