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Phoencian Trading Economy

The Goods carried by Phoenician traders were many.  In the picture to your left you will find a ship with a varied cargo.  Phoenicians would never sail an empty ship.  They would leave Phoenicia with traditional goods, trade them for what they felt would be profitable elsewhere, and return with goods they needed for home.  This system allowed them to become the middle men of the Mediterranean.

        What exactly was being traded?  A little bit of everything.  The Phoenicians were best known as traders of Phoinix.  This was a purple dye that came from the crushing of a particular shellfish that washed ashore near Lebanon.  These were small and many were required to produce enough dye to be useful.  Thus, this dye was expensive.  There are very few naturally occuring sources of purple.  The grape lends a certain hue, but the royal purple and the rosy purple color is rare indeed.  Only rich and powerful people could afford to purchass this dye and thus it has become the traditional color of royalty in Europe.

Cedar Trees were also in abundunce.  These were hewn from the Lebanese Mountains.  It is possible to find timbers sold by Phoenician merchants in as distant a place as Zimbabwe.  The trees were large and often traded to desert civilizations were timber would not grow naturally.  The Egyptian navy was made almost exclusively from this wood and timbers the giant logs that were used to build ships then cannot be found in the forest today.  We simply do not have the large trees that were available to the ancients.  They have been cut and no longer exist today.