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Phoenician Trade and Ships

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Phoenician Enterprising

Trade, Commerce and Crafts

The Phoenicians, appeared on the scene with an established maritime tradition, and the technology to build ships with a keeled hull. This allowed them to sail the open seas, and as a result, the Phoenicians developed a flourishing sea trade.

In addition to these exports and imports, the Phoenicians also conducted an important transit trade, especially in the manufactured goods of Egypt and Babylonia (Herodotus, i, 1). From the lands of the Euphrates and Tigris regular trade routes led to the Mediterranean. In Egypt the Phoenician merchants soon gained a foothold; they alone were able to maintain a profitable trade in the anarchic times of the 22nd and 23rd dynasties (c. 945-c. 730 BC). Though there were never any regular colonies of Phoenicians in Egypt, the Tyrians had a quarter of their own in Memphis (Herodotus, ii, 112). The Arabian caravan trade in perfume, spices, and incense passed through Phoenician hands on its way to Greece and the West (Herodotus, iii, 107).

The role that tradition especially assigns to the Phoenicians as the merchants of the Levant was first developed on a considerable scale at the time of the Egyptian 18th dynasty. The position of Phoenicia, at a junction of both land and sea routes, under the protection of Egypt, favoured this development, and the discovery of the alphabet and its use and adaptation for commercial purposes assisted the rise of a mercantile society. A fresco in an Egyptian tomb of the 18th dynasty depicted seven Phoenician merchant ships that had just put in at an Egyptian port to sell their goods, including the distinctive Canaanite wine jars in which wine, a drink foreign to the Egyptians, was imported. The Story of Wen-Amon recounts the tale of a Phoenician merchant, Werket-el of Tanis in the Nile Delta, who was the owner of "50 ships" that sailed between Tanis and Sidon. The Sidonians are also famous in the poems of Homer as craftsmen, traders, pirates, and slave dealers. The prophet Ezekiel (chapters 27 and 28), in a famous denunciation of the city of Tyre, catalogs the vast extent of its commerce, covering most of the then-known world.

Phoenician Ship, Byblos, Phoenicia Maritima

by the Lebanese master artist Joseph Matar (Visit his site, a must see)

Note: To see a closeup of the front of the ship, please click the head of the hippocampus (sea horse) on the image above. (return to main page)

The exports of Phoenicia as a whole included particularly cedar and pine wood, fine linen from Tyre, Byblos, and Berytos, cloths dyed with the famous Tyrian purple (made from the snail Murex), embroideries from Sidon, metalwork and glass, glazed faience, wine, salt, and dried fish. They received in return raw materials, such as papyrus, ivory, ebony, silk, amber, ostrich eggs, spices, incense, horses, gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, jewels, and precious stones. The name Byblos is Greek; papyrus received its early Greek name (byblos, byblinos) from its being exported to the Aegean through Byblos. Hence the English word Bible is derived from byblos as "the (papyrus) book."

Transit Trade

In addition to these exports and imports, the Phoenicians also conducted an important transit trade, especially in the manufactured goods of Egypt and Babylonia (Herodotus, i, 1). From the lands of the Euphrates and Tigris regular trade routes led to the Mediterranean. In Egypt the Phoenician merchants soon gained a foothold; they alone were able to maintain a profitable trade in the anarchic times of the 22nd and 23rd dynasties (c. 945-c. 730 BC). Though there were never any regular colonies of Phoenicians in Egypt, the Tyrians had a quarter of their own in Memphis (Herodotus, ii, 112). The Arabian caravan trade in perfume, spices, and incense passed through Phoenician hands on its way to Greece and the West (Herodotus, iii, 107).

Navigation and Seafaring

For the establishment of commercial supremacy, an essential constituent was the Phoenician skill in navigation and seafaring. The Phoenicians are credited with the discovery and use of Polaris (the Pole Star). Fearless and patient navigators, they ventured into regions where no one else dared to go, and always, with an eye to their monopoly, they carefully guarded the secrets of their trade routes and discoveries and their knowledge of winds and currents. Pharaoh Necho II (610-595 BC) organized the Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa (Herodotus, iv, 42). Hanno, a Carthaginian, led another in the mid-5th century. The Carthaginians seem to have reached the island of Corvo in the Azores; and Britain. Some archeologists suggest that the Phoenicians may have reached America before the Vikings and/or Columbus? The hypothesis is based on inscriptions found in the Americas (including Brazil) and seemed to represent a Phoenician script. However, others find the hypothesis unfounded.

Ships, Navigation and Commerce, Extended Discussion

Earliest navigation by means of rafts and canoes

The first attempts of the Phoenicians to navigate the sea which washed their coast were probably as clumsy and rude as those of other primitive nations. They are said to have voyaged from island to island by means of rafts.1 When they reached the shores of the Mediterranean, it can scarcely have been long ere they constructed boats for fishing and coasting purposes, though no doubt such boats were of a very rude construction. Probably, like other races, they began with canoes, roughly hewn out of the trunk of a tree. The torrents which descended from Lebanon would from time to time bring down the stems of fallen trees in their flood-time; and these, floating on the Mediterranean waters, would suggest the idea of navigation. They would, at first, be hollowed out with hatchets and adzes, or else with fire; and, later on, the canoes thus produced would form the models for the earliest efforts in shipbuilding. The great length, however, would soon be found unnecessary, and the canoe would give place to the boat, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. There are models of boats among the Phoenician remains which have a very archaic character,2 and may give us some idea of the vessels in which the Phoenicians of the remoter times braved the perils of the deep. They have a keel, not ill shaped, a rounded hull, bulwarks, a beak, and a high seat for the steersman. The oars, apparently, must have been passed through interstices in the bulwark.

Click on image of ship to view a cross-section


Model of a very primitive boat

From this rude shape the transition was not very difficult to the bark represented in the sculptures of Sargon,3 which is probably a Phoenician one. Here four rowers, standing to their oars, impel a vessel having for prow the head of a horse and for stern the tail of a fish, both of them rising high above the water. The oars are curved, like golf or hockey-sticks, and are worked from the gunwale of the bark, though there is no indication of rowlocks. The vessel is without a rudder; but it has a mast, supported by two ropes which are fastened to the head and stern. The mast has neither sail nor yard attached to it, but is crowned by what is called a "crow's nest"--a bell-shaped receptacle, from which a slinger or archer might discharge missiles against an enemy.4

Phoenician vessel of the time of Sargon

A vessel of considerably greater size than this, but of the same class --impelled, that is, by one bank of oars only--is indicated by certain coins, which have been regarded by some critics as Phoenician, by others as belonging to Cilicia.5 These have a low bow, but an elevated stern; the prow exhibits a beak, while the stern shows signs of a steering apparatus; the number of the oars on each side is fifteen or twenty. The Greeks called these vessels triaconters or penteconters. They are represented without any mast on the coins, and thus seem to have been merely row-boats of a superior character.

About the time of Sennacherib (B.C. 700), or a little earlier, some great advances seem to have been made by the Phoenician shipbuilders. In the first place, they introduced the practice of placing the rowers on two different levels, one above the other; and thus, for a vessel of the same length, doubling the number of the rowers. Ships of this kind, which the Greeks called "biremes," are represented in Sennacherib's sculptures as employed by the inhabitants of a Phoenician city, who fly in them at the moment when their town is captured, and so escape their enemy.6 The ships are of two kinds. Both kinds have a double tier of rowers, and both are guided by two steering oars thrust out from the stern; but while the one is still without mast or sail, and is rounded off in exactly the same way both at stem and stern, the other has a mast, placed about midship, a yard hung across it, and a sail close reefed to the yard, while the bow is armed with a long projecting beak, like a ploughshare, which must have been capable of doing terrible damage to a hostile vessel. The rowers, in both classes of ships, are represented as only eight or ten upon a side; but this may have arisen from artistic necessity, since a greater number of figures could not have been introduced without confusion. It is thought that in the beaked vessel we have a representation of the Phoenician war-galley; in the vessel without a beak, one of the Phoenician transport.7

Click on image of ship to view a cross-section

Phoenician pleasure vessels and merchant ships

A painting on a vase found in Cyprus exhibits what would seem to have been a pleasure-vessel.8 It is unbeaked, and without any sign of oars, except two paddles for steering with. About midship is a short mast, crossed by a long spar or yard, which carries a sail, closely reefed along its entire length. The yard and sail are managed by means of four ropes, which are, however, somewhat conventionally depicted. Both the head and stern of the vessel rise to a considerable height above the water, and the stern is curved, very much as in the war- galleys. It perhaps terminated in the head of a bird.

According to the Greek writers, Phoenician vessels were mainly of two kinds, merchant ships and war-vessels.9 The merchant ships were of a broad, round make, what our sailors would call "tubs," resembling probably the Dutch fishing-boats of a century ago. They were impelled both by oars and sails, but depended mainly on the latter. Each of them had a single mast of moderate height, to which a single sail was attached;10 this was what in modern times is called a "square sail," a form which is only well suited for sailing with when the wind is directly astern. It was apparently attached to the yard, and had to be hoisted together with the yard, along which it could be closely reefed, or from which it could be loosely shaken out. It was managed, no doubt, by ropes attached to the two lower corners, which must have been held in the hands of sailors, as it would have been most dangerous to belay them. As long as the wind served, the merchant captain used his sail; when it died away, or became adverse, he dropped yard and sail on to his deck, and made use of his oars.

Merchant ships had, commonly, small boats attached to them, which afforded a chance of safety if the ship foundered, and were useful when cargoes had to be landed on a shelving shore.11 We have no means of knowing whether these boats were hoisted up on deck until they were wanted, or attached to the ships by ropes and towed after them; but the latter arrangement is the more probable.

Click on image of ship to view a cross-section

Superiority of the Phoenician war-galleys

The war-galleys of the Phoenicians in the early times were probably of the class which the Greeks called triaconters or penteconters, and which are represented upon the coins. They were long open rowboats, in which the rowers sat, all of them, upon a level, the number of rowers on either side being generally either fifteen or twenty-five. Each galley was armed at its head with a sharp metal spike, or beak, which was its chief weapon of offence, vessels of this class seeking commonly to run down their enemy. After a time these vessels were superseded by biremes, which were decked, had masts and sails, and were impelled by rowers sitting at two different elevations, as already explained. Biremes were ere long superseded by triremes, or vessels with three banks of oars, which are said to have been invented at Corinth,12 but which came into use among the Phoenicians before the end of the sixth century B.C.13 In the third century B.C. the Carthaginians employed in war quadriremes, and even quinqueremes; but there is no evidence of the employment of either class of vessel by the Phoenicians of Phoenicia Proper.

The superiority of the Phoenician ships to others is generally allowed, and was clearly shown when Xerxes collected his fleet of twelve hundred and seven triremes against Greece. The fleet included contingents from Phoenicia, Cyprus, Egypt, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia, Caria, Ionia, Æolis, and the Greek settlements about the Propontis.14 When it reached the Hellespont, the great king, anxious to test the quality of his ships and sailors, made proclamation for a grand sailing match, in which all who liked might contend. Each contingent probably--at any rate, all that prided themselves on their nautical skill--selected its best vessel, and entered it for the coming race; the king himself, and his grandees and officers, and all the army, stood or sat along the shore to see: the race took place, and was won by the Phoenicians of Sidon.15 Having thus tested the nautical skill of the various nations under his sway, the great king, when he ventured his person upon the dangerous element, was careful to embark in a Sidonian galley.16

Click on image of ship to view a cross-section

Excellence of the arrangements

A remarkable testimony to the excellence of the Phoenician ships with respect to internal arrangements is borne by Xenophon, who puts the following words into the mouth of Ischomachus, a Greek:17 "I think that the best and most perfect arrangement of things that I ever saw was when I went to look at the great Phoenician sailing-vessel; for I saw the largest amount of naval tackling separately disposed in the smallest stowage possible. For a ship, as you well know, is brought to anchor, and again got under way, by a vast number of wooden implements and of ropes and sails the sea by means of a quantity of rigging, and is armed with a number of contrivances against hostile vessels, and carries about with it a large supply of weapons for the crew, and, besides, has all the utensils that a man keeps in his dwelling-house, for each of the messes. In addition, it is laden with a quantity of merchandise which the owner carries with him for his own profit. Now all the things which I have mentioned lay in a space not much bigger than a room which would conveniently hold ten beds. And I remarked that they severally lay in a way that they did not obstruct one another, and did not require anyone to search for them; and yet they were neither placed at random, nor entangled one with another, so as to consume time when they were suddenly wanted for use. Also, I found the captain's assistant, who is called 'the look-out man,' so well acquainted with the position of all the articles, and with the number of them, that even when at a distance he could tell where everything lay, and how many there were of each sort, just as anyone who has learnt to read can tell the number of letters in the name of Socrates and the proper place for each of them. Moreover, I saw this man, in his leisure moments, examining and testing everything that a vessel needs when at sea; so, as I was surprised, I asked him what he was about, whereupon he replied--'Stranger, I am looking to see, in case anything should happen, how everything is arranged in the ship, and whether anything is wanting, or is inconveniently situated; for when a storm arises at sea, it is not possible either to look for what is wanting, or to put to right what is arranged awkwardly.'"


Phoenician ships seem to have been placed under the protection of the Cabeiri, and to have had images of them at their stem or stern or both.18 These images were not exactly "figure-heads," as they are sometimes called. They were small, apparently, and inconspicuous, being little dwarf figures, regarded as amulets that would preserve the vessel in safety. We do not see them on any representations of Phoenician ships, and it is possible that they may have been no larger than the bronze or glazed earthenware images of Phthah that are so common in Egypt. The Phoenicians called them /pittuchim/, "sculptures,"19 whence the Greek {pataikoi} and the French /fétiche/.

Early navigation cautious, increasing boldness

The navigation of the Phoenicians, in early times, was no doubt cautious and timid. So far from venturing out of sight of land, they usually hugged the coast, ready at any moment, if the sea or sky threatened, to change their course and steer directly for the shore. On a shelving coast they were not at all afraid to run their ships aground, since, like the Greek vessels, they could be easily pulled up out of reach of the waves, and again pulled down and launched, when the storm was over and the sea calm once more. At first they sailed, we may be sure, only in the daytime, casting anchor at nightfall, or else dragging their ships up upon the beach, and so awaiting the dawn. But after a time they grew more bold. The sea became familiar to them, the positions of coasts and islands relatively one to another better known, the character of the seasons, the signs of unsettled or settled weather, the conduct to pursue in an emergency, better apprehended. They soon began to shape the course of their vessels from headland to headland, instead of always creeping along the shore, and it was not perhaps very long before they would venture out of sight of land, if their knowledge of the weather satisfied them that the wind might be trusted to continue steady, and if they were well assured of the direction of the land that they wished to make. They took courage, moreover, to sail in the night, no less than in the daytime, when the weather was clear, guiding themselves by the stars, and particularly by the Polar star,20 which they discovered to be the star most nearly marking the true north. A passage of Strabo21 seems to show that--in the later times at any rate--they had a method of calculating the rate of a ship's sailing, though what the method was is wholly unknown to us. It is probable that they early constructed charts and maps, which however they would keep secret through jealousy of their commercial rivals.

Furthest venturesPhoenician traders in Egypt

The Phoenicians for some centuries confined their navigation within the limits of the Mediterranean, the Propontis, and the Euxine, land- locked seas, which are tideless and far less rough than the open ocean. But before the time of Solomon they had passed the Pillars of Hercules, and affronted the dangers of the Atlantic.22 Their frail and small vessels, scarcely bigger than modern fishing-smacks, proceeded southwards along the West African coast, as far as the tract watered by the Gambia and Senegal, while northwards they coasted along Spain, braved the heavy seas of the Bay of Biscay, and passing Cape Finisterre, ventured across the mouth of the English Channel to the Cassiterides. Similarly, from the West African shore, they boldly steered for the Fortunate Islands (the Canaries), visible from certain elevated points of the coast, though at 170 miles distance. Whether they proceeded further, in the south to the Azores, Madeira, and the Cape de Verde Islands, in the north to the coast of Holland, and across the German Ocean to the Baltic, we regard as uncertain. It is possible that from time to time some of the more adventurous of their traders may have reached thus far; but their regular, settled, and established navigation did not, we believe, extend beyond the Scilly Islands and coast of Cornwall to the north-west, and to the south-west Cape Non and the Canaries. Some theories suggest that the Phoenicians reached the Americas (including Brazil).

Extent of the Phoenician land commerce

The commerce of the Phoenicians was carried on, to a large extent, by land, though principally by sea. It appears from the famous chapter of Ezekiel23 which describes the riches and greatness of Tyre in the sixth century B.C., that almost the whole of Western Asia was penetrated by the Phoenician caravans, and laid under contribution to increase the wealth of the Phoenician traders.

Witness of Ezekiel

"Thou, son of man, (we read) take up a lamentation for Tyre, and say unto her, O thou that dwellest at the entry of the sea, Which art the merchant of the peoples unto many isles, Thus saith the Lord God, Thou, O Tyre, hast said, I am perfect in beauty. Thy borders are in the heart of the sea; Thy builders have perfected thy beauty. They have made all thy planks of fir-trees from Senir; They have taken cedars from Lebanon to make a mast for thee Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; They have made thy benches of ivory, Inlaid in box-wood, from the isles of Kittim. Of fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thy sail, That it might be to thee for an ensign; Blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was thy awning. The inhabitants of Zidon and of Arvad were thy rowers; Thy wise men, O Tyre, were in thee--they were thy pilots. The ancients of Gebal, and their wise men, were thy calkers; All the ships of the sea, with their mariners, were in thee, That they might occupy thy merchandise. Persia, and Lud, and Phut were in thine army, thy men of war; They hanged the shield and helmet in thee; They set forth thy comeliness. The men of Arvad, with thine army, were upon thy walls round about; And the Gammadim were in thy towers; They hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; They have brought to perfection thy beauty. Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; With silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded for thy wares. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy traffickers; They traded the persons of men, and vessels of brass, for thy merchandise. They of the house of Togarmah traded for thy wares, With horses, and with chargers, and with mules. The men of Dedan were thy traffickers; many isles were the mart of thy hands; They brought thee in exchange horns of ivory, and ebony. Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of thy handiworks; They traded for thy wares with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, And with fine linen, and coral, and rubies. Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy traffickers; They traded for thy merchandise wheat of Minnith, And Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm. Damascus was thy merchant for the multitude of thy handiworks; By reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; With the wine of Helbon, and white wool. Dedan and Javan traded with yarn for thy wares; Bright iron, and cassia, and calamus were among thy merchandise. Dedan was thy trafficker in precious cloths for riding; Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they were the merchants of thy hand, In lambs, and rams, and goats, in these were they thy merchants. The traffickers of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy traffickers; They traded for thy wares with chief of all spices, And with all manner of precious stones, and gold. Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the traffickers of Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad, were thy traffickers: They were thy traffickers in choice wares, In wrappings of blue and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, Bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise. The ships of Tarshish were thy caravans for they merchandise; And thou wast replenished, and made very glorious, in the heart of the sea. Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters; The east wind hath broken thee in the heart of the sea. Thy reaches, and thy wares, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, Thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, With all the men of war, that are in thee, Shall fall into the heart of the seas in the day of thy ruin. At the sound of thy pilot's cry the suburb's shall shake; And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, They shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land, And shall cause their voice to be heard over thee, and shall cry bitterly, And shall cast up dust upon their heads, and wallow in the ashes; And they shall make themselves bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, And they shall weep for thee in bitterness of soul with bitter mourning. And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, And lament over thee saying, Who is there like Tyre, Like her that is brought to silence in the midst of the sea? When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many peoples; Thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with thy merchandise and thy riches. In the time that thou was broken by the seas in the depths of the waters, Thy merchandise, and all thy company, did fall in the midst of thee, And the inhabitants of the isles are astonished at thee, And their kings are sore afraid, they are troubled in their countenance, The merchants that are among the peoples, hiss at thee; Thou art become a terror; and thou shalt never be any more."

Wares imported, caravans

Translating this glorious burst of poetry into prose, we find the following countries mentioned as carrying on an active trade with the Phoenician metropolis:--Northern Syria, Syria of Damascus, Judah and the land of Israel, Egypt, Arabia, Babylonia, Assyria, Upper Mesopotamia,24 Armenia,25 Central Asia Minor, Ionia, Cyprus, Hellas or Greece,26 and Spain.27 Northern Syria furnishes the Phoenician merchants with /butz/, which is translated "fine linen," but is perhaps rather cotton,28 the "tree-wool" of Herodotus; it also supplies embroidery, and certain precious stones, which our translators have considered to be coral, emeralds, and rubies. Syria of Damascus gives the "wine of Helbon"--that exquisite liquor which was the only sort that the Persian kings would condescend to drink29 --and "white wool," the dainty fleeces of the sheep and lambs that fed on the upland pastures of Hermon and Antilibanus. Judah and the land of Israel supply corn of superior quality, called "corn of Minnith"-- corn, i.e. produced in the rich Ammonite country30--together with /pannag/, an unknown substance, and honey, and balm, and oil. Egypt sends fine linen, one of her best known products31--sometimes, no doubt, plain, but often embroidered with bright patterns, and employed as such embroidered fabrics were also in Egypt,32 for the sails of pleasure-boats. Arabia provides her spices, cassia, and calamus (or aromatic reed), and, beyond all doubt, frankincense,33 and perhaps cinnamon and ladanum.34 She also supplies wool and goat's hair, and cloths for chariots, and gold, and wrought iron, and precious stones, and ivory, and ebony, of which the last two cannot have been productions of her own, but must have been imported from India or Abyssinia.35 Babylonia and Assyria furnish "wrappings of blue, embroidered work, and chests of rich apparel."36 Upper Mesopotamia partakes in this traffic.37 Armenia gives horses and mules. Central Asia Minor (Tubal and Meshech) supplies slaves and vessels of brass, and the Greeks of Ionia do the like. Cyprus furnishes ivory, which she must first have imported from abroad.38 Greece Proper sends her shell-fish, to enable the Phoenician cities to increase their manufacture of the purple dye.39 Finally, Spain yields silver, iron, tin, and lead--the most useful of the metals--all of which she is known to have produced in abundance.40

Description of the land trade

With the exception of Egypt, Ionia, Cyprus, Hellas, and Spain, the Phoenician intercourse with these places must have been carried on wholly by land. Even with Egypt, wherewith the communication by sea was so facile, there seems to have been also from a very early date a land commerce. The land commerce was in every case carried on by caravans. Western Asia has never yet been in so peaceful and orderly condition as to dispense prudent traders from the necessity of joining together in large bodies, well provisioned and well armed, when they are about to move valuable goods any considerable distance. There have always been robber-tribes in the mountain tracts, and thievish Arabs upon the plains, ready to pounce on the insufficiently protected traveller, and to despoil him of all his belongings. Hence the necessity of the caravan traffic. As early as the time of Joseph-- probably about B.C. 1600--we find a /company/ of the Midianites on their way from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.41 Elsewhere we hear of the "travelling /companies/ of the Dedanim,"42 of the men of Sheba bringing their gold and frankincense;43 of a multitude of camels coming up to Palestine with wood from Kedar and Nebaioth.44 Heerenis entirely justified in his conclusion that the land trade of the Phoenicians was conducted by "large companies or caravans, since it could only have been carried on in this way."45

The nearest neighbours of the Phoenicians on the land side were the Jews and Israelites, the Syrians of Damascus, and the people of Northern Syria, or the Orontes valley and the tract east of it. From the Jews and Israelites the Phoenicians seem to have derived at all times almost the whole of the grain which they were forced to import for their sustenance. In the time of David and Solomon it was chiefly for wheat and barley that they exchanged the commodities which they exported,46 in that of Ezekiel it was primarily for "wheat of Minnith;"47 and a similar trade is noted on the return of the Jews from the captivity,48 and in the first century of our era.49 But besides grain they also imported from Palestine at some periods wine, oil, honey, balm, and oak timber.50 Western Palestine was notoriously a land not only of corn, but also of wine, of olive oil, and of honey, and could readily impart of its superfluity to its neighbour in time of need. The oaks of Bashan are very abundant, and seem to have been preferred by the Phoenicians to their own oaks as the material of oars.51 Balm, or basalm, was a product of the land of Gilead,52 and also of the lower Jordan valley, where it was of superior quality.53

From the Damascene Syrians we are told that Phoenicia imported "wine of Helbon" and "white wool."54 The "wine of Helbon" is reasonably identified with that {oinos Khalubonios} which is said to have been the favourite beverage of the Persian kings.55 It was perhaps grown in the neighbourhood of Aleppo.56 The "white wool" may have been furnished by the sheep that cropped the slopes of the Antilibanus, or by those fed on the fine grass which clothes most of the plain at its base. The fleece of these last is, according to Heeren,57 "the finest known, being improved by the heat of the climate, the continual exposure to the open air, and the care commonly bestowed upon the flocks." From the Syrian wool, mixed perhaps with some other material, seems to have been woven the fabric known, from the city where it was commonly made,58 as "damask."

According to the existing text of Ezekiel,59 Syria Proper "occupied in the fairs" of Phoenicia with cotton, with embroidered robes, with purple, and with precious stones. The valley of the Orontes is suitable for the cultivation of cotton; and embroidered robes would naturally be produced in the seat of an old civilisation, which Syria certainly was. Purple seems somewhat out of place in the enumeration; but the Syrians may have gathered the /murex/ on their seaboard between Mt. Casius and the Gulf of Issus, and have sold what they collected in the Phoenician market. The precious stones which Ezekiel assigns to them are difficult of identification, but may have been furnished by Casius, Bargylus, or Amanus. These mountains, or at any rate Casius and Amanus, are of igneous origin, and, if carefully explored, would certainly yield gems to the investigator. At the same time it must be acknowledged that Syria had not, in antiquity, the name of a gem-producing country; and, so far, the reading of "Edom" for "Aram," which is preferred by many,60 may seem to be the more probable.

The commerce of the Phoenicians with Egypt was ancient, and very extensive. "The wares of Egypt" are mentioned by Herodotus as a portion of the merchandise which they brought to Greece before the time of the Trojan War.61 The Tyrians had a quarter in the city of Memphis assigned to them,62 probably from an early date. According to Ezekiel, the principal commodity which Egypt furnished to Phoenicia was "fine linen"63--especially the linen sails embroidered with gay patterns, which the Egyptian nobles affected for their pleasure-boats. They probably also imported from Egypt natron for their glass-works, papyrus for their documents, earthenware of various kinds for exportation, scarabs and other seals, statuettes and figures of gods, amulets, and in the later times sarcophagi.64 Their exports to Egypt consisted of wine on a large scale,65 tin almost certainly, and probably their peculiar purple fabrics, and other manufactured articles.

The Phoenician trade with Arabia was of especial importance, since not only did the great peninsula itself produce many of the most valuable articles of commerce, but it was also mainly, if not solely, through Arabia that the Indian market was thrown open to the Phoenician traders, and the precious commodities obtained for which Hindustan has always been famous. Arabia is /par excellence/ the land of spices, and was the main source from which the ancient world in general, and Phoenicia in particular, obtained frankincense, cinnamon, cassia, myrrh, calamus or sweet-cane, and ladanum.66 It has been doubted whether these commodities were, all of them, the actual produce of the country in ancient times, and Herodotus has been in some degree discredited, but perhaps without sufficient reason. He is supported to a considerable extent by Theophrastus, the disciple of Aristotle, who says:67 "Frankincense, myrrh, and cassia grow in the Arabian districts of Saba and Hadramaut; frankincense and myrrh on the sides or at the foot of mountains, and in the neighbouring islands. The trees which produce them grow sometimes wild, though occasionally they are cultivated; and the frankincense-tree grows sometimes taller than the tree producing the myrrh." Modern authorities declare the frankincense-tree (/Boswellia thurifera/) to be still a native of Hadramaut;68 and there is no doubt that the myrrh-tree (/Balsamodendron myrrha/) also grows there. If cinnamon and cassia, as the terms are now understood, do not at present grow in Arabia, or nearer to Phoenicia than Hindustan, it may be that they have died out in the former country, or our modern use of the terms may differ from the ancient one. On the other hand, it is no doubt possible that the Phoenicians imagined all the spices which they obtained from Arabia to be the indigenous growth of the country, when in fact some of them were importations.

Next to her spices, Arabia was famous for the production of a superior quality of wool. The Phoenicians imported this wool largely. The flocks of Kedar are especially noted,69 and are said to have included both sheep and goats.70 It was perhaps a native woollen manufacture, in which Dedan traded with Tyre, and which Ezekiel notices as a trade in "cloths for chariots."71 Goat's hair was largely employed in the production of coverings for tents.72 Arabia also furnished Phoenicia with gold, with precious stones, with ivory, ebony, and wrought iron.73 The wrought iron was probably from Yemen, which was celebrated for its manufacture of sword blades. The gold may have been native, for there is much reason to believe that anciently the Arabian mountain ranges yielded gold as freely as the Ethiopian,74 with which they form one system; or it may have been imported from Hindustan, with which Arabia had certainly, in ancient times, constant communication. Ivory and ebony must, beyond a doubt, have been Arabian importations. There are two countries from which they may have been derived, India and Abyssinia. It is likely that the commercial Arabs of the south-east coast had dealings with both.75

Of Phoenician imports into Arabia we have no account; but we may conjecture that they consisted principally of manufactured goods, cotton and linen fabrics, pottery, implements and utensils in metal, beads, and other ornaments for the person, and the like. The nomadic Arabs, leading a simple life, required but little beyond what their own country produced; there was, however, a town population76 in the more southern parts of the peninsula, to which the elegancies and luxuries of life, commonly exported by Phoenicia, would have been welcome.

The Phoenician trade with Babylonia and Assyria was carried on probably by caravans, which traversed the Syrian desert by way of Tadmor or Palmyra, and struck the Euphrates about Circesium. Here the route divided, passing to Babylon southwards along the course of the great river, and to Nineveh eastwards by way of the Khabour and the Sinjar mountain-range. Both countries seem to have supplied the Phoenicians with fabrics of extraordinary value, rich in a peculiar embroidery, and deemed so precious that they were packed in chests of cedar-wood, which the Phoenician merchants must have brought with them from Lebanon.77 The wares furnished by Assyria were in some cases exported to Greece,78 while no doubt in others they were intended for home consumption. They included cylinders in rock crystal, jasper, hematite, steatite, and other materials, which may sometimes have found purchasers in Phoenicia Proper, but appear to have been specially affected by the Phoenician colonists in Cyprus.79 On her part Phoenicia must have imported into Assyria and Babylonia the tin which was a necessary element in their bronze; and they seem also to have found a market in Assyria for their own most valuable and artistic bronzes, the exquisite embossed pateræ which are among the most precious of the treasures brought by Sir Austen Layard from Nineveh.80

The nature of the Phoenician trade with Upper Mesopotamia is unknown to us; and it is not impossible that their merchants visited Haran,81 rather because it lay on the route which they had to follow in order to reach Armenia than because it possessed in itself any special attraction for them. Gall-nuts and manna are almost the only products for which the region is celebrated; and of these Phoenicia herself produced the one, while she probably did not need the other. But the natural route to Armenia was by way of the Cœlesyrian valley, Aleppo and Carchemish, to Haran, and thence by Amida or Diarbekr to Van, which was the capital of Armenia in the early times.

Armenia supplied the Phoenicians with "horses of common and of noble breeds,"82 and also with mules.83 Strabo says that it was a country exceedingly well adapted for the breeding of the horse,84 and even notes the two qualities of the animal that it produced, one of which he calls "Nisæan," though the true "Nisæan plain" was in Media. So large was the number of colts bred each year, and so highly were they valued, that, under the Persian monarchy the Great King exacted from the province, as a regular item of its tribute, no fewer than twenty thousand of them annually.85 Armenian mules seem not to be mentioned by any writer besides Ezekiel; but mules were esteemed throughout the East in antiquity,86 and no country would have been more likely to breed them than the mountain tract of Armenia, the Switzerland of Western Asia, where such surefooted animals would be especially needed.

Armenia adjoined the country of the Moschi and Tibareni--the Meshech and Tubal of the Bible. These tribes, between the ninth and the seventh centuries B.C., inhabited the central regions of Asia Minor and the country known later as Cappadocia. They traded with Tyre in the "persons of men" and in "vessels of brass" or copper.87 Copper is found abundantly in the mountain ranges of these parts, and Xenophon remarks on the prevalence of metal vessels in the portion of the region which he passed through--the country of the Carduchians.88 The traffic in slaves was one in which the Phoenicians engaged from very early times. They were not above kidnapping men, women, and children in one country and selling them into another;89 besides which they seem to have frequented regularly the principal slave marts of the time. They bought such Jews as were taken captive and sold into slavery by the neighbouring nations,90 and they looked to the Moschi and Tibareni for a constant supply of the commodity from the Black Sea region.91 The Caucasian tribes have always been in the habit of furnishing slave-girls to the harems of the East, and the Thracians, who were not confined to Europe, but occupied a great part of Asia Minor, regularly trafficked in their children.92

Such was the extent of the Phoenician land trade, as indicated by the prophet Ezekiel, and such were, so far as is at present known, the commodities interchanged in the course of it. It is quite possible-- nay, probable--that the trade extended much further, and certain that it must have included many other articles of commerce besides those which we have mentioned. The sources of our information on the subject are so few and scanty, and the notices from which we derive our knowledge for the most part so casual, that we may be sure what is preserved is but a most imperfect record of what was--fragments of wreck recovered from the sea of oblivion. It may have been a Phoenician caravan route which Herodotus describes as traversed on one occasion by the Nasamonians,93 which began in North Africa and terminated with the Niger and the city of Timbuctoo; and another, at which he hints as lying between the coast of the Lotus-eaters and Fezzan.94 Phoenician traders may have accompanied and stimulated the slave hunts of the Garamantians,95 as Arab traders do those of the Central African nations at the present day. Again, it is quite possible that the Phoenicians of Memphis designed and organised the caravans which, proceeding from Egyptian Thebes, traversed Africa from east to west along the line of the "Salt Hills," by way of Ammon, Augila, Fezzan, and the Tuarik country to Mount Atlas.96 We can scarcely imagine the Egyptians showing so much enterprise. But these lines of traffic can be ascribed to the Phoenicians only by conjecture, history being silent on the subject.

Sea trade of Phoenicia

1. With her own colonies

The sea trade of the Phoenicians was still more extensive than their land traffic. It is divisible into two branches, their trade with their own colonists, and that with the natives of the various countries to which they penetrated in their voyages. The colonies sent out from Phoenicia were, except in the single instance of Carthage, trading settlements, planted where some commodity or commodities desired by the mother-country abounded, and were intended to secure to the mother-country the monopoly of such commodity or commodities. For instance, Cyprus was colonised for the sake of its copper mines and its timber; Cilicia and Lycia for their timber only; Thasos for its gold mines; Salamis and Cythera for the purple trade; Sardinia and Spain for their numerous metals; North Africa for its fertility and for the trade with the interior. Phoenicia expected to derive, primarily, from each colony the commodity or commodities which had caused the selection of the site. In return she supplied the colonists with her own manufactured articles; with fabrics in linen, wool, cotton, and perhaps to some extent in silk; with every variety of pottery, from dishes and jugs of the plainest and most simple kind to the most costly and elaborate vases and amphoræ; with metal utensils and arms, with gold and silver ornaments, with embossed shields and pateræ, with faïnce and glass, and also with any foreign products or manufactures that they desired and that the countries within the range of her influence could furnish. Phoenicia must have imported into Cyprus, to suit a peculiar Cyprian taste, the Egyptian statuettes, scarabs, and rings,97 and the Assyrian and Babylonian cylinders, which have been found there. The tin which she brought from the Cassiterides she distributed generally, for she did not discourage her colonists from manufacturing for themselves to some extent. There was probably no colony which did not make its own bronze vessels of the commoner sort and its own coarser pottery.

2. With foreigners, Mediterranean and Black Sea trade

In her trade with the nations who peopled the coasts of the Mediterranean, the Propontis, and the Black Sea, Phoenicia aimed primarily at disposing to advantage of her own commodities, secondarily at making a profit in commodities which she had obtained from other countries, and thirdly on obtaining commodities which she might dispose of to advantage elsewhere. Where the nations were uncivilised, or in a low condition of civilisation, she looked to making a large profit by furnishing them at a cheap rate with all the simplest conveniences of life, with their pottery, their implements and utensils, their clothes, their arms, the ornaments of their persons and of their houses. Underselling the native producers, she soon obtained a monopoly of this kind of trade, drove the native products out of the market, and imposed her own instead, much as the manufacturers of Manchester, Birmingham, and the Potteries impose their calicoes, their cutlery, and their earthenware on the savages of Africa and Polynesia. Where culture was more advanced, as in Greece and parts of Italy,98 she looked to introduce, and no doubt succeeded in introducing, the best of her own productions, fabrics of crimson, violet, and purple, painted vases, embossed pateræ, necklaces, bracelets, rings--"cunning work" of all manner of kinds99 --mirrors, glass vessels, and smelling-bottles. At the same time she also disposed at a profit of many of the wares that she had imported from foreign countries, which were advanced in certain branches of art, as Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, possibly India. The muslins and ivory of Hindustan, the shawls of Kashmir, the carpets of Babylon, the spices of Araby the Blest, the pearls of the Persian Gulf, the faïence and the papyrus of Egypt, would be readily taken by the more civilised of the Western nations, who would be prepared to pay a high price for them. They would pay for them partly, no doubt, in silver and gold, but to some extent also in their own manufactured commodities, Attica in her ceramic products, Corinth in her "brass," Etruria in her candelabra and engraved mirrors,100 Argos in her highly elaborated ornaments.101 Or, in some cases, they might make return out of the store wherewith nature had provided them, Eubœa rendering her copper, the Peloponnese her "purple," Crete her timber, the Cyrenaica its silphium.

North Atlantic trade

Outside the Pillars of Hercules the Phoenicians had only savage nations to deal with, and with these they seem to have traded mainly for the purpose of obtaining certain natural products, either peculiarly valuable or scarcely procurable elsewhere. Their trade with the Scilly Islands and the coast of Cornwall was especially for the procuring of tin. Of all the metals, tin is found in the fewest places, and though Spain seems to have yielded some anciently,102 yet it can only have been in small quantities, while there was an enormous demand for tin in all parts of the old world, since bronze was the material almost universally employed for arms, tools, implements, and utensils of all kinds, while tin is the most important, though not the largest, element in bronze. From the time that the Phoenicians discovered the Scilly Islands--the "Tin Islands" (Cassiterides), as they called them --it is probable that the tin of the civilised world was almost wholly derived from this quarter. Eastern Asia, no doubt, had always its own mines, and may have exported tin to some extent, in the remoter times, supplying perhaps the needs of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. But, after the rich stores of the metal which our own islands possess were laid open, and the Phoenicians with their extensive commercial dealings, both in the West and in the East, became interested in diffusing it, British tin probably drove all other out of use, and obtained the monopoly of the markets wherever Phoenician influence prevailed. Hence the trade with the Cassiterides was constant, and so highly prized that a Phoenician captain, finding his ship followed by a Roman vessel, preferred running it upon the rocks to letting a rival nation learn the secret of how the tin-producing coast might be approached in safety.103 With the tin it was usual for the merchants to combine a certain amount of lead and a certain quantity of skins or hides; while they gave in exchange pottery, salt, and articles in bronze, such as arms, implements, and utensils for cooking and for the table.104

If the Phoenicians visited, as some maintain that they did,105 the coasts of the Baltic, it must have been for the purpose of obtaining amber. Amber is thrown up largely by the waters of that land-locked sea, and at present especially abounds on the shore in the vicinity of Dantzic. It is very scarce elsewhere. The Phoenicians seem to have made use of amber in their necklaces from a very early date;106 and, though they might no doubt have obtained it by land-carriage across Europe to the head of the Adriatic, yet their enterprise and their commercial spirit were such as would not improbably have led them to seek to open a direct communication with the amber-producing region, so soon as they knew where it was situated. The dangers of the German Ocean are certainly not greater than those of the Atlantic; and if the Phoenicians had sufficient skill in navigation to reach Britain and the Fortunate Islands, they could have found no very serious difficulty in penetrating to the Baltic. On the other hand, there is no direct evidence of their having penetrated so far, and perhaps the Adriatic trade may have supplied them with as much amber as they needed.

Trade with the West Coast of Africa and the Canaries

The trade of the Phoenicians with the west coast of Africa had for its principal objects the procuring of ivory, of elephant, lion, leopard, and deer-skins, and probably of gold. Scylax relates that there was an established trade in his day (about B.C. 350) between Phoenicia and an island which he calls Cerne, probably Arguin, off the West African coast. "The merchants," he says,107 "who are Phoenicians, when they have arrived at Cerne, anchor their vessels there, and after having pitched their tents upon the shore, proceed to unload their cargo, and to convey it in smaller boats to the mainland. The dealers with whom they trade are Ethiopians; and these dealers sell to the Phoenicians skins of deer, lions, panthers, and domestic animals--elephants' skins also, and their teeth. The Ethiopians wear embroidered garments, and use ivory cups as drinking vessels; their women adorn themselves with ivory bracelets; and their horses also are adorned with ivory. The Phoenicians convey to them ointment, elaborate vessels from Egypt, castrated swine(?), and Attic pottery and cups. These last they commonly purchase in Athens at the Feast of Cups. These Ethiopians are eaters of flesh and drinkers of milk; they make also much wine from the vine; and the Phoenicians, too, supply some wine to them. They have a considerable city, to which the Phoenicians sail up." The river on which the city stood was probably the Senegal.

It will be observed that Scylax says nothing in this passage of any traffic for gold. We can scarcely suppose, however, that the Phoenicians, if they penetrated so far south as this, could remain ignorant of the fact that West Africa was a gold-producing country, much less that, being aware of the fact, they would fail to utilise it. Probably they were the first to establish that "dumb commerce" which was afterwards carried on with so much advantage to themselves by the Carthaginians, and whereof Herodotus gives so graphic an account. "There is a country," he says,108 "in Libya, and a nation, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which the Carthaginians are wont to visit, where they no sooner arrive than forthwith they unlade their wares, and having disposed them after an orderly fashion along the beach, there leave them, and returning aboard their ships, raise a great smoke. The natives, when they see the sample, come down to the shore, and laying out to view so much gold as they think the wares are worth, withdraw to a distance. The Carthaginians upon this come ashore again and look. If they think the gold to be enough, they take it and go their way; but if it does not seem to them sufficient, they go aboard ship once more, and wait patiently. Then the others approach and add to their gold, till the Carthaginians are satisfied. Neither party deals unfairly by the other: for they themselves never touch the gold till it comes up to the worth of their goods, nor do the natives ever carry off the goods until the gold has been taken away."

The nature of the Phoenician trade with the Canaries, or Fortunate Islands, is not stated by any ancient author, and can only be conjectured. It would scarcely have been worth the Phoenicians' while to convey timber to Syria from such a distance, or we might imagine the virgin forests of the islands attracting them.109 The large breed of dogs from which the Canaries derived their later name110 may perhaps have constituted an article of export even in Phoenician times, as we know they did later, when we hear of their being conveyed to King Juba;111 but there is an entire lack of evidence on the subject. Perhaps the Phoenicians frequented the islands less for the sake of commerce than for that of watering and refitting the ships engaged in the African trade, since the natives were less formidable than those who inhabited the mainland.112

Trade in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean

There was one further direction in which the Phoenicians pushed their maritime trade, not perhaps continuously, but at intervals, when their political relations were such as to give them access to the sea which washed Asia on the south and on the southeast. The nearest points at which they could embark for the purpose of exploring or utilising the great tract of ocean in this quarter were the inner recesses of deep gulfs. It has been thought by some113 that there were times in their history when the Phoenicians had the free use of both these gulfs, and could make it a point of their eastern explorations and trading voyages either a port on one of the two arms into which the Red Sea divides towards the north, or a harbour on the Persian Gulf near its north- western extremity. But the latter supposition rests upon grounds which are exceedingly unsafe and uncertain. That the Phoenicians migrated at some remote period to the Mediterranean may be allowed to be highly probable; they still maintained a connection with their early trading posts that may have gone all the way to the Far East. The Babylonians, through whose country the connection must have been kept up, were themselves traders, and would naturally keep the Arabian and Indian traffic in their own hands; nor can we imagine them as brooking the establishment of a rival upon their shores. And the evidence entirely fails to show that the Phoenicians ever launched a vessel in the Persian Gulf, or had any connection with the nations inhabiting its shores, beyond that maintained by the caravans which trafficked by land between the Phoenician cities and the men of Dedan and Babylon.114

It was otherwise with the more western gulf. There, certainly, from time to time, the Phoenicians launched their fleets, and carried on a commerce which was scarcely less lucrative because they had to allow the nations whose ports they used a participation in its profits. It is not impossible that, occasionally, the Egyptians allowed them to build ships in some one or more of their Red Sea ports, and to make such port or ports the head-quarters of a trade which may have proceeded beyond the Straits of Babelmandeb and possibly have reached Zanzibar and Ceylon. At any rate, we know that, in the time of Solomon, two harbours upon the Red Sea were open to them--viz. Eloth and Ezion-Geber--both places situated in the inner recess of the Elanitic Gulf, or Gulf of Akaba, the more eastern of the two arms into which the Red Sea divides. David's conquest of Edom had put these ports into the possession of the Israelites, and the friendship between Hiram and Solomon had given the Phoenicians free access to them. It was the ambition of Solomon to make the Israelites a nautical people, and to participate in the advantages which he perceived to have accrued to Phoenicia from her commercial enterprise. Besides sharing with the Phoenicians in the trade of the Mediterranean,115 he constructed with their help a fleet at Ezion-Geber upon the Red Sea,116 and the two allies conjointly made voyages to the region, or country, called Ophir, for the purpose of procuring precious stones, gold, and almug-wood.117 Ophir is, properly speaking, a portion of Arabia,118 and Arabia was famous for its production of gold,119 and also for its precious stones.120 Whether it likewise produced almug-trees is doubtful;121 and it is quite possible that the joint fleet went further than Ophir proper, and obtained the "almug-wood" from the east coast of Africa, or from India. The Somauli country might have been as easily reached as South-eastern Arabia, and if India is considerably more remote, yet there was nothing to prevent the Phoenicians from finding their way to it.122 We have, however, no direct evidence that their commerce in the Indian Ocean ever took them further than the Arabian coast.


  • The illustrations of Phoenician ships were provided by kind courtesy of Cedarland, the History of Lebanon (the section on Phoenician history is here).
  • The sea battle on the top of the page is an illustration of the battle of Salamis.


    1 Plin. /H. N./ vii. 56.
    2 Perrot et Chipiez, /Hist. de l'Art/, iii. 517, No. 352.
    3 Layard, /Nineveh and its Remains/, ii. 383.
    4 Compare the practice of the Egyptians (Rosellini, /Monumenti Storici/, pl. cxxxi.)
    5 See Mionnet, /DÈscript. de MÈdailles/, vol. vii. pl. lxi. fig. 1; Gesenius, /Ling. ScripturÊque Phún. Monumenta/, pl. 36, fig. G; Layard, /Nineveh and its Remains/, ii. 378.
    6 Layard, /Monuments of Nineveh/, first series, pl. 71; /Nineveh and its Remains/, l.s.c.
    7 So Perrot et Chipiez, /Hist. de l'Art/, iii. 34.
    8 See Di Cesnola, /Cyprus/, pl. xlv.
    9 Herod. iii. 136.
    10 In later times there must have been more sails than one, since Xenophon describes a Phúnician merchant ship as sailing by means of a quantity of rigging, which implies /several/ sails (Xen. /åconom./ ß 8).
    11 Scylax. /Periplus/, ß 112.
    12 Thucyd. i. 13.
    13 Herod. l.s.c.
    14 See Herod. vii. 89-94.
    15 Ibid. vii. 44.
    16 Ibid. vii. 100.
    17 Xen. /åconom./ ß 8, pp. 11-16 (Ed. Schneider).
    18 Herodotus (iii. 37) says they were at the prow of the ship; but Suidas (ad voc.) and Hesychius (ad voc.) place them at the stern. Perhaps there was no fixed rule.
    19 The {pataikoi} of the Greeks probably representes the Hebrew {...}, which is from {...}, "insculpere," and is applied in Scripture to "carved work" of any kind. (See 1 Kings vi. 29; Ps. lxxiv. 6; &c.) Some, however, derive the word from the Egyptian name Phthah, or Ptah. (See Kenrick, /Phúnicia/, p. 235.)
    20 Manilius, i. 304-308.
    21 Strab. /Geograph./ xv.
    22 Tarshish (Tartessus) was on the Atlantic coast, outside the Straits.
    23 Ezek. xxvii.
    24 Signified by one of its chief cities, Haran (now Harran).
    25 Signified by "the house of Togarmarh" (verse 14).
    26 Ionia, Cyprus, and Hellas are the Greek correspondents of Javan, Chittim, and Elishah, Chittim representing Citium, the capital of Cyprus.
    27 Spain is intended by "Tarshish" (verse 12) == Tartessus, which was a name given by the Phúnicians to the tract upon the lower BÊtis (Guadalquivir).
    28 See the /Speaker's Commentary/, ad loc.
    29 Strab. xv. 3, ß 22.
    30 Minnith appears as an Ammonite city in the history of Jephthah (Judg. xi. 33).
    31 Herod. ii. 37, 182; iii. 47.
    32 See Rawlinson's /Herodotus/, ii. 157; /History of Ancient Egypt/, i. 509; Rosellini, /Mon. Civili/, pls. 107-109.
    33 See Herod. iii. 107; /History of Ancient Egypt/, ii. 222-224.
    34 That these were Arabian products appears from Herod. iii. 111, 112. They may be included in the "chief of all spices," which Tyre obtained from the merchants of Sheba and Raamah (Ezek. xxvii. 22).
    35 Arabia has no ebony trees, and can never have produced elephants.
    36 See Ezek. xxvii. 23, 24. Canneh and Chilmad were probably Babylonian towns.
    37 Upper Mesopotamia is indicated by one of its chief cities, Haran (Ezek. xxvii. 23).
    38 Ezek. xxvii. 6. Many objects in ivory have been found in Cyprus.
    39 Ibid. verse 7. The /Murex brandaris/ is still abundant on the coast of Attica, and off the island of Salamis (Perrot et Chipiez, /Hist. de l'Art/, iii. 881).
    40 Strab. iii. 2, ß 8-12; Diod. Sic. v. 36; Plin. /H. N./ iii. 3.
    41 See Gen. xxxvii. 28.
    42 Isaiah xxi. 13.
    43 Ibid. lx. 6.
    44 Ibid. verses 6, 7.
    45 Heeren, /Asiatic Nations/, ii. 93, 100, 101.
    46 1 Kings v. 11; 2 Chr. ii. 10.
    47 Ezek. xxvii. 17.
    48 Ezra iii. 7.
    49 Acts xii. 20.
    50 2 Chron. l.s.c.; Ezra l.s.c.; Ezek. xxvii. 6, 17.
    51 Ezek. l.s.c.
    52 Gen. xxxvii. 28.
    53 Strab. xvi. 2, ß 41.
    54 Ezek. xxvii. 18.
    55 Strab. xv. 3, ß 22.
    56 So Heeren (/As. Nat./ ii. 118). But there is a Helbon a little to the north of Damascus, which is more probably intended.
    57 Ibid.
    58 See Amos, iii. 12, where some translate "the children of Israel that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and upon a damask couch."
    59 Ezek. xxvii. 16.
    60 The Hebrew terms for Syria {...} and Edom {...} are constantly confounded by the copyists, and we must generally look to the context to determine which is the true reading.
    61 Herod. i. 1.
    62 Ibid. ii. 112.
    63 Ch. xxvii. 7.
    64 Egyptian pottery, scarabs, seals, figures of gods, and amulets, are common on most Phúnician sites. The Sidonian sarcophagi, including that of Esmunazar, are of an Egyptian stone.
    65 Herod. iii. 5, 6.
    66 Ibid. iii. 107; Strab. xvi. 4, ß 19; Diod. Sic. ii. 49.
    67 Theophrast. /Hist. Plant./ ix. 4.
    68 Wilkinson, in the author's /Herodotus/, iii. 497, note 6; Heeren, /As. Nat./ ii. 95.
    69 Is. lx. 7; Her. xlix. 29.
    70 Ezek. xxvii. 21.
    71 Ezek. xxvii. 20.
    72 Ex. xxvi. 7; xxxvi. 14.
    73 Ezek. xxvii. 15, 19-22.
    74 See Heeren, /Asiatic Nations/, ii. 96.
    75 Ibid. pp. 99, 100.
    76 Gerrha, Sanaa, and Mariaba were flourishing towns in Strabo's time, and probably during several centuries earlier.
    77 Ezek. xxvii. 23, 24.
    78 Herod. i. 1.
    79 See Di Cesnola, /Cyprus/, pls. xxxi.-xxxiii.; A. Di Cesnola, /Salaminia/, ch. xii.; Perrot et Chipiez, /Hist. de l'Art/, iii. 636-639.
    80 Layard, /Monuments of Nineveh/, 2nd series, pls. 57-67; /Nineveh and Babylon/, pp. 183-187.
    81 Ezek. xxvii. 23.
    82 So Heeren translates (/As. Nat./ ii. 123).
    83 Ezek. xxvii. 14.
    84 Strab. xi. 14, ß 9:--{'Estin ippobotos sphodra e khora}.
    85 Ibid.
    86 1 Kings i. 33; Esth. viii. 10, 14.
    87 Ezek. xxvii. 13.
    88 Xen. /Anab./ iv. 1, ß 6.
    89 Hom. /Od./ xv. 415-484; Herod. i. 1.
    90 Joel iii. 6.
    91 Ezek. xxvii. 13.
    92 Herod. v. 5.
    93 Herod. ii. 32.
    94 Ibid. iv. 183.
    95 Ibid.
    96 Ibid. iv. 181-184. Compare Heeren, /African Nations/, ii. pp. 202-235.
    97 No doubt some of these may have been imparted by the Cyprians themselves, and others introduced by the Egyptians when they held Cyprus; but they are too numerous to be accounted for sufficiently unless by a continuous Phúnician importation.
    98 Especially Etruria, which was advanced in civilisation and the arts, while Rome was barely emerging from barbarism.
    99 2 Chron. ii. 14.
    100 Dennis, /Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria/, ii. 204, 514; Gerhard, /Etruskische Spiegel/, passim.
    101 Schliemann, /MycenÊ/, Pls. 357-519.
    102 Ezek. xxvii. 12; Plin. /H. N./ xxxiv. 16; &c.
    103 Strabo, iii. 5, ß 11.
    104 Ibid. In Roman times the pigs of tin were brought to the Isle of Wight by the natives, thence transported across the Channel, and conveyed through Gaul to the mouth of the RhÙne (Diod. Sic. v. 22).
    105 Heeren, /Asiatic Nations/, ii. 80.
    106 Hom. /Od./ xv. 460. Some doubt, however, if amber is here intended.
    107 Scylax, /Periplus/, ß 112.
    108 Herod. iv. 196.
    109 These forests (spoken of by Diodorus, v. 19) have now to a great extent been cleared away, though some patches still remain, especially in the more western islands of the group. The most remarkable of the trees is the /Pinus canariensis/.
    110 Pliny, /H. N./ vi. 32, sub fin.
    111 Pliny, l.s.c. The breed is now extinct.
    112 The savagery of the ancient inhabitants of the mainland is strongly marked in the narrative of Hanno (/Periplus/, passim).
    113 As Heeren (/As. Nat./ ii. 71, 75, 239).
    114 Ezek. xxvii. 15, 20, 23.
    115 See 1 Kings x. 22; 2 Chr. ix. 21.
    116 1 Kings ix. 26, 27.
    117 Ibid. x. 11; 2 Chr. ix. 10.
    118 Gen. x. 29. Compare Twistleton, in Dr. Smith's /Dictionary of the Bible/, vol. ii. ad voc. OPHIR.
    119 Ps. lxxii. 15; Ezek. xxvii. 22; Strab. xvi. 4, ß 18; Diod. Sic. ii. 50.
    120 Ezel. l.s.c.; Strab. xvi. 4, ß 20.
    121 There are no sufficient data for determining what tree is intended by the almug or algum tree. The theory which identifies it with the "sandal-wood" of India has respectable authority in its favour, but cannot rise beyond the rank of a conjecture.
    122 If Scylax of Cadyanda could sail, in the reign of Darius Hystaspis, from the mouth of the Indus to the Gulf of Suez (Herod. iv. 44), there could have been no great difficulty in the Phúnicians accomplishing the same voyage in the opposite direction some centuries earlier.

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