Masters of the Mediterranean, Explorers of the Atlantic
The Phoenicians originated in modern day Lebanon. Their cities were located near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea; the Lebanon Mountains towered behind them. When the Phoenicians began expanding, instead of going over the mountains they expanded out into the sea. As the Phoenicians expanded they formed new colonies and established trade routes (see appendix A). However the Phoenicians exploration and trade did not stop in the Mediterranean it extended into Brittany, pushed deep into Africa, and reached the Americas.
The Phoenicians traded and interacted with many civilizations and peoples. Despite these ...view middle of the document...
We know that they were masters of the Mediterranean Sea and plied its waters with uncanny ability as told by various sources and findings. However they didn’t stop in the Mediterranean they pushed even further. To understand these expansions we need to further investigate the early Phoenicians.
The Phoenicians got their name from the purple dye and textiles that they traded. The word Phoenicians is Greek translated it means “Purple People”. Although it is important to understand that although they were called Phoenicians by the people of that time they themselves did not identify with this name or even with each other. Rather the people of “Phoenicia” would have called themselves after their city such as Tyre, Sidon, or Byblos. The Phoenician city-states had their own rulers and councils of nobles. Instead of forming an empire they formed vast trading networks and explored and colonized faraway lands.
The Phoenicians colonization as Appendix A shows was mainly along the western half of the Mediterranean Sea. These colonies thrived because of their locations in politically weak areas whereas in Egypt and Greece, Phoenician influence never amounted to occupation. In Egypt and Greece the Phoenicians had landing stages to facilitate trade but these never developed into strong colonies. Historians believe that one of the earliest western Phoenician colonies was Utica. Around the same time Cadiz was founded in modern day Spain. Around 280 years after Utica was founded the colony of Carthage would develop. Carthage rapidly rose to power and began to colonize as well. The Phoenicians also are said to have colonized Sicily according to the Athenian historian Thucydides they preceded the Greeks in colonizing Sicily but withdrew before the Greeks came to the island. “The expansion of the Phoenicians and later of the Carthaginians was predominantly commercial, with no intent of conquest.”
After years of sailing in the Mediterranean the Phoenicians had developed skills and ships suited to their ocean going lives. They had two main kinds of ships, warships and merchant ships. A relief that depicts Luli’s flight from the Phoenician city Tyre shows representations of both types of ships (see Appendix B). The merchant ships are the ones with rounded sides with a double bank of oars and no sail. These vessels were mainly used for sailing and trading close to shore. The warships have a ram at the front of the boat, a round stern with a steering oar, two banks of oars along the sides and also a single square sail. The warships or a modified version of them would be the vessel of choice for long voyages. The “ships of Tarshish” which went on long voyages most likely looked roughly like the warship perhaps with only one bank of oars.
Not only did they know how to build and sail their ships they had every detail of ocean travel perfected such as packing. A ship has a staggering amount of things on it even without trade cargo and the Phoenicians had ways of...