Phoenician trade

Local, imperial, and Hellenistic identities have been examined

Phoenician trade

Sanford Holst documented this remarkable experience in Lebanon: It was an absolutely beautiful vessel, and he took the time to tell me about many of the details that went into it.

The maiden voyage was to be two days later. On the second day, I was having lunch at the harbor in Byblos -- about 70 miles km north of Tyre -- and quite incredibly the Phoenician boat sailed directly into the harbor and docked right in front of my table!

The crew was as surprised as I was. We happily celebrated their successful voyage. In fact, it is more a matter of ups and downs, with the present hopefully being higher than the past.

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This was dramatically illustrated by the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Roman Empire. Before that time, ancient ships were quite spectacular.

The rise of the Phoenicians' shipbuilding and sea trade from meager fisherman roots to opulent cargoes of gold, jewels and royal-purple cloth is explored in Chapters 2 through 19 of Phoenician Secrets: Exploring the Ancient Mediteranean. Shipbuilding and sea trade are woven throughout the Phoenicians' long history due to their vital importance in shaping and supporting early Lebanese society.

Ancient Boatbuilding An unfortunate hazard of sea trade is shipwrecks, but several of them turned out to be blessings in disguise -- at least for us -- because they preserved excellent examples of early ships and cargoes. And what a remarkable story they tell.

Consider the wreck at Uluburun, just off the coast of what is today called Turkey but back then was on the Byblos - Cyprus - Greece trade route.

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It showed us how these ships were laboriously and painstakingly built by carving each piece of wood in the hull to create a row of "pockets" along the edge. On the piece of wood beside it, a similar row of pockets was carved, with each one being lined up exactly opposite a pocket in the neighboring board.

A small piece of wood tenon was then put in each pocket mortise of one of the boards, which ended up looking like it had a long row of wooden teeth. Then the second board was placed beside it and -- with any luck at all -- its own pockets fit perfectly onto the teeth of the other.

Finally a round hole was drilled through each pocket-and-tooth, and a wooden peg was placed in the hole. When all the pegs were in place, the two boards could not be separated by any amount of force by wave or cargo. And this was done for virtually every board in the hull. Their craftsmanship was not only beautiful, it was incredibly strong.

Art of Boatbuilding in Phoenician Secrets. The galley fighting ships, with their rows of galley oars, could have a crew of over a hundred people. That is a pretty good size.

Phoenician trade

But even those were small compared to the Phoenician cargo ships with their vast, rounded hulls.As the Phoenicians’ power in the region increased, they expanded their trade networks. Phoenician ships carried wine and cedar logs to Egypt in exchange for Nubian gold, and they transported silver from Spain, tin from Britain and copper from Cyprus.

The city-states of Phoenicia flourished through maritime trade between c. BCE when the major cities were conquered by Alexander the Great and, after his death, the region became a battleground in the fight between his generals for succession and empire.

Trade and the search for valuable commodities necessitated the establishment of permanent trading posts and, as the Phoenician ships generally sailed close to the coast and only in .

The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around BC, is the oldest verified alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet is an abjad consisting of 22 letters, all consonants, with matres lectionis used for some vowels in certain late varieties.

Trade ships (for more information about Phoenician trade and warships click this link) Trade ships sailed almost axclusively between the months of March and October, that is in favourable weather conditions.

Phoenician trade was founded on the Tyrian purple dye, a violet-purple dye derived from the hypobranchial gland of the Murex sea-snail, once profusely available in coastal waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea but exploited to local extinction.

Phoenicia - Wikipedia