Home Region:  Levant (Southwest Asia)

Phoenician Empire

D G SC WF HS CC EQ 2020  lb_phoenician_emp / LbAcPho

Preceding:
2000 BCE 1175 BCE Canaan (il_canaan)    [continuity]
Add one more here.

Succeeding:
No Polity found. Add one here.

The term ’Phoenicia’ refers to a group of allied cities - rather than a politically centralized state - located in the southern Levant, in present-day Lebanon and northern Israel. It is difficult to assign exact dates to this quasi-polity, [1] but here we focus on the period between c. 1200 BCE and 332 BCE, when the Phoenician city of Tyre fell to Alexander the Great. [2] The Phoenicians were skilled traders and seafarers. [3]
Population and political organization
The ruler of a Phoenician city was somewhere between human and divine. He was not a god, but was the highest priest with a privileged relationship to the city’s patron deity. [4] However, his power was not unlimited: merchant families also wielded considerable influence in public affairs and, at least in Byblos, Sidon, and possibly Tyre, the king was assisted by a council of elders. In Tyre, between 605 and 561 BCE, the monarchy was replaced with a republic, in which the government was led by a series of judges known as suffetes, who ruled for only short terms. [5]
Reliable population figures for the Phoenician cities are lacking.

[1]: (Röllig 1983) Röllig, Wolfgang. 1983. “The Phoenician Language: Remarks on the Present State of Research.” In Atti Del I. Congresso Internazionale Di Studi Fenici E Punici: Roma, 5-10 Novembre 1979, 375-85. Rome: Istituto per la Civiltà Fenicia e Punica. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KKX2FPFB.

[2]: (Briant 2010, 9) Briant, Pierre. 2010. Alexander the Great and His Empire: A Short Introduction. Translated by Amélie Kuhrt. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/2BWW9KRM.

[3]: (Kaufman 2014, 3-4) Kaufman, Bret. 2014. “Empire without a Voice: Phoenician Iron Metallurgy and Imperial Strategy at Carthage.” PhD Dissertation, Los Angeles, CA: UCLA. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/6HWAI37J.

[4]: (Bonnet 2004, 102) Bonnet, Corinne. 2004. I Fenici. Rome: Carocci. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/CHKFPEHR.

[5]: (Etheredge 2011, 122) Etheredge, Laura. 2011. Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. New York: Britannica Educational Publishing. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/B8B3HGFK.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
36 S  
Original Name:
Phoenician Empire  
Capital:
Sidon  
Tyre  
Sidon  
Tyre  
Alternative Name:
Fnkhw  
Phoiniki  
Tyre  
Sidon  
Phoenicia  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
570 BCE  
Duration:
[1,200 BCE ➜ 332 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
vassalage to [---]  
none  
vassalage to [---]  
none  
Supracultural Entity:
Phoenician  
Succeeding Entity:
Macedonian Empire  
Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[8,000 to 10,000] km2 1200 BCE 801 BCE
[20,000 to 40,000] km2 800 BCE 332 BCE
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Preceding:   Canaan (il_canaan)    [continuity]  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Semitic  
Language:
Phoenician  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[40,000 to 60,000] people  
Polity Territory:
[8,000 to 10,000] km2  
Polity Population:
[10,000 to 60,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[5 to 7]  
Religious Level:
[5 to 6]  
Military Level:
[4 to 8]  
Administrative Level:
-  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
inferred present  
Professional Priesthood:
inferred present  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
unknown  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
inferred present  
Formal Legal Code:
inferred present  
Court:
inferred present  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
inferred present  
Irrigation System:
inferred present  
Food Storage Site:
inferred present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
inferred present  
Port:
present  
Canal:
inferred absent  
Bridge:
inferred absent  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present  
Nonwritten Record:
unknown  
Mnemonic Device:
unknown  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown  
Sacred Text:
unknown  
Religious Literature:
present  
Practical Literature:
unknown  
Philosophy:
unknown  
Lists Tables and Classification:
present  
History:
present  
Fiction:
unknown  
Calendar:
inferred present  
Information / Money
Token:
unknown  
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent 1200 BCE 461 BCE
present 460 BCE 332 BCE
Foreign Coin:
absent 1200 BCE 599 BCE
present 598 BCE 332 BCE
Article:
unknown  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
unknown  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
unknown  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
inferred present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
unknown  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
unknown  
  Fortified Camp:
unknown  
  Earth Rampart:
present  
  Ditch:
unknown  
  Complex Fortification:
unknown  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
inferred present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
inferred present  
  Self Bow:
inferred present  
  Javelin:
inferred present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
present  
  Atlatl:
unknown  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
present  
  Sword:
inferred present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
present  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
unknown  
  Dog:
unknown  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
unknown  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
inferred present  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
unknown  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Laminar Armor:
unknown  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
unknown  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
present  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
unknown  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
present  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Phoenician Empire (lb_phoenician_emp) was in:
 (1180 BCE 1031 BCE)   Galilee
Home NGA: Galilee

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Phoenician Empire

Kena’an. Cultural continuity with the earlier Canaanites.


Sidon: 1200-1001 BCE; Tyre: 1000-501 BCE; Sidon: 500-342 BCE; Tyre: 341-332 BCE. "By the end of the 11th century B.C., two new factors assumed primary importance in early Phoenician history. Tyre became the leading maritime center, having eclipsed its mother city Sidon…" [1] The two cities were often joined in a personal union, and the king of Tyre would often be referred to by outside authors as "king of the Sidonians." However, "it is Sidon… which emerges clearly as the pre-eminent Phoenician state by the early fifth century, a role which it occupied until the closing years of the Persian era." [2] Sidon was brutally conquered by Artaxerxes III of Persia c. 342 BCE.

[1]: Stieglitz (1990:11).

[2]: Markoe (2000:51).

Sidon: 1200-1001 BCE; Tyre: 1000-501 BCE; Sidon: 500-342 BCE; Tyre: 341-332 BCE. "By the end of the 11th century B.C., two new factors assumed primary importance in early Phoenician history. Tyre became the leading maritime center, having eclipsed its mother city Sidon…" [1] The two cities were often joined in a personal union, and the king of Tyre would often be referred to by outside authors as "king of the Sidonians." However, "it is Sidon… which emerges clearly as the pre-eminent Phoenician state by the early fifth century, a role which it occupied until the closing years of the Persian era." [2] Sidon was brutally conquered by Artaxerxes III of Persia c. 342 BCE.

[1]: Stieglitz (1990:11).

[2]: Markoe (2000:51).

Sidon: 1200-1001 BCE; Tyre: 1000-501 BCE; Sidon: 500-342 BCE; Tyre: 341-332 BCE. "By the end of the 11th century B.C., two new factors assumed primary importance in early Phoenician history. Tyre became the leading maritime center, having eclipsed its mother city Sidon…" [1] The two cities were often joined in a personal union, and the king of Tyre would often be referred to by outside authors as "king of the Sidonians." However, "it is Sidon… which emerges clearly as the pre-eminent Phoenician state by the early fifth century, a role which it occupied until the closing years of the Persian era." [2] Sidon was brutally conquered by Artaxerxes III of Persia c. 342 BCE.

[1]: Stieglitz (1990:11).

[2]: Markoe (2000:51).

Sidon: 1200-1001 BCE; Tyre: 1000-501 BCE; Sidon: 500-342 BCE; Tyre: 341-332 BCE. "By the end of the 11th century B.C., two new factors assumed primary importance in early Phoenician history. Tyre became the leading maritime center, having eclipsed its mother city Sidon…" [1] The two cities were often joined in a personal union, and the king of Tyre would often be referred to by outside authors as "king of the Sidonians." However, "it is Sidon… which emerges clearly as the pre-eminent Phoenician state by the early fifth century, a role which it occupied until the closing years of the Persian era." [2] Sidon was brutally conquered by Artaxerxes III of Persia c. 342 BCE.

[1]: Stieglitz (1990:11).

[2]: Markoe (2000:51).


Alternative Name:
Fnkhw

The first term is ancient Egyptian for "Syrian". From it derived the second term, which is Greek. Often, Tyre or Sidon was used as a metonym for Phoenicia in general.

Alternative Name:
Phoiniki

The first term is ancient Egyptian for "Syrian". From it derived the second term, which is Greek. Often, Tyre or Sidon was used as a metonym for Phoenicia in general.

Alternative Name:
Tyre

The first term is ancient Egyptian for "Syrian". From it derived the second term, which is Greek. Often, Tyre or Sidon was used as a metonym for Phoenicia in general.

Alternative Name:
Sidon

The first term is ancient Egyptian for "Syrian". From it derived the second term, which is Greek. Often, Tyre or Sidon was used as a metonym for Phoenicia in general.

Alternative Name:
Phoenicia

The first term is ancient Egyptian for "Syrian". From it derived the second term, which is Greek. Often, Tyre or Sidon was used as a metonym for Phoenicia in general.


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
570 BCE

This date is speculative, but comes right before the conquest of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. It is thought by some [1] that Carthage and other Mediterranean colonies were able to split away from Tyrian control at this point, though they still paid regular tribute per their treaty obligations. Though Phoenicia as a whole remained prosperous, especially during the Persian era, the power and influence of Levantine Phoenicia over their colonies seems to have declined.

[1]: Markoe (2000:54).


Duration:
[1,200 BCE ➜ 332 BCE]

The beginning date is approximate, during the time when the earlier Canaanite culture entered its final decline, the Egyptian and Hittite empires both suddenly lost much of their power, and the Phoenician culture differentiated itself. The end date reflects the conquest of Tyre by Alexander the Great. (Arguments could be made for earlier dates as well; in approximately 850 BCE, the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II conquered the Phoenician cities and turned them into vassals. [1] This was not the first time that the Assyrians had conquered Phoenicia—Tiglath-Pileser I campaigned against them c. 1100 BCE [2] —but in the earlier instance, Assyrian control was short-lived and ended around 1050 BCE, and the Phoenicians regained their independence. After the conquest by Ashurnasirpal II, the Phoenician cities in the Levantine coast spent most of their cultural existence as vassals of one empire or another. However, the Assyrians and later the Persians gave the Phoenician cities a wide degree of autonomy because of their seafaring skill; they were more useful as autonomous traders who could then be a rich source of tribute. [3] )

[1]: Healey (1991:10).

[2]: Bryce (2009:42)

[3]: Kaufman (2014: 3-4).


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
vassalage to [---]

[1] Though the Israelite king Ahab is recorded to have married a Phoenician princess (sometime around 800-850 BCE), this does not appear to have led to a political union.

[1]: pers. comm., Oren Litwin 2018

Suprapolity Relations:
none

[1] Though the Israelite king Ahab is recorded to have married a Phoenician princess (sometime around 800-850 BCE), this does not appear to have led to a political union.

[1]: pers. comm., Oren Litwin 2018

Suprapolity Relations:
vassalage to [---]

[1] Though the Israelite king Ahab is recorded to have married a Phoenician princess (sometime around 800-850 BCE), this does not appear to have led to a political union.

[1]: pers. comm., Oren Litwin 2018

Suprapolity Relations:
none

[1] Though the Israelite king Ahab is recorded to have married a Phoenician princess (sometime around 800-850 BCE), this does not appear to have led to a political union.

[1]: pers. comm., Oren Litwin 2018


Supracultural Entity:
Phoenician

Also called Punic/Phoenician, it encompassed independent colonies across the Mediterranean—the most famous of which was the city of Carthage.


Succeeding Entity:
Macedonian Empire

Alexander the Great destroyed much of the city of Tyre in 332 BCE, and killed or enslaved the bulk of the population. This episode essentially broke the power of the Phoenician cities in the Levant, leaving Carthage and other colonies to the West as the remaining bearers of Phoenician culture. (Tyre and Sidon were able to briefly win independence from the Seleucid Empire some centuries later, before being conquered again and ultimately incorporated into the Roman Empire.)


Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[8,000 to 10,000] km2
1200 BCE 801 BCE

km squared. Around 800 BCE with the Assyrian conquest, the Phoenicians began their extensive campaign of colonizing the Mediterranean.

Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[20,000 to 40,000] km2
800 BCE 332 BCE

km squared. Around 800 BCE with the Assyrian conquest, the Phoenicians began their extensive campaign of colonizing the Mediterranean.


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

"…it was at the end of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BCE) that certain city states or regional polities appeared thereafter to be differentiated from the relatively homogenous Canaanite material culture of the Levant that preceded it. In other words, the early Iron I period did not witness a sudden “appearance” of something others would come to call Phoenicia or Phoenician city-states; instead the transition was one of a general disruption of other sites and regional cultures in the Levant." [1]

[1]: Dixon (2013:13).


Preceding Entity:
Canaan [il_canaan] ---> Phoenician Empire [lb_phoenician_emp]

"…it was at the end of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BCE) that certain city states or regional polities appeared thereafter to be differentiated from the relatively homogenous Canaanite material culture of the Levant that preceded it. In other words, the early Iron I period did not witness a sudden “appearance” of something others would come to call Phoenicia or Phoenician city-states; instead the transition was one of a general disruption of other sites and regional cultures in the Levant." [1]

[1]: Dixon (2013:13).


Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

"In 1983, Röllig criticized the “rather imprecise concept of the Phoenicians” employed by most scholars, but argued that “this need not surprise us unduly since the nation itself never developed an idea of ‘Phoenician’ as a national concept.” Most of our inscriptional evidence indicates that the populations others referred to as “Phoenicians” self-identified in terms of city-based affiliations or family ties during the Iron II-III periods; the tendency in presentations of Phoenician history from the past twenty-five years has been to emphasize these city-based allegiances, or to describe them politically in terms of a working confederacy." [1]

[1]: Dixon (2013:12-13).


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[40,000 to 60,000] people

Inhabitants. A crude guess at the size of Tyre or Sidon, based on the above.


Polity Territory:
[8,000 to 10,000] km2

in squared kilometers.


Polity Population:
[10,000 to 60,000] people

People, per Phoenician city-state. Unfortunately, due to the difficulties in excavating the Phoenician cities, there appear to be no good estimates for the populations for each polity. Markoe (2000:196) tentatively suggests that by the 4th Century BCE, Tyre’s population "may have reached forty thousand, if one accepts Arrian’s testimony concerning the number of soldiers slain and inhabitants sold into slavery at the time of Alexander’s siege." Diodorus reported that over 40,000 people in Sidon were killed when Artaxerxes III captured the city in 351 BCE, with an unspecified number of survivors sold into slavery. Yet enough people remained for Sidon to recover as a thriving metropolis within only a few years. [1] One might suppose that at least ten thousand Sidonians remained after Artaxerxes’ depredations. Tyre and Sidon were, of course, the leading cities of Phoenicia, giving us little to work with when estimating the size of the other cities. Arwad, in the second rank of Phoenician polities, was on an island of some 40 hectares; according to the "conventional" (and questionable) rule of thumb of 250 inhabitants per built-up hectare, [2] this would indicate some 10,000 inhabitants. However, classical sources indicate that the island was densely populated, with strong fortifications and an urban core with multi-story buildings. [3] We can likely double the initial estimate, in my view.

[1]: Markoe (2000:60-61).

[2]: Cf. Zorn (1994).

[3]: Markoe (2000:205-206).


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[5 to 7]

levels. Mostly by analogy to Canaanite settlement patterns, [1] which exhibited the following pattern:
1) A provincial capital,2) Smaller tell settlements,3) Villages,4) Hamlets,5) shrine site—smaller than a village, with primarily cultic activity and little population6) outpost—small fortified sites with no evidence of residential use.7) nomadic/seasonal site.
It is unlikely that the Phoenicians would have had nomadic sites, and perhaps they did not have uninhabited shrines; but it is possible that their trading outposts were similar in form.

[1]: Burke (2004:238), Kennedy (2013:15).


Religious Level:
[5 to 6]

“Il re occupa di fatto una posizione strategica di intermediario fra la sfera divina e quella umana. Partecipa a modo suo, pur non essendo divinizzato, a entrambe le condizioni: umano e divino, svolge nelle pratiche rituali un ruolo di spicco, come sacerdote della divinta’ poliade, as esempio di Astarte a Sidone o della Baalat Gubal a Biblo.” [1] TRANSLATION: “The ruler occupied a strategic intermediary position between the divine sphere and the human. Though he was not himself a god, he did in his own way partake of both spheres: human and god-like, the ruler played a prominent role in ritual, and was seen as the chief priest in charge of his city’s patron deity, such as Astarte in Sidonia and Baalat Gubal in Biblos.” "Gli uffici del culto regolare, invece, erano affidati a un apposito personale, che le iscrizioni ci mostrano strutturato gerarchicamente e articolato in vari livello di ministero. Nei vari culti il clero era guidato da un sommo sacerdote e comprendeva, oltre agli altri sacerdoti e alle sacerdotesse, una schiera numerosa di personale minore, dai macellatori ai profumieri, dagli scribi agli schiavi. [...] Due cariche sembrano di particolare importanza: quella del ’sacrificatore’, probabilmente scelto con incarico pubblico e rinnovabile, dai compiti forse analoghi al ruolo del mageiros nella religione greca; e quella, meno chiara, del mqmlm, forse il sacredote ’risuscitatore della divinita’, frequente nelle inscrizioni di Cartagine, Cipro, Rodi, Tripolitania. Conosciamo anche l’esistenza di collegi sacerdotali e associazioni a sfondo religioso." [2] TRANSLATION: "Regular cult duties fell under the purview of specialised personnel, which, according to inscriptions, was organised hierarchically. Religious personnel was led by a chief priest and, besides regular priests and priestesses, it also included a host of minor figures, such as butchers, perfumers, scribes, and slaves. [...] It seems that two roles were particularly important among the clergy: the ’sacrificer’, possibly a publicly elected and renewable office, possibly one similar to that of a Greek mageiros; inscriptions found in Carthage, Cyprus, Rodes, and Tripolitania often mention the mqmlm, whose function is less clear than the sacrificer’s, though he may have been tasked with ’reviving the deity’. We also know of the existence of priestly assemblies and religious associations."
(1) King;
(2) Chief priest;(3) Sacrificer and mqmlm, perhaps;(4) other priests and priestesses;(5) minor temple personnel (e.g. butchers, perfumers, scribes);(6) temple slaves.

[1]: Bonnet, C. 2004. I Fenici p. 102. Roma: Carrocci.

[2]: Ribichini, S. 1988. Le credenze e la vita religiosa. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 104-125. Milano: Bompiani.


Military Level:
[4 to 8]

levels. The Phoenician command structure is unknown, particularly given their reliance on mercenaries; however, it is known that neighboring Israel had up to 8 levels of hierarchy, ranging from the king serving as field commander all the way down to commanders of thousands, hundreds, and tens. [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:42-44, 71, 140).


Administrative Level:
-

levels. One might infer at the very least 1) the ruler, 2) city bureaucratic officials, 3) subordinate officials, and 4) village elders, but we have no hard data.


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

Presumably, the mercenary troops that the Phoenicians relied on (see below) would be considered full-time.


Professional Priesthood:
present

"Gli uffici del culto regolare, invece, erano affidati a un apposito personale, che le iscrizioni ci mostrano strutturato gerarchicamente e articolato in vari livello di ministero. Nei vari culti il clero era guidato da un sommo sacerdote e comprendeva, oltre agli altri sacerdoti e alle sacerdotesse, una schiera numerosa di personale minore, dai macellatori ai profumieri, dagli scribi agli schiavi. [...] Due cariche sembrano di particolare importanza: quella del ’sacrificatore’, probabilmente scelto con incarico pubblico e rinnovabile, dai compiti forse analoghi al ruolo del mageiros nella religione greca; e quella, meno chiara, del mqmlm, forse il sacredote ’risuscitatore della divinita’, frequente nelle inscrizioni di Cartagine, Cipro, Rodi, Tripolitania. Conosciamo anche l’esistenza di collegi sacerdotali e associazioni a sfondo religioso." [1] TRANSLATION: "Regular cult duties fell under the purview of specialised personnel, which, according to inscriptions, was organised hierarchically. Religious personnel was led by a chief priest and, besides regular priests and priestesses, it also included a host of minor figures, such as butchers, perfumers, scribes, and slaves. [...] It seems that two roles were particularly important among the clergy: the ’sacrificer’, possibly a publicly elected and renewable office, possibly one similar to that of a Greek mageiros; inscriptions found in Carthage, Cyprus, Rodes, and Tripolitania often mention the mqmlm, whose function is less clear than the sacrificer’s, though he may have been tasked with ’reviving the deity’. We also know of the existence of priestly assemblies and religious associations."

[1]: Ribichini, S. 1988. Le credenze e la vita religiosa. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 104-125. Milano: Bompiani.


Professional Military Officer:
unknown

Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
unknown

Many governmental functions were carried out by temples and the palace; whether there were distinct governmental buildings is unclear.



Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

Examination System:
unknown

Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

Judge:
present

From the example of Carthage, as well as that of the Israelites.


Formal Legal Code:
present

Though practically no direct evidence survives, contemporary writers were clear that the legal system of Carthage was substantially taken from that of Tyre. Additionally, legal codes were used by at least some of the preceding Canaanite cities, [1] as well as by the neighboring Israelites.

[1]: Horowitz/Oshima/Vukosavovic (2012).


Court:
present

From the example of Carthage, as well as that of the Israelites.


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

While archaeological evidence of markets is hard to find, [1] it is all but certain that they existed in commercial Phoenicia.

[1]: McMaster (2014:87)


Irrigation System:
present

Agricultural irrigation systems were known to be used in Bronze Age Canaan, [1] and are unlikely to have been abandoned.

[1]: Golden (2004:84).


Food Storage Site:
present

Given how much food was imported from Israel and Egypt, these would have surely been necessary.


Drinking Water Supply System:
present

"In most instances, fresh water was secured from local sources, such as rivers or springs. Where local supply was insufficient for population needs, as at Tyre, water was piped in or otherwise physically imported. When necessary, existing supply was augmented by excavated wells, or built, lime-plastered cisterns (cf. Tyre and Awad)." [1]

[1]: Markoe (2000:69).


Transport Infrastructure

Phoenician cities conducted overland trade as well as by sea.


Phoenician societies were famous for their seafaring. Across the entire Punic/Phoenician superculture in the Mediterranean, some 183 ports have been catalogued, [1] several of which were in Phoenicia proper.

[1]: Carayon (2008).


While irrigation canals might have been used, there is no evidence for canals as water transport and they would have been unnecessary for island cities in any event.


Bridge:
absent

Bridges were absent in neighboring Iron-Age Israel. [1]

[1]: Dorsey (1991).


Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present

While mineral resources were scant in Phoenicia proper, leading Phoenicians to set up mining or trading operations as far away as Spain and Britain, Phoenicians frequently quarried the stone for their city constructions on-site or nearby. For example, several quarries have been identified on the harbor island of Zire, off the coast of Sidon. [1]

[1]: Marriner/Morhange/Doumet-Serhal (2006).


Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

"In the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum mentioned above, of the 6058 Phoenician inscriptions listed, only about one hundred of these had been found in the Phoenician Levantine homeland." [1] "The Phoenician alphabetic script was easy to write on papyrus or parchment sheets, and the use of these materials explains why virtually no Phoenician writings - no history, no trading records - have come down to us. In their cities by the sea, the air and soil were damp, and papyrus and leather moldered and rotted away. Thus disappeared the literature of the people who taught a large portion of the earth’s population to write." [2]

[1]: Dixon (2013:32).

[2]: Lipiński (1995:1321-1322)


Script:
present

"The first Phoenician writing appeared perhaps as early as the 12th century BCE, and the Punic dialect of Phoenician (written in the Phoenician alphabet) was in use until the 6th century CE." [1]

[1]: Dixon (2013:31).


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present

"The first Phoenician writing appeared perhaps as early as the 12th century BCE, and the Punic dialect of Phoenician (written in the Phoenician alphabet) was in use until the 6th century CE." [1]

[1]: Dixon (2013:31).


Nonwritten Record:
unknown

"In the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum mentioned above, of the 6058 Phoenician inscriptions listed, only about one hundred of these had been found in the Phoenician Levantine homeland." [1] "The Phoenician alphabetic script was easy to write on papyrus or parchment sheets, and the use of these materials explains why virtually no Phoenician writings - no history, no trading records - have come down to us. In their cities by the sea, the air and soil were damp, and papyrus and leather moldered and rotted away. Thus disappeared the literature of the people who taught a large portion of the earth’s population to write." [2]

[1]: Dixon (2013:32).

[2]: Lipiński (1995:1321-1322)



Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown


Religious Literature:
present

Practical Literature:
unknown


Lists Tables and Classification:
present

"…as the classical sources reveal, a wide range of Phoenician works—on subjects ranging from history and law to religion and philosophy—did once exist. The references, by and large, are Roman in date and refer primarily to Carthage and its later literary tradition. The Phoenician cities in the east, however, also possessed extensive archives of an historical and economic nature that were housed and maintained by the palaces and temples. In the Report of Wenamun, King Zakarbaal of Byblos consults such ancestral records, written on papyrus scrolls…" [1] I have seen claims that the Greek term biblion for book was derived from the city name Byblos, because of the vast quantities of Egyptian papyrus imported there.

[1]: Markoe (2000:110).


History:
present

Several later authors, such as the 3rd-century BCE Philo of Byblos, wrote Greek translations of city histories that dated back a millennium earlier. [1]

[1]: Aubet (2001:246-247)



Calendar:
present

Notably, the famous 10th Century BCE Gezer calendar is argued by some to have been Phoenician.


Information / Money

Precious Metal:
present

Gold, silver and copper were commonly traded by Phoenician merchant ships back as far as the Bronze Age. [1]

[1]: Wachsmann (1998:39-40).



Indigenous Coin:
absent
1200 BCE 461 BCE

"Phoenicians developed minting of coinage relatively late, at least later than the Lydians and the Greeks. Sometime in the middle of the fifth century BCE, four cities abandoned the use of weights as monetary units and started minting coinage: Byblos (ca. 460 BCE), Tyre (ca. 450 BCE), Sidon (ca. 440 BCE), and Arwad (ca. 430 BCE)." [1]

[1]: Jigoulov (2016:73), cf. Altmann (2016:137).

Indigenous Coin:
present
460 BCE 332 BCE

"Phoenicians developed minting of coinage relatively late, at least later than the Lydians and the Greeks. Sometime in the middle of the fifth century BCE, four cities abandoned the use of weights as monetary units and started minting coinage: Byblos (ca. 460 BCE), Tyre (ca. 450 BCE), Sidon (ca. 440 BCE), and Arwad (ca. 430 BCE)." [1]

[1]: Jigoulov (2016:73), cf. Altmann (2016:137).


Foreign Coin:
absent
1200 BCE 599 BCE

Dating is approximate; the exact time the Lydians began minting coins is unknown, but the Phoenicians were in close contact with them and the Greeks from the beginning. It is speculated that the first Phoenician coins (see below) were minted from melted-down Greek silver coins. [1]

[1]: Altmann (2016:138).

Foreign Coin:
present
598 BCE 332 BCE

Dating is approximate; the exact time the Lydians began minting coins is unknown, but the Phoenicians were in close contact with them and the Greeks from the beginning. It is speculated that the first Phoenician coins (see below) were minted from melted-down Greek silver coins. [1]

[1]: Altmann (2016:138).



Information / Postal System

General Postal Service:
absent

Courier:
unknown

Some existing seals refer to a courier, but whether these were full-time professionals is unclear.


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
present

Timber was often used as a building material, being plentiful.


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present

Massive Canaanite-style fortifications persisted from the Bronze Age, and in many cases were improved upon. For example, "[The Late Bronze Age fortification at Beirut] was replaced before the Early Iron Age by a massive new stone fortification wall with a large glacis of steeper angle (33 degrees) compared to the curved perimeter of the settlement mound." [1]

[1]: Markoe (2000:81).


Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown

Massive Canaanite-style fortifications persisted from the Bronze Age, and in many cases were improved upon. For example, "[The Late Bronze Age fortification at Beirut] was replaced before the Early Iron Age by a massive new stone fortification wall with a large glacis of steeper angle (33 degrees) compared to the curved perimeter of the settlement mound." [1]

[1]: Markoe (2000:81).


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
unknown




Earth Rampart:
present

Massive Canaanite-style fortifications persisted from the Bronze Age, and in many cases were improved upon. For example, "[The Late Bronze Age fortification at Beirut] was replaced before the Early Iron Age by a massive new stone fortification wall with a large glacis of steeper angle (33 degrees) compared to the curved perimeter of the settlement mound." [1]

[1]: Markoe (2000:81).





Military use of Metals



In the early days of the Iron Age, bronze was still in use alongside iron, in both weapons and armor. [1] It is unclear how long the use of bronze persisted; it is often metallurgically superior to iron, but is more costly and requires access to tin. Phoenicia, however, with its far-flung trade networks, would have had such access for a long time.

[1]: Gabriel (2003:117).


Projectiles


Slingers were an important part of Bronze-Age Canaanite and Iron-Age Israelite armies; they were also attested to in Carthage, much later.


"Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps." Bow type not specified. While composite bows were standard, it is possible that some self bows were in use as well. Interestingly, 61 bronze arrowheads have been discovered from the 10th-12th centuries BCE that were inscribed in Phoenician with the names of their owners, possibly so that arrows could be recovered after a battle. [2]

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.

[2]: Dixon (2013:51-55).


A common weapon of the region.



Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent


Composite Bow:
present

"Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps." Composite bows had been in use in the region since the Bronze Age: "According to R. Gabriel, composite bows first appeared in the victory stele of Naram Sin (2254 BCE-2218 BCE), the grandson of Sargon the Great. The composite bow outranged the single and compound bows and produced greater power from a shorter draw. The composite bows spread into Palestine around 1800 BCE and were introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in 1700 BCE. The Egyptians put archers equipped with composite bows on their chariots. The effective range of the simple bow varied from 50 to 100 yards. And the arrow shot by a simple bow was unable to penetrate leather or bronze armour. The effective range of the composite bows varied between 250 and 300 yards. The composite bow was a recurve bow made of wood, horn and tendons from oxen, carefully laminated together. These bows were probably invented by the nomads of the Eurasian steppe and brought into Sumer by the mercenary nomads." [2]

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.

[2]: (Roy 2015, 20) Kaushik Roy. 2015. Warfare in Pre-British India - 1500 BCE to 1740 CE. Routledge. London.



Handheld weapons

"Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.


Swords were in use in Egypt, Israel, and Bronze-Age Canaan. Richard Francis Burton, writing in 1884, reports that a scholar of his day believed that certain swords buried with Briton chiefs were of Phoenician manufacture; and in any event he surmises that the early Phoenicians used Egyptian-style sickle swords before adopting the European straight style. [1] Iron swords have been found at archaeological sites believed to be Phoenician, such as Horbat Rosh Zayit, though their exact provenance is unclear. [2]

[1]: Burton (1884:181-182).

[2]: Gal/Alexandre (2000).


"Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.



"Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.


Battle Axe:
present

"Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.


Animals used in warfare

Scythed chariots. "Dunque, dalle scarne fonti, relative soprattutto agli annali dei re assiri, sappiamo comunque che erano in uso, oltre ai contingenti di fanteria, anche i carri falcati, muniti di lame, che avevano l’incarico di scompaginare le schiere avversarie." [1] TRANSLATION: "However scant, our sources (which mostly derive from the annals of the Assyrian kings) tell us that, besides infantry corps, Phoenician armies also included scythed chariots, which would wreak havoc on enemy formations."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.



Donkeys were frequently used in domestic contexts, but whether they were used in war is unclear. Ed: were they used as pack animals in war?


Though dogs seem to have been used for hunting.



Armor

Rare, but present. "Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.


Scaled Armor:
present

Scaled armor was used by the Bronze-Age Canaanites, [1] and the Phoenicians were likely to have continued doing so.

[1]: Zorn (2010).



Limb Protection:
unknown

Greaves were used by the Philistines since at least the 12th century BCE, [1] but whether the Phoenicians adopted them is unknown.

[1]: Cf. I Samuel 17:5, Zorn (2010).


Leather Cloth:
present

Leather armor was in use since the Bronze Age, if not before. Herodotus (7.89.1) writes that Phoenicians fighting in the Greco-Persian Wars wore linen armor.



Rare, but present. "Le antiche figurazioni e i reperti archaeologici suggeriscono inoltre la presenza di soldati di fanteria dotati di lance, pugnali, asce e mazze, ma scarsamente protetti da armi difensive, quali elmi, corazze e scudi, che compaiono raramente nei repertori figurati; risulta, infine, la presenza di corpi di arcieri." [1] TRANSLATION: "Ancient iconography and archaeological findings suggest that the infantry was armed with spears, daggers, axes, and clubs, but was only rarely clad in defensive gear such as helmets, armour and shields; finally, armies also included archers’ corps."

[1]: Bartoloni, P. 1988. L’esercito, la marina e la guerra. In Moscati, S. (ed) I Fenici pp. 132-138. Milano: Bompiani.


First adopted in the region by the Romans, much later.


Breastplate:
unknown

Neighboring Israel employed breastplates, as did the Carthaginians - though the latter only adopted the breastplate as a result of their wars with the Greeks.


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
present

The Assyrian king Sennacherib reports that Phoenicians built him warships, which were then crewed by Cypriot sailors. [1] Almost certainly, the Phoenician cities had navies of their own as well at that early date. In later centuries they certainly did; Phoenician fleets made up the bulk of Persia’s navy.

[1]: Kaufman (2014:4).


Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
unknown

Given the Phoenicians’ use of large galleys in warfare, it is unlikely.


Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
present

The line between "merchant ship" and "warship" was blurry in any event, given the dangers of piracy in the Mediterranean. [1]

[1]: Moore/Lewis (2000).



Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions
- Nothing coded yet.