Phoenicians, A concealed history
تحقيق MAY 03, 2012
If you want to put an end to a society make it forget its history…
History is a source of wisdom…



Lebanese are different. Each segment can trace his own origin, of which they take pride of.  In this article I will go far back in history to the original people who lived in here and named a lot of the cities of this country, The Phoenicians.
 
My decision to write this piece was motivated by my desire to give tribute to these people who gave the world much more than we think.. Prior to immersing myself in Phoenician culture and history,  like any other Lebanese I knew some basic facts about those great people: : Naturally born traders ,the first to travel the world, and most of all their invention of the Alphabet, But on the other hand there are much more important details we owe our ancestors and many valuable lessons we can learn from them.
 
In this article, I will give an overview about the Phoenicians as a start, hopefully your curiosity will lead you to learn more about our great history…
 
Lebanon was the home of the Phoenicians, a maritime culture that flourished for nearly 2,500 years (3000–539 BC) . This golden era was followed by a decline due to wars, but the Phoenicians, people and cities continued to exist … And till now some Lebanese cities have Phoenician names. Some of the words that we use on a daily basis are the same ones they used thousands of years ago.
 
Are the Phoenicians really the ancestors of Lebanese, or is just a unfounded theory?
We do not have a clear view of who exactly are the Phoenicians. Several theories were elaborated in this regard:
     1- Phoenicians are the Canaanites
     2- Phoenicians are the Canaanites influenced by the "Sea People"
     3- Phoenicians are a fusion between the Canaanites and the Sea People
 
The second and third options are more likely to be true, but who are exactly the sea People? A question that remains without a clear answer. What is sure is that people from the sea came and invaded the region and conquered its already established inhabitants, than vanished.
Its only after this, that we started to witness the rise of the of Phoenicians
 
Back to modern times, we know thanks to DNA tests that there is a relationship between Phoenicians and current Lebanese. These studies have also shown that the Phoenicians had much vast influence than what science expected…
The most renowned works done on this issue are the studies carried out by Dr Pierre Zalloua a Lebanese Biologist and his partner an explorer called Spencer Wells.
to read more information please click here
 
 
Natural Born Traders
 
The wood of the Cedars of Lebanon was one of the most important goods Phoenicians sold but they had many other merchandise such as wine, the famous Purple Dye they made and many more ...
With their ships they dominated the Mediterranean Sea the greatest water body known for the ancient civilizations.
If the theory of American Paleontologist Mark McMenamin prove to be true, , then neither Columbus nor the Vikings would have been the first non-natives to set foot on the Americas, but the Phoenicians…
According to McMenamin, also they drew the first map for the old world map:
 

 
Pacific Conquerors
 
Phoenicians dominated the world via their trade and economy superiority. They never waged war against one nor did they resort to it, to defend themselves.
Nowadays, it looks like our world rulers are using the same model of domination.
 
But still no one can forget Hannibal the great Carthaginian leader who waged two wars against the Roman Empire, known as the Punic wars Back then, Carthage had a huge dock that had enough place for 160 military ships…
But till now no one has discovered a fully Phoenician ship…
 
Phoenician Cultureabounds with names that marked history in a way or in another :
     1- Elissar, Dido, Queen of Carthage
     2- Europa, the Phoenician Princess abducted by . Zeus  and whose brother Cadmus introduced the Alphabet to the Greeks.
 
We can also mention Jezebel princess of Tyre who married Ahab King of Israel. Jezebel is  known in the old testament as the most evil women for she forced her religion upon the Jewish people and fought the prophets… but if we take it from a Phoenician point of view, Jezebel was a great queen fully devoted to her religion and people.
 
Imagine my surprise  when I discovered that the roots of Pythagoras are Phoenician!!!
 
Phoenicians and Christianity
 
The Phoenicians are the first after the Jews to have accepted the word of God and to become Christians (Matthew 15:21)....  There are  among them great Saints who influenced the Roman Catholic church, and the greatest of all is Saint Augustine of Hippo . In his work, St. Augustine gave big importance to the Punic Language and Literature:
". He wrote "... there was a great deal of virtue and wisdom in the Punic books". Once, a pagan grammarian named Maximus wrote to him a hostile letter in which he mocked at the Punic names of some Christian martyr. In his reply Augustine rebukes him for having thrown ridicule at the Punic language which he describes as "our own tongue"."
 
Yusef Assemani (Assimani), Archbishop of Tyre & Librarian of the Vatican Library, his brother, nephew and grand-nephew were Maronite pillars of scholarship & knowledge held in great esteem by the Popes. Through their research, collection of manuscripts, and voluminous publications ,Syriac studies, history, hagiography, liturgy, & literature of the Oriental Churches were first introduced into Europe. Further, it is thanks to their contribution that we are able today to assert the originality of the Phoenician alphabet.
 
Prior to Christianity, Phoenicians were a polytheist people who worshipped several gods such as :
 
     • Adon(is), Anath, goddess of love and war,
     • Asherah or Baalat Gubl, goddess of Byblos
     • Astarte (or Ashtarte), queen of heaven
     • Baal, El, ruler of the universe, son of Dagan, rider of the clouds, almighty, lord of the earth
     • Baal-Hammon, god of fertility Eshmun or Baalat Asclepius, god of healing
     • Kathirat, goddesses of marriage and pregnancy
     • Kothar, Hasis, the skilled god of craftsmanship
     • Melqart, king of the underworld and cycle of vegetation
     • Mot, god of death
     • Resheph and Shamash, Shahar, god of dawn
     • Shalim, god of dusk
     • Shapash, = goddess of sun
     • Tanit, chief goddess of Carthage
     • Yamm, Yarikh, God of moon
 
 
Dates to remember in Phoenician History:
 
   B.C. 2750 Founding of Tyre
   B.C. 2000 Taaut the first Hermes invents the alphabet
   B.C.1700 Cadmus introduces the alphabet to the Greeks
   B.C.970 Hiram King of Tyre builds the Temple of Solomon
   B.C.725 Tyre wins against the Assyrians the first naval battle of history, and withstands a five years' siege.
   B.C. Spain becomes an independent Phoenician Kingdom
   B.C. 587 Nebuchadnezzar begins his great thirteen year siege of Tyre. The city eventually capitulates.
   B.C. 570 Pythagoras, mathematician and scientist is trained in the mysteries of Phoenician religion in the temples of Phoenicia.
   B.C. 218 Hannibal crosses the Alps into Italy and wins repeated victories.
   A.D. 27 Jesus visits Sidon
   A.D. 1291 Tyre falls to the Arabs who destroy it completely
 
This is a very short brief, there is a lot more of historical events of victory and fails, and a lot of Phoenician people who had influence over humanity….
Phoenicians had also a  big impact in music, literature and sports…
 
We do not have many traces or vestiges from the Phoenicians. The majority was destroyed by the civilizations who conquered them such as theGreek and the Romans, who even rewrote the history of Phoenicians. Research proved the opposite. Greek even tried to attribute the alphabet to themselves...
But the worse is what is happening in our modern times, where politicians are sacrificing this rich heritage, according to their own and selfish interests. Some filthy Lebanese ignored, stole and even tried to stop any researches about our ancient history.
 
Each year in the Lebanese History holds in it a great value and lessons that we must appreciate.
 

 


References:
- Phoenicia.org
- Wikipedia.com
- National Geographic Special - The Quest for the Phoenicians
 
 
 
تحقيق MAY 03, 2012
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