Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Canaanites

Those great maritime traders of ancient times, the Phoenicians, called themselves Canaanites. They are the people of modern day Lebanon. The word Phoenician comes from what the Greeks called them--The Purple People. Makes one think of the silly old song about the Purple People Eater. The Greeks were referring to the purple dye Tyrian Purple derived from Murex snails, which these people produced and traded.

The famous historic cities Tyre, Sydon, and Carthage were Phoenician cities. Historic figures Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great conquered Tyre. Rome fought Carthage for domination of the Mediterranean. The Phoenician founded such cities as Cadiz, as trade outposts. They sailed as far as Cornwall to trade for tin and began the Irish linen industry. A simple alphabet, invented by the Phoenicians, to keep track of trade goods is the source of our alphabet.

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