History of the Phoenicians: The Maritime Superpowers of the Mediterranean


Kelly Macquire
published on 14 November 2021

The Phoenicians were the maritime superpowers of the Mediterranean. Their culture flourished and was at its most powerful between 1500 and 332 BCE when Alexander the Great entered the region and decimated the cities and their populations, bringing to an end the maritime superpower. The Phoenicians were a number of independent city-states that shared the same culture in the modern-day regions of Syria, Lebanon, and Northern Israel. The Phoenician alphabet was the first alphabet and is the basis for many western alphabets today.

The Phoenicians are probably best known for their production of purple dye which was accomplished by its extraction from the murex shellfish, a sea creature that pretty much became extinct in the region due to the popularity of the colour. The production of the dye first began in Tyre during the Bronze Age, which is why it is known as Tyrian purple. Deposits of murex shells have been found on the outskirts of Sidon and Tyre, as well as at Phoenician colonies across the Mediterranean, including Carthage. Carthage began as a small hill community on the North African Coast which is now modern day Tunis and it's legendary founding of the city is dated to 814 BCE by the Phoenician Queen Elissa, better known as Queen Dido.



0:00​ Introduction
0:55 Who Were the Phoenicians?
2:16 Phoenician Trade and Colonization
4:44 Phoenician Purple Dye
6:18 The History of Carthage and Queen Dido
8:07 Phoenician Art
10:09 Phoenician Religion
14:24 Outro

Phoenicia https://www.worldhistory.org/phoenicia/
Phoenician Art https://www.worldhistory.org/Phoenician_Art/
The Phoenicians - Master Mariners https://www.worldhistory.org/article/897/the-phoenicians—-master-mariners/
The Phoenician Alphabet & Language https://www.worldhistory.org/article/17/the-phoenician-alphabet—language/
Trade in the Phoenician World https://www.worldhistory.org/article/881/trade-in-the-phoenician-world/
Phoenician Religion https://www.worldhistory.org/Phoenician_Religion/
Phoenician Colonization https://www.worldhistory.org/Phoenician_Colonization/
Phoenician Architecture https://www.worldhistory.org/Phoenician_Architecture/
Phoenician Government https://www.worldhistory.org/Phoenician_Government/

History of Ancient Sea Travel: Trade, Burials and Maritime Cultures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H18oKuzln6A
The Minoans and Mycenaeans: Civilizations of the Bronze Age Aegean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=criZ8DDhu6g
History of the Etruscan Culture: the First Great Italian Civilization
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-WwDmNywZQ7 Surprising Stories from Herodotus' Histories https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRf1jUgXRqQ

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here - https://worldhistory.typehut.com/history-of-the-phoenicians-the-maritime-superpowers-of-the-mediterranean-images-and-attributions-6757

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Stefano Bolognini / User: Tetraktys
The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.

Anonymous Byzantine artist 9th century / World Imaging / Kleon3
Public Domain US / faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain

World History Encyclopedia

#phoenicians #thephoenicians #carthage #queendido

Remove Ads


About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has recently completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, November 14). History of the Phoenicians: The Maritime Superpowers of the Mediterranean. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2680/history-of-the-phoenicians-the-maritime-superpower/

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "History of the Phoenicians: The Maritime Superpowers of the Mediterranean." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 14, 2021. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2680/history-of-the-phoenicians-the-maritime-superpower/.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "History of the Phoenicians: The Maritime Superpowers of the Mediterranean." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 14 Nov 2021. Web. 18 Jan 2022.