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Phoenicia

phoenicians modern mediterranean tyre

Phoenicia, ancient territory corresponding roughly to the coastal region of modern Lebanon, inhabited by the Phoenicians (originally called Canaanites) from 3000 B.C. It included the city-states of Sidon and Tyre. Being on the trade route between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, Phoenicia became an important center of commerce. By 1200 B.C. with the decline of Egyptian dominance, Phoenicians led the Mediterranean world in trading and seafaring. They colonized many Mediterranean areas that later became independent states, such as Carthage and Utica. From the 9th century B.C. Phoenicia was intermittently dominated by Assyria, and in 538 came under Persian rule. By the time Alexander the Great conquered Tyre (332) Phoenician civilization had largely been eclipsed. The Greeks were the inheritors of their outstanding cultural legacy—most notably their alphabetic script, from which the modern Western alphabet is descended.

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