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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 457 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NSI. P• 352). Manufactures, Inventions, Art.—From an early date the towns of the Phoenician coast were occupied, not only with distributing the merchandise of other countries but with working at industries of their own; especially purple-dyeing and textile fabrics (Il, vi. 289 sqq.), metal work in silver, gold and electrum (Il. xxiii. 741 sqq.; Od. iv. 615 sqq., xv. 458 sqq.), and glass-work, which had its seat at Sidon. The iron and copper mines of Cyprus (not Sidon, as Homer implies, Od. xv. 424) furnished the ore which was manufactured into articles of commerce.' Egyptian monuments frequently mention the vessels of gold and silver, iron and copper, made by the Dahi, i.e. the Phoenicians (W. M. Muller, As. u. Eur. 306) ; and in Cyprus and at Nimrud bronze and silver paterae have been found, engraved with Egyptian designs, the work of Phoenician artists (see table-cases C and D in the Nimrud gallery of the Brit. Mus.). The invention of these various arts and industries was popularly ascribed, to the Phoenicians, no doubt merely because Phoenician traders brought the products into the market. But dyeing and embroidery probably came from Babylon in the first instance; glass-making seems to have been borrowed from Egypt; the invention of arithmetic and of weights and measures must be laid to the credit of the Babylonians. The ancients believed that the Phoenicians invented the use of the alphabet (e.g. Pliny, N.H. v. 13, cf. vii. 57; Lucan, Bell. Civ. iii. 220 seq.) ; but it is unlikely that any genuine tradition on the subject existed, and though the Phoenician theory has found favour in modern times it is open to much question. The Phoenicians cannot be said to have invented any of the arts or industries, as the ancient world imagined; but what they did was something hardly less meritorious: they developed them with singular skill, and disseminated the knowledge and use of them. The art of Phoenicia is characterized generally by its dependence upon the art of the neighbouring races. It struck out no original line of its own, and borrowed freely from foreign, especially Egyptian, models. Remains of sculpture, engraved bronzes and gems, show clearly the source to which the Phoenician artists went for inspiration; for example, the uraeus-frieze and the winged disk, the ankh or symbol of life, are Egyptian designs frequently imitated. It was in the times of the Persian monarchy that Phoenician art raached its highest development, and to this period belong the oldest sculptures and coins that have come down to us. A characteristic specimen of the former is the stele of Yehaw-milk, king of Gebal (CIS. i. 1), in which the king is' represented in Persian dress, and the goddess to whom he is offering a bowl looks exactly like an Egyptian Isis-Hathor; the inscription mentions the various objects of bronze and gold, engraved work and temple furniture, which the king dedicated. The whole artistic movement in Phoenicia may be divided into two great periods: in the first, from the earliest times to the 4th century Inc., Egyptian influence and then Babylonian or Asiatic influence is predominant, but the national element is strongly marked; while in the second, Greek influence has obtained the mastery, and the native element, though making itself felt, is much less obtrusive. Throughout these periods works of art, such as statues of the gods and sarcophagi, were imported direct at first from Egypt and afterwards mainly from Rhodes. The oldest example of native sarcophagi are copied from Egyptian mummy-cases, painted with colours and ornamented with carvings in low relief ; towards and during the Greek period the contours of the body begin to be marked more clearly on the cover. The finest sarcophagi that have been found in the necropolis of Sidon (now in the Imperial Museum, Constantinople) are not Phoenician at all, but exquisite specimens of Greek art. The Phoenicians spent much care on their burial-places, which have furnished the most important 1 Traces of ancient mining for iron have been found in the Lebanon; cf. LXX. r Kings ii. 46c (ed. Swete), which has been taken to refer to this quarrying in search of iron; Jer. xv. 12. , See Benzinger on 1 Kings ix. 19. monuments left to us. The tombs are subterranean chambers of varied and often irregular form, sometimes arranged in two storeys, sometimes in several rows one behind the other. While in early times a mere perpendicular shaft led to these excavations, at a later date stairs were constructed down to the chambers. The dead were buried either in the floor (often in a sarcophagus), or, according to later custom, in niches. The mouths of the tombs were walled up and covered with slabs, and occasionally cippi (Phoen. magleboth) were set up to mark the spot. The great sepulchral monuments, popularly called maghdzil, i.e. " spindles," above the tombs near Amrit, have peculiarities of their own; some of them are adorned with lions at the base and with roofs of pyramidal shape. Besides busts and figurines, which belong as a rule to the Greek period, the smaller objects usually found are earthen pitchers and lamps, glass-wares, tesserae and gems. Of buildings which can be called architectural few specimens now exist on Phoenician soil, for the reason that for ages the inhabitants have used the ruins as convenient quarries. Not a vestige remains of the great sanctuary of Melqarth at Tyre; a few traces of the temple of Adonis near Byblus were discovered by Renan, and a peculiar mausoleum, Burj al-Bezzaq, is still to be seen near Amrit; recent excavations at Bostan esh-Shekh near Sidon have unearthed parts of the enclosure or foundations of the temple of Eshmun (NSI. p. 401); the conduits of Ras el-'Ain, south of- Tyre, are considered to be of ancient date. With regard to the plan and design of a Phoenician temple, it is probable that they were in many respects similar to those of the temple at Jerusalem, and the probability is confirmed by the re-mains of a sanctuary near Amrit, in which there is a cella standing in the midst of a large court hewn out of the rock, together with other buildings in an Egyptian style. The two pillars before the porch of Solomon's temple (1 Kings vii. 21) remind us of the two pillars which Herodotus saw in the temple of Melqarth at Tyre (Herod. ii. 44), and of those which stood before the temples of Paphos and Hierapolis (see W. R. Smith, Rel. of Sem. p. 468 seq.). Religion.—Like the Canaanites of whom they formed a branch, the Phoenicians connected their religion with the great powers and The processes of nature.' The gods whom they worshipped Phoenician belonged essentially to the earth; the fertile field, trees Clods. and mountains, headlands and rivers and springs, were believed to be inhabited by different divinities, who were therefore primarily local, many in number, with no one in particular supreme over the rest. It seems, however, that as time went on some of them acquired a more extended character; thus Baal and Astarte assumed celestial attributes in addition to their earthly ones, and the Tyrian Melqarth combined a celestial with a marine aspect.' The gods in general were called 'elonim, 'elim; Plautus uses alonium valonuth for gods and goddesses' (Poen. v. 1, I). These plurals go back to the singular form 'El, the common Semitic name for God; but neither the singular nor the plural is at all common in the inscriptions (NSI. pp. 24, 41, 51); El by itself has been found only once;' the fem. 'Elath is also rare (ibid. pp. 135, 158). The god or. goddess was generally called the Ba'al or Ba'alath of such and such a place, a title which was used not only by the Canaanites, but by the Aramaeans (Be'el) and Babylonians (Bel) as well. There was no one particular god called Baal; the word is not a proper name but an appellative, a description of the deity as owner or mistress; and the same is the case with Milk or Melek, 'Adon, 'Amma, which mean king, lord, mother. The god himself was unnamed or had no name. Occasionally we know what the name was; the Baal of Tyre was Melqarth (Melkarth), which again means merely " king of the city "; similarly among the Aramaeans the Ba'al of Harran was the moon-god Sin. As each city or district had its own Ba'al, the author of its fertility, the " husband " (a common meaning of ba'al) of the land which he fertilized, so there were many Ba'als, and the Old Testament writers could allude to the Ba'alim of the neighbouring Canaanites. Some-times the god received a distinguishing attribute which indicates an association not with any particular place, but with some special characteristic; the most common forms are Baal-1 amman, the chief deity of Punic north Africa, perhaps " the glowing Ba'al," the god of fertilizing warmth, and Baal-shamem, " Ba'al of the heavens."' The latter deity was widely venerated throughout the North-Semitic world; his name, which does not appear in the Phoenician inscriptions before the 3rd century B.C., implies perhaps a more universal conception of deity than existed in the earlier days.' Cf. Hannibal's oath to Philip of Macedon; beside the named deities he invokes the gods of " sun and moon and earth, of rivers and meadows and waters " (Polyb. vii. 9). ' This is well brought out by G. F. Hill, Church Quarterly Rev. (April 1908), pp. 118-141, who specially emphasizes the evidence of the Phoenician coins. " To the lord 'El, which Ba'al-shillem . . . vowed," &c.; Clermont-Ganneau, Recueil, v. 376. Probably " the detested thing that causes horror " (ax' piper) of Dan. xii. I I, xi. 31, &c., is an intentional disfigurement of anr~ Sys, 'The name has been found on an important Aramaic inscr. from North Syria, dating c. 800 B.C., in which Zakir, king of Hamath and La'ash frequently speaks of his god Be'el-shamin (Pognon, Inscr. sem. de la Syrie, 1908). The worship of the female along with the male principle was a strongly marked feature of Phoenician religion. To judge from the earliest evidence on the subject, the Ba'alath of Gebal or Byblus, referred to again and again in the Amarna letters (Bilit a Gubla, Nos. 55-11o), must have been the most popular of the Phoenician deities, as her sanctuary was the oldest and most renowned. The mistress of Gebal was no doubt 'Ashtart (Astarte in Greek, 'Ashtoreth in the Old Testament, pronounced with the vowels of boshelh, " shame "), a name which is obviously connected with the Babylonian Ishtar, and, as used in Phoenician, is practically the equivalent of " goddess." She represented the principle of fertility and generation; references to her cult at Gebal, Sidon, Ashkelon, in Cyprus at Kition and Paphos, in Sicily at Eryx, in Gaulus, at Carthage, are frequent in the inscriptions and elsewhere. The common epithetsKGapir and KuBipiia(of Kuthera in Cyprus) ,Cypria and Paphia, show that she was identified with Aphrodite and Venus. Though not primarily a moon-goddess, she sometimes appears in this character (Lucian, Dea syr. § 4; Herodian v. 6, lo), and Herodotus describes her temple at Ashkelon as that of the heavenly Aphrodite (i. 105). We find her associated with Ba'al and called " the name of Ba`al," i.e. his manifestation, though this rendering is disputed, and some scholars prefer " ' Ashtart of the heaven of Ba'al " (NSI. p. 37). Another goddess, specially honoured at Carthage, is Tanith (pronunciation uncertain) ; nothing is known of her characteristics; she is regularly connected with Ba'al on the Carthaginian votive tablets, and called " the face of Ba'al," i.e. his representative or revelation, though again some question this rendering as too meta-physical, and take " face of Ba'al " to be the name of a place, like eni'el (" face of 'El "). Two or three other deities may be mentioned here: Eshmun, the god of vital force and healing, worshipped at Sidon especially, but also at Carthage and in the colonies, identified by the Greeks with Asclepius; Melqarth, the patron deity of Tyre, identified with Heracles; Reshef or Reshuf, the " flame " or " lightning " god, especially popular in Cyprus and derived originally from Syria, whom the Greeks called Apollo. A tendency to form a distinct deity by combining the attributes of two produced such curious fusions as Milk-'ashtart, Milk-ba'al, Milk-'osir, Eshmunmelqarth, Melqarth-reef, &c. As in the case of art and industries, so in religion the Phoenicians readily assimilated foreign ideas. The influence of Egypt was specially strong (NSI. pp. 62, 69, 148, 154) thus the Astarte represented on the stele of Yebaw-milk, mentioned above, has all the appearance of Isis, who, according to the legend preserved by Plutarch (de Is. et Os. 15), journeyed to Byblus, where she was called Astarte. The Phoenician settlers at the Peiraeus worshipped the Assyrian Nergal, and their proper names are compounded with the names of Babylonian and Arabian deities (NSI. p. ioi). Closer intimacy with the Greek world naturally brought about modifications in the character of the native gods, which became apparent when Ba'al of Sidon or Ba'al-shamem was identified with Zeus, Tanith with Demeter or Artemis, 'Anath with Athena, &c.; the notion of a supreme Ba'al, which finds expression in the Greek Nos and 9aaarLs or 1 itABrts (the goddess of Byblus), was no doubt encouraged by foreign influences. On the other hand, the Phoenicians produced a considerable effect upon Greek and Roman religion, especially from the religious centres in Cyprus and Sicily. A great number of divinities are known only as elements in proper names, e.g. Sakun-yathon (Sanchuniathon), 'Abd-sasom, Sed-yathon, and fresh ones are continually being discovered. It was the custom among the Phoenicians, as among other Semitic nations, to use the names of the gods in forming proper names and thus to express devotion or invoke favour; thus Ijanni-ba'al, 'Abd-melqarth, Hanni-'ashtart, Eshmun-'azar. The proper names further illustrate the way in which the relation of man to God was regarded ; the commonest forms are servant (`abd, e.g. 'Abd-'ashtart), member or limb bod, e.g. Bod-melgarth), client or guest (ger, e.g. Ger-eshmun) ; the religious idea of the guest of a deity had its origin in the social custom of extending hospitality to a stranger and in the old Semitic right of sanctuary. The interpretation of such names as 'Abi-ba'al (father of Ba'al), Himilkath (brother of Milkath), Hiram (brother of the exalted one) is not altogether certain, and can hardly be discussed here.' Probably like other Canaanites the Phoenicians offered worship " on every high hill and under every green tree "; but to judge from the allusions to sanctuaries in the inscriptions and else- Sacre where, the Baal or 'Ashtart of a place was usually Objectd s and worshipped at a temple, which consisted of a court or Worship. enclosure and a roofed shrine with a portico or pillared hall at the entrance. In the court sometimes stood a conical stone, probably the symbol of Astarte, as on the Roman coins of Byblus (illustrated in Rawlinson, Phoenicia, 146, Perrot et Chipiez, Hist. de l'art, iii. 6o; see also Ohnefalsch-Richter, Cyprus, pl. lvi., the temenos at Idalion). Stone or bronze images of the gods were set up in the sanctuaries (NSI. Nos. 1 seq., 23-27, 30, &c.) ; and besides these the baetylia (meteoric stones) which were regarded as symbols of the gods. Pillars, again, had a prominent place in the court or be-fore the shrine (nasab, ibid. pp. 102 seq.) ; but it is not known whether the sacred pole ('asherah), an invariable feature of a Canaanite sanctuary, was usual in a Phoenician temple (ibid. pp. 5o seq.). The ' See Frazer, Adonis, Allis, Osiris, 44 seq. inscriptions mention altars of stone and bronze, and from the sacrificial tariffs which have survived we learn that the chief types of sacrifice among the Phoenicians were analogous to those which we find in the Old Testament (ibid. p. 117). The ghastly practice of sacrificing human victims was resorted to in times of great distress (e.g. at Carthage, Diod. xx. 14), or to avert national disaster (Porphyry, de Abstin, ii. 56); Philo gives the legend that Cronus or El sacrificed his only son when his country was threatened with war (Fr. hist. gr. iii. 570) ; it was regarded as a patriotic act when Hamilcar threw himself upon the pyre after the disastrous battle of Himera (Herod. vii. 167). The god who demanded these victims, and especially the burning of children, seems to have been Milk, the Molech or Moloch of the Old Testament. In this connexion may be mentioned the custom of burning the chief god of the city in effigy, or in the person of a human representative, at Tyre and in the Tyrian colonies, such as Carthage and Gades; the custom lasted down to a late time (see Frazer, loc. cit. ch. v.). Another horrible sacrifice was regularly demanded by Phoenician religion: women sacrificed their virginity at the shrines of Astarte in the belief that they thus propitiated the goddess and won her favour (Frazer, ibid. ch. iii.) ; licentious rites were the natural accompaniment of the worship of the reproductive powers of nature. These temple prostitutes are called edeshim gedeshoth, i.e. sacred men, women, in the Old Testament (Dent. xxui. 18; I Kings xiv. 24, &c.). Other persons attached to a temple were priests, augurs, sacrificers, barbers, officials in charge of the curtains, masons, &c. (NSI. No. 2o) ; we hear also of religious gilds and corporations, perhaps administrative councils, associated with the sanctuaries (ibid. pp. 94, 121, 130, 144 seq.). No doubt the Phoenicians had their legends and myths to account for the origin of man and the universe; to some extent these would have resembled the ideas embodied in the book of Mythando ologgy Genesis. Two cosmogonies have come down to us ous Ideas. which, though they differ in details, are fundamentally in agreement. The one, of Sidonian origin, is pre-served by Damascius (de prim. principiis, 125) and received at his hands a Neoplatonic interpretation; this cosmogony was probably the writing which Strabo ascribes to a Sidonian philosopher, Mochus, who lived before the Trojan times (xvi. 2, 24). The other and more elaborate work was composed by Philo of Byblus (temp. Hadrian) ; he professed that he had used as his authority the writings of Sanchuniathon (q.v.), an ancient Phoenician sage, who again derived his information from the mysterious inscribed stones (h ovveis=o'ian, i.e. images or pillars of Ba'al-bamman) in the Phoenician temples. Philo's cosmogony has been preserved, at least in fragments, by Eusebius in Praep. evang. vol. i. (Fr. hist. gr. iii. 563 sqq.). It cannot, however, be taken seriously as an account of genuine Phoenician beliefs. For Sanchuniathon is a mere literary fiction; and Philo's treatment is vitiated by an obvious attempt to explain the whole system of religion on the principles of Euhemerus, an agnostic who taught the traditional mythology as primitive history, and turned all the gods and goddesses into men and women; and further by a patriotic desire to prove that Phoenicia could outdo Greece in the venerable character of its traditions, that in fact Greek mythology was simply a feeble and distorted version of the Phoenician.' At the same time Philo did not invent all the nonsense which he has handed down; he drew upon various sources, Greek and Egyptian, some of them ultimately of Babylonian origin, and incidentally he mentions matters of interest which, when tested by other evidence, are fairly well supported. He shows at any rate that some sort of a theology existed in his day; particularly interesting is his description of the symbolic figure of Cronus with eyes before and behind and six wings open and folded (Fr. hist. gr. iii. 569), a figure which is represented on the coins of Gebal-Byblus (2nd century B.C.) as the mythical founder of the city. It is evident that the gods were regarded as being intimately concerned with the lives and fortunes of their worshippers. The vast number of small votive tablets found at Carthage prove this: they were all inscribed by grateful devotees " to the lady Tanith, Face of Ba'al, and the lord Baal-bamman, because he heard their voice." The care which the Phoenicians bestowed upon the burial of the dead has been alluded to above; pillars (mas.Feboth) were set up to commemorate the dead among the living (e.g. NSI. Nos. 18, 19, 21, 32) ; if there were no children to fulfil the pious duty, a monument would be set up by a man during his lifetime (ibid. No. 16; cf. 2 Sam. xviii. 18). Any violation of the tomb was regarded with the greatest horror (ibid. Nos. 4, 5). The grave was called a resting-place (ibid. Nos. 4, 5, 16, 21), and the departed lay at rest in the underworld with the Refaim, the weak ones (the same word and idea in the Old Testament, Ise.. xiv. 9, xxvi. 14, 19; Job xxvi. 5; Ps. lxxxviii. ii, &c.). The curious notion prevailed, as it did also among the Greeks and Romans, that it was possible to communicate with the gods of the underworld by dropping into a grave a small roll of lead (tabella devotionis, NSI. No. 5o), inscribed with the message, generally a curse, which it was desired to convey to them. ' An excellent and critical account of Philo's work is given by Lagrange, Etudes sur les rel. sem (2nd ed., 1905), ch. xi.following may be added: Movers, Die Phonizier (1842–1856), to be used with caution; Renan, Mission de Phenicie (1864); Schroder, Die phonizische Sprache (1869); Stade in Morgenlandische Forschungen (1875); W. Baudissin, Studien zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte (1876, 1878) ; Baethgen, Beitrage zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte (1888); Levy, Siegel and Gemmen (1869); J. L. Myres and Richter, Catalogue of the Cyprus Museum (1899) ; G. F. Hill, Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Cyprus (1904) ; V. Berard, Les Pheniciens et l'Odyssee (1902—1903); Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fur semitische Epigraphik (1902—1906); H. Winckler, Altorientalische Forschungen (1893–1906); Freiherr von Landau, " Die Bedeutung der Phonizier im Volkerleben " in Ex oriente lux (Leipzig, 1905), vol. i. ; Bruston, Etudes Phen. (1903) ; the articles by Thatcher in Hastings's Diet. Bible (1900) and by E. Meyer in the Ency. Bib. (1902). The articles by A. von Gutschmid and Albrecht Socin in the Ency. Brit. (9th ed.) have been to some extent incorporated in the present article. (G. A. C. *)
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