Phoenician Inventions and Accomplishments


The Phoenicians are considered one of the great civilizations of the ancient world. It was comprised of several independent city-states that were along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and many will recognize the massive boats that they used on the sea that were adorned with the heads of horses to honor their god. Outside of their ability to make a massive boat, the Phoenicians were also known for their abilities to make glass, produce dyes, and manufacture goods.

The Phoenicians Were Often Called the “Purple People”

Although it seems odd to us today, the color of someone’s fabric that they wore as clothing in ancient times was an indicator of their wealth. Only the rich could afford the beautiful dyes and purple was the most expensive of them all. It was often reserved for the wealthiest or for royalty and this dye was produced in Phoenicia. Nearly all of the purple dye of this ancient period was produced here in this region and the coloring was so strong that it would color the skin of those working with the textiles.

The Alphabet May Have Come From Phoenicia

In the writings of Herodotus, Phoenicia brought the alphabet over to Greece and this is the foundation of almost every western language that is still used to this day. This empire was, in fact, one of the greatest producers of ancient books of its time. So much papyrus was used to document writings from this region that the Greeks even called one of their cities “Byblos,” or what we would today in English call “The Bible.”

Core Religious Concepts Came From Here As Well

Ask anyone familiar with the three major religions of the world today and you’ll undoubtedly get a tale about good conquering evil. This often is pictured as God defeating Satan in a final, victorious battle. What you’ll find in the Phoenician literature is a similar tale between their gods of Yamm and Baal and this is the foundation for spiritual belief in much of the world today.

The Manufacture of Goods

Phoenicia thrived as a center for luxury living for well over a thousand years and at the core of this success was their ability to manufacture luxury goods. When Alexander the Great eventually fell and the lands were divided, there was a mad scramble to secure as many Phoenician goods as possible by many population groups. Artifacts from Phoenicia have been discovered from Britain to Egypt.

Modern Negotiation Practices

When you’ve got a buyer on one side and a seller on the other that can’t get along, how does business get done? In Phoenicia, this was problematic because sales were at the core of their empire. Just as they were known for being able to navigate the waves of the Mediterranean, they were also known for being able to navigate the waves of two strong personalities that wouldn’t want to compromise in order for both groups to mutually benefit from an agreement. Their process help encourage negotiation and their trade practices are still part of modern business techniques.

Historic Timeline of Education and Learning