PHCENICIA, fit-nish'i-i5 (Lat., from Gk.
PhoinikA Phamicia). The name used by the Greeks and Romans to designate the strip of territory about 200 miles long, from 5 to 15 miles broad. along the Mediterranean coast of Syria. On the east this tract is hounded by the Lebanon Mountains, being watered by the streams that 11.)w from them. The northern and south ern limits are not easily defined and varied from time to time. Ptolemy fixes the northern boun dary at the Elentheros (Yalu el-Kebir) and the southern at Mount Carmel, but there were un doubtedly Plyenician settlements both farther north and farther south. The origin of the name is unknown. its derivation from phoinix (date palm) is uncertain, as there is no evidence to show that that tree grew in Phoenicia. A more probable derivation is from the Greek phoinos (blood-red), referring to the purple whieh the Phoenicians introduced into Greece. In the Old Testament this territory is designated as part of (q.v.). and the inhabitants as Sidonians. 'I his latter designation occurs also in Homer, and points to a period when the land was tinder the leadership of the City of Sidon. Being shut off from the east and the south by mountain ranges, and on the west limited by the sea, it was im! for Plecnieht to play any important po litical rAle. Nor were the different settlements ever welded together into one powerful kingdom. They formed a nation with one or the other hold ing the hegemony. The northernmost port was Arvad or Aradus (the modern Road), men tioned in Ezek. xxvii. 8. II, and in As syrian inscriptions, situated on an island near Tripolis. A second port was Simyra Sumari or Simirra ), mentioned in Amami letters (c.1400 n.c.), and in Gen. x. 18. The most important of the north ern towns was Gebal, called by the Greeks Byblos (q.v.). It had relations with Egypt and Assyria in very early times and exercised a sort of su premacy over the country around it, rivaling Sidon and Tyre in the south and preserving its independence through the greater period of Hue nieian history. The city of Berytus (Beirut) be longed originally to the Principality of Byblos, but afterwards became independent. Farther south were the cities of Sidon, Sarepta, Tyre, and Acco (Acre), all of which were old settle ments, going back at least to about B. C. 1800, when Egypt inaugurated her Western Asiatic campaigns. Several of these cities stood on islands and were thus fortified by nature. Of these cities Tyre and Sidon (qq.v.) arose to a controlling position and time to time inter changed as the ruling power. There were also a number of inland towns, such as Rana, but they never attained to any importance.
It is impossible to say at how early a date the Semitic population formed settlements here. They must have come upon one of the migratory waves that i5-sued from the Tigris-Euphrates val ley, and their close relationship to the Hebrews shows that they branched off with them from the Aranuean wave which formed permanent settle mens in Northern Syria. At the time the Amarna tablets were written' (e1400 n.c.) the coast towns were all occupied by Semites; and from what is now known of the history of the rela tions between Babylonia and Syria in early days, the settlement of the Semites in Phoenicia may be placed c.2500 B.C. or earlier. This would agree with the assertion of Herodotus that Tyre was founded about B.C. 2730.
What little is known of the history of Phoenicia may be divided into six periods: ( I) From the earliest time to the Egyptian supremacy, e.1800
B.C. ; (2) the period of Egyptian control to e. 1400 ; (3) the advance of the Hittites and the Assyrians to c.1100 B.C.; (4) the period of independent B.C. 1100 to 900; (5) Assyrian and Babylonian control, to the downfall of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, B.C. 539; (6) the period of the Persian, Greek, and Roman su premacy. The earliest period must have been dominated by Babylonian influences, as we find Babylonian script and language used as the me dium of diplomatic correspondenee. This was maintained even after the rulers in the Phoenician and Palestinian cities had become vassals of Egypt. The Babylonian King Sargon (n.c. 3800) extended his conquests as far as Cyprus, and he must have laid a part of Phoenicia under trilnite. Each set tlement at the time formed a sort of independent principality. In the papyrus- Anastasi I. (six teenth century n.c.) the Phcenieian cities Byblos, Berytus, Sidon, Sarepta, Tyre, and Aradus are mentioned. The influence of Egypt was strong. She exacted a tribute, kept the principalities un der native rulers, and discouraged any coalition. The country unfortunately lay between Egypt and her great rival, the State of the Hittites. This people, haying secured possession of the districts around Damascus and Tunip, main tained a successful opposition to the Egyp tian armies; and Rameses II. was obliged to make a treaty with them, yielding the territory north of Mount Carmel. The city of Tyre was at this time gradually reach ing the position of eminence which it kept for several centuries; Sidon played a secondary part, the oldest colonies having been sent out by the former city. In the thirteenth century Assyria first commenced to check the growing power of the Hittites. For a time the coast cities were forced into a position of vassalage; but after the death of Tiglathpileser I. (e.1100 B.C.) Syria, Palestine, and Phoenicia enjoyed a brief respite. In Pluenicia a coalition was formed with Sidon at its head. Tyre, however, set aside her rival and under Abibal (tenth century B.c.) and his son, Hiram, extended her control to Cyprus. It was this Hiram who furnished workmen and ma terial for Solomon's building operations in Jeru salem. (See }ilium.) Asshurnasirpal (B.c. 870) received tribute from Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, and other cities. Assyria had great difficulty in holding these distant places. Rainmannirari III. had again to subdue Tyre and Sidon (B.c. S03), and Tiglathpileser Ili, (B.c. 734 to 7'26') not only sent one of his generals there, but colo nized people of other nations in the district. King Luli (Eluheus) fell off completely from Assyria. and, under the leadership at Hezekiah of Judah, made common cause with Tirhaka. Sennaeberi6 (B.c. 700) forced him to flee to Cyprus, putting a new king, Ittobaal, in Sidon. In B.C. 678 Sidon was destroyed and the various rulers in Phoenicia and Cyprus did homage to the Assy rian King. The power of Assyria was, how ever, on the wane, and under Psammetik 1, (B.c. 625) Egypt commenced to exert her sway once more over the coast. In B.C. 555 Tyre was again invested by Nebuchadnezzar 11., and though the other Phcenieian cities fell early into his power, it held out for 13 years. King Ittobaal and his family were carried off to Babylon. In B.C. 539 Plicenieia, after the rule of a few legitimate kings. sent there from Babylon, became part of the Persian kingdom.