During the Persian period Sidon forged ahead of her old rival. The seacoast towns, with their large fleets, were necessary for the maritime operations of the Persian kings. Three hundred Phwnieian triremes warred with Xerxes against Greece. Eighty Phoenician ships engaged in the battle of Cnidiis (B.c. 396). Like its old rival, Sidon became involved in the quarrel of the two great nations who fought for the supremacy of Western Asia. Under Tennes IL it joined with Neetanebo II. of Egypt and might have been successful had not its King betrayed it to Arta xerxes III. This caused a great catastrophe B.C. 345) in which 40,000 lost their lives. The power of Sidon was broken. On the reappearance of Alexander the Great in Plenieia, Sidon, Ara dus. and Byblos immediately submitted, but Tyre held aloof and capitulated only after a siege of seven months B.C. 332). Eight thousand lost their lives, 30.000 were sold as slaves. Sidon and Tyre. and together with them Pluenicin, van ished from the world's history. Yet we hear of the cities again during the reign of the Ptolemies. and a certain amount of autonomy must have been given at least to Sidon and Tyre. Pluenician inscriptions tell of independent rulers in the fourth and third centuries B.c.. notably in Sidon. where the family of Eehmunazar ruled. In 197 Phoenicia came into the power of the Se/eneid kings of Syria and became involved in the col lapse of that kingdom. In B.C. 64 it became with Syria a Roman province; and although the trade of the seacoast towns was greatly benefited thereby, their Plnenician character was rapidly lost and forgotten.
The influence of Phcenicia was, however, not confined to the narrow coast strip of Syria. At an early date her merchants brought about a contact between the East and the West, whieh constituted an important factor in ancient his tory. These merchants traveling through the Mediterranean formed colonies wherever they went and many of the place-names along the African coast seem to show that l'hwnicians be came there the dominant factors.
Only some of the general features of Phcenician religion are known. Each town had its tecting deity, with whom a female consort was often associated. In many cases this god was known simply as the Baal, i.e. Lord, of the place. In others he bore a special name, such as Alelkart in Tyre, Sakkun in Carthage. The Phoenician
pantheon was quite large. though some of the names may be different designations applying to one deity. The most important of their deities were Adonai (Greek Adonis. q.v.). worshiped in Byblos and whose cult was also transferred to Cyprus; Eshmun, a sun god, worshiped at Sidon, Berytus,and Carthage, and in Cyprus ; Melkart, at Tyre; Tanith, the great goddess of Carthage, who was often associated with a Baal, as was Astarte on the Phcrnieian mainland. Foreign gods were also easily admitted into this pantheon; e.g. the Syrian gods Reshef and Anat; the Egyptian Isis. Osiris, Bast, and Horus; and the Babylonian Hadad. A parallel to this is found in the gen eral tendency of the Phomicians to adopt the art. culture, and myths of the surrounding peo ples. Their religion therefore presents a strange ly conglomerate character. Traces of primitive conceptions which they shared with other Semitic peoples persisted to the latest period. Trees, stones, and rivers were regarded as sacred princi ples underlying the animistic stage of religious development. In early days the cult was carried on in groves or on the tops of mountains. In later times small sanctuaries were erected and in closed in a sacred area. Subsequently. and per haps under foreign influence. more elaborate structures were erected, temples with a large al tar in a court open to the sky to which was at tached a covered shrine, which was regarded as the holy of holies. The chief festival of the Phoe nicians seems to have been the one which was celebrated at the time of the summer solstice, eommemorating the death and return of Adonis. The priesthood must have assumed large propor tions. but it does not seem to have wielded the power that the priesthood did in Egypt and Babylo nia. though the ruler at times was also chief priest.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Movers, Die Phiini:icr (Bonn. Bibliography. Movers, Die Phiini:icr (Bonn. 1541-50 ) : Neltzer. Ceschich lc der Karthaytr ( Berlin. 1519-96) ; Pietschmann. Gesehiehtc der ( ib.. 15891 ; .leremias. Turns his zur "Zit Yebukalnczars (Leipzig, 15911: George of l'1arnIyia 1559): the fragments of Menander's "Annals of Tyre," in Cory. Ancient I',oqm(ats (ib.. 1ST]) ; Winekler in llelmolt's 11151ory of the World, vol.
iii. Leipzig, 1901).