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History of Phoenicia

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impressed; the more delicate markings and the more lifelike touches
that it once received, it loses easily through friction or exposure to
rough weather. A certain number of the sculptured figures found by M.
Di Cesnola at Athinau were discovered under conditions that were
quite peculiar, having passed from the shelter of a covered chamber to
that of a protecting bed of dust, which had hardened and adhered to
their surfaces; and these figures had preserved an unusual freshness,
and seem as if just chiselled; but, saving these exceptions, the
Cypriot figures have their angles rounded, and their projections
softened down. It is like a page of writing, where the ink, before it
had time to dry, preserving its sharpness of tone, has been absorbed
by the blotting paper and has left only pale and feeble traces."[3]

Another striking defect in the Phnician, or at any rate in the
Cyprio-Phnician, sculpture, and one that cannot be excused on account
of any inherent weakness in the material, is the thinness and flatness
of the greater part of the figures. The sculptor seems to have been
furnished by the stonecutter, not so much with solid blocks of stone,
as with tolerably thick slabs.[4] These he fashioned carefully in
front, and produced statues, which, viewed in front, are lifelike and
fairly satisfactory. But to the sides and back of the slab he paid
little attention, not intending that his work should be looked at from
all quarters, but that the spectator should directly face it. The
statues were made to stand against walls,[5] or in niches, or back to
back, the heels and backs touching;[6] they were not, properly
speaking, works /in the round/, but rather /alti relievi/ a little
exaggerated, not actually part of the wall, but laid closely against
it. A striking example of this kind of work may be seen in a figure
now at New York, which appears to represent a priest, whereof a front
view is given by Di Cesnola in his "Cyprus," and a side view by Perrot
and Chipiez in their "History of Ancient Art." The head and neck are
in good proportion, but the rest of the figure is altogether unduly
thin, while for some space above the feet it is almost literally a
slab, scarcely fashioned at all.

This fault is less pronounced in some statues than in others, and from
a certain number of the statuettes is wholly absent. This is notably
the case in a figure found at Golgi, which represents a female arrayed
in a long robe, the ample folds of which she holds back with one hand,
while the other hand is advanced, and seems to have held a lotus
flower. Three graceful tresses fall on either side of the neck, round
which is a string of beads or pearls, with an amulet as pendant; while
a long veil, surmounted by a diadem, hangs from the back of the head.
This statue is in no respect narrow or flat, as may be seen especially
from the side view given by Di Cesnola;[7] but it is short and
inelegant, though not wanting in dignity; and it is disfigured by
sandalled feet of a very disproportionate size, which stand out
offensively in front. The figure has been viewed as a representation
of the goddess Astarte or Ashtoreth;[8] but the identification can
scarcely be regarded as more than a reasonable conjecture.

The general defects of Phnician statuary, besides want of finish and
flatness, are a stiff and conventional treatment, recalling the art of
Egypt and Assyria, a want of variety, and a want of life. Most of the
figures stand evenly on the two feet, and have the arms pendant at the
two sides, with the head set evenly, neither looking to the right nor
to the left, while even the arrangement of the drapery is one of great
uniformity. In the points where there is any variety, the variety is
confined within very narrow limits. One foot may be a little
advanced;[9] one arm may be placed across the breast, either as
confined by the robe,[10] or as holding something, e.g. a bird or a
flower.[11] In female figures both arms may be laid along the
thighs,[12] or both be bent across the bosom, with the hands clasping
the breasts,[13] or one hand may be so placed, and the other depend in
front.[14] The hair and beard are mostly arranged with the utmost
regularity in crisp curls, resembling the Assyrian; where tresses are
worn, they are made to hang, whatever their number, with exact
uniformity on either side.[15] Armlets and bracelets appear always in
pairs, and are exactly similar; the two sides of a costume correspond
perfectly; and in the groups the figures have, as nearly as possible,
the same attitude.

Repose is no doubt the condition of human existence which statuary
most easily and most naturally expresses; and few things are more
obnoxious to a refined taste than that sculpture which, like that of
Roubiliac, affects movement, fidget, flutter, and unquiet. But in the
Phnician sculpture the repose is overdone; except in the expression
of faces, there is scarcely any life at all. The figures do nothing;
they simply stand to be looked at. And they stand stiffly, sometimes
even awkwardly, rarely with anything like elegance or grace. The
heads, indeed, have life and vigour, especially after the artists have
become acquainted with Greek models;[16] but they are frequently too
large for the bodies whereto they are attached, and the face is apt to
wear a smirk that is exceedingly disagreeable. This is most noticeable
in the Cypriot series, as will appear by the accompanying
representations; but it is not confined to them, since it reappears in
the bronzes found in Phnicia Proper.

Phnician statues are almost always more or less draped. Sometimes
nothing is worn besides the short tunic, or /shenti/, of the
Egyptians, which begins below the navel and terminates at the
knee.[17] Sometimes there is added to this a close-fitting shirt, like
a modern "jersey," which has short sleeves and clings to the figure,
so that it requires careful observation to distinguish between a
statue thus draped and one which has the /shenti/ only.[18] But there
are also a number of examples where the entire figure is clothed from
the head to the ankles, and nothing is left bare but the face, the
hands, and the feet. A cap, something like a Phrygian bonnet, covers
the head; a long-sleeved robe reaches from the neck to the ankles, or
sometimes rests upon the feet; and above this is a mantle or scarf
thrown over the left shoulder, and hanging down nearly to the knees.
Ultimately a drapery greatly resembling that of the Greeks seems to
have been introduced; a long cloak, or /chlamys/, is worn, which falls
into numerous folds, and is disposed about the person according to the
taste and fancy of the wearer, but so as to leave the right arm
free.[19] Statues of this class are scarcely distinguishable from
Greek statues of a moderately good type.

Phnician sculptors /in the round/ did not very often indulge in the
representation of animal forms. The lion, however, was sometimes
chiselled in stone, either partially, as in a block of stone found by
M. Renan at Um-el-Awamid, or completely, as in a statuette brought by
General Di Cesnola from Cyprus. The representations hitherto
discovered have not very much merit. We may gather from them that the
sculptors were unacquainted with the animal itself, had never seen the
king of beasts sleeping in the shade or stretching himself and yawning
as he awoke, or walking along with a haughty and majestic slowness, or
springing with one bound upon his prey, but had simply studied without
much attention or interest the types furnished them by Egyptian or
Assyrian artists, who were familiar with the beast himself. The
representations are consequently in every case feeble and
conventional; in some they verge on the ridiculous. What, for
instance, can be weaker than the figure above given from the great
work of Perrot and Chipiez, with its good-humoured face, its tongue
hanging out of its mouth, its tottering forelegs, and its general air
of imbecility? The lioness' head represented in the same work is
better, but still leaves much to be desired, falling, as it does, very
far behind the best Assyrian models. Nor were the sculptors much more
successful in their mode of expressing animals with whose forms they
were perfectly well acquainted. The sheep carried on the back of a
shepherd, brought from Cyprus and now in the museum of New York, is a
very ill-shaped sheep, and the doves so often represented are very
poor doves.[20] They are just recognisable, and that is the most that
can be said for them. A dog in stone,[21] found at Athinau, is
somewhat better, equally the dogs of the Egyptians and Assyrians. On
the other hand, the only fully modelled horses that have been found
are utterly childish and absurd.[22]

The reliefs of the Phnicians are very superior to their statues. They
vary in their character from almost the lowest kind of relief to the
highest. On dresses, on shields, on slabs, and on some sarcophagi it
is much higher than is usual even in Greece. A bas-relief of peculiar
interest was discovered at Athinau by General Di Cesnola, and has
been represented both by him and by the Italian traveller
Ceccaldi.[23] It represents Hercules capturing the cattle of Geryon
from the herdsman Eurytion, and gives us reason to believe that that
myth was a native Phnician legend adopted by the Greeks, and not a
Hellenic one imported into Phnicia. The general character of the
sculpture is archaic and Assyrian; nor is there a trace of Greek
influence about it. Hercules, standing on an elevated block of stone
at the extreme left, threatens the herdsman, who responds by turning
towards him, and making a menacing gesture with his right hand, while
in his left, instead of a club, he carries an entire tree. His hair
and beard are curled in the Assyrian fashion, while his figure, though
short, is strong and muscular. In front of him are his cattle, mixed
up in a confused and tangled mass, some young, but most of them full
grown, and amounting to the number of seventeen. They are in various
attitudes, and are drawn with much spirit, recalling groups of cattle
in the sculptures of Assyria and Egypt, but surpassing any such group
in the vigour of their life and movement. Above, in an upper field or
plain, divided from the under one by a horizontal line, is the triple-
headed dog, Orthros, running full speed towards Hercules, and scarcely
checked by the arrow which has met him in mid career, and entered his
neck at the point of junction between the second and the third
head.[24] The bas-relief is three feet two inches in length, and just
a little short of two feet in height. It served to ornament a huge
block of stone which formed the pedestal of a colossal statue of
Hercules, eight feet nine inches high.[25]

A sarcophagus, on which the relief is low, has been described and
figured by Di Cesnola,[26] who discovered it in the same locality as
the sculpture which has just engaged our attention. The sarcophagus,
which had a lid guarded by lions at the four corners, was ornamented
at both ends and along both sides by reliefs. The four scenes depicted
appear to be distinct and separate. At one end Perseus, having cut off
Medusa's head and placed it in his wallet, which he carries behind him
by means of a stick passed over his shoulder, departs homewards
followed by his dog. Medusa's body, though sunk upon one knee, is
still upright, and from the bleeding neck there spring the forms of
Chrysaor and Pegasus. At the opposite end of the tomb is a biga drawn
by two horses, and containing two persons, the charioteer and the
owner, who is represented as bearded, and rests his hand upon the
chariot-rim. The horse on the right hand, which can alone be
distinctly seen, is well proportioned and spirited. He is impatient
and is held in by the driver, and prevented from proceeding at more
than a foot's pace. On the longer sides are a hunting scene, and a
banqueting scene. In a wooded country, indicated by three tall trees,
a party, consisting of five individuals, engages in the pleasures of
the chase. Four of the five are accoutred like Greek soldiers; they
wear crested helmets, cuirasses, belts, and a short tunic ending in a
fringe: the arms which they carry are a spear and a round buckler or
shield. The fifth person is an archer, and has a lighter equipment; he
wears a cloth about his loins, a short tunic, and a round cap on his
head. The design forms itself into two groups. On the right two of the
spearmen are engaged with a wild boar, which they are wounding with
their lances; on the left the two other spearmen and the archer are
attacking a wild bull. In the middle a cock separates the two groups,
while at the two extremities two animal forms, a horse grazing and a
dog trying to make out a scent, balance each other. The fourth side of
the sarcophagus presents us with a banqueting scene. On four couches,
much like the Assyrian,[27] are arranged the banqueters. At the
extreme right the couch is occupied by a single person, who has a long
beard and extends a wine-cup towards an attendant, a naked youth, who
is advancing towards him with a wine-jug in one hand, and a ladle or
strainer in the other. The three other couches are occupied
respectively by three couples, each comprising a male and a female.
The male figure reclines in the usual attitude, half sitting and half
lying, with the left arm supported on two pillows;[28] the female sits
on the edge of the couch, with her feet upon a footstool. The males
hold wine-cups; of the females, one plays upon the lyre, while the two
others fondle with one hand their lover or husband. A fourth female
figure, erect in the middle between the second and third couches,
plays the double flute for the delectation of the entire party. All
the figures, except the boy attendant, are decently draped, in robes
with many folds, resembling the Greek. At the side of each couch is a
table, on which are spread refreshments, while at the extreme left is
a large bowl or amphora, from which the wine-cups may be replenished.
This is placed under the shade of a tree, which tells us that the
festivity takes place in a garden.[29]

No one can fail to see, in this entire series of sculptures, the
dominant influence of Greece. While the form of the tomb, and the
lions that ornament the covering, are unmistakably Cyprio-Phnician,
the reliefs contain scarcely a feature which is even Oriental; all has
markedly the colouring and the physiognomy of Hellenism. Yet Cyprian
artists probably executed the work. There are little departures from
Greek models, which indicate the "barbarian" workman, as the
introduction of trees in the backgrounds, the shape of the furniture,
the recurved wings of the Gorgon, and the idea of hunting the wild
bull. But the figures, the proportions, the draperies, the attitudes,
the chariot, the horse, are almost pure Greek. There is a grace and
ease in the modelling, an elegance, a variety, to which Asiatic art,
left to itself, never attained. The style, however, is not that of
Greece at its best, but of archaic Greece. There is something too much
of exact symmetry, both in the disposition of the groups and in the
arrangement of the accessories; nay, even the very folds of the
garments are over-stiff and regular. All is drawn in exact profile;
and in the composition there is too much of balance and
correspondence. Still, a new life shows itself through the scenes.
There is variety in the movements; there is grace and suppleness in
the forms; there is lightness in the outline, vigour in the attitudes,
and beauty spread over the whole work. It cannot be assigned an
earlier date than the fifth century B.C., and is most probably
later,[30] since it took time for improved style to travel from the
head-centres of Greek art to the remoter provinces, and still more
time for it to percolate through the different layers of Greek society
until it reached the stratum of native Cyprian artistic culture.

We may contrast with the refined work of the Athinau sarcophagus the
far ruder, but more genuinely native, designs of a tomb of the same
kind found on the site of Amathus.[31] On this sarcophagus, the edges
of which are most richly adorned with patterning, there are, as upon
the other, four reliefs, two of them occupying the sides and two the
ends. Those at the ends are curious, but have little artistic merit.
They consist, in each case, of a caryatid figure four times repeated,
representations, respectively, of Astart and of a pygmy god, who,
according to some, is Bes, and, according to others, Melkarth or
Esmun.[32] The figures of Astart are rude, as are generally her
statues.[33] They have the hair arranged in three rows of crisp curls,
the arms bent, and the hands supporting the breasts. The only ornament
worn by them is a double necklace of pearls or round beads. The
representations of the pygmy god have more interest. They remind us of
what Herodotus affirms concerning the Phnician /pataikoi/, which were
used for the figure-heads of ships,[34] and which he compares to the
Egyptian images of Phthah, or Ptah, the god of creation. They are ugly
dwarf figures, with a large misshapen head, a bushy beard, short arms,
fat bodies, a short striped tunic, and thick clumsy legs. Only one of
the four figures is at present complete, the sarcophagus having been
entered by breaking a hole into it at this end.

The work at the sides is much superior to that at the ends. The two
panels represent, apparently, a single scene. The scene is a
procession, but whether funeral or military it is hard to decide.[35]
First come two riders on horseback, wearing conical caps and close-
fitting jerkins; they are seated on a species of saddle, which is kept
in place by a board girth passing round the horse's belly, and by
straps attached in front. The two cavaliers are followed by four
/big/. The first contains the principal personages of the
composition, who sits back in his car, and shades himself with a
parasol, the mark of high rank in the East, while his charioteer sits
in front of him and holds the reins. The second car has three
occupants; the third two; and the fourth also two, one of whom leans
back and converses with the footmen, who close the procession. These
form a group of three, and seem to be soldiers, since they bear shield
and spear; but their costume, a loose robe wrapped round the form, is
rather that of civilians. The horses are lightly caparisoned, with
little more than a head-stall and a collar; but they carry on their
heads a conspicuous fan-like crest.[36] MM. Perrot and Chipiez thus
sum up their description of this monument:--"Both in the ornamentation
and in the sculpture properly so-called there is a mixture of two
traditions and two inspirations, diverse one from the other. The
persons who chiselled the figures in the procession which fills the
two principal sides of the sarcophagus were the pupils of Grecian
statuaries; they understood how to introduce variety into the
attitudes of those whom they represented, and even into the movements
of the horses. Note, in this connection, the steeds of the two
cavaliers in front; one of them holds up his head, the other bends it
towards the ground. The draperies are also cleverly treated,
especially those of the foot soldiers who bring up the rear, and
resemble in many respects the costume of the Greeks. On the other
hand, the types of divinity, repeated four times at the two ends of
the monument, have nothing that is Hellenic about them, but are
borrowed from the Pantheon of Phnicia. Even in the procession itself
--the train of horsemen, footmen, and chariots, which is certainly the
sculptor's true subject--there are features which recall the local
customs and usages of the East. The conical caps of the two cavaliers
closely resemble those which we see on the heads of many of the
Cyprian statues; the parasol which shades the head of the great person
in the first /biga/ is the symbol of Asiatic royalty; lastly, the fan-
shaped plume which rises above the heads of all the chariot horses is
an ornament that one sees in the same position in Assyria and in
Lycia, whensoever the sculptor desires to represent horses
magnificently caparisoned."[37]

Sarcophagi recently exhumed in the vicinity of Sidon are said to be
adorned with reliefs superior to any previously known specimens of
Phnician art. As, however, no drawings or photographs of these
sculptures have as yet reached Western Europe, it will perhaps be
sufficient in this place to direct attention to the descriptions of
them which an eye-witness has published in the "Journal de
Beyrout."[38] No trustworthy critical estimate can be formed from mere
descriptions, and it will therefore be necessary to reserve our
judgment until the sculptures themselves, or correct representations
of them, are accessible.

The metal castings of the Phnicians, according to the accounts which
historians give of them, were of a very magnificent and extraordinary
character. The Hiram employed by Solomon in the ornamentation of the
Temple at Jerusalem, who was a native of Tyre,[39] designed and
executed by his master's orders a number of works in metal, which seem
to have been veritable masterpieces. The strangest of all were the two
pillars of bronze, which bore the names of "Jachin" and "Boaz,"[40]
and stood in front of the Temple porch, or possibly under it.[41]
These pillars, with their capitals, were between thirty-four and
thirty-five feet high, and had a diameter of six feet.[42] They were
cast hollow, the bronze whereof they were composed having a uniform
thickness of three inches,[43] or thereabouts. Their ornamentation was
elaborate. A sort of chain-work covered the "belly" or lower part of
the capitals,[44] while above and below were representations of
pomegranates in two rows, probably at the top and bottom of the
"belly," the number of the pomegranates upon each pillar being two
hundred.[45] At the summit of the whole was a sort of "lily-work"[46]
or imitation of the lotus blossom, a "motive" adopted from Egypt.
Various representations of the pillars have been attempted in works
upon Phnician art, the most remarkable being those designed by M.
Chipiez, and published in the "Histoire de l'Art dans
l'Antiquit."[47] Perhaps, however, there is more to be said in favour
of M. de Vog's view, as enunciated in his work on the Jewish Temple.

The third great work of metallurgy which Hiram constructed for Solomon
was "the molten sea."[48] This was an enormous bronze basin, fifteen
feet in diameter, supported on the backs of twelve oxen, grouped in
sets of three.[49] The basin stood fourteen or fifteen feet above the
level of the Temple Court,[50] and was a vast reservoir, always kept
full of water, for the ablutions of the priests. There was an
ornamentation of "knops" or "gourds," in two rows, about the "brim" of
the reservoir; and it must have been supplied in its lower part with a
set of stopcocks, by means of which the water could be drawn off when
needed. Representations of the "molten sea" have been given by
Mangeant, De Vog, Thenius, and others; but all of them are,
necessarily, conjectural. The design of Mangeant is reproduced in the
preceding representation. It is concluded that the oxen must have been
of colossal size in order to bear a proper proportion to the basin,
and not present the appearance of being crushed under an enormous

Next in importance to these three great works were ten minor ones,
made for the Jewish Temple by the same artist. These were lavers
mounted on wheels,[52] which could be drawn or pushed to any part of
the Temple Court where water might be required. The lavers were of
comparatively small size, capable of containing only one-fiftieth
part[53] of the contents of the "molten sea," but they were remarkable
for their ornamentation. Each was supported upon a "base;" and the
bases, which seem to have been panelled, contained, in the different
compartments, figures of lions, oxen, and cherubim,[54] either single
or in groups. On the top of the base, which seems to have been square,
was a circular stand or socket, a foot and a half in height, into
which the laver or basin fitted.[55] This, too, was panelled, and
ornamented with embossed work, representing lions, cherubim, and palm-
trees.[56] Each base was emplaced upon four wheels, which are said to
have resembled chariot wheels, but which were molten in one piece,
naves, spokes, and felloes together.[57] A restoration by M. Mangeant,
given by Perrot and Chipiez in the fourth volume of their "History of
Ancient Art," is striking, and leaves little to be desired.

Hiram is also said to have made for Solomon a number of pots, shovels,
basins, flesh-hooks, and other instruments,[58] which were all used in
the Temple service; but as no description is given of any of these
works, even their general character can only be conjectured. We may,
however, reasonably suppose them not to have differed greatly from the
objects of a similar description found in Cyprus by General Di

From the conjectural, which may amuse, but can scarcely satisfy, the
earnest student, it is fitting that we should now pass to the known
and actual. Phnician metal-work of various descriptions has been
found recently in Phnicia Proper, in Cyprus, and in Sardinia; and,
though much of it consists of works of utility or of mere personal
adornment, which belong to another branch of the present enquiry,
there is a considerable portion which is more or less artistic and
which rightly finds its place in the present chapter. The Phnicians,
though they did not, so far as we know, attempt with any frequency the
production, in bronze or other metal, of the full-sized human
form,[60] were fond of fabricating, especially in bronze, the smaller
kinds of figures which are known as "figurines" or "statuettes." They
also had a special talent for producing embossed metal-work of a
highly artistic character in the shape of cups, bowls, and dishes or
/pater/, whereon scenes of various kinds were represented with a
vigour and precision that are quite admirable. Some account of these
two classes of works must here be given.

The statuettes commence with work of the rudest kind. The Phnician
sites in Sardinia have yielded in abundance grotesque figures of gods
and men,[61] from three or four to six or eight inches high, which
must be viewed as Phnician productions, though perhaps they were not
the best works which Phnician artists could produce, but such as were
best suited to the demands of the Sardinian market. The savage Sards
would not have appreciated beauty or grace; but to the savage mind
there is something congenial in grotesqueness. Hence gods with four
arms and four eyes,[62] warriors with huge horns projecting from their
helmets,[63] tall forms of extraordinary leanness,[64] figures with
abnormally large heads and hands,[65] huge noses, projecting eyes, and
various other deformities. For the home consumption statuettes of a
similar character were made; but they were neither so rude nor so
devoid of artistic merit. There is one in the Louvre, which was found
at Tortosa, in Northern Phnicia, approaching nearly to the Sardinian
type, while others have less exaggeration, and seem intended
seriously. In Cyprus bronzes of a higher order have been
discovered.[66] One is a figure of a youth, perhaps sculapius,
embracing a serpent; another is a female form of much elegance, which
may have been the handle of a vase or jug; it springs from a grotesque
bracket, and terminates in a bar ornamented at either end with heads
of animals. The complete bronze figure found near Curium, which is
supposed to represent Apollo and is figured by Di Cesnola,[67] is
probably not the production of a Phnician artists, but a sculpture
imported from Greece.

The embossed work upon cups and /pater/ is sometimes of great
simplicity, sometimes exceedingly elaborate. A patera of the simplest
kind was found by General Di Cesnola in the treasury of Curium and is
figured in his work.[68] At the bottom of the dish, in the middle, is
a rosette with twenty-two petals springing from a central disk; this
is surrounded by a ring whereon are two wavy lines of ribbon
intertwined. Four deer, with strongly recurved horns, spaced at equal
intervals, stand on the outer edge of the ring in a walking attitude.
Behind them and between them are a continuous row of tall stiff reeds
terminating in blossoms, which are supposed to represent the papyrus
plant. The reeds are thirty-two in number. We may compare with this
the medallion at the bottom of a cup found at Cre in Italy, which has
been published by Grifi.[69] Here, on a chequered ground, stands a cow
with two calves, one engaged in providing itself with its natural
sustenance, the other disporting itself in front of its dam. In the
background are a row of alternate papyrus blossoms and papyrus buds
bending gracefully to the right and to the left, so as to form a sort
of framework to the main design. Above the cow and in front of the
papyrus plants two birds wing their flight from left to right across
the scene.

A bronze bowl, discovered at Idalium (Dali) in Cyprus,[70] is, like
these specimens, Egyptian in its motive, but is more ambitious in that
it introduces the human form. On a throne of state sits a goddess,
draped in a long striped robe which reaches to the feet, and holding a
lotus flower in her right hand and a ball or apple in her left.
Bracelets adorn her wrists and anklets her feet. Behind her stands a
band of three instrumental performers, all of them women, and somewhat
variously costumed: the first plays the double pipe, the second
performs on a lyre or harp, the third beats the tambourine. In front
of the goddess is a table or altar, to which a votary approaches
bringing offerings. Then follows another table whereon two vases are
set; finally comes a procession of six females, holding hands, who are
perhaps performing a solemn dance. Behind them are a row of lotus
pillars, the supports probably of a temple, wherein the scene takes
place. The human forms in this design are ill-proportioned, and very
rudely traced. The heads and hands are too large, the faces are
grotesque, and the figures wholly devoid of grace. Mimetic art is seen
clearly in its first stage, and the Phnician artist who has designed
the bowl has probably fallen short of his Egyptian models.

Animal and human forms intermixed occur on a silver /patera/ found at
Athinau, which is more complicated and elaborate than the objects
hitherto described, but which is, like them, strikingly Egyptian.[71]
A small rosette occupies the centre; round it is, apparently, a pond
or lake, in which fish are disporting themselves; but the fish are
intermixed with animal and human forms--a naked female stretches out
her arms after a cow; a man clothed in a /shenti/ endeavours to seize
a horse. The pond is edged by papyrus plants, which are alternately in
blossom and in bud. A zigzag barrier separates this central
ornamentation from that of the outer part of the dish. Here a marsh is
represented in which are growing papyrus and other water-plants.
Aquatic birds swim on the surface or fly through the tall reeds. Four
boats form the chief objects in this part of the field. In one, which
is fashioned like a bird, there sits under a canopy a grandee, with an
attendant in front and a rower or steersman at the stern. Behind him,
in a second boat, is a band consisting of three undraped females, one
of whom plays a harp and another a tambourine, while the third keeps
time with her hands. A man with a punt-pole directs the vessel from
the stern. In the third boat, which has a freight of wine-jars, a cook
is preparing a bird for the grandee's supper. The fourth boat contains
three rowers, who possibly have the vessel of the grandee in tow. The
first and second boats are separated by two prancing steeds, the
second and third by two cows, the third and fourth by a chariot and
pair. It is difficult to explain the mixture of the aquatic with the
terrestrial in this piece; but perhaps the grandee is intended to be
enjoying himself in a marshy part of his domain, where he might ride,
drive, or boat, according to his pleasure. The whole scene is rather
Egyptian than Phnician or Cypriot, and one cannot help suspecting
that the /patera/ was made for an Egyptian customer.

There is a /patera/ at Athens,[72] almost certainly Phnician, which
may well be selected to introduce the more elaborate and complicated
of the Phnician works of art in this class. It has been figured,[73]
and carefully described by MM. Perrot and Chipiez in these terms:--
"The medallion in the centre is occupied by a rosette with eight
points. The zone outside this, in which are distributed the personages
represented, is divided into four compartments by four figures, which
correspond to each other in pairs. They lift themselves out of a
trellis-work, bounded on either side by a light pillar without a base.
The capitals which crown the pillars recall those of the Ionic order,
but the abacus is much more developed. A winged globe, stretching from
pillar to pillar, roofs in this sort of little chapel; each is the
shrine of a divinity. One of the divinities is that nude goddess,
clasping her breasts with her hands, whom we have already met with in
the Phnician world more than once; the other is a bearded personage,
whose face is framed in by his abundant hair; he appears to be dressed
in a close-fitting garment, made of a material folded in narrow
plaits. We do not know what name to give the personage. Each of the
figures is repeated twice. The rest of the field is occupied by four
distinct subjects, two of them being scenes of adoration. In one may
be recognised the figure of Isis-Athor, seated on a sort of camp-
stool, and giving suck to the young Horus;[74] on an altar in front of
the goddess is placed the disk of the moon, enveloped (as we have seen
it elsewhere) by a crescent which recalls the moon's phases. Behind
the altar stands a personage whose sex is not defined; the right hand,
which is raised, holds a /patera/, while the left, which falls along
the hip, has the /ankh/ or /crux ansata/. Another of the scenes
corresponds to this, and offers many striking analogies. The altar
indeed is of a different form, but it supports exactly the same
symbols. The goddess sits upon a throne with her feet on a footstool;
she has no child; in one hand she holds out a cup, in the other a
lotus blossom. The personage who confronts her wears a conical cap,
and is clothed, like the worshipper of the corresponding
representation, in a long robe pressed close to the body by a girdle
/ cordelire/; he has also the /crux ansata/, and holds in the right
hand an object the character and use of which I am unable to
conjecture. We may associate with these two scenes of homage and
worship another representation in which there figure three musicians.
The instruments are the same as usual--the lyre, the tambourine, and
the double pipe; two of the performers march at a steady pace; the
third, the one who beats the metal(?) disk, dances, as he plays, with
much vigour and spirit. In the last compartment we come again upon a
group that we have already met with in one of the cups from
Idalium.[75] . . . A beardless individual, clothed in the /shenti/,
has put his foot upon the body of a griffin, which, in struggling
against the pressure, flings its hind quarters into the air in a sort
of wild caper; the conqueror, however, holds it fast by the plume of
feathers which rises from its head, and plunges his sword into its
half-open beak. It is this group, drawn in relief, and on a larger
scale, that we meet with for a second time on the Athenian /patera/;
but in this case the group is augmented by a second personage, who
takes part in the struggle. This is an old man with a beard who is
armed with a formidable pike. Both the combatants wear conical caps
upon their heads, similar to those which we have noticed as worn by a
number of the statues from Cyprus; but the cap of the right-hand
personage terminates in a button, whereto is attached a long
appendage, which looks like the tail of an ox." The Egyptian character
of much of this design is incontestable. The /ankh/, the lotus blossom
in the hand, the winged disk, are purely Egyptian forms; the Isis
Athor with Horus in her lap speaks for itself; and the worshipper in
front of Isis has an unmistakably Egyptian head dress. But the contest
with the winged griffin is more Assyrian than Egyptian; the seat
whereon Isis sits recalls a well-known Assyrian type;[76] one of the
altars has a distinctly Assyrian character, while the band of
musicians, the Astart figures standing in their shrines, and the
pillars which support, and frame in, the shrines are genuine Phnician
contributions. Artistically this /patera/ is much upon a par with
those from Dali and Athinau, which have been already described.

Our space will not admit of our pursuing this subject much further. We
cannot give descriptions of all the twenty /pater/,[77] pronounced by
the best critics to be Phnician, which are contained in the museums
of Europe and America. Excellent representations of most of these
works of art will be found in Longprier's "Muse Napolon III.," in
M. Clermont-Ganneau's "Imagerie Phnicienne," and in the "Histoire de
l'Art dans l'Antiquit" of MM. Perrot et Chipiez. The bowls brought
from Larnaca, from Curium, and from Amathus are especially
interesting.[78] We must, however, conclude our survey with a single
specimen of the most elaborate kind of /patera/; and, this being the
case, we cannot hesitate to give the preference to the famous "Cup of
Prneste," which has been carefully figured and described in two of
the three works above cited.[79]

The cup in question consists of a thin plate of silver covered over
with a layer of gold; its greatest diameter is seven inches and three-
fifths. The under or outside is without ornament; the interior is
engraved with a number of small objects in low relief. In the centre,
and surrounded by a circle of beads, there is a subject to which we
shall presently have to return. The zone immediately outside this
medallion, which is not quite an inch in width, is filled with a
string of eight horses, all of them proceeding at a trot, and
following each other to the right. Over each horse two birds fly in
the same direction. The horses' tails are extraordinarily
conventional, consisting of a stem with branches, and resembling a
conventional palm branch. Outside this zone there is an exterior and a
wider one, which is bounded on its outer edge by a huge snake, whose
scaly length describes an almost exact circle, excepting towards the
tail, where there are some slight sinuosities. This serpent, whose
head reaches and a little passes the thin extremity of the tail, is
"drawn," says M. Clermont-Ganneau, "with the hand of a master."[80] It
has been compared[81] with the well-known Egyptian and Phnician
symbol for the {kosmos} or universe, which was a serpent with its tail
in its mouth. "Naturally," he continues,[82] "the outer zone by its
very position offers the greatest room for development. The artist is
here at his ease, and having before him a field relatively so vast,
has represented on it a series of scenes, remarkably alike for the
style of their execution, the diversity of their subject-matter, the
number of the persons introduced, and the nature of the acts which
they accomplish. . . . The scenes, however, are not, as some have
imagined, a series of detached fantastic subjects, arbitrarily chosen
and capriciously grouped, a mere confused /mle/ of men, animals,
chariots, and other objects; on the contrary, they form a little
history, a plastic idyll, a story with a beginning, a middle, and an
end. It is a narrative divided into nine scenes." (1) An armed hero,
mounted in a car driven by a charioteer, quits in the morning a castle
or fortified town. He is going to hunt, and carries his bow in his
left hand. Over his head is an umbrella, the badge of his high rank,
and his defence against the mid-day sun. A quiver hangs at the side of
his chariot. He wears a conical cap, while the driver has his head
bare, and leans forwards over the front of the car, seeming to shake
the reins, and encourage the horses to mend their pace. (2) After the
car has proceeded a certain distance, the hunter espies a stag upon a
rocky hill. He stops his chariot, gets down, and leaving the driver in
charge of the vehicle, ensconces himself behind a tree, and thus
screened lets fly an arrow against the quarry, which strikes it midway
in the chest. (3) Weak and bleeding copiously, the stag attempts to
escape; but the hunter pursues and takes possession of him without
having to shoot a second time. (4) The hour is come now for a rest.
The sportsman has reached a wood, in which date-bearing palms are
intermingled with trees of a different kind. He fastens his game to
one of them, and proceeds to the skinning and the disembowelling.
Meanwhile, his attendant detaches the horses from the car, relieves
them of their harness, and proceeds to feed them from a portable
manger. The car, left to itself, is tilted back, and stands with its
pole in the air. (5) Food and drink having been prepared and placed on
two tables, or altars, the hunter, seated on a throne under the shadow
of his umbrella, pours a libation to the gods. They, on their part,
scent the feast and draw near, represented by the sun and moon--a
winged disk, and a crescent embracing a full orb. The feast is also
witnessed by a spirit of evil, in the shape of a huge baboon or
cynocephalous ape, who from a cavern at the foot of a wooded mountain,
whereon a stag and a hare are feeding, furtively surveys the ceremony.
(6) Remounting his chariot the hunter sets out on his return home,
when the baboon quits his concealment, and rushes after him,
threatening him with a huge stone. Hereupon a winged deity descends
from heaven, and lifting into the air chariot, horses, charioteer, and
hunter, enfolds them in an embrace and saves them. (7) The ape,
baffled, pursues his way; the chariot is replaced on the earth. The
hunter prepares his bow, places an arrow on the string, and hastily
pursues his enemy, who is speedily overtaken and thrown to the ground
by the horses. (8) The hunter dismounts, puts his foot upon the
prostrate ape, and gives him the /coup de grce/ with a heavy axe or
mace. A bird of prey hovers near, ready to descend upon the carcase.
(9) The hero remounts his chariot, and returns to the castle or city
which he left in the morning.[83]

We have now to return to the medallion which forms the centre of the
cup. Within a circle of pearls or beads, similar to that separating
the two zones, is a round space about two inches in diameter, divided
into two compartments by a horizontal line. In the upper part are
contained three human figures, and the figure of a dog. At the extreme
left is a prisoner with a beard and long hair that falls upon his
shoulders. His entire body is naked. Behind him his two arms are
brought together, tied by a cord, and then firmly attached to a post.
His knees are bent, but do not reach the ground, and his feet are
placed with their soles uppermost against the post at its base. The
attitude is one which implies extreme suffering.[84] In front of the
prisoner, occupying the centre of the medallion, is the main figure of
the upper compartment, a warrior, armed with a spear, who pursues the
third figure, a fugitive, and seems to be thrusting his spear into the
man's back. Both have long hair, but are beardless; and wear the
/shenti/ for their sole garment. Between the legs of the main figure
is a dog of the jackal kind, which has his teeth fixed in the heels of
the fugitive, and arrests his flight. Below, in the second
compartment, are two figures only, a man and a dog. The man is
prostrate, and seems to be crawling along the ground, the dog stands
partly on him, and appears to be biting his left heel. The
interpretation which M. Clermont-Ganneau gives to this entire scene
lacks the probability which attaches to his explanation of the outer
scene. He suggests that the prisoner is the hunter of the other scene,
plundered and bound by his charioteer, who is hastening away, when he
is seized by his master's dog and arrested in his flight. The dog
gnaws off his right foot and then attacks the left, while the
fugitive, in order to escape his tormentor, has to crawl along the
ground. But M. Clermont-Ganneau himself distrusts his
interpretation,[85] while he has convinced no other scholar of its
soundness. Judicious critics will be content to wait the further
researches which he promises, whereby additional light may perhaps be
thrown on this obscure matter.

In its artistic character the "cup of Prneste" claims a high place
among the works of art probably or certainly assignable to the
Phnicians. The relief is high; the forms, especially the animal ones,
are spirited and well-proportioned. The horses are especially good. As
M. Clermont-Ganneau says, "their forms and their movements are
indicated with a great deal of precision and truth."[86] They show
also a fair amount of variety; they stand, they walk, they trot, they
gallop at full speed, always truthfully and naturally. The stag, the
hare, and the dog are likewise well portrayed; the ape has less merit;
he is too human, too like a mere unkempt savage. The human forms are
about upon a par with those of the Assyrians and Egyptians, which have
evidently served for their models, the Assyrian for the outer zone,
the Egyptian for the medallion. The encircling snake, as already
observed, is a masterpiece. There is no better drawing in any of the
other /pater/. At best they equal, they certainly do not surpass, the
Prnestine specimen.

The intaglios of the Phnicians are either on cylinders or on gems,
and can rarely be distinguished, unless they are accompanied by an
inscription, from the similar objects obtained in such abundance from
Babylonia and Assyria. They reproduce, with scarcely any variation,
the mythological figures and emblems native to those countries--the
forms of gods and priests, of spirits of good and evil, of kings
contending with lions, of sacred trees, winged circles, and the like--
scarcely ever introducing any novelty. The greater number of the
cylinders are very rudely cut. They have been worked simply by means
of a splinter of obsidian,[87] and are barbarous in execution, though
interesting to the student of archaic art. The subjoined are
specimens. No. 1 represents a four-winged genius of the Assyrian type,
bearded, and clad in a short tunic and a long robe, seizing with
either hand a winged griffin, or spirit of evil, and reducing them to
subjection. In the field, towards the two upper corners, are the same
four Phnician characters, twice repeated; they designate, no doubt,
the owner of the cylinder, which he probably used as a seal, and are
read as /Harkhu/.[88] No. 2, which is better cut than No. 1,
represents a king of the Persian (Achmenian) type,[89] who stands
between two rampant lions, and seizes each by the forelock. Behind the
second lion is a sacred tree of a type that is not uncommon; and
behind the tree is an inscription, which has been read as /l'Baletn/
--i.e. "(the seal) of Baletan."[90] This cylinder was found recently
in the Lebanon.[91] Nos. 3 and 4 come from Salamis in Cyprus, where
they were found by M. Alexandre Di Cesnola,[92] the brother of the
General. No. 3 represents a robed figure holding two nondescript
animals by the hind legs; the creatures writhe in his grasp, and turn
their heads towards him, as though wishing to bite. The remainder of
the field is filed with detached objects, scattered at random--two
human forms, a griffin, two heads of oxen, a bird, two balls, three
crosses, a sceptre, &c. The forms are, all of them, very rudely
traced. No. 4 resembles in general character No. 3, but is even ruder.
Three similar robed figures hold each other's hands and perhaps
execute a dance around some religious object. Two heads of oxen or
cows, with a disk between their horns, occupy the spaces intervening
between the upper parts of the figures. In the lower portion of the
field, the sun and moon fill the middle space, the sun, moon, and five
planets the spaces to the right and to the left. Another cylinder from
the same place (No. 5)[93] is tolerably well designed and engraved. It
shows us two persons, a man and a woman, in the act of presenting a
dove to a female, who is probably the goddess Astart, and who
willingly receives it at their hands. Behind Astart a seated lion
echoes the approval of the goddess by raising one of his fore paws,
while a griffin, who wholly disapproves of the offering, turns his
back in disgust.

On another cylinder, which is certainly Phnician, a rude
representation of a sacred tree occupies the central position. To the
left stands a worshipper with the right hand upraised, clad in a very
common Assyrian dress. Over the sacred tree is a coarse specimen of
the winged circle or disk, with head and tail, and fluttering ends of
ribbon.[94] On either side stand two winged genii, dressed in long
robes, and tall stiff caps, such as are often seen on the heads of
Persians in the Persepolitan sculptures, and on the darics.[95] In the
field is a Phnician inscription, which is read as {...} or /Irphael
ben Hor'adad/, "Irphael, the son of Horadad."[96]

Phnician cylinders are in glass, green serpentine, cornaline, black
hmatite, steatite, and green jasper.[97] They are scratched rather
than deeply cut, and cannot be said ever to attain to any considerable
artistic beauty. Those which have been here given are among the best;
and they certainly fall short, both in design and workmanship, of many
Assyrian, Babylonian, and even Persian specimens.

The gems, on the other hand, are in many cases quite equal to the
Assyrian. There is one of special merit, which has been pronounced "an
exquisite specimen of Phnician lapidary art,"[98] figured by General
Di Cesnola in his "Cyprus."[99] Two men in regular Assyrian costume,
standing on either side of a "Sacred Tree," grasp, each of them, a
branch of it. Above is a winged circle, with the wings curved so as to
suit the shape of the gem. Below is an ornament, which is six times
repeated, like the blossom of a flower; and below this is a
trelliswork. The whole is cut deeply and sharply. Its Phnician
authorship is assured by its being an almost exact repetition of a
group upon the silver patera found at Amathus.[100]

Of other gems equally well engraved the following are specimens. No. 1
is a scarab of cornaline found by M. de Vog in Phnicia Proper.[101]
Two male figures in Assyrian costume face each other, their advanced
feet crossing. Both hold in one hand the /ankh/ or symbol of life. One
has in the left hand what is thought to be a lotus blossom. The other
has the right hand raised in the usual attitude of adoration. Between
the figures, wherever there was space for them, are Phnician
characters, which are read as {...}, or /l'Beka/--i.e. "(the seal) of
Beka."[102] No. 2, which has been set in a ring, is one of the many
scarabs brought by General Di Cesnola from Cyprus.[103] It contains
the figure of a hind, suckling her fawn, and is very delicately
carved. The hind, however, is in an impossible attitude, the forelegs
being thrown forwards, probably in order to prevent them from
interfering with the figure of the fawn. Above the hind is an
inscription, which appears to be in the Cyprian character, and which
gives (probably) the name of the owner. No. 3 introduces us to
domestic life. A grand lady, of Tyre perhaps or Sidon,[104] by name
Akhot-melek, seated upon an elegant throne, with her feet upon a
footstool, and dressed in a long robe which envelops the whole of her
figure, receives at the hands of a female attendant a bowl or wine-
cup, which the latter has just filled from an /nocho/ of elegant
shape, still held in her left hand. The attendant wears a striped robe
reaching to the feet, and over it a tunic fastened round the waist
with a belt. Her hair flows down on her shoulders, while that of her
mistress is confined by a band, from which depends an ample veil,
enveloping the cheeks, the back of the head, and the chin. We are told
that such veils are still worn in the Phnician country.[105] An
inscription, in a late form of the Phnician character, surrounds the
two figures, and is read as {...} or /l'Akhot-melek ishat Joshua(?)/--
i.e. "(the seal) of Akhot-melek, wife of Joshua."[106] No. 4 contains
the figure of a lion, cut with much spirit. MM. Perrot et Chipiez say
of it--"Among the numerous representations of lions that have been
discovered in Phnicia, there is none which can be placed on a par
with that on the scarab bearing the name of 'Ashenel: small as it is,
this lion has something of the physiognomy of those magnificent ones
which we have borrowed from the bas-reliefs of the Assyrians. Still,
the intaglio is in other respects decidedly Phnician and not
Assyrian. Observe, for instance, the beetle with the wings expanded,
which fills up the lower part of the field; this is a /motive/
borrowed from Egypt, which a Ninevite lapidary would certainly not
have put in such a place."[107] The Phnician inscription takes away
all doubt as to the nationality. It reads as {...}, or /'Ashenl/, and
no doubt designates the owner. No. 5 is beautifully engraved on a
chalcedony. It represents a stag attacked by a griffin, which has
jumped suddenly on its back. The drawing is excellent, both of the
real and of the imaginary animal, and leaves nothing to be desired.
The inscription, which occupies the upper part of the field to the
right, is in Cyprian characters, and shows that the gem was the signet
of a certain Akestodaros.[108]

There are some Phnician gems which are interesting from their subject
matter without being especially good as works of art. One of these
contains a representation of two men fighting.[109] Both are armed
with two spears, and both carry round shields or bucklers. The warrior
to the right wears a conical helmet, and is thought to be a native
Cyprian;[110] he carries a shield without an /umbo/ or boss. His
adversary on the left wears a loose cap, or hood, the {pilos apages}
of Herodotus,[111] and has a prominent /umbo/ in the middle of his
shield. He probably represents a Persian, and appears to have received
a wound from his antagonist, which is causing him to sink to the
ground. This gem was found at Curium in Cyprus by General Di Cesnola.

Another, found at the same place, exhibits a warrior, or a hunter,
going forth to battle or to the chase in his chariot.[112] A large
quiver full of arrows is slung at each side of his car. The warrior
and his horse (one only is seen) are rudely drawn, but the chariot is
very distinctly made out, and has a wheel of an Assyrian type. The
Salaminians of Cyprus were famous for their war chariots,[113] of
which this may be a representation.

The island of Sardinia has furnished a prodigious number of Phnician
seals. A single private collection contains as many as six
hundred.[114] They are mostly scarabs, and the type of them is mostly
Egyptian. Sometimes they bear the forms of Egyptian gods, as Horus, or
Thoth, or Anubis;[115] sometimes cartouches with the names of kings as
Menkara, Thothmes III., Amenophis III., Seti I., &c.;[116] sometimes
mere sacred emblems, as the winged urus, the disk between two
uri,[117] and the like. Occasionally there is the representation of a
scene with which the Egyptian bas-reliefs have made us familiar:[118]
a warrior has caught hold of his vanquished and kneeling enemy by a
lock of his hair, and threatens him with an axe or mace, which he
brandishes above his head. Or a lion takes the place of the captive
man, and is menaced in the same way. Human figures struggling with
lions, and lions killing wild bulls, are also common;[119] but the
type in these cases is less Egyptian than Oriental.

Phnician painting was not, like Egyptian, displayed upon the walls of
temples, nor was it, like Greek, the production of actual pictures for
the decoration of houses. It was employed to a certain extent on
statues, not so as to cover the entire figure, but with delicacy and
discretion, for the marking out of certain details, and the
emphasising of certain parts of the design.[120] The hair and beard
were often painted a brownish red; the pupil of the eye was marked by
means of colour; and robes had often a border of red or blue.
Statuettes were tinted more generally, whole vestments being sometimes
coloured red or green,[121] and a gay effect being produced, which is
said to be agreeable and harmonious.[122] But the nearest approach to
painting proper which was made by the Phnicians was upon their
vessels in clay, in terra-cotta, and in alabaster. Here, though, the
ornamentation was sometimes merely by patterns or bands,[123] there
were occasionally real attempts to depict animal and human forms,
which, if not very successful, still possess considerable interest.
The noble amphora from Curium, figured by Di Cesnola,[124] contains
above forty representations of horses, and nearly as many of birds.
The shape of the horse is exceedingly conventional, the whole form
being attenuated in the highest degree; but the animal is drawn with
spirit, and the departure from nature is clearly intentional. In the
animals that are pasturing, the general attitude is well seized; the
movement is exactly that of the horse when he stretches his neck to
reach and crop the grass.[125] In the birds there is equal spirit and
greater truth to nature: they are in various attitudes, preening their
feathers, pecking the ground, standing with head erect in the usual
way. Other vases contain figures of cows, goats, stags, fish and birds
of various kinds, while one has an attempt at a hippopotamus. The
attempts to represent the human form are certainly not happy; they
remind us of the more ambitious efforts of Chinese and Japanese art.



Phnician textile fabrics, embroidered or dyed--Account of the
chief Phnician dye--Mollusks from which the purple was obtained--
Mode of obtaining them--Mode of procuring the dye from them--
Process of dyeing--Variety of the tints--Manufacture of glass--
Story of its invention--Three kinds of Phnician glass--
1. Transparent colourless glass--2. Semi-transparent coloured
glass--3. Opaque glass, much like porcelain--Description of
objects in glass--Methods pursued in the manufacture--Phnician
ceramic art--Earliest specimens--Vases with geometrical designs--
Incised patterning--Later efforts--Use of enamel--Great amphora of
Curium--Phnician ceramic art disappointing--Ordinary metallurgy--
Implements--Weapons--Toilet articles--Lamp-stands and tripods--
Works in iron and lead.

Phnicia was celebrated from a remote antiquity for the manufacture of
textile fabrics. The materials which she employed for them were wool,
linen yarn, perhaps cotton, and, in the later period of her commercial
prosperity, silk. The "white wool" of Syria was supplied to her in
abundance by the merchants of Damascus,[1] and wool of lambs, rams,
and goats seems also to have been furnished by the more distant parts
of Arabia.[2] Linen yarn may have been imported from Egypt, where it
was largely manufactured, and was of excellent quality;[3] while raw
silk is said to have been "brought to Tyre and Berytus by the Persian
merchants, and there both dyed and woven into cloaks."[4] The price of
silk was very high, and it was customary in Phnicia to intermix the
precious material either with linen or with cotton;[5] as is still
done to a certain extent in modern times. It is perhaps doubtful
whether, so far as the mere fabric of stuffs was concerned, the
products of the Phnician looms were at all superior to those which
Egypt and Babylonia furnished, much less to those which came from
India, and passed under the name of /Sindones/. Two things gave to the
Phnician stuffs that high reputation which caused them to be more
sought for than any others; and these were, first, the brilliancy and
beauty of their colours, and, secondly, the delicacy with which they
were in many instances embroidered. We have not much trace of
Phnician embroidery on the representations of dresses that have come
down to us; but the testimony of the ancients is unimpeachable,[6] and
we may regard it as certain that the art of embroidery, known at a
very early date to the Hebrews,[7] was cultivated with great success
by their Phnician neighbours, and under their auspices reached a high
point of perfection. The character of the decoration is to be gathered
from the extant statues and bas-reliefs, from the representations on
pater, on cups, dishes, and gems. There was a tendency to divide the
surface to be ornamented into parallel stripes or bands, and to repeat
along the line a single object, or two alternately. Rosettes, monsters
of various kinds, winged globes with uri, scarabs, sacred trees, and
garlands or blossoms of the lotus were the ordinary "motives."[8]
Occasionally human figures might be introduced, and animal forms even
more frequently; but a stiff conventionalism prevailed, the same
figures were constantly repeated, and the figures themselves had in
few cases much beauty.

The brilliancy and beauty of the Phnician coloured stuffs resulted
from the excellency of their dyes. Here we touch a second branch of
their industrial skill, for the principal dyes used were originally
invented and continuously fabricated by the Phnicians themselves, not
imported from any foreign country. Nature had placed along the
Phnician coast, or at any rate along a great portion of it, an
inexhaustible supply of certain shell-fish, or molluscs, which
contained as a part of their internal economy a colouring fluid
possessing remarkable, and indeed unique, qualities. Some account has
been already given of the species which are thought to have been
anciently most esteemed. They belong, mainly, to the two allied
families of the /Murex/ and the /Buccinum/ or /Purpura/. Eight species
of the former, and six of the latter, having their habitat in the
Mediterranean, have been distinguished by some naturalists;[9] but two
of the former only, and one of the latter, appear to have attracted
the attention of the Phnicians. The /Murex brandaris/ is now thought
to have borne away the palm from all the others; it is extremely
common upon the coast; and enormous heaps of the shells are found,
especially in the vicinity of Tyre, crushed and broken--the dbris, as
it would seem, cast away by the manufacturers of old.[10] The /Murex
trunculus/, according to some, is just as abundant, in a crushed
state, in the vicinity of Sidon, great banks of it existing, which are
a hundred yards long and several yards thick.[11] It is a more spinous
shell than the /M. brandaris/, having numerous projecting points, and
a generally rough and rugged appearance. The /Purpura/ employed seems
to have been the /P. lapillus/, a mollusc not confined to the
Mediterranean, but one which frequents also our own shores, and was
once turned to some account in Ireland.[12] The varieties of the /P.
lapillus/ differ considerably. Some are nearly white, some greyish,
others buff striped with brown. Some, again, are smooth, others nearly
as rough as the /Murex trunculus/. The /Helix ianthina/, which is
included by certain writers among the molluscs employed for dyeing
purposes by the Phnicians,[13] is a shell of a completely different
character, smooth and delicate, much resembling that of an ordinary
land snail, and small compared to the others. It is not certain,
however, that the /helix/, though abounding in the Eastern
Mediterranean,[14] ever attracted the notice of the Phnicians.

The molluscs needed by the Phnician dyers were not obtained without
some difficulty. As the Mediterranean has no tides, it does not
uncover its shores at low water like the ocean, or invite man to rifle
them. The coveted shell-fish, in most instances, preferred tolerably
deep water; and to procure them in any quantity it was necessary that
they should be fished up from a depth of some fathoms. The mode in
which they were captured was the following. A long rope was let down
into the sea, with baskets of reeds or rushes attached to it at
intervals, constructed like our lobster-traps or eel-baskets, with an
opening that yielded easily to pressure from the outside, but resisted
pressure from the inside, and made escape, when once the trap was
entered, impossible. The baskets were baited with mussels or frogs,
both of which had great attractions for the /Purpur/, and were seized
and devoured with avidity. At the upper end of the rope was attached
to a large piece of cork, which, even when the baskets were full,
could not be drawn under water. It was usual to set the traps in the
evening, and after waiting a night, or sometimes a night and a day, to
draw them up to the surface, when they were generally found to be full
of the coveted shell-fish.[15]

There were two ways in which the dye was obtained from the molluscs.
Sometimes a hole was broken in the side of the shell, and the fish
taken out entire.[16] The /sac/ containing the colouring matter, which
is a sort of vein, beginning at the head of the animal, and following
the tortuous line of the body as it twists through the spiral
shell,[17] was then carefully extracted, either while the mollusc was
still alive, or as soon as possible after death, as otherwise the
quality of the dye was impaired. This plan was pursued more especially
with the larger species of /Purpur/, where the /sac/ attained a
certain size; while with a smaller kinds a different method was
followed. In their case no attempt was made to extract the /sac/, but
the entire fish was crushed, together with its shell, and after salt
had been added in the proportion of twenty ounces to a hundred pounds
of the pulp, three days were allowed for maceration; heat was then
applied, and when, by repeated skimming, the coarse particles had been
removed, the dye was left in a liquid state at the bottom. It was
necessary that the vessel in which this final process took place
should be of lead, and not of bronze or iron, since those metals gave
the dye a disagreeable tinge.[18]

The colouring matter contained in the /sac/ of the /Purpur/ is a
liquid of a creamy consistency, and of a yellowish-white hue. On
extraction, it is at first decidedly yellow; then after a little time
it becomes green; and, finally, it settles into some shade of violet
or purple. Chemical analysis has shown that in the case of the /Murex
trunculus/ the liquid is composed of two elementary substances, one
being cyanic acid, which is of a blue or azure colour, and the other
being purpuric oxide, which is a bright red.[19] In the case of the
/Murex brandaris/ one element only has been found: it is an oxide,
which has received the name of /oxyde tyrien/.[20] No naturalist has
as yet discovered what purpose the liquid serves in the economy, or in
the preservation, of the animal; it is certainly not exuded, as sepia
is by the cuttle-fish, to cloud the water in the neighbourhood, and
enable the creature to conceal itself.

Concerning the Phnician process of dyeing, the accounts which have
come down to us are at once confused and incomplete. Nothing is said
with respect to their employment of mordants, either acid or alkali,
and yet it is almost certain that they must have used one or the
other, or both, to fix the colours, and render them permanent. The
/gamins/ of Tyre employ to this day mordants of each sort;[21] and an
alkali derived from seaweed is mentioned by Pliny as made use of for
fixing some dyes,[22] though he does not distinctly tell us that it
was known to the Phnicians or employed in fixing the purple. What we
chiefly learn from this writer as to the dyeing process is[23]--first,
that sometimes the liquid derived from the /murex/ only, sometimes
that of the /purpura/ or /buccinum/ only, was applied to the material
which it was wished to colour, while the most approved hue was
produced by an application of both dyes separately. Secondly, we are
told that the material, whatever it might be, was steeped in the dye
for a certain number of hours, then withdrawn for a while, and
afterwards returned to the vat and steeped a second time. The best
Tyrian cloths were called /Dibapha/, i.e. "twice dipped;" and for the
production of the true "Tyrian purple" it was necessary that the dye
obtained from the /Buccinum/ should be used after that from the
/Murex/ had been applied. The /Murex/ alone gave a dye that was firm,
and reckoned moderately good; but the /Buccinum/ alone was weak, and
easily washed out.

The actual tints produced from the shell-fish appear to have ranged
from blue, through violet and purple, to crimson and rose.[24] Scarlet
could not be obtained, but was yielded by the cochineal insect. Even
for the brighter sorts of crimson some admixture of the cochineal dye
was necessary.[25] The violet tint was not generally greatly prized,
though there was a period in the reign of Augustus when it was the
fashion;[26] redder hues were commonly preferred; and the choicest of
all is described as "a rich, dark purple, the colour of coagulated
blood."[27] A deep crimson was also in request, and seems frequently
to be intended when the term purple ({porphureos}, /purpureus/) is

A third industry greatly affected by the Phnicians was the
manufacture of glass. According to Pliny,[28] the first discovery of
the substance was made upon the Phnician coast by a body of sailors
whom he no doubt regarded as Phnicians. These persons had brought a
cargo of natrum, which is the subcarbonate of soda, to the Syrian
coast in the vicinity of Acre, and had gone ashore at the mouth of the
river Belus to cook their dinner. Having lighted a fire upon the sand,
they looked about for some stones to prop up their cooking utensils,
but finding none, or none convenient for the purpose, they bethought
themselves of utilising for the occasion some of the blocks of natrum
with which their ship was laden. These were placed close to the fire,
and the heat was sufficient to melt a portion of one of them, which,
mixing with the siliceous sand at its base, produced a stream of
glass. There is nothing impossible or even very improbable in this
story; but we may question whether the scene of it is rightly placed.
Glass was manufactured in Egypt many centuries before the probable
date of the Phnician occupation of the Mediterranean coast; and, if
the honour of the invention is to be assigned to a particular people,
the Egyptians would seem to have the best claim to it. The process of
glass-blowing is represented in tombs at Beni Hassan of very great
antiquity,[29] and a specimen of Egyptian glass is in existence
bearing the name of a Usurtasen, a king of the twelfth dynasty.[30]
Natrum, moreover, was an Egyptian product, well known from a remote
date, being the chief ingredient used in the various processes of
embalming.[31] Phnicia has no natrum, and not even any vegetable
alkali readily procurable in considerable quantity. There /may have
been/ an accidental discovery of glass in Phnicia, but priority of
discovery belonged almost certainly to Egypt; and it is, upon the
whole, most probable that Phnicia derived from Egypt her knowledge
both of the substance itself and of the method of making it.

Still, there can be no doubt that the manufacture was one on which the
Phnicians eagerly seized, and which they carried out on a large scale
and very successfully. Sidon, according to the ancients,[32] was the
chief seat of the industry; but the best sand is found near Tyre, and
both Tyre and Sarepta also seem to have been among the places where
glassworks were early established. At Sarepta extensive banks of
/dbris/ have been found, consisting of broken glass of many colours,
the waste beyond all doubt of a great glass manufactory;[33] at Tyre,
the traces of the industry are less extensive,[34] but on the other
hand we have historical evidence that it continued to be practised
there into the middle ages.[35]

The glass produced by the Phnicians was of three kinds: first,
transparent colourless glass, which the eye could see through;
secondly, translucent coloured glass, through which light could pass,
though the eye could not penetrate it so as to distinguish objects;
and, thirdly, opaque glass, scarcely distinguishable from porcelain.
Transparent glass was employed for mirrors, round plates being cast,
which made very tolerable looking-glasses,[36] when covered at the
back by thin sheets of metal, and also for common objects, such as
vases, urns, bottles, and jugs, which have been yielded in abundance
by tombs of a somewhat late date in Cyprus.[37] No great store,
however, seems to have been set upon transparency, in which the
Oriental eye saw no beauty; and the objects which modern research has
recovered under this head at Tyre, in Cyprus, and elsewhere, seem the
work of comparatively rude artists, and have little sthetic merit.
The shapes, however, are not inelegant.

The most beautiful of the objects in glass produced by the Phnicians
are the translucent or semi-transparent vessels of different kinds,
most of them variously coloured, which have been found in Cyprus, at
Camirus in Rhodes, and on the Syrian coast, near Beyrout and
elsewhere.[38] These comprise small flasks or bottles, from three to
six inches long, probably intended to contain perfumes; small jugs
(nocho) from three inches in height to five inches; vases of about
the same size; amphor pointed at the lower extremity; and other
varieties. They are coloured, generally, either in longitudinal or in
horizontal stripes and bands; but the bands often deviate from the
straight line into zig-zags, which are always more or less irregular,
like the zig-zags of the Norman builders, while sometimes they are
deflected into crescents, or other curves, as particularly one
resembling a willow-leaf. The colours are not very vivid, but are
pleasing and well-contrasted; they are chiefly five--white, blue,
yellow, green, and a purplish brown. Red scarcely appears, except in a
very pale, pinkish form; and even in this form it is uncommon. Blue,
on the other hand, is greatly affected, being sometimes used in the
patterns, often taken for the ground, and occasionally, in two tints,
forming both groundwork and ornamentation.[39] It is not often that
more than three hues are found on the same vessel, and sometimes the
hues employed are only two. There are instances, however, and very
admirable instances, of the employment, on a single vessel, of four

The colours were obtained, commonly, at any rate, from metallic
oxides. The ordinary blue employed is cobalt, though it is suspected
that there was an occasional use of copper. Copper certainly furnished
the greens, while manganese gave the brown, which shades off into
purple and into black. The beautiful milky white which forms the
ground tint of some vases is believed to have been derived from the
oxide of tin, or else from phosphate of chalk. It is said that the
colouring matter of the patterns does not extend through the entire
thickness of the glass, but lies only on the outer surface, being a
later addition to the vessels as first made.

Translucent coloured glass was also largely produced by the Phnicians
for beads and other ornaments, and also for the imitation of gems. The
huge emerald of which Herodotus speaks,[41] as "shining with great
brilliancy at night" in the temple of Melkarth at Tyre, was probably a
glass cylinder, into which a lamb was introduced by the priests. In
Phnician times the pretended stone is quite as often a glass paste as
a real gem, and the case is the same with the scarabs so largely used
as seals. In Phnician necklaces, glass beads alternate frequently
with real agates, onyxes, and crystals; while sometimes glass in
various shapes is the only material employed. A necklace found at
Tharros in Sardinia, and now in the collection of the Louvre, which is
believed to be of Phnician manufacture, is composed of above forty
beads, two cylinders, four pendants representing heads of bulls, and
one representing the face of a man, all of glass.[42] Another, found
by M. Renan in Phnicia itself, is made up of glass beads imitating
pearls, intermixed with beads of cornaline and agate.[43]

Another class of glass ornaments consists of small flat /plaques/ or
plates, pierced with a number of fine holes, which appear to have been
sewn upon garments. These are usually patterned, sometimes with
spirals, sometimes with rosettes, occasionally, though rarely, with
figures. Messrs. Perrot and Chipiez represent one in their great work
upon ancient art,[44] where almost the entire field is occupied by a
winged griffin, standing upright on its two hind legs, and crowned
with a striped cap, or turban.

Phnician opaque glass is comparatively rare, and possesses but little
beauty. It was rendered opaque in various ways. Messrs. Perrot and
Chipiez found that in a statue of Serapis, which they analysed, the
glass was mixed with bronze in the proportions of ten to three. An
opaque material of a handsome red colour was thus produced, which was
heavy and exceedingly hard.[45]

The methods pursued by the Phnician glass-manufacturers were probably
much the same as those which are still employed for the production of
similar objects, and involved the use of similar implements, as the
blowpipe, the lathe, and the graver. The materials having been
procured, they were fused together in a crucible or melting-pot by the
heat of a powerful furnace. A blowpipe was then introduced into the
viscous mass, a portion of which readily attached itself to the
implement, and so much glass was withdrawn as was deemed sufficient
for the object which it was designed to manufacture. The blower then
set to work, and blew hard into the pipe until the glass at its lower
extremity began to expand and gradually took a pear-shaped form, the
material partially coolling and hardening, but still retaining a good
deal of softness and pliability. While in this condition, it was
detached from the pipe, and modelled with pincers or with the hand
into the shape required, after which it was polished, and perhaps
sometimes cut by means of the turning-lathe. Sand and emery were the
chief polishers, and by their help a surface was produced, with which
little fault could be found, being smooth, uniform, and brilliant.
Thus the vessel was formed, and if no further ornament was required,
the manufacture was complete--a jug, vase, alabastron, amphora, was
produced, either transparent or of a single uniform tint, which might
be white, blue, brown, green, &c., according to the particular oxide
which had been thrown, with the silica and alkali, into the crucible.
Generally, however, the manufacturer was not content with so simple a
product: he aimed not merely at utility, but at beauty, and proceeded
to adorn the work of his hands--whatever it was--with patterns which
were for the most part in good taste and highly pleasing. These
patterns he first scratched on the outer surface of the vessel with a
graving tool; then, when he had made his depressions deep enough, he
took threads of coloured glass, and having filled up with the threads
the depressions which he had made, he subjected the vessel once more
to such a heat that the threads were fused, and attached themselves to
the ground on which they had been laid. In melting they would
generally more than fill the cavities, overflowing them, and
protruding from them, whence it was for the most part necessary to
repeat the polishing process, and to bring by means of abrasion the
entire surface once more into uniformity. There are cases where this
has been incompletely done and where the patterns project; there are
others where the threads have never thoroughly melted into the ground,
and where in the course of time they have partially detached
themselves from it; but in general the fusion and subsequent polishing
have been all that could be wished, and the patterns are perfectly
level with the ground and seem one with it.[46]

The running of liquid glass into moulds, so common nowadays, does not
seem to have been practised by the Phnicians, perhaps because their
furnaces were not sufficiently hot to produce complete liquefaction.
But--if this was so--the pressure of the viscous material into moulds
cannot have been unknown, since we have evidence of the existence of
moulds,[47] and there are cases where several specimens of an object
have evidently issued from a single matrix.[48] Beads, cylinders,
pendants, scarabs, amulets, were probably, all of them, made in this
way, sometimes in translucent, sometimes in semi-opaque glass, as
perhaps were also the /plaques/ which have been already described.

The ceramic art of the Phnicians is not very remarkable. Phnicia
Proper is deficient in clay of a superior character, and it was
probably a very ordinary and coarse kind of pottery that the Phnician
merchants of early times exported regularly in their trading voyages,
both inside and outside the Mediterranean. We hear of their carrying
this cheap earthenware northwards to the Cassiterides or Scilly
Islands,[49] and southwards to the isle of Cern, which is probably
Arguin, on the West African coast;[50] nor can we doubt that they
supplied it also to the uncivilised races of the Mediterranean--the
Illyrians, Ligurians, Sicels, Sards, Corsicans, Spaniards, Libyans.
But the fragile nature of the material, and its slight value, have
caused its entire disappearance in the course of centuries, unless in
the shape of small fragments; nor are these fragments readily
distinguishable from those whose origin is different. Phnicia Proper
has furnished no earthen vessels, either whole or in pieces, that can
be assigned to a time earlier than the Greco-Roman period,[51] nor
have any such vessels been found hitherto on Phnician sites either in
Sardinia, or in Corsica, or in Spain, or Africa, or Sicily, or Malta,
or Gozzo. The only places that have hitherto furnished earthen vases
or other vessels presumably Phnician are Jerusalem, Camirus in
Rhodes, and Cyprus; and it is from the specimens found at these sites
that we must form our estimate of the Phnician pottery.

The earliest specimens are of a moderately good clay, unglazed. They
are regular in shape, being made by the help of a wheel, and for the
most part not inelegant, though they cannot be said to possess any
remarkable beauty. Many are without ornament of any kind, being
apparently mere jars, used for the storing away of oil or wine; they
have sometimes painted or scratched upon them, in Phnician
characters, the name of the maker or owner. A few rise somewhat above
the ordinary level, having handles of some elegance, and being painted
with designs and patterns, generally of a geometrical character. A
vase about six inches high, found at Jerusalem, has, between
horizontal bands, a series of geometric patterns, squares, octagons,
lozenges, triangles, pleasingly arranged, and painted in brown upon a
ground which is of a dull grey. At the top are two rude handles,
between which runs a line of zig-zag, while at the bottom is a sort of
stand or base. The shape is heavy and inelegant.[52]

Another vase of a similar character to this, but superior in many
respects, was found by General Di Cesnola at Dali (Idalium), and is
figured in his "Cyprus."[53] This vase has the shape of an urn, and is
ornamented with horizontal bands, except towards the middle, where it
has its greatest diameter, and exhibits a series of geometric designs.
In the centre is a lozenge, divided into four smaller lozenges by a
St. Andrew's cross; other compartments are triangular, and are filled
with a chequer of black and white, resembling the squares of a
chessboard. Beyond, on either side, are vertical bands, diversified
with a lozenge ornament. Two hands succeed, of a shape that is thought
to have "a certain elegance."[54] There is a rim, which might receive
a cover, at top, and at bottom a short pedestal. The height of the
vase is about thirteen inches.

In many of the Cyprian vases having a geometric decoration, the
figures are not painted on the surface but impressed or incised.
Messrs. Perrot and Chipiez regard this form of ornamentation as the
earliest; but the beauty and finish of several vases on which it
occurs is against the supposition. There is scarcely to be found, even
in the range of Greek art, a more elegant form than that of the jug in
black clay brought by General Di Cesnola from Alambra and figured both
in his "Cyprus"[55] and in the "Histoire de l'Art."[56] Yet its
ornamentation is incised. If, then, incised patterning preceded
painted in Phnicia, at any rate it held its ground after painting was
introduced, and continued in vogue even to the time when Greek taste
had largely influenced Phnician art of every description.

The finest Phnician efforts in ceramic art resemble either the best
Egyptian or the best Greek. As the art advanced, the advantage of a
rich glaze was appreciated, and specimens which seem to be Phnician
have all the delicacy and beauty of the best Egyptian faence. A cup
found at Idalium, plain on the outside, is covered internally with a
green enamel, on which are patterns and designs in black.[57] In a
medallion at the bottom of the cup is the representation of a marshy
tract overgrown with the papyrus plant, whereof we see both the leaves
and blossoms, while among them, rushing at full speed, is the form of
a wild boar. The rest of the ornamentation consists chiefly of
concentric circles; but between two of the circles is left a tolerably
broad ring, which has a pattern consisting of a series of broadish
leaves pointing towards the cup's centre. Nothing can be more
delicate, or in better taste, than the entire design.

The most splendid of all the Cyprian vases was found at Curium, and
has been already represented in this volume. It is an amphora of large
dimensions, ornamented in part with geometrical designs, in part with
compartments, in which are represented horses and birds. The form, the
designs, and the general physiognomy of the amphora are considered to
be in close accordance with Athenian vases of the most antique school.
The resemblance is so great that some have supposed the vase to have
been an importation from Attica into Cyprus;[58] but such conjectures
are always hazardous; and the principal motives of the design are so
frequent on the Cyprian vases, that the native origin of the vessel is
at least possible, and the judgment of some of the best critics seems
to incline in this direction.

Still, on the whole, the Cyprian ceramic art is somewhat
disappointing. What is original in it is either grotesque, as the
vases in the shape of animals,[59] or those crowned by human
heads,[60] or those again which have for spout a female figure pouring
liquid out of a jug.[61] What is superior has the appearance of having
been borrowed. Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek art, each in turn,
furnished shapes, designs, and patterns to the Phnician potters, who
readily adopted from any and every quarter the forms and decorations
which hit their fancy. Their fancy was, predominantly, for the
/bizarre/ and the extravagant. Vases in the shape of helmets, in the
shape of barrels, in the shape of human heads,[62] have little
fitness, and in the Cyprian specimens have little beauty; the mixture
of Assyrian with Egyptian forms is incongruous; the birds and beasts
represented are drawn with studied quaintness, a quaintness recalling
the art of China and Japan. If there is elegance in some of the forms,
it is seldom a very pronounced elegance; and, where the taste is best,
the suspicion continually arises that a foreign model has been
imitated. Moreover, from first to last the art makes little progress.
There seems to have been an arrest of development.[63] The early steps
are taken, but at a certain point stagnation sets in; there is no
further attempt to improve or advance; the artists are content to
repeat themselves, and reproduce the patterns of the past. Perhaps
there was no demand for ceramic art of a higher order. At any rate,
progress ceases, and while Greece was rising to her grandest efforts,
Cyprus, and Phnicia generally, were content to remain stationary.

Besides their ornamental metallurgy, which has been treated of in a
former chapter, the Phnicians largely employed several metals,
especially bronze and copper, in the fabrication of vessels for
ordinary use, of implements, arms, toilet articles, furniture, &c. The
vessels include pater, bowls, jugs, amphor, and cups;[64] the
implements, hatchets, adzes, knives, and sickles;[65] the arms,
spearheads, arrowheads, daggers, battle-axes, helmets, and
shields;[66] the toilet articles, mirrors, hand-bells, buckles,
candlesticks, &c.;[67] the furniture, tall candelabra, tripods, and
thrones.[68] The bronze is of an excellent quality, having generally
about nine parts of copper to one of tin; and there is reason to
believe that by the skilful tempering of the Phnician metallurgists,
it attained a hardness which was not often given it by others. The
Cyprian shields were remarkable. They were of a round shape, slightly
convex, and instead of the ordinary boss, had a long projecting cone
in the centre. An actual shield, with the cone perfect, was found by
General Di Cesnola at Amathus,[69] and a projection of the same kind
is seen in several of the Sardinian bronze and terra-cotta
statuettes.[70] Shields were sometimes elaborately embossed, in part
with patterning, in part with animal and vegetable forms.[71] Helmets
were also embossed with care, and sometimes inscribed with the name of
the maker or the owner.[72]

Some remains of swords, probably Phnician, have been found in
Sardinia. They vary from two feet seven inches to four feet two inches
in length.[73] The blade is commonly straight, and very thick in the
centre, but tapers off on both sides to a sharp edge. The point is
blunt, so that the intention cannot have been to use the weapon both
for cutting and thrusting, but only for the former. It would scarcely
make such a clean cut as a modern broadsword, but would no doubt be
equally effectual for killing or disabling. Another weapon, found in
Sardinia, and sometimes called a sword, is more properly a knife or
dagger. In length it does not exceed seven or eight inches, and of
this length more than a third is occupied by the handle.[74] Below the
handle the blade broadens for about an inch or an inch and a half;
after this it contracts, and tapers gently to a sharp point. Such a
weapon appears sometimes in the hand of a statuette.[75]

The bronze articles of the toilet recovered by recent researches in
Cyprus and elsewhere are remarkable. The handle of a mirror found in
Cyprus, and now in the Museum of New York, possesses considerable
merit. It consists mainly of a female figure, naked, and standing upon
a frog.[76] In her hands she holds a pair of cymbals, which she is in
the act of striking together. A ribbon, passed over her left shoulder,
is carried through a ring, from which hangs a seal. On her arms and
shoulders appear to have stood two lions, which formed side supports
to the mirror that was attached to the figure's head. If the face of
the cymbal-player cannot boast of much beauty, and her figure is
thought to "lack distinction," still it is granted that the /tout
ensemble/ of the work was not without originality, and may have
possessed a certain amount of elegance.[77] The frog is particularly
well modelled.

Some candlesticks found in the Treasury of Curium,[78] and a tripod
from the same place, seem to deserve a short notice. The candlesticks
stand upon a sort of short pillar as a base, above which is the
blossom of a flower inverted, a favourite Phnician ornament.[79] From
this rises the lamp-stand, composed of three leaves, which curl
outwards, and support between them a ring into which the bottom of the
lamp fitted. The tripod[80] is more elaborate. The legs, which are
fluted, bulge considerably at the top, after which they bend inwards,
and form a curve like one half of a Cupid's bow. To retain them in
place, they are joined together by a sort of cross-bar, about half-way
in their length; while, to keep them steady, they are made to rest on
large flat feet. The circular hoop which they support is of some
width, and is ornamented along its entire course with a zig-zag. From
the hoop depend, half-way in the spaces between the legs, three rings,
from each of which there hangs a curious pendant.

Besides copper and bronze, the Phnicians seem to have worked in lead
and iron, but only to a small extent. Iron ore might have been
obtained in some parts of their own country, but appears to have been
principally derived from abroad, especially from Spain.[81] It was
worked up chiefly, so far as we know, into arms offensive and
defensive. The sword of Alexander, which he received as a gift from
the king of Citium,[82] was doubtless in this metal, which is the
material of a sword found at Amathus, and of numerous arrowheads.[83]
We are also told that Cyprus furnished the iron breast-plates worn by
Demetrius Poliorcetes;[84] and in pre-Homeric times it was a
Phnician--Cinyras--who gave to Agamemnon his breast-plate of steel,
gold, and tin.[85] That more remains of iron arms and implements have
not been found on Phnician sites is probably owing to the rapid
oxydisation of the metal, which consequently decays and disappears.
The Hiram who was sent to assist Solomon in building and furnishing
the Temple of Jerusalem was, we must remember, "skilful to work," not
only "in gold, and silver, and bronze," but also "in iron."[86]

Lead was largely furnished to the Phnicians by the Scilly
Islands,[87] and by Spain.[88] It has not been found in any great
quantity on Phnician sites, but still appears occasionally. Sometimes
it is a solder uniting stone with bronze;[89] sometimes it exists in
thin sheets, which may have been worn as ornaments.[90] In Phnicia
Proper it has been chiefly met with in the shape of coffins,[91] which
are apparently of a somewhat late date. They are formed of several
sheets placed one over the other and then soldered together. There is
generally on the lid and sides of the coffin an external ornamentation
in a low relief, wherein the myth of Psych is said commonly to play a
part; but the execution is mediocre, and the designs themselves have
little merit.



Earliest navigation by means of rafts and canoes--Model of a very
primitive boat--Phnician vessel of the time of Sargon--Phnician
biremes in the time of Sennacherib--Phnician pleasure vessels and
merchant ships--Superiority of the Phnician war-galleys--
Excellence of the arrangements--Patci--Early navigation cautious
--Increasing boldness--Furthest ventures--Extent of the Phnician
land commerce--Witness of Ezekiel--Wares imported--Caravans--
Description of the land trade--Sea trade of Phnicia--1. With her
own colonies--2. With foreigners--Mediterranean and Black Sea
trade--North Atlantic trade--Trade with the West Coast of Africa
and the Canaries--Trade in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

The first attempts of the Phnicians to navigate the sea which washed
their coast were probably as clumsy and rude as those of other
primitive nations. They are said to have voyaged from island to
island, in their original abodes within the Persian Gulf, by means of
rafts.[1] When they reached the shores of the Mediterranean, it can
scarcely have been long ere they constructed boats for fishing and
coasting purposes, though no doubt such boats were of a very rude
construction. Probably, like other races, they began with canoes,
roughly hewn out of the trunk of a tree. The torrents which descended
from Lebanon would from time to time bring down the stems of fallen
trees in their flood-time; and these, floating on the Mediterranean
waters, would suggest the idea of navigation. They would, at first, be
hollowed out with hatchets and adzes, or else with fire; and, later
on, the canoes thus produced would form the models for the earliest
efforts in shipbuilding. The great length, however, would soon be
found unnecessary, and the canoe would give place to the boat, in the
ordinary acceptation of the term. There are models of boats among the
Phnician remains which have a very archaic character,[2] and may give
us some idea of the vessels in which the Phnicians of the remoter
times braved the perils of the deep. They have a keel, not ill shaped,
a rounded hull, bulwarks, a beak, and a high seat for the steersman.
The oars, apparently, must have been passed through interstices in the

From this rude shape the transition was not very difficult to the bark
represented in the sculptures of Sargon,[3] which is probably a
Phnician one. Here four rowers, standing to their oars, impel a
vessel having for prow the head of a horse and for stern the tail of a
fish, both of them rising high above the water. The oars are curved,
like golf or hockey-sticks, and are worked from the gunwale of the
bark, though there is no indication of rowlocks. The vessel is without
a rudder; but it has a mast, supported by two ropes which are fastened
to the head and stern. The mast has neither sail nor yard attached to
it, but is crowned by what is called a "crow's nest"--a bell-shaped
receptacle, from which a slinger or archer might discharge missiles
against an enemy.[4]

A vessel of considerably greater size than this, but of the same class
--impelled, that is, by one bank of oars only--is indicated by certain
coins, which have been regarded by some critics as Phnician, by
others as belonging to Cilicia.[5] These have a low bow, but an
elevated stern; the prow exhibits a beak, while the stern shows signs
of a steering apparatus; the number of the oars on each side is
fifteen or twenty. The Greeks called these vessels triaconters or
penteconters. They are represented without any mast on the coins, and
thus seem to have been merely row-boats of a superior character.

About the time of Sennacherib (B.C. 700), or a little earlier, some
great advances seem to have been made by the Phnician shipbuilders.
In the first place, they introduced the practice of placing the rowers
on two different levels, one above the other; and thus, for a vessel
of the same length, doubling the number of the rowers. Ships of this
kind, which the Greeks called "biremes," are represented in
Sennacherib's sculptures as employed by the inhabitants of a Phnician
city, who fly in them at the moment when their town is captured, and
so escape their enemy.[6] The ships are of two kinds. Both kinds have
a double tier of rowers, and both are guided by two steering oars
thrust out from the stern; but while the one is still without mast or
sail, and is rounded off in exactly the same way both at stem and
stern, the other has a mast, placed about midship, a yard hung across
it, and a sail close reefed to the yard, while the bow is armed with a
long projecting beak, like a ploughshare, which must have been capable
of doing terrible damage to a hostile vessel. The rowers, in both
classes of ships, are represented as only eight or ten upon a side;
but this may have arisen from artistic necessity, since a greater
number of figures could not have been introduced without confusion. It
is thought that in the beaked vessel we have a representation of the
Phnician war-galley; in the vessel without a beak, one of the
Phnician transport.[7]

A painting on a vase found in Cyprus exhibits what would seem to have
been a pleasure-vessel.[8] It is unbeaked, and without any sign of
oars, except two paddles for steering with. About midship is a short
mast, crossed by a long spar or yard, which carries a sail, closely
reefed along its entire length. The yard and sail are managed by means
of four ropes, which are, however, somewhat conventionally depicted.
Both the head and stern of the vessel rise to a considerable height
above the water, and the stern is curved, very much as in the war-
galleys. It perhaps terminated in the head of a bird.

According to the Greek writers, Phnician vessels were mainly of two
kinds, merchant ships and war-vessels.[9] The merchant ships were of a
broad, round make, what our sailors would call "tubs," resembling
probably the Dutch fishing-boats of a century ago. They were impelled
both by oars and sails, but depended mainly on the latter. Each of
them had a single mast of moderate height, to which a single sail was
attached;[10] this was what in modern times is called a "square sail,"
a form which is only well suited for sailing with when the wind is
directly astern. It was apparently attached to the yard, and had to be
hoisted together with the yard, along which it could be closely
reefed, or from which it could be loosely shaken out. It was managed,
no doubt, by ropes attached to the two lower corners, which must have
been held in the hands of sailors, as it would have been most
dangerous to belay them. As long as the wind served, the merchant
captain used his sail; when it died away, or became adverse, he
dropped yard and sail on to his deck, and made use of his oars.

Merchant ships had, commonly, small boats attached to them, which
afforded a chance of safety if the ship foundered, and were useful
when cargoes had to be landed on a shelving shore.[11] We have no
means of knowing whether these boats were hoisted up on deck until
they were wanted, or attached to the ships by ropes and towed after
them; but the latter arrangement is the more probable.

The war-galleys of the Phnicians in the early times were probably of
the class which the Greeks called triaconters or penteconters, and
which are represented upon the coins. They were long open rowboats, in
which the rowers sat, all of them, upon a level, the number of rowers
on either side being generally either fifteen or twenty-five. Each
galley was armed at its head with a sharp metal spike, or beak, which
was its chief weapon of offence, vessels of this class seeking
commonly to run down their enemy. After a time these vessels were
superseded by biremes, which were decked, had masts and sails, and
were impelled by rowers sitting at two different elevations, as
already explained. Biremes were ere long superseded by triremes, or
vessels with three banks of oars, which are said to have been invented
at Corinth,[12] but which came into use among the Phnicians before
the end of the sixth century B.C.[13] In the third century B.C. the
Carthaginians employed in war quadriremes, and even quinqueremes; but
there is no evidence of the employment of either class of vessel by
the Phnicians of Phnicia Proper.

The superiority of the Phnician ships to others is generally allowed,
and was clearly shown when Xerxes collected his fleet of twelve
hundred and seven triremes against Greece. The fleet included
contingents from Phnicia, Cyprus, Egypt, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia,
Caria, Ionia, olis, and the Greek settlements about the
Propontis.[14] When it reached the Hellespont, the great king, anxious
to test the quality of his ships and sailors, made proclamation for a
grand sailing match, in which all who liked might contend. Each
contingent probably--at any rate, all that prided themselves on their
nautical skill--selected its best vessel, and entered it for the
coming race; the king himself, and his grandees and officers, and all
the army, stood or sat along the shore to see: the race took place,
and was won by the Phnicians of Sidon.[15] Having thus tested the
nautical skill of the various nations under his sway, the great king,
when he ventured his person upon the dangerous element, was careful to
embark in a Sidonian galley.[16]

A remarkable testimony to the excellence of the Phnician ships with
respect to internal arrangements is borne by Xenophon, who puts the
following words into the mouth of Ischomachus, a Greek:[17] "I think
that the best and most perfect arrangement of things that I ever saw
was when I went to look at the great Phnician sailing-vessel; for I
saw the largest amount of naval tackling separately disposed in the
smallest stowage possible. For a ship, as you well know, is brought to
anchor, and again got under way, by a vast number of wooden implements
and of ropes and sails the sea by means of a quantity of rigging, and
is armed with a number of contrivances against hostile vessels, and
carries about with it a large supply of weapons for the crew, and,
besides, has all the utensils that a man keeps in his dwelling-house,
for each of the messes. In addition, it is laden with a quantity of
merchandise which the owner carries with him for his own profit. Now
all the things which I have mentioned lay in a space not much bigger
than a room which would conveniently hold ten beds. And I remarked
that they severally lay in a way that they did not obstruct one
another, and did not require anyone to search for them; and yet they
were neither placed at random, nor entangled one with another, so as
to consume time when they were suddenly wanted for use. Also, I found
the captain's assistant, who is called 'the look-out man,' so well
acquainted with the position of all the articles, and with the number
of them, that even when at a distance he could tell where everything
lay, and how many there were of each sort, just as anyone who has
learnt to read can tell the number of letters in the name of Socrates
and the proper place for each of them. Moreover, I saw this man, in
his leisure moments, examining and testing everything that a vessel
needs when at sea; so, as I was surprised, I asked him what he was
about, whereupon he replied--'Stranger, I am looking to see, in case
anything should happen, how everything is arranged in the ship, and
whether anything is wanting, or is inconveniently situated; for when a
storm arises at sea, it is not possible either to look for what is
wanting, or to put to right what is arranged awkwardly.'"

Phnician ships seem to have been placed under the protection of the
Cabeiri, and to have had images of them at their stem or stern or
both.[18] These images were not exactly "figure-heads," as they are
sometimes called. They were small, apparently, and inconspicuous,
being little dwarf figures, regarded as amulets that would preserve
the vessel in safety. We do not see them on any representations of
Phnician ships, and it is possible that they may have been no larger
than the bronze or glazed earthenware images of Phthah that are so
common in Egypt. The Phnicians called them /pittuchim/,
"sculptures,"[19] whence the Greek {pataikoi} and the French

The navigation of the Phnicians, in early times, was no doubt
cautious and timid. So far from venturing out of sight of land, they
usually hugged the coast, ready at any moment, if the sea or sky
threatened, to change their course and steer directly for the shore.
On a shelving coast they were not at all afraid to run their ships
aground, since, like the Greek vessels, they could be easily pulled up
out of reach of the waves, and again pulled down and launched, when
the storm was over and the sea calm once more. At first they sailed,
we may be sure, only in the daytime, casting anchor at nightfall, or
else dragging their ships up upon the beach, and so awaiting the dawn.
But after a time they grew more bold. The sea became familiar to them,
the positions of coasts and islands relatively one to another better
known, the character of the seasons, the signs of unsettled or settled
weather, the conduct to pursue in an emergency, better apprehended.
They soon began to shape the course of their vessels from headland to
headland, instead of always creeping along the shore, and it was not
perhaps very long before they would venture out of sight of land, if
their knowledge of the weather satisfied them that the wind might be
trusted to continue steady, and if they were well assured of the
direction of the land that they wished to make. They took courage,
moreover, to sail in the night, no less than in the daytime, when the
weather was clear, guiding themselves by the stars, and particularly
by the Polar star,[20] which they discovered to be the star most
nearly marking the true north. A passage of Strabo[21] seems to show
that--in the later times at any rate--they had a method of calculating
the rate of a ship's sailing, though what the method was is wholly
unknown to us. It is probable that they early constructed charts and
maps, which however they would keep secret through jealousy of their
commercial rivals.

The Phnicians for some centuries confined their navigation within the
limits of the Mediterranean, the Propontis, and the Euxine, land-
locked seas, which are tideless and far less rough than the open
ocean. But before the time of Solomon they had passed the Pillars of
Hercules, and affronted the dangers of the Atlantic.[22] Their frail
and small vessels, scarcely bigger than modern fishing-smacks,
proceeded southwards along the West African coast, as far as the tract
watered by the Gambia and Senegal, while northwards they coasted along
Spain, braved the heavy seas of the Bay of Biscay, and passing Cape
Finisterre, ventured across the mouth of the English Channel to the
Cassiterides. Similarly, from the West African shore, they boldly
steered for the Fortunate Islands (the Canaries), visible from certain
elevated points of the coast, though at 170 miles distance. Whether
they proceeded further, in the south to the Azores, Madeira, and the
Cape de Verde Islands, in the north to the coast of Holland, and
across the German Ocean to the Baltic, we regard as uncertain. It is
possible that from time to time some of the more adventurous of their
traders may have reached thus far; but their regular, settled, and
established navigation did not, we believe, extend beyond the Scilly
Islands and coast of Cornwall to the north-west, and to the south-west
Cape Non and the Canaries.

The commerce of the Phnicians was carried on, to a large extent, by
land, though principally by sea. It appears from the famous chapter of
Ezekiel[23] which describes the riches and greatness of Tyre in the
sixth century B.C., that almost the whole of Western Asia was
penetrated by the Phnician caravans, and laid under contribution to
increase the wealth of the Phnician traders.

"Thou, son of man, (we read) take up a lamentation for Tyre, and say
unto her,
O thou that dwellest at the entry of the sea,
Which art the merchant of the peoples unto many isles,
Thus saith the Lord God, Thou, O Tyre, hast said, I am perfect in
Thy borders are in the heart of the sea;
Thy builders have perfected thy beauty.
They have made all thy planks of fir-trees from Senir;
They have taken cedars from Lebanon to make a mast for thee
Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars;
They have made thy benches of ivory,
Inlaid in box-wood, from the isles of Kittim.
Of fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thy sail,
That it might be to thee for an ensign;
Blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was thy awning.
The inhabitants of Zidon and of Arvad were thy rowers;
Thy wise men, O Tyre, were in thee--they were thy pilots.
The ancients of Gebal, and their wise men, were thy calkers;
All the ships of the sea, with their mariners, were in thee,
That they might occupy thy merchandise.
Persia, and Lud, and Phut were in thine army, thy men of war;
They hanged the shield and helmet in thee;
They set forth thy comeliness.
The men of Arvad, with thine army, were upon thy walls round about;
And the Gammadim were in thy towers;
They hanged their shields upon thy walls round about;
They have brought to perfection thy beauty.
Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of
With silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded for thy wares.
Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy traffickers;
They traded the persons of men, and vessels of brass, for thy
They of the house of Togarmah traded for thy wares,
With horses, and with chargers, and with mules.
The men of Dedan were thy traffickers; many isles were the mart of
thy hands;
They brought thee in exchange horns of ivory, and ebony.
Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of thy handiworks;
They traded for thy wares with emeralds, purple, and broidered work,
And with fine linen, and coral, and rubies.
Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy traffickers;
They traded for thy merchandise wheat of Minnith,
And Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm.
Damascus was thy merchant for the multitude of thy handiworks;
By reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches;
With the wine of Helbon, and white wool.
Dedan and Javan traded with yarn for thy wares;
Bright iron, and cassia, and calamus were among thy merchandise.
Dedan was thy trafficker in precious cloths for riding;
Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they were the merchants of thy
In lambs, and rams, and goats, in these were they thy merchants.
The traffickers of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy traffickers;
They traded for thy wares with chief of all spices,
And with all manner of precious stones, and gold.
Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the traffickers of Sheba,
Asshur and Chilmad, were thy traffickers:
They were thy traffickers in choice wares,
In wrappings of blue and broidered work, and in chests of rich
Bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.
The ships of Tarshish were thy caravans for they merchandise;
And thou wast replenished, and made very glorious, in the heart of
the sea.
Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters;
The east wind hath broken thee in the heart of the sea.
Thy reaches, and thy wares, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy
Thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise,
With all the men of war, that are in thee,
Shall fall into the heart of the seas in the day of thy ruin.
At the sound of thy pilot's cry the suburb's shall shake;
And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the
They shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the
And shall cause their voice to be heard over thee, and shall cry
And shall cast up dust upon their heads, and wallow in the ashes;
And they shall make themselves bald for thee, and gird them with
And they shall weep for thee in bitterness of soul with bitter
And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee,
And lament over thee saying, Who is there like Tyre,
Like her that is brought to silence in the midst of the sea?
When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many
Thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with thy merchandise and
thy riches.
In the time that thou was broken by the seas in the depths of the
Thy merchandise, and all thy company, did fall in the midst of thee,
And the inhabitants of the isles are astonished at thee,
And their kings are sore afraid, they are troubled in their
The merchants that are among the peoples, hiss at thee;
Thou art become a terror; and thou shalt never be any more."

Translating this glorious burst of poetry into prose, we find the
following countries mentioned as carrying on an active trade with the
Phnician metropolis:--Northern Syria, Syria of Damascus, Judah and
the land of Israel, Egypt, Arabia, Babylonia, Assyria, Upper
Mesopotamia,[24] Armenia,[25] Central Asia Minor, Ionia, Cyprus,
Hellas or Greece,[26] and Spain.[27] Northern Syria furnishes the
Phnician merchants with /butz/, which is translated "fine linen," but
is perhaps rather cotton,[28] the "tree-wool" of Herodotus; it also
supplies embroidery, and certain precious stones, which our
translators have considered to be coral, emeralds, and rubies. Syria
of Damascus gives the "wine of Helbon"--that exquisite liquor which
was the only sort that the Persian kings would condescend to drink[29]
--and "white wool," the dainty fleeces of the sheep and lambs that fed
on the upland pastures of Hermon and Antilibanus. Judah and the land
of Israel supply corn of superior quality, called "corn of Minnith"--
corn, i.e. produced in the rich Ammonite country[30]--together with
/pannag/, an unknown substance, and honey, and balm, and oil. Egypt
sends fine linen, one of her best known products[31]--sometimes, no
doubt, plain, but often embroidered with bright patterns, and employed
as such embroidered fabrics were also in Egypt,[32] for the sails of
pleasure-boats. Arabia provides her spices, cassia, and calamus (or
aromatic reed), and, beyond all doubt, frankincense,[33] and perhaps
cinnamon and ladanum.[34] She also supplies wool and goat's hair, and
cloths for chariots, and gold, and wrought iron, and precious stones,
and ivory, and ebony, of which the last two cannot have been
productions of her own, but must have been imported from India or
Abyssinia.[35] Babylonia and Assyria furnish "wrappings of blue,
embroidered work, and chests of rich apparel."[36] Upper Mesopotamia
partakes in this traffic.[37] Armenia gives horses and mules. Central
Asia Minor (Tubal and Meshech) supplies slaves and vessels of brass,
and the Greeks of Ionia do the like. Cyprus furnishes ivory, which she
must first have imported from abroad.[38] Greece Proper sends her
shell-fish, to enable the Phnician cities to increase their
manufacture of the purple dye.[39] Finally, Spain yields silver, iron,
tin, and lead--the most useful of the metals--all of which she is
known to have produced in abundance.[40]

With the exception of Egypt, Ionia, Cyprus, Hellas, and Spain, the
Phnician intercourse with these places must have been carried on
wholly by land. Even with Egypt, wherewith the communication by sea
was so facile, there seems to have been also from a very early date a
land commerce. The land commerce was in every case carried on by
caravans. Western Asia has never yet been in so peaceful and orderly
condition as to dispense prudent traders from the necessity of joining
together in large bodies, well provisioned and well armed, when they
are about to move valuable goods any considerable distance. There have
always been robber-tribes in the mountain tracts, and thievish Arabs
upon the plains, ready to pounce on the insufficiently protected
traveller, and to despoil him of all his belongings. Hence the
necessity of the caravan traffic. As early as the time of Joseph--
probably about B.C. 1600--we find a /company/ of the Midianites on
their way from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm,
and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.[41] Elsewhere we hear of
the "travelling /companies/ of the Dedanim,"[42] of the men of Sheba
bringing their gold and frankincense;[43] of a multitude of camels
coming up to Palestine with wood from Kedar and Nebaioth.[44] Heeren
is entirely justified in his conclusion that the land trade of the
Phnicians was conducted by "large companies or caravans, since it
could only have been carried on in this way."[45]

The nearest neighbours of the Phnicians on the land side were the
Jews and Israelites, the Syrians of Damascus, and the people of
Northern Syria, or the Orontes valley and the tract east of it. From
the Jews and Israelites the Phnicians seem to have derived at all
times almost the whole of the grain which they were forced to import
for their sustenance. In the time of David and Solomon it was chiefly
for wheat and barley that they exchanged the commodities which they
exported,[46] in that of Ezekiel it was primarily for "wheat of
Minnith;"[47] and a similar trade is noted on the return of the Jews
from the captivity,[48] and in the first century of our era.[49] But
besides grain they also imported from Palestine at some periods wine,
oil, honey, balm, and oak timber.[50] Western Palestine was
notoriously a land not only of corn, but also of wine, of olive oil,
and of honey, and could readily impart of its superfluity to its
neighbour in time of need. The oaks of Bashan are very abundant, and
seem to have been preferred by the Phnicians to their own oaks as the
material of oars.[51] Balm, or basalm, was a product of the land of
Gilead,[52] and also of the lower Jordan valley, where it was of
superior quality.[53]

From the Damascene Syrians we are told that Phnicia imported "wine of
Helbon" and "white wool."[54] The "wine of Helbon" is reasonably
identified with that {oinos Khalubonios} which is said to have been
the favourite beverage of the Persian kings.[55] It was perhaps grown
in the neighbourhood of Aleppo.[56] The "white wool" may have been
furnished by the sheep that cropped the slopes of the Antilibanus, or
by those fed on the fine grass which clothes most of the plain at its
base. The fleece of these last is, according to Heeren,[57] "the
finest known, being improved by the heat of the climate, the continual
exposure to the open air, and the care commonly bestowed upon the
flocks." From the Syrian wool, mixed perhaps with some other material,
seems to have been woven the fabric known, from the city where it was
commonly made,[58] as "damask."

According to the existing text of Ezekiel,[59] Syria Proper "occupied
in the fairs" of Phnicia with cotton, with embroidered robes, with
purple, and with precious stones. The valley of the Orontes is
suitable for the cultivation of cotton; and embroidered robes would
naturally be produced in the seat of an old civilisation, which Syria
certainly was. Purple seems somewhat out of place in the enumeration;
but the Syrians may have gathered the /murex/ on their seaboard
between Mt. Casius and the Gulf of Issus, and have sold what they
collected in the Phnician market. The precious stones which Ezekiel
assigns to them are difficult of identification, but may have been
furnished by Casius, Bargylus, or Amanus. These mountains, or at any
rate Casius and Amanus, are of igneous origin, and, if carefully
explored, would certainly yield gems to the investigator. At the same
time it must be acknowledged that Syria had not, in antiquity, the
name of a gem-producing country; and, so far, the reading of "Edom"
for "Aram," which is preferred by many,[60] may seem to be the more

The commerce of the Phnicians with Egypt was ancient, and very
extensive. "The wares of Egypt" are mentioned by Herodotus as a
portion of the merchandise which they brought to Greece before the
time of the Trojan War.[61] The Tyrians had a quarter in the city of
Memphis assigned to them,[62] probably from an early date. According
to Ezekiel, the principal commodity which Egypt furnished to Phnicia
was "fine linen"[63]--especially the linen sails embroidered with gay
patterns, which the Egyptian nobles affected for their pleasure-boats.
They probably also imported from Egypt natron for their glass-works,
papyrus for their documents, earthenware of various kinds for
exportation, scarabs and other seals, statuettes and figures of gods,
amulets, and in the later times sarcophagi.[64] Their exports to Egypt
consisted of wine on a large scale,[65] tin almost certainly, and
probably their peculiar purple fabrics, and other manufactured

The Phnician trade with Arabia was of especial importance, since not
only did the great peninsula itself produce many of the most valuable
articles of commerce, but it was also mainly, if not solely, through
Arabia that the Indian market was thrown open to the Phnician
traders, and the precious commodities obtained for which Hindustan has
always been famous. Arabia is /par excellence/ the land of spices, and
was the main source from which the ancient world in general, and
Phnicia in particular, obtained frankincense, cinnamon, cassia,
myrrh, calamus or sweet-cane, and ladanum.[66] It has been doubted
whether these commodities were, all of them, the actual produce of the
country in ancient times, and Herodotus has been in some degree

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