History of Phoenicia - George Rawlinson

The first half of this history of the Phoenicians covers the land, art, industry, cities, commerce, and religion of the Canaanites people. The second half covers their political history from about 1200 B.C. to 600 A.D. Of particular interest are chapters on colonies, commerce, religion and history. Overall, the book emphasizes the positive contributions of Phoenicia rather than dwelling on some of the more despicable aspects of its religious rites and commercial enterprises.

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Histories of Phoenicia or of the Phoenicians were written towards the middle of the present century by Movers and Kenrick. The elaborate work of the former writer collected into five moderate-sized volumes all the notices that classical antiquity had preserved of the Religion, History, Commerce, Art, &c., of this celebrated and interesting nation. Kenrick, making a free use of the stores of knowledge thus accumulated, added to them much information derived from modern research, and was content to give to the world in a single volume of small size, very scantily illustrated, the ascertained results of criticism and inquiry on the subject of the Phoenicians up to his own day. Forty-four years have since elapsed; and in the course of them large additions have been made to certain branches of the inquiry, while others have remained very much as they were before. Travellers, like Robinson, Walpole, Tristram, Renan, and Lortet, have thrown great additional light on the geography, geology, fauna, and flora of the country. Excavators, like Renan and the two Di Cesnolas, have caused the soil to yield up most valuable remains bearing upon the architecture, the art, the industrial pursuits, and the manners and customs of the people. Antiquaries, like M. Clermont-Ganneau and MM. Perrot and Chipiez, have subjected the remains to careful examination and criticism, and have definitively fixed the character of Phoenician Art, and its position in the history of artistic effort. Researches are still being carried on, both in Phoenicia Proper and in the Phoenician dependency of Cyprus, which are likely still further to enlarge our knowledge with respect to Phoenician Art and Archaeology; but it is not probable that they will affect seriously the verdict already delivered by competent judges on those subjects. The time therefore appeared to the author to have come when, after nearly half a century of silence, the history of the people might appropriately be rewritten. The subject had long engaged his thoughts, closely connected as it is with the histories of Egypt, and of the "Great Oriental Monarchies," which for thirty years have been to him special objects of study; and a work embodying the chief results of the recent investigations seemed to him a not unsuitable termination to the historical efforts which his resignation of the Professorship of Ancient History at Oxford, and his entrance upon a new sphere of labour, bring naturally to an end.

The author wishes to express his vast obligations to MM. Perrot and Chipiez for the invaluable assistance which he has derived from their great work, and to their publishers, the MM. Hachette, for their liberality in allowing him the use of so large a number of MM. Perrot and Chipiez' Illustrations. He is also much beholden to the same gentlemen for the use of charts and drawings originally published in the "Géographie Universelle." Other works from which he has drawn either materials or illustrations, or both, are (besides Movers' and Kenrick's) M. Ernest Renan's "Mission de Phénicie," General Di Cesnola's "Cyprus," A. Di Cesnola's "Salaminia," M. Ceccaldi's "Monuments Antiques de Cypre," M. Daux's "Recherches sur les Emporia Phéniciens," the "Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum," M. Clermont-Ganneau's "Imagerie Phénicienne," Mr. Davis's "Carthage and her Remains," Gesenius's "Scripturae Linguaeque Phoeniciae Monumenta," Lortet's "La Syrie d'aujourd'hui," Serra di Falco's "Antichita della Sicilia," Walpole's "Ansayrii," and Canon Tristram's "Land of Israel." The difficulty has been to select from these copious stores the most salient and noteworthy facts, and to marshal them in such a form as would make them readily intelligible to the ordinary English reader. How far he has succeeded in doing this he must leave the public to judge. In making his bow to them as a "Reader" and Writer "of Histories," he has to thank them for a degree of favour which has given a ready sale to all his previous works, and has carried some of them through several editions.

CANTERBURY: August 1889.

HH Editors Note: This books includes several dozen illustrations that have not yet been included in the text.

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