The Phoenician trade expanded in the Mediterranean in the beginning of last millennium BC. With them they brought their own time-law characterised by the symbols for the asterisms Hand, sitting Tanit, entwined Serpents and Whale.
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Kinahhu = Ca-na-na-um = Canaan
This seems to be an Egyptian model from 4th millennium sailing on a rock in middle Norway Trondelag
There has surely been trade and "possible" script carriers since the time of Jericho, Catal Hüyük and Gobekli Tepe 7000 - 11000 years ago and with the earliest known trading ship from Kuwait 7000 years ago. Archaeology is always dependable on real evidence so to understate our ancestors is very easy. Knowledge grows all the time but it takes time to spread it.
Archaeology give us more and more evidence telling that trade and culture in Middle East flew around almost in a circle. The northern path low was from Babylon to Syria and the Levant and further to the Nile Delta. The southern path was from Sumer - Elam around Arabia and via the wadis Hammamat, Mia, Mineh and Qash. They were well-worn routes in Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, i.e. 4th millennium to judge by the profusion of rock art there.
Our evidence is always occasional due to the places they have excavated. We do not know if future will bring more. Toby Wilkinson has identified two periods of cultural influence, one during the Naqada II/Uruk period and the other in Naqada III/Jemdet Nasr around 3300 BC. We see the flow even to Susa where we find painted pottery with flamingos Around that time Sumerians were digging copper and turquoise in Sinai. Later dynastic pharaohs tell about expedition against Bedouins and maybe they later drew out some Sumerians too from the quarries.
In Predynastic/Archaic Egypt we find "Sumerian" niched architecture as for instance in Saqqara and there are also arches and in the court stand s a statue that looks very Sumerian. Observe I use the concept Sumerian for southern Mesopotamia and then Susa in Elam/ Persia was maybe the leading society. Among the artefacts/ cultural influence is also, clay cones, pottery, cylinder seals, maceheads and artistic motifs. The Saqqara complex was build during the 3rd dynasty from 2800 BC onward
In the oldest temple in Sumerian Eridu they have found many fish ones. That was surely the worshipping of the "Fishman" with several names brought culture to the Sumerians. Catfish bones have been found in the Wadi Abul Sufian and the so-called first Horus Narmer have the catfish in his seal.
In the Delta they have also found border/ claim stones of type Sumerian kudurru with engraved early Animal Round for the season. That means there have been Sumerian cultivators there. There are other engraved aretefacts with typical Sumerian motifs.
Trade links with northern Syria via the Delta as a channel for peaceful influences are well summarised in Samuel Mark's "From Egypt To Mesopotamia: A Study of Predynastic Trade Links". Let us remember that the earliest ship for high seas is from around 5000 BC found in Kuwait/ Sumer
Then qualified guess is that they traded cedar already before 3000 BC. There is an inscription in the Nile Delta telling about "Kafti" that brought cedar. From Egyptian sources we can pick some cuts that shows more or less continuous trade in 3rd millennium BC.:
During Horus Den's fifty year reign around 3000 BC he conducted military campaigns in the Sinai desert in order to gain control of the mineral deposits there. He was buried at Saqqara, even though he built his mortuary complex in Abydos. The cult of Apis was introduced during his reign
Horus Djoser 2668-2649 BC led several campaigns against Asiatic peoples in Canaan and extended his influence over the Sinai desert with its copper mines where some graffiti and his serekh were found at Wadi Maghara.
Snofru, 2575-2551 BC was an active military leader. His campaigns against the Nubians and the Libyans are recorded on the Palermo Stone. He conquered the Sinai desert, important for its copper and turquoise mines, initiated a series of construction projects throughout Egypt and began trade with the other Mediterranean nations. To supply Egypt with timber, he sent a fleet of forty ships to Phoenicia. While there, he erected monuments to commemorate the event.
Sahure 2487-2475 BC established the Egyptian navy and sent a fleet to Punt and traded with Canaan. His pyramid has colonnaded courts and reliefs of his naval fleet, but his military career consisted mostly of campaigns against the Libyans in the western desert.
Niuserre ruled Ancient Egypt from 2416 till 2392 BCThe reliefs in the burial chamber of his pyramid describe his military campaigns in the Western Desert and in the Sinai.
Unas (Wenis) ruled Egypt from 2356 till 2323 BC. Successful trading expeditions were conducted to neighbouring nations. Another drawing found on a vase shows battle scenes. There was a major famine during this time.
Teti, the first pharaoh of the 6th dynasty reigned from 2346 to 2313 BCE. He sent his army several times into southern Canaan under Weni, a long lived official who served also under Pepi I and Merenre
Pepi I 2289-2255 BC he married two of his vizier's sisters, and Weni, a close advisor, led Nubian troops against the Bedouins in Sinai and southern Canaan. Pepi campaigned in Nubia and established garrisons and trading posts. Trade relations with Byblos were flourishing and Punt in the Horn of Africa was frequently reached.
From the Akkad reign 2330 to 2100 BC there is a tablet mentioning the Ca -na.na-um/ Kinahhu and like the Greek and it mean "reed cloth" dyed with carmine or purple.
Surely Sargon of Akkad established an enclave in Ugarit when he expanded Akkadian Empire (later Babylonian) to the Mediterranean. Akkadian became the Lingua Franca = diplomat language and for instance in Amarna library we find a tablet in Akkadian from Phoenician City Tyre. After them followed maybe the Babylonians and Hammurabi 1792 - 1750 is the best known.
For the Akkadians/ Babylonians Ugarit was a good transit harbour to the cedar and goods of the Levant as well as copper and olive oil from Cyprus as nearest. The trade with these started in 4th millennium BC when Sumerians also were mining in Sinai. The cities in Canaan learnt how to barter. Trade is a matter of using the balance so that seller and buyer get satisfied. We see a couple of balances in our rock-carvings so people discussed methods of bartering.
Ugarit, Ancient City near Latakia in Syria invented an alphabet using Akkadian cuneiform. From the beginning they used 30 letters and it was reduced to 22 or 25. They have found tablets in Ugarit, Sumerian, Hurrian and Akkadian and with 7 different scripts. For instance neighbouring Byblos used its own script that reminds a little about Cypriot.
To me it is obvious that in the cities at the Levant coast Ugarit was the leading culture during Akkadian/ Babylonian rule with big sister Ebla inland. The Hebrew borrowed much later from the Ugarit culture and that is from the Mesopotamian. They have analysed that in literature and language they have much in common. But Ugarit was destroyed in 1200 BC and the Hebrew culture is later than that like the Canaanite they talk about.
Reconstruction 4th millennium big reed boat as seen in rock-carvings. Thor Heyerdahl proved that they can be used at high seas. Possibly even the Indus culture used reed boats.
We have not much evidence about the early ships. In the rock-carvings we can not always be sure are they ideas and abstractions or real ships. But surely mankind have used the "highways" on the seas at least 10000 years. On pot painting from 4th millennium we see Egyptians invented the sail. Surely at the Nile because they can flow at the downstream. The other way there is the North Breeze that follow the Nile Valley … seeSailors in spacetime for more boats and ships
The Mesopotamian and Egyptian rule/ influence altered several times. The Egyptian kept good relations. In the finds from Ugarit during pharaoh Sesostris 1971 -1928 reign there are carnelian pearls and from later Sesostris II 1897 - 1878 and Amenemhet 1842 - 1797 there are a stelae and statuettes as gifts. They were "Big Brother" several hundred years except the intermedium 1720 - 1570 with Hyksos and the Hittites 1400 to 1100 BC.
Most of the writers mention Phoenicians after that 1200 BC and the "Sea people". We have to keep track of chronology and wait for more digging in deeper layers. Too often archaeology interchange cause and effect and that is bad reasoning. I have read many sites lately and I see that biblical writers try their best to make Hebrew superior against facts about urbanisation, timeline size of known population.
Thegod El from Ugarit. Observe the Egyptian headgear and the gesture by the hand … see Hand below.
Ugarit was not big, maybe 8000 inhabitants but they were feed by a higher culture in Akkad/ Babylon, Ebla and with transit to Minoans at Crete and maybe the Minoans had an enclave in Ugarit. Naturally there was the trade to Egypt and the cities become maybe Egyptian vassals. They have found several temples so maybe the enclaves stood for them…. I compare with my little town of 6000. In first half of last century there were 7 different churches.
The Ugarit texts were discovered 1929. One of the analysers of texts wrote:
"Since the discovery of the Ugaritic texts, study of the Old Testament has never been the same. We now have a much clearer picture of Canaanite religion than we ever had before. We also understand the Biblical literature itself much better as we are now able to clarify difficult words due to their Ugaritic cognates."
I am a free thinker and not tied to anything. I see biblical archaeology and interpreting as awkward. If we want to see "what caused what" we must be neutral and in the analyse start at the root and go forward in time. We can not apply our frames or the frames of Christianity on times before the Theodosian Creed was created. He wanted to create mystic so that some priests were needed to convince people that his worldview was right.
This equipage is from Ugarit on the Syrian coast and we see they have the ram as symbol in Age of Aries from 1200 BC. Further we see that there are massive wheels on the wagon and the men wear long skirts.
The Ugarit texts seem to tell us about the step between original "natural World Order" and the urbanised that is far from nature. Citizens do not know about the natural year and they are not interested in fertility. Instead human relations are the main issues. The Sumerians including the priesthood were farmers and fertility was naturally the main issue. Enki in Eridu and Inanna of Uruk were role model for the farmers.
The "Hand" and the long shirts associate to Ugarit and there are other "longshirts" inrock-carvings. It seems that Mesopotamia influenced the dresses of Ugarit.
The Watersnake/ Serpent symbolised the pregnancy period in human and natural life and they sing songs to the beauty of creation. History is a process and we see that in Ugarit the worldview evolved to see the serpent/snake = fertility as evil and that has been devastating for the Western World that almost hate fertility and want to be the hard Master of Nature.
In ScandinaviaWatersnake was for long symbol of fertility and summer season.
In the Ugarit texts we find this incantatory verse:
(When) the unknown one calls you and begins foaming,
I, for my part, will call you.
I will shake bits of sacred wood,
So that the serpent not come up against you,
So that the scorpion not stand up under you.
The serpent will indeed not come up against you,
The scorpion will indeed not stand up under you!
In like manner, may the tormentors,
the sorcerers not give ear to the word of the evil man,
To the word of any man:
When it sounds forth in their mouth, on their lips,
May the sorcerers, the tormentors, then pour it to the earth.
For Urtenu, for his body, for his members.
Scorpio was originally fix-stars of spring/ autumn equinox. See the so-called Scorpio macehead that shows the Horus/ Pharaoh beginning agriculture in signs of Scorpio and New Moon. The scribes in the temples of Ugarit did not know much about this. Still Ugarit's priesthood worshipped the Bull/ Oxen = El like most of Anatolia and even Palestine before Moses. The Bull = Oxen was contemporary/ opposite to Scorpio and was worshipped as main god/ asterism in Egypt until 1159 BC. In Ugarit they also worshipped the New Moon in the name of Astarte and she was just a cousin of Inanna from Sumer or Ishtar from Babylon.
Ugarit and the other cities in Lebanon were Canaan and they were the role model for the latecomers the Israelites. "The Israelites borrowed art, architecture, and music from their Canaanite neighbours. But they refused to extend their art to images of Yahweh (cf. Ex 20:4-5). God (= Moses) commanded the people to make no image of himself; and did not forbid every kind of artistic expression. In fact, when Solomon constructed the temple he had it engraved with a great number of artistic forms. That there was a bronze serpent in the temple as well is well known."
The Hebrew prophets and the authorities condemned the old deities for long since especially the women loved the Old Lady of Fertility the Naked Mother Astarte ready for a new season of growth. The Israelites did not leave as many artistic pieces behind as did their Canaanite neighbours. And what they did leave behind show traces of being heavily influenced by these Canaanites. But that means a merge of what Canaan adapted from Mesopotamia, Egypt and The Mediterranean.
Around 1200 BC Ugarit was destroyed by the Sea People (Philistines, Achaeans, South-West Anatolians and more) We do not know the political conditions of the time. Anyway the Phoenicians we are talking about are the remaining cities in Lebanon and they just continued and prospered. Nearest harbour city to Ugarit was Byblos and others legendary cities were Sidon, Tyre and Arwad to mention the most important. Their wealth lasted until Roman time 64 BC and after that the name Phoenician was not used. The cities of today's Lebanon are heirs.
We should speak about Canaanites in the time before 1200 BC and then the Israelites were not yet settled and had no city culture of their own. After that we have the Phoenicians and the Israelites that sometimes use the name Canaan. Now when we know how much they borrowed we understand why.
The Greeks gave name to many places and especially in their reign of Egypt. They also gave the name Phoinix that associate to the red cloth and to dying with purple colour stuff from Murex Brandarius, a mollusc from the Mediterranean … now almost gone. It was very expensive since 24000 of them gives dye only for 40 gram linen they tell. That is why only kings could afford it. Carmine was the other red dye they got from pregnant scale insect on the Kermes oak in Lebanon/ Mediterranean area. They had other industries like olive oil, wine and glass pearls that were much like monopoly since they knew the secrets.
Tireme type ship on coin from Sidon ca 400 BC. The Seahorse is merged Pegasus and Kaitos/ Whale frequent as fix-stars of spring equinox.
Tyre was specialised in dyes. Seemingly they started a "joint venture" with Sparta in Lakonia. The hoplites = warriors loved the red colour of blood in their dress. Wound would not be too visible on a red dress ... they were though guys. We can only guess that Sidon hired hoplites from Sparta. Else the Phoenicians were not warlike since the "Flag of Commerce" have only friends. Exception is naturally late Cartage that was at war with Rome.
My interest in this area is based on the fact that we see the flow of culture to Scandinavia and just the Levant seems to be the "transit harbour". As said in Scandinavian rock-carvings we have Phoenician and Greek ships "sailing" on our rocks. We have also images or artefacts that could be traced to the Levant. Herodotos tells about two "highways" to the Hyperboreans. One of them was surely by the Russian rivers and another from the Adriatic to Austria and they could buy salt in Halstatt on the tour to river Oder and the Baltic.
The third was longer and it is little known via Gibraltar and the North Sea. Still we know that some Mediterranean sailors visited Scandinavia since we have their ships sailing on our rocks. Another thing that Cadmus, the trader was trading "all over the world". We do not know all the places yet.
Important is that we see the hand on many Northern rock-carvings and we may see that the origin was perhaps the Phoenicians. The Hand could be dated by ritual astronomy to 1159 BC. After the decline of the Myceneans the Achaeans and Phoenicians expanded in coastal areas in Greece, Anatolia and took Cyprus and later to the west Mediterranean northern coasts. There is the suite of sagas about Cadmos the Dragon killer telling about Phoenicians settling in Boeoetia and founding the city they know call Thebe…. It happens to be that we in Scandinavian rock-carvings also have the Boeoetian plough … when was Kadmos here?
We get to know something afterwards. The Phoenician traders that told to help shield their amber’s origin.
‘Now that the Phoenician’s had seen the amber gathered from the sea, they determined to keep the secret for themselves and thus guard the lucrative trade. When the fleets returned to Syria, many were the tales told of perils to the north, of lodestones which would draw the ships to destruction on hidden reefs, of whirlpools which would suck them down to the bottom of the ocean, of witches who enchanted men by turning them into beasts, of terrible sea serpents, and awesome monsters.
So well did these ancient sailors spin their yarns that for many centuries afterwards mariners feared these mythical perils’.
In the rock-carvings we see some Phoenician ships and other motifs telling about the visits. No wonder that ancient writers also wrote about ugly and odd beings with head in stomach, dog head, one-footed and one-eyed and so on.
Phoenicians expanded on the southern coast of the Mediterranean from Libya to Cartage in the first step. Further to half Sicilia and Sardinia and the Spanish south coasts and to both sides of the port to the Atlantic at Gibraltar. They surely traded with the Etrurians and some of our finds may be of that origin. However their trade extended to the entire Mediterranean and the Black Sea and Red Sea and to Bahrain. They encircled Africa and we could maybe find indications that they have been in Indian. King Salomon hired them to start from the Aqabah Gulf and maybe go for Africa and India.
The hand symbol is a symbol for their trade. Then we may assume that they also come to Scandinavia and are behind some carvings with a touch of their culture. They brought the culture from the Levant in the period after approximately 1000 BC.
Navigare necessare est. That is some of the sentences with wings. In ancient times rivers and the seas were the highways. The Phoenician traders were the first sailors we know of as nearly global sailors. The lifted hands seem to have been their sign and Hail
It is maybe partly true but may be much older as we see it in paintings from Santorini before 1500 BC. It looks like they mounted the battering ram afterwards. We see the ram as late as on Gallic tonneaus ca 200 AD.
This ship from Cartage (after 800 BC) is on some stelae and might as well be the calendar ship Argos from late era of the Phoenicians.
Most of the written evidence we have from the Greeks is from relatively late age. In my youth we had to believe that the Greeks invented all things and were the founders of civilisation.
Ezekiel tells about the merchandise
Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead they traded in thy fairs. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market. They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.
The men of Dedan were thy merchants; many isles were the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony. Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.
Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm. Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool. Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus were in thy market.
Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots. Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee, in lambs, in rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants. The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones and gold.
Haran, and Canneh and Eden the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad were thy merchants. These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise. The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
The prophecy is of great importance, since it reconstructs in unique detail the commercial activity of a Phoenician city. There may be some doubt about the identification of the localities mentioned and the exact nature of the goods, but the general picture is most impressive and shows the incredible abundance and intensity of Tyrian trade.
To complete it there are accounts by other prophets, such as Isaiah, who speaks of Sidon's overseas commerce in Egyptian grain. The historical facts about the fleet of Hiram which imported gold, precious stones, and wood from the region of Ophir (probably southern Arabia [others guess India]), while from Tarshish it brought back wood, silver, ivory, monkeys, and peacocks.
Guiding stars for sailors
The Macedonian poet at court Aratos wrote the poem Phaenomena about 200 BC. From that we may read something about praxis then.
A number of stars wander around the sky,
Forever together, always in company.
However the axle does not change at all,
No, steady it is
in its middle the earth is in balance
and wind the sky around.
In both ends of the axle is a pole.
One of them we do not see,
but high in the north the other stand.
Two bears walk around like wagons
each one alone ...
They call one of them Curving Light
after that Achaeans sail on deep oceans
They name the other the Top.
Phoenicians steer after that friend.
The top is bright and easy to find,
when night is young, it shines bright and clear.
The other is smaller, but for the sailor best.
In a smaller orbit it goes around
and lead the ships of Sidon on their voyage.
Aratos knows about constellations too:
a man the names found
and their shapes too.
The Phoenicians were good sailors and their secret was navigation using Little Bear or whatever name they used
All professionals are eager to keep their secrets and so the sailors. We have only some fragments but we know they used Ursa Minor or Little Bear. The star Koschab could be used as pole from about 2000 BC and onwards. We find the star on a carving in Haugsbyn Dal.
In the tradition of tales the Phoenician Cadmus "He with the hand" brought Aphrodite to Greece.
She is of course The Naked however much older than Cadmus, but maybe they meant in the form we see her around 2000 BC in the Levant. We know for sure that Crete and the Aegean world learned a lot from Anatolia and the Sumerians via the Levant.
The poem is longer than the cut and show that they knew exactly the position of stars day and night. This points out that the zodiac and sky could be used of other than farming twins. However the sailors would perhaps make people believe that they invented all this.
This little temple under excavating is from the Phoenician time in Hazor
In the middle we see engraved hands and the Eastern new moon. It is meaning the same as when Christian church makes the calendar after the first moon after a spring equinox and this is in Cancer. The next two stones are without symbols, but the third is "a sitting" probably called Tanit/ Tinia and that is Libra…. See alsodoomring and Exodus
Season symbols in Cartage
This stela is from a Phoenician grave in Cartage where we see the constellations of four seasons. The hand is Cancer and the sitting is Libra.
Two entwined serpents were perhaps originally Capricorn and this caduceus become symbol of Hermes/ Mercurius and traders as in the symbol of my economic school. The Whale as symbol of Kaitos/the wild Bull is probably seen early on a slab in the Kivik grave, which perhaps they made for a trader.
The caduceus was symbol of the herald on earth and beneath, as burials become business already in those days. In Northern mythology it was Loke, the trickster. He had a free imagination to sell what he could to folk who often want to use the old shoes until one goes barefoot. Serpents in an embrace were also the symbols of a treaty as that between the seller and buyer.
Hand symbols in Scandinavia
On this stone we see the clearest year wheel of three from Denmark and we see the eight-sectioned year and the hand is naturally the beginning.
These four hands are from different places and the one in the right lower corner is probably a sign of traders' fellowship. It is found in several places also in Bohuslaen and Norway and the twins on the votive ship from Grevensvaenge have a spread thumb.
Especially Northwest Zealand seems to have been almost a trade centre and the finds from Sandagergaard tells about a factory in bronze crafts. It was in a house 7,5 x 18 metres with a ritual place at the gable. The ritual place consisted of four special hand symbols on stones. There were also two stones apart and perhaps used as reference points when searching the leading star. In Denmark are twelve more finds of the arm with a hand. In Norway and Bohuslaen are eight more and many of them are much alike and tell that they made them in the same period.
We know the method of using the same symbol from several places and also with other symbols. Simultaneously in the Khnum temples of Egypt they used four of them and earlier are seen four bulls in same use.
The four strokes may be compare to the logic on the Skivum stone and to the carving at Tossene Bohuslaen with four explaining figures. The hand from Askum Bohuslaen has an empty boat at a side and that we see on many carvings as symbol of beginning of season.
Maybe the solution is on this cist lock from Cartage. The nobleman shows a last hail with a gesture of brotherhood.
It is a common development that trades lead to fellowship between traders, monopoly and secret manners ... and if it is extended to political, religious and military powers it becomes an aristocracy that in worst cases can be a tyranny.
Caduceus with a hand and snakes
The hand and the entwined snakes became also symbols in Christianity as well as for ambassadors, traders and doctors. It pictures harmony, concord, and unity between two or more different forces.
On this old graveyard is the final unity between man and soil. Our pictured runic stones have often two snakes too.
Lure the octopus
Mogens F Jensen documented this little carving on the Danish isle Bornholm.
Occasionally I saw a program on TV at the same time as this picture. They showed how they catch the octopus in a pot with a whole and of course many pots on a line. When they want it out they pour a little extra salt water in the hole and that does not the octopus like.
Surely some from the isle have been at the Mediterranean and have seen the trick there. On Bornholm we find carvings with ships of the Greek type in several places. Much of the technique in fine metalwork they had to learn from Greece. Bornholm seems to have been one of the centres for making fine metalwork in Scandinavia.
On the ship from Valla Bohuslaen the forehead alike that above and the hand is also alike. On some of the Phoenician ship image we see a staff in stem
As a boy I did not know much about the Phoenician and it was not anything honourable. To some extend it was coloured by the Romans. We were told that the Roman Beast was the role model. I think we owe the Phoenicians credit for the culture spread during 3rd to 1st millennium. They made the world smaller and increased the knowledge of humankind. They have been accused for some odd customs. However I think all cultures have their odd sides. We do not love nature and consume it all the time!!!
The local patriots of Lebanon have made this site about their ancestors.http://phoenicia.org/trade.html
Thomas Bullfinch's have the myth of Cadmos athttp://mizii.com/mythbook/emyths/greek/fables/bull12.html
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