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The Phoenicians or “Les mal-aimés”*

Phoenician Mask Picture

The Phoenicians or “Les mal-aimés”*

Behind the Mask : It is well-known that it is the winners who write the history. Sometimes, I’m thinking that the Phoenicians wrote their history with the sand of their seashores, and with the first waves, their history and their stories had almost vanished forever. The Phoenician civilization was born on the banks of the oriental, Mediterranean in cities with magical names, Byblos, Tyr, Sidon, Arwad … They have profoundly marked of their imprint the history of the Mediterranean, from the XII century JC, until the conquest of Alexandre. Big doubtless was their place in the antique world. Because they are alive again for us, not only in the narrative of the historians, but in the work of the poets and the jewelry creation. They unified the region with a wide network of commerce. They defied seas, to exchange their goods, in particular, small pieces of jewelry, the cedars of Lebanon and the Murex shells used to make the purple dye. And look for the raw material required by their craftsmen. This intensified maritime activity, permitted different influences. The Egyptian influence is very clear in Phoenician art. Jewelry, by its value and its size was an important product of exchange and trade for them. The treasures found in Byblos and Ugarit from 3rd and 2nd millenniums, included pectorals and medallions work. The Phoenicians worked the gold, the silver, the bronze, the precious stones and the polychromatic glass. The motives were of religious or plant inspiration, as the flower of the lotus, the palmette and the rosette, as well as the animal themes such as the hawk, the griffin, the lion and the beetle. But, their biggest merit is the invention of the Alphabet, because they had the genius to simplify thousands of pictographic, hieroglyphic and cuneiform signs, which have been used to create a new consonantal Alphabet of 22 signs, that became the base of the Western alphabets, when the Greeks adopted it. *Les mal-aimés is a French expression to say unloved
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