By Philip K. Hitti (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Short History of Lebanon
Land routes led from their city-states eastward, as sea routes led westward. Canaanite caravans knew no frontier. As Phoenicians at home developed manufacture, arts and crafts into heights hitherto unknown, Phoenicians abroad were penetrating inland, discovering or creating new markets. Most significant and enduring among the products thereby disseminated in Europe and in Asia was the alphabet, Phoenicia's greatest contribution to the progress of mankind. 25 A Short History of Lebanon This and other boons, in the words of a modern historian, "entitle them to be commemorated in history by the side of the Hellenic and Latin nations".
The mysteries of Tammuz and Ashtart were transferred to Adonis and Aphrodite. The spread of Greek thought was conditioned by the spread of Greek language. Being the conquerors' language, it naturally acquired special glamour and attraction. With that went a recognition of the superiority of Greek literature. In Sidon and Tyre, no less than in such Greek cities as Antioch and Laodicea (Latakia), Greek science, philosophy and literature were assiduously cultivated. An educated Phoenician of the late Seleucid era must have felt as much at ease in a Greek city as a Greek would have felt in a Phoenician city.
In the meantime another Semitic people, the Aramaeans, were organizing an important kingdom centring on Damascus; and to the south still another, the Hebrews, were beginning to gain control of Palestine. Mount Lebanon checked Aramaean advance to the coast. The political organization of Phoenician city-states, which never attained the dimension of political unity, reflected the physical dismemberment of the land and the dominant economic interest of its people, which was commercial and competitive.