The Phoenicians are famed for being master seamen who traded with the peoples around the Mediterranean, spreading their alphabet as they sailed. Yet although they established trade centers as far as Spain and North Africa and founded the city of Byblos, which gave its name to the most influential book ever published, surprisingly little is known about them. Even their name comes from Homer, who dubbed them “Phoenicians”, meaning “purple men”, a reference to the murex dye for which they were famed.
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