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Quest for the Phoenicians

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Added by Bob in Civilizations BC


The Quest for the Phoenicians.

Hidden beneath Greek and Roman ruins across Mediterranean shores lies a civilization lost to history. The Phoenicians were people of the Levant, living in the Canaanite cities of the Old Testament and with a domain covering the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. From 1200 BCE to the razing of Carthage in 146 BCE, the Phoenicians spread ever westward. They were the true "lords of the sea," skilled and audacious seafarers, merchants and colonizers of the early Mediterranean world. Artwork shows their influence on the ancient world: drawings of pyramids, paintings of King Solomon's temple and Phoenician inscriptions. Egyptian Pharaohs bartered for their fine cedar, Persians enlisted their warships and soldiers. 

The Phoenician 22-letter alphabet, written without vowels, revolutionized language and diplomacy for their world - and ours. In fact, Phoenician language variant is still spoken in modern Israel, and their alphabet became the basis for modern European and Semitic alphabets. Yet, their civilization was doomed to obscurity. Their legacy lives on only in the propaganda of their Greek and Roman conquerors who described them as dishonest hucksters, not to be trusted. 'Jezebel' the shameless Biblical woman was in fact a Phoenician princess.

Stylized reconstruction scenes provide glimpses of ritual, rite and myth. But who were these intrepid, nomadic sailors? Leading our search for the answers are two eminent scientists supported by the National Geographic Society; deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard and geneticist Spencer Wells. Their quest takes us on adventures on the sea, within our genes and over land. The film climaxes with revolutionary new data suggesting that both the Christians and Muslims of Lebanon are in fact descendants of the Phoenicians.

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