Phoenician language

Native toCanaan, North Africa, Cyprus, Iberia, Sicily, Malta and Sardinia
Eraattested in Canaan proper from the 11th century BC to the 2nd century BC[1]
Phoenician alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-2phn
ISO 639-3phn
Glottologphoe1239  Phoenician
phoe1238  Phoenician–Punic
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Phoenician (/fəˈnʃən/ fə-NEE-shən) is an extinct Canaanite Semitic language originally spoken in the region surrounding the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Extensive Tyro-Sidonian trade and commercial dominance led to Phoenician becoming a lingua franca of the maritime Mediterranean during the Iron Age. The Phoenician alphabet spread to Greece during this period, where it became the source of all modern European scripts.

Phoenician belongs to the Canaanite languages and as such is quite similar to Biblical Hebrew and other languages of the group, at least in its early stages, and is therefore mutually intelligible with them.

The area in which Phoenician was spoken includes the northern Levant, specifically the areas now including Syria, Lebanon, Western Galilee, parts of Cyprus, some adjacent areas of Turkey and, at least as a prestige language, Anatolia.[2] It was also spoken in the area of Phoenician colonization along the coasts of the southwestern Mediterranean Sea, including those of modern Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria as well as Malta, the west of Sicily, southwest Sardinia, the Balearic Islands and southernmost Spain.

In modern times, the language was first decoded by Jean-Jacques Barthélemy in 1758, who noted that the name "Phoenician" was first given to the language by Samuel Bochart in his Geographia Sacra seu Phaleg et Canaan.[3][4]

  1. ^ Holmstedt, Robert (2017), "Phoenician" in A Companion to Ancient Phoenicia, London: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 1
  2. ^ Lipiński, Edward (2004). Itineraria Phoenicia. Peeters Publishers. pp. 139–41. ISBN 9789042913448.
  3. ^ [1][full citation needed]: "Les anciennes lettres Grecques, suivant Hérodote, et les monumens que nous avons fous les yeux, venoient de Phénicie: or les lettres Samaritaines ne diffèrent pas des anciennes lettres Grecques; par conséquent les lettres Phéniciennes ne doivent pas, différer des Samaritaines. Ils voyoient for des médailles frappées en Phénicie, des lettres qui reflémbloient aux Samaritaines; nouvelle preuve, disoit-on, que les unes etc les autres font les mêmes. Sur un pareil fondement , Scaliger et Bochart ont donné le nom dé Samaritain et de Phénicien au même alphabet; d'autres, comme Edouard Bernard et le P. de Montfaucon, pour rendre' leur alphabet plus riche et plus général, ont joint aux caractères Samaritains des formes de lettres tirées des médailles Phéniciennes ou Puniques ; mais l'explication qu'on avoit donnée de ces médailles, étant fouvent arbitraire, il eft aifé de voir à quelle erreur s'expofent ceux qui, au lieu de travailler sur les monumens mêmes, ne confoltent que les alphabets publiés jusqu a présent"
  4. ^ Bochart, Samuel (1692). Samuelis Bocharti Geographia sacra, seu Phaleg et Canaan. Cornelium Boutesteyn & Jordanum Luchtmans. p. 451.

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