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Phoenicia

Decline

The great Phoenician cities were so well defended that they were able to withstand most of the attacks of the Assyrian kings. In the 6th cent. B.C., however, they submitted to the tolerant empire of the Persians, keeping their own autonomy but gradually being more and more absorbed into the Persian pattern. Phoenician sailors, architects, and artisans were all prominent in Persian service. They also served elsewhere, and Phoenician ships were in the Greek navy that defeated Xerxes I at Salamis.

The individuality of the Phoenicians was dwindling, and with the rise of Greek naval and maritime power the importance of the Phoenicians disappeared. They were, however, able in the 4th cent. B.C. to offer serious resistance to Alexander the Great, who took Tyre only after a long and hard siege (333–332 B.C.). In Roman times the cities continued to exist, but Hellenistic culture had absorbed the last traces of Phoenician civilization.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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