History – The Phoenician and Greek influences

History – The Phoenician and Greek influences

The Phoenician and Greek influences

In this article we will see: “The Phoenician and Greek influences”, history, the chronicle of human civilization, serves as a window to the past, illuminating the triumphs, struggles, and evolution of societies over millennia. Through the study of historical events, we unravel the complexities of our collective heritage and gain insight into the forces shaping our present and future.

Summary : History – The Phoenician and Greek influences

The ancient Mediterranean world among which The Phoenician and Greek influences was a stage of dynamic interactions, where civilizations clashed and merged, shaping the course of history. In this narrative, we delve into the intriguing tale of merchants and pirates, exploring the Phoenician ventures, Greek colonization, and Carthaginian rivalry. Through their exploits, we witness the emergence of new powers and the collision of cultures, highlighting the complexities of ancient geopolitics and the resilience of human endeavors amidst adversity.

History – The Phoenician and Greek influences

The Phoenicians were “merchant-pirates,” and, due to the rather specialized trade they practiced, had every advantage in possessing safe havens, away from the usual ports. They therefore founded the city of Carthage on the North African coast. From there, they were able to explore the western shores of the Mediterranean. In practice, the Phoenicians realized that trade was as profitable as piracy.

Carthage became rich and powerful. As far as can be certain, it was sailors from Carthage who first explored the western coast of Italy. In the ports of Greece and Egypt where their business required them to stop, they began to tell wonderful stories about a lush peninsula located northwest of Greece. They called it the “land of cows” and claimed that it was home to abundant cattle and extremely rich fields. The Greeks paid little attention to their stories: they thought they were just tall tales.

Then the Greek world was attacked by barbarian peoples. In the north, Europe was inhabited by tribes that were restless and very warlike. The entire continent was boiling like a cauldron. Occasionally, the contents of the cauldron overflowed: apparently enraged hordes crossed the mountain range which, under normal circumstances, was enough to keep them at a distance from Mediterranean territories.

Around 1000 BC, horned-helmeted savages poured into Greece. For two hundred years, they engaged in massive destruction of the country, burning cities and driving the Greeks from their lands, when they weren’t slaughtering them on the spot. Disgusted by these uncouth methods, the Greeks were forced to live in hiding or flee their homeland. Many crossed the Aegean Sea to establish a new home in the islands or on the Asian shores.

However, these welcoming territories were not sufficient to accommodate everyone. Some fugitives then recalled the tales of Phoenician sailors who extolled the “land of cattle.” Why not take the chance? So they embarked and set sail westward.

For the first time, the Greeks were going to recognize the furthest coast of the Italian peninsula, the one that, in a way, turned its back on their own world. What would they find there?

Their expectations exceeded their most optimistic predictions. They indeed discovered the verdant fields and safe harbors described by the Carthaginian sailors.

When the news reached Greece, it sparked a rush of apprentice colonists. They arrived in Italy at an accelerated pace.

Wise men, however, warned them before their departure: “Beware!” they said. “Certainly, the peninsula is rich. But you won’t be the only inhabitants! Barbarians have already settled there, not to mention the Carthaginians and even a third people, the Etruscans! You’ll have to deal with all of them!” But advice, as is well known, has never stopped anyone…

When Greek emigrants landed in Italy, they found that most of the rich plains of the peninsula were dotted with farms and small huts of barbarian tribes. These barbarians, Europeans from the north, were the first occupants: they had settled there at about the time when their counterparts invaded Greece. These men were fierce warriors. However, they could not repel the newcomers. The emigrants, indeed, well organized and well armed, were quite determined to settle in Italy.

Protected by guards they posted at fixed hours, they set about building walls, constructing houses, and clearing land. When they were firmly established, they welcomed as citizens all the barbarians who consented to live in peace with them. As for the others, they ruthlessly repelled them.

It remained to come to terms with the Carthaginians. At first, the Greek colonists succeeded quite well. It wasn’t difficult: just don’t bother them. “Each to his own!” seemed to be the motto of the Carthaginians, who had preferred to settle in the islands and thus occupied Sicily, at the southern tip of the peninsula, and also Sardinia and Corsica, further west. In fact, they had left the mainland to the barbarians because they desired above all ports and mines while they cared little about raising cattle. So, when the Greeks arrived, the Carthaginians did not give them any trouble.

They even began to trade with them. Everything went very well as long as the Greeks stayed in place. Things took a turn for the worse when they decided to found colonies in Sicily. Furious, the Carthaginians protested. The Greeks turned a deaf ear and continued to build. In the end, the island became the (adopted) homeland of two rival groups of cities – the Greek and the Carthaginian – who lived side by side in a perpetual state of unease.

Each party would have liked to exterminate the other. But here’s the thing: neither was strong enough to attempt the adventure. The wise men of Greece had warned their emigrants, in addition to the barbarians and Carthaginians, against a third kind of occupant: the Etruscans. But, as the latter seemed more formidable than the others, the Greek colonists preferred not to tangle with them.

The Etruscans had settled in the largest of the central plains of the peninsula: Etruria. They occupied fortified places from which it would have been foolish to try to dislodge them. They were a nation both maritime and warlike, possessing a powerful fleet and a well-trained army. About a century before the Greeks landed in Italy, Etruscan warships had suddenly appeared in the strait separating the peninsula from Sicily.

Defying the Carthaginians, the Etruscan warriors had occupied the territories they liked… and kept them, at the point of their lances. Like Aeneas in the legend, these men came from Asia Minor. Barely arrived, they set to building with rage. They dug canals and built dikes to drain their marshy meadows. Their houses were made of sun-baked bricks. Their twelve city-kingdoms of Etruria had paved streets. High defensive walls surrounded them.

It was the Etruscans who taught the barbarians how to use wedge-shaped stones to build strong arches. At that time, they also gave the peninsula the name that has been preserved to this day: Italy.

Last word about : History – The Phoenician and Greek influences

In the tapestry of ancient Mediterranean history among which The Phoenician and Greek influences, the saga of merchants and pirates stands as a testament to the ceaseless quest for wealth, power, and survival. Through triumphs and setbacks, these seafaring peoples forged enduring legacies, leaving indelible imprints on the landscape of antiquity. As we reflect on their exploits, we gain insights into the intricate webs of trade, diplomacy, and conflict that shaped the destiny of nations, underscoring the timeless resonance of human ambition and resilience across the ages.

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