Phoenicians had become a major trading empire after the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization around 1200 BC.
Phoenician era was well under way by the start of the 1st millennium BC. They had rebuilt their major cities after destruction by the Sea Peoples. They newfound political independence helped the Phoenicians expand the trade that was already the foundation of their propriety.
According to the ancient classical authors, they occupied the entire Levantine coast between the Suez and the Gulf of Alexandretta.
The chief cities of Phoenicia – Byblos Tyre and Sidon were ports on the eastern Mediterranean but they also served as distribution centers for the lands to the east in Mesopotamia.
Phoenician sailors mastered the waterways, braving treacherous winds and reefs to explore paths previously uncharted. Phoenicians merchants exported lumber, glass, copper and bronze utensils and the purple dye produced from the murex, a mollusk that was plentiful in the coastal waters.
In the late 8th century BC, the Assyrians annexed most Phoenician cities along the Levant coast. After the Assyrian Empire collapsed in the middle of the 7th century BC the Phoenician cities were controlled first by Egypt and then by Babylonians.
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