The people known to the Greeks as the Phoenicians originated in modern-day Lebanon and are responsible for almost all modern alphabets today.
This great seafaring civilization, which established colonies throughout the whole Mediterranean region and even into Northern Europe, created numerous inscriptions and written records that unfortunately did not survive. The little that is known about them comes from the people they came in contact with.
Both European and Arabic scholars have labeled them as Indo-European or Semetic, but the Phoenicians referred to themselves as Canaanite, the same people spoken of in the Bible. Greek writer Diogenes Laertus in his biography of philosophers, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, describes the Phoenicians as, “tall gaunt and black.”
Egyptian culture developed alongside Canaan for thousands of years. This is clearly evident in artifacts known as the “Classical Phoenician scarabs,” which were made in Phoenicia in the period of the Achaemenid Persian empire, from the later sixth century to the mid-fourth century B.C.
Most of the 1,500 examples known have been found in the west Phoenician (Punic) cemeteries of Carthage, Sardinia and Ibiza (Spain), but there are many also from the east Mediterranean. They served as jewelry, as offerings in tombs and sanctuaries, and for their primary function of sealing. Many were given precious metal mounts.
A glance at a few of them in the images above gives clear indication of what the Phoenicians thought about themselves.