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Ancient Coins of Phoenicia
Phoenicia, from the Greek Phoiníkē meaning either "land of palm trees" or "purple country," was located on the Mediterranean coastline of what is now Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Syria, and southwest Turkey, though some colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean and even the Atlantic Ocean, the most famous being Carthage. The enterprising, sea-based Phoenicians spread across the Mediterranean from 1500 to 300 B.C. Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to those of ancient Greece, perhaps the most notable of which were Tyre, Sidon, Arados, Berytus and Carthage. Each city-state was politically independent and it is uncertain to what extent the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single nationality. In terms of archaeology, language, lifestyle, and religion there was little to set the Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other Semitic Canaanites. The Phoenician alphabet is an ancestor of all modern alphabets. By their maritime trade, the Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to Anatolia, North Africa, and Europe, where it was adopted by the Greeks, who in turn transmitted it to the Romans.
|Marathos (earlier called Amrit) was an ancient Phoenician city located near Tartus in. Founded in the third millennium B.C. and abandoned at the end of the second century B.C., the city's Phoenician ruins have been preserved in their entirety without extensive remodeling by later generations. One of the most important excavations at Marathos was the Phoenician temple dedicated to the god of Tyre and . The colonnaded temple consists of a large court cut out of rock measuring 47 × 49 metres and over 3 metres deep, surrounded by a covered . In the center of the court a well-preserved cube-shaped cella stands. The open-air courtyard was filled with the waters of a local, traditionally sacred , a unique feature of this site. The temple dated to the late 4th century B.C., shows influence in its layout and decoration. According to Dutch archaeologist, Akkermans, the temple is the "best-preserved monumental structure from the Phoenician homeland."|