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Sidonians of the Bible. They occupied the coast of Canaan from southern Syria through northern Palestine up to the hills of the region that separated them from Acco, or Acre. They were organized in city-states, two of which, Sidon and Tyre, are familiar to Bible readers. Seafarers, navigators, and traders, the Phoenicians were also skilled artisans and builders. By the time of kings David and Solomon, their power had waned, and they had become friendly allies of Israel. They supplied engineers and craftsmen and floated down “the cedars of Lebanon” in rafts for David’s palace and for Solomon’s Temple. Ancient empires contending for domination of that part of the world eventually swallowed up the Phoenician cities. The Phoenicians made valuable contributions to ancient civilization. Tyre taught the world how to make the famous purple dye, and Sidon introduced blown glass. From the Phoenician language, akin to Hebrew, the Greeks borrowed the alphabet which became the basis for European alphabets.

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