THE PHCENICIANS. 339
could justly claim the highest antiquity. Isaiah speaks of Tyre as the " daughter of Zidon "
teciii 12), and in our private collection there is a coin with an inscription in Phoenician
characters which reads, " Sidon, the mother of Kamba, Hippo, Cittium, (and) Tyre." This
interesting relic would seem to indicate that the four places mentioned were colonies of Sidon.
Even in Homer's time, the choicest works of art came from Sidon, and the most costly
offerings to the gods were the product of its looms. The purple dye of Tyre had a world-wide
celebrity on account of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture proved a source
of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that city.
Homer speaks of Sidon as " abounding in works of brass," and praises it for the drinking-
vessels of gold and silver which her skilful workmen had made. From among the artists of
Tyre, Solomon employed at least one master workman " cunning to work in gold and in silver,
in brass and in Iron, in stone and in timber, in purple, in crimson and in fine linen, and in the
engraving of precious stones" (2 Chron. ii. 7, 14). These hints will indicate the progress of the
nation in these special arts.
The Phoenicians were celebrated in ancient times for the manufacture of glass, and some of
the specimens of their work that have been preserved are still the wonder of mankind. Here
where its manufacture is supposed to have originated, and in later times elsewhere, it was
produced in such abundance, that before the commencement of our era glass was in ordinary
use for drinking-vessels, and a glass bowl could be bought for a penny. On the other hand, so
much skill had been devoted to its manufacture that elegant and costly articles were produced,
and for a single pair of glass vases Nero paid a sum equal to twenty-two thousand dollars.
The Phoenicians were the connecting link between the civilisation of the East and the vast
and unknown regions of the West. Their ships went to all parts of the world as then known,
and news of remote peoples, conquests, and discoveries would be brought first to Phoenicia and
disseminated among themselves and their immediate neighbours. They appear also to have
been renowned in ancient times for marine stories, or what we call " sailors' yarns; " for, like
seafaring men in all ages, they entertained their own people, as well as those in the distant
ports which they visited, with either strange or amusing, but still too often fabulous, accounts of
ands and seas, men and other beings which they had seen or which had appeared to them on
the great deep.
Oi the shipping of Phoenicia, in which she surpassed all other nations, it may be sufficient
state that when Xerxes invaded Greece the Persian navy consisted of twelve hundred
nremes, and of these " the Phoenicians, with the Syrians of Palestine," furnished three hundred,
one-fourth of the whole number (Herodotus, bk. vii., ch. 89); and Xenophon has described
>ome length a Phoenician ship that he himself saw, which visited Athens, and which seems to
■ attracted as much attention when it first appeared as the Great Eastern did in modern
ne commerce and business of Phoenicia would bring wealth, and wealth would bring
power anrl 1 •
ease, and in time a luxurious mode of life, which could not fail of influencing