TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Semitic stock occupied a place amidst, and yet aloof from, the nations of the ancient classical world. The true centre of the former lay in the east, that of the latter in the region of the Mediterranean; and, however wars and migrations may have altered the line of demarcation and thrown the races across each other, a deep sense of diversity has always severed, and still severs, the Indo- Germanic peoples from the Syrian, Israelite, and Arabic nations. This diversity was no less marked in the case of that Semitic people which spread more than any other in the direction of the west–the Phoenicians. Their native seat was the narrow border of coast bounded by Asia Minor, the highlands of Syria, and Egypt, and called Canaan, that is, the "plain." This was the only name which the nation itself made use of; even in Christian times the African farmer called himself a Canaanite. But Canaan received from the Hellenes the name of Phoenike, the "land of purple," or "land of the red men," and the Italians also were accustomed to call the Canaanites Punians, as we are accustomed still to speak of them as the Phoenician or Punic race.
The land was well adapted for agriculture; but its excellent harbours and the abundant supply of timber and of metals favoured above all things the growth of commerce; and it was there perhaps, where the opulent eastern continent abuts on the wide-spreading Mediterranean so rich in harbours and islands, that commerce first dawned in all its greatness upon man. The Phoenicians directed all the resources of courage, acuteness, and enthusiasm to the full development of commerce and its attendant arts of navigation, manufacturing, and colonization, and thus connected the east and the west. At an incredibly early period we find them in Cyprus and Egypt, in Greece and Sicily, in Africa and Spain, and even on the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. The field of their commerce reached from Sierra Leone and Cornwall in the west, eastward to the coast of Malabar. Through their hands passed the gold and pearls of the East, the purple of Tyre, slaves, ivory, lions' and panthers' skins from the interior of Africa, frankincense from Arabia, the linen of Egypt, the pottery and fine wines of Greece, the copper of Cyprus, the silver of Spain, tin from England, and iron from Elba. The Phoenician mariners brought to every nation whatever it could need or was likely to purchase; and they roamed everywhere, yet always returned to the narrow home to which their affections clung.