Redating the sphinx
Much later, in the 6th century BC, Hecataeus of Miletus writes that Phoenicia was formerly called According to the Persians best informed in history, the Phoenicians began the quarrel.These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria ...It was here that the first inscription in the Phoenician alphabet was found, on the sarcophagus of Ahiram (c. Carthage was founded in 814 BC under Pygmalion of Tyre (820–774 BC).The collection of city-states constituting Phoenicia came to be characterized by outsiders and the Phoenicians as Sidonia or Tyria.The civilization spread across the Mediterranean between 1500 BC and 300 BC.
In 197 BC, Phoenicia along with Syria reverted to the Seleucids.
Around 1200 BC, a series of poorly-understood events weakened and destroyed the adjacent Egyptian and Hittite empires.
In the resulting power vacuum, a number of Phoenician cities rose as significant maritime powers.
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 developed it into an alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants.
The Phoenicians were among the first state-level societies to make extensive use of alphabets: the family of Canaanite languages, spoken by Israelites, Phoenicians, Amorites, Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites, was the first historically attested group of languages to use an alphabet, derived from the Proto-Canaanite script, to record their writings.
Canaanite culture apparently developed in situ from the earlier Ghassulian chalcolithic culture.