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The rise of Macedon gradually ousted the remnants of Phoenicia's former dominance over the Eastern Mediterranean trade routes.

Phoenician culture disappeared entirely in the motherland. It oversaw the mining of iron and precious metals from Iberia, and used its considerable naval power and mercenary armies to protect commercial interests.

Phoenician societies rested on three power-bases: the king; temples and their priests; and councils of elders.

Byblos first became the predominant center from where the Phoenicians dominated the Mediterranean and Erythraean (Red) Sea routes. One of its kings, the priest Ithobaal (887–856 BC), ruled Phoenicia as far north as Beirut, and part of Cyprus.

meaning either "purple country" or "land of palm trees") was a thalassocratic ancient Semitic civilization that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the west of the Fertile Crescent.

It included the coastline of what is now Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Syria, and south-west Turkey, though some of its colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean (most notably Carthage) and even the Atlantic Ocean.

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.

In terms of archaeology, language, lifestyle, and religion there was little to set the Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other residents of the Levant. It is difficult to ascertain which meaning came first, but it is understandable how Greeks may have associated the crimson or purple color of dates and dye with the merchants who traded both products. In the Amarna tablets of the 14th century BC, people from the region called themselves Kenaani or Kinaani.

This theory was accepted by the 19th-century German classicist Arnold Heeren who said that: "In the Greek geographers, for instance, we read of two islands, named Tyrus or Tylos, and Aradus, which boasted that they were the mother country of the Phoenicians, and exhibited relics of Phoenician temples." The Dilmun civilization thrived in Bahrain during the period 2200–1600 BC, as shown by excavations of settlements and Dilmun burial mounds.

However, some claim there is little evidence of occupation at all in Bahrain during the time when such migration had supposedly taken place.

The civilization spread across the Mediterranean between 1500 BC and 300 BC.

Phoenicia is an ancient Greek term used to refer to the major export of the region, cloth dyed Tyrian purple from the Murex mollusc, and referred to the major Canaanite port towns, and it does not correspond exactly to a cultural identity that would have been recognised by the Phoenicians themselves.

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Many of the most important Phoenician settlements had been established long before this: Byblos, Tyre in South Lebanon, Sidon, Simyra, Arwad, and Berytus, the capital of Lebanon, all appear in the Amarna tablets.