The Phoenicians’ Route – Greece

In the fight that counterposed  the expansionist Egypt to the Syrian and  Mesopotamian principles,  starting from the XVI century BC , and then to the Hittites, the Phoenician coastal cities enjoyed of a relative peace, consolidated by the positive outcome of the battle of Qadesh, remaining under the protection of Pharaoh. This situation created a balance which is however subverted around 1180 B.C. due to invasion of the so-called “Peoples of the sea”, according to the definition given in the texts of the ancient Egyptians. They are  the protagonists of a great wave of immigration that struck on the coasts of Canaan and Egypt, mixtures of different people, who with their invasions swept the Mycenaean civilization away from the shores  of the Aegean Sea and sent the survivors away towards south. The famous Trojan war, sung by Homer, is dated  at about the same time. Countless archaeological researches made in Troy and the historical texts attest that the city was  disputed from the Greeks of Europe to the Greeks of Asia because it dominated the entrance of the channels which gave access to the rich regions of the Black Sea. The destruction of the Mycenaean civilization led to the stoppage of sailing and the Greek trade in the Mediterranean. The emptiness that was created brought the Phoenicians to add to their business routes towards  Egypt, those towards the Aegean Sea and Greece. In the Near East the Phoenicians were very well integrated in the various nations; in fact, they founded  exclusively commercial districts;  what concerns Greece however, they settled in enclaves with a small hinterland, accepting indigenous elements  as Homer testifies, who mentions commercial ports founded by Phoenician traders. The first traces of the Phoenician presence are preserved in Crete, in Euboea, in the Dodecanese islands and in Thebes. During the Hellenistic period they settled in  Delos, Athens and especially in Thessaly and created real colonies of Phoenician merchants.