Everyday life

Classics and the Bible report very little and often full of superstition information about Phoenicians’ everyday life. What we learned is that they were usually monogamous, although poligamy was allowed. It may be presumed that the father was the mainstay of the family and that this latter was made up of the ones living with him, usually his wife, children, concubines and slaves.

The Phoenician names were imposed during religious ceremonies and they consisted of a seires of names. Generally, one of them was a God’s name, while the others could consist of adjectives, common names or verbs. For example names like “Hanba’al” and “Ashtartshalam,” mean “Ba’al is merciful” and “Astante is the peace”.


Phoenicians loved hot springs, fishing, hunting, banqueting and wine and this latter they were very keen on. They also liked music very much, even if almost exclusively religious one and consequently no profane music existed.

The Phoenicians took a great care of their personal hygiene: they took hot springs in their own very well organized thermal spa and they largely used scented oils, unguents and creams made with flavoured herbs.


Women’s hairstyle was highly elaborate. Their hair was usually long, spiral rolled around big rings or gathered up in a knot. Ordinary people used to wear a short, waist rolled up little skirt or a long beltless tunic and on their head the lebede, a typical Phoenician hat.

Nobles, instead, used to wear a white linen folded tunic and large shawls or long kaftans with a waist diadem clasp. Women used to wear long straight richly ornated tunics and on their head highly coloured shawls.

Both men and women used to wear jewels like amulets, golden, silver and bronze rings and earrings.

Women from western colonies used to wear a nose-ring called nazem.


Phoenician houses had stone foundations and load-bearing walls but they were built with raw bricks made with dried mud and straw or with baked clay; the roofs, flat and surrounded by balustrades, were made water proof thanks to the pitch.

Ordinary people’s houses were usually small, made up of no more than 2 rooms; rich people’s houses, instead, were usually on two or more floors and in the middle there was a wide courtyard with a well. Inside, rooms floors were made of cement , cobblestone or marble, while walls were internally stucco-coated.

Legumes, especially beans and lentils, vegetables, cereals and olive oil represented basic ingredients in their eating habits. Proteins, instead, were mainly taken from fish; meat, especially mutton and bovine, was eaten on occasion of parties and celebrations. Like most Semitic populations, the Phoenicians generally didn’t eat pork meat, while, according to some Carthaginian sources, they also ate dog meat.