The Phoenicians – Book Review
THE PURPLE EMPIRE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD BY GERHARD HERN, originally published in Germany in 1973, and translated by Caroline Hillier in 1975. Here we have a book written by a so called ‘modern Historian’, which of course is not what we would term an ‘Identity’ book, for our author struggled with the identification of people as he tried to establish just where these people called Phoenicians came from.
We being an Identity buff, and after studying ‘The Swift Ministry’ and old books by Harold Lamb who did much research as to the people of the Ancient land, called today ‘The Middle East’ as well as other old books on archaeology, symbolism and such. I will mark my thoughts in ( ) as I try to help our author find just who are ‘The Phoenicians’.
Our author finds traces of the Phoenicians as late as 320‑21 B.C., as Alexander the Great came to the sea coast cities of the Mediterranean, to the city of Tyre. As Alexander the Great came he told his men to tell these people in their walled cities that his people belonged also to this same race as they, and that this knowledge was given to him by the gods in a dream.
To the Greeks, the Phoenicians had always been a rather mysterious people. They failed to understand as to how such a tiny group of people had succeeded in building an Empire which spread over the entire area of the Lebanese coast. This Empire of the Phoenicians seemed to be built on a network of trading routes, and the only trace of this Empire was a fleet of ships, walled settlements, storehouses, barracks, watch towers, and possibly a Temple, all built in some sheltered bay along some coastal waters.
The Greeks had open cities, marble facades, pillars and brightly painted statues of their gods. Whereas it seemed that the Phoenicians would arrive in different cities, conduct their business, and then quietly disappear. They also sometime would let it be known that they had travelled to lands where no Greek had set foot.