With mountains to their backs and the sea spreading before them, the Phoenicians left a line of settlements along what is now the coast of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. Tyre, once the most powerful of their cities, possessed features that Phoenician colonists sought again and again when settling on foreign shores: a defensible island, a protected anchorage, and easy access to agricultural fields on the mainland.
Sidon, another great port, provided evidence of a revolutionary Phoenician
development: the world's earliest alphabet.
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