Phoenician Literature

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Phoenician Literature


the literature of the Phoenicians. Phoenician literature is related to Ugaritic literature, together with which it constitutes Canaanite literature.

At the turn of the first millennium B.C, the Phoenicians, as disseminators of alphabetic writing and as intermediaries between cultures, played a unique role in the history of Mediterranean literatures, having provided an important impetus to the emergence of classical Greek literature. However, the texts of Phoenician literature have been almost entirely lost. Gravestone and dedicatory inscriptions from the second and first millennia B.C, sometimes written in a graphic, rhythmic prose, have been preserved on the territory of Phoenicia and its colonies. The mythological plots of Phoenician literature, which center on such divinities as Astarte, the goddess of love and fertility, and the chief god, Baal, are well known through adaptations by Hellenistic scholars. The myth of the sufferings and resurrection of Adonis, for example, was retold by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.


Turaev, B. A. Ostalki finikiiskoi literatury. St. Petersburg, 1903.
Vinnikov, I. N. “Novye finikiiskie nadpisi iz Kilikii.” Vestnik drevnei islorii, 1950, no. 3.
Vinnikov, I. N. “Epitafiia Akhirama Biblskogo v novom osveshchenii.” Ibid., 1952, no. 4.
Shifman, 1. Sh. Finikiiskii iazyk. Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
While Dagon's fatherhood also remained as a fossilized element in Phoenician literature, there it retained more substantial traces of the earlier Hurrian literature.
With respect to Phoenician literature she surveys the testimony of Josephus, Philo of Byblos, and references to Greek histories of the Phoenicians (pp.