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By Philip K. Hitti (auth.)

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The early paddlers evolved into international navigators and mariners, the greatest of their time, and the early pedlars into the leading traders and merchants of antiquity. Some of them turned settlers. As settlers Phoenicians planted unnumbered colonies where they distributed and rendered acceptable to Europeans and Asiatics the rich products, material, intellectual and spiritual, of the Semitic world. True liaison agents, they meantime disseminated the few products of the West, mainly minerals and earthenware, in the East.

Adept sons of the Tyrians, Carthaginians colonized not only north-west Africa and mid-Mediterranean isles but parts of Spain and Gaul. Before the end of the third century this empire had extended from what is today Tripoli, Libya, to the Atlantic shore of Morocco and included the islands and Spain south of the Ebro. But they had one enemy to contend with - Rome. The issue was no less than supremacy of the sea. So firm had the Carthaginian hold on the Mediterranean become that Romans were told they could not even wash their feet in its waters without permission.

Through the gates opened by Alexander and widened by Seleucids and Ptolemys an ever-increasing flood of Greek thought, techniques and practices spread and engulfed the entire Orient. The flow was facilitated by improved means of communication, physical and intellectual. Exchange in commodities went hand in hand with exchange in ideas. Precious stones from central Asia, spices from India, frankincense from Arabia and slaves from all these and other lands found their way into the West, passing partly through Lebanese ports.

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