The Language.—The Remains.
The Phoenician language bore a strong affinity to the Hebrew, through which alone the inscriptions on coins and monuments can be interpreted, and these constitute the entire literary remains, though the Phoenicians had doubtless their archives and written laws. The inscriptions engraved on stone or metal are found chiefly in places once colonies, remote from Phoenicia itself. The Phoenician alphabet forms the basis of the Semitic and Indo-European graphic systems, and was itself doubtless based on the Egyptian hieratic writing. Sanchuniathon is the name given as that of the author of a history of Phoenicia which was translated into Greek and published by Philo, a grammarian of the second century A.D. A considerable fragment of this work is preserved in Eusebius, but after much learned controversy it is now believed that it was the work of Philo himself.