Phoenicia from the Greek was a very old Semitic civilization positioned on the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent and centered on the seashore of modern Lebanon. All main Phoenician cities were on the coastline of the Mediterranean, some colonies reaching the Western Mediterranean. It was an innovative maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550 BC to 300 BC.
The Phoenicians employed the galley, a man-powered sailing vessel, and are credited with the creation of the bireme. They were famed in Classical Greece and Rome as 'traders in purple', referring to their monopoly on the valued purple dye of the Murex snail, used, among other things, for royal clothing, and for their spread of the alphabet, from which all but one up to date phonetic alphabets are derived.