History of Phoenicia eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 429 pages of information about History of Phoenicia.
metal were skimmed off, or the metal itself allowed, by the turning of a cock, to flow from an upper crucible into a lower one.  For greater purity the melting and skimming process was sometimes repeated; and, in the case of gold, the skimmings were themselves broken up, pounded, and again submitted to the melting pot.[1039] The use of quicksilver, however, being unknown, the gold was never wholly freed from the alloy of silver always found in it, nor was the silver ever wholly freed from an alloy of lead.[1040]

The Romans and Carthaginians worked their mines almost wholly by slave labour; and very painful pictures are drawn of the sufferings undergone by the unhappy victims of a barbarous and wasteful system.[1041] The gangs of slaves, we are told, remained in the mines night and day, never seeing the sun, but living and dying in the murky and foetid atmosphere of the deep excavations.  It can scarcely be hoped that the Phoenicians were wiser or more merciful.  They had a large command of slave labour, and would naturally employ it where the work to be done was exceptionally hard and disagreeable.  Moreover, the Carthaginians, their colonists, are likely to have kept up the system, whatever it was, which they found established on succeeding to the inheritance of the Phoenician mines, and the fact that they worked them by means of slaves makes it more than probable that the Phoenicians had done so before them.[1042]

When the metals were regarded as sufficiently cleansed from impurities, they were run into moulds, which took the form of bars, pigs, or ingots.  Pigs of copper and lead have, as already observed, been found in Sardinia which may well belong to Phoenician times.  There is also in the museum of Truro a pig of tin, which, as it differs from those made by the Romans, Normans, and later workers, has been supposed to be Phoenician.[1043] Ingots of gold and silver have not at present been found on Phoenician localities; but the Persian practice, witnessed to by Herodotus,[1044] was probably adopted from the subject nation, which confessedly surpassed all the others in the useful arts, in commerce, and in practical sagacity.


Strength of the religious sentiment among the Phoenicians—­ Proofs—­First stage of the religion, monotheistic—­Second stage, a polytheism within narrow limits—­Worship of Baal—­ of Ashtoreth—­of El or Kronos—­of Melkarth—­of Dagon—­of Hadad—­of Adonis—­of Sydyk—­of Esmun—­of the Cabeiri—­of Onca—­of Tanith—­of Beltis—­Third stage marked by introduction of foreign deities—­Character of the Phoenician worship—­Altars and sacrifice—­Hymns of praise, temples, and votive offerings—­Wide prevalence of human sacrifice and of licentious orgies—­Institution of the Galli—­Extreme corruption of the later religion—­Views held on the subject of a future life—­Piety of the great mass of the people earnest, though mistaken.
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History of Phoenicia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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