Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ph(oe)nician (Ph)(o[ne)t]ics

the name of a certain territory lying on the east coast of the Mediterranean, north Judea. The boundary lines of Phoenicia differed at different times, but its length was generally about 200 miles and its average width about 20 miles. It is impossible to say when the first Phoenician settlers entered the country; but it is generally conceded that they did not come from one region, but from several different directions, and they grew into one nationality very slowly. The history of Phoenicia covers nearly 2,000 years; and although our sources of information are very meager,(controlled history) it may be divided into four distinct periods. The first of these comprise the immigration and gradual development of the various tribes until the historical time when Sidon began take the lead, about 1,500 B.C. The second period dates from the conquest of Palestine by the Hebrews, when Sidon had already become the "first born of Canaan," as recorded in Genesis. The flourishing state of its commerce and manufactures is also seen from many passages in Homer. The gradual ascendancy of the rival city of Tyre marks the beginning of the third period, in which Phoenicia attained her greatest power and glory, her ships covering every sea, and her commerce extending far and wide among other nations. During the reigns of David and Solomon(980 - 917 B.C.) very friendly relations existed between the Israelites and the Phoenicians under Hiram, king of Tyre. As each country needed what the other could supply, a very close alliance was formed, between Hiram and Solomon, especially, Hiram furnishing a portion of the material for Solomon's temple at Jerusalem. By this time, too, the Phoenicians had not only planted colonies on the coast and islands of the AEgean and Mediterranean seas, but had passed through all the Strait of Gibraltar, and established themselves on the western coast of Spain and of Africa, while at the same time their alliance with the Hebrews permitted them to find their way to the Indies by the Red Sea. Although at first they traded in the wares of Egypt and Assyria, they soon became manufactures on a very extensive scale, and drew the whole world into the circle of their commerce. The two chief articles of their manufacture were glass and the purple dye, obtained from a shellfish of the Mediterranean. Purple was one of the most noted luxuries of ancient times - especially in Asia. In temples and palaces for gods and men purple garments, hangings, curtains, and veils were used very extensively; and Alexander the Great found in Susa alone a store of purple worth 5,000 talents. Sidon's principal production was glass - invented there by accident, it was said; but most probably the invention came from Egypt. The mining operations of the Phoenicians were very extensive at this time; and they well understood how to work the minerals thus obtained. The description of the mning process in Job xxviii, 1-11, must have been derived from a sight of the Phoenician mining works. The art of pounding brass had certainly reached a high degree of perfection to enable Hiram to execute such works for Solomon's temple as are described in the Bible. Hiram's reign seems to have been the beginning of the end of Phoenicia's prosperity and glory. He was succeeded by his son Baleastartus, who died after a reign of seven years, and long series of political calamities and civil wars then ensued. The fourth and last period of Phoenician history may be dated from the middle of the 8th century B.C., when Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, besieged Tyre for five years without being able to take it. Peace was concluded on terms that were very favorable to Tyre; but two centuries later Phoenicia was conquered by Assyria. She was afterwords conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, and remained subject to Babylon until the capture of that city by Cyrus the Great, when she became part of the Medo-Persian empire; and when Persia was conquered by Alexander the Great, the last shadow of Phoenicia's independence passed away. Since 65 B.C. the Phoenician territory has been a part of Syria. The religion of the Phoenicians was like that of all ancient Semitc religions - except that of the Hebrews - a kind of Pantheistic worship of nature, their two principal being Baal Astarte. See History of Phoenicia, by Rawlinson.

Phonetics. the SCIENCE of the sounds of the human voice. Sound is produced by the expulsion of air from the lungs through the windpipe, and when this air in its passage through the throat sets the vocal cords in vibration, what we call "voice" is produced. After passing through the throat the voice enters the mouth, or nose, or both of these. As a practical science phonetics comprehends not only a knowledge of the various sounds uttered in human speech, but also the invention or discovery of an alphabetical symbol to represent each of them. The sounds of the voice are of two kinds - "fixed sounds," where the cavities of the mouth remain unchanged during the passage of the air, and "glides," where these cavities are constantly changing, or, in other words, where the utterance is variously modified by the tongue, palate, lips and teeth. The former of these are called vowels, and in the English language are represented by the letters, a, e, i, o, u, y; that latter are called consonants-with-sounders, as they are sounded with the vowels, but not alone. The great variations in spelling and pronunciation in the English tongue have been a source of perplexity to foreigners learning our language, and have caused many "phonetic reformers" to arise, with plans for producing uniformity; but of these have ever been adopted, except in the case of a few words. Perhaps the reason of this is that however "irregular" may be the spelling of so many words, yet the forms in which they written have become as firmly fixed in our mental habit as are the sounds they represent and the ideas conveyed by these sounds; hence we can never consent to any changes, except those that gradual, and proceed as by a process of evolution. Another difficulty in reference to the phonetic reform would be, that even if it were possible to devise a fixed alphabetical symbol for every sound or combination of sounds, to which all good writers would conform, the pronunciation of words would at once begin to vary, and in the course of time, our spelling and pronunciation might be as "irregular" as they now are.