A Lebanese nationalist ideology.
Phoenicianism is based on the idea that Lebanon is unique in the Middle East for its location, people, and mission, and therefore should not be bound in any arrangement to neighboring countries, which are seen as inferior. The ideology of Phoenicianism flourished early in the twentieth century, when decentralization parties proliferated in the Arab region of the Ottoman Empire. Many Christians were dedicated Arab nationalists, although some Lebanese Christians believed that their nation should not be associated with the Arab region.
Phoenicianism is based on the belief that the Lebanese political entity is, contrary to historical realities, not the product of the twentieth century. "Lebanese nationalists"—a term that has come to describe the views of the right-wing Maronite Christian establishment and its allies in other sects—believe that Lebanon, both as a political entity and as a people, has been in continuous existence since Phoenician times. The Phoenicians are seen as ancient Lebanese, and Phoenician achievements are exaggerated to the point that the Greek and Roman civilizations are perceived as inferior to the "Lebanese Phoenician civilization." Lebanese nationalists argue that the Phoenician identity defines the Lebanese political identity. Other identities, such as those based on Islam or Arabism, are regarded as alien to the Lebanese historical experience.
The dispute over Phoenicianism is at the root of the Lebanese political problem. There is no consensus on the identity of Lebanon. Although the Maronite establishment has insisted that the Lebanese identity should be defined in purely historical terms (i.e., Phoenician), Lebanese Muslims and others who support their views argue that the Lebanese identity has been shaped by the Islamic Arab legacy. Arab nationalists dismiss the Phoenician claims and compare then to Zionist claims over Palestine. The political arrangement of Lebanon since 1943 has failed to settle this thorny political issue. The National Pact of 1943, for example, tried to please both sides by declaring that Lebanon has "an Arab face," leaving the determination of the identity of the "body" unspecified. For advocates of Phoenicianism, the only linkage between Lebanon and the Arab world rests in Lebanon's membership in the League of Arab States.
Phoenicianism has developed from an ideology into a full-fledged myth. Nobody has contributed to the nourishment of the myth more than Lebanese poet and ultranationalist Saʿid Aql, who traces most of the great discoveries of civilization to the Phoenician people. Even the discovery of America is attributed by Aql—among others in Lebanon—to Phoenician travelers who preceded Columbus. The great Greek thinkers are called Phoenicians. The school curricula in Lebanon reinforce the myths about the Phoenician people among all who accept a version of history promulgated by ideologues who have dominated the Ministry of Education since independence.
see also aql, saʿid; league of arab states; national pact (lebanon).
Kaufman, Asher. "Phoenicianism: The Formation of an Identity in Lebanon in 1920." Middle Eastern Studies 37 (January 2001): 173.
"Phoenicianism." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 21, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/phoenicianism
"Phoenicianism." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved January 21, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/phoenicianism
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.