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A relief image of the mideast
This relief map of the mideast shows why the Phoenician sea traders were wise to keep to the ocean coast. They kept close to the shore, avoiding the dangers of the deep sea. This may be why the God Yamm, "sea", is the enemy in the Ba'al myth cycle. Curiously, the Goddess Asherah, whose many titles include "Lady Asherah of the Sea", is honored as mother of the Gods. Perhaps she symbolized the calm, nurturing aspect of the Sea that was within sight of the shoreline.

The ancient Phoenicians believed, as did the rest of the educated world, that the world was a flat disk, with the land surrounded by ocean. Consequently, there was no motive to explore the watery wilderness.

The sailors covered an amazing amount of territory, in small, fragile boats . Reportedly, one circumnavigated Africa.


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