Middle Eastern Mythologies

The Hebrews and Canaanites

Who were the Canaanites?

As noted above, the Canaanites were various tribes living in the land the Bible calls Canaan after a son of Ham, the son of Noah cursed for having seen his father’s genitals. The land of Canaan is sometimes used synonymously with Phoenicia, the land of ancient Semitic peoples along the coast of what is today Lebanon. It was the Phoenicians who invented the alphabet in about 1500 B.C.E. The Phoenicians had trade and cultural contact with the civilizations of Mycenaean Greece, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. Canaan—especially as the term relates to discovered mythological texts—is also associated with the city of Ugarit (Ras Shamra in modern Syria).


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