Ancient Seafarers of the Mediterranean: The Phoenicians

Ancient Seafarers of the Mediterranean: The Phoenicians


About this course

Recommended Ages: 10-16

Start Date: Enrollments received on or before Monday will be given class access the following Tuesday. Course consists of 4 lesson plans. No live classes- view lessons on YOUR schedule. SUMMER SCHEDULE IN EFFECT!! You have until August 23 to complete the course. Upon enrollment, you will receive class access information on Tuesday. Final reports will be issued on August 24. This gives you complete freedom during the summer to do the work! Instructors will still be grading and giving feedback for students weekly, but there will be no weekly deadlines- only the final course deadline of August 23.

Price: $60

Space Available: 

We have all heard of the core civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea: the Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans. But many smaller civilizations that lined the coasts of the ancient Mediterranean also made contributions to the history of the ancient world. Perhaps none of these is more crucial or more overlooked than the Phoenicians. Though they never had a large, land-based empire like the Romans, the Phoenicians spread through the sea. Settling in strategic locations allowed them to control trade in the ancient Mediterranean Sea. When one of Phoenicia’s colonies split off to be independent, it went on to challenge one of the greatest powers of the ancient world and to birth one of the greatest generals of all time. The Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage shaped the face of the ancient world, and Hannibal Barca is still one of the most celebrated and studied generals of antiquity. Though Carthage was much maligned by historians for centuries after Rome destroyed the city, we are realizing that there is more to the city than the propaganda of ancient Roman historians. This class will highlight the important contributions of both Phoenicia and Carthage to the ancient world, and it will shed some light on an often overlooked civilization.

This is an academically advanced class, and not recommended for most children under 10 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!). There is only 1 level for this course.

LESSON PLANS: This is a 6 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION:There are weekly discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that is the main difference. Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All quizzes, labs, and online assessments automatically receive a grade in the system. You have the option of having your student’s individual projects graded or not (all assignments receive instructor feedback). Report cards are issued at the end of the course- one for ungraded students and one for graded students. These mean nothing other than for your own records or reporting purposes. We do not maintain copies.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Week 1: An Introduction to the Phoenicians

The Phoenicians are an ancient civilization that often gets overlooked in our studies of the Mediterranean. The first week will familiarize students with who the Phoenicians were. We will be focusing primarily on the geography of Phoenicia and the history of the people that lived there. After the introduction, we will examine the factors that allowed a small, seafaring group from the Levant spread all the way to the Atlantic and even venture down the western coast of Africa!

Week 2: Phoenician Culture and Society

The second week of the course is a deeper look into Phoenician culture. Most people know about their contribution to language in the form of the phonetic alphabet, but did you know they also invented the bireme, the ship that would later be developed into the legendary Greek trireme. Their art, religion, industry, and methods of warfare will be the major topics of discussion this week, along with the better known contributions as well.

Week 3: Phoenician Colonies and the Creation of Carthage 

The Phoenicians never created a massive land empire, like the Romans or the Mongols. Instead, they used their abilities at sea to take control of trade in the Mediterranean Sea. This economic control of the region resulted in Phoenician colonies popping up from Crete to the Iberian Peninsula. Of all of these colonies, Carthage grew to be even more powerful than the cities in the Phoenician homeland. Over time, Carthage took control of trade throughout the Mediterranean Sea. No one was able to challenge their control until they clashed with a fledgling Roman republic.

Week 4: The Punic Wars and the Collapse of the Ancient Phoenicians

The final week of the course is a look at the infamous Punic Wars. This series of three wars between Carthage and Rome shaped Rome into the ancient super power that it eventually became. The wars started as a fight over important trade routes through Sicily, but they ended with one of the greatest generals of the ancient world, Hannibal Barca, terrorizing Rome for over a decade on their own turf. When the Romans gained the upper hand over the Carthaginians, Carthage’s chapter as an ancient power came to a close. Around the same time, Phoenicia collapsed under the weight of another one of the greatest ancient generals, Alexander the Great. We will end by looking at the legacy that was left by both the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians.


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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