Sidon: The Phoenician City State


This article will discuss how the Ancient Phoenician port city of Sidon played a significant role in creating the history and myths surrounding the ancient seafarers and traders we call the Phoenicians today. We will cover Phoenicia, Sidon’s founding, glass, coin minting, and collecting Sidon coins.


Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in the Levant, known today as Lebanon, and sections of Israel. It should be noted that there is no historical record of the Phoenicians referring to themselves as Phoenicians. Instead, each city worked together but was independent, each having its own king/royalty. Throughout its existence, many different Empires conquered Phoenicia.

The invasions started around the century 8th BCE with the Assyrians, followed by the Persians, then Alexander the Great, and many more examples throughout the centuries.

Each conquering entity seemed to let the various vassal kingdoms rule themselves and be independent in many matters to one degree or another.


Sidon Founding

Humans have inhabited Sidon since prehistory; however, by early history, around 1350 BCE, it was part of the Egyptian Empire. While Egypt was a powerful kingdom for the time, this wasn’t meant to last. Instead, Sidon would go on to reach its peak sometime during the Iron age and eventually became one of the Phoenician’s most important cities.

Settlers from Sidon during this time were sent to an area closer to Jerusalem to set up the Phoenician city we know as Tyre.

During its peak, the city expanded its size and economy, which helped the Phoenicians become the trading powerhouse we know them as today.



Sidon is considered one of the oldest Phoenician cities, and its thought that its name is likely a reference to fishing. Like the other Phoenician cities, it was known for its various goods, including the famous purple dye and glass. However, Phoenician Glass production was more central to Sidon’s day-to-day economy than other Phoenician cities.

Alongside the extensive glass production, Homer wrote about the incredible skill the women in the city had when it came to embroidering (alongside complimenting the other major productions in the city that were discussed above.)

Sidons foudning, glass and coin minting
The ruins of the Temple of Eshmun, an ancient place of worship dedicated to Eshmun, the Phoenician god of healing.

Sidon Coin Minting

Sidon began minting coins alongside the other Phoenician cities. The coins they minted, mixed with their intricate trade networks, led to Phoenician coins having an essential role in the ancient economy of the ancient world. Because of This, Phoenician coins have been found throughout the Mediterranean at various archaeological sites.

Eventually, Sidon became a part of the Roman Empire, and similar to the previous conquerors, the Romans allowed the minting of coins to continue.

Today you can find and purchase coins from the various periods of Sidon and the other Phoenician city-states.


Collecting Sidon Coinage

Each coin has a unique history attached to it. Coin collectors love collecting Sidon coins. Click the link below to see if we have any Phoenician coins in stock.

Example of a 1/16th Shekel Minted in Sidon, Phoenicia.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.