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Invent the alphabet, fashion sturdy ships from the famous cedars of Lebanon, and lead voyages throughout the Mediterranean. Distant lands and the vast seas beyond the Pillars of Heracles await!

The Phoenicians are a playable civilization in Age of Empires. They are based on a Semitic civilization who settled a wide area in the Mediterranean from around 2500 BC, originating from the Levant, primarily parts of present-day Israel, and stretched as far as northwestern Africa and the Iberian peninsula. They formed several influential coastal colonies, the most significant one being Carthage.


Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Archers have +2 line of sight.

Missing technologies[]

Metallurgy, Chain Mail Infantry, Chain Mail Archers, Chain Mail Cavalry, Siegecraft, Architecture, Urbanization

Missing units[]

Horse Archer, Heavy Cavalry, Catapult, Ballista, Fire Galley


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The Phoenicians are primarily an aggressive civilization. They are excellent in all areas of combat, especially at sea, but lack elite siege units, making them ineffective when combating heavily fortified areas on land, but their cheap elephant units can make up for it if used properly.

They are best used on water maps due to their many naval bonuses, such as fast firing Catapult Triremes, stronger Docks, and increased woodcutting speed.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Catapult Triremes and Juggernaughts fire 72% faster (the tech tree incorrectly stated 58%).
  • Woodcutters work 36% faster (but stated 30%) and carry +3 wood.

RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Catapult Trireme and Juggernaught fire 33% faster (the tech tree incorrectly stated 30%).

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Team bonus added.
  • Docks have +150 hit points, +4 Line of Sight.

Campaign appearances[]

The Phoenicians appear as AI players in:

AoE Ascent of Egypt icon Ascent of Egypt[]

  • 7. Trade
    • Canaanites - Enemy (since the Definitive Edition)
  • 11. A Wonder of the World
    • Canaanites - Enemy (since the Definitive Edition)
    • Canaanites - Ally (since the Definitive Edition)
  • 12. Siege in Canaan
    • Canaanites - Enemy

NuRoR hoplite idle Glory of Greece[]

  • 8. Wonder (original only)
    • Darius - Enemy

NuRoR priest idle Voices of Babylon[]

  • 5. The Great Hunt (original and since Return of Rome)
    • Elamites - Enemy
  • 8. Nineveh (original only)
    • Enemy - Enemy

Ave Caesar[]

AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Phoenician AI characters.

  • Sanchuniathon - Phoenician author
  • Zimrida - Actually spelled Zimredda. Mayor of Siduna (Sidon) c. 1350-1335 BC
  • Plotinus - (Roman) Philosopher AD 204/5-270, teacher of Porphyry
  • Porphyry - (Roman) Philosopher from Tyre, AD c. 234-305
  • Philo - Philo of Byblos, AD 61-141, writer of Phoenician history
  • Ethbaal - King of Tyre 878-847 BC
  • Jezebel - Daughter of Ethbaal
  • Rid-Addi - King of Byblos, mid 14th century BC
  • Ahiram - King of Byblos around 1000 BC

The following AI players are only present before the Definitive Edition:

  • Hannibal (𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋) - Carthaginian general, lived 247-183/182/181 BC, son of Hamilcar Barca
  • Hanno (𐤇‬𐤍‬𐤀) - Name of several generals, politicians and other Carthaginians, most notably Hanno the Navigator (6th-5th century BC)
  • Hannibal II - See Carthaginians
  • Hanno II - See Carthaginians
  • Hannibal III - See Carthaginians
  • Hanno III - See Carthaginians
  • Hannibal IV - See Carthaginians


Main article: /History
1200 to 146 BC

There was never a country or empire called "Phoenicia." The historical name of this culture was coined by the Greeks and was not their own. The name Phoenicia derives from the Greek word phoenix, meaning in this case a dark red or purple-brown color. The Phoenicians were renowned for their cloth dyes, especially an expensive purple one popular with royalty. Because Greek language and writings were preserved in abundance, versus Phoenician texts which are very scant, the name stuck.
—Excerpt from the Age of Empires manual

Historically, the Phoenicians had impressive cultural advance, being known for their excellent shipworking skills, and they are credited along with the ancient Syrian city state of Ugarit, to be the first creators of human alphabet. They also had many relations with the Greek, as evidence of trade between the Canaanites (early Phoenicians), Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece has been discovered, as well as the fact that the Phoenician phonetic alphabet was adopted and modified by the Greeks probably at the 8th century BC.[2] Their art was largely inspired by the Greeks, however historically their architecture, and culture (to an extent) was inspired by the Egyptians due to their relationship, and trade networks with the Egyptians.


  • The civilization's icon introduced in Return of Rome portrays a Phoenician mask, made with clay in Iron Age levant, which were used to ward off evil, and were often found in tombs. The grinning masks are the most recognizable style, which were often found in Carthage and are dated from 7th to the 2nd centuries BC.
  • The user interface image in Return of Rome depicts a Phoenician ship bas-relief found on a 2nd century CE sarcophagus.
  • The Carthaginian civilization introduced in The Rise of Rome originated as a Phoenician colony (hence the word "Punic", the name Romans gave to the Carthaginians). It is evident from the original game's AI player names and the Phoenicians' Elephant units bonus that the Phoenicians were originally intended to include the Carthaginians, because war elephants were used extensively by Carthage but not in ancient Phoenicia.
  • The Phoenicians are the only Mediterranean civilization that has access to Elephant units and the Legionary, but the only one that lacks access to elite siege weapons.



Civilizations in Age of Empires categorised by architecture set
East Asian architectureChoson AoE Choson · Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet · Shang AoE Shang · Yamato AoE Yamato
Egyptian architectureAssyrians AoE Assyrians · Egyptians AoE Egyptians · Hittites AoE Hittites
Greek architectureGreeks AoE Greeks · Minoans AoE Minoans · Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians
Mesopotamian architectureBabylonians AoE Babylonians · Persians AoE Persians · Sumerians AoE Sumerians
Roman architectureCarthaginians AoE Carthaginians · Macedonians AoE Macedonians · Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans · Romans AoE Romans