The Phoenicians, as was only to be expected of those traders and artisans of the ancient world, appear to have adopted both the cylinder of Assyria and the scarab of Egypt as have survived the numerous engraved stones or g pebbles, technically called gems, which served as matrices and in most instances were undoubtedly mounted as finger-rings or were furnished with swivels.
The cylinder, however, seems to have been generally superseded in Egypt by the engraved scarab, or beetle-shaped object, which, it may be assumed, was used at an early time, as it certainly was in later Egyptian history, for sealing purposes, although its proper function was that of an amulet.
At first being used in their natural forms, these pebbles or gems have been grouped as lenticular or bean-shaped, and glandular or of the sling-bolt pattern; later, from the 6th to the 4th century B.C., they were fashioned as scaraboids, that is, in the general form of the Egyptian scarab, but without the sculptured details of the beetle's body.
But while the scarab met with little favour in Greece, where, as just stated, the scaraboid was preferred, among the Etruscans its adoption was complete, and with them it became the commonest form of the seal-matrix, dating from the latter part of the 6th century B.C., engraved chiefly with subjects derived from Greek art.
Dynasty scarab, were found by Layard in 1851, and Tell Khalaf, where the confluents join, and remains of the palace of a certain Kapar, son of Hanpan of "Hittite" affinities but uncertain date, were found by von Oppenheim in 1899.
The sacred beasts in the various temples, tame as far as possible, were of almost every conceivable variety, from the vulture to the swallow or the goose, from the lion to the shrew-mouse, from the hippopotamus to the sheep and the monkey, from the crocodile to the tortoise and the cobra, from the carp to the eel; the scorpion and the scarab beetle were perhaps the strangest in this strange company of deities.