Pomponius Mela, Description of the World 1.56
According to Benjamin Isaac (see p.325 here), Pomponius Mela ‘is generally less judgmental and more appreciative of foreign peoples than most ancient authors. However, even by his own standards his praise for the Phoenicians is lavish’.
Phoenicen inlustravere Phoenices, sollers hominum genus et ad belli pacisque munia eximium: litteras et litterarum operas aliasque etiam artes, maria navibus adire, classe confligere, inperitare gentibus, regnum proeliumque conmenti.
Phoenicia is inhabited by the Phoenicians, an intelligent race of men and exceptional in the deeds both of war and of peace: they devised letters [i.e. the alphabet], works of literature, and the other arts too, and going on the sea in ships, fighting with a fleet, ruling peoples, and dominion and battle.