Byblos (1984)
Lebanon

Back to index

The ruins of many successive civilizations are found at Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities. Inhabited since Neolithic times, it has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. 
  • Lebanon 1966. Air Post. Roman  Amphitheater. 
  • Lebanon 1967. Air Post. Aerial view of Byblos. 

Lebanon 1966. Air Post. Roman Amphitheater in Byblos.  

Lebanon 1967. Air Post. Aerial view of Byblos.

Lebanon 1945. Citadel of Jubayl (Byblos)

Byblos is an ancient city of Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean Sea, near present-day Beirut, Lebanon. Extensive archaeological investigations, begun in 1921, indicate that Byblos is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with remains of civilizations dating from about 5000 bc. The city was the principal city of Phoenicia and an important seaport during the 2nd millennium BC, when it exported cedar and other woods to Egypt. The city of Byblos is now occupied by a Lebanese village called Jubayl.
  • Lebanon 1945. Citadel of Jubayl (Byblos). 

The name Byblos, applied by the Greeks to papyrus, which they imported from Byblos, is the source of the word Bible. Gebal was the biblical name for the city; the Book of Ezekiel (see 27:9) mentions the maritime pursuits of its inhabitants. The term Bible is derived through Latin from the Greek biblia, or “books,” the diminutive form of byblos, the word for “papyrus” or “paper,” which was exported from the Phoenician port city of Byblos. By the time of the Middle Ages the books of the Bible were considered a unified entity. 

Although its inhabitants had a homogeneous civilization and considered themselves a single nation, Phoenicia was not a unified state but a group of city-kingdoms, one of which usually dominated the others. The most important of these cities were Simyra, Zarephath (Sarafand), Byblos, Jubeil, Arwad (Rouad), Acco (‘Akko - in present-day Israel - on this site), Sidon (Sayda), Tripolis (Tripoli), Tyre (Sur), and Berytus (Beirut). The two most dominant were Tyre and Sidon, which alternated as sites of the ruling power. 

Lebanon 1950. Air Post Crusader Castle, Sidon. Lebanon 1925. Crusader Castle, Tripolis. Lebanon 1925. Aerial view of Beirut.
The Phoenicians, called Sidonians in the Old Testament and Phoenicians by the Greek poet Homer, were Semites, related to the Canaanites of ancient Palestine. Historical research indicates that they founded their first settlements on the Mediterranean coast about 2500 BC. 

Early in their history, they developed under the influence of the Sumerian and Akkadian cultures of nearby Babylon. 

  • Lebanon 1947. Air Post. Phoenician Galley. 

Lebanon 1947. Air Post. Phoenician Galley.

About 1800 BC Egypt, which was then beginning to acquire an empire in the Middle East, invaded and took control of Phoenicia. Beginning about 1400 BC raids of Egyptian territory by the Hittites weakened the Egyptian empire, giving the Phoenician cities an opportunity to revolt. By about 1200 BC the Phoenicians were independent of Egypt.

Sources and links:

Other World Cultural Heritage Properties in Lebanon (on this web site). For more information about the individual properties, please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Lebanon-section. 

Back to index


Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus
All Rights Reserved