woensdag 26 maart 2014


Sa-rip-tu is the other town, that Esarhaddon, the Assyrian king in 676 BC, gave to Baal I of Tyre. The identification of Sariptu is well established. This “long village”, as Sarepta was called in Graeco-Roman times, occupied a large area near the present day village of Sarafand, 13 km south of Sidon. It was an important city, often mentioned in ancient sources and the American excavations have uncovered large sections of the Phoenician town.
Before Esarhaddon:
It has been suggested, that Sariptu is attested as early in the third millennium BC in a document from Ebla (Ṣa-ar-pa’at) and in a geographical list (Ṣa-ra-pa-at). However, similar place names are encountered elsewhere. The name of the town seems to be Semitic: ṢRP means burning of metal or stones.
At any rate, Sariptu occurs certainly in Egyptian, Assyrian, Hebrew, Greek and Latin sources, as well as in later accounts by pilgrims and travellers.
In the Papyrus Anastasia I 20:8 the town is called Drpt. Biblical Ṣarphath (1 Kings 19:9-10). It is located at the mound of Ras el-Qantara, near the Roman harbour of Sarepta.
See: Canaanite Toponyms in Ancient Egyptian Documents, Shmuel Aḥituv, Jerusalem/Leiden, 1984.
Sariptu has an inscription in Ugaritic script. E.L.Greenstern makes a translation and comes to the conclusion, that is a Phoenician inscription: [a]gn p‘l yd[‘]bl lḥdš b‘[l] = amphora, that was made by Yada‘baal for ḥdš, his master.
The excavations of Pritchard show us that in de period 1025-800 BC stratum D there is a new city plan with red slip finish and torpedo shaped amphorae. The sounding Y (highest part of the mound) contains primarily a residential area. A sequence of 11 occupation strata with courtyard houses and potters’ kilns (19) and bread-ovens can be seen. The kilns have a round to oval structure with diameters between 1.30m – 3 meters. There are traces of making purple dye from the murex snail and of casting of bronze and gold objects.
Sounding X is an industrial quarter near the harbour with pottery and 21 built firing kilns, slip basins and tanks for washing/storing clay. There is an 8th century BC stone ashlar shrine to Tanit-Aštart with a central cultic pillar. In and around the religious shrine 180 objects of ivory, alabaster, faience and terracotta was found. There is a stone altar of 0.94 x 1 meter with a single step in front of it. Along the walls of the shrine there were benches (21cm high and 30-40 cm wide). Further findings are beads, small amulets, charms associated with Ptah, Toth, Sekhmet, Bastet, Bes, 6 eyes of Horus, terracotta with throne and 2 sfinxes, faience statue of Horus and Toth, plaque ‘woman at the window’, 13 figurines in terracotta. Some of them holding a tambourine. There are two burials of infants and one tomb of two adults have found out of the end of the middle bronze period.
See: RSF I 1973. Notiziario: The 1972 Excavations at Sarepta. J.B.Pritchard.
In 701 BC the Assyrian king Sennacherib conquered already Sariptu.
After the Assyrian king Esarhaddon came in 676 BC in the area Sariptu goes to Baal I of Tyre. When Baal I is in revolt in 671 BC he loses and he has give Sariptu bach to Sidon.
After Esarhaddon:
In the 6th century there are a lot of Phoenician oil bottles and tripods. W.Culican studies that in Berytus XIC 1970. The fabric is hard and grey with a blackish coating. Tomb 26 contains the following objects: dishes (2x), tripod bowl (1x), lamp (1x), (pilgrim-)flasks (2x), urn (1x), olpes (2x), jug (1x).
From the 5th/4th century BC comes a Phoenician seal mentioning the name of the city ṢRPT and the number 10 on it.
According to Ps.Scylax Sarepta belonged in his time to the Tyrians. He thus attributes a very small territory to the Sidonians, some 22 km from the north to the south. This fits the circumstances following the defeat of Tennes or Tabnit II ca.346/5 BC, the collapse of the anti-Persian revolt, and the execution of the Sidonian ruler, ordered by Artaxerxes III Ochus (358-338 BC). The city, situated 13 km south of Sidon, was a Sidonian dependency according to the Annals of Sennacherib, the account of I Kings 17,9 and later, Luke 4,26. In 676 BC, the town was given by Esarhaddon to Baal I of Tyre, but it certainly belonged again to Sidon in the Persian period. Ps.Scylax stresses the fact that the city was dependent from the Tyrians in his days, emphasizing Terios as if this situation resulted from a recent event. It may lasted only from 346/5 to 332 BC, the year of the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great. ṢRPT appears in this period on a Phoenician city seal, dated in year 12 of the Tyrian king Azzimilk I, i.e. in 336 BC. Ps.Scylax fails indicating that Sarepta had a harbour or, at least, anchorages in the three small bays which are still used nowadays by fishermen from Ṣarafand.
The excavations conducted in 1969-1974 on a promontory of Ras al-Qantara have shown that Sarepta was quite an important centre in the Persian period and its sanctuary of a healing deity, probably Eshmun, was known beyond the borders of Phoenicia, since a digraphic inscription in syllabic and alphabetic Greek was dedicated there to Asclepius in the 4th century BC by a devotee from Cyprus. The holy god of Sarepta, known from four inscriptions dating to the Roman period, was worshipped then not only in Sarepta, where two Greek inscriptions were found, but also in the Italian harbour-town of Puteoli, where one Greek and one Greek-Latin bilingual dedicated to this god came to light. Their discovery in Puteoli implies maritime links with Sarepta and thus the existence of a port in Sarepta itself.
In fact there is a stone built quay at Ras esh-Shiq (1st century AD).
One of the last signs of Sarepta in antiquity comes from “Roman de Leucippé et Clitophon” in the 3rd century AD, where it is described as a fishing port.
Unfortunately we have to conclude this survey with a possible forgery:
The legend l mlk Ṣprt (belonging to the king of Sarepta), read on a stamp seal of unknown provenance and crude manufacture, ether confirms the suspected forgery or is misread and engraved by an inexpert hand. In the second hypothesis one could read l-mlkt / qdg (or: qrg) with the left side of the head of qoph downwards, what is unusual at any rate. The reading of Ṣ is frankly impossible. Although mlkt occurs in proper names, the second element lacks any parallel and may again suggest the conclusion that the seal is a forgery, perhaps from the period of the American excavations at Sarepta.
See: Itineraria Phoenicia, E.Lipinski, OLA 127, St.Phoen.XVIII, Leuven, 2004.

dinsdag 25 maart 2014


Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, ends his list of places belonging to the Sidonian kingdom in 676 BC with the name si-du-un-ni. This location is already well known = Sidon/Saïda. So, this location needs no further elaboration.
Besides the sixteen localities enumerated in the list, Esarhaddon’s inscriptions mention two additional Sidonian towns allotted by the king of Assyria to Baal I, namely Ma-’-ru-ub-bu and s.a-rip-tu. Marubbu means in Phoenician M’rb = West. Maybe the place could have the full name of: “from here it goes to the west”, just like Lilybaion (Marsala on Sicily) which means: “from here it goes to Libya”. Another explanation gives the Neo-Punic word M‘RB (“bymarob” in Poenulus 930/940), which means custody or care. This correspondences with the Hebrew “ ‘-r-b “= take custody of someone.
Lipinski (Itineraria Phoenicia):
Marubbu cannot be identified either with ‘Adlun, named in the Bordeaux Itinerary, or with Ornithopolis of the Greeks. See: E.Forrrer, (Die Provinzeinteilung des Assyrisches Reiches, Leipzig 1920, p.65-66. TPOA). Ornithopolis should be located at Tell al-Buraq, while Adlun, 6 km south of Sarepta and 18 km north of Tyrus, does not provide any concrete evidence of its being Mar‘ub. Besides, 1.5 km south of its extensive necropolis, there is the Wale Nabe Se‘ir. Since Se‘ir is a Palestinian toponym, there are chances that the Nabi‘ in question preserves an old indigenous place name of the site of ‘Adlun, still named ‘Adnun (<Ad Nonum) by Yaqut (1179-1229 AD)*, while the Crusaders were already calling it Adelon. There has been done some excavations in Aadloun, but they have only Palaeolithical and Neolithical results.
* See: G.Le Strange. Palestine under the Moslems, London, 1890, p.109.
On the other side, Ma‘rub is still mentioned in the treaty concluded in 1285 AD between Malik al-Mans.ur, sultan of Egypt, and Margaret, princess of Tyre**. This other explanation locates the site in question and is named also Ma‘rub 14 km northeast of Tyre as the crow flies and 3 km south of the Nahr al-Qasimiye. This could be Maaroub. Now, this Maaroub lies beneath the Litani (Nahr al-Qasimiye). Therefore it is not likely that it belonged to the former kingdom of Sidon! Only excavations can provide further evidence.
** Maqrizi, histoire des sultans mamelouks de l’Egypte, Paris 1887 Vol II.
Conclusion: there is no solid proof where Marubbu should be located.

zaterdag 22 maart 2014


The next two place names mentioned in Esarhaddon’s list of the kingdom of Sidon in the year 676 BC are Da-la-im-me and I-si-hi-im-me. They must lay at the sea or close to it, as shown by the element “im-me” = sea. Both have to be looked for near Al-Mina, the present-day harbour of Tripoli.
Old names for Tripoli: Phoenician:’tr(pl), Greek: Tripolis (Scylax), Aramaic: Tarp‘laye, Arabic: T(a)rablus.
The ancient city occupied the site of the present-day harbour of Al-Mina, built on a promontory which runs out towards the northwest for a distance of 2 km and is about 1 km wide. The site is well adapted for a haven, as a chain of seven small islands, running out to the northwest, affords shelter in the direction from which the most violent winds blow. The peninsula is backed by a small plain, limited by the Nahr Abu ‘Ali in the north, the Nahr al-Baḥsas in the south and the first Lebanon Lebanon slopes, called al-Baal, in the east, next to the modern city of Tripoli. Originally the town had two ports. The one in the north survived. The one in the south is abandoned after earthquakes in the 6th century AD.
The town is for the first time probably mentioned in the period of the Amarna correspondence as Wahlia (EA 104,11 + 114,12). The etymology of this city name, derived from the same root as Arabic “waḥl”, “morass”, suggests however that Wahlia was located at Abu Samra, not at Al-Mina. This strategically situated hill controls the crossing of the marshy valley of the Nahr Abu ‘Ali and it has shown traces of occupation in the Late Bronze Age. It was no harbour town. This is why a passage in the Amarna letter EA 114 referring to Wahliya should be translated as follows: “It was the men whom I sent to Sumur that he had seized in Wahliya. (Concerning) the ships of the rulers of Tyre, Beirut and Sidon, everyone in the land of Amurru is at peace with them.” Wahliya seem to have no ships!
In EA 104 the town seems to be mentioned alongside with Ullaza, Ardata, Ambi and šigata.
Eusebius (Chron.II 80) date the foundation however much later in the 4th year of the Olympiade (=761 BC). That is c.115 years before Esarhaddon came in this area (676 BC).
In het 4th century BC Ps.Scylax describes the situation of the town Tripolis in a correct way, but does not mention any of the harbours located on the coastline between the Arwadian Tripoli (Arados, Antarados, Marathos) and this second “triple town” (the quarters of Arwad, Sidon and Tyre). The reason may simple, since the distance from the island of ar Ruad to the harbour of Al-Mina amounts to 40 km in a straight line. Now, this distance corresponds to a one-day coasting of Phoenician vessels, probably of the Hellenistic as well. There is no indication, therefore, that a part of the original Periplus was omitted in this section, as the crow flies. So we are dealing here really with Trablus.
In Phoenician this is called *dl-hym (=Sea-Gate) and that name seem to be still preserved by the name “ṭalum” of the main islet closing the harbour of Al-Mina from the north. That is why Sea-Gate would mean Harbour-entry. However, this is not certain, because such a name does not occur in the oldest known mention of the islets facing Al Mina in Mediaeval Tripoli in the Opus geographicum of Al-Idrisi (1100-1165 AD). He enumerates four islets, probably the ones seen from the harbour: “In front of Tripoli, there are four islands that lay as follows:
- the first one as from the coast is called is called Gazirat al-Nargis (Isle of Daffodils), it is small and unihabited;
- the next one is Gazirat al-Umud (Isle of the columns), 
- followed by Gazirat ar-Rahib (the Monk’s Isle)
- and finally Gazirat al-’Ardaqun.”
The partly pronounced name of the second island may have begotten ṭalum < Gazirat el-‘Umud, which he also called Gazirat al-Baqar (Cattle Isle). It is distant from the Borg by only 250 metres. The name “Isle of Columns” indicates that some ancient monuments stood on that island, and the Saint Thomas church of CrusadersTripoli may have been built there as well.
After the conquest of Tripoli by the Mameluk sultan Qala‘un, in 1289 AD, Abu l-Fida (1273-1331 AD) visited the island where this church was erected: “Close to the city, he writes, there a small island where stood a church of Saint Thomas. This island was separated from the city by the harbour. When Tripoli was taken, a huge number of Franks, both men and women, took refuge on the island and in the church that stood there, but the Moslems rushed into the sea on horseback or reached the island by swimming. All the men being there had their throat cut, while the women and the children were taken into captivity. Their riches became the victor’s spoil. After the town was sacked I went on boat to the island and found it full of putrefying corpses. It was impossible to stay there because of the stench.”
The second place, which Esarhaddon mentions, is in Phoenician: *Yš‘-ym (Safety-on-Sea) and that must refer to the harbour on the peninsula of Al-Mina, probably close to the place where the lighthouse stood, called Borg nowadays. We do not know how large the city was at that time and whether it kept the same name in later times.
Beside the two toponyms in Esarhaddon’s list, the town is further on known only by its Greek name (Tripolis), recording the city’s triple (re)foundation by Sidon, Tyre and Arwad. This tradition is alluded to by Ps.Scylax (4th century BC), followed by Diodorus of Sicily (1th century BC) and by Arab historians, like al Baladury (9th century AD) and Ibn al-Atir (around 1200 AD). Tripolis served as the headquarters of a Pan-Phoenician council.
We are told by Ps.Scylax that the settlers from Arwad, Tyre and Sidon who (re)founded Tripolis in the 4th century BC did not intermix, but had their separate quarters of the town assigned to them, each surrounded by its own wall.
Diodorus of Sicily adds that the three city quarters lie at the distance of a stadium (185 metres) one from the other. Such an arrangement seems indicative of distrust, but no traces of the walls in question have been found so far. If there really was a space of about two hundred metres  between the three parts of the city, one or two of them must have been built on the small off-shore islands, some of which were inhabited in the past. We can assume that one of them was the island called Gazirat al ‘Umud (Isle of Columns) by al-Idrisi. It must correspond to the Gazirat al-Baqar (Cattle Isle) of more recent maps.
It is distant precisely by 250 metres from the Borg aš-šayh ‘Affan, close to the ancient lighthouse. The latter was probably the site of another city quarter. The third city quarter might tentatively be located about 250 meters to the east, on the promontory where a stockade of the harbour  is indicated on 19th century maps.
The Maqsabi island (Place of Reeds), west of al-Baqar, does not seem to be appropriate for harbour facilities, while the other islets are too small or located further away. In any case, any attempt at localizing the original “triple town” must distinguish the Arwadian, Tyrian, and Sidonian settlements, obviously each with its own anchorage, from the later city. This stood likewise on the Al-Mina peninsula, but the Seleucids and Romans have extended it and embellished.
G.Markoe thinks in Phoenicians, Los Angeles, 2000, that the three quarters are in the harbour and the hills of Abu Samra and Al-Qubba, which occupy defensible positions on either side of the Abu ‘Ali river. H.Salamé-Sarkis has been researching here (Mélanges de l’Université Saint-Joseph 47, 1972). It made clear, that there is discontinuous occupation from the Late Bronze Age and Persian era.
Tripolis struck its own money in the Hellenistic period. One of these coins issued in the year 189/188 BC is believed to conceal the Phoenician name of the city. On the obverse is a veiled female head and on the reverse, in addition to the helmets of the Dioscuri (Heavenly Twins), the patron gods of Tripolis, are three Phoenician letters = “ ‘tr ” = Atar. The question which remains to be answered is whether the Phoenician letters on the Tripolis coin represent the original Phoenician name, which could be Athar, or an attempt by the engraver to reproduce in Phoenician the Greek name of the city “Tripolis”.
Demetrius I Soter landed there in 161 BC and the city took an active part in the struggle between Antiochus IX and Antiochus VII. It sided with Antiochus IX who granted freedom to the city after his victory in 104 BC and the city coinage bore thus until 95 BC the legend “holy and autonomous city”.
Tripolis fell under the tyrant Dionysius, who was executed by Pompey in 64/3 BC; its autonomy was then restored. The city was very prosperous in Roman times, especially under the reign of the Severi (193-235 AD), when it was embellished with prestigious temples devoted to the imperial cult, to Astarte, and the Holy Zeus, as is witnessed by the city’s coinage.
The Moslems took possession of the city in 638 AD. In 1109 AD it surrendered to Raymond of St.Gilles. Sultan Qala‘un of Egypt retook the town in 1289 AD. It was then destroyed and a new city arose on the present site, about 3 km inland from Al-Mina.
The sole serious candidates stay the major islands and the areas of the lighthouse and of the stockade, where antiques were offered in the 19th century on sale to travellers.
As for Mahallata, first identified with ancient Tripolis by Fr.Delitzsch, it was most likely a town of the Byblos area, just like Maiza and Kaisa.
At any rate, Tripolis as “triple city” did not have any particular Semitic name, since Greek Tripolis was used in Ezra 4,8 to form the Aramaic ethnic designation Tarp‘laye, “Tripolitans”, and is probably abbreviated into ’tr(pl), with a prosthetic vowel ’ in the Phoenician legend of a local coin from the Hellenistic period.
This seems to indicate that the agglomeration with a common council was created only in the Persian period and that this local institution may have facilitated occasional pan-Phoenician contacts without awaking suspicion among the Achaemenian authorities.
Qubbat al-Badaiwi.
Three km north of Trablus ash-Sham is the last surviving pool of fish sacred to Astarte. It adjoins a much more recent dervish monastery (qubbat) on the site of a priory dedicated to St.Anthony of Padua. The semi-circular pool is of great antiquity, for hundreds of generations of these carp-like fish have been worshipped since Phoenician times. They were associated with the mystic egg from which the goddess Tanit hatched, and it was believed that from their eggs new gods could emerge: to kill them was clearly sacrilege. Nowadays the Lebanese laugh at themselves for throwing chickpeas to the two thousand or so great silver-grey fish weaving up to the surface for due homage. One laughs, but is at peace for respecting the rites of Astarte in the land that gave her birth.
See: Touring Lebanon, Philip Ward, 1971 London.

donderdag 20 maart 2014

Birgi + Gambulu

Birgi’ & Gambulu.
This is the 13th place inn the list of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (676 BC) when he mentions the places in the kingdom of Sidon. This place must be somewhere in the area between Batroun and Trabulus., assuming that the scribe of Esarhaddon followed a strict order in mentioning the places from the south to the north. The meaning of the name = Well of the valley. When I describe the next town Gambulu, then it will become clear where the exact location of Birgi’could have been.
If, on the contrary, the scribe of Esarhaddon writes down the places at random, then another location is possible. There is a place near Sidon, 12 km to the north, with the name Barga, with could be Birgi’ in the list of Esarhaddon. It is close to the earlier mentioned Jiyé (Gi’).
See: Krahmalkov, Dictionary, p. : b’r-g (Ph) = Be’r-gê.
The 14th place in the list of Esarhaddon is Gambulu, which shows either a dissimilation “bb > mb” in Gabbul or simply epenthetic “m” appearing before “b”, and should not identified with Gabla. That means “hill” on an altitude of 480m on the opposite side of the Nahr al-Gawz like Kaftoun, Dar Baachtou, el Majdel or Zakzouk. Between the two hills alongside the Nahr al-Gawz could be placed Birgi’ in this case. Could that be between Biqsmayya and Gabla?
Conclusion: Nothing is certain about Birgi’ and Gambulu.
See:Itineraria Phoenicia. E.Lipinski. OLA 127. St.Phoen.XVIII. Leuven 2004. p. 27+28+288.
Adapted version.

woensdag 19 maart 2014

huis van de corpulente man

The 12th place in the list of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon in the year 676 BC is Bet-Gi-si-mi-ia, when he sums up all the places of the kingdom of Sidon at that time.
E.Lipinski (Itineraria Phoenicia, p.31) locates it at Biqsmayya or Boqsmayya, 9 km east of Batrun, on a hill dominating the Nahr al-Gawz. The name looks the same as Betgisimia and it fits in the order of the list of Esarhaddon. But there is more: local tradition reports, that a shepherd had found an inscription on the southern bank of the river. E.Wardini reports in Lebanese Place Names (OLA 120, Leuven 2002 p.161) that it was written in Hebrew or Aramaic and that a bishop has translated it as follows: “an army passed by the river.”
The possibility is high, that this was an Assyrian army.
Gisimia appears to be a personal name closely related to North-Arabian Gšm(w), attested in Nabataean and in Safaitic. It has the same meaning as the Arabic adjective “gismi” = corpulent. The actual pronunciation of the toponym was probably Bet-Gišmiy = House of the corpulent man?
Another suggestion for the localization of Bet-Gi-si-mi-ia is proposed by R.C.Thompson (The Prisms of Esarhaddon…., London 1931). He suggests the place Han al-Qasimiye, 7.5 km north of Tyre, at the mouth of the Litani river. But this place does not belong to the kingdom of Sidon and it does not fit at all in the itinerary on which Esarhaddon’s list was based.

dinsdag 18 maart 2014

Chekka & Ampa

North of the Rawsch Chaqaa lies the next (10th) town which Esarhaddon in 676 BC sums up when he describes the kingdom of Sidon. The old village of Chekka, or šaqqa, built on a hill, most likely corresponds to the šigata of the Amarna correspondence and the Sa-gu-u of Esarhaddon’s list. That is all what E.Lipinski says about it in his Itineraria Phoenicia. There is no motivation. But he is in good company, because also G.Kestemont in “Tyre et les Assyrians” (OLA 15 St.Phoen.I + II, Leuven 1983) and G.Bunnens (Considérations Géographiques sur la place occupée par la Phénicie dans l’expansion de l’empire Assyrian) seem to chose also for this option. The “Dictionnaire de la Civilisation Phénicienne et Punique” gives only a vague explanation: The town must be located between Batroun and Enfé. But, of course there is the similarity in the name Sagu / šaqqa.
Back to the name of the town in the Amarna correspondence. There it is seven times mentioned. EA 74 is important: Abdi-Aširta has taken šigata to himself! EA 76 als: Gaz-people against šigata!
The Bordeaux Itinerary places the name TRICLIS halfway between Tripoli and Batrun and again we arrive at Chekka. The name TRICLIS is no error for TRIERES, but a transcription of the originally Greek name of the red mullet.
Meanwhile we have already passed a big promontory: Rawsch Chaqaa. This cape has not mentioned by Esarhaddon but several classical writers did so all the more. The Greek name of the promontory was Theouprosopon, which means “face of god”. This name is probably of Phoenician “Penu’el” which must have designated the white stone of the cliff, going down precipitously into the sea and offering an impressive view to sailors doubling the headland or shaping the course of their vessels from Cyprus to the mainland.
The (Penu’el) could be connected with a memory-stone and inscription out of the Western Mediterranean, which says: “…it being a tall stone <engraved> with the figure of Baalhammon, his face to the West and his back to the East.” (KAI 78.4/6). It confirms exactly the direction the Phoenician choose and in the case of Penu’el it was the god EL whose name was invoked. See: Krahmalkov: Dictionary, Leuven, 2000. p.399/400.
In December 2012 Fadi Nassar paid already attention to this place and Roux Renard made a comparison with Brean peninsula in Somerset (UK).
Four kilometres north of Chekka and 16 km southwest of Tripoli, the peninsula of Anfe is the site of Am-pa in Esarhaddon’s list and most likely of Ambi in the time of the Canaanites and in the Amarna correspondence. This Ambi is mentioned seven times, of which EA 102.20 is important: Ambi is hostile (to Rib Addi of Gubla).
Ampa or Ambi was certainly the site of the Phoenician city, called “nose”, because it enters “like a nose” into the sea. Unfortunately we don not know the Phoenician name for nose.
In later times it is the NEPHIN of the Crusaders, a dependence of the Counts of Tripoli and the Anf al-Hagar, “the Stone Nose”, of al-Idrisi (Nuzhat al Muštaq fi ihtiraq al afaq).
The castle of the Crusaders occupied the promontory, which is about 400 meters long ans only 125 meters wide in its widest point.
See:Itineraria Phoenicia. E.Lipinski. OLA 127. St.Phoen.XVIII. Leuven 2004. p. 27+28+288.
See:Les Ports Phéniciens et Puniques, Carayon, Strassbourg 2008.
See:Cuatro estudios sobre los dominios territoriales de las ciudades-estado fenicia, Belmonte, Barcelona 2003.

maandag 17 maart 2014


Bi-tu-ri-me is the 9th place which Esarhaddon mentions when he describes the kingdom of Sidon in 676 BC.
Despite the spelling Bi-ti-ru-me, this toponym may only refer to Batrun, 15 km north of Byblos. The change n > m at the end of a name does not create a particular problem: ‘m’ appears also in the spelling Botrum or Botrium at the time of the Crusaders and the alternative m/n at the end of proper names is quite a common phenomenon. Also the use of the ‘i’ vowel in Bi-ti- may reflect a real pronunciation of the place name, since it is attested in Mediaeval sources that mention an episcopus Biterensis.
At any rate, the Assyrian spelling might just show that the scribe of the original report has “reinterpreted” the place name. The comparison with the Sidonian suburb Baramiyé should thus be discarded.
Some later forms of the Batrun name even show a complete disappearance of the final ‘m/n’, like Botrys in Greek and Bruttos in Bordeaux Itinerary.
In earlier forms the city is often mentioned in the Amarna correspondence, but it never became a royal residence. In this 14th century the city was called: Beruna.
Menander is cited by Flavius Josephus (A.J.VIII 324) when he states that Ittobaal I of Tyre founded (or refounded) Botrys in the 9th century BC.
The name Bi-tu-ri-me can have a Phoenician equivalent like ‘bt rm’, meaning house of the heaven, or the high house (See: Krahmalkov, blz 444). Compare this with a district in Sidon: šmm rmm – high heavens (in the inscription of Bodaštarte).
The order followed in Esarhaddon’s list clearly indicates that the territory of the kingdom of Byblos now is omitted. Not only Byblos does not appear in the list, but also smaller cities mentioned with Byblos by Assurnasirpal II in the 9th century BC, namely Ma-hal-la-ta-a-a, Ka-i-s.a-a-a and Ma-i-za-a-a, are not named. However, there are also scholars, who think, that those three places are forming the later Tripolis!
Another explanation for the name Batrun.
Is there a relation with Teros, that is mentioned by Ps.Scylax in his Periplus? He states that there is a city and a harbour. Teros seems to transcribe the noun ‘t.is’, attested in post-biblical Hebrew and related to biblical Hebrew ‘ṭira’ and Syriac ‘ṭyara’ (=enclosure). Since no such harbour is attested on the Phoenician coast by other sources, this may be a abridged form, eventually supported by popular etymology, of the name of Batrun, pronounced Btera- or the like, with an initial ‘Bte/i-‘ reduced to ‘te/i’. Such a pronunciation is probably based on a form similar to B(i)tiru(me) -> Btiru, as attested in the 7th century BC by Esarhaddon. In this hypothesis, Teros is no scribal error of a copist, but the written expression of a phonetic phenomenon that can affect consonantal clusters.
The identification of (B)teros with Batrun is confirmed by nautical considerations. The travel from Al-Mina to Beirut corresponds to two days of coastal sailing if the ship does not follow the lesser indentions of the coastline. The distance from Al-Mina to Batrun amounts then to about 35 km and there are some 45 km from Batrun to Beirut. No other harbour on this 80 km track, except approximately in the middle of the route in question.
See:Itineraria Phoenicia. E.Lipinski. OLA 127. St.Phoen.XVIII. Leuven 2004. p. 27+28+288.
See:Les Ports Phéniciens et Puniques, Carayon, Strassbourg 2008.


A difficult place to find!
Beiroet is followed by ki-il-me-e in the list of Esarhaddon when he describes the place of the kingdom of Sidon in 676 BC. Some authors identify it either with al-Qalamoun, 10 km southwest of Tripoli, or with Kalmin, 4 km east-northeast of Batrun. Both suggestions disturb the order in the list of Esarhaddon. Although the names Qalamun and Kalmin show a similarity with Kilme, those suggestions had to be rejected according to the order of the Esarhaddon list. Especially concerning al-Qalamoun I have my doubts. The list of Esarhaddon is not holy. There can be a mistaken made by the scribe of Esarhaddon. El-Qalamoun is called by the Crusaders Kalamon(t) and that looks very close to Kilme.
Another approach is to look at what Strabo has to say. He mentions a mountain Klimax, which looks like Kilme also and that must be in the vicinity of Byblos. This mountain can be located between Byblos and the Adonis-river (Nahr Ibrahim) or between Palaebyblos and the Lycus-river (Nahr el Kelb). Mount Klimax has long been identified with the promontory Ras al-M’emeltayn closing the Bay of Gunye (Djounié) from the north. The arch of a Roman bridge can still be seen close to the Nahr al-M’emeltayn (Nahr el-Ma’amiltein) and the Passus Pagani (Pass of the countrymen) of the Crusaders has been located there. A creek to the northwest of the river’s mouth allows fishermen to moor their boats.
It is uncertain whether Klimax has to regarded as a purely Greek designation of the mountain or as an adaption of a local name. The second alternative is more likely and the town of Kilme should therefore be located in this area. It fits better in the list of Esarhaddon. It can not correspond to Palaebyblos which is mentioned likewise by Strabo (Geography XVI 2,1), also by Pliny (NH V 78), and appears as Balbyblos on the Peutinger Table and as Alcobile in the Bordeaux itinerary, where Byblos itself is missing.
Palaebyblos has to be situated at the Bay of Gunye, either at Gunye itself, called Iunia by William of Tyre or at Sarba, in the most protected area of the bay. The borough Sarba, located on a hill (alt.70m), has a monastery built in the ruins of a large Roman temple, which overlooked the bay and probably was the site of the Crusaders’ castle Sorbe as well.
Both places (Saba + Gunye) yielded monuments of the Roman period, but no further archaeological research was done in the densely populated area.
Kilme must be closer to the Ras al-M’emeltayn and might therefore be identified either with the village of Gazir, built on a hill (alt.380m) where it dominates the coastal road, or on the coastal road itself.
The latter location is preferable if Kalamos, mentioned by classical authors, is identical with Kilme. In fact, the name Kalamos suggests an area grown with reeds. Relating Antiochus III’s Syrian campaign in 218 BC, Polybius describes the military operations in the coastal area of Beirut, as follows:
“V 68,8-9:After this, he [Antiochus III] advanced by the promontory called Theouprosopon and reached Berytus, having occupied Botrys on his way and burnt Trieres and Calamus. From here he sent on Nicharchus and Theodotus with orders to occupy the difficult passes near the river Lycus, and after resting his army advanced himself and encamped near the river Damuras, his admiral Diognetus coasting along parallel to him.”
The text of Polybius thus locates Trieres, Calamus, and the Nahr al-Kelb between Batrun and Beirut. This confirmed by the Antonini Placentini Itinerarium, which mentions Triari between Byblos and Berut.
As a consequence, both Trieres and Calamus have to situated between Byblos and the mouth of the Nahr al-Kelb. If Calamus is Kilme and corresponds to a site near Gazir, as suggested above, Trieres should be located on a coastal road and identified with Tabarga or Berga.
Although the evidence is not waterproof, it is quite probable that Kilme has been found. Lipinski needs another two pages to convince us, but the evidence stays incomplete.
There is increasing evidence, but not fully. Conclusion: we are not certain.
See: Itinerary Phoenicia. E.Lipinski. Leuven OLA 90  St.Phoen. XVIII. 2008. Slightly adapted and shortened.

vrijdag 14 maart 2014


The seventh name of a town in the list of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (676 BC) about the kingdom of Sidon is Bi-‘-ru-u. Most of the researchers think it is modern Beirut. Just a few scholars think, that it is a place in the vicinity of Sidon, like Krahmalkov does in his Phoenician and Punic Dictionary (OLA 90, St.Phoen.XV, Leuven 2000, p.96).
However, despite the spelling Bi-‘-ru-u, which does not mark the final –t, this city must be identified with Beirut, the city of the “wells”, because Esarhaddon marches from the south to the north and Beirut is after Qartimme the following town: Bi‘ru.
Beirut existed already long before Esarhaddon. In the 3rd millennium BC the town was in the texts of Ebla mentioned as Ba’urtu and in the 14th century BC the town was also known as Biruta.
It is doubtful whether Beirut appears as B-i-r-t under Nos. 19 and 109 of the great topographical list of Tuthmosis III. Instead, the city is certainly attested in the epoch of the Amarna letters and of the Ugarit archives, both syllabic and alphabetic. We even have the name of a king or prince at that time: Ammunira. It is also mentioned at that time in Papyrus Anastasi I.20.8, which dates from the late Nineteenth Dynasty, i.e. from the end of the 13th century BC.
Roger Saidah explored from that time the so-called Kharji tombs in caves in the vicinity of what was the Byblos building in Beirut (Berytus XLI, AUB 1993/4: Beirut in the bronze Age).
Beirut was a Phoenician city in the first millennium BC, though it is not mentioned either in Phoenician inscriptions (except in a coin legend) or in the Old Testament. The context forbids its identification with Be’eroth (Josh.9.17), with Berothai (II Sam.8.8) and with Berothah (Ez.47.16).  The coin legend says lb’r[t] (Hill LIV) and lbyrt (Hill LIII).
We know the exact location and size of the walled city in the Bronze and Iron Ages. The city had the shape of an arc facing the sea and its total intramural area surmounted only two hectares, but it was protected by an impressive and well preserved defence system with walls 7 metres high.  
In the time of Esarhaddon Beirut was a small unimportant town, where there was water and food, but it had massive defensive walls. The city had obviously lost its former importance after several destructions between the 10th and the mid 8th century BC. Archaeologists even date a level of apparent abandonment to 750-700 BC, but an almost complete storehouse and a casemate wall could be dated to c. the mid-7th century BC.
We are not blessed with many findings out of this period, but there are two main exceptions. First: it was a major storehouse with many Phoenician storage jars and local red-slip as well as imported Cyprot and Attic amphorae. Second: there is an inscription on an ostracon (TDB 91001) at the excavation site BEY 003, nr 95.120 (Badr). It says: lšmn = for oil. The writing is in a cursive way, which we see also appear in Ires Dagi, Motya and Dona Blanca. Exactly in this 7th century BC this way of writing is becoming popular. See: Palaeographic observations on a Phoenician inscribed ostracon from Beirut, Ph.C.Schmitz (RSF XXX, 2. 2002).
In the Persian period (with growing Greek influence) the city was called: Laodike of Phoenicia. There was even a cemetery for dogs.
In the 4th century BC, Ps.Scylax mentions its harbour ‘open to the north’, thus indicating the site of the ancient city, which was not located on the Ras Bayrut, at the western extremity of the triangular promontory, but to the south of the modern harbour. The site was excavated in 1993-1996 and it was possible to establish the exact location and size of the walled city (240 by 120 metres) in the Bronze and the Iron Ages. In the area immediately adjacent to the north-west, a large quantity of murex shells and a basin complex were uncovered, offering possible evidence of local purple-dye production.
In the Hellenistic period a habitation area with well-preserved dwellings of pier-and-rubble construction laid out in an orthogonal plan was developed west of the old Tell. In this time the city got the name: Laodike, mother of Canaan / metropolis in Canaan on coins and seals.
The glass-industry is getting ever more exploited in Beirut and traders from Beirut go overseas to the Greek Delos.
In Roman times the cult of the sun becomes more important. There is an altar for Kronos-Helios.
- Syria 1971. Antiquités Syriennes. H.Seyrig.
- Regards sur Beyrouth. R.Mouterde.
- La Mediterranée des Phéniciens. Institut du monde Arabe. 2007-2008.
- Archeology in the Beirut Central District. C.G.Cumberpatch, Berytus XLII 1995-96. AUB.
- Städtewesen 2009. Beirut and Tell al-Burak. H. Sadr.
- Berytos XLVIII-XLIX 2004-2005. Archaeology of the Beirout Souks.