maandag 17 maart 2014


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.

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