Lebanon in History from the Earliest Times to the Present

By Philip K. Hitti | Go to book overview
The American Numismatic Society A COIN OF BERYTUS, A.D. 218-22 Obverse shows bust of Elagabalus. Reverse shows Astarte standing in temple, left foot on a prow, right hand on a standard, being crowned by Nike on column at right. Poseidon and Beroë (nymph) on roof with Nikai (goddesses of victory) at sides holding wreaths. Winged genius with trident riding dolphin on either side of steps below

CHAPTER XVI HELIOPOLIS A RELIGIOUS AND BERYTUS AN EDUCATIONAL CENTRE

Two Lebanese cities which did not figure prominently before came to the front in the Roman period: Heliopolis and Berytus. Both became Roman colonies under Augustus Caesar.1 Both developed into great centres of Roman culture, radiating a world-wide influence: one in religion, the other in education.

Two Roman colonies

" Heliopolis" (city of the sun) was the Greek name imposed by the Seleucids on an ancient Semitic city when its Baal was definitely identified with the sun god. The earlier Semitic name was conjecturally Baʿal Beqʿa, "the lord of the Biqāʿ", al-Biqāʿ being the enclosed plain between the two Lebanons.2 With the advent of the Arabs the old Semitic name reasserted itself in the modern form Ba'labakk (colloquial Baʿalbak). Heliopolis

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1
Cf. arts. " Heliopolis" and "Berytus" in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, where it is stated that Heliopolis was incorporated in the territory of Berytus until the time of Septimius Severus, who made it a separate colony. See below, pp. 223-6.

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