*Includes ancient accounts of Byblos
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
Of all the peoples of the ancient Near East, the Phoenicians are among the most recognizable but also perhaps the least understood. The Phoenicians never built an empire like the Egyptians and Assyrians; in fact, the Phoenicians never created a unified Phoenician state but instead existed as independent city-state kingdoms scattered throughout the Mediterranean region. However, despite the fact there was never a “Phoenician Empire,” the Phoenicians proved to be more prolific in their exploration and colonization than any other peoples in world history until the Spanish during the Age of Discovery.
Byblos, known today as Jubayl, has been known by many names over the ages: the Phoenicians called it Gebal; for the Egyptians it was Kepen or Kupna; the Assyrians and Akkadians referred to it as Gubla (this name was repeated throughout the Old Testament); the Arabs called it Jbeil, and eventually the European Crusaders gave it the name of Gibelet. This lengthy etymology reflects the city’s unique heritage significance, because Byblos is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities ever to have existed in the world. The city was frequently mentioned in the great archives of antiquity, but its origins lie in the depths of prehistory. Its strategic location, with plenty of shipbuilding wood coming from the nearby mountains, made many powerful states eager to control the territory. Over time, Byblos and its surrounding area were occupied by the Amorites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, and Ottomans.