Politics State

A Short History of Lebanon by Philip K. Hitti (auth.)

By Philip K. Hitti (auth.)

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Once the mistress of the Mediterranean, the city was now a heap of ashes. For the second time it was wiped off the map, the first being three centuries and a quarter earlier by Esarhaddon. The Persian hold on the coast, bought at such a high cost, was short-lived. In eighteen years the entire empire was to crumble under the blows of an unexpected invader from the West. C. a twenty-year-old Macedonian led an army of 35,000 across the Hellespont, in the opposite direction to Darius' and Xerxes' crossing, neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen that the map of the Near East was soon to be redrawn and the course of its history changed.

All these authors were, as a matter offact, echoing that city's predominance at a given time. Sidon owed much to its position in the shadow of a small promontory whose northern side was rounded by a reef with attached islets providing half a mile of breakwater and affording protection for its shipping. Like other Lebanese coast cities it lay only partly on the mainland. The insular part provided facilities for shipping in time of peace and a haven of refuge in time of war ; most attacks were, of course, by land.

The mother of many colonies, including powerful Carthage, their city waxed rich and mighty extending its hegemony far beyond the confines of Phoenicia. Northward along the coast its authority reached Beirut. A daughter of King Ethbaal (887-856) married King Ahab of Israel, introduced Baal's worship into Samaria and slaughtered Jehovah's prophets (I K. 16: 30-3; 18: 4, where Ithbaal is called king of the Sidonians). Her daughter, who shared the mother's masculine traits, married King J ehoram ofJudah, seized the throne and ruled over the kingdom for six years (2 K.

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