This tiny land has been of significance all out of proportion to it's size. The primary center of the Phoenicians, the source for the anciently-famed cedars of Lebanon, and the mountainous home of a great many cultural survivals, it continues today to be a stage upon which dramatically important events take place.

Contains: Amurru, Aram-Zobah, Beirut, Byblos, Gibelet, Iturea, Kundi, Lebanon (Beirut), Liban (central highlands), Marada States, Maronite Patriarchs, Sidon, Sizu, Toron, Tripoli, and Tyre.


AMURRU A city-state in southern Lebanon, not far from Tyre, and located within Iturea. It was governed by an early Semitic people whose influence was felt all over the Middle East and to which it has given an overall name to; the Amorites.

BYBLOS (Modern Jubayl) An ancient port on the Lebanese coast, about 20 miles (32 km.) north of Beirut. It's name has spanned the globe from it being the principal port through which papyrus was exported into Greece: "Byblos" is the Greek transliteration of the term for papyrus, hence "Bible", "bibliography", etc.

ITUREA (The Bekaa Valley) A region in southern Lebanon, near the current border with Israel. The capital of the region was the city of Chalcis; historically Chalcis was very Hellenized, even when under the rule of Jewish kings. The Itureans were a people of uncertain origin. They were probably Aramean in origin but may have been Canaanites or even a northern branch of the Nabataeans. They were expert archers and were frequently incorporated as auxiliaries in Roman armies. The region of Iturea is centered on what is today called the Bekaa valley, a region well known for being the birthplace of several Shi'ite terrorist groups as well as one of the most prolific heroin-poppy production areas in the world. See also, Amurru, an important city located in this region.

LEBANON This list will focus on Beirut. For other important Lebanese communities in the region, see Sidon and Tyre and, at a much later period, Tripoli. This list finishes with an account of the modern Lebanese State.

LIBAN "Lebanon proper", consisting of the Lebanon mountain range in the center of the country. Historically this has been the center of Maronite Christian dominance in the country.

MARONITE PATRIARCHS The Maronites are a Christian community of the Levant. Their liturgy is of the Antiochene type, but conducted in Syriac. Their head has always resided in Lebanon, though he bears the title "Patriarch of Antioch and the East". The Maronites trace their beginnings to St. Maron, a 5th-century monk, but did not officially become a distinct religious community until the 7th century, when they adopted the doctrine of Monotheletism (that Jesus had one will, despite having both human and divine natures). During the crusades the Maronites recognized the supremacy of the Pope and are currently in communion with the Roman Catholic church. As in other Eastern Catholic rites, the parish priests are usually married.  The Maronite Patriarchs exerted enormous secular power over the Christians of Lebanon, particularly during the period of the Marada States (see Liban). In the 19th cent., massacres of Maronites by the Druze brought French intervention; this gave France its modern hold in Lebanon and Syria. Besides the Maronites there are two other groups in Syria in communion with the pope - the Melkites and the Syrian Catholics.

SIDON The oldest and, for a time, most powerful of Phoenician cities. Located equidistant between Tyre (Sur) to the south and modern Beirut to the north, it still exists as a bustling Mediterranean seaport under the name of Saydah.

TORON (Tibneen) A town in southern Lebanon, 49 miles (79 km.) south of Beirut, 14 miles (22 km.) east of Tyre, and 10 miles (16 km.) west of Qiryat Shemona, in Israel. The castle of Toron was built by Hugh of St. Omer, Prince of Galilee, to help capture Tyre. After Hugh's death it was made an independent seigneury, given to Humphrey I in 1107. The lords of Toron tended to be very influential in the kingdom; Humphrey II was constable of Jerusalem and Humphrey IV was married to Isabella, Amalric I's daughter (Toron passed under royal control during their marriage). It was also one of the few to have a hereditary lordship, at least for a few decades. The lords of Toron were also connected to the Lordship of Outrejordain. Toron was later merged with the royal domain of Tyre. Toron had two vassals of its own, the Lordship of Castel Neuf and the Lordship of Toron Ahmud. Castel Neuf was built by Hugh of St. Omer around 1105 but was later given to the Hospitallers, until it fell to Nur ad-Din in 1167. Toron Ahmud remained in the Lordship of Beirut until John of Ibelin sold it to the Teutonic Knights in 1261.

TRIPOLI (Arabic Tarabulus, Phoen. Athar?) An important seaport located in northern Lebanon; a County during Crusader times. In it's origins, Tripoli consisted of three cities (founded as colonies of Sidon, Tyre, and Arvad), each a Greek stadia's distance from each other. The city was the center of a loose federation between these three dominant Phoenician states.

TYRE Tyre, as the primary Phoenician port, was an extremely important city and the primary source of the purple dye used throughout the classical world. The seven-month siege that it took Alexander the Great to conquer the place is also legendary.