Byblos spring / summer 2018 collection

This article is about the Phoenician city. For other uses, see.

City in Mount Lebanon, Lebanon

Byblos, in Arabic Jibayl (: جبيل‎, pronunciation: ; : 𐤂𐤁𐤋 Gebal; : ܓܒܠ), is the largest city in the of. It is believed to have been occupied first between 8800 and 7000 BC, and according to fragments attributed to the semi-legendary pre- Phoenician priest, it was built by the god as the first city in. It is one of byblos spring / summer 2018 collection ; the site has been continuously inhabited since 5000. It is a.


Old City of Byblos spring Byblos harbor by night The old souk in Byblos, Byblos Terracotta jug from Byblos (now in the Louvre), Late Bronze Age (1600–1200 BC)

Gubal was a city during the Bronze Age, at which time it also appears as Gubla (𒁺𒆷) in the. Early Egyptian records going back to the time of called the city Kebny (𓎡𓃀𓈖𓈉). During the the city is called Gebal in (𐤂𐤁𐤋) and appears in the under the name Geval (: גבל‎). It was much later referred to as Gibelet, during the. The city's /Phoenician name (GBL, i.e. Gubal, Gebal, etc.) can be derived from gb, meaning "well, origin", and, the name of the supreme god of Byblos' pantheon. The present-day city is known by the Arabic name Jbail or Jbeil (جبيل), a direct descendant of the Canaanite name. However, the Arabic name is most likely derived from the Phoenician word GBL[] meaning "boundary", "district" or "mountain peak"; in the GBL can mean "mountain", similarly to Arabic jabal.

Ancient Greek Βύβλος, whence we get our Byblos, was the interpretation of Gubla/Gebal. received its early Greek name βύβλος (bublos) from its importation to the through this city. The Ancient Greek words βίβλος, diminutive βιβλίον (biblos, biblion), plural βίβλοι, diminutive βιβλία (bibli, biblia), and ultimately the word "" ("the (papyrus) book") hence the Holy Bible, derive from that name.

The Phoenician city of Byblos was important for the export of papyrus from Egypt to Greece. The Greek word "biblio" may come from the city's name, or conversely, its name might come from a Greek mispronunciation of the Egyptian word "papyrus."


Byblos is located about 42 kilometres (26 mi) north of. It is attractive to archaeologists because of the successive layers of debris resulting from centuries of human habitation. It was first excavated by from 1921 until 1924, followed by from 1925 over a period of forty years.

The site first appears to have been settled during the period, approximately 8800 to 7000 BC. remains of some buildings can be observed at the site. According to the writer (quoting Sanchuniathon, and quoted in ), Byblos had the reputation of being the oldest city in the world, founded by. During the 3rd millennium BC, the first signs of a can be observed, with the remains of well-built houses of uniform size. This was the period when the civilization began to develop.

Neolithic and Chalcolithic levels[]

published studies of from the stratified Neolithic and sites in 1962. Remains of humans found in Chalcolithic burials have been published by in 1937. Tombs from this era were discussed by Emir in 1950. Early pottery found at the tell was published by E.S. Boynton in 1960 with further studies by R. Erich in 1954 and Van Liere and in 1964.

Five levels stratigraphy[]

Prehistoric settlements at Byblos were divided up by Dunand into the following five periods, which were recently expanded and re-calibrated by to correlate with ;

  • Néolithique Ancien (Early Phase) (Ancient Neolithic) corresponding to the (PPNB) of Jericho, represented by plastered floors and technology, dated between 8800 and 7000 BC;
  • Néolithique Ancien (Late Phase) corresponding to the of IX (also ) between 6400 and 5800 BC represented by, blades, and small points, dated between 6400 and 5800 BC;
  • Néolithique Moyen (Middle Neolithic) corresponding to the of VIII and represented by pottery, dated between 5800 and 5300 BC;
  • Néolithique Récent (Late Neolithic) corresponding to the Middle of and represented by pottery, stone vessels,, and seals, dated between 5300 and 4500 BC;
  • Énéolithique Ancient (Ancient Chalcolithic) corresponding to the Late Chalcolithic of, represented by, pierced flint, churn and a violin figurine, dated to between 4500 and 3600 BC and,
  • Énéolithique Récent (Late Chalcolithic) corresponding to the Early, represented by and impressions, dated to between 3600 and 3100 BC.

Néolithique Ancien was a later settlement than others in the such as and. It was located on the seaward slope of the larger of the two hills that used to compose ancient Byblos, with a watered valley in between.

The original site spread down into the valley and covered an area of 1.2 hectares (12,000 m2) providing fertile soils and a protected landing place for boats. Dunand discovered around twenty houses although some of the settlement was suggested to have been lost to the sea, robbed or destroyed. Dwellings were rectangular with plastered floors, was usually with some shell impressions.

Néolithique Moyen was a smaller settlement of no more than 0.15 hectares (1,500 m2) adjacent to the older site. The pottery was more developed with red washes and more varied forms and elaborate decorations, buildings were poorer with unplastered floors.

The Néolithique Récent period showed development from the Moyen in building design, a wider range of more developed flint tools and a far larger variety of pottery with fabrication including silica. Énéolithique Ancien featured developments of "" and fan scrapers. Adult burials in jars started to appear along with metal in the form of one hook, found in a jar. Some jars were lined with white plaster that was applied and self-hardened after firing. Copper appeared more frequently in the Énéolithique Récent period along with multiple burials in tombs and jar handles with impressed signs. Early Bronze Age remains were characterized by the development of and a lithic assemblage studied by Jacques Cauvin.

According to, Byblos moved from being a fishermen's village to its earlier urban form at the beginning of the third millennium BC.

Egyptian period[]

Watson Mills and Roger Bullard suggest that during the, Byblos was virtually an Egyptian colony. The growing city was evidently a wealthy one and seems to have been an ally (among "those who are on his waters") of for many centuries. tombs used timbers from Byblos. One of the oldest Egyptian words for an oceangoing boat was "Byblos ship". Archaeologists have recovered -made artifacts as old as a vessel fragment bearing the name of the ruler, although this "may easily have reached Byblos through trade and/or at a later period". Objects have been found at Byblos naming the 13th Dynasty Egyptian king, and the rulers of Byblos maintained close relationships with the New Kingdom pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.

Around 1350 BC, the include 60 letters from and his successor who were rulers of Byblos, writing to the Egyptian government. This is mainly due to Rib-Hadda's constant pleas for military assistance from. They also deal with the conquest of neighboring city-states by the.

It appears Egyptian contact peaked during the, only to decline during the and dynasties. In addition, when the collapsed in the 11th century BCE, Byblos ceased being a colony and became the foremost city of Phoenicia. Although the archaeological evidence seems to indicate a brief resurgence during the and dynasties, it is clear after the the Egyptians started favoring and instead of Byblos.

Archaeological evidence at Byblos, particularly the five dating back to around 1200-1000 BCE, shows existence of a of twenty-two characters; an important example is the. The use of the alphabet was spread by Phoenician merchants through their maritime trade into parts of North Africa and Europe. One of the most important monuments of this period is the temple of, a, but this had fallen into ruins by the time of.

Traditional Lebanese house overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Byblos. This house is within the antiquities complex and illustrates the modern ground level with respect to excavations Ruins at port.

Ancient history[]

In the period, of Byblos became tributary to in 738 BCE, and in 701 BCE, when conquered all Phoenicia, the king of Byblos was. Byblos was also subject to Assyrian kings (r. 681–669 BC) and (r. 668–627 BC), under its own kings and.

In the (538–332 BCE), Byblos was the fourth of four Phoenician vassal kingdoms established by the Persians; the first three being,, and.

rule came with the arrival of in the area in 332 BC. was in use, and there is abundant evidence of continued trade with other Mediterranean countries.

During the period, the temple of was elaborately rebuilt, and the city, though smaller than its neighbours such as Tyre and Sidon, was a center for the cult of. In the, a small but impressive was constructed. With the rise of, a was established in Byblos, and the town grew rapidly. Although an colony is known to have been established in the region following the of 636, there is little archaeological evidence for it. Trade with effectively dried up, and it was not until the coming of the in 1098 that prosperity returned to Byblos, known then as Gibelet or Jebail.

Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman period[]

The Crusades-era Church of St. John-Mark in Byblos

In the 12th and 13th century Byblos became part of the, a connected to, but from, the. Known by the Crusader name of Gibelet or Giblet, it came under the rule of the, who created for themselves the. Their residence, the, along with the fortified town, served as an important military base for the Crusaders. The remains of the castle are among the most impressive architectural structures now visible in the town centre. The town was taken by in 1187, re-taken by the Crusaders, conquered by in 1266, but it remained in the possession of the Embriacos until around 1300. Its fortifications were subsequently restored.[ ] From 1516 until 1918, the town and the whole region became part of the.

Contemporary history[]

Byblos Historic Quarter

Byblos and all of Lebanon was placed under from 1920 until 1943 when Lebanon achieved independence. The negatively affected the ancient city by covering its harbor and town walls with an oil slick that was the result of an oil spill from a nearby power-plant. This however has been cleared and the coastal area has since then become a destination for beach goers, especially in the late spring and throughout the summer season.


Jbeil's inhabitants are predominantly Christians, mostly, with minorities of,, and. There is also a minority of. It is said that the city of ("daughter of Jbeil") in southern Lebanon was founded by those Shi'i Muslims. Byblos has three representatives in the : two Maronites and one Shi'i.


Byblos is home to the professional schools of the. The LAU Byblos Campus houses the Medical School, the Engineering School, the School of Architecture and Design, the only US-accredited Pharmacy School in the Middle East,[], the School of Business, and the School of Arts and Sciences. The Campus is situated on a hill overlooking the city and the.


Byblos public beach

Byblos is re-emerging as an upscale touristic hub. With its ancient,, Roman, and Crusader ruins, sandy beaches and the picturesque mountains that surround it make it an ideal tourist destination. The city is known for its fish restaurants, open-air bars, and outdoor cafes. Yachts cruise into its harbor today as they did in the 1960s and 1970s when and were regular visitors to the city. Byblos was crowned as the "Arab Tour Capital" for the year 2016 by the Lebanese minister of tourism in the Grand Serail in. Byblos was chosen by as the second best city in the for 2012, beating and, and by the as the best Arab tourist city for 2013.

The King’s Spring

The Byblos archaeological site[]

  • Ain el-Malik or King’s Spring, about 20 m deep, is a large cavity accessible by spiral stairs. Once it supplied the city with water. According to ’s version of the Egyptian, the king’s servants met on the stairs of the spring and took her to the royal palace, where she found the body of her husband embedded in one of the palace pillars.
The L-shaped Temple
  • The L-shaped Temple was erected about 2700 BC.
The Temple of the Obelisks
  • The Temple of the Obelisks, originally built in 1600-1200 BC on top of the “L-shaped temple,” was moved by archaeologists to its present location. The many small obelisks found in this temple were used as religious offerings. The sanctuary contained a large number of human figurines made of bronze covered with gold leaf, which are now displayed in the.
  • The necropolis dates back to the second millennium BC and contains tombs of the Byblos kings, including King.

Other historic buildings[]

  • Byblos Wax Museum

Main article:

The Byblos Wax Museum displays wax statues of characters whose dates of origin range from times to current days.

  • Byblos Fossil Museum

Main article:

The Byblos Fossil Museum has a collection of fossilized fish, sharks, eel, flying fish, and other marine life, some of which are millions of years old.

Crusader Fort
  • Medieval city wall

The old medieval part of Byblos is surrounded by walls running about 270m from east to west and 200m from north to south.

  • Byblos Castle

Main article:

Byblos Castle was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. It is located in the archaeological site near the port.

  • St John the Baptist Church

Work on the church started during the Crusades in 1116. It was considered a cathedral and was partially destroyed during an earthquake in 1176 AD. When Islamic forces captured the city, it was transformed into a set of stables. It was later given to the Maronites as a gift by Prince of Lebanon in the mid-1700s, after they aided him in capturing the city.

Sultan Abdul Majid mosque in Byblos, Lebanon
  • Sultan Abdul Majid Mosque

The old mosque by the Castle dates back to Mamlouk times in mid 1600, and adopted the name of Sultan Abdul Majid after he renovated it.

  • Historic Quarter and Souks

In the southeast section of the historic city, near the entrance of the archaeological site, is an old market where tourists can shop for souvenirs and antiques, or simply stroll along the old cobblestone streets and enjoy the architecture.

  • Byblos International Festival

Main article:

This summer music festival is an annual event that takes place in the historic quarter.


  • Nina Jidéjian, Byblos through the ages, Dar al Machreq, Beirut, 1968
  • , Je m'appelle Byblos, H & D, Paris, 2005 ( )

International relations[]

See also:

Twin towns – sister cities[]

Byblos is with:

See also[]


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  29. Dunand, Maurice., Rapport préliminaire sure les fouilles de Byblos en 1960, 1961 & 1962, Bulletin du musée de Beyrouth. Tome XVII, 1964, Beyrouth, in-4° br., 110 pages, 7 planches.
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Further reading[]

  • Aubet, Maria Eugenia. The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, Colonies and Trade. 2d ed. Translated by Mary Turton. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Baumgarten, Albert I., and Philo. The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos: A Commentary. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1981.
  • Elayi, Josette, and A. G. Elayi. A Monetary and Political History of the Phoenician City of Byblos: In the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C.E. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2014.
  • Kaufman, Asher S. Reviving Phoenicia: In Search of Identity In Lebanon. London: I.B. Tauris, 2004.
  • Moscati, Sabatino. The World of the Phoenicians. London: Phoenix Giant, 1999.
  • Nibbi, Alessandra. Ancient Byblos Reconsidered. Oxford: DE Publications, 1985.

External links[]

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