Mount Lebanon -- By: T. Laurie
BSac 26:103 (July 1869) p. 541
Our knowledge of Mount Lebanon has improved very much within a few years. Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible (1860) gave a much more valuable account of it than Dr. Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, published fifteen years previously, and the recent edition of this last work edited by Dr. William Lindsay Alexander of Edinburgh gives a still better article, from the pen of the same writer who prepared the one in Dr. Smith’s Dictionary — Rev. J. L. Porter, formerly missionary in Damascus. The following Article is a contribution toward a more full account of this interesting mountain, gathered from all sources—and especially the most recent authorities now accessible to the writer.
Ancient history centres around the Mediterranean Sea, that focus of population and of all human activities. Its central portion is rich in relics of classic greatness, but its eastern end is associated with an older antiquity and more sacred things. There is the home of the Bible and of Bible races. Syria is not only associated with the chosen people, but with those nations most intimately connected with their history. Among these none are more prominent than the ancient Phoenicians; and just as the rocky steeps of Lebanon rise out of the plain of Phoenicia at their base, so must a scholarly knowledge of that goodly mountain rise out of an acquaintance with its relations to that ancient kingdom. Scattered over Lebanon are the foundations of temples whose bevelled stones point to Phoenician architects as their original builders. Some of the lonely sarcophagi met unexpectedly by the wayside or in groups, mingled with foundations of
BSac 26:103 (July 1869) p. 542
walls and ancient cisterns, may mark the graves of some of the merchant princes of that ancient people, men famous in their own generation, but without a name to-day. Their massive lids, presenting a rough surface identical in appearance with the weather-worn rocks around them, suggest thoughts of Phoenician rather than Greek or Roman occupants, though these also have lain down beside them in their last sleep, just as they have builded on their old foundations. It was most likely a Phoenician aqueduct that conveyed the waters from “the highest perennial source of the Zaherany”1 to ancient Sidon, and the strong fortress Kul’at esh-Shukîf was originally a Phoenician garrison designed to keep open the passage from the coast to their corn lands in the upper valley of the Jordan. Did the rich harvests of the Bukâ’a find their way along the same road to the same emporium?
In the grey dawn of history, while yet too dark to read the date of th...
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