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Tyre : Hebrew Tsôr [צוֹר or צֹר] ; a celebrated commercial city of antiquity situated in Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea in latitude 330 17' North (Smythe in The Mediterranean; a memoir, physical, historical and nautical --- Page 470). Although not the oldest it was the greatest of the Punic cities both in size and power ...
I. The Name — Its Hebrew name Tsôr signifies a rock which well agrees with the site of Sur, the modern town on a rocky-peninsula, formerly an island. From the word “Tsôr” were derived two names of the city in which the first letters differed from each other though both had a feature of their common parent: 1st the Aramaic word Tura (טֻרָא) whence the Greek word Turos, probably pronounced Tyros, which finally prevailed in Latin and with slight changes in the modern languages of the West; and 2nd Saca or Sarra which occurs in Plautus and which is familiar to scholars through the well-known line of Virgil “Ut gemma bibat et Sarrano dormiat ostro”. According to a passage of Probus as quoted by Grote the form “Sara” would seem to have occurred in one of the Greek epics now lost which passed under the name of Homer. Certainly this form accords best with the modern Arabic name of Sur.
II. Ancient Relations — 1. Old Tyre — There is no doubt that previous to the siege of the city by Alexander the Great Tyre was situated on an island; but according to the tradition of the inhabitants, if we may believe Justin (xi:10) there was a city on the mainland before there was a city on the island; and the tradition receives some color from the name of Palaetyrus, or Old Tyre, which was borne in Greek times by a city on the continent thirty stadia to the south (Strabo 16.2.24). But a difficulty arises in supposing that Palaetyrus was built before Tyre as the word Tyre evidently means “a rock” and few persons who have
visited the site of Palaetyrus can seriously suppose that any rock on the surface there can have given rise to the name. To escape this difficulty Hengstenberg makes the suggestion that Palaetyrus meant Tyre that formerly existed, “quae quondam fuit”; and that the name was introduced after the destruction of the greater part of it by Nebuchadnezzar to distinguish it from that part of Tyre which continued to be in existence (De Rebus Tyriorum, Page 26). Movers, justly deeming this explanation unlikely, suggests that the original inhabitants of the city on the mainland possessed the island as part of their territory and named their city from the characteristic features of the island though the island itself was not then inhabited (Das phonizische Alterthum II, i, 173). This explanation is possible; but other explanations are equally possible. For example the Phoenician name of it may have been the Old City; and this may have been translated “Palaetyrus” in Greek. Or, if the inhabitants of the mainland migrated to the island, they may afterwards at some time or other have given to the city which they left the name of Old Tyre without its being necessarily implied that the city had ever borne simply the name of Tyre. Or some accidental circumstance, now beyond the reach of conjecture, may have led to the name. This again would tally with the remark of Grote who observes (loco citato) that perhaps the Phoenician name which the city on the mainland bore may have been something resembling Palaetyrus in sound but not coincident in meaning. It is important however to bear in mind that this question regarding Palaetyrus is merely archaeological and that nothing in Biblical history is affected by it. Nebuchadnezzar necessarily besieged the portion of the city on the mainland as he had no vessels with which to attack the island; but it is reasonably certain that in the time of Isaiah and Ezekiel the heart or core of the city was on the island. The city of Tyre was consecrated to Hercules (Melkarth) who was the principal object of worship to the inhabitants (Quintus Curtius vi 2; Strabo xvi 757); and Arrian in his History says that the temple on the island was the most ancient of all temples within the memory of mankind (ii, 16). It cannot be doubted therefore that the island had long been inhabited. With this agree the expressions as to Tyre being “in the midst of the seas” (Ezekiel xxvii 25-26); and even the threat against it that it should be made like the top of a rock to spread nets upon (see Des Vignoles in Chronologie de L'histoire Sainte [Berlin 1738] ii, 25). As however the space on the island was limited it is very possible that the population on the mainland may have exceeded the population on the island (see Movers loco citato Page 81).
2. Connection with Sidon — Whether built before or later than Palaetyrus the renowned city of Tyre, though it laid claims to a very high antiquity (Isaiah xxiii 7; Herodotus ii 14; Quintus Curtius vi 4), is not mentioned either in the Iliad or in the Odyssey; but no inference can be legitimately drawn from this fact as to the existence or non-existence of the city at the time when those poems were composed. The tribe of Canaanites that inhabited the small tract of country which may be called Phoenicia proper was known by the generic name of Sidonians (Judges xviii 7; Isaiah xxiii: 2, 4,12; Joshua xiii 6; Ezekiel xxxii 30); and this name undoubtedly included Tyrians, the inhabitants being of the same race and the two cities being less than twenty English miles distant from each other. Hence when Solomon sent to Hiram king of Tyre for cedar-trees out of Lebanon to be hewn by Hiram's subjects he reminds Hiram that “there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like the Sidonians” [sic] (1 Kings v 6). Hence Virgil, who in his very first mention of Carthage expressly states that it was founded by colonists from Tyre (See Perseus Aeneid 1.12) afterwards, with perfect propriety and consistency, calls it the Sidonian city (ibid Book 1 Lines 677 and 678; iv 545; and see also Des Vignoles loco citato Page 25). In like manner when Sidonians are spoken of in the Homeric poems (Iliad vi 290; xxiii 743; Odyssey iv 84; xvii 424) this might comprehend Tyrians; and the mention of
the city Sidon, while there is no similar mention of Tyre, would be fully accounted for if it were necessary to account for such a circumstance at all in a poem by Sidon's having been in early times more flourishing than Tyre. It is worthy likewise of being noted that Tyre is not mentioned in the Pentateuch; but here again, though an inference may be drawn against the importance, no inference can be legitimately drawn against the existence of Tyre in the times to which the Pentateuch refers. SEE SIDON.
3. General Characteristics — As already intimated Tyre was composed of two distinct parts or towns in historical times; the one situated on the mainland or continental Tyre and one on the island opposite from four to thirty stadia (Pliny, Strabo) distant from each other. According to Pliny the circumference of both was reckoned at about nineteen Roman miles, the island town comprising about twenty-two stadia. The town on the shore was called Palaetyrus, not from its having been founded before Island Tyrus — for this indeed we may assume to have been the first of the two (Reland, Vitringa, Hengstenberg, etcetera) — but from the circumstance of its having achieved a high renown long before its much less favorably situated island-sister. Constantly exposed to earthquakes and deluges — occupying a space naturally circumscribed and rendered still more so by the erections necessary for the purple-fisheries and manufactories — and cut off from the easy means of export and import by caravans that belonged to the opposite city, Island-Tyrus was by far inferior in importance. In fact only one (the western) part of the island had been built over up to the time of Hiram, the contemporary of Solomon — viz. the “Old Town” (τὸ ἄστυ), which probably served as harbor, a place for arsenals and magazines, to Palaetyrus, that by this time had sent out colonies already to Tartessus and the northern coast of Libya. The other part of the island or rather a small island by itself, which has now ceased to be such and which was first joined to the city as the “New Town” by Hiram, had till then probably been inhabited only by the priests attached to the sanctuary of Melkart. Besides these two there was a third town or suburb, the Eurychoros (esplanade), formed by means of substructions on the eastern side of the rock. Palaetyrus, extending from the river Leontes on the north to the Ras el-Ain on the south, covered with all its outlying parts the whole available maritime strip of land and lay in one of the most fertile and blooming plains of Phoenicia (compare Hosea ix 13, שטולה בנוה, “planted in a pleasant place”; or William of Tyre, "Fertilitate praecipua et amoenitate quasi singularis, habet planitiem sibi continuam divitis glebae et opimi soli”, xii 3). It was watered by several aqueducts which carried the stream from the fountain-group situated in the plain itself (head of the well, Ras al-Ayin), not only through the whole territory of the continental city but probably by means of subterranean pipes, also into the island-city. Without this supposition it would hardly be credible how the latter, which up to the siege by Shalmaneser (before the 8th century) had subsisted on rain-water only collected in cisterns and open canals (ὑδραγωγοί) from the Ras, could have stood the long sieges by Nebuchadnezzar (thirteen years) and of Alexander, who naturally stopped the over ground supplies, without apparently once suffering from want of water. Possibly we may, in a certain annual rite called the “Wedding of the land-water to the sea-water”, still kept up by the inhabitants, see a faint reminiscence of this ancient juncture. Here also stood the ancient royal palace and the first sanctuary of Hercules, though the most celebrated one lay on the island opposite. The happy mixture of land and sea scenery thus exhibited by the two cities in the time of their prosperity is graphically described by Nonnus, a learned Egyptian antideologist of the end of the 4th Christian century: “The sailor furrows the sea with his oar,as the ploughman the soil; the lowing of oxen and the song of birds answer the deep roar of the main; the hamadryad among the tall trees hears the voice of the Nereid calling to her from the waves; the breeze from Lebanon, while it cools the rustic at his midday labor, speeds the sailor seaward”. “O Tyrus” exclaims the prophet (Ezkiel xxvii 3 etcetera) “thou hast said I am of perfect beauty; thy borders are in the midst of the sea, thy builders have perfected thy beauty”. The poets call her “a virgin bathing in the sea, a Tartessus-ship swimming upon the ocean, an island on shore and a city in the sea withal” etcetera. Above all however Nonnus makes his Indian hero get into ecstasies at the primeval fountains, especially those where the water "gushing out of the depths of the earth, returns every hour"; and he mentions three distinct sources or water-nymphs “Abarberea the fertile; Kallirrhoe the sweet; and Drosera the rich and bridal one”.
The description of Tyre in the prophecy of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27; Ezekiel 10) receives striking illustration from what we believe to be its earliest coins. These coins were held to be most probably of Tyre or some other Phoenician city or possibly of Babylon, on numismatic evidence alone, by Mr. Burgon of the British Museum. They probably date during the 5th century B.C. — they may possibly be a little older — but it is most reasonable to consider them as of the time of, and issued by, Darius Hystaspis; The chief coins are octodrachms of the earlier Phoenician weight, bearing, on the obverse, a war-galley beneath the towered walls of a city and, on the reverse, a king in a chariot with an incuse goat beneath. This combination of galley and city is exactly what we find in the description of Tyre in Ezekiel, which mainly portrays a state-galley but also refers to a port and speaks of towers and walls. SEE NAVIGATION.
III. History — 1. The early history of Tyre is so completely shrouded in mythical mystery that a rational reconstruction of it is next to impossible. We hear of kings of Phoenicia whose very names mostly prove them to be mere types of deities or special tribes such as Agenor, Phoenix, Phalis, Sidon, Tetramnestus, Tennes, Strato, Abdalominus (a word spelled in many different ways, the only reasonable orthography of which however must be Abd-Alonim [Hebrew Elyonim] עבד עליוני or “servant of the highest ones or gods”). Abibal however is called the first king of Tyre and the predecessor of Hiram (Hierom, Suram, etcetera), the Biblical Chiram with whom indeed begins what to us is approximately the historical period of Phoenicia. We have already mentioned the calamity in consequence of which the Sidonians, hitherto the mightiest power of Phoenicia, were obliged to leave their capital and seek refuge in neighboring Tyre. This took place about B.C. 1200 and very soon after that period Tyre assumed the hegemony. Before the time of Samuel we already hear of the princes (Suffetes) of Tyre oppressing the Israelites (Judges x 12).
In the Bible Tyre is named for the first time in the book of Joshua (Joshua xix 29) where it is adverted to as a fortified city (in the A. V. “the strong city”) in reference to the boundaries of the tribe of Asher. Nothing historical however turns upon this mention of Tyre;
for it is indisputable that the tribe of Asher never possessed the Tyrian territory. According to the injunctions of the Pentateuch, indeed all the Canaanitish nations ought to have been exterminated; but instead of this the Israelites dwelt among the Sidonians or Phoenicians who were inhabitants of the land (Judges i 31, 32) and never seem to have had any war with that intelligent race. Subsequently, in a passage of Samuel (2 Samuel xxiv 7), it is stated that the enumerators of the census in the reign of David went in pursuance of their mission to Tyre, among other cities, which must be understood as implying not that Tyre was subject to David's authority but merely that a census was thus taken of the Jews resident there.
2. But the first passages in the Hebrew historical writings, or in ancient history generally, which afford glimpses of the actual condition of Tyre are in the book of Samuel (2 Samuel 5:11) in connection with Hiram king of Tyre (B.C. 980-947) sending cedar-wood and workmen to David for building him a palace; and subsequently in the book of Kings in connection with the building of Solomon's temple. One point at this period is particularly worthy of attention. In contradistinction from all the other most celebrated independent commercial cities out of Phoenicia in the ancient and modern world, Tyre was a monarchy and not a republic; and, notwithstanding its merchant princes, who might have been deemed likely to favor the establishment of an aristocratical commonwealth, it continued to preserve the monarchical form of government until its final loss of independence. Another point is the skill in the mechanical arts which seems to have already been attained by the Tyrians. Under this head, allusion is not specially made to the excellence of the Tyrians in felling trees; for, through vicinity to the forests of Lebanon, they would as naturally have become skilled in that art as the backwoodsmen of America. But what is peculiarly noteworthy is that Tyrians had become workers in brass or copper to an extent which implies considerable advancement in art. In the enumeration of the various works in brass executed by the Tyrian artists whom Solomon sent for there are lilies, palm-trees, oxen, lions and cherubim (1 Kings vii:13-45). The manner in which the cedar-wood and fir-wood were conveyed to Jerusalem is likewise interesting, partly from the similarity of the sea voyage to what may commonly be seen on the Rhine at the present day and partly as giving a vivid idea of the really short distance between Tyre and Jerusalem. The wood was taken in floats to Joppa (2 Chronicles ii:16; 1 Kings 5:9), a distance of less than seventy-four geographical miles. In the Mediterranean during summer there are times when this voyage along the coast would have been perfectly safe and when the Tyrians might have reckoned confidently, especially at night, on light winds to fill the sails which were probably used on such occasions. From Joppa to Jerusalem the distance was about thirty-two miles and it is certain that by this route the whole distance between the two celebrated cities of Jerusalem and Tyre was not more than 106 geographical or about 122 English miles. Within such a comparatively short distance (which by land in a straight line was about twenty miles shorter) it would be easy for two sovereigns to establish personal relations with each other, more especially as the northern boundary of Solomon's kingdom in one direction was the southern boundary of Phoenicia. Solomon and Hiram may frequently have met and thus laid the foundations of a political alliance in personal friendship. If by messengers they sent riddles and problems for each other to solve (Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews viii 5, 3; Against Apion i 17), they may previously have had, on several occasions, a keen encounter of wits in convivial intercourse. In this way likewise Solomon may have become acquainted with the Sidonian women who, with those of other nations, seduced him to polytheism and the worship of Astarte in his old age. Similar remarks apply to the circumstances which may have previously occasioned the strong affection of Hiram for David (1 Kings v:1). However this maybe, it is evident that under Solomon there was a close alliance between the Hebrews and the Tyrians. Hiram supplied Solomon with cedar-wood, precious metals and workmen and gave him sailors for the voyage to Ophir and India; while, on the other hand, Solomon gave Hiram supplies of corn and oil, ceded to him some cities and permitted him to make use of some havens on the Red Sea (1 Kings ix:11-14; 1 Kings ix:26-28; 1 Kings x:22). Under Hiram Tyre not only attained to its fullest glory and renown among its sister-states but [to] the capital itself; enlarged by him into three distinct towns [it] received its fullest share of palaces, temples and public edifices and its two roadsteads and two harbors probably date from this period. It is at this period also when the joint trading expeditions to Ophir are recorded to have taken place in which the Tyrians furnished the: pilots and mariners. Hiram himself seems altogether to have been a very refined, pious and peaceful monarch. Hardly any wars are recorded during his lifetime and his reported interchange of problems with the “wisest of mankind” points to his renown as a bel esprit. These friendly relations survived for a time the disastrous secession of the ten tribes and a century later Ahab married a daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians (1 Kings xvi:31) who, according to Menander (Josephus in Antiquities vii 13, 2) was a daughter of Ithobaal, king of Tyre.
3. Hiram was followed, according to Menander (in Josephus) and Theophilus, by Baleastartus whose four sons reigned after him for short periods. First came Abdastartus (939-931) who in consequence of a palace revolution was followed on the throne for twelve years by a son of his nurse --- a period of internal sedition and general lawlessness having intervened during which (so Justin tells us) all the free citizens of Tyre were murdered by the slaves. Astartus, the eldest son of Baleastartus, succeeded to the government and ruled from 918 to 907 when a third brother, Astarymus, was made king. He was murdered nine years later by Phaletus, his youngest brother who, after a brief reign of nine months, was put to death by Ithobaal, priest of Astarte, in whose family the kingdom henceforth became hereditary. This Ithobaal, the Ethbaal of Scripture, whose daughter was married to Ahab, is called by Josephus “king of Tyre and Sidon”, a sign of the supremacy which Tyre had acquired in his day. The drought reported to have taken place in Judaea under Ahab seems to have also touched Phoenicia and such was Ithobaal's piety that at his supplication thunder-claps were heard followed by copious rains. It was chiefly before his reign (898-866) that Tyre commenced to spread its colonies as far as Africa, Spain etcetera owing, in the first instance, probably to the danger of life and uncertainty of circumstances into which the country had been plunged by the internal conflicts. But Ithobaal himself seems to have encouraged colonization and, in order to prevent the overcrowding of the old cities, to have built a number of new cities. Balezor, his son, succeeded in 865 and was followed by his son Mutton, the office of high-priest devolving on his second son Sicharbaal. Mutton died in 833 and left two children, Elissa (Dido) and Pygmalion, who were to share the kingdom between them while Elissa by her marriage with Sicharbaal was to unite the high-priesthood with the crown. To this arrangement however the people, averse to the supreme priestly power, demurred and Pygmalion was declared sole king. Elissa's husband having been killed for the sake of his treasures by the new king and herself being-deprived of her dominion, she is said to have entered into a conspiracy with the aristocratic party and, in the ninth year of Pygmalion's reign, assisted and followed by her brother Barca and the principal families of the land, to have reached Carthage (New Town : קרת חדשא), a colony founded some time
before by the Sidonians (about B.C. 813) and to have completely rebuilt it and laid the foundation for a power which contended with mighty Rome for the empire of the worlds.
4. The political existence of Palestine, Syria and Phoenicia, which instead of making a joint desperate stand, kept on intriguing and plotting against each other. Phoenicia moreover, being hated and despised by her allies for her iniquitous trade in slaves kidnapped among her neighbors, chiefly in Judaea, was henceforth doomed. From this time commenced denunciations and at first threats of retaliation (Joel iii:4-8; Amos i:9-10); and indeed though there might be peace there could not be sincere friendship between the two nations. But the likelihood of the denunciations being fulfilled first arose from the progressive conquests of the Assyrian monarchs. It was not probable that a powerful victorious and ambitious neighbor could resist the temptation of endeavoring to subjugate the small strip of land between the Lebanon and the sea; so insignificant in extent but overflowing with so much wealth, which by the Greeks was called Phoenicia. Accordingly, when the king of Assyria had taken the city of Samaria, had conquered the kingdom of Israel and carried its inhabitants into captivity, he turned his arms against the Phoenician cities. At this time Tyre had reached a high point of prosperity. It possessed the island of Cyprus with the valuable mines of the metal “copper” (so named from the island) and apparently the city of Sidon was subject to its sway. But the Assyrian king seems to have taken advantage of a revolt of the Cyprians; and what ensued is thus related by Menander who translated the archives of Tyre into the Greek language (see Josephus in Antiquities ix:14.2):
And now the king of Assyria invaded all Syria and Phoenicia in a hostile manner. The name of this king is also set down in the archives of Tyre for he made an expedition against Tyre in the reign of Eluleus; and Menander attests to it, who, when he wrote his Chronology and translated the archives of Tyre into the Greek language, gives us the following history: "One whose name was Eluleus reigned thirty-six years; this king, upon the revolt of the Citteans, sailed to them and reduced them again to a submission. Against these did the king of Assyria send an army and in a hostile manner overrun all Phoenicia but soon made peace with them all and returned back; but Sidon, and Ace and Palsetyrus revolted; and many other cities there were which delivered themselves up to the king of Assyria. Accordingly, when the Tyrians would not submit to him, the king returned and fell upon them again, while the Phoenicians had furnished him with threescore ships and eight hundred men to row them; and when the Tyrians had come upon them in twelve ships and the enemy's ships were dispersed, they took five hundred men prisoners and the reputation of all the citizens of Tyre was thereby increased; but the king of Assyria returned and placed guards at their rivers and aqueducts, who should hinder the Tyrians from drawing water. This continued for five years; and still the Tyrians bore the siege and drank of the water they had out of the wells they dug". And this is what is written in the Tyrian archives concerning Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria.
But there can hardly be a doubt that Tyre as well as the whole of Phoenicia very soon was made tributary to Assyria like all the neighboring countries; and the calamities brought upon them all alike by the uninterrupted war expeditions of the Assyrian monarchs could not but be felt also by the dependencies and colonies. These fell more or less about this time into the hands of new settlers, from whom again Carthage somewhat later wrested a part for herself.
5. After the siege of Tyre by the Assyrians (which must have taken place not long after B.C. 721) Tyre remained a powerful state with its own kings (Jeremiah xxv:22; Jeremiah xxvii:3; Ezekiel xxviii:2-12) remarkable for its wealth with territory on the mainland and protected by strong fortifications (Ezekiel xxviii:5; Ezekiel xxvi: 4 6 8 10 and 12; Ezekiel xxvii:11; Zechariah ix:3). Our knowledge of its condition thenceforward until the siege by Nebuchadnezzar depends entirely on various notices of it by the Hebrew prophets; but some of these notices are singularly full; and especially the twenty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel furnishes us on some points with details such as have scarcely come down to us respecting any one city of antiquity excepting Rome and Athens. One point especially arrests the attention, that Tyre, like its splendid daughter Carthage, employed mercenary soldiers (Ezekiel xvii:10-11). This has been the general tendency in commercial cities on account of the high wages which may be obtained by artisans in a thriving community compared with the ordinary pay of a soldier and Tyre had been unable to resist the demoralizing temptation. In its service there were Phoenicians from Arvad, Ethiopians obtained through the commerce of Egypt and hardy mountaineers from Persia. This is the first time that the name of Persia occurs in the remains of ancient literature before its sons founded a great monarchy on the ruins of the Chaldean empire. Independently however of this fact respecting Tyrian mercenary soldiers, Ezekiel gives interesting details respecting the trade of Tyre. On this head, without attempting to exhaust the subject, a few leading points may be noticed. The first question is as to the countries from which Tyre obtained the precious metals; and it appears that its gold came from Arabia by the Persian Gulf (v:22) just as in the time of Solomon it came from Arabia by the Red Sea. SEE OPHIR. Whether the Arabian merchants, whose wealth was proverbial in Roman classical times (Horace in Odyssey i, 29, 1) obtained their gold by traffic with Africa or India or whether it was the product of their own country is uncertain; but so far as the latter alternative is concerned the point will probably be cleared up in the progress of geological knowledge. On the other hand the silver, iron, lead and tin of Tyre came from a very different quarter of the world; viz from the south of Spain where the Phoenicians had established their settlement of Tarshish or Tartessus. As to copper we should have presumed that it was obtained from the valuable mines in Cyprus; but it is mentioned here in conjunction with Javan, Tubal and Meshech; which points to the districts on the south of the Black Sea in the neighborhood of Armenia in the southern line of the Caucasus between the Black Sea and the Caspian. The country whence Tyre was supplied with wheat was Palestine. It may be added that the value of Palestine as a wheat country to Tyre was greatly enhanced by its proximity, as there was scarcely a part of the kingdom of Israel on the west of the river Jordan which was distant more than a hundred miles from that great commercial city. The extreme points in the kingdom of Judah would be somewhat more distant but the wheat probably came from the northern part of Palestine. Tyre likewise obtained from Palestine oil, honey and balm; but not wine apparently notwithstanding the abundance of grapes and wine in Judah (Genesis xlix:11). The wine was imported from Damascus and was called [the] wine of Helbon which was probably not the product of the country adjoining the celebrated city of that name but came from the neighborhood of Damascus itself (see the 1868 Edition of A Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine 279 468 and 579-80; compare Athenaeus 1.51; on Helbon itself read McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia). The Bedawin Arabs supplied Tyre with lambs and rams and goats; for the rearing of which their mode of life was so well adapted. Egypt furnished linen for sails and doubtless for other purposes and the dyes from shellfish, which afterwards became such a source of profit to the Tyrians, were imported from the Peloponnesus (compare the Laconicas purpuras of Horace in the Odyssey ii 18 7; and Pliny ix:40). Lastly, from Dedan, in the Persians Gulf, an island occupied possibly by a Phoenician colony, horns of ivory and ebony were imported which must originally have been obtained from India (Ezekiel xxvii). SEE COMMERCE.
6. When the iron grasp of Assyria began to relax the Chaldaeo-Egyptian contest brought still greater miseries upon that unfortunate Syro-Phoenician coast and Phoenicia -- still nominally ruled by Tyre. The Phoenicians, it would appear, had allied themselves to the Egyptians, who under Psammetichus had seized upon Philistia and were about to assist Pharaoh-Necho in his further conquest of the Tyro-Palestinian states. When therefore at Carchemish the Egyptians had been defeated by the
Chaldaeans, the latter instantly followed up their victory by occupying Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia; and selling a great number of the inhabitants of the latter about B.C. 605. A league having been formed between these states to throw off the foreign yoke gave rise to a new Chaldean expedition against them under Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 25:22; Jer 27:3; Jer 47:4) which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem (B.C. 588) and the reduction of the sea-coast except Tyre. For thirteen years Nebuchadnezzar besieged it by water and by land but with what degree of success is still a matter of debate. Hitzig, Gesenius, Heeren, Winer. Kenrick and others hold that the siege was a failure. It is certain that the fall of Tyre is mentioned in no ancient history -- neither by Josephus nor by the Tyrian historian Menander nor by Philostratus. Berosus indeed affirmed that Nebuchadnezzar "subdued all Syria and Phoenicia" but Tyre is not expressly mentioned. Nay, Jerome says persons who had examined Greek and Phoenician histories, especially the writings of Nicolaus Damascenus, find no mention of the siege at all, but the reply of the father is only a retort upon the peifidia et mendacia of profane writers. Jerome's own assertion is "Deus praedixerat, hoc sufficit". The question then comes to be whether the oracle of Ezekiel implies the capture of Tyre. The most graphic descriptions of this siege are found in Eze 26:7-12,17; Eze 28:2; Eze 29:18, etc. The prophet's language, "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled; yet he had no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, "Behold I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey and it shall be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor wherewith he served against it, because they, wrought for me, saith the Lord God" (Eze 29:18-20), would seem to imply that Nebuchadnezzar had failed; that his army had put forth all its energies, till "every head was bald" by the constant pressure of the helmet, and "every shoulder peeled" by the hard labor of the trenches and siege work, but that he had been disappointed, that he got no wages that the rich booty of the city did not fall into his possession, and that therefore Egypt was to afford him compensation "as a spoil," "a prey," "and wages for his army." But surely the author or the collector of these. oracles could not so contradict himself and his own utterances as to affirm, as in 26:7-21, and then deny, the capture of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. The narrative of Berosus and Jerome is accepted by Movers, and Ewald, the latter of whom says that Jerome's statement "quite agrees with the brief words of Ezekiel." It may also be replied, with Havernick, Hengstenberg, Fairbairn, and others, that the meaning is that Nebuchadnezzar, though he took the city, yet found no fitting recompense, as, according to Jerome, the inhabitants had removed all their valuable property to the island. That he took Palaetyrus seems certain, though there is no proof of Jerome's assertion that, in his assault upon the island, he had nearly completed a dam, and had erected warlike engines on it. It is plain, too, that Tyre made submission to the Chaldaean king. Many of the Tyrian royal family resided afterwards at Babylon, perhaps as hostages, and several of them were asked by the Tyrians at different times and crises to come and reign over them. These facts are proofs of the Chaldaean conquest, and that it was more than such' a capitulation as is admitted by Niebuhr, Dunker, Kenrick. and others (Niebuhr, Gesch. Assur's, p. 216; Dunker, Gesch. des Alterthums, 1, 172; Kenrick, Phoenicia, p. 390; see Pusey, On Daniel, p. 288). Moreover, Isaiah, in his oracle against Tyre, specifically declared that it should be destroyed, not by the power which then threatened, but by the Chaldaeans, a people "formerly of no account" (23:13). The more detailed predictions of the prophet Ezekiel were delivered a hundred and twenty years later, B.C. 588. Tyre was not taken till the fifteenth year after the captivity, B.C. 573, more than seventeen hundred years, according to Josephus, after its foundation. Its destruction then must have been entire; all the inhabitants were put to the sword or led into captivity, the walls were razed to the ground, and it was made a "terror" and a desolation. It is remarkable that .one reason assigned by Ezekiel for the destruction of this proud city is its exultation at the destruction of Jerusalem. "I shall be replenished now she is laid waste" (Eze 16:2). This clearly indicates that its overthrow was posterior to that event and, if we take the seventy years during which it was; predicted by Isaiah (Isa 23:15) that Tyre should be forgotten to denote a definite term (which seems the most natural sense), we may conclude that it was not rebuilt till the same number of years after the return of the Jews from Babylon. That it was continental Tyre, and not insular Tyre, which Nebuchadnezzar besieged appears from the description of the siege which we have given us by Ezekiel; for we find that the king: cast up a mound against it, and erected engines to batter down the walls (Eze 28:8-10). But that the city on, the island then, escaped this fate is manifest; from the Phoenician histories. But as to the latter also, at least; a show of submission, if not a subjection — leaving the native sovereigns on the throne, and their wealth and naval power untouched — was what Nebuchadnezzar gained when he ended the "wageless" siege (comp. 29:17). Once more Nebuchadnezzar armed, at the end, of this war, against Egypt, but Pharaoh. Apries, swiftly marching upon Phoenicia, subduing it, and destroying its fleet, prevented this expedition. In this expedition; Apries besieged Sidon, fought a naval battle with Tyre, and reduced the whole of the coast of Phoenicia, though this could not have had lasting effects (Herod. 2, 161; Diod. 1, 68, Movers, as phonische Alterthum, 2, 451). The rule of Nebuchadnezzar over Tyre, though real, may have been light and in the nature of an; alliance; and it may have been in. this sense that Merbal, a subsequent Tyrian king, was sent for to Babylon (Josephus, Cont. Apion. 1, 21). At this time the ancient constitution of Tyre was changed. Ithobaal had been followed by Baal, but after Baal two judges (suffetes) took for a certain period the place of the monarch. We hear of, internal commotions-natural enough in a country: and city upon which calamity after calamity had fallen in, so short a time 1 and the existence of two parties in the, commonwealth that looked respectively to Chaldoea and to Egypt could not but foster those internal dissensions., In 538, while Eiromus stood at the head of the Tyrian or Phoenician affairs, Cyrus captured Babylon, and thus, became master also of Phoenicia, which had reverted to; this power. At that time Sidon, being made the royal; residence, again resumed the hegemony.
7. During the Persian domination the Tyrians were subject in, name to the Persian king and may have given him tribute. With the rest of Phoenicia, they had submitted to the Persians without striking a blow; perhaps through hatred of the Chaldees, perhaps solely from prudential motives. But their connection with the Persian king was not slavish. Thus, when Cambyses ordered them to join in an expedition against Carthage, they refused compliance, on account of their solemn engagements and parental relation to that colony; and Cambyses did not deem it right to use force towards them (Herod. 3, 19). Afterwards they fought with Persia against Greece, and furnished vessels of war in the expedition of Xerxes against Greece (ibid. 12, 98); and Mapên, the son of Sirom the Tyrian, is mentioned among those who, next to the commanders, were the most renowned in the fleet. It is worthy of notice that at this time Tyre seems to have been, inferior in power to Sidon. These two cities were less than twenty English miles distant from each other; and it is easy to
conceive that in the course of centuries their relative importance might fluctuate, as would be very possible in modern times with two neighboring cities, such, for example, as Liverpool and Manchester. It is possible, also, that Tyre may have been seriously weakened by its long struggle against Nebuchadnezzar. Under the Persian dominion, Tyre and Sidon supplied cedarwood again to the Jews for the building of the second Temple and this wood was sent by sea to Joppa, and thence to Jerusalem, as had been the case with the materials for the first Temple in the time of Solomon (Ezr 3:7). Under the Persians, likewise, Tyre was visited by a historian, from whom we might have derived valuable information respecting its condition (Herod. 2, 44). But the information actually supplied by him is scanty as the motive of his voyage seems to have been solely to visit the celebrated Temple of Melkarth (the Phoenician.
Hercules), which was situated in the island, and' was highly venerated. He gives no details as to the city, and merely specifies two columns which he observed in the temple, one of gold and the other of emerald; or, rather, as is reasonably conjectured by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, of green glass (Rawlinson, Herodotus, 2, 81,82). Under the successive Persian rulers Phoenicia was allowed to0 retain many of its national institutions, and even a certain amount of independence, in return for which it paid a comparatively small tax and placed its again powerful fleet at the disposal of the conquerors, who entirely lacked that most vital element of naval power. Together, with Philistia and Cyprus, it was incorporated under Darius Hystaspis in the fifth nomos, or circle, of the empire; and up to the time of Xerxes the relations between the conquerors and the conquered were of a perfectly friendly nature. But when this king, during his Greek invasion, had managed to destroy the highly prized Phoenician fleet almost completely, and to this calamity added galling measures and humiliations without end, the people became so exasperated that they took part, under Sidon's leadership, in the revolt of Egypt against Artaxerxes Mnemon and Ochus, about the middle of the 4th century, which ended most disastrously for the whole country, and particularly for Sidon, which, wealth and all, was fired by its own inhabitants. Tyre afterwards (350) again resumed the sway, until, after the battle on the Issus, all the Phoenician cities except herself paid their allegiance to the Macedonian warrior.
8. It was in consequence of this contumacy that Tyre was assailed for the third time by a great conqueror; and if some uncertainty hangs over the siege by Nebuchadnezzar, the results of the siege by Alexander were clear and undeniable. It was essential to the success of his military plans that the Phoenician fleet should be at his command, and that he should not be liable through their hostility to have his communications by sea with Greece and Macedonia suddenly cut off; and he accordingly summoned all the Phoenician cities to submit to his rule. All the rest of them, including Aradus, Byblus, and Sidon, complied with his demands, and the seamen of those cities in the Persian fleet brought away their ships to join him. Tyre alone, calculating probably at first on the support of those seamen, refused to admit him within its walls; and then ensued a memorable siege which lasted seven months, and the success of which was the greatest of all the achievements which Alexander up to that time had attempted. At that time Tyre was situated on an island nearly half a mile from the mainland; it was completely surrounded by prodigious walls, the loftiest portion of which on the side fronting the mainland reached a height not less than one hundred and fifty feet;" and, notwithstanding his persevering efforts, he could not have succeeded in his attempt, if the harbor of Tyre to the north had not been blockaded by the Cyprians, and that to the south by the Phoenicians. Moreover, owing to internal disturbances, Carthage was unable to afford any assistance to its parent state. For seven months Tyre sustained one of the most remarkable sieges ever recorded (B.C. 332). Palbetyrus having been razed to the ground, the island-city was connected by the conqueror with the mainland by means of a mole, which, once destroyed, had to be reconstructed entirely anew. An immense fleet was collected, the ablest engineers of Phoenicia and Cyprus exercised all their skill on the construction of new battering and other machines; while the means of defense on the part of the Tyrians were as
cunning as they were successful, and fearfully galling to the besiegers. At last Tyre fell under a furious double attack, and, provoked by their desperate resistance even after the town was already taken, the soldiery fired it and massacred an immense number of the inhabitants. In accordance with the barbarous policy of ancient times, 30,000 of its inhabitants; including slaves, free females, and free children, were sold as slaves (Arrian, 4:24, 9; Diodorus, 17:46). Alexander replaced the population by new colonists, chiefly Carians, and soon again the exceptionally favorable position of the place regained for it part of its ancient prosperity, though its trade is said to have suffered by the vicinity and rivalry of Alexandria.
9. Ptolemy had, after Alexander's death, annexed Phoenicia to his kingdom; but when, in B.C. 315, Antigonus returned from Babylonia, he easily expelled his garrisons from all the Phoenician cities save Tyre, which only surrendered after an eighteen months siege. The boundaries of its territory at that period were: Sarepta to the north, the "Tyrian Ladder" to the south, and Kedes and Baka in Galilee to the east. Under the Macedonian successors of Alexander, it shared the fortunes of the Seleucide, who bestowed on it many privileges; and there are still in existence coins of that epoch with a Phoenician and Greek inscription (Eckhel, Doctr. Nusmmorum Vet. 3, 379, etc.; Gesenius, Mionum. Phoen. p. 262-264, and Tab. 34).
10. Beyond this nothing particular is known of Tyre from this time forth to the time of the civil wars of Rome-with which empire Phoenicia had been incorporated together with Syria by Pompey-when Cassius divided Syria into small provinces and sold them separately. Tyre for a short period thus became a principality again with a king of her own. Under the Romans it thus at first continued to enjoy a kind of freedom; for Josephus mentions that when Cleopatra pressed Antony to include Tyre and Sidon in a gift of Phoenician and Jewish territory which he made to her, he steadily refused, knowing them to have been "free cities from their ancestors" (Ant. 15:4, 1). Subsequently, however, on the arrival of Augustus in the East (A.D. 20), he is said to have deprived the two cities of their liberties for seditious conduct (ἐδουλώσατο, Dion Cassius, 64, 7). Still the prosperity of Tyre in the time of Augustus was undeniably great. Strabo gives an account of it at that period (16, 2, 23), and speaks of the great wealth, which it derived from the dyes of the celebrated Tyrian: purple, which, as is well-known were extracted from shell-fish found on the coast, belonging to a species of the gelius Murex. In the days of Ezekiel, the Tyrians had imported purple from the Peloponnesus; but they had since learned to extract the dye for themselves; and they had the advantage of having shell-fish on their coast better adapted for this purpose even than those on the Lacedaemonian coast (Pausaniasn 3, 21, 6); Strabo adds that the great number of dyeing- works rendered the city unpleasant as a place of residence. He further speaks of the houses as consisting of many stories even of more than in the houses at Rome-which is precisely what might be expected in a prosperous fortified city of limited area, in which ground-rent would be high. Pliny the Elder gives additional information respecting the city, for in describing it he says that the circumference of the city proper (i.e. the city on the peninsula) was twenty-two stadia, while that of the whole city, including Palaetyrus, was nineteen Roman miles (Fist. Nat. 5, 17). The accounts of Strabo and Pliny have a peculiar interest in this respect, that they tended to convey an idea of what the city must have been when visited' by Christ (Mt 15:21; Mr 7:24). It was perhaps more populous than Jerusalem; and if so, it was undoubtedly the largest city which he is known to have visited. It was not much more than thirty miles distant from Nazareth, where Christ mainly lived as a carpenter's son during the greater part of his life (Mt 2:23; Mt 4:12-13,18; Mr 6:3). We may readily conceive that he may often have gone to Tyre while yet unknown to the world; and whatever uncertainty there may be as to the extent to which the Greek language was likely to be spoken at Nazareth, at Tyre and in its neighborhood there must have been excellent opportunities for conversation in that language, with which he seems to have been acquainted (Mr 7:26). At an early period a Christian community was formed there (Ac 21:3,7). It was early the seat of a Christian bishopric, and Cassius, bishop of Tyre, is named as having been present at the Council of Caesarea towards the close of the 2nd century (Reland Palestina, p. 1054).
For a long time Tyre retained her manufactures and trade, though a mere shadow of what these once had been. Chiefly with regard to her dyeing produce Hadrian granted Tyre the title of metropolis, and it formed the principal naval station on the Tyrian coast. Once again it was fired in A.D. 193, when it took part with Septimius Severus against Pescennius Niger in their contest for the crown, and Severus gratefully bestowed upon the place, which he peopled with his third legion, the title of colony and the Jus Italicum. Such was its elastic vitality that at the time of Constantine it again equaled all the Eastern cities in wealth and commercial prosperity. Jerome, in the 4th century, calls it the noblest and most beautiful city of Phoenicia, and expresses his astonishment at the apparent nonfulfilment of the prophecy which threatened its eternal desolation ("Nec edificaberis ultra videtur facere qusestionem, quomodo non sit aedificata? quam hodie cernimus Phocenices nobilissimam et pulcherriimam civitatem").
11. In the 7th century took place the extraordinary Arabian revolution under Mohammed which has given a new religion to so many millions of mankind. In the years A.D. 633-638, all Syria and Palestine, from the Dead Sea to Antioch, were conquered by the caliph Omar. This conquest was so complete that in both those countries the language of Mohammed has almost totally supplanted the language of Christ. In Syria there are only three villages where Syriac (or Aramaic) is the vernacular language. In Palestine it is not the language of a single native; and in Jerusalem, to a stranger who understands what is involved in this momentous revolution, it is one of the most suggestive of all sounds to hear the muezzin daily call Mohammedans to prayers in the Arabic language of Mohammed within the sacred precincts where once stood the Temple in which Christ worshipped in Hebrew or in Aramaic. (As to the Syriac language, see Porter, Handbook for Syria and Palestine, 2, 551.) But even this conquest did not cause the overthrow of Tyre. The most essential conditions on which peace was granted to Tyre, as to other Syrian cities, were the payment of a poll- tax, the obligation to give board and lodging for three days to every Moslem traveler, the wearing a peculiar dress, the admission of Moslems into the churches, the doing away with all crosses and all sounds of bells the avoiding of all insulting expressions towards the Mohammedan religion, and the prohibition to ride on horseback or to build new churches (see Well, Gesch. der Chalifen, 1, 81-82). Some of these conditions were humiliating and nearly heart-breaking; but if submitted to, the lives
and private property of the inhabitants remained untouched.: Notwithstanding the establishment of an imperial dyeing manufactory at Constantinople, Tyre yet retained her ancient celebrity for her purple, which was imported into Lombardy at the time of Charlemagne. Under the caliphs it enjoyed the benefits of a mild and enlightened dominion, and during the crusades was much admired both for its natural beauty and its fine edifices and its generally prosperous aspect. It again had at that time to sustain a long siege, but finally surrendered (1124), and was made an archbishopric, bestowed four years afterwards upon William of Tyre, the chronicler of the crusades. In August, 1192, it was fixed as the northern boundary of the Christian 'territories in Palestine, and continued to flourish, chiefly through the Venetian trade, as a commercial city until the conquest of Syria by Selim I in 1516, from which time forth its decline, further aided by the discovery of the New World and the route to Asia by the Cape of Good Hope, has been rapid and complete. IV. Present Condition. — In the first half of the 14th century, Tyre was visited by Sir John Maundeville, who says, speaking of Tyre, which is now called Sûr, here was once a great and goodly city of the Christians; but the Saracens have destroyed it in great part, and they guard that haven carefully "for fear of the Christians" (Wright, Early Travels in Palestine, p. 141). About 1610-11 it was visited by Sandys, who said of it, "But this once famous Tyre is now no other than a heap of ruins; yet have they a reverent aspect, and do instruct the pensive beholder with their exemplary frailty. It hath two harbors, that on the north side the fairest and best throughout all the Levant (which the cursors enter at their pleasure); the other choked with the decays of the city" (Purchas, Pilgrims, 2. 1393). Towards the close of the same century, in 1697, Maundrell says of it, "On the north side it has an old Turkish castle, besides which there is nothing here but a mere Babel of broken walls, pillars, vaults, etc., there being not so much as an entire house left. Its present inhabitants are only a few poor wretches that harbor in vaults and subsist upon fishing" (see Harris, Voyages and Travels, 2, 846). Lastly, without quoting at length Dr. Richard Pococke, who in 1737-40 stated (see vol. 10 of Pinkerton, Voyages and Travels, p. 470) that, except some janissaries, there were few other inhabitants in the city than two or three Christian families, the words of Hasselquist, the Swedish naturalist, may be recorded, as they mark the lowest point of depression which Tyre seems to have reached. He was there in May, 1751, and he thus speaks of his visit: "We followed the seashore… and came to Tyre, now called Zur, where we lay all night. None of these cities, which formerly were famous, are so totally ruined as this except Troy. Zur now scarcely can be called a miserable village, though it was formerly Tyre, the queen of the sea. Here are about ten inhabitants, Turks and Christians, who live by fishing (Voyages and Travels in the Levant [Lond. 1766]). A slight change for the better began soon after Volney states that in 1766 the Metawileh took possession of the place, and built a wall round it twenty feet high, which existed when he visited Tyre nearly twenty years afterwards. At that time Volney estimated the population at fifty or: sixty poor families. Since the beginning of the present century there has been a partial revival of prosperity. But it has been visited at different times during the last thirty years by Biblical scholars, such as Robinson, Stanley (Sinai and Pal. p. 270), and Renan (Letter in the Moniteur, July 11, 1861), who all concur in the account of its general aspect of desolation. Mr. Porter, who resided several years at Damascus, and had means of obtaining correct information, stated in 1858 that "the modern town, or rather village, contains from 3000 to 4000 inhabitants, about one half being Metawileh; and the other Christians" (Handbook, p. 391). They are living among the broken ruins of its former magnificence, eking out a scanty livelihood upon insignificant exports of tobacco, cotton, wool, and wood. The place as it now stands was founded under the old name Sur in 1766, and suffered very considerably during the earthquake in 1837. The remains of an ancient cathedral church probably enclose the bones of the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and of Origen. About one and a half mile distant from Tyre is the so-called Tomb of Hiram, an immense sarcophagus of limestone, popularly supposed to contain the corpse of that king. SEE HIRAM. The present city lies only upon the eastern part of the island, on the junction of the island and isthmus. The houses are mostly mere hovels, one story high, with flat roofs; and the streets are narrow, crooked, and filthy. Yet the numerous palm-trees and pride of India trees interspersed among the houses and gardens throw over the plain an Oriental charm. One of the best accounts of its present appearance is given by Dr. Robinson, who spent a Sabbath there in 1838 (Bibl. Res. 3, 395): "I continued my walk," says he, "along the shore of the peninsula, part of which is now unoccupied except as 'a place to spread nets upon,' musing upon the pride and fall of ancient Tyre. Here was the little isle, once covered by her palaces and surrounded by her fleets; but, alas! thy riches and thy fame, thy merchandise, thy mariners and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise that were in thee-where are they? Tyre has indeed become
like 'the top of a rock.' The sole tokens of her more ancient splendor columns of red and gray granite, sometimes forty or fifty heaped together, or marble pillars-lie broken and strewed beneath the waves in the midst of the sea; and the hovels that now nestle upon a portion of her site present no contradiction of the dread decree, 'Thou shalt be built no more.' The downfall and permanent desolation of Tyre is one of the most memorable accomplishments of prophecy which the annals of the world exhibit. The sins which sealed its ruin were, in the words of the sacred writers, these: "Because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people; she is turned unto me; I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste" (Eze 26:2). "Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas" (Eze 28:2). "The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border" (Joel 3:6).