Phoenicians in the Eyes of Modern Archaeological Studies

In its January 2010 issue «National Geographic Magazine» published an article written by Rick Gore about an American geneticist, Spencer Wells and a Lebanese scientist, Pierre Zalloua, tracing the origins of the Phoenicians by collecting samples of DNA from peoples from different parts of the world where our ancestors reached 5000 years ago.

The study proved that old inhabitants of the Syrian Coast were mentioned in old texts as smart merchants and clever sailors, although our detailed knowledge about them is still limited to a few texts.

Historians refer to them as Canaanites when talking about the culture before 1200 B.C. that is before the destruction of the kingdom of Ugarit (Ras Shamra), mwhile the Greeks said they are the <Phoinikes>, which means the red people, a name that became Phoenicians — after their word for a prized reddish purple cloth the Phoenicians exported. They, themselves did not like the name Phoenicians, rather they described themselves as Citizens of the Ports   from which they set their sales like Ugarit, Amrit, Arwad, Byblos, Sidon and Tyre.

Mar Maron

Mar Maron lived in a period full of religious and political events which accompanied the spread of Christianity . Christian monks were highly influenced by the successive and concurrent events especially after Roman Emperor Constantine had issued the famous decree of Milan 313AD which allowed Christians to declare their new religion publicly and recognized Christianity as a state religion.

In his book "History of Maronites", issued in the eighties of the past century, Lebanese father BotrosDhaw said: "Since the start of Christian era and until 313AD, Christians suffered from persecution. One day, exactly at sunset, Constantine, saw the image of a cross drawn in the sky by sun rays and "With this you will win" written near it. In the morning he ordered new banners be made for the army with the sign of the cross on them and he won the battle over his opponent, Emperor Maxentius, in 312AD near Rome. After that he ruled all Europe and issued the declaration of 313AD stopping persecution but short of declaring Christianity as a state religion.

ST SIMEON'SCITADEL

ST SIMEON'S CITADEL A MONUMENT CHARACTERIZING SYRIAN ARCHITECTURE THROUGH AGES

Six kilometers North West ofAleppo, over a protruding rockycliff surrounded by valleys in thenorth, south and east, forming naturaldefensive lines, perches St. SimeonCitadel, considered one of the wondersof local architecture. The citadelreflects the influence of Byzantine andclassical arts on Syrian art of building.

This influence is represented by slimcolumns topped with decorated capitalswhich seem as if they are leaning  with the wind, and also by the beautifuloctagon decorated with symmetricalsides and curves based on wonderfulpieces of art. Colors of the stonematch the surrounding colors ofnature. Porticos, gates, and windows seem as if they are open to the wind.

Ugarit

Although more than eighty years have already passed on the start of archaeological excavations in Ras Shamra (Ugarit) on the Syrian Coast,discoveries, studies and translations arestill introducing new, wonderful and unique elements expressing the greatness of this city-kingdom which flourished in ancient Syria from pre- historicalages in the seventh millennium BC to the fourth century BC.

Studies implemented during the recent years and researches published in the most renowned specialized reviews,proved that civilizations started in thiscity since the early days of farming and animal domestication on this rocky pine forest. Earlier discoveries showed several flint workshops where typical tools belonging to the end of the Modern Stone Age, i.e. before pottery was manu factured in the seventh Millennium BC.

Dar Mufidal Amin...An Appointment with History

In the district of Bab Tadmur, one of the old districts of Homs, which could maintain very little of its historical heritage from the invasion of modernity which turned the district into narrow lanes of cement blocks, and just near the Serai of the district, stands Dar MufidalAmin which the endowment documents confirm that it is the second official house built by the government inside the wall of the city during the Mamelouk period after alZahrawi Palace. The house remained an official building until the ottomans entered the city in the year 922 Hijira= 1516 AD.