Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘City-State of Thebes in Greece

Baalbek: The most majestic Temple of all times

The Temple of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon was built more than 1,500 years before the City-State of Rome was constructed, and over 1,000 years before the City-State of Athens emerged.

Andre Geiger maintains that “Both the Acropolis in Athens and the Coliseum in Rome, combined, pale in comparison with the majesty and splendor of Baalbek…”

The Temple of Baalbek is one of mankind history of the loftiest acts and achievement, and it was built by the Canaanites and Phoenician engineering ingenuity and spiritual life-style.

The platform upon which sits the monument is 400-meter-long, 300-m-wide, and 20 meters high.

The Trilithon (the 3 foundation stones)  rise 7 meters, and each stone measuring 4 m-high and 19 m-long. Of the remaining 48 columns that make up the grand temple’s peristyle, the last 6 standing columns feature 19 m high drums, with 3 m-high capitals and a 5-m-high architrave.

Thus, if we add the 20 m-high platform to the 29 m-high of the column, we get  a total of 49 m-high sight.

The colossal square stone, referred to as the “pregnant lady” has the dimensions: 21.5 m by 4 m by 5 m-thick.  This smooth stone totals 433 cubic-meter and weight more than 1,000 metric ton. It requires the strength of 40,000 men to move this stone.

The overall plan of its infrastructure, its architectural scope, the scale of its design and the cyclopean size of the body, especially in the major segments of the foundations, attest to the Phoenician a religious architectural style, referred to as “Semite”.

It is the same style of the Temple of Eryx in west Sicily, and the same style of the small Temple of Solomon and the Great Mosque in Damascus.

The main features are outdoor courtyards, open-air inner courtyards, side sections reserved for sacrificial rites, purification rituals, covered walkways, special aisles for the faithful, and a “holy of hollies” ensconced in a hidden recess of the sanctuary, reserved for the cult’s dignitaries and initiates.

The inner layout and discrete functionality, the basic floor-plans… are intimately related

It is reported that Solomon commissioned the Phoenicians to build on the site of Baalbek a private shrine, set slightly apart from the main temple.  This shrine was dedicated in the Song of Songs “Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from my favorite Lebanon…”

It is not plausible that the Romans decided to build the most majestic of monuments at the confine of its empire, thousands of miles from Rome. It is like France building Versailles in Ouagadougou (Africa) or in the Huran province in south Syria.

The Roman Emperor who restored Baalbek in the mid 3rd century AD was from Syria by origin. And it happened that Rome was planning its biggest celebration of the millennium of its founding.

In order to feel free from wars for this celebration, the Roman emperor made a deal with Persia and paid yearly tax. And the Best monuments in the Empire were restored and refurbished. And Baalbek was the Jewel monument, closest to Persia.

This splendid and spectacular work must have taken decades to finish. It is the culmination of a long-term joint venture, a peace treaty, signed by rich empires, who kept their words, and the monument was a clause in the treaty in order to worship the same Gods, and respect the customs and traditions…

Note 1: All temples in antiquity, including the temples in Greece and Rome emulated the Phoenician style. The Greek and Romans also copied the open-air amphitheaters and race tracks of the Phoenician city-states. The race track in Tyre is a living witness, and dating back to 200 BC, when it was no longer a mighty city.

Note 2: “6,000 years of peaceful contribution to mankind” by late Charles Corm

Note 3: The Phoenicians built the City-State of Thebes in Greece, capital of Boeotia 300 years before Athens emerged as a city. Alexander destroyed Thebes because it refused to acknowledge him king of Greece. It is reported that Alexander ordered that the house of Dionysus is left intact. Why? During a visit of Alexander to Athens, he approached this philosopher who lived in a barrel and asked him “How can I be of help?”. The philosopher replied “Just step aside. Your shadow is blocking my sun”

Phoenicia: Who is Zenon of Kition?

The Lebanese author, Alexander Najjar, published a French novel “Phoenicia“.

I know most of the historical side stories of this novel:  It is an opportunity to disseminate what has been recounted of the siege of Alexander to Tyr on his way to conquer Egypt.

The mother of the philosopher Zenon was from Tyre, and his father from Sidon (City-States in current Lebanon, known as Phoenicia).  The family relocated to one of the Phoenician-built cities in Cyprus, Kition (current Larnaca).

The Phoenicians had built more than 70 coastal cities along the Mediterranean shores, from Cyprus, Sicily, Sardinia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, to Libya…The merchant ships would follow the current going north to Cyprus, then westward to Sicily, Sardinia, before reaching Carthage and the other ports, and returning along the northern Africa coast of Libya, Egypt to Tyr.

For example, the City-State of Thebes in Greece was built by the Phoenician, 5 centuries before Athens was built:  Alexander destroyed completely Thebes, a preview savage act for eradicating the Phoenician civilization, culture, and language.

Actually, the Greek never attempted to translate the Phoenician manuscripts and plagiarized extensively their civilization.

(The Arabs did an excellent job translating all of Greek manuscripts, which saved Greek culture from oblivion…)

At the age of 30, Zenon was taking a cargo of goods to the Greek port of Piraeus and the boat was shipwrecked.  Zenon ended up in Athens.

He read the second book of Xenophon “Memorables” that included long discussions between Socrates and Aristippe on the themes of pleasure and temperance.

Zenon met the cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes and followed him as disciple.  Zenon also learned from Stilpon, Diodore Cronos, Xenocrates of Chalcedonia, and Ptolemon of Athens.

Zenon founded the Stoic philosophy.

He had many disciples such as Cleanthe, Philonide of Thebes, Chrisippe of Tarsus, Persee of Kition, and Apollonios of Tyr.   He recounted to his disciple Apollonios of Tyr the story of his mother during the siege of Tyr by Alexander.

Zenon was tall, slender, dark of complexion and led a sober life eating bread, honey, fig, and drinking a little wine on occasions. He gave priority to moral values and virtue, at a period people ceased to believe in Gods, in good and evil behaviors…

Thus, Zenon taught to submit to destiny.  He said:  “It is harder to hold a balloon filled of air under water than to change the mind of a philosopher if he is exempt of passion and vanity.

After defeating the Persian King in Issos (on the border of current Turkey and Syria), Alexander decided to conquer Egypt before tracking the Persian King in Babylon.  It is said that Alexander had to subjugate all cities and port-cities along the way to Egypt because the Persian fleet was dominating the sea and could cut his supply route and attack the read guard of his army.

All cities surrendered without fight except Tyr.

Powerful Tyr knew that Alexander’s goal was to eliminate Tyr dominance in the sea at any cost.  Why should Tyr support the savage and poor Macedonian conqueror when rich Persia lavished grants on Tyr and spared it any direct occupation?

Sidon and Byblos had surrendered without any fight to Alexander and even supported him by sea.

Alexander tried to build a land bridge to join land of Tyr to sea island Tyr, strongly fortified.  This land bridge was destroyed several times and Alexander was ready to give up after 7 months of siege.

Then, one morning, 250 ships converged to Tyr from Cyprus, Rhodes…to support Alexander, after they got news of the defeat of the Persian King.

Carthage declined to come to the rescue of Tyr because the emerging power of Rome was harassing its merchant routes and cities.

Alexander massacred 8,000 people in Tyr and totally ruined this proud city.




January 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,515,950 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 822 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: