Byblos, Jbeil

(Text & Video from Beirut NightLife)

The Phoenician city of Gebal was named Byblos by the Greeks, because it was through Gebal that Bύβλος (bublos; Egyptian papyrus) was imported into Greece. The present day city is now known by the Arabic name Jubayl or Jbeil (جبيل), a direct descendant of the Canaanite name.

Byblos (Greek) or Gebal (Phoenician) is located on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Lebanon, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Beirut. It is attractive to archaeologists because of the successive layers of debris resulting from centuries of human habitation.

The site first appears to have been settled during the Neolithic period, approximately 5000 BC. Neothlithic remains of some buildings can be observed at the site. According to the writer Philo of Byblos (quoting Sanchuniathon, and quoted in Eusebius), Byblos had the reputation of being the oldest city in the world, founded by Cronus, and was also where Thoth invented writing, but there has not been concrete proof that it is the oldest city in the world. During the 3rd millennium BC, the first signs of a town can be observed, with the remains of well-built houses of uniform size. This was the period when the Phoenician civilization began to develop, and archaeologists have recovered Egyptian-made artifacts dated as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt.

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