Cities of the Levant

Aleppo (Halab ﺣﻠﺐ) - Syria

Amman (عمّان) - Jordan

Batroun (Al-Batrun البترون) - Lebanon

Beirut (Beyrouth بيروت) - Lebanon

Bethlehem (Beyt Lahm بيت لحم) - Palestine

Byblos (Jubayl جبيل‎) - Lebanon

Damascus (Dimashq دمشق) - Syria

Gaza (‎Gazzah غزة) - Palestine

Haifa (Hayfa حيفا‎) - Palestine

Hama (Hamah حماة) - Syria

Hebron (Al-Khalil الخليل) - Palestine

Homs (Hims حمص) - Syria

Jenin (Ginin جنين) - Palestine

Jericho (Ariha أريحا) - Palestine

Jerusalem (Al-Quds القُدس) - Palestine

Latakia (al-Ladhiqiyah اللَاذِقِيَّة) - Syria

Nablus (نابلس‎) - Palestine

Nazareth (an-Nasira النَّاصِرَة‎) - Palestine

Ramallah (رام الله) - Palestine

Sidon (Sayda صيدون‎) - Lebanon

Tripoli (Tarabulus طرابلس) - Lebanon

Tyre (Sur صور) - Lebanon

Zahle (Zahleh زحلة) - Lebanon



TYRIAN purple (aka Royal purple or Imperial purple) is a dye extracted from the murex shellfish which was first produced by the Phoenician city of Tyre in the Bronze Age. Its difficulty of manufacture, striking purple to red colour range, and resistance to fading made clothing dyed using Tyrian purple highly desirable and expensive. 

The Phoenicians gained great fame as sellers of purple and exported its manufacture to its colonies, notably Carthage, from where it spread in popularity and was adopted by the Romans as a symbol of imperial authority and status.

In Phoenician mythology, the discovery of purple was credited to the pet dog of Tyros, the mistress of Tyre’s patron god Melqart. One day, while walking along the beach the couple noticed that after biting on a washed up mollusc the dog’s mouth was stained purple. Tyros asked for a garment made of the same colour and so began the famous dyeing industry.

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Article by Mark Cartwright on AHE

Greek Silver Shekel from Tyre, Phoenicia c. 425-394 BC

This coin, struck under an uncertain king, shows Melkart holding a bow and reigns while riding a hippocamp with a dolphin swimming in the waves below. The reverse shows an owl in front of a crook and flail.

Melkart or Melqart was the tutelary god of Tyre. Melqart was often titled Ba‘l Sūr  meaning “Lord of Tyre”, and considered to be the ancestor of the Tyrian royal family. In Greek, by interpretatio graeca, he was identified with Heracles and referred to as the Tyrian Herakles. As Tyrian trade and colonization expanded, Melqart became venerated in Phoenician and Punic cultures from Syria to Spain.


Ancient Worlds - BBC Two 

Episode 2 “The Age of Iron”

The bronze decoration on the gates of the Palace of Balawat, (around 9th Century BC). Balawat, ancient Imgur-Ellil, was a Neo-Assyrian city near Nimrud (Kalhu), northern Iraq.

The detail from one of the bronze bands -holding together the leaves of the monumental door leading into the temple of the god of dreams Mamu- shows the king and queen of Tyre at the shore of their island city seeing off boats with tribute and gifts for the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC). The bronze band portrays the ceremony in which a long line of Tyrian diplomats and tribute-bearers approach the Assyrian ruler. The goods the men are carrying are copper bars of the typical ox-hide shape which Tyre imported from Cyprus.  

All the bronze bands are arranged in a decorative scheme, showing scenes of warfare, the presentation of tribute and the hunting of lions and bulls.

The greater part of the Balawat Gates had deteriorated over time and archaeologists created a full size reconstructions of them at the British Museum

British Museum, London, UK