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Tyre(tīr), ancient city of PhoeniciaPhoenicia
, ancient territory occupied by Phoenicians. The name Phoenicia also appears as Phenice and Phenicia. These people were Canaanites (see Canaan), and in the 9th cent. B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. , S of Sidon. It is the present-day Sur in Lebanon, a small town on a peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean from the mainland of Syria S of Beirut. It was built on an island just off the mainland, but the accumulation of sand around a mole built by Alexander the Great to facilitate his siege of the city (333–332 B.C.) has formed a causeway more than .5 mi (.8 km) wide. The date of the founding of the city is extremely uncertain, but by 1400 B.C. it was a flourishing city. The maritime supremacy of Tyre was established by 1100 B.C., and by that date its seamen seem to have sailed around the Mediterranean and to have founded colonies in Spain, S Italy, and N Africa. Tyrians founded the city of CarthageCarthage
, ancient city, on the northern shore of Africa, on a peninsula in the Bay of Tunis and near modern Tunis. The Latin name, Carthago or Cartago, was derived from the Phoenician name, which meant "new city.
..... Click the link for more information. in the 9th cent. B.C. Tyre was famous for its industries, such as textile manufactures, and particularly for the purple Tyrian dye. Throughout its long history Tyre frequently came under foreign rule. It was besieged by the Assyrians and the Chaldaeans and fell to the Persians. The city was sacked by Alexander the Great but recovered quickly. In 64 B.C. it became a part of the Roman Empire. In spite of competition offered by newer cities such as Alexandria, it prospered and was able to retain varying degrees of autonomy. Christianity was introduced early into Tyre, and a splendid cathedral, of which there are remains, was built in the 4th cent. After the rise of Islam, Tyre came under Muslim rule and later under that of the Crusaders. It was destroyed by the Muslims in 1291 and never recovered its former greatness. The principal ruins of the city today are those of buildings erected by the Crusaders. There are some Greco-Roman remains, but any left by the Phoenicians lie underneath the present town. Tyre is mentioned frequently in the Bible.
(in Arabic, Sur), a city and port in Lebanon, on the Mediterranean Sea, in the muhafaza (province) of South Lebanon. Population, 14,000(1971).
Tyre is linked by rail and highway with Beirut. It is a center of cottage-industry production of handicrafts.
Tyre apparently arose in the fourth millennium B.C. as a Phoenician city-state. In the third and second millennia it was an important handicraft and commercial center of Phoenicia. At various times during the second millennium it was a dependency of Egypt. In the late second and early first millennia, Tyrians established Phoenician colonies on the islands of Cyprus and Sicily, in northern and western Africa (Utica, Carthage, Leptis Magna), and in Spain (Gades and others). The kingdom of Tyre and Sidon was formed under the aegis of Tyre in the tenth century B.C. and exercised hegemony over the entire coast of Phoenicia until the end of the century. Tyre was captured by Assyria in 722 B.C. and by the New Babylonian Empire in the 570’s B.C. From 539 to 332 B.C. it was under the rule of the Achaemenids, only formally retaining its sovereignty and internal autonomy.
In 332 B.C., after a prolonged siege from land and sea, Tyre was taken by Alexander the Great. In the Hellenistic period it was part of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid states, and in 64–63 B.C. it became part of the Roman province of Syria. Tyre was part of Byzantium from the end of the fourth century A.D. to the early 630’s, when it was captured by the Arabs.
Archaeological excavations were conducted in Tyre by the French orientalist J. E. Renan in the second half of the 19th century and the archaeologist A. Poidebard in the 1940’s. Ancient Tyre had two ports: the northern, which is still functioning, and the southern, of which only the main mole and other sections from Roman times have been preserved. Near the port there are traces of a Hellenistic street, with fragments of paving stones and foundations. Tyre has an archaeological museum and numerous tourist attractions.
REFERENCESFleming, W. B. The History of Tyre. New York, 1915.
Poidebard, A. Un Grand Port disparu: Tyr. Paris, 1939.
Contenau, G. La Civilisation phénicienne. Paris, 1949.
I. SH. SHIFMAN