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MARATHOS (Amrît) Syria.

Site on the coast, 5 km S of Tartus, the ancient Antaradus. In the time of Alexander the Great Marathos was the principal mainland city of the Phoenician confederation of Arados. Captured by Arados at the end of the Hellenistic period, it declined during Roman times.

The ruins show Phoenician traditions combined with Egyptian, Persian, and Greek influences. Near the tell is a rock-cut sanctuary, the maabed. A small cubic chapel, open on one side only, stands in the middle of a pool fed by a spring; it served as a canopy for the cult image. Porticos, supported by monolithic limestone pillars, encircled the basin on three sides. The monument dates from the 4th c. B.C.

To the N the stadium, dating from the 3d c. B.C., is likewise cut in the rock, and to the S the necropolis has many rock-cut tombs. Some of them are topped by towers, placed along the axis of the stairs which descend to the sepulchral vaults. The towers are round or square and sometimes capped by domes or pyramids. The most remarkable of these funerary monuments (which date from the 4th c. B.C.) are the two high meghazil (spindles), and the borj el-bezzak (the snail tower), farther SE. One of the spindles has a cubic base, the other a cylindrical base cantoned by the foreparts of four lions. The snail tower is a cube without a top.


E. Renan, Mission de Phénicie (1864-74); E. Will, “Le tour funéraire de la Syrie,” Syria 25 (1949); M. Dunand & N. Saliby, “Le sanctuaire d'Amrit” Annales Archéologiques de Syrie 11-12 (1961-62); N. Saliby, “Essai de restitution du temple d'Amrit,” Annales archéologiques arabes syriennes 21 (1971).


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