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CHALCIS

CHALCIS in Syria.


1.

Χαλκίς The chief city of Chalcidice, one of the ten political divisions of N. Syria. (Ptol. 5.15.) It was situated 53 M. P. from Antioch (Peut. Tab.) and 18 M.P. from Beroea (Anton. Itin.). The Peutinger Tables make it out to be 29 M.P. from the latter place, while Procopius (B. P. 2.12) gives the distance as 84 stadia. Both these statements are incorrect, as Kinnisrín is about 12 English miles from Aleppo (Pococke, Trav. vol. ii. p. 217; Abú--l-féda, Tab. Syr. p. 119.) The Hamath Zobah which was taken by Solomon (2 Chron. 8.3) has been identified with Chalcis (Rosenmüller, Handbuch der Bibl. Alt. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 250), and the “salt vale” where David conquered Hadadezer king of Zobah, when he went to recover his border on the Euphrates, is in all probability the lake and marsh of Jabúl or Sabakhah, which in winter occupies a space to the E. of Kinnisrín, extending for about 12 miles, with a breadth varying from 3 to 5 miles. The powerful evaporation of the summer heat causes it to crystallize, and a white coarse-grained salt is formed in large quantities over the whole surface. (Chesney, Exped. Euphrat. vol. i. p. 415; Thomson, Biblioth. Sacr. vol. v. p. 470; comp. Winer, Real Wort. Buch, s. v. Aram.) In A.D. 542 the town of Chalcis was taken and plundered by Chosroes (Procop. l.c.; Gibbon, Decl. and Fall, vol. viii. p. 315; Le Beau, Bas Empire, vol. ix. p. 24; comp. vol. iii. p. 54).


2.

AD BELUM. Pliny (5.23.19) speaks of a city of this name in the district Chalcidene, which he describes as the most fertile of all Syria. The Chalcis, Χαλκίς of Strabo (xvi. p.753), was a city and district subject to Ptolemy, son of Mennaeus, who held besides the city of HELIOPOLIS (Báalbec), the plain of Marsyas, and the mountain region of Ituraea. Josephus expressly describes it as under Mount Lebanon (Antiq. 14.7.4, B. J. 1.9.2). It has been confounded with the Chalcis S. of Aleppo, but the statement of, Josephus (comp. Antiq. 14.3.2; Reland, Palaest. p. 315) shows that its position must be sought for elsewhere. Ptolemy was succeeded by his son the first Lysanias; whose possessions after his murder by Antony were farmed by Zenodorus. (J. AJ 15.10.1, B. J. 1.20.4.) In A.D. 41 Claudius bestowed Chalcis on Herod, a brother of the elder Herod Agrippa. On his death in A.D. 48 his kingdom went to his nephew, the younger Herod Agrippa (B. J. 2.12.1). He held it four years, and was then transferred with the title of king to the provinces of Batanaea, Trachonitis, Abilene, and others (Antiq. 20.7.1). Afterwards Aristobulus, son of Herod, king of Chaletis, obtained his father's kingdom which had been taken from his cousin Agrippa II., and in A.D. 73 was still dynast of the district (B. J. 7.7.1). During the reign of Domitian it appears to have become incorporated in the Roman province, and the city to have received the additional name of Flavia. (Eckhel, vol. iii. p. 263; Marquardt, Handbuch der Röm. Alter. p. 181; Noris. de Epoch. Syro.-Mac. (c. 9.3.)

The town of Chaletis was therefore situated somewhere in the Bŭkâa, probably S. of Báalbec. The valley has not yet been examined with reference to the site of this city. It has been suggested that. its position may be at or near Zahle, in the neighbourhood [p. 1.599]of which at the village of Heusn Nieha, are some remarkable remains (comp. Chesney, Exped. Euphrat. vol. i. p. 472). Or perhaps at Majdel Anjar, where Abú--l-féda (Tab. Syr. p. 20) speaks of great ruins of hewn stones. (Robinson, Biblioth. Sacr. vol. v. p. 90). [E.B.J]

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