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SIDON (Σιδών: Eth. Σιδώνιος, Eth. Σιδόνιος), a very ancient and important maritime city of Phoenicia, which, according to Josephus, derived its origin and name from Sidon, the firstborn son of Canaan (Gen. 10.15; J. AJ 1.6.2), and is mentioned by Moses as the northern extremity of the Canaanitish settlements, as Gaza was the southernmost (Gen. 10.19); and in the blessing of Jacob it is said of Zebulun “his border shall be unto Sidon” (49.13). At the time of the Eisodus of the children of Israel, it was already distinguished by the appellation of “the Great” (Josh. 11.8; compare in LXX. ver. 2), and was in the extreme north border which was drawn from Mount Hermon (called Mount Hor in Num. 34.7) on the east to Great Sidon, where it is mentioned in the border of the tribe of Asher, as also is “the strong city of Tyre.” (Josh. 19.28, 29.) It was one of several cities from which the Israelites did not disposses the old inhabitants. (Judg. 1.31.)

As the origin of this ancient city, its history, and manufactures, have been noticed under PHOENICIA, it only remains in this place to speak of its geographical position and relations so far as they either serve to illustrate, or are illustrated by, its history.

It is stated by Josephus to have been a day's journey from the site of Dan, afterwards Paneas (Ant. 5.3.1). Strabo places it 400 stadia S. of Berytus, 200 N. of Tyre, and describes it as situated on a fair haven of the continent. He does not attempt to settle the questions between the rival cities, but remarks that while Sidon is most celebrated by the poets (of whom Homer does not so much as name Tyre), the colonists in Africa and Spain, even beyond the Pillars of Hercules, showed more honour to Tyre (16.2.22, 24). Herodotus's account of the origin of the race has been given under PHOENICIA [p. 607b.], and is shown to be in accordance with that of other writers. Justin follows it, but gives a different etymology of the name: “Condita urbe, quam a piscium uberitate Sidona appellaverunt, nam piscem Phoenices Sidon vocant;” but this is an error corrected by Michaelis and Gesenius (Lex. s. v. HEBREW), who derive it from HEBREW “to hunt or snare” game, birds, fish, &c., indifferently, so that the town must have derived its name from the occupation of the inhabitants as fishers, and not from the abundance of fish; and Ritter refers to the parallel case of Beth saida on the sea of Tiberias. (Erdkunde, Syrien, vol. iv. p. 43.) Pliny, who mentions it as “artifex vitri Thebarumque que Boeotiarmn parens,” places “Sarepta et Ornithon oppida” between it and Tyre (5.19). It is reckoned xxx. M. P. from Berytus, xxiv. from Tyre, in the Itinerary of Antoninus (p. 149). But the Itinerarium Hierosolymitanum reckons it xxviii. from Berytus, placing Heldua and Parphirion between (p. 584). Scylax mentions the closed harbour of Sidon (λιμὴν κλειτός, p. 42, ed. Hudson), which is more fully described by a later writer, Achilles Tatius (circ. A.D. 500), who represents Sidon as situated on the Assyrian sea, itself the metropolis of the Phoenicians, whose citizens were the ancestors of the Thebans. A double harbour shelters the sea in a wide gulf; for where the bay is covered on the right hand side, a second mouth has been formed, through which the water again enters, opening into what may be regarded as a harbour of the harbour. In this inner basin, the vessels could lie securely during the winter, while the outer one served for the summer. (Cited by Reland, Palaes. p. 1012). This inner port Reland conjectures, with great probability, is the closed port of Scylax, and to be identified with the second harbour described by Strabo at Tyre, where he says there was one closed and another open harbour, called the Egyptian. The best account of the site is given by Pococke. “It was situated,” he says, “on a rising ground, defended by the sea on the north and west. The present city is mostly on [p. 2.997]the north side of the hill. The old city seems to have extended further east, as may be judged from the foundations of a thick wall, that extends from the sea to the east; on the south it was probably bounded by a rivulet, the large bed of which might serve for a natural fosse; as another might which is on the north side, if the city extended so far, as some seem to think it did, and that it stretched to the east as far as the high hill, which is about three quarters of a mile from the present town. . . . On the north side of the town, there are great ruins of a fine fort, the walls of which were built with very large stones, 12 feet in length, which is the thickness of the wall; and some are 11 feet broad, and 5 deep. The harbour is now choked up. . . . This harbour seems to be the minor port mentioned by Strabo (xvi. p.756) for the winter; the outer one probably being to the north in the open sea between Sidon and Tyre (?), where the shipping rides in safety during the summer season.” (Observations on Palestine, p. 86.) The sepulchral grots are cut in the rock at the foot of the hills; and some of them are adorned with pilasters, and handsomely painted.

The territory of the Sidonians, originally circumscribed towards the north by the proximity of the hostile Gibbites, extended southwards to the tribe of Zebulon, and Mount Carmel; but was afterwards limited in this direction also by the growing power of their rivals the Tyrians. (Ritter, l.c. p. 43, &c.)


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