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BERYTUS (Beirut) Lebanon.

An ancient Phoenician city on the coast at the foot of the Lebanon mountains. It did not become important until the end of the Hellenistic period. It was made a Roman colony about 14 B.C. Herod the Great, Agrippa I and II, and Queen Berenice built exedras, porticos, temples, a forum, a theater, amphitheater, and baths here. In the 3d c. A.D. the city became the seat of a famous school of law and continued to flourish until the earthquake of A.D. 551 ravaged the city.

The Hellenistic town lay S of the port. Its streets, laid out on a grid plan, are spaced at roughly the same intervals as those of Beroea, Damascus, and Laodicea. The new Roman city spread farther S and W, with its forum near the Place de l'Etoile. On its N side was a civic basilica 99 m long with a Corinthian portico of polychrome materials (now in front of the Beirut Museum), dating from the 1st c. A.D. Some large baths have been uncovered on the E slope of the Colline du Sérail, and the hippodrome lay on the NW side of the same hill. Some villas in a S suburb facing the sea had mosaic floors (now in the Beirut Museum).

Some 12 km upstream on the Beirut river are the ruined arches of an aqueduct. The rocky spur of Deir el-Qalaa was Berytus' high place; the podium of a large temple can still be seen.


R. Mouterde, “L'emplacement du forum de Béryte,” MélStJ 25 (1942-43); id., “Regards sur Beyrouth,” ibid. 40 (1966)I; J. Lauffray, “Forums et monuments de Béryte,” BMBeyrouth 7 (1944-45); 8 (1946-48)PI; id., Beyrouth, ville romaine (1953).


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