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 Tyre is wholly an island, built nearly in the same manner as Aradus. It is joined to the continent by a mound, which Alexander raised, when he was besieging it. It has two harbours, one close, the other open, which is called the Egyptian harbour. The houses here, it is said, consist of many stories, of more even than at Rome; on the occurrence, therefore, of an earthquake, the city was nearly demolished.1 It sustained great injury when it was taken by siege by Alexander, but it rose above these misfortunes, and recovered itself both by the skill of the people in the art of navigation, in which the Phœnicians in general have always excelled all nations, and by (the export of) purple-dyed manufactures, the Tyrian purple being in the highest estimation. The shellfish from which it is procured is caught near the coast, and the Tyrians have in great abundance other requisites for dyeing. The great number of dyeing works renders the city unpleasant as a place of residence, but the superior skill of the people in the practice of this art is the source of its wealth. Their independence was secured to them at a small expense to themselves, not only by the kings of Syria, but also by the Romans, who confirmed what the former had conceded.2 They pay extravagant honours to Hercules. The great number and magnitude of their colonies and cities are proofs of their maritime skill and power. Such then are the Tyrians.
1 In B. v. c. iii. § 7, Strabo tells us that Augustus prohibited houses being erected of more than 70 Roman feet in height.
2 Josephus (Antiq. Jud. xv. 4, § 1) states, that Mark Antony gave Cleopatra all the coast of Phœnicia, from Eleutheria to Egypt, with the exception of Tyre and Sidon, which he left in the enjoyment of their ancient independence. But according to Dion Cassius (lxiv. 7), Augustus arrived in the East in the spring of the year 734, B. C., or eighteen years before the Christian era, and deprived the Tyrians and Sidonians of their liberty, in consequence of their seditious conduct. It follows therefore, that if Strabo had travelled in Phœnicia, he must have visited Tyre before the above date, because his account refers to a state of things anterior to the arrival of Augustus in Syria; and in this case the information he gives respecting the state of the neighbouring cities must belong to the same date; but he speaks above (§ 19) of the order reëstablished by Agrippa at Beyrout, which was effected four years after the coming of Augustus into Syria. We must conclude, therefore, that Strabo speaks only by hearsay of the Phœnician cities, and that he had never seen the country itself. Letronne.
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