Old Fortress of Byblos

The town of ‘Byblos’ is located in Lebanon, 40 kilometers North of Beirut. ‘Byblos’ is the name given by the Greeks to the city called ‘Goubla’ in cuneiform texts and ‘Gebal’ in biblical texts. It is located today on the site of the modern city of Jbeil. It had the reputation of being the oldest city in the world and was an important Phoenician center of trading on the Mediterranean Sea.

The ancient site of Byblos is on a point of land that controls two bays, one to the north which houses the current port, the other to the south. From this port were exported large quantities of cedar wood from Lebanon to Egypt and Greece, textiles and clothing to Mesopotamia (notably with the city of Mari) as well as wheat, grapes and significant quantities of wine. Its wines were particularly renowned in ancient times and were often associated with the terms of ‘karmu’ (= vineyard), ‘gupnu’ (= vines) and ‘inabu’ (= grapes) in many Assyro-Babylonians texts. Its wines were referred to as ‘Βίβλινος oίνος’ in ancient Greek times. However, given its commercial success and reputation vine-stalks from the Byblos countryside were quickly exported and planted in other Mediterranean provinces (such as Thrace where they were called Thracian ‘Βίβλια’) and islands (for example Sicily where they were also confusingly called ‘Βίβλινος oίνος’).

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