47° PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
is Baalath of the tribe of Dan. Baalgad also, thought by many to be Ba'albek, is supposed to
be Banias (see page 348), so that we cannot be sure that Solomon had any hand in the erection
of these seemingly superhuman structures. Yet an Arab would as soon doubt that Noah
built the ark as that Solomon built Ba'albek. The voice of Syrian tradition, among all sects
and in every district, is that Solomon built the cyclopean walls of Ba'albek, assisted by the
genii who were under his control. Dr. Robinson, whose learned chapter on the history of
Ba'albek leaves nothing to be desired, states that " the name Heliopolis, ' City of the Sun,'
implies that this city, like its namesake in Egypt, was already consecrated to the worship of
the sun. Indeed, the sun was one of the chief divinities in the Syrian and Asiatic worship,
and to him was applied in their mythology, as well as to Jupiter and some other gods, the
name of Baal, or ■ Lord.' The mythology of Egypt had a strong influence upon that of Syria,
and it would not be unnatural to suppose a connection between the forms of sun-worship in the
two countries. Indeed, this is expressly affirmed ; and Macrobius, in the fifth century, narrates
that the image worshipped at Heliopolis in Syria was brought from Heliopolis in Egypt."
The whole country in ancient times was given up to Baal-worship. In Hermon and
Lebanon, " on every high hill," were groves, domes, and temples sacred to the god of the sun.
Baal means lord ; in the Arabic Bible it is the word in common use for husband : " A bishop
must be the baal of one wife." The name was in old times attached to places innumerable,
and Ba'albek was no doubt the centre of the Syrian Baal-worship. The rising sun was waited
for by the priests in Ba'albek, who watched the summits of Jebel Sunnin and Dahr el Kodib
(see page 475), above the cedars, for the first golden rays, and, as they flashed across the plain,
the grand daily ceremonies of this grandest temple of ancient or modern times were begun.
Strabo, Pliny, Josephus, and Ptolemy mention Ba'albek under its Greek name, Heliopolis,
but the only name known to the modern Syrians is the more tenacious and more ancient
Semitic name, Ba'albek. According to the learned work of Mr. Hogg on Ba'albek, the Great
Temple was dedicated " Magriis Diis Helinpoleos," " to the Great Gods of Ba'albek," that is, to
the whole pantheon of the divinities worshipped here, the greatest of whom was Baal. The
niches around the quadrangle and the hexagon, as well as in the two temples, may have been
filled with the statues of the whole family of heathen gods.
In the second and third centuries our information with regard to Baalbek is derived chiefly
from coins, of which the number is very great From these we learn that Ba'albek was a
Roman colony, and enjoyed the boon of the jus Italicum, only granted to favoured provincial
cities. On coins of Nerva (a.d. 96) and Adrian, and on many coins of the later emperors, may
be seen the device of a colonist driving two oxen, with legends relating to Heliopolis; such as
11 col. jvl. avg. fel." There is reason to believe that a colony of military veterans was sent
here by Julius Caesar or Augustus. It is on a coin of Septimus Severus that a temple is first
seen with the legend, " Colonia Heliopolis Jovi Optimo Maximo Heliopolitano." On some of
the coins are pictures of the two temples, with gables complete, indicating that both temples
were finished and roofed. Had they been roofless and simply hypaethral, it is not unlikely