34 PICTURESQl LESTINE.
calendar. Th lems call him El Khidr. Near the bridge of seven arche
irut is a Muslim mosque or Mazar, said to be his place of burial, and farther on tow A
the city is a ruined tower on the north side of the road, claimed to be the place when
George killed the Dragon and washed his hands of the bloody stains.
We now enter Beirut, the metropolis of modern Phoenicia, and its most beautiful and most
enlightened city. Its situation is all that could be desired, on the northern slope of a promoir
which runs west for three miles from the Nahr Beirut to Ras Beirut | jje
where the changes of temperature through the successive months of the year are so gradual
that autumn fades imperceptibly into winter, and winter itself is a genial spring, and spring
warms into summer with hardly a change of half a degree a day, you have th- aion of
climate, and do not wonder that the Greek poet should call it " the nurse of tranquil lift
Beirut is the Berytus of the ancients, and was probably founded by the Phoenicians. It is
the common opinion that its name is derived from its wells, Beer-oth, but M. Kenan labours, in
his u Mission de Phenicie," to prove that the name was taken from its Pineto or Pi
" called in the Chaldee nh3, Beeroth, and rendered in the Arabic Bible snobar, or \
trees." But in this view M. Renan stands alone. In the verse Cant. i. 17, to which he r<
the Chaldee word is rendered, in Dr. V. Dyck's Arabic translation of the Bible,
cypress. Robinson gives both cypress and pine as the meaning of " Beroth." rut has
celebrated both for its wells and its pines, and the pinegrove of Beirut is certainl)
striking feature than its brackish wells could have been in former times, but the \\<
traditional authority is in favour of the wells. Strabo first mentions the city in 140 lu., when
it was destroyed by Tryphon during the reign of Demetrius Nicator, The Romans rebuilt
it and colonised it with veterans of the fifth Macedonian and eighth Augustan legions, It
was here that the two sons of Herod the Great were tried unheard and in their .
and condemned to death by their cruel and unnatural father. The Elder Agrippa greatly
favoured the city, and adorned it with a splendid theatre and amphitheatre, besides baths and
porticoes, inaugurating them with games and spectacles of every kind, including show
gladiators. Here, too, after the destruction of Jerusalem, Titus celebrated the birthday d
his father, Vespasian, by similar exhibitions in which many of the captive Jews perished.
In the middle of the third century a celebrated Roman law school was founded !•
Students flocked to it from all countries, including Gregory Thaumaturgus and Apion, the
martyr. Apollinaris taught grammar here in the fourth century. After the death ot
Julian the Apostate the Emperor Jovian compelled one Magnus, wdio had demolished the
Church iA Berytus, to rebuild it at his own cost. From 250 a.d. to 550 was the golden
of literature in Beirut, which reached its zenith in the reign of Justinian, who regarded the
Beirut school with special favour. On the 9th of July, 551, this city was destroyed DJ
earthquake, and its learned men went for a season to Sidon. In the seventh centu
Khaled, -the Sword of Mohammed," swept over the land. Beirut fell into Muslim band*
and its decline was rapid and complete.