Lebanon

Leb'anon the loftiest and most celebrated mountain range in Syria, forming the northern boundary of Palestine, and running thence along the coast of the Mediterranean to the great pass which opens into the plain of Hamath. The range of Anti-Lebanon, usually included by geographers under the same general name, lies parallel to the other, commencing on the south at the fountains of the Jordan, and terminating in the plain of Hamath. The two are in fact but a northern partitions of the great central ridge or back-bone of the entire country. SEE PALESTINE.

I. The Name. — In the O. Test. these mountain ranges are always called לבָנוֹן, Lebanon', to which, in prose, the art. is constantly prefixed, הִלֻּבָנוֹן; in poetry the art. is sometimes prefixed and sometimes not, as in Isa 14:8, and Ps 29:5. The origin of the name has been variously accounted for. It is derived from the root לָבָן, "to be white." הִר הִלּבָנוֹן is thus emphatically "The White Mountain" of Syria. It is a singular fact that almost uniformly the names of the highest mountains in all countries have a like meaning-Mont Blanc, Himalaya (in Sanscrit signifying "snowy"), Ben Naeris, Snowdon, perhaps also Alps (from alb, "white," like the Latin albus, and not, as commonly thought, from alp, "high"). Some suppose the name originated in the white snow by which the ridge is covered a great part of the year (Bochart, Opera, 1:678; Gesenius, Thlesaurus, p. 741: Stanley, S. and P. p. 395). Others derive the name from the whitish color of the limestone rock of which the great body of the range is composed (Schulz, Leitungen des Hochsten, 5:471; Robhison, Biblic. Res. 2:493). The former seems the more natural explanation, and is confirmed by several circumstances. Jeremiah mentions the "snow of Lebanon" (18:14); in the Chald. paraphrase טוּר תַּלגָא "snow mountain," is the name given to it, and this is equivalent to a not uncommon modern Arabic appellation, Jebel eth-Thelj (Gesenius, Thesaurus, l. c.; Abulfeda, Tab. Syr. p. 18). Others derive the name Lebanon from λιβανωτός, "frankincense," the gum of a tree called λίβανος (Reland, Palest. p. 312; Herod. 1:183), which is mentioned among the gifts presented by the magi to the infant Savior (Mt 2:11). This, however, is in Hebrew לבוֹנָה, Lebonah (Ex 30:34; Isa 60:6). The Greek name of Lebanon, both in the Septuagint and classic authors, is uniformly Λίβανος (Strabo, 16:755; Ptol. 5:15). The Septuagint has sometimes Α᾿ντιλίβανος instead of Λίβανος (De 1:7; De 3:25: Jos 1:4; Jos 9:1). The Latin name is Libanus (Pliny, 5:17), which is the reading of the Vulgate. It would appear that the Greek and Roman geographers regarded the name as derived from the snow. Tacitus speaks of it as a remarkable phenomenon that snow should lie where there is such intense heat (Hist. 5:6). Jerome writes, "Libanus λευκασμός- id est, clandor interpretatur" (Adersus Jovianum, in Opera, 2:286, ed. Migne); he also notes the identity of the name of this mountain and frankincense (in Osee, in Opera, 6:160). Arab geographers call the range Jebel Libnon (Abulfeda, Tab. Sgr. p. 163; Edrisi, p. 336, edit. Jaubert). This name, however, is now seldom heard among the people of Syria, and when used it is confined to the western range. Different parts of this range have distinct names — the northern section is called Jebel Akkur, the central Sunnin, and the southern J. ed- Druze. Other local names are also used.

The eastern range, as well as the western, is frequently included under the general name Lebanon in the Bible (Jos 1:4; Jg 3:3); but in Jos 13:5 it is correctly distinguished as "Lebanon toward the sunrising" (הִלּבָנוֹן מַזרִח הִשֶּׁמֶשׁ; Sept. Λίβανον ἀπὸἀνατολῶν ἡλίου, and translated in the Vulg. Libani quoque regio contra orientean). The southern section of this range was well known to the sacred writers as HERMON, and had in ancient times several descriptive titles given to it — Sirion, Shenir, Sion; just as it has in modern days — Jebel esh-Sheik, J. eth-Thelj, J. A ntâr. Greek writers called the whole range Α᾿ντιλίβανος (Strabo, 16, p. 754; Ptolemy, 5:15), a word which is sometimes found in the Sept. as the rendering of the Hebrew Lebanon (ut supra). Latin authors also uniformly distinguish the eastern range by the name Antilibanus (Pliny, 5:20). The name is appropriate, describing its position, lying "opposite" or "over against" Lebanon (Strabo, 1. c.). Yet this distinction does not seem to have been known to Josephus, who uniformly calls the eastern as well as the western range Aivano; thus he speaks of the fountains of the Jordan as being near to Libanus (Atn. 5:3, 1), and of Abila as situated in Libanus (19:5, 1). The range of Anti-Lebanon is now called by all native geographers Jebel esh-Shurky, "East mountain," to distinguish it from Lebanon proper, which is sometimes termed Jebel el-Ghurby, "West mountain" (Robinson, Biblical Res. 2:437; Burckhardt, Travels in Syria, p. 4).

"Lebanon." topical outline.

To insure greater definiteness, and to prevent repetition, the name Lebanon will be applied in this article to the western range, and Anti-Lebanon to the eastern.

II. Physical Geography. —

Bible concordance for LEBANON.

1. Lebanon. —

(1.) Limits. The mountain-chain of Lebanon commences at the great valley which connects the Mediterranean with the plain of Hamath (anciently called "the entrance of Hamath," Nu 34:8), in lat. 34° 40', and runs in a southwestern direction along the coast, till it sinks into the plain of Acre and the low hills of Galilee, in lat. 33°. Its extreme length is 110 geographical miles, and the average breadth of its base is about 20 miles. The highest peak, called Dahar el-Kudib, is about 25 miles from the northern extremity, and just over the little cedar grove; its elevation is 10,051 feet (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 170). From this point the range decreases il height towards the south. The massive rounded summit of Sunnin, 23 miles from the former, is 8500 feet high. Jebel Keniseh, the next peak, is 6824 feet; and Tomat Niha, "the Twin-peaks," the highest tops of southern Lebanon, are about 6500 feet. From these the fall is rapid to the ravine of the river Litany, the ancient Leontes.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

The chain of Lebanon, or at least its higher ridges, may be said to terminate at the point where it is thus broken through by the Litany. But a broad and lower mountainous tract continues towards the south, bordering the basin of the Huleh on the west. It rises to its greatest elevation about Safed (Jebel Safed), and at length ends abruptly in the mountains of Nazareth, as the northern wall of the plain of Esdraelon. This high tract may very properly be regarded as a prolongation of Lebanon.

Some writers regard the Litany as marking the southern limit of Lebanon; and it would seem that the ancient classical geographers were of this opinion (Smith, Dict. of G. and R. Geog. s.v. Libanus; Kitto, Physical Hist. of Pal. p. 32). Diodorus Siculus describes Lebanon as extending along the coast of Tripolis, Byblus, and Sidon (Hist. 19:58); and the Litany falls into the sea a few miles south of Sidon. The notices of Ptolemy are somewhat indefinite, and represent the two chains of Lebanon and Anti- Lebanon as commencing at the Mediterranean — the former on the north, the latter on the south (Geog. 5:15). Strabo is more definite and less accurate: "There are two mountains which inclose Coele-Syria lying parallel to each other. The commencement of both these mountains, Libanus and Anti-Libanus, is a little way above the sea. Libanus rises from the sea near Tripolis and Theoprosopon, and Anti-Libanus from the sea near Sidon. They terminate somewhere near the Arabian mountains, which are above the district of Damascus and the Trachones. . . . A hollow plain lies between them, whose breadth towards the sea is 200 stadia, and its length from the sea to the interior about twice as much. Rivers flow through it, the largest of which is the Jordan" (16:754). According to Pliny the chains begin at the sea, but they run from south to north (I. N. 5:17; compare Ammian. Marcel. 14:26). Cellarius merely repeats these ancient authors (Geog. 2:439). Reland shows their errors and contradictions, but he cannot solve them, though he derived some important information from Maundrell (Palaest. p. 317 sq.; comp. Early Trav. in Pal. Bohn, p. 483). Rosenmiiller (Bib. Geog. 2:207, Clark), Wells (Geog. 1:239), and others, only repeat the old mistakes. The source of these errors may be seen by an examination of the physical geography of the district east of Tyre and Sidon. There can be no doubt that the range of Lebanon, viewed in its physical formation, extends from the entrance of Hamath to the plain of Acre; but between the parallels of Tyre and Sidon it is cut through by the chasm of the Litany, which drains the valley of Coele-Syria. That river enters the range obliquely on the eastern side, turns gradually westward, and at length divides the main ridge at right angles. Here, therefore, it may be said, in one sense, that the chain terminates; and though on the south bank of the Litany another chain rises, and runs in the line of the former, it is not so lofty, its greatest height scarcely exceeding 3000 feet. Ancient geographers thought Lebanon terminated on the north bank of the Lithny; and as that river drains the valley of Coele-Syria, which lies between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, they naturally supposed that the chain on the south bank of the Litany was the commencement of the latter range. Here lies the error, which Dr. Porter was among the first to detect, by an examination of the general conformation of the mountain ranges from the summit of Hermon (see Bibliotheca Sacra, 11:52; Porter, Damascus, 1:296).

Anti-Lebanon is completely separated from this western range by a broad and deep valley. The great valley of the Jordan extends northward to the western base of Hermon, in the parallel of the chasm of the Litany. From this point a narrower valley, called wady el-Teim, runs northward, till it meets an eastern branch of Coele-Syria. These three valleys, forming a continuous line, constitute the western boundary of Anti-Lebanon. No part of that chain crosses them (Robinson, 2:438). The southern end of the plain of Coele-Syria is divided by a low ridge into two branches. Down the eastern branch runs wady el-Teim, conveying a tributary to the Jordan (Bib. Sac. 1. c.; Robinson, 3:428430); down the western runs the Litany. The latter branch soon contracts into a wild chasm, whose banks are in some places above a thousand feet high, of naked rock, and almost perpendicular. At one spot the ravine is only 60 feet wide, and is spanned by a natural bridge, at the height of about 100 feet above the stream. Over it rise jagged walls of naked limestone, pierced with numerous caves. The scenery is here magnificent; as one stands on this arch of nature's own building, he can scarcely repress feelings of alarm. The cliffs almost meet overhead; rugged masses of rock shoot out from dizzy heights, and appear as if about to plunge into the chasm; the mad river far below dashes along from rapid to rapid in sheets of foam. In wild grandeur this chasm has no equal in Syria, and few in the world. Yet, from a short distance on either side, it is not visible. The mountain chain appears to run on in its course, declining gradually, but without any interruption. The ridge, in fact, has been cleft asunder by some terrible convulsion, and through the cleft the waters of Coele-Syria have forced their way to the Mediterranean instead of the Jordan, which is the natural outlet. It will thus be seen that the ridge on the south bank of the Litany is the prolongation of that on the north, and is a part of Lebanon (Robinson, 2:438); and that the chasm of the Litcny, though the drain of Coele-Syria, is no part of that valley. Neither Coele-Syria, therefore, nor Anti-Lebanon, at any point, approaches within many miles of the Mediterranean (Handbook for S. and P. p. 571; Robinson, 3:420 sq.; Van de Velde, Travels, 1:145 sq.).

(2.) Western Aspect. — The view of Lebanon from the Mediterranean is exceedingly grand. On approaching, it appears to rise from the bosom of the deep like a vast wall, the wavy top densely covered with snow during winter and spring, and the two highest peaks capped with crowns of ice on the sultriest days of summer. The western slopes are long and gradual, furrowed from top to bottom with deep rugged ravines, and broken everywhere by lofty cliffs of white rock, and ragged banks, and tens of thousands of terrace walls, rising like steps of stairs from the sea to the snow-wreaths. "The whole mass of the mountain consists of whitish limestone, or at least the rocky surface, as it reflects the light, exhibits everywhere a whitish aspect. The mountain teems with villages, and is cultivated more or less almost to the top; yet so steep and rocky is the surface, that the tillage is carried on chiefly by means of terraces, built up with great labor, and covered above with soil. When one looks upward from below, the vegetation on these terraces is not seen, so that the whole mountain side appears as if composed of immense rugged masses of naked whitish rock, severed by deep wild ravines, running down precipitously to the plain. No one would suspect among these rocks the existence of a vast multitude of thrifty villages, and a numerous population of mountaineers, hardy, industrious, and brave" (Robinson, 2, d493; comp. Volney, Travels, 1:272 sq.).

On looking down the western slopes from the brow of one of the projecting bluffs, or through the vista of one of the glens, the scenery is totally different; it is now rich and picturesque. The tops of the little stairlike terraces are seen, all green with corn, or straggling vines, or the dark foliage of the mulberry. The steeper banks and ridge-tops have their forests of pine and oak, while far away down in the bottom of the glens, and round the villages and castellated convents, are large groves of gray olives. The aspect of the various sections of the mountains is, however, very different, the rocks and strata often assuming strange, fantastic shapes. At the head of the valley of the Dog river are some of the most remarkable rock formations in Lebanon. Here numbers of little ravines fall into the main glen, and their sides, with the intervening ridges, are thickly covered with high peaks of naked limestone, sometimes rising in solitary grandeur like obelisks, but generally grouped together, and connected by narrow ledges like arched viaducts. In one place the horizontal strata in the side of a lofty cliff are worn away at the edges, giving the whole the appearance of a large pile of cushions. In other places there are tall stalks, with broad tops like tables. In many places the cliffs are ribbed, resembling the pipes of an organ, or columnar basalt. A single perch of clear soil can scarcely be found in one spot throughout the whole region, but every minute patch is cultivated, even in grottoes and under natural arches (Porter's Damascus, 2:289). The highest peaks of the range are naked, white, and barren. A line drawn at the altitude of about 6000 feet would mark the limits of cultivation. Above that line the shelving sides and rounded tops are covered with loose limestone debris, and are almost entirely destitute of vegetable life.

The western base of Lebanon does not correspond with the shore-line. In some cases bold spurs shoot out from the mountains, and dip perpendicularly into the sea, forming bluff promontories, such as the "Ladder of Tyre," Promontorium Album, or "White Cape," the well- known pass of the Dog River, and the Theoprosopon, now called Ras esh- Shuk'ah. In other places the mountains retire, or the shore-line advances (as at Beyrut and Tripolis), leaving little sections of fertile plain, varying from half a mile to three miles in width. This was the territory of the old Phoenicians, and on it still lie the scattered remains of their once great cities. SEE PHOENICIA. From the promontory of Theoprosopon a low ridge strikes northward along the shore past Tripolis, separated from the main chain by a narrow valley. When it terminates, the coast-plain becomes much wider, and gradually expands, till it opens at the northern base of Lebanon into the valley leading to the "entrance of Hamath" (Robinson, 3:385).

(3.) Eastern Declivities. — From the east Lebanon presents a totally different aspect. It does not seem much more than half as high as when seen from the west. This is chiefly owing to the great elevation of the plain extending along its base, which is on an average about 3000 feet above the level of the sea (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 175). The ridge resembles a colossal wall, its sides precipitous, and thinly covered, in most places, with oak forests. There are very few-only some two or three-glens furrowing them. The summit of the ridge, or backbone, is much nearer the eastern than the western side; and extending in gentle undulations, white with snow, far as the eye can see to the right and left, it forms a grand object from the ruins of Ba'albek, and still more so from the heights of Anti- Lebanon. A nearer approach to the chain. reveals a new feature. A side ridge runs along the base of the central chain from the town of Zahleh to its northern extremity, and is thinly covered throughout with forests of oak intermixed with wild plum, hawthorn, juniper, and other trees. A little south of the parallel of Sunnîn this ridge is low and narrow, and the Bukti'a is there widest. Advancing northwards the ridge increases in height, and encroaches on the plain, until, at the fountain of the Orontes ('Ain el'Asy), it attains its greatest elevation, and there the plain is narrowest. From this point southwards to where the road crosses from Ba'albek to the Cedars, the central chain is steep, naked, and destitute of vegetation, except here and there a solitary oak or blasted pine clinging to the rocks (Porter's Damascus, 2:303 sq. Robinson, 3:530 sq.).

The side ridge above described sinks down in graceful wooded slopes into wady Khâled, which drains a part of the plain of Hums, and falls into Nahr el-Kebir. The main chain also terminates abruptly a little farther west, and its base is swept by the waters of the Kebir, the ancient river Eleutherus (Robinson, 3:558-60).

(4.) Rivers. — Lebanon is rich in rivers and fountains, fed by the eternal snows that crown its summit, and the vapors which they condense. The "streams from Lebanon" were proverbial for their abundance and beauty in the days of the Hebrew prophets (Song 4:15), and its "cold-flowing waters" were types of richness and luxury (Jer 18:14). Some of them, too. have obtained a classic celebrity (see Reland, Palaest. p. 269, 437). They are all small mountain torrents rather than rivers. The following are the more important:

1. The Eleutherus (now Nahr el-Kebir), rising in the plain of Emesa, west of the Orontes, sweeps round the northern base of Lebanon, and falls into the Mediterranean midway between Tripolis and Aradus. Strabo states that it formed the northern border of Phoenicia and Coele-Syria (16:753; Robinson, 3:576).

2. The Kadisha, or sacred river," now generally called Nahr Abu-Aly, has its highest sources around the little cedar grove, and descends through a sublime ravine to the coast near Tripolis. At one spot its glen has perpendicular walls of rock on each side nearly 1000 feet high. Here, on opposite banks, are two villages, the people of which can converse across the chasm, but to reach each other requires a toilsome walk of two hours. In a wild cleft of the ravine is the convent of Kanobin, the chief residence of the Maronite patriarch (Handbook for Syr. and Pal. p. 586).

3. The Adonis (Nahr Ibrahim), famous in ancient fable as the scene of the romantic story of Venus and Adonis. Killed by a boar on its banks, Adonis dyed with his blood the waters, which ever since, on the anniversary of his death, are said to run red to the sea (Lucian, De Syria ulea, 6; Strabo, 15:170). Adonis is supposed to be identical with Tammuz, for whom Ezekiel represents the Jewish women as weeping (8:14). 'The source is a noble fountain beside the ruins of a temple of Venus, and near the site of Apheca, now marked by the little village of Afka (Eusebius, Vit. Const. 3:55; Porter, Damascus, 2:297; Ritter, Pal. und Syr. 4:558). The Adonis falls into the sea a few miles south of the Biblical Gebal.

4. The Lycus flumen, now Nahr el-Kelb, or "Dog River," rises high up on the flank of Sunnin, and breaks down through a picturesque glen. At its mouth is that famous pass on whose sculptured rocks Assyrian, Egyptian, Roman, and French (!) generals have left records of their expeditions and victories (Robinson, 3:618; Handbook, p. 407 sq.; Strabo, 16:755).

5. The Magoras of Pliny (v. 17) is probably the modern Nahr Beyrut.

6. The Tamyras or Damuras (Strabo, 16:756; Polybius, v. 68) rises near Deir el-Kamr, the capital of Lebanon. It is now called Nahr ed- Dammfir.

7. The Bostrenus of ancient authors appears to be identical with Nahr el-Awaley, though some doubt this.

8. The Leontes has already been mentioned. The lower section of it is now generally termed Kasimlyeh, and the upper section Litsiny. Its chief sources are at Chalcis and Ba'albek; but a large tributary flows down from the ravine of Zahleh, and is the only stream which descends the eastern slopes of Lebanon. SEE LEONTES.

2. Anti-Lebanon. —

(1.) Peaks. — The center and culminating point of Anti-Lebanon is HERMON. From it a number of ranges radiate, like the ribs of a half-open fan. The first and loftiest runs north-east, parallel to Lebanon, and separated from it by the valley of Coele-Syria, whose average breadth is about six miles. This ridge is the backbone of Anti-Lebanon. Where it joins Hermon it is broad, irregular, intersected by numerous valleys and little fertile plains, and covered with thin forests of dwarf oak Its elevation is not more than 4500 feet. Advancing northwards, its features become wilder and grander, oak-trees give place to juniper, and the elevation increases until, above the beautiful plain of Zebedany-which lies embosomed in its very center it attains a height of about 7000 feet (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 175). From this point to the parallel of Ba'albek there is little change in the elevation or scenery. Beyond the latter it begins to fall, and declines gradually until at length it sinks down into the great plain of Hamath, eight miles east of Riblah, and sixteen south of Emesa. With the exception of the little upland plains, and a few of the deeper valleys, this ridge is incapable of cultivation. The sides are steep and rugged, in many places sheer precipices of naked, jagged rock, nearly 1000 feet high. They are not so bare or bleak, however, as the higher summits of Lebanon. Vegetation is abundant among the rocks; and though the inhabitants are few and far between, immense flocks of sheep and goats are pastured upon the mountains, and wild beasts — bears, boars, wolves, jackals, hysenas, foxes are far more abundant than in any other part of Syria or Palestine (Porter, Damascus, 2:315).

The lowest and last of the ridges that radiate from Hermon runs nearly due east along the magnificent plain of Damascus, and continues onward to Palmyra. Its average elevation is not more than 3000 feet, and it does not rise more than about 700 feet above the plain, though some of its peaks are much higher. Its rock is chalky, almost pure white, and entirely naked-not a tree, or shrub, or patch of verdure is anywhere seen upon it. It thus forms a remarkable contrast to the rich green of the plain of Damascus. From the central range to this ridge there is a descent, by a series of broad. bare terraces or plateaus, supported by long, continuous walls of bare, whitish limestone, varying from 100 to 1000 feet in height. Nothing could be more dreary and desolate than the scenery on these steppes. The gravelly soil, in many places thickly strewn with flints, is as bare as the cliffs that bound them. Yet they are intersected by several rich and beautiful glens, so deep, however, that their verdure and foliage can not be seen from a distance. Towards the east these steppes gradually expand into broad upland plains, and portions of them are irrigated and tilled. On them stand the small but ancient towns of Yabrud, Nebk, Jerud, etc., around which madder is successfully cultivated.

(2.) Rivers. — Anti-Lebanon is the source of the four great rivers of Syria: 1. The Orontes (q.v.), springing from the western base of the main ridge, beside the ruins of Lybo, flows away northward through a broad, rich vale, laving in its course the walls of Emesa, Hamath, Apamea, and Antioch. 2. The Jordan (q.v.), Palestine's sacred river, bursting from the side of Hermon, rolls down its deep, mysterious valley into the Sea of Death. 3. The Abana, the "golden-flowing" stream of Damascus (Chrysorrhoas, Pliny, v. 16; also called Bardines, Steph. Byz.; see ABANA), rises on the western side of the main ridge, cuts through it and the others, and falls into the lake east of the city. 3. The Leontes (q.v.), Phoenicia's nameless stream, has its two principal fountains at the western base of Anti- Lebanon, beside Chalcis and Ba'albek (Porter, Damascus 1:11: Robinson, 3:498, 506). The only other streams of Anti-Lebanon are (4) the Piharpar, now called el-Awaj, rising on the eastern flank of Hermon (SEE PHARPAR), and (5) the torrent which flows down the fertile glen of Helbon (q.v.) into the plain of Damascus.

3. These parallel ranges enclose between them a fertile and well-watered valley, averaging about fifteen miles in width, which is the Coele-Syria (Hollow Syria) of the ancients, but is called by the present inhabitants, by way of pre-eminence, el-Bekaa, or "the Valley." This is traversed through the greater portion of its length by the river Litâny, the ancient Leontes. It is the "valley of Lebanon" ('בַּקעִת הִלּבָנוֹן) mentioned in Jos 11:17; Jos 12:7, and later "the plain of Aveii" (בַּקעִתאּאָוֶן) alluded to by Amos (Am 1:5), where also Solomon constructed one of his palaces (1Ki 7:2; 1Ki 9:9; 1Ki 10:17; Song 7:4). SEE COELE- SYRIA.

III. Natural Science. —

1. The geology of Lebanon has never been thoroughly investigated. Dr. Anderson, who accompanied the United States expedition under lieutenant Lynch, is the only man who has attempted anything like a scientific examination of the mountains. We are much indebted to his Reconnaissance, embodied in Lynch's Official Report. The German traveler Russegger also supplies some facts in his Reisen (vol. 3). Tristram, in his Land of Israel (s. f.) has considerably enlarged our knowledge of the geology as well as natural history of Lebanon.

The main ridges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon are composed of Jura limestone, hard, partially crystallized, and containing few fossils. The strata have been greatly disturbed. In some places they are almost perpendicular; in others tilted over, laying bare veins and detached masses of trap. In the southern part of Lebanon, near Kedesh and Safed, are many traces of recent disturbance. From the earliest ages earthquakes have been frequent and most destructive in that region. The earthquake of 1837 buried thousands of the inhabitants of Safed beneath the ruins of their houses (Robinson, 2:422 sq.; Handb. p. 438). In the upper basin of the Jordan, and along the eastern flank of Hermon, trap rock abounds; the latter is the commencement of the great trap-fields of Hauran (Porter, Damascus, 2:240 sq.).

Over the Jura limestone there is in many places a more recent cretaceous deposit; its color is gray, and sometimes pure white. It is soft, and abounds in flints and fossils, ammonites, echinites, ostrxea, chenopus, nerinea, etc., often occurring in large beds, as at Bhamdun above Beyrut. Fossil fish are also found imbedded in the rock near the ancient Gebal (Reland, Palaest. p. 321). These cretaceous deposits occur along the whole western flank of Lebanon, and the lower eastern ranges of Anti-Lebanon are wholly composed of them (D'Arvieux, Memoires, 2:393; Elliot, Travels, 2:257; Volney, 2:280).

Extensive beds of soft, friable sandstone are met with both in Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. According to Anderson, the sandstone is of a more recent period than the cretaceous strata. This change in the geological structure gives great variety to the scenery of Lebanon. The regular and graceful outlines of the sandstone ridges contrast well with the bolder and more abrupt limestone cliffs and peaks, while the ruddy hue and somber pine forests of the former relieve the intense whiteness of the latter.

Coal has been found in the district of Metn, east of Beyrit, but it is impure, and the veins are too thin to repay mining. Iron is found in the central and southern portions of Lebanon, and there is an extensive salt marsh on one of the eastern steppes of Anti-Lebanon (Porter, Damascus, 1:161; Handbook, p. 363; Volney, 1:281; Burckhardt, p. 27).

2. The Botany of Lebanon, like the geology, is to a great extent unknown. It appears to be very rich in the abundance, the variety, and the beauty of the trees, shrubs, and flowers of these noble mountains. The great variety of climate, from the tropical heat of the Jordan valley at the base of Hermon, to the eternal snows on its summit, affords space and fitting home for the vegetable products of nearly every part of the globe. The forests of Lebanon were celebrated throughout the ancient world. Its cedars were used in the temples and palaces of Jerusalem (1Ki 6; 2Sa 5:11; Ezr 3:7; Isa 14:8; Josephus, War, v. 5, 2), Rome (Pliny, H. N. 13:11), and Assyria (Layard, Nin. and Bob. p. 356, 644); and the pine and oak were extensively employed in ship-building (Eze 27:4-6). SEE CEDAR. On these mountains we have still the cedar, pine, oak of several varieties, terebinth, juniper, walnut, plane, poplar, willow, arbutus, olive, mulberry, carob, fig, pistachio, sycamore, hawthorn, apricot, plum, pear, apple, quince, pomegranate, orange, lemon, palm, and banana. The vine abounds everywhere. Oleanders line the streams, and rhododendrons crown the peaks higher up, with the rock-rose, ivy, berberry, and honeysuckle. The loftiest summits are almost bare, owing to the cold and extreme dryness. There are even here, however, some varieties of low prickly shrubs, which lie on the ground like cushions, and look almost as sapless as the gravel from which they spring. Many of the flowers are bright and beautiful — the anemone, tulip, pink, ranunculus, geranium, crocus, lily, star of Bethlehem, convolvulus, etc. Thistles abound in immense variety. The cereals and vegetables include wheat, barley, maize, lentils, beans, peas, carrots, turnips, potatoes, melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, tobacco, cotton, and numerous others.

Irrigation is extensively practiced, and wherever water is abundant the crops are luxuriant. Probably in no part of the world are there more striking examples of the triumph of industry over rugged and intractable nature than along the western slopes of Lebanon. The steepest banks are terraced; every little shelf and cranny in the cliffs is occupied by the thrifty husbandman, and planted with vine or mulberry (Robinson, 3:14,21, 615; Porter, Damascus, 2:283; Handbook, p. 410,413).

3. Zoology. — Considerable numbers of wild beasts still inhabit the retired glens and higher peaks of Lebanon, including jackals, hyenas, wolves, bears, and panthers (2Ki 14:9; Song 4:8; Hab 2:17). SEE PALESTINE.

Anti-Libanus is more thinly peopled than its sister range, and it is more abundantly stocked with wild beasts. Eagles, vultures, and other birds of prey may be seen day after day sweeping in circles round the beetling cliffs. Wild swine are numerous, and vast herds of gazelles roam over the bleak eastern steppes. SEE ZOOLOGY.

IV. Climate. — There are great varieties of climate and temperature in Lebanon. In the plain of Dan, at the fountain of the Jordan, the heat and vegetation are almost tropical, and the exhalations from the marshy plain render the whole region unhealthy. The seminomads who inhabit it are as dark in complexion as Egyptians. The thermometer often stands at 98° Fahr. in the shade on the site of Dan, while it does not rise above 32° on the top of Hermon. The coast along the western base of Lebanon, though very sultry during the summer months, is not unhealthy. The fresh sea- breeze which sets in in the evening keeps the night comparatively cool, and the air is dry and free from miasma. Snow never falls on the coast, and it is very rarely seen at a lower elevation than 2000 feet. Frost is unknown. In the plains of Coele-Syria (3000 feet) and Damascus (about 2300 feet), snow falls more or less every winter, sometimes eight inches deep on the streets and terraced roofs of Damascus, while the roads are too rough and hard with frost for traveling. The main ridges of Lebanon and Anti- Lebanon are generally covered with snow from December to March, sometimes so deeply that the roads are for weeks together impassable. During the whole summer the higher parts of the mountains are cool and pleasant, the air is extremely dry, and malaria is unknown. From the beginning of June till about the 20th of September rain never falls, and clouds are rarely seen. At the latter date the autumn rains begin, generally accompanied with storms of thunder and vivid lightning. January and February are the coldest months. The barley harvest begins, on the plain of Phoenicia, about the end of April, but in the upper altitudes it is not gathered in till the beginning of August. During the summer, in the village of Shumlan, on the western declivity of Lebanon, at an elevation of 2000 feet, in the hottest part of the day the thermometer does not rise above 830 Fahr., and in the night it usually goes down to 760. From June 20th to August 20th the barometer often does not vary a quarter of an inch; there are few cloudy days, and scarcely even a slight shower. At Bludan, in Anti- Lebanon, with an elevation of 4800 feet, the air is extremely dry, and the thermometer never rises in summer above 82° Fahr. in the shade. The nights are cool and pleasant. The sirocco wind is severely felt along the coast and on the western slopes of Lebanon, but not so much in Anti- Lebanon. It blows occasionally during March and April. Dew is almost unknown along the mountain ridges, but in the low plains, and especially at the base of Hermon, it is very abundant (Ps 133:3).

V. Historical Notices. — Lebanon is first mentioned as a boundary of the country given by the Lord in covenant promise to Israel (De 1:7; De 11:24). To the dwellers in the parched and thirsty south, or on the sultry banks of the Nile, the snows, and streams, and verdant forests of Lebanon must have seemed an earthly paradise. By such a contrast we can understand Moses's touching petition, "I pray thee let me go over and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon" (De 3:25). The mountains were originally inhabited by a number of warlike, independent tribes, some of whom Joshua conquered on the banks of Lake Merom (11:2-18). They are said to have been of Phoenician stock (Pliny, 5:17; Eusebius, Onom. s.v.; compare 1 Kings 5). Further north were the Hivites (Jg 3:3), and the Giblites, and Arlites, whose names still cling to the ruins of their ancient strongholds. SEE GIBLITE, ARKITE. The Israelites never completely subdued them, but the enterprising Phoenicians appear to have had them under their power, or in their pay, for they got timber for their fleets from the mountains, and they were able to supply Solomon from the same forests when building the Temple (1Ki 5:9-11; Eze 27:9 sq.). At a later period we find the king of Assyria felling its timber for his military engines (Isa 14:8; Isa 37:24; Eze 31:16), and it is mentioned on the cuneiform inscriptions (q.v.). Diodorus Siculus relates that in like manner Antigonus, having collected from all quarters hewers of wood, and sawyers, and ship-builders, brought down an immense quantity of timber from Libanus to the sea to build himself a navy (19:58). The same fact that this mountain was the famous resort for timber, whether for architectural, naval, or military purposes, appears from the Egyptian monuments, where the name is found in the corrupted form of Lemanon (Wilkinson, Egyptians, 1:403). It is there represented as a mountainous country, inaccessible to chariots, and abounding in lofty trees, which the affrighted mountaineers, having fled thither for refuge, are engaged in felling, in order to impede the advance of the invading Egyptian army.

During the conquests of David and the commercial prosperity of the nation under Solomon, the Jews became fully acquainted with the richness, the grandeur, and the luxuriant foliage of Lebanon, and ever after that mountain was regarded as the emblem of wealth and majesty. Thus the Psalmist says of the Messiah's kingdom, "The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon" (Ps 72:16); and Solomon, praising the beauty of the Bridegroom, writes, "His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars" (Song 5:15). Isaiah also predicts of the Church, "The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it" (Isa 35:2; compare Isa 60:13; Ho 14:5-6). Indeed, in Scripture, Lebanon is very generally mentioned in connection with the cedar-trees with which it abounded; but its wines are also noticed (Ho 14:8); and in Song 4:11; Ho 14:7, it is celebrated for various kinds of fragrant plants. Lebanon is greatly celebrated both in sacred and classical writers, and much of the sublime imagery of the prophets of the Old Test. is borrowed from this mountain (e.g. Ps 29:5-6; Ps 104:16-18; Song 4:8,15; Isa 2:13; Zec 11:1-2).

Anti-Lebanon seems to have been early brought under the sway of Damascus, though amid its southern strongholds were some fierce tribes who preserved their independence down to a late period (1Ch 5:19-23; Josephus, Ant. 13:11, 3; Strabo, 16, p. 755, 756).

During the reign of the Seleucidae several large cities were founded or rebuilt in these mountains as Laodicea at the northern end of Anti- Lebanon, Chalcis at its eastern base, Abila in the wild glen of the Abana (Lu 3:1). SEE ABILA. At the commencement of our era, Lebanon, with the rest of Syria, passed into the hands of Rome, and under its fostering rule great cities were built and beautiful temples erected. The heights on which Baal-fires had burned in primeval times, and the groves where the rude mountain tribes worshipped their idols, became the sites of noble buildings, whose ruins to this day excite the admiration of every traveler. Greece itself cannot surpass in grandeur the temples of Ba'albek and Chalcis. There are more than thirty temples in Lebanon and Anti- Lebanon (Porter, Handbook, p. 454, 457, 557, 411; comp. Robinson, 3:438, 625).

During the wars of the Seleucidae, the Romans, and the Saracens, the inhabitants of Lebanon probably remained in comparative security. When, under the Muslem rule, Christianity was almost extirpated from the rest of Syria, it retained its hold there; and the Maronites (q.v.), who still occupy the greater part of the range, are doubtless the lineal descendants of the old Syrians. The sect originated in the 7th century, when the monk Maron taught them the Monothelitic heresy. In the 12th century they submitted to the pope, and have ever since remained devoted Papists. They number about 200,000. The Druses (q.v.), their hereditary foes, dwell in the southern section of the range, and number about 80,000. The jealousies and feuds of the rival sects, fanned by a cruel and corrupt government, often desolate "that goodly mountain" with fire and sword. Anti-Lebanon has a considerable Christian population, but they are mixed with Mohammedans, and have no political status. The whole range is under the authority of the pasha of Damascus.

The American missionaries have established several schools among the people of Lebanon, and for some years past pleasing success has attended their efforts in the mountain, which, however, were almost wholly interrupted by the violent outbreak among the Druscs in 1860, ending in a wholesale massacre of the Christians. On the suppression of this, a Maronite governor was appointed over the district by the Turkish government, under the protectorate of the five great European powers.

V. Literature. — Robinson, Biblical Researches, 3:344, 345, 439; Kitto, Pictorial History of Palestine, Introd. p. 32-35, 55; Reland, Palaestina, 1:311; Rosenmüller, Biblisch. Alterthum. 2:236; Raumer, Palastina, p. 29- 35; D'Arvieux, Memoires, 2:250; Volney, Voyage en Syrie, 1:243; Seetzen, in Zach's Monatl. Correspond. June, 1806; Burckhardt, Travels in Syr. p. 1 sq.; Richter, Wallfahrten, p. 102, etc.; Irby and Mangles,

Travels, p. 206-220; Buckingham, Arab Tribes, p. 468 sq.; Fisk, in Missionary Herald, 1824; Elliot. Travels, 2:276; Hogg, Visit to Alexandria, Jerusalem, etc., 1:219 sq., 2:81 sq.; Addison, Palmyra and Damascus, 2:43-82; Ritter's Erdkunde, 17, div. 1; Robinson's Researches, new edit., 3:584-625; Bibliotheca Sacra, 1843, p. 205-253; 1848, p. 1-23, 243-262, 447-480, 663-700; Schwarz, Palest. p. 55; Kelly's Syria and Holy Land, p. 76-165; Porter, Damascus (Lond. 1855); Thomson, Land and Book, vol. 1; Van de Velde, Travels, etc., vol. 1; Churchill, Lebanon (London, 1853,1862); also Druses and Maronites (Lond. 1862); Tristram, Land of Israel (London. 1865); Palmer, in the Quarterly Statement of the "Palestine Exploration Fund," April, 1871, p. 107 sq. SEE PALESTINE.

 
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