a city of Coele-Syria, celebrated for its superb ruins yet extant of an ancient temple of the sun, and supposed by many to be the site designated by Solomon's famous "House of the Forest of Lebanon" (1Ki 7:2; 1Ki 10:17; 2Ch 9:16). We are also informed that among those parts of Palestine which were unsubdued by the Hebrews at the death of Joshua was "all Lebanon toward the sun-rising, from Baal-gad, under Mount Hermon, unto the entering into Hamath" (Jos 13:5). This position of Baal-gad is not unfavorable to the conclusion which some have reached, that it is no other than the place which, from a temple consecrated to the sun that stood there, was called by the Greeks Heliopolis, i.e. city of the sun; and which the natives called and still call Baalbek, a word apparently of the same meaning. The honor of being identified with Baalbek has also been claimed for the Baalath which Solomon built or fortified; but this claim has already been disposed of SEE BAALATH; and no weight is to be attached to the local traditions which claim Solomon as the founder of Baalbek, seeing that it is the practice of the natives to ascribe to that great king every grand ancient work of unknown date which the country contains. It is also to be observed that those who contend for Baalath admit its possible identity with Baal-gad, and hence there are no conflicting claims to adjust. Even those who suppose the Baal-hamon of the Canticles (8:11) to be Baalbek, conceive that to be a later name for Baal-gad, and hence the only question that remains is whether Baal-gad be not the more ancient name of the place afterward known as Heliopolis and Baalbek. Baalbek, in the Syrian language, signifies the city of Baal, or of the sun; and, as the Syrians never borrowed names from the Greeks, or translated Greek names, it is certain that when the Greeks came. into Syria they found the place bearing this name, or some other signifying "city of the sun," since they termed it Heliopolis, which is doubtless a translation of the native designation. Now the question is whether this word has the same meaning as Baal-gad, and, if not, whether any circumstances can be pointed out as likely to occasion the change of name. If we take Baal for the name of the idol, then, as in the case of Baalbek, the last member of the word must be taken as a modifying appellation, not as in itself a proper name; and as Gad means a troop, a multitude, or a press of people, Baal- gad will mean Baal's crowd, whether applied to the inhabitants, or to the place as a resort of pilgrims. The syllable bek has precisely the same meaning in the Arabic. If this should not seem satisfactory, we may conclude that Baal was so common an element in the composition of proper names that it is not sufficiently distinctive to bear the stress of such an interpretation, and may rather take it to signify (as Gesenius says it always does in geographical combinations) the place where a thing is found. SEE BAAL-. According to this view, Baal-gad would mean the place of Gad. Now Gad was an idol (Isa 65:11), supposed to have been the god or goddess of good fortune (comp. Sept. Τύχη; Vulg. Fortuna), and identified by the Jewish commentators with the planet Jupiter. SEE GAD. But it is well known that Baal was identified with Jupiter as well as with the sun; and it is not difficult to connect Baalbek with the worship of Jupiter. John of Antioch affirms that the great temple at Baalbek was dedicated to Jupiter; and in the celebrated passage of Macrobius (Saturn. 1, 23), in which he reports that the worship of the sun was brought by Egyptian priests to Heliopolis in Syria, he expressly states that they introduced it under the name of Jupiter (sub-nomine Jovis). This implies that the worship of Jupiter was already established and popular at the place, and that heliolatry previously was not; and therefore we should rather expect the town to have borne some name referring to Jupiter than to the sun, and may be sure that a name indicative of heliolatry must have been posterior to the introduction of that worship by the Egyptians; and, as we have no ground for supposing that this took place before or till long after the age of Joshua, it could not then be called by any name corresponding to Heliopolis. But SEE BAAL-GAD.
Baalbek is pleasantly situated on the lowest declivity of Anti-Libanus, at the opening of a small valley into the plain El-Bekaa. Through this valley runs a small stream, divided into numberless rills for irrigation. The place, according to the determination of Maj. Rennell (Geogr. of W. Asia, 1, 75), is in N. lat. 34° 1' 30", and E. long. 36° 11', distant 109 geog. miles from Palmyra, and 38.75 from Tripoli. Its origin appears to be lost in the most remote antiquity, and the historical notices of it are very scanty; the silence of the classical writers respecting it would alone seem to imply that it had previously existed under another name. In the absence of more positive information, we can only conjecture that its situation on the highroad of commerce between Tyre, Palmyra, and the farther East, must have contributed largely to the wealth and magnificence which it manifestly attained. It is mentioned under the name of Heliopolis by Josephus (Ant. 14, 3, 4), and also by Pliny (Hist. Nat. v. 22). Two Roman inscriptions of the time of Antoninus Pius give sanction to the statement of John of Antioch, who alleges that this emperor built a great temple to Jupiter at Heliopolis, which was one of the wonders of the world (Hist. Chron. lib. 11). From the reverses of Roman coins we learn that Heliopolis was constituted a colony by Julius Caesar; that it was the seat of a Roman garrison in the time of Augustus, and obtained the Jus Italicum from Severus (Ulpian, De Censibus, 9). Some of the coins of later date contain curious representations of the temple (Akerman, Romans Coins, 1, 339). After the age of Constantine the splendid temples of Baalbek were probably consigned to neglect and decay, unless, indeed, as some appearances indicate, they were then consecrated to Christian worship (see Chron. Pasch. p. 303, ed. Bohn; comp. Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. 5, 10; Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. 3, 7; 4:22). From the accounts of Oriental writers Baalbek seems to have continued a place of importance down to the time of the Moslem invasion of Syria (see Ammian. Marcell. 14:8). . They describe it as one of the most splendid of Syrian cities, enriched with stately palaces, adorned with monuments of ancient times, and abounding with trees, fountains, and whatever contributes to luxurious enjoyment (D'Herbelot, Biblioth. Or. s.v.). On the advance of the Moslems, it was reported to the Emperor Heraclius as protected by a citadel of great strength, and well able to sustain a siege. After the capture of Damascus it was regularly invested by the Moslems, and, containing an overflowing population, amply supplied with provisions and military stores, it made a courageous defense, but at length capitulated. Its importance at that period is attested by the ransom exacted by the conquerors, consisting of 2000 ounces of gold, 4000 ounces of silver, 2000 silk vests, and 1000 swords, together with the arms of the garrison. It afterward became the mart for the rich pillage of Syria; but its prosperity soon received a fatal blow from the caliph of Damascus, by whom it was sacked and dismantled, and the principal inhabitants put to the sword (A.D. 748). During the Crusades, being incapable of making any resistance, it seems to have quietly submitted to the strongest. In the year 1400 it was pillaged by Timour Beg, in his progress to Damascus, after he had taken Aleppo. Afterward it fell into the hands of the Metaweli — a barbarous predatory tribe, who were nearly exterminated when Djezzar Pasha permanently subjected the whole district to Turkish supremacy. In 1759 an earthquake completed the devastation already begun by Mohammedan vandalism.
The ruins of Heliopolis lie on an eastern branch of the mountain, and are called, by way of eminence, the Castle. The most prominent objects visible from the plain are a lofty portico of six columns, part of the great temple, and the walls and columns of another smaller temple a little below, surrounded by green trees. There is also a singular temple of nearly circular form. These, with a curious column on the highest point within the walls (which may possibly have been a clepsydra, or water-dial), form the only erect portions of the ruins. These ruins have been so often and so minutely described by scores of travelers, as well as in many works of general reference, that, since their identification as a Scriptural site is uncertain, a few additional observations only may suffice. The ruins of Baalbek in the mass are apparently of three successive eras: first, the gigantic hewn stones, in the face of the platform or basement on which the temple stands, and which appear to be remains of older buildings, perhaps of the more ancient temple which occupied the site. Among these are at least twenty standing upon a basement of rough stones, which would be called enormous anywhere but here. These celebrated blocks, which in fact form the great wonder of the place, vary from 30 to 40 feet in length; but there are three, forming an upper course 20 feet from the ground, which together measure 190 feet, being severally of the enormous dimensions of 63 and 64 feet in length, by 12 in breadth and thickness (Addison's Damascus and Palmyra, 2, 55). "They are," says Richter (Wallfahrten, p. 281), "the largest stones I have ever seen, and might of themselves have easily given rise to the popular opinion that Baalbek was built by angels at the command of Solomon. The whole wall, indeed, is composed of immense stones, and its resemblance to the remains of the Temple of Solomon, which are still shown in the foundations of the mosque Es-Sakkara on Mount Moriah, cannot fail to be observed." This was also pointed out by Dr. Richardson. In the neighboring quarries (q.v.) from which they were cut, one stone, hewn out but not carried away, is of much larger dimensions than any of those which have been mentioned. To the second and third eras belong the Roman temples, which, being of and about the time of Antoninus Pius, present some of the finest specimens of Corinthian architecture in existence, and possess a wonderful grandeur and majesty from their lofty and imposing situation (Addison, 2:57). Among the ornaments of these buildings Richter finds confirmation of the following statement of Macrobius: "Isis and Horus often unequivocally appear. The winged globes surrounded with serpents show that the priests of Baalbek received their ideas of divinity from On, the Heliopolis of Egypt." Speaking generally of these remains, Burckhardt says, "The entire view of the ruins of Palmyra, when seen at a certain distance, is infinitely more striking than those of Baalbek, but there is not any one spot in the ruins of Tadmor so imposing as the interior view of the temple of Baalbek" (Syria, p. 13). He adds that the architecture of Baalbek is richer than that of Tadmor. Mr. Addison remarks that "the ruins, though so striking and magnificent, are, nevertheless, quite second-rate when compared with the Athenian ruins, and display in their decoration none of the bold conceptions and the genius which characterize the Athenian architecture." The present Baalbek is a small village to the east of the ruins, in a sad state of wretchedness and decay. It is little more than a heap of rubbish, the houses being built of mud and sun-dried bricks. The population of 5000 which the place is said to have contained in 1751 is now reduced to barely 2000 persons; the two handsome mosques and fine serai of the emir, mentioned by Burckhardt, are no longer distinguishable; and travelers may now inquire in vain for the grapes, the pomegranates, and the fruits which were formerly so abundant (Iken, Dissert. de Baal-Hamon et Baal-Gad, in Dissertt. Phlologico- Theolog. 1, 136; Wood and Dawkins, Ruins of Baalbec, Lond. 1757; Pococke, Description of the East, 2, 106-113; Maundrell, Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 134, 139; Volney, Voyage en Syrie, 2, 215-230; Thevet, Cosmographie, bk. 6, ch. 14; Schubert, Reise in das Morgenland, Erlangen, 1841; see also Rosenmüller, Biblical Geography, 2, 252-257; Thomson, Land and Book, 1, 350-361; Kelly's Syria, p. 256-266; Smith's Diet. of Class. Geog. s.v. Heliopolis Syriae). BAAL-GAD.