Saturday, February 12, 2005

Cedarland

Cedarland - A look at the ancient and modern history of Lebanon. Features geography, economy, government, Phoenicians, Maronites, the Lebanese Civil War, and resources.

From the site:

History knew Lebanon from the earliest of times and never forgot it. No other country can match it in volume of historical events and in their relevance to world progress. Small in size, Lebanon has been massive in influence and its people can rightfully claim to be true benefactors of many ages. A few miles north of Beirut, where the Mount Lebanon touches the sea, the face of the rock of the Dog River gorge bears nineteen inscriptions in almost as many languages. Beginning in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian, continuing in Greek and Latin, and ending in French, English, and Arabic. The inscriptions record at this narrow pass where native mountaineers took their decisive stand, the military feats of foreign invaders. The first to leave such a mark was Ramses II some 1300 years before the birth of Christ; followed by many other notables such as Esarhaddon, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Caracalla, Saladin, Baldwin I, Napoleon III, General Allenby, and General Gourand. Through these records we can gain a tiny glimpse of the awesome past of Lebanon.

The ancients seem to have regarded Lebanon as a place where the abnormal happened, a land of prodigies, of rare coincidences and curious events. They had good reason for doing so. The rapid growth of early religious frenzy and strange natural phenomena observed in the mountains had given the country a strange and provoking reputation. Even today Lebanon has not lost its strangeness. The pleasure which one derives from its striking natural beauty or the sheer scale of its ancient monuments is repeatedly sharpened by a sense of the curious and the unusual. The Adonis River still runs blood red to the sea, and the modern scene offers spectacles as bizarre as anything the Romans wondered at. Lebanon is a land where the imagination can run wild, standing in the surf at Tyre in the very spot where Richard the Lion Heart disembarked, one can picture Alexander inspecting his most difficult conquest. Sitting under a cedar tree on Mount Sannine watching the night sea mist roll in across the bay where St. George killed his dragon it is easy to understand why the Crusaders where inspired into not only making him their patron but also the patron of their distant lands.

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