Human figure, Detail from a painted tomb
Burj esh Shemali (near Tyre), 2nd century A.D.
Discovered in 1938, this tomb was part of the Roman necropolis of Tyre. In order to preserve it, it was removed and reconstituted in the National Museum of Beirut. The walls of the tomb are painted with mythological scenes related to the realm of death.



Vase, glass
Tyre, 4th. century A.D.
The fame the coastal Phoenician cities enjoyed for their glass production was so important that Plinus, the Roman historian, attributed them the discovery of glass. These wares were used in everyday life. They were also traded as well as in funerary contexts





The abduction of Europe, mosaic
Byblos, 3rd century A.D.
The abduction of Europe is a very popular theme which widely spread in both Italy and Africa. The emblema represents Europe, the daughter of the Tyrian king, being abducted by Zeus in the shape of a bull. The Greek legend says that her brother Cadmos went looking for her and transmitted the Phoenician alphabet to the Hellenes during his journey.





Dionysius, marble
Tyre, Roman Period
The god Dionysius is represented here as the young beardless Hellenic god with horns in his hair in reference to the ram or the bull, both his animal symbols. This representation of the horns to symbolize the animal will give birth to the horned Dionysus type



In 64 B.C., the military expedition of the Roman general Pompey put an end to the anarchy prevailing in the Seleucid empire and Phoenicia became part of the Roman world. But it is only after 31 B.C., under the reign of Augustus, that the pax romana extendeed over the area.

An era of prosperity began for Tyre, Sidon, Berytus and Baalbek-Heliopolis which profited from imperial generosity
Urban planning and development, a major feature of Roman policy, led to a substantial extension of the cities territory. They were endowed with both religious and civil monuments (temples, basilicas, forums, porticoed streets). Spare-time activities were accessible to all people with theatres, hippodromes and gymnasiums. Aqueducts provided the cities (houses and villas) as well as public fountains (nymphea) and baths (thermae) with running water. Separated from the world of the Living, the necropoles extended along the roads outside the city gates.

The pax romana favoured trade exchanges and local crafts like silversmith, glass, textile and ceramic industry developed
Famous philosophers, geographers and jurists were natives of Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. Yet, the intellectual elite continued to learn Greek and in Beirut, legal texts were translated from Latin into Greek. The Law School was founded at the end of the third century A.D.




Hygeia health goddess, marble
Byblos, Roman Period
This statue stood in one of the niches of the Nympheum (public fountain) of Byblos. The snake around Hygeia's shoulders symbolizes the healing virtues which are inherent to her status as health goddess.





Sarcophagus with the legend of Achilleus, marble
Tyre, 2nd c. A.D.
Scenes from the Iliad representing episods of the Trojan war were often used to adorn the sarcophagi of the Roman necropolis of Tyre. Of excellent workmanship, this relief is in the tradition of classical Greek art.


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