Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other


Tyre, City: Mosaic Road. Photo Jona Lendering.
Tyre, City: Mosaic Road.
Tyre (Phoenician רצ, ṣūr, "rock"; Greek Τρος; Latin Tyrus): port in Phoenicia and one of the main cities in the eastern Mediterranean.

History Photos Texts

At the beginning of our era, the Greek scientist Strabo of Amasia published his Geography, which includes the following description of Tyre. Geography 16.2.23 is offered here in the translation by H. L. Jones.

Strabo on Tyre

Tyre is wholly an island, being built up nearly in the same way as Aradus; and it is connected with the mainland by a mole, which was constructed by Alexander when he was besieging it; and it has two harbors, one that can be closed, and the other, called "Egyptian" harbor, open., the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

The houses here, it is said, have many stories, even more than the houses at Rome, and on this account, when an earthquake took place, it lacked but little of utterly wiping out the city. The city was also unfortunate when it was taken by siege by Alexander; but it overcame such misfortunes and restored itself both by means of the seamanship of its people, in which the Phoenicians in general have been superior to all peoples of all times, and by means of their dye-houses for purple; for the Tyrian purple has proved itself by far the most beautiful of all; and the shell-fish are caught near the coast; and the other things requisite for dyeing are easily got; and although the great number of dye-works makes the city unpleasant to live in, yet it makes the city rich through the superior skill of its inhabitants.

The Tyrians were adjudged autonomous, not only by the kings, but also, at small expense to them, by the Romans, when the Romans confirmed the decree of the kings. Heracles [i.e., Melqart] is paid extravagant honors by them. The number and the size of their colonial cities is an evidence of their power in maritime affairs. Such, then, are the Tyrians.

History Photos Texts
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 15 Aug. 2012
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other