) or Laodicea in Canaan (2nd century to 64 BCE) , image = St. George's Cathedral, Beirut.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = Roman ruins of Berytus, in front of Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in modern-day Beirut , map = , map_type = Lebanon , map_alt = , map_size = 270 , coordinates = , altitude_m = , altitude_ref = , relief = , gbgridref = , map_dot_label = , location = Beirut, Lebanon , region = , type = Settlement , part_of = , length = , width = , area = , volume = , diameter = , circumference = , height = , builder = , material = , built = Roman republic (merchants from early Laodicea/Berytus recorded by 110–109 BCE) , abandoned = , epochs = Roman and Early Byzantine/late antiquity; previous port dating back to Iron Age III and Achaemenid, Persian periods , cultures = Phoenician people, Phoenician, Roman people, Roman , dependency_of = , occupants = , event = , discovered = , excavations = , archaeologists = , condition = , ownership = , management = , public_access = , other_designation = , website = , architectural_styles = , architectural_details = , notes = Berytus (; phn, Biruta; grc, Βηρυτός, Bērytós; la, Bērȳtus), briefly known as Laodicea in Phoenicia ( grc, Λαοδίκεια ἡ ἐν Φοινίκῃ) or Laodicea in Canaan from the 2nd century to 64 BCE, was the ancient city of Beirut (in modern-day Lebanon) from the Roman republic through the Roman empire and late antiquity, Early Byzantine period/late antiquity. .Berytus became a Roman colonia that would be the center of Romanization (cultural), Roman presence in the eastern Mediterranean shores south of Anatolia. The veterans of two Roman legions under Augustus were established in the city (the Legio V Macedonica, fifth Macedonian and the Legio III Gallica, third Gallic), that afterward quickly became Romanization (cultural), Romanized and was the only fully Latin language, Latin-speaking city in the Syria-Phoenicia region until the fourth century. Although Berytus was still an important city after earthquakes, around 400 AD Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre was made the capital of the Phoenice (Roman province), Roman province of Phoenicia. "Of the great law schools of Rome, Constantinople, and Berytus", the law school of Berytus stood "pre-eminent". The Code of Justinian (one part of the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'', the codification of Roman law ordered early in the 6th century AD by Justinian I and fully written in Latin) was mostly created in this school.


Early history

In 140 BC the Phoenician village called "Biruta" was destroyed by Diodotus Tryphon in his contest with Antiochus VII Sidetes for the throne of the Macedonian Seleucid Empire, Seleucid monarchy. Later it was rebuilt on a more conventional Hellenistic civilization, Hellenistic plan—the exact date is unclear but prosperous Berytian merchants were recorded in Delos by 110–109 BCE—under the name of ''Laodicea in Phoenicia'' ( el, Λαοδίκεια ἡ ἐν Φοινίκῃ) or ''Laodicea in Canaan'' in honor of a Seleucid Laodice of Macedonia, Laodice. During the late decades of the Roman republic the city was conquered by the Romans of Pompey in 64 BC and renamed "Berytus", as a reference to the name of the old Phoenician port of Beirut, original Phoenician port-village. The city was assimilated into the Roman Empire, many veteran soldiers were sent there, and large building projects were undertaken.Beirut Travel InformationLonely Planet

Roman colonia

In 14 BC, during the reign of Herod the Great, Berytus became an important ''colonia (Roman), Roman colonia''. The city was named ''Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus'' in honor of Julia, the only daughter of Augustus (according to Theodore Mommsen, "Res gestae divi Augusti", II, 119). Furthermore, the veterans of two Roman legions were established in the city of Berytus by emperor Augustus: the Legio V Macedonica, fifth Macedonian and the Legio III Gallica, third Gallic. Consequently, the city quickly became fully Romanized, with two third of the inhabitants being descendants of the Roman veterans. Large public buildings and monuments were erected and Berytus enjoyed full status as a part of the empire.About Beirut and Downtown Beirut
DownTownBeirut.com. Retrieved November 17, 2007.
Berytus was considered the most Roman city in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. It was one of four Roman colonies in the Syria-Phoenicia region and the only one with full ''Ius Italicum'' (meaning: exemption from imperial taxation). Its territory under Claudius reached the Bekaa valley and included Heliopolis of Phoenicia, Heliopolis: it was the only area mostly Latin language, Latin-speaking in the Syria-Phoenicia region, because settled by Roman colonists who even promoted agriculture in the fertile lands around actual Yammoune. From the 1st century BC the Bekaa valley served as a source of grain for the Roman provinces of the Levant and even for the same Rome (today the valley makes up to 40 percent of Lebanon's arable land):Roman colonists created there even a "country district" called ''Pagus Augustus''. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Agrippa greatly favoured the city of Berytus, and adorned it with a splendid theatre and amphitheatre, beside Roman Baths, Beirut, Baths and porticoes, inaugurating them with games and spectacles of every kind, including shows of gladiators. But now only minor ruins remains, in front of the Catholic Cathedral of Beirut. Indeed, four large bath complexes as well as numerous private baths increased the city's water consumption: the Romans constructed an aqueduct fed by the Beirut River whose main source was located 10 km from the city. The aqueduct crossed the river at Qanater Zbaydeh and the water finally reached the place of actual Riad Al Solh Square; there, at the foot of the Serail Hill, it was stored in Cisterns of the Roman Baths, Beirut, large cisterns. An intricate network of lead or clay pipes and channels distributed the water to the various pools of the Roman Baths. Roman Berytus was a city of nearly 50,000 inhabitants during Trajan times and had a huge Forum and necropolis The Hippodrome of Roman Berytus was the largest known in the Levant, while literary sources indicate there was even a theater. Scholars like Linda Hall pinpoint that the hippodrome was still working in the fifth century. Berytus had a monumental "Roman Gate" with huge walls (recently discovered) and was a trade center of silk and wine production, well connected by efficient Roman roads to Heliopolis of Phoenicia, Heliopolis and Caesarea. According to Kevin Butcher, the Latin character of Berytus remained dominant until the fifth century: the city was a center for the study of Latin literature and -after Septimius Severus- of Roman Law. Under Nero the son of a roman colonist, Marcus Valerius Probus (born in Berytus around 25 AD), was known in all the empire as a Latin grammarian and literature master philologist. Roman emperors promoted the development of high-level culture in the fully Romanized city (even in Greek language as with Hermippus of Berytus).

The Law School of Berytus

The Berytian law school was widely known in the Roman empire;: it was famous the Latin motto ''Berytus Nutrix Legum'' ("Beirut, Mother of Laws"). Indeed, two of Rome's most famous jurists, Papinian and Ulpian, both natives of Phoenicia, taught there under the Severan dynasty, Severan emperors. When Justinian I, Justinian assembled his ''Digest (Roman law), Pandects'' in the sixth century, a large part of the "Corpus of Laws" -all in Latin- was derived from these two jurists, and in 533 AD Justinian recognized the school as one of the three official law schools of the empire. The law school of Beirut supplied the Roman Empire, especially its eastern provinces, with lawyers and magistrates for three centuries until the school's destruction in a powerful earthquake. After the 551 Beirut earthquake the students were transferred to Sidon.

Early Byzantine rule

Under the Eastern Roman Empire, some intellectual and economic activities in Berytus continued to flourish for more than a century, even if the Latin language started to be replaced by the Greek language and become Hellenised again. However, in the sixth century a series of earthquakes demolished most of the temples of Heliopolis (actual Baalbek) and destroyed the city of Berytus, leveling its famous law school and killing nearly 30,000 inhabitants (according to Anonymous pilgrim of Piacenza). Furthermore, the ecumenical Christian councils of the fifth and sixth centuries AD were unsuccessful in settling religious disagreements within the surviving community. This turbulent Byzantine period weakened the already Hellenised (and fully Christian) population and made it easy prey to the newly converted Muslim Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula. Eastern Roman Berytus -reduced to the size of a village- fell to the Arabs in 635 AD.

Recent discoveries

Recently at the Garden of Forgiveness the two main streets of Roman Berytus, the ''Cardo'' and ''Decumanus Maximus'', were discovered in the Beirut Central District. Their shaded colonnades became busy markets on festival days. At other times, these streets would have been frequented by Law School students and citizens passing to the Forum or visiting temples and churches. In 1968 were discovered the "Roman Baths" Gardens, that is a landscaped public space that lies on the eastern slope of the Grand Serail, Serail Hill. It consists of a garden and a set of uncovered ruins of the ancient Roman Baths, Beirut, Roman baths of Berytus (hence the name of the place). These ruins underwent a thorough cleaning and further excavation in 1995–1997. Designed by the British landscaping firm Gillepsies, the Garden's layout is dominated with low-slung glass walls and lookout platforms that can be turned into concert venues, thus giving a 21st-century touch without harming the area's historical fabric. At the turn of the 20th century was identified the area were existed the famous Law school of Beirut, school of Roman law at Berytus. Archaeological excavations in the area between the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral and Saint George Maronite Cathedral, Beirut, Saint George Cathedral of the Maronites unearthed a funerary stele etched with an epitaph to a man named Patricius, "whose career was consecrated for the study of law". The epitaph was identified as being dedicated to the famous 5th-century law school professor. In 1994, archaeological diggings underneath the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Beirut Central District's Nejmeh Square identified structural elements of the Anastasis cathedral, but they were restricted to an area of and failed to unearth the interred school. In the 5th century, Zacharias Rhetor reported that the school stood next to the "Temple of God", the description of which permitted its identification with the Byzantine Anastasis cathedral.

Notable people

* Hermippus of Berytus (fl. 2nd century AD) * Marcus Valerius Probus (c. 20/30 – 105 AD) * Vindonius Anatolius

See also

* Cisterns of the Roman Baths, Beirut * Phoenicia under Roman rule * Roman Baths, Beirut * Law school of Beirut, Roman "Lex Schola" of Berytus



* * * * *Lauffray,Jean. ''Beyrouth, Archéologie et Histoire I : période hellénistique et Haut-Empire romain'', in "Aufstieg und Niedergang des römischen Welt", vol. II, 8, New York-Berlin, 1977, p. 135-163. *Mann, J.C.
The settlement of veterans in the Roman Empire
' London University. London, 1956 *Mommsen, Theodore. ''The Provinces of the Roman Empire from Caesar to Diocletian''. Press Holdings International. New York, 2004. *Mouterde, René et Lauffray, Jean (1952) ''Beyrouth ville romaine''. Publications de la Direction des Antiquités du Liban, Beyrouth. * * {{Phoenician cities and colonies Archaeological sites in Lebanon Beirut Coloniae (Roman) History of Beirut Seleucid colonies Razed cities Roman sites in Lebanon