I’m all ears when reading this article from PressTV about the recent discovery of five Byzantine tombs near the city of Tyre in today’s Lebanon – a new attraction for tourists no doubt. These marble tombs came in different sizes and are said to belong to the 14th century, rather late in the Byzantine time-frame if you ask me.
What I don’t understand however is that this article talks about the old Byzantine route that connected the original island of Tyre to the mainland for it gives the impression that it was build at that time. I’m sorry to disappoint the Byzantine believers, for the very first connection between the island of Tyre with the mainland was the doing of Alexander the Great.
This powerful strongly fortified city refused to let Alexander in on his march south along the eastern Mediterranean in 332 BC, leaving him no choice but to lay siege on it. Yet, Tyre being an island and enjoying the protection of the Great King of Persia, the people felt pretty secure inside its walls, under the wings of a substantial Persian fleet. Alexander had disbanded most of his own navy and the handful of ships he had kept were obviously no match. So he decided to build a causeway connecting the island to the mainland, a tedious and dangerous operation as Tyre had no intention to surrender. The Tyrians put up a fierce fight, maneuvering their ships in serious attacks, and even pouring hot sand over the approaching Macedonian forces – a horrible death for the soldiers when the sand settled underneath their harness and burned their skin! It took Alexander full seven months to finish this mole and when he finally entered Tyre he knew no mercy.
But, back to this article, I read further that Tyre knew “many civilizations” which are named as the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Byzantines, but they don’t mention the Greeks and certainly not Alexander the Great! How could they omit such an important personality and such an important phase in their history! The tombs however are said to be found near the Greek Palaestra, so the Greeks were there after all? A rather incoherent story, to which the last line adds even more confusion mentioning that the city’s history goes back over 5,000 years!
A good attempt to fill a newspaper column, but entirely unconvincing!