Byblos (bĭbˈləs) [key], ancient city, Phoenicia, a port 17 mi (27 km) NNE of modern Beirut, Lebanon. The principal city of Phoenicia during the 2d millennium B.C., it long retained importance as an active port under the Persians. Byblos was the chief center of the worship of Adonis. Because of its papyruses, it was also the source of the Greek word for book and, hence, of the name of the Bible. Excavations of Byblos, especially since 1922, have shown that trade existed between Byblos and Egypt as early as c.2800 B.C. A syllabic script found at Byblos dates from the 18th to the 15th cent. B.C.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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