SIDON, THE CITY
The city-state of Sidon, twenty kilometers south of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, was one of the most important cities of the ancient Canaanite & Phoenician peoples.
However, like other places in modern Lebanon, most of what we knew of its history until now came from contemporary Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Greek records.
From classical times onwards, many scholars have considered Sidon to be the most ancient and the most prominent of the Canaanite/Phoenician coastal cities.
For some the arguments in favor of this view are firstly, the mention in the Old Testament of Sidon as “the first born of Canaan” and secondly, the peculiar usage of the term Sidon and Sidonians in the Old Testament and in Greek writings
The terms Sidon and Sidonians, found in the Old Testament thirty eight times were not only used in a narrow sense, of the city itself and its inhabitants but in a much wider sense, including at times Tyre and its inhabitants, and at other, the whole of Phoenicia. This early usage of the names in the wider sense, indicates the presence in antiquity of a historical situation in which Sidon was powerful enough to impose her rule and her name upon large districts outside the city. Sidonian and Phoenician occurred in parallel lines, and were understood to be synonymous.