The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          

 


SECTIONS OF
DEPARTMENT
OF
GREEK, ROMAN, AND BYZANTINE ANTIQUITIES

The Department consists o the following sections:

1- Hall of the Museum: contains the most beautiful statues discovered in Latakia, and two mosaics, one discovered at Shahba and the other at the district of Hama.

HALL OF THE MUSEUM

This hall which is extremely rich in beautiful statues attracts the visitors of the Museum. We have exhibited here some of the statues discovered at Shahba (Philipolis) i.e. the city of Philip ( the Arab ), A mosaic panel of the Byzantine period is also exhibited on the floorand the most beautiful statues discovered in Latakia .

The Doryphore Statue :

This statue was found in1976 at (El-Sheikh Dhaher) quarter – Latakia, made from marble. The preserved part of him is 150 cm Height and his shoulders are 60 cm Wide, he is a copy of the statue of the Greek artist (Polyeuktos) from the fifth century B.C. The artist made the statue's head, the standard unit for the other parts of the body. The statue represents a young man carries spear; he is characterized by youth, force and beauty. He stands up on the right foot while the left leans on her instep only.

2- First Gallery: includes marble statues as well as silver, bronze, ivory and bone antiquities.

First Gallery

The showcases of this gallery are devoted almost entirely to the marble , bronze and ivory statues . Some marble and limestone sculptures are also displayed between the showcases .

Bronze bust representing (princess ?). She is beautiful and her features express deep meditation. Her hair is wavy, plaited and gathered at the back. Her silk robe reveals a slight part of her left shoulder. A circular frame in bronze surrounds the bust.

An ivory curving.

 

3- Second Gallery: comprises terracotta statues and vessels as well as a collection of glassware.

The showcases of this gallery are designed for pottery and glassware .   they also show the development of these two industries. Some basalt sculptures are also displayed .

Terracotta figurine depiction Nemesis, the goddess of justice and vengeance. She wears a long robe and a head-dress. She carries scales, symbol of justice , in her right hand and a wheel, symbol of her changing nature , in her left hand .
H. 28 cm.

The Phoenician Glassware:
Some scholars hold that the origin of glass was in Syria. There is the often quoted story of the Phoenician Sailors and their chance discovery of glass through the combination of fire, sand from the sea-shore and snatronoda from their cargo of natron which let the appearance of a transparent liquid, known later as "glass".
The term "Phoenician glass" has been given to flasks of opaque glass resembling the Greek marble blasamariurn. The method of manufacturing these flasks is as follows:
They bring a metal rod and fix clay and sand round it. Then they plunge it in an adhesive glass paste. After the rod is drawn out of the paste, a thread of soft glass is wound round it until sufficient glass has been gathered to form the required shape of the vessel. The glass is then retreated and rolled on a marble slab to smooth and polish it. Forms of decoration such as the trailing of colored lines of glass, are applied, and further marveling and light raking with a comb treat the typical feathered decoration. Handles and foot-stands are added later with tongs. Finally, the rod is removed and the vessel is left to dry. It is interesting to note that they continued to use this method from the 14th century down to the first century B.C. When the Greek marble basamariums appeared, the glass-workers were struck by their beauty and began to imitate the style of their decoration. i.e. coloured branches and garlands.
The national Museum of Damascus is considered one of the riches Museums of the world in its collection of glassware. Most of the Museums of the world, however, do have important collections of the Syrian glassware. History has also preserved to us the names of a number of glass-makers such as Ennion or Artas etc. and this suggests the extent to which the glass industry in Syria flourished.

4- Wing of Antiquities of Hauran and of Jabal al-Arab: includes as fine collection of basalt sculptures.

Since the beginning of the second century of the Christian era, Hauran and Jabal al-Arab had become important centres of artistic creation. They have left us masterpieces which have made their contribution to civilization. The sculpture of this region is in basalt which is too hard to cut. The artist, however, was able to use this stone and to manipulate it to the form which he desired so as to make ageless masterpieces out of it. His victory over this material was the compensation of his patience to achieve the artistic shape which he had conceived and dreamed to incarnate in the world of matter. His works were characterized by originality and reflected the social life of the age. They were, therefore, marked by a local artistic colour and a quality signifying universal product. A number of these sculptures have been exhibited in this wing .We shall explain them after seeing the glass pieces displayed In this hall and with the other antiquities discovered at Tell Um Hauran near the village of Nawa.

 

Glorifications of the Earth :

Important mosaic pavement representing a vast allegorical scene surrounded with a frame ornamented with geometrical designs. Its theme is related to glorifications of the earth. In the centre a woman appears amidst her children, symbol of the earth and its fruits. On the left, we see a person holding a wheel in his right hand, symbol of the Time, behind him appears four young girls incarnating the four seasons. To their left appears the goddess of vegetation contemplating the earth and its fruits. On the right appears an artist modeling a statue with the clay of the earth and drawing his inspiration from the beauty of the spirit. In the upper part of the tablet we sec heads of children blowing what incarnate the four winds. L. 332 cm. H. 272.5 cm.

 

Mosaic pavement representing the Orontes :
On this mosaic, the Orontes appears in a human form. He holds the horn of abundance in his left hand. On his right, three children are approaching him. On his left, we see two other children. The children symbolize the lands which are in need of irrigation. The scene is surrounded with three frames consisting of stone, mosaic cubes. These pieces have been discovered by the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums in a floor of a bath at the village of Ghalline, Latakia.
 

 

 

 

The Marble Coffin (Troy):

Found at Al-Rastan inside a cemetery, in 8 / 4 / 1977 , from Shamsigram the Arabian family era, that ruled Al-Rastan and Homs. Made from white marble , manufactured by an artistic school Attica province and her centre is Athens in Greece .

 Engraved on his cover a man with his wife in situation of harmony, they wear transparent garments; sit on embroidered couch and scenes from the naval banquet. The coffin drilled from single block of marbles, his three sides is decorated by scenes from Iliad and Odyssey between tow bands of Greek decorations.

In the three scenes, the front and the tow sides, we can see three Greek ships carrying Agamemnon king of Sparta with his soldiers and they clashed with their opponents, some of them fallen and swords penetrated the chests the others .And Helen, which was abducted by Paris, appeared here or maybe she is the victory goddess. These scenes symbolize that life is a battle and the death is a victory.

In the fourth side (the back), tow Phoenixes (Gorgons) was carved analogous between tow trees, between them there is a round altar with fruits above him.
Phoenix was put in cemeteries for dismissal evil spirits.

 

Basalt high relief depicting Hercules in combat with a lion. Hercules appears nude with strong muscles, lie catches hold of the lion neck. The lion stands on its hind quarters and reclines his front quarters on the leg of the hero whose face reflects no signs of effort. Found at Sweida.
 H. 85 cm.
 

Basalt statue depicting Victory standing on globe. She inclines forward as if she were about to fly. Her long dress has clasp on the left shoulder. The dress reveals the shoulder and the right breast. There is a Greek inscription on the lower part of the globe read "Asmathos, son of Solymos, has made this statue at his own expense". a Found at Sweida.
 H. 108 cm.
 

 

Basalt statue depicting Minerva. The goddess is standing on a rectangular base. Her left foot is inclining a little forward. She wears a long pleated robe with two clasps on the two shoulders. The breast is protected by armor decorated with a Gorgon. The features express seriousness. Her cur wavy hair hangs down over the back of her neck, and it is topped by a high helmet. She holds an oval shield in her left hand. She raised her right hand as if she were carrying a lance. Found at Sweida. H. 150 cm

5- Wing of Antiquities of Palmyra : contains masterpieces of Palmarene Sculptures, a mosaic, and mural frescoes discovered in the Temple of the Palmarene gods .

Palmyra occupies a unique place in the history of the Arabs before the advent of Islam. Its name is mentioned in a tablets found at Cappadocia and going back to the 19th C.B.C. It is also mentioned in a text discovered at Mary and dating back to the Period of Hamrnourabi. Its name is likewise mentioned in the annals of the Assyrian King Tiglath-Plaser I the account of his campaign against the Aramaean-Arab tribes in the 11th C.B.C. It is only towards the end of the Hellenistic Age that Palmyra begins to have some importance where we see Mark Antony in 41 B.C. conducting an abortive campaign her.

Palmyra, however, maintained its independence until the reign of Trajan (98— 117 ). Hadrian (1117 — 138.) might have given the city special privileges. The inhabitants of the city were exempted from taxes in the period of Severuses . In the period of dispute between the Sasanids and the Romans, the Palmyrenes displayed courage and heroism in defending their country under their chief Udaynath whom the Romans had granted the title of "Reformer of the whole Orient ". After his assassination, his widow Zenobia began to rule after him in the name of her minor son Wahab-Allath, Zenohia’s ambition provoked the Romans who could exterminate the city of the Palmyren Arab Kingdom after tough battles in Antioch. Homs and Palmyra in 272 AD. Despite the fact that the Roman armies under the emperor Aurelian (270 – 275 ) despoiled Palmyra of its rich fabrics and precious ornaments and did not even shrink from destroying or looting its statues, the remains of the Palmyrene monuments rendered the opportunity to the specialists to determine the following three stages of the evaluation of the Palmyrene sculptures:

  1. The first Stage : Extends approximately the year 100 A.D. up to the year 150 A.D. In the course of this period, the Palmyrene sculptor represented the pupil and the iris of the eye in the form of two concentric circles without giving any attention to clearly represent the eyebrows. This success of sculptor may be noted in his expression of the manhood of persons and in giving to the hair of men and women a symmetric aspect.
  2. The Second Stage: extends approximately from 150 A.D. to 200 A.D. In this period the iris and the pupil of the eye are represented in the form of circle with a point In the middle. The eyebrows are indicated. The style became realistic.
  3. The Third Stage: extends approximately form 200 A.D. to 270 A.D. The artist is animated by showing richness and luxury in creating persons attired in sumptuous clothes and in sculpturing women bedecked with a good number of necklaces, ear-rings, brooches, finger-rings, bracelets and anklets etc.

 

A family from Palmyra

On the Wall:
Mosaic Panel representing a scene of the myth of Cassiopeia. Here she appears standing, nude; drying up her hair. On each side a Nereid is gazing at her in astonishment. On the blank space, are depicted three infants incarnating jealousy.
On the Left appears the female sea-monster which was sent by Neptune. This myth evokes the pride of Cassiopeia in her beauty. This pride irritated the gods. As such Cassiopeia had to sacrifice her daughter Andromeda whom Persus rescued by beheading the Sea-monster and then by supplicating Zeus to set Cassiopeia among the stars after her death. Found in a house of the 2nd century A.D. in the east of the Temple of Bel at Palmyra. H. 16 cm. L. 370 cm.

 

Funereal bed from the cemetery of ( Lamliko ) ,there is sculpturing on him for persons from the deceased family ,and the scene is a funereal banquet ,the deceased shares with his family in the food and on his hand cup or bowl and he recumbent on comfortable bed and dependent on pillow,  followed by his father or his brother or his older son ,his wife is at his feet and the boys standing between them . And the funereal bed is raised on tow posts between them the coffin front, which support busts representing some family individuals.

Other samples from The Palmyrene Art :

 

6- HALL OF DURA-EUROPOS

This city of Dura-Europos is situated close to the Syrio-Iraqi frontier. It stands in a strategic position of great natural strength on a rocky plateau. For this reason, it has attracted the attention of the Ammorite ,Arabs, the Aramaeans and the Assyrians who made it an important defensive centre.

The word Dura is believed to be Aramaen. At the beginning of the Hellenistic Age, this strategic position soon developed from a strong fortress to an important city and was given the name of Dura-Europos. The foundation of the city is attributed to the Macedonian General Nicator Seleucus. It was once a city of military and commercial character. On the one hand it constituted. in fact, a border fortress and on the other hand a big market on the caravan routes heading for Antioch the then capital of Syria.

After Arsaces. King of Parthia had liberated his country from the Seleucids domination, the rule of the Parthian began in Dura in 247 B.C. Those Parthians , who considered themselves the heirs of the Achemenids , took advantage of this dispute between the Seleucids and the Patolomies and began to expand their empire.

When Pampey put an end to the reign of the Seleucids in Syria in 64 B.C., Dura-Europos was under the rule of the Parthians. The Romans could conquer the city later on in 165 A.D. and used it as a stronghold on the eastern most frontier of the Empire. The Emperor Septimius Severus could attack Ctesiphon , capital of the Parthians , from Dura in 199 A.D.

When the Arab Kingdom of Palmyra came into existence as a force having a military and economic importance in the Orient , Dura was used as a fortress to protect Palmyra’s growing commerce. When Shapur tried to attack the Arab Kingdom of Palmyra, he was beaten back by the Palmyrene Arab troops who inflicted serious losses upon him. The Romans themselves recognized the heroism of the Palmyrene Arab cavaliers particularly their leader Hayran, son of Uzaynath.

It was the Sasanians who captured and destroyed this city shortly after 256 AD, so that their enemies might not use it as a starting point in their attack on their dominions once more. Dura thereupon succumbed to the desert. Its ruins were known to the learned world only in 1920. The excavations began actually in this site in October, 1922, where sixteen temples relating to the different religions of that period were brought to light.

7- HYPOGEUM OF IARHAI THE PALMYRENE

The Hypogeum of Iarhai is a fine example of the Palmyrene funerary monuments . It was removed from the Valley of the Tombs in Palmyra and was reconstructed in most parts in the

 National Museum of Damascus in 1935.

The stone door of the Hypogeum consists of two leaves. Their outer surface is carved on the model of the wood doors. Ascending the steps, the visitor confronts a facade consisting of two niches, each is topped by a shell form, under which are two reliefs depicting the dead at a banquet with the members of the family.

To the right, there is a vaulted hall ending with the triclinium where the sacristans of the temple are seen preparing the funerary ceremony.

The two lateral walls have exedra covered with stone busts bearing the reliefs of the head. The pilasters are decorated with flowers in relief.

One of the stone busts bears a portrait in relief depicting a Palmyrene. He is bearded, dressed in a garment topped by a head-dress and the right hand comes out of it. The nose is straight, the eye-brows long, the eyes wide. The pupil is represented by a circle and the eye-ball by a point in its middle. The curled hair flows down to cover the forehead. The features have lifelike expressions. H. 48 cm. W. 44 cm.

A discovered inscription points out that the Hypogeum was founded by Iarhai, Son of Barbaki, in April, 108 AD. It seems that the members of his family, his grandchildren used it in the second and third century of our era.

8- SYNAGOGUE OF DURA-EUROPOS

The Synagogue discovered in Dura-Europos is one of the temples of the various religions existing in Dura at that time. It shows that there were a few Jewish families. Some were Christians and the rest of the population had adopted other religions prevailing in the Roman Period.

The building comprises a court flanked by three porticos, an aisle reserved for the priests and the rectangular sanctuary measuring 13.35 by 7.70 m and 7 m high. It has the main dour in the middle for men and a second smaller door for women. The east and west walls have apertures to let the light in. There are benches fixed on the floor to all the four sides of the wall to seat the worshippers. Separate benches for women are between the two doors.

The interior has mural paintings in four rows. The three upper rows depict scenes from the Old Testament, whereas the lower one shows a tiger, a lioness and a mask not relating to the upper scenes. The ceiling of the Synagogue is decorated with terracotta square slabs bearing motifs incarnating flora in human forms, or forms of flowers, roses, fruits and corn-ears etc.

The murals of the Synagogue have a marked local touch. The Syrian temples were decorated with motifs unknown in the temple of other countries. The scene which depicts a temple is marked by the Corinthian style which was widespread in Syria at that time.

Important among the unearthed inscriptions is an Aramaic text consisting of 15 lines revealing that the Synagogue was founded in 556 of the Seleucid Calendar i.e. the second year of the accession of Emperor Philip the Arab to the throne of Rome.

9- Wing of Jewels: contains magnificent collections : necklaces, ear-rings, pins, finger-rings, gold leaves and precious stones.

10- Gallery of Coins: contains fine collections of Greek, Hellenistic, Seleucid, Ptolemaic, Phoenician, Nabataean, Roman, Palmyrene, Byzantine and Venetian coins.

11- BYZANTINE SYRIA

When Syria came under the Roman rule. various cults had been prevailing in the East - The cults of Hadad, of Atargatis, of Isis, of Mithra and the mystery cults approving orgies practised in a way condemned by the ethical principles commonly observed - Christianity rose as a factor to liberate the country from the Roman paganism and to save the human mind from superstition. The Syrians found in the teachings of Jesus what disperses their spiritual darkness and meets the social requirements which they have been craving for. And it also does revive in their souls the rays of hope in an after life where everlasting happiness be the lot of righteous men. This may elucidate the rapidity with which Christianity spread among the quarters of the Aramaeans in Damascus, Antioch, Edissa, Dura Europos Apamea ... etc.

It was in Damascus that St. Paul saw the light of Jesus and had a dialogue it and the result was that his enmity to Christianity turned into belief in it. lie was helped to escape the by the Christians of Damascus.

In Antioch, the first church was established in 36 AD, wherefrom the evangelists set out.

In the reign of Constantine the Great (274 - 337) the famous edict of Milan was issued in 312 . The edict recognized freedom of faith to the Christians and made Christianity an official religion. Despite the fact that the historians alluded this edict to political reasons, the foundation of Constantinople as a new capital of the Empire is a clear-cut proof of the importance of the East. Eusebius ( 265-340) who was educated at Antioch and became a friend of Constantine. turned out to be the first ever ecclesiastical historian.

In 386 St. Jerome (315 - 420 ) moved into the Syrian desert to lead a solidarity life. He was instrumental in introducing monastic life into Syria which asserts the belief that " The beauty of spiritual values persuades man to withdraw from this mortal world and to suffer martyrdom for the sake of these spiritual values".

After the death of Theodosius the Great (379 - 395), the Empire was split into two halves: A Roman Empire of the West under Honorlus. and a Roman Empire of the East i.e. Byzantine, under Arcadius (395 - 408) who lived at Constantinople in a lofty palace amidst a large entourage indulging in luxurious life and moral laxity which provoked St. John the Golden Mouth (347 - 407 ). St. John led an ascetic life and was celebrated for his insistence on moral and social reform and for his eloquent preaching.

In the reign of Theodosius II ( 408 - 450) Nostorius of Cilicia was living In a monastery near Antioch. The Emperor saw in him The same promising signs of St. John the Golden Mouth, he was therefore, promoted to the bishopric of Constantinople at a time characterized by the appearance of different religions tendencies. For example Apollinaris bishop of Loadica ( Latakia ) stressed the human nature in Jesus Christ. In his logic, Apollinaris was using the Neo-Platonic creed holding that the logos (word) occupied in the divine person of Jesus the place of the spirit which is the highest part of man. Nastorlus, on the other hand, held that in Jesus a divine nature and a human nature were united together in a perfect harmony but not In the unity of a single individual. Nestorius was accused of dividing the person of Jesus and was dismissed from his post. The third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (421 A.D.) and the Council of Chalcedony determined one nature and one hypostasis in Christ.

The national feeling in Syria took up a religious expression. Those who preached monophysitism under the Syrian monk " Barsauma (457) " began to propagate this creed. All those who were harbouring vindictive feelings against the state policy soon subscribed to the new doctrine which was tantamount to the expression of national conscience and an independent trend of the countries. Emperor Zeno tried to win the sympathy of the Syrians and Egyptians in order to put an end to their dissatisfaction but with no success. Anastat ( 491 - 518 ) also tried in vain to please the followers of monophysitism. The love of the Arab East for the phenomenon of the unity contributed to the spread of this doctrine in Syria, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. St. Simeon the Stylites was one of those who believed in this doctrine. The Arab Ghassanids who left Yemen after the bursting of Ma’rib Dam and headed north for Syria, met their Arab brothers of the tribes of Banu Salim and others. They settled permanently in Hauran, embraced Christianity and turned out to be staunch adherents of this faith   .

When Justinus I ( 518 - 527 ) assigned his nephew Justinian the task of fighting the Sassanids, this prince passed through the city of Manbij and got married there to a girl called Theodora. This lady was endowed with beauty and cleverness. It is said that it was Impossible to describe her beauty in words or to portray it. This explains why Justinian was very fond of her. The emperor himself approved the marriage and conferred upon her the epithet of "Patricius". Spite and rancour began to manufacture falsehoods to tarnish the reputation of this Syrian girl who was characterized by broadmindness to the extent that she became the first adviser of her husband when he succeeded the throne. She could, by virtue of her courage, to rescue his throne when the revolution of the two disputing parties broke out. The bodyguard of the Emperor failed to put an end to the sedition which amounted to an extent that made the entourage to advise the Emperor to escape after the rebels had acclaimed Hibatius as Emperor. Theodora turned to her husband saying her proverbial phrase :(" This is a circumstance which does not require adherence to the old rule i.e. the woman should not speak in the council. Those who are interested in the matter have the right to dictate what the course of events should be Every man must die Once. Death to the kingsis far better than abdication and exile. I hope that I would not see the day in which my purple robe would he snatched from me and not to be called the first lady. Emperor: If you want to save your life, it is very easy. You have your ships, you have the sea. As far as I am concerned, I agree to the old saying " The Empire is the best shroud for the dead "). Justinian was affected by these words and instructed his Commander Belisarius to attack the rebels and to put an end to the sedition.

In the Byzantine age Chosroes desired to asser his severalty over the East after the troops of the Byzantine Commander had beaten back the first Sasanid attack. The sasanids renewed their second attack in 541 A.D. in the reign of Cosroes I Anu Sharwan (531-579). Al-Harith II son af Jablah the Ghassanid ( 529 – 569 ) had already fought bravely al-Mundhir III of al-Hirah. The Byzantine Emperor admired al-Harith II and bestowed upon him the epithet of Phylarch and Particius. The Arabs regarded these epithets as the title of al-Malik (King) .

Chosroes took advantage of the fight between the Ghassrnids and their allies the Lakhmids as good reason for his major attack on Northern Syria. The attack was a catastrophe on Manbij, Aleppo and Antioch. He destroyed and looted these cities and captured many of their inhabitants. The Emperor instructed his Commander Belsarius to defend the Euphrates area and the Ghassanids took part In the campaign.

In 562, Al-Harith II accepted the invitation of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and visited Constantinople. He was warmly received there and appeared there in his bright Arab costume and he left a lasting impression on the courtiers to the extend that when the chamberlains wanted to quieten down the small prince Justinus, they would simply shout: Keep quiet! or else we call al-Harith.

Theodora was one of the followers of monophysitism. She did her level best to achieve the victory of this creed but in vain. The Ghassanid King met her and agreed to appoint Jacob

Bardaeus bishop of the Church of the Monophysites. The Monophysites suffered a serious loss with the death of Theodora in 548 at a time when Justinian was working for the unification of Eastern and Western Wings of the Empire. Justinian began to adopt a policy of violence, absolute power and intolerance against any creed that does not agree with his policy. This resulted in an estrangement between the Byzantine on one side, and the Monophysites and the Ghassanids on the other. The Ghassanids’ influence has spread widely from ar-Rasafah in the North until al-Petra and covered the areas of Harran, as-Safa and al-Balqa’. and Bosra became their religious capital. The estrangement soon turned into enmity to the extent that Justinian II (565-578) decided to do away with the influence of the Ghassanid King al-Munzhir to meet the Byzantine Governor in Syria to discuss with him important issues. The message sent to the Byzantine Governor reached the hand of al-Harith by mistake and he got to know the bad intention of the Byzantine Emperor. He was hurt much for this bad intention and ingratitude towards the Ghassanids. After a period of alienation reconciliation was effected between them.

The Persians continued to raid against Syria since 572 A.D.( the reign of the Sasanid King Chosroes II and the Byzantine Kings: Justinian II, Tiberias II and Maurice 582 - 602). The Ghassanids fought on the side of the Byzantines against the Sasanids and their allies, the Arab Lakhmid-Mundhirites. Al Mundhir ibn al-Harith II (590) managed to burn the Lakhmid capital. The Byzantines. however, remained on their guard against the Ghassanids who became influential and supported the adherents of Monophystism. This may explain why the Byzantine governor in Syria extended an invitation to the Ghassantd King and his sons to attend the dedication of the Huwarin Church in 582, while attending the function, the Gassanid King was arrested and sent with his wife and children into exile to Constantinople and then to Sicily. Al-Numan ibn al-Mundhir was also arrested by a similar device and was sent to Constantinople at a time when the Sasanid danger died out. A civil war broke out in Persia and Chosroes had to effect a reconciliation with Maurice, the Byzantine Emperor, but Chosroes II swept over the country (A.D. 608) carrying destruction wherever he passed. At that time Meraclius headed for Constantinople where he was crowned there in 611.

The Sasanids had ruled al-Hirah after the death of King al-Nu'man . The Arabs rose against them and against their hireling lyas ibn Qubais (602 - 611) and achieved their best victory over the Sasanids at the famous battle of Dhi Qar. The Sasanid Commander Shahr Baraz headed for Central Syria in 613; captured Apamea and destroyed it. He also attacked Antioch and could capture Damascus itself and to march on towards Jerusalem which he conquered and put a garrison there. The citizens wiped out this garrison, an act which provoked Shahr Baraz who returned and killed the people of Jerusalem and drove its patricians into exile.

From 556 A.D. the Byzantine Empire became very weak because of the spread of disease, the excessive taxed and he earthquakes. The citizens were desperate to the extent that they considered these misfortunate a signal for the approaching end of life in this world.

To add fuel to the fire. Chosroes had sent Heraclius a letter worded in vainly, pride and insolence. The Emperor swore to march to the battlefield at the head of his troops. In revenge for the insults, Heraclius overturned the altars of the fire- worshippers at the capital of Media and the city of Zoroaster.

The attention, however was then shifted towards the two Byzantine and Sasanid capitals. The question being asked at that time was: " Who will be the master of the East?" Until then, no one expected that the disputing Arab tribes will be unified by the Call of Muhammad to the faith of the great Creator. His sacred books and His messengers at a time in which dissatisfaction reached an extent that made the people consider the acts of the Sasanids as those of highway men. The Syrians found the power of their next of kin in the Arabian Peninsula a salvation from foreign oppression. When the Arab army met the Byzantines’, the former appeared very strong and seeking martyrdom for its belief, while the Byzantine array fought indifferently and without any enthusiasm. The Syrian Arabs were given assistance from the Syrian brothers and as such the Arabs under Abu Ubaidah and by the assistance of the Syrians who resented the Byzantine rule, were able to liberate Bosra. The Byzantines failed to recover that city in the batt1e of Ajnadeen which made Heraclius feel dispaired and later on he sent all the legions to the East to fight but all his efforts were of no avail. The Byzantines attempted to resist at Damascus, but the natives who were distressed of the Byzantine rule helped the Arab brothers to enter the city in 635. They also helped them in the liberation of Homs, Hama ,Ba’albak . Heraclius had to withdraw for good from Syria and to bid her fare-well in proverbial words. And from that time on a new Arab era started making Syria the starting point for the liberation of Iraq from the Sasanids and for the spread of a Muslim Arab civilization .

12- Garden of the Museum: contains large-sized sculptures. Prominent 
The lion of Latakia, some Sarcophaguses, mosaics and statues.

In the garden of the Museum amongst the flowers, trees and long paths, the antiquities of considerable dimensions , are displayed. Here the beauty of nature is in harmony with the beauty of the creative works of man. The garden looks as If it were a museum in the open air.

There are steles, doors, windows, mosaics, capitals, sarcophaguses, statues of Palmyrene style and other statues of considerable dimensions made of basalt. 

Big sand-stone statue depicting a lion opening
 its mouth as if she were roaring. It stands on its front limbs,
between them, appears a head of a bull which is all that remained of its prey.
Found at Latakia .

Sand-stone Roman sarcophagus

 

 

Sand-stone of Palmyrene style

 

 
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