History of Saida

Saida– with its neighbor Tire – is considered the two most powerful cities among all the Canaanite cities, and it flourished since the Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC in the Middle East) and became one of the most important cities in the eastern Mediterranean. And set off most of the Canaanite ships that were wandering from Sidon from the city of Sidon. This sea and the culture and civilization of the Canaanites spread throughout it, and was famous – in particular – for the manufacture of purple dye, she and Tire. This color became so rare and expensive that it became a sign of royal power in many ancient countries. Later, the conditions of the city deteriorated due to its frequent conquest. Its star fell after the conquest of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC. It was then annexed (like all Canaanite cities that are eroding) to the Roman Empire, then was conquered by the Muslim Arabs and remained part of the Islamic countries until it became the scene of conflict in the Crusades. Even if it did not regain its position after antiquity.

Some historians believe that Sidon was the oldest of all the Canaanite cities, and they differ in the exact date of its establishment and reconstruction, as some of them specify it in 2800 BC. M, but the most correct for them is that it was populated in 2500 BC, and UNESCO placed it in seventh place in its list of the ten oldest Cities in the world with an estimated founding date in 4000 BC. Sidon is one of the oldest cities of the Canaanites, or as the Phoenician Greeks called them. Sidon witnessed a period of prosperity and brilliance for more than one thousand two hundred years before it began to decline around the fifteenth century BC.

In the eleventh century BC (starting from 1094 BC), the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser I was able to occupy the island of Arwad and impose tribute on Byblos and Sidon. Tire, Sidon, and Byblos in 876 BC. He imposed the tribute on these cities, and obligated them to provide precious metals, textiles, wood, ivory and others to Assyria. Then the Assyrians renewed their invasion of the Canaanite cities during the reign of Shalmaneser III, who imposed the tribute on Tyre and Sidon in 842 BC. M, and the two cities continued By paying it in the later reigns of the kings of Assyria, and even forcing them with Acre during the reign of Shalmaneser V to allocate a fleet of eight hundred boats to tighten the naval siege on the other Canaanite cities.

After the death of Alexander the Macedonian, the Greek leader “Lamidon” took over the rule of Syria and the Canaanite cities, but the ruler of Egypt “Ptolemy II” coveted the legacy of the Canaanite coast, and was quick to control it, so Sidon became part of the Ptolemaic state, and Ptolemy’s rule lasted only five years until the ruler of Asia The lesser “Antigonas” from the conquest of the country of Canaan and Sidon became its center. Then Ptolemy returned and took control of the Canaanite cities again, except for Sidon, which continued its loyalty to Antigonas until he died, and it returned under the jurisdiction of Ptolemy. Sidon remained unstable because of the long sparring wars between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids over the possession of Canaan, but – nevertheless – its presence remained at the head of the Canaanite cities. Antiochus III defeated the Ptolemies in the decisive battle of Panium (200 BC. M), and extended his control over the entire land of Canaan to Gaza, and when the Seleucid state (312-64 BC) began to collapse, the Canaanite cities took the initiative to become independent from it, and Sidon became independent in 111 BC M, however, its independence did not last long, as the Romans quickly attached it to the Roman province called Syria Phoenicia, with its capital Antioch in 64 BC. Sidon and the Canaanite cities witnessed economic prosperity during the Roman era. The Canaanites were well versed in how to benefit from the vast empire, especially the Roman peace period (27 BC-180 AD) to expand their trade, consolidate their culture, and maintain their distinction as masters of international trade in the Mediterranean under the Romans Sidon continued to be autonomous, partially independent of Roman rule, although the matter was not without some vicissitudes, as did Augustus (20 BC) when he wrested their independence from Tire and Sidon. In the year 203 AD, Emperor Septimius Severus granted Sidon the title of a colony, one of the highest titles in the empire granted to a non-Roman city. When Zenobia (r. 267-273), the queen of Palmyra, took advantage of the deterioration of Roman affairs, and began expanding her authority in the Levant, Egypt and Asia Minor, she entered Sidon under the rule of the Kingdom of Palmyra between the years 269 and 273 AD, but the defeat of her army after that before the Roman Emperor Aurelian (r. 270 – 275) He returned the city to Roman dependence again.

Sidon was conquered – probably in 13 AH / 636 AD – by Yazid bin Abi Sufyan after the conquest of Damascus in a number of cities, including Beirut, Irqa (in Akkar) and Jbeil, and still one of the hills overlooking the old city – in “Baqsta” – is named after the companion Sharhabeel bin Hasna was one of the leaders of the conquest armies to the Levant, and the coastal cities were outposts in which Muslim armies were stationed to ward off Roman raids. Then the Romans prevailed on some of those coasts at the end of the caliphate of Umar, so Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, expelled them, repaired them, and shipped them with combat. In the second Hijri century, the city had a bishop called “Paul of Antioch” (d. 154 AH / 770 AD) who had books on theology, which indicates the presence of a Christian community in it, and that its livelihood was stable and secure socially, religiously and economically. One of the prominent figures in that period is attributed to her “Hisham al-Jrashi al-Sidawi” (d. 156 AH), one of the imams of hadith, with a narration on the authority of Makhul, Nafi’, Ibn al-Mubarak and Waki’, and “Ibn Jum’i al-Ghasani” (305-402 AH), al-Hafiz al-Sidawi, one of the trustworthy imams, who left in the search for hadith To Egypt, Iraq, the island and Persia, and he died in Sidon. It was alternated by the hands of the countries that passed through the Levant, including the Fatimids, who are attributed to them building the wild fortress located on a hill southeast of the old city and known as “Al-Mu’izz Castle” after Al-Muizz Lidin Allah Al-Fatimid (ruled 341-365 AH / 952-975 AD).

The year 492 AH/1099 passed by the Crusaders on their way to Jaffa during the First Crusade; So its garrison led them and quarreled with them, so it was that Duqaq ibn Tatish (r. 1095-1104), the Seljuk ruler of Damascus, supported the state, Abu al-Mahasin al-Arslany in the year 494 AH/1100, over Beirut and Sidon together to confront the Franks at Nahr al-Kalb and assigned him to fortify them. And in the year 499 AH / 1106 its inhabitants paid the Crusaders on their behalf for a ransom, and in the year 502 AH / 1109 after the occupation of Tripoli, Bagdwin (Baldwin) I (ruled 1099-1118), the king of Jerusalem, was forced to lift the siege on it after the Fatimid fleet and the Turkmen soldiers rescued it from Damascus, but – after the fall of Beirut The year 1110 AD – The siege was tightened on it by land and sea with the help of the Count of Tripoli and the Genoese fleet, and it handed a peace treaty after forty-seven days of siege despite the attempts of the Fatimid fleet to rescue it. However, he returned after a short period and imposed on them 20 thousand dinars, despite the terms of the reconciliation. And granted it to one of the Crusader Knights’ Fraternities. In the year 543 AH / 1149 and during the second Crusade, the forces of Sidon and Tyre participated in the raid on Damascus, and in the year 546 AH / 1152 AD, Jaffa, Acre, Sidon, Beirut and Tripoli were subjected to a violent raid by a Fatimid fleet of seventy ships, in which many were killed and ships were burned.

The Crusaders’ raids on Sidon did not stop after their departure in order to rob or capture for ransom. The threat of the Crusaders in the eastern Mediterranean embodied that period in the Latin Lusignan Kingdom in Cyprus (which lasted from 1192-1489), the Knights of Rhodes, and in Genoese and their struggle for commercial influence with the Venetians, in addition to some European adventurers such as the Catalans (Aragonese). And in the year 706 AH/1306 CE, the Franks came to Sidon and engaged in a lot of killing, capturing and looting there. The captives, and the dead of the Franks amounted to thirty-five, who were sent with their heads to Damascus and hung over its castle. And the matter was repeated in the year 756 AH / 1355 when the people performed a glorious calamity and destroyed a Frankish boat, then the prisoners were redeemed, and in the following year the same scene was repeated. The reign of Peter I of Cyprus (reigned between 58-1369) witnessed severe tension, as he had an aggressive policy before the Muslims, which culminated in his crusade against Alexandria (6-10/10/1365), which caused the most heinous destruction it witnessed throughout its history. In the year 365 AH / 1363, three Cypriot ships arrived with seventy-six men, women and boys whose families had been in a raid on Abu Qir, so the people of Sidon ransomed them and sent them to their country. In the year 369 AH/1367 CE, a Cypriot sea captain attacked Sarafand (15 km south of Sidon) with three ships. He did not capture any prisoners except three women and ten children. At the end of that year, Jean de Merf, brother of Peter I, attacked Sidon, Batroun, Antartous, and Lattakia in four ships. In the following year (770 AH/1368) another raid took place, which did not result in anything significant. And in the year 784 AH / 1382 the Genoese attacked and occupied the country and wreaked havoc, then they seized some boats before they withdrew. And in the year 816 AH / 1413 AD, the Cypriots attacked Damour, halfway between Beirut and Sidon, then entered the two cities. Prince of the West with their forces, and the two groups met in Sidon, and seventy Cypriots were killed before the rest fled. And in the year 843 AH / 1439 AH a battle took place in which a number of Muslims from Damietta were killed and captured, including merchants and sailors who were in Sidon in the process of trading, and the Franks robbed three ships from the port.

After the entry of the Ottomans (1516 AD), Sidon became one of the ten sanjaks of the Eyalet of Damascus. The developments of life were slow in the cloud of the sixteenth century, in which the country withered and became more like a quiet village. When Sundis (10-1611) visited it, it seemed to be a poor city, until Fakhr al-Din al-Ma’ani, the second governor of the Chouf Emirate, annexed it and made it his metropolis (1594 AD) and was approved by the governor of the Levant in 1009 AH. 1600, and then witnessed in his second term (18-1633) an explicit revival as he encouraged agriculture there, sericulture, silk industry, oil, glass, soap, dyeing and trade. He attracted merchants from the Italian states, Holland, England, and especially France. These countries appointed consuls in Sidon, and they requested that An urban renaissance, so he built khans such as Khan al-Afrang or Khan al-Mir (1620 AD) and Khan al-Riz, and bathrooms like Hammam al-Mir (Barani pigeons). And he built a bridge on both the Awali and Siniq rivers and a network of roads to improve transportation, and the new wealth was accompanied by the increase in population and the construction of palaces and houses. The ships were anchored in front of Al-Zeera, and the sources are unanimously agreed that Sidon shrank to an overall diminutive after him.

About Saida

Sidon, known locally as Sayda or Saida (Arabic: صيدا‎), is the sixth-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate, of which it is the capital, on the Mediterranean coast.Tyre to the south and Lebanese capital Beirut to the north are both about 40 kilometres (25 miles) away.

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