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Lady of Byblos

The most important temple in Byblos is the temple of Baalat-Gebal or the Lady of Byblos, the goddess who was to preside over the city for over two millennia. Constructed when Byblos had close ties with Egypt, this large and important temple was rebuilt a number of times, remaining in use until the Roman period when it was replaced by a Roman style structure.

The Goddess Baalat-Gebal with the sun disc on the head was represented on cylindrical seals found in Byblos and in Egypt.

A photo of a stela found at Byblos of the King presenting a libation in a bowl to "the Lady of Byblos."

"I am Yehaw-melek, king of Byblos, the son of Yehar-ba'l, the grandson of Urimelek, king of Byblos, whom the mistress, the Lady of Byblos, made king over Byblos...I have made for my mistress, the Lady of Byblos, this altar of bronze...

...May the Lady of Byblos bless and preserve Yehaw-melek, king of Byblos, and prolong his days and years in Byblos, for he is a righteous king."

The system of gods and goddesses in Phoenician religion was influenced by, and has influenced other cultures. As indicated below, there are too many similarities to be overlooked. In some instances the names of gods underwent very little change when they were borrowed. Even the legends maintained major similarities. For example, Astarte in Phoenician and Aphrodite in Greek or Adonis in both. Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian and others had their influences on the Phoenician faith system and borrowed from it.

The Phoenicians worshipped a triad of deities, each having different names and attributes depending upon the city in which they were worshipped, although their basic nature remained the same. The primary god was El, protector of the universe, but often called Baal. The son, Baal or Melqart, symbolized the annual cycle of vegetation and was associated with the female deity Astarte in her role as the maternal goddess.

She was called Asherar-yam, our lady of the sea, and in Byblos she was Baalat, the lady of Byblos.


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