243 BABYLONIA- THE COUNTRY.
discovery and in war. The cities of Phoenicia grew rich. They were the arbiters of the
deep. Government flourished. The court was one of the most splendid in the East. Tyre and
Sidon became first known and then famous as far as the knowledge of man extended. by
communication in the earth; insomuch that the insignificant strip of territory in which
they were situated possessed a greater importance in the destinies of the ancient world
than did whole kingdoms which were given up to torpor and inaction.
Next in interest and influence among the outlying provinces of Babylonia was DAMASCUS.
This country lay east of the range of Antilibanus, and owed its fertility and in some
sense its existence, to the two rivers Awaaj and Barada, by which it was chiefly watered.
The moisture thus diffused in an otherwise arid region produces exuberant vegetation and a
stalwart forest growth of poplar, cypress, and walnut. Wheat and barley grow in the
fields; apricots, oranges, pomegranates, and olives, in orchards. In this fruitful circle
of more than thirty miles in extent lies the city of Damascus, which for beauty of
situation and construction has been for centuries the most attractive of oriental cities.
In its full extent PALESTINE, the Holy Land of the Hebrews, embraced an area of
PHOENICIAN SCENE AT COURT Drawn by P. Philippoteaux
dred and forty miles, the breadth varying from seventy to one hundred miles. The
fundamental fact of Palestine was the Jordan, which traverses a rocky valley from