JEBEIL (anc. Gebal- Byblus), a town of Syria pleasantly situated on a slight eminence near the sea, about 20 m. N. of Beirut. It is surrounded by a wall if m. in circumference, with square towers at the angles, and a castle at the south-east corner. Numerous broken granite columns in the gardens and vineyards that surround the town, with the number of ruined houses within the walls, testify to its former importance. The stele of Jehawmelek, king of Gebal, found here, is one of the most important of Phoenician monuments. The small port is almost choked up with sand and ruins. Pop. 3000, all Moslems.
The inhabitants of the Phoenician Gebal and Greek Byblus were renowned as stonecutters and ship-builders. Arrian (ii. 20. i ) represents Enylus, king of Byblus, as joining Alexander with a fleet, after that monarch had captured the city. Philo of Byblus makes it the most ancient city of Phoenicia, founded by Cronus, i.e. the Moloch who appears from the stele of Jehawmelek to have been with Baalit the chief deity of the city. According to Plutarch (Mor. 357), the ark with the corpse of Osiris was cast ashore at Byblus, and there found by Isis. The orgies of Adonis in the temple of Baalit (Aphrodite Byblia) are described by Lucian, De Dea Syr., cap. vi. The river Adonis is the Nahr alIbrahim, which flows near the town. The crusaders, after failing before it in 1099, captured " Giblet " in 1103, but lost it again to Saladin in 1189. Under Mahommedan rule it has gradually decayed. (D. G. H.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)