Roman Berytus: Beirut in Late Antiquity

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You may wish to learn about what went on at an ordinary bath establishment of Rome in the words of Seneca. Archaeological site of the Roman Forum between Place de l'Etoile and Place des Martyrs In the s parts of the Roman Forum were uncovered in the city centre and subsequent excavations unearthed also a colonnaded cardo south-north street. The earthquake which struck Berytus in added its devastating effects to those of a plague which is thought to have killed a quarter of the population in the Eastern Mediterranean countries in the s and even more at Constantinople.

Berytus was not abandoned, but the inhabitants who survived these disasters did not have the resources to rebuild the monuments of the town. Columns and lintel opposite the National Museum of Beirut The columns and the fine frieze above them were part of a basilica in the Roman Forum.

They have been reconstructed opposite the National Museum of Beirut. During the Civil War the museum was on the demarcation line between Christian and Muslim militias. The building and many of its exhibits suffered extensive damage, yet the bulk of the collections was saved thanks to the action of the museum directors. The museum was reopened in It is very well arranged and it does not have the spectacular light effects which characterize some contemporary redesigns of historical museums and do not permit a proper examination of the exhibits e.

John Baptist: view of the apse and of its windows in which some ancient stones were used This town was taken from the Saracens by Baldwin, king of Jerusalem , after a vigorous siege; in one thousand one hundred and eleven, and was retaken by Salladine in one thousand one hundred and eighty seven; it was afterwards often taken and retaken during the holy war.

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In the middle of the city there is a large well built mosque, supported by Gothic pillars, which was formerly a church dedicated to St. The building is dated , with some XIVth century Mameluke additions, but there is evidence that it replaced a previous mosque which in turn was obtained from the transformation of a Byzantine church. The mosque is dedicated to Omar, the second Caliph and a companion of Prophet Muhammad.

George: copy of a mosaic of an early Christian church which was found beneath the current one in ; right column with Latin inscription outside the church At half-past four I strolled out and looked at the Greek church, which is the largest I have yet seen in the country, being about feet long, and 70 high.

Roman Berytus: Beirut in Late Antiquity

It is very handsomely adorned with gildings and a marble mosaic pavement. Turner The cathedral was largely modified in It was shelled during the Civil War. Excavations made during its reconstruction unearthed a number of artifacts of previous buildings. Ruin of a castle of the Crusaders which stood near the old harbour The old port is a little bay, and was well secured by strong piers, which were destroyed by Fackerdine Emir of Lebanon in Pococke At day-light we saw the extreme coast of the Mediterranean, and at half past nine, to my great delight, anchored in the bay of Barout.

At a quarter before ten a small boat came off to us from the shore, into which I jumped, leaving my servant on board with the baggage, till the wind, which still blew very high, should calm. As the town stands in a large bay, at the northern extremity of which ships are forced to anchor in a high wind, we had two miles to accomplish in our little boat, into which part of every wave entered.

Ancient texts reveal the names and deeds of some of the most notable law professors at the Beirut school. The scarce sources include historical accounts, juridic works, anthologies, ancient correspondences and funerary inscriptions. Antioch -based rhetoric teacher Libanius wrote many letters of correspondence to Domninus the Elder, a 4th-century law school professor.

In , Libanius invited Domninus to leave Beirut and teach with him at the rhetoric school of Antioch.

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Domninus apparently declined the offer, since later correspondence to him from Libanius, between and , served as recommendations for law school candidates. During this period, a succession of seven highly esteemed law masters was largely responsible for the revival of legal education in the Eastern Roman Empire. Cyrillus was the founder of the ecumenical school of jurists.

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Styled "the great" due to his reputation as a teacher, he was known for his direct use of ancient sources of law and for interpreting jurists such as Ulpian and Papinian. Cyrillus wrote a precise treatise on definitions that supplied the materials for many important scholia appended to the first and second titles of the eleventh book of the Basilica. Archaeological excavations done in Beirut at the turn of the 20th century revealed a funerary monument believed to have belonged to Patricius.

He was raised to the office of Praetorian prefect of the East under Emperor Anastasius I between and , and became Magister militum in Leontius was also involved as a commissioner in the preparation of the first codex of Justinian. Historical sources also tell of Euxenius, a teacher at the Beirut law school who taught during the times of the "Ecumenical Masters". Euxenius was the brother of the city's bishop Eustathius and was involved in the religious controversy caused by Timothy Aelurus , which opposed the Miaphysites to the followers of the Council of Chalcedon.

The first two were summoned to the imperial court and commissioned to draft the Digesta. Under the supervision of Tribonian , Dorotheus also collaborated with Theophilus, a Constantinopolitan law teacher, in drafting the Institutiones. Under Justinian, there were eight teachers in the law schools of the Byzantine Empire , presumably four in each of Beirut and Constantinople's schools.

While most of the law school's students are not remembered by history, ancient historians and sources recount the stories of some of those who were deemed notable and achieved fame. According to Eusebius of Caesarea , Pamphilus of Caesarea was born into a rich family in Beirut in the latter half of the 3rd century and attended its law school.

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Pamphilus later became the presbyter of Caesarea Maritima and the founder of its extensive Christian library. Eusebius also tells of martyred brothers Aphian and Aedesius , born to a noble Lycian family. They converted to Christianity while studying law in Beirut and were persecuted and executed for their beliefs. Fourth-century historian Eunapius wrote of Anatolius , a high-ranking Roman official known to his enemies as Azutrio.

Anatolius occupied the offices of consul of Syria, vicarius of the Diocese of Asia , proconsul of Constantinople, urban prefect of Constantinople in , and Praetorian prefect of Illyricum until his death in In his account of Anatolius, Eunapius summarized: "He reached the summit of the science of law. Nothing about this is surprising because Beirut, his homeland, is the mother and nurse of these studies". Triphyllius received juridic training in Beirut and was criticized by his teacher Saint Spyridon for his atticism and for using legal vocabulary instead of that of the Bible.

Zacharias Rhetor studied law at Beirut between and , then worked as a lawyer in Constantinople until his imperial contacts won him the appointment as bishop of Mytilene. Among Rhetor's works is the biography of Severus , the last miaphysite patriarch of Antioch and one of the founders of the Syriac Orthodox Church , who had also been a law student in Beirut as of Historically, Roman stationes or auditoria , where teaching was done, stood next to public libraries housed in temples. This arrangement was copied in the Roman colony at Beirut.

The first mention of the school's premises dates to , [60] but the description does not specify its location. In the 5th century, Zacharias Rhetor reported that the school stood next to the "Temple of God", the description of which permitted its identification with the Byzantine Anastasis cathedral.

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At the turn of the 20th century, archaeological excavations in the souq between the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral and Saint George Cathedral of the Maronites unearthed a funerary stele etched with an epitaph to a man named Patricius, "whose career was consecrated for the study of law". The law school of Beirut supplied the Roman Empire, especially its eastern provinces, with lawyers and magistrates for three centuries until the school's destruction.

The influx of students was abundant and persistent because of the affluence, honor and secured employment offered by the profession. The edict ordered that candidates for the bar of the Eastern praetorian prefecture had to produce certificates of proficiency from the law teachers who instructed them at one of the recognized law schools of the Empire.

The in-depth studies of the juridic classical works in Beirut, and later in Constantinople, conferred an unprecedented scientific dimension to jurisprudence; this academic movement gave rise to the minds behind Justinian's juridic reforms. As a result of the new understanding of the classical juridic texts, the imperial laws of the late 5th and early 6th centuries were clearer and more coherent than those of the early Postclassical Era , according to legal historian George Mousourakis and other scholars.

These three works which we have composed we desire should be put in their hands in royal cities as well as in the most fair city of Berytus, which may well be styled the nursing mother of law, as indeed previous Emperors have commanded, but in no other places which did not enjoy the same privilege in old times, as we have heard that even in the brilliant city of Alexandria, and in Caesarea and others, there have been ignorant men who, instead of doing their duty, conveyed spurious lessons to their pupils, and such as these we desire to make desist from that attempt by laying down the above limits, so that, if they should hereafter be guilty of such conduct and carry on their duties outside the royal cities and the metropolis Berytus, they may be punished by a fine of ten pounds of gold and be expelled from the city in which instead of teaching the law they transgress the law.

From the 3rd century, the school tolerated Christian teachings, producing a number of students who would become influential church leaders and bishops, such as Pamphilus of Caesarea , Severus of Antioch and Aphian. Every new judicial decision was founded on archived legal precedents and earlier deliberations.

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The edict repositories and the imperially sponsored legal scholarship gave rise to the earliest law school system of the Western world , aimed specifically at training professional jurists. During the reign of Augustus, Beirut was established under the name Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus [a] [2] and granted the status of Ius Italicum as a colony for Battle of Actium veterans from the fifth Macedonian and the third Gallic legions.

It was chosen as a regional center instead of the more prominent Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon , which had a history of belligerence against Rome. Beirut was first mentioned in writing as a major center for the study of law in the works of Gregory Thaumaturgus , the bishop of Neo-Caesarea.

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Theodor Mommsen linked the establishment of the law school in Beirut with the need for jurists, since the city was chosen to serve as a repository for Roman imperial edicts concerning the eastern provinces. After arriving in Beirut, these were translated into Greek , published and archived. This function was first recorded in AD, the date of the earliest constitutions contained in the Gregorian Codex , but the city is thought to have served as a repository since earlier times. The 3rd-century emperors Diocletian and Maximian issued constitutions exempting the students of the law school of Beirut from compulsory service in their hometowns.

Roman Bath Ruins Vestiges in Downtown Beirut Lebanon

On July 9, , the Phoenician coastal cities were devastated by a high-magnitude earthquake. In Beirut the earthquake was followed by a tsunami and a fire that obliterated the city. In the aftermath, 30, people lost their lives, including many students from abroad. Justinian allocated funds to rebuild Beirut, and the law school was temporarily moved to the southern Phoenician city of Sidon , pending reconstruction; the best teachers, however, moved to Constantinople.

Misfortune hit Beirut again in AD when a massive fire ravaged the recovering city. The law school was not reopened, and all prospect for its return was abandoned with the Arab conquest in AD. The study course at the law school of Beirut was restricted to Roman law ; it did not cover the local laws of the province of Phoenicia. Potential students were expected to have undergone grammar, rhetoric and encyclopedic sciences studies.

Another prerequisite was the mastery of Greek and Latin, given that the classical legal references and imperial constitutions used in the teaching program were written in Latin. The aspirants could pursue their preparatory studies in public schools or have private tutors. Little is known about the Beirut law school's curriculum before the 5th century. The Scholia Sinaitica and the Scholia to the Basilica provide glimpses of the school's teaching method , comparable to the method of rhetoric schools at the time. The lecturer would discuss and analyze legal texts by adding his own comments, which included references to analogous passages from imperial constitutions or from the works of prominent classical Roman jurists, such as Ulpian.

He would then formulate the general legal principles and use these to resolve legal problems inspired from actual, practical cases. This method differed from the scheme of classical times in which the student had to master the law basics before engaging in case studies. Jurisprudence was taught in Latin, even in the law schools of the East, but toward the end of the fourth and the beginning of the 5th century, Latin was supplanted by Greek at Beirut, [17] [28] which was the long-established lingua franca of the eastern territories of the Roman Empire.

The Omnem constitution at the beginning of the Digest is the only source of information about the existing study system in the 5th century until the Justinian reforms of The old program was a four-year course to be completed before the age of The courses were based on the works of Gaius , Ulpian, Papinian and Paulus. Students attended lectures for three years and spent the fourth year in private study of Paulus' Responsa ; they had the option to stay for a fifth year to study imperial constitutions. The students of each year were distinguished by special nicknames: first year, Dupondii ; second, Edictales ; third, Papinianistae ; fourth, Lytae.

Justinian's Omnem constitution fixed the duration of the legal course in the schools of Beirut and Constantinople at five years.