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Sidon
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Sidon

Sidon, sometimes spelt Zidon, and known to its inhabitants as Saida, is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles north of Tyre and 30 miles south of the capital Beirut. Its name means a fishery. It was one of the most important Phoenician cities.

On December 4, 1110 Sidon was sacked in the First Crusade. It became the centre of the Lordship of Sidon, an important seigneury in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

In 1900 it was a town of 10,000 inhabitants, but in 2000 its population was around 200,000. It contains the remains of walls built in the 12th century CE. In 1855, the sarcophagus of King Eshmun’azar II was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians," probably in the 5th century BCE, and that his mother was a priestess of ‘Ashtart;, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this inscription the gods Eshmun and Ba‘al; Sidon 'Lord of Sidon' (who may or may not be the same) are mentioned as chief gods of the Sidonians. ‘Ashtart is entitled ‘Ashtart-Shem-Ba‘al '‘Ashtart the name of the Lord', a title also found in an Ugaritic text.

Sanchuniathon makes Sidon a goddess, daughter of Sea son of Nereus.

The Bible describes Sidon at various places:

This entry incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernization.

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