Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography/Antilibanus

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ANTILI´BANUS (Ἀντιλίβανος: Jebel esh-Shŭrki), the eastern of the two great parallel ridges of mountains which enclose the valley of Coele-Syria Proper. (Strab. xvi. p. 754; Ptol. v. 15. § 8; Plin. v. 20.) The Hebrew name of Lebanon (Λίβανος, LXX.), which has been adopted in Europe, and signifies " white," from the white-grey colours of the limestone, comprehends the two ranges of Libanus and Antilibanus. The general direction of Antilibanus is from NE. by SW. Nearly opposite to Damascus it bifurcates into diverging ridges; the easternmost of the two, the Hermon of the Old Testament (Jebel esh-Sheikh), continues its SW. course, and is the proper prolongation of Antilibanus, and attains, in its highest elevation, to the point of about 10,000 feet from the sea. The other ridge takes a more westerly course, is long and low, and at length unites with the other bluffs and spurs of Libanus. The E. branch was called by the Sidonians Sirion, and by the Amorites Shenir (Deut. iii. 9), both names signifying a coat of mail. (Rosenmüller, Alterth. vol. ii. p. 235.) In Deut. (iv. 9) it is called Mt. Sion, "an elevation." In the later books (1 Chron. v. 23; Sol. Song, iv. 8) Shenir is distinguished from Hermon, properly so called. The latter name in the Arabic form, Sŭnîr, was applied in the middle ages to Antilibanus, north of Hermon. (Abulf. Tab. Syr. p. 164.) The geology of the district has not been thoroughly investigated; the formations seem to belong to the upper Jura formation, oolite, and Jura dolomite; the poplar is characteristic of its vegetation. The outlying promontories, in common with those of Libanus, supplied the Phoenicians with abundance of timber for ship-building. (Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. iii. p. 358; Ritter, Erdkunde, vol. ii. p. 434; Raumer, Palästina, pp. 29—35; Burkhardt, Travels in Syria ; Robinson's Researches, vol. iii. pp. 344, 345.) [ E. B. J. ]