Byblos: The Phoenician City State


This article will discuss the Ancient Phoenician port city of Byblos(Gebal). Also known as a Phoenician city-state. Byblos played a significant role in creating the history and myths surrounding the ancient seafarers and traders we today call the Phoenicians.


Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in the Levant, known today as Lebanon and sections of Israel. However, it should be noted there is no historical record of the Phoenicians referring to themselves as Phoenicians.

Many different Empires conquered Phoenicia. The invasions started around the 8th century BCE with the Assyrians, then the Persians, then Alexander the Great, and many more.

Each conquering entity seemed to let the various vassal Phoenician kingdoms rule themselves to one degree or another.


Byblos Founding

It is believed humans first inhabited Byblos between 8800 and 7000 BCE. Then continuously inhabited the area from 5000 BCE up until the modern age. It had a few different names based on the various languages in the area. For example, in ancient Hebrew, it was known as Gebal.

Byblos was the dominant Phoenician city-state from 2500 BCE to 1000 BCE. Due to its location, it became one of the essential Phoenician Port cities. This was likely due to Byblo’s (Gebal) consistent trade with Egypt. The other City-states would focus on trading with others, such as Tyre and Jerusalem.



Byblos was the fourth of four Phoenician vassal kingdoms established by the Persians and is located 20 km north of modern Beirut. The three other vassal kingdoms were SidonTyre, and Arwad.

Although the information we have on the Phoenicians and Byblos is limited, we know some of the names of the kings of Byblos. Including, Elpaal, Azbaal, Adramelek, and Ainel.

Byblos is a popular tourist site in modern-day Lebanon, with many modern and historical sites.

phoenician port city state byblos
The old medieval pedestrian souk in Byblos, Lebanon during the day. A view of the little shops and streets paved with little stones.

Byblos Coin Minting

It’s thought that the first coins minted in Byblos started around the 6th century BCE during Persian rule. Coin minting was one of the things that remained consistent regardless of who was ruling over the Phoenicians.

Byblos coins often show the murex, a shell collected from the local area. This shell had brought great wealth to Tyre (and, by extension, other city-states).

The shell of the Murex was used in the production of purple dye. Purple was extremely rare and desired in trade by many Kings throughout the ancient world.


Collecting Byblos Coinage

Each coin has a unique history attached to it. Coin collectors love the Phoenician coins. Click the link below to see if we have any Phoenician coins in stock.

Galley carrying three hoplites left, waves and hippocamp below

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

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