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Syria, Arwad / Ruad (Arados, Phoenicia)
Arwad, an island about 800 m long by 500 m wide, about 50 km north of Tripolis, was settled in the early 2nd millennium B.C. by the Phoenicians. Ancient Arados was an important trading city surrounded by a massive wall and an artificial harbor on the east side toward the mainland. Its powerful navy and ships are mentioned in the monuments of Egypt and Assyria. In the Bible, an "Arvad" is noted as the forefather of the "Arvadites," a Canaanite people. Arados ruled some neighboring cities on the mainland, such as Marat (present-day Amrit) and Sumur, the former nearly opposite the island and the latter some kilometers to the south and held hegemony over the northern Phoenician cities from the mouth of the Orontes to the northern limits of Lebanon, something like that of Sidon in the south. Under the Persians, Arwad was allowed to unite in a confederation with Sidon and Tyre, with a common council at Tripolis. When Alexander the Great invaded Syria in 332 B.C., Arados submitted without a struggle under her king Strato, who sent his navy to aid Alexander in the reduction of Tyre. The city received the favor of the Seleucid kings of Syria and enjoyed the right of asylum for political refugees. It is mentioned in a rescript from Rome about 138 B.C. in connection with other cities and rulers of the East, to show favor to the Jews. This was after Rome had begun to interfere in the affairs of Judea and Syria and indicates that Arwad was still of considerable importance at that time.

Photo by NASA.
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