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active and profitable intercourse long maintained with India by the great mercantile cities of the Syrian coast . Long subjected, in common with the adjacent countries, to Roman dominion, it was the station of a garrison in the reign of Augustus. After the age of Constantine, these noble structures were probably consigned to neglect and decay, unless, indeed, as the appearance of the most perfect seems to prove, they were then consecrated to Christian worship. Oriental writers represent Balbec as a place 01 importance at the period of the first Arab invasion. They describe it as being then one of the most splendid cities in Syria, enriched with stately palaces, adorned with monuments of antiquity, and abounding with trees, fountains, and whatever contributes to luxurious enjoyment . On the advance of the Moslems, it was reported to the emperor Heraclius as protected by a citadel of great strength, and capable of sustaining a siege. After the capture of Damascus, it was regularly invested, and, containing an overflowing population amply supplied with provisions and military stores, it made a courageous defence, but at length capitulated. Its protracted commercial importance is proved by the capture, during the siege, of a caravan consisting of four hundred loads of silk, sugar, and other valuable merchandise, and by the ransom which was exacted, at the taking of the town, of two thousand ounces of gold and four thousand of silver, two thousand silk vests, and the delivery of a thousand swords besides the arms of the garrison. As some compensation for this disaster, it afterwards became the mart of the rich pillage of Syria. But its prosperity was transient, for in A. D. 748, it was sacked and dismantled by the khaliff of Damascus, and the principal inhabitants put to the sword. During the crusades, incapable of making resistance, it seems to have quietly submitted to the strongest. In the year 1400, it was pillaged by Timour the Tartar, in his progress to Damascus, after he had taken Aleppo; and was afterwards in the possession of the Mootualies, a barbarous predatory tribe, nearly exterminated when Djezzar Pasha permanently subjected the whole district to Turkish supremacy. There are no remains or vestiges of an ancient cemetery or burial-place of Balbec; there are no caves or sepulchres in the rocks and hills, where the ancient people might have slept; no tumuli in the plain: every relic or monument of the pride and wealth of its inhabitants seems to have vanished: the Liettani, in its quiet course through the plain and the ruins, bathes no solitary grave; no forsaken tomb, whose ashes were scattered long ago, echoes its murmurs. The magnates, the captains, and the sages of the city, perished without a memorial either from the historian or the sculptor. So little is known of the ancient Balbec, that it rather seems one of those cities of the Arabian tales, than a place for centuries of actual wealth, importance, and luxury. Perhaps it is best that it should be thus, as if it was destined that the noble ruins should alone tell the tale. Could any other tale be so impressive—could any monument of the dead be so mournful? But is it not beautiful—amidst the quick passing of generations, the fall of so many things holy and great, so many things intended for eternity—to be able to lean against one of these pillars, and think that the years are not always as a tale that is told, the life is not always vanity, that can leave such relics behind? When shall these temples pass away? when shall their sun go down?

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