Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock, composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. A related rock is dolostone, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolostone was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones. About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones; the solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes, in which water erodes the limestone over thousands to millions of years. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. Limestone has numerous uses: as a building material, an essential component of concrete, as aggregate for the base of roads, as white pigment or filler in products such as toothpaste or paints, as a chemical feedstock for the production of lime, as a soil conditioner, or as a popular decorative addition to rock gardens.
Like most other sedimentary rocks, most limestone is composed of grains. Most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as foraminifera; these organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite, leave these shells behind when they die. Other carbonate grains composing limestones are ooids, peloids and extraclasts. Limestone contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or siliceous skeletal fragment, varying amounts of clay and sand carried in by rivers; some limestones do not consist of grains, are formed by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite, i.e. travertine. Secondary calcite may be deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters; this produces speleothems, such as stalactites. Another form taken by calcite is oolitic limestone, which can be recognized by its granular appearance; the primary source of the calcite in limestone is most marine organisms. Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock building upon past generations. Below about 3,000 meters, water pressure and temperature conditions cause the dissolution of calcite to increase nonlinearly, so limestone does not form in deeper waters.
Limestones may form in lacustrine and evaporite depositional environments. Calcite can be dissolved or precipitated by groundwater, depending on several factors, including the water temperature, pH, dissolved ion concentrations. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubility, in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases. Impurities will cause limestones to exhibit different colors with weathered surfaces. Limestone may be crystalline, granular, or massive, depending on the method of formation. Crystals of calcite, dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock; when conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together, or it can fill fractures. Travertine is a banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution supersaturated with the chemical constituents of calcite.
Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls. Coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral or shells. During regional metamorphism that occurs during the mountain building process, limestone recrystallizes into marble. Limestone is a parent material of Mollisol soil group. Two major classification schemes, the Folk and the Dunham, are used for identifying the types of carbonate rocks collectively known as limestone. Robert L. Folk developed a classification system that places primary emphasis on the detailed composition of grains and interstitial material in carbonate rocks. Based on composition, there are three main components: allochems and cement; the Folk system uses two-part names. It is helpful to have a petrographic microscope when using the Folk scheme, because it is easier to determine the components present in each sample; the Dunham scheme focuses on depositional textures. Each name is based upon the texture of the grains. Robert J. Dunham published his system for limestone in 1962.
Dunham divides the rocks into four main groups based on relative proportions of coarser clastic particles. Dunham names are for rock families, his efforts deal with the question of whether or not the grains were in mutual contact, therefore self-supporting, or whether the rock is characterized by the presence of frame builders and algal mats. Unlike the Folk scheme, Dunham deals with the original porosity of the rock; the Dunham scheme is more useful for hand samples because it is based on texture, not the grains in the sample. A revised classification was proposed by Wright, it adds some diagenetic patterns and can be summarized as follows: See: Carbonate platform About 10% of all sedimentary rocks are limestones. Limestone is soluble in acid, therefore forms many erosional landforms; these include limestone pavements, pot holes, cenotes and gorges. Such erosion landscapes are known
Populus is a genus of 25–35 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar and cottonwood. In the September 2006 issue of Science Magazine, the Joint Genome Institute announced that the western balsam poplar was the first tree whose full DNA code had been determined by DNA sequencing; the genus has a large genetic diversity, can grow from 15–50 m tall, with trunks up to 2.5 m in diameter. The bark on young trees is smooth, white to greenish or dark grey, has conspicuous lenticels; the shoots are stout, with the terminal bud present. The leaves are spirally arranged, vary in shape from triangular to circular or lobed, with a long petiole. Leaf size is variable on a single tree with small leaves on side shoots, large leaves on strong-growing lead shoots; the leaves turn bright gold to yellow before they fall during autumn. The flowers are dioecious and appear in early spring before the leaves.
They are borne in long, sessile or pedunculate catkins produced from buds formed in the axils of the leaves of the previous year. The flowers are each seated in a cup-shaped disk, borne on the base of a scale, itself attached to the rachis of the catkin; the scales are obovate and fringed, hairy or smooth, caducous. The male flowers are without calyx or corolla, comprise a group of four to 60 stamens inserted on a disk; the female flower has no calyx or corolla, comprises a single-celled ovary seated in a cup-shaped disk. The style is short, with two to four stigmata, variously lobed, numerous ovules. Pollination is by wind, with the female catkins lengthening between pollination and maturity; the fruit is a two- to four-valved dehiscent capsule, green to reddish-brown, mature in midsummer, containing numerous minute light brown seeds surrounded by tufts of long, white hairs which aid wind dispersal. Poplars of the cottonwood section are wetlands or riparian trees; the aspens are among the most important boreal broadleaf trees.
Poplars and aspens are important food plants for the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species. Pleurotus populinus, the aspen oyster mushroom, is found on dead wood of Populus trees in North America. Several species of Populus in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe have experienced heavy dieback; the genus Populus has traditionally been divided into six sections on the basis of leaf and flower characters. Recent genetic studies have supported this, confirming some suspected reticulate evolution due to past hybridisation and introgression events between the groups; some species had differing relationships indicated by their nuclear DNA and chloroplast DNA sequences, a clear indication of hybrid origin. Hybridisation continues to be common in the genus, with several hybrids between species in different sections known. Populus section Populus – aspens and white poplar Populus adenopoda – Chinese aspen Populus alba – white poplar Populus × canescens – grey poplar Populus spp. X – Pacific albus Populus davidiana – Korean aspen Populus grandidentata – bigtooth aspen Populus sieboldii – Japanese aspen Populus tremula – aspen, common aspen, Eurasian aspen, European aspen, quaking aspen Populus tremuloides – quaking aspen or trembling aspen Populus section Aigeiros – black poplars, some of the cottonwoods Populus deltoides – eastern cottonwood Populus fremontii – Fremont cottonwood Populus nigra – black poplar, placed here by nuclear DNA.
Populus Populus × canadensis – hybrid black poplar Populus × inopina – hybrid black poplar Populus section Tacamahaca – balsam poplars Populus angustifolia – willow-leaved poplar or narrowleaf cottonwood Populus balsamifera – Balsam poplar Populus cathayana – Populus koreana J. Rehnder – Korean poplar Populus laurifolia – laurel-leaf poplar Populus maximowiczii A. Henry – Maximowicz' poplar, Japanese poplar Populus simonii – Simon's poplar Populus suaveolens Fischer – Mongolian poplar Populus szechuanica – Sichuan poplar, placed here by nuclear DNA. Aigeiros Populus trichocarpa – western balsam poplar or black cottonwood Populus tristis, placed here by nuclear DNA.
Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about Bilgamesh, king of Uruk, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur; these independent stories were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. The first surviving version of this combined epic, known as the "Old Babylonian" version dates to the 18th century BC and is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī. Only a few tablets of it have survived; the "standard" version compiled by Sîn-lēqi-unninni dates from the 13th to the 10th centuries BC and bears the incipit Sha naqba īmuru. Two thirds of this longer, twelve-tablet version have been recovered; some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. The first half of the story discusses Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh from oppressing the people of Uruk.
After Enkidu becomes civilized through sexual initiation with a prostitute, he travels to Uruk, where he challenges Gilgamesh to a test of strength. Gilgamesh wins the contest. Together, they make a six-day journey to the legendary Cedar Forest, where they plan to slay the Guardian, Humbaba the Terrible, cut down the sacred Cedar; the goddess Ishtar sends the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the Bull of Heaven after which the gods decide to sentence Enkidu to death and kill him. In the second half of the epic, distress over Enkidu's death causes Gilgamesh to undertake a long and perilous journey to discover the secret of eternal life, he learns that "Life, which you look for, you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, life withheld in their own hands". However, because of his great building projects, his account of Siduri's advice, what the immortal man Utnapishtim told him about the Great Flood, Gilgamesh's fame survived well after his death with expanding interest in the Gilgamesh story, translated into many languages and is featured in works of popular fiction.
Distinct sources exist from over a 2000-year timeframe. The earliest Sumerian poems are now considered to be distinct stories, rather than parts of a single epic, they date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur. The Old Babylonian tablets, are the earliest surviving tablets for a single Epic of Gilgamesh narrative; the older Old Babylonian tablets and Akkadian version are important sources for modern translations, with the earlier texts used to fill in gaps in the texts. Although several revised versions based on new discoveries have been published, the epic remains incomplete. Analysis of the Old Babylonian text has been used to reconstruct possible earlier forms of the Epic of Gilgamesh; the most recent Akkadian version referred to as the standard version, consisting of twelve tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni and was found in the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh. The Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered by Austen Henry Layard, Hormuzd Rassam, W. K. Loftus in 1853; the central character of Gilgamesh was reintroduced to the world as "Izdubar", before the cuneiform logographs in his name could be pronounced accurately.
The first modern translation was published in the early 1870s by George Smith. Smith made further discoveries of texts on his expeditions, which culminated in his final translation, given in his book The Chaldaean Account of Genesis; the most definitive modern translation is a two-volume critical work by Andrew George, published by Oxford University Press in 2003. A book review by the Cambridge scholar, Eleanor Robson, claims that George's is the most significant critical work on Gilgamesh in the last 70 years. George discusses the state of the surviving material, provides a tablet-by-tablet exegesis, with a dual language side-by-side translation. In 2004, Stephen Mitchell supplied a controversial version that takes many liberties with the text and includes modernized allusions and commentary relating to the Iraq War of 2003; the first direct Arabic translation from the original tablets was made in the 1960s by the Iraqi archaeologist Taha Baqir. The discovery of artifacts associated with Enmebaragesi of Kish, mentioned in the legends as the father of one of Gilgamesh's adversaries, has lent credibility to the historical existence of Gilgamesh.
From the diverse sources found, two main versions of the epic have been reconstructed: the standard Akkadian version, or He who saw the deep, the Old Babylonian version, or Surpassing all other kings. Five earlier Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh have been recovered, some with primitive versions of specific episodes in the Akkadian version, others with unrelated stories; the standard version was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh in 1853. It was written in a dialect of Akkadian, used for literary purposes; this version was compiled by 1000 BC from earlier texts. The standard Akkadian version has incipit, from the older version; the older version begins with the words "Surpassing all other kings", while the standard version has "He who saw the deep", "deep" referring to the mysteries of the information brought back by Gilgamesh from his meeting with Uta-Napishti about Ea, the fountain of wisdom. Gilgamesh wa
Temples of Mount Hermon
The Temples of Mount Hermon are around thirty Roman shrines and Roman temples that are dispersed around the slopes of Mount Hermon in Lebanon and Syria. Discovery of the Hermonian temples in rural villages began in the 19th century, with surveys by Edward Robinson and Sir Charles Warren. Ten sacred sites were documented by Daniel Krencker and Willy Schietzschmann in 1938. Maurice Tallon published an itinerary of the sanctuaries in 1967 with details of the paths to reach them. George F. Taylor provided a pictorial guide in the late 1960s with more recent information coming from Shim'on Dar in 1993 and epigraphic surveys in 2002 and 2003; some of the sites have been connected with the high places used for the worship of Baal in the Books of Kings. The Seleucids occupied the area after 200 BCE, shortly after which the Ituraeans developed a principality in the area until the fall of Chalcis when the territory passed to the Herodian kings Agrippa I and Agrippa II. After the end of the first century CE the territory became jointly controlled by the cities of Damascus and Paneas.
It is thought that the area was inhabited continuously until the third century CE. Precise dating of the structures is not possible. Krencker and Zscheitzschmann suggested they were constructed between 150 and 300 CE and epigraphic evidence has been found to support this for several temples. Construction techniques have been seen to differ from those used in shrines of the Phoenician and Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods such as Tyre, Tell Anafa and Kharayeb. Recent studies have highlighted differences in construction style of the Hermonian temples from Hellenistic architecture at Khirbet Massakeb, Khirbet Zemel and other sites in the Hauran and Jawlan. Although the sites may have been built on previous layers of architecture, the current temples are predominantly considered to be of Roman construction and were abandoned after the fourth century CE during the Byzantine era. Recent studies have highlighted differences in construction style of the Hermonian temples from Hellenistic architecture at Khirbet Massakeb, Khirbet Zemel and other sites in the Hauran and Jawlan.
Although the sites may have been built on previous layers of architecture, the current temples are predominantly considered to be of Roman construction and were abandoned after the fourth century AD during the Byzantine era. The temples were connected with ancient occupational sites. Olivier Callot and Pierre-Louis Gatier argued that several of the temple sites might have been mistaken for monumental tombs as Roman mausoleums such as Saidnaya have been found in Lebanon. Taylor held the view that the religious architecture was the responsibility of "the hand of a single master builder" but was not able to answer the question of why so many shrines should be concentrated in the area. Henry Seyrig, when reviewing Krencker and Zscheitzmann's "Romische Tempel in Syrien" highlighted that "the clue to an important social and economic change that would deserve to be one day the focus of a study". There is still a deplorable lack of a comprehensive study into the history, architecture of these buildings and ancient sites, or the religious life of the people who used them.
There is a sacred building made of hewn blocks of stone on the summit of Mount Hermon. Known as Qasr Antar, it was the highest temple of the ancient world, sitting at 2,814 metres above sea level, it was documented by Sir Charles Warren in 1869. Warren described the temple as a rectangular building, sitting on an oval, stone plateau without roof, he removed a limestone stele from the northwest of the oval, broke it into two pieces and carried it down the mountain and back to the British Museum, where it resides. An inscription on the stele was translated by George Nickelsburg to read "According to the command of the greatest a Holy God, those who take an oath from here." Nickelsburg connected the inscription with oath taken by the angels under Semjaza who took an oath together, bound by a curse in order to take wives in the Book of Enoch. Hermon was said to have become known as "the mountain of oath" by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau; the name of God was supposed to be a Hellenized version of Baʿal or Hadad and Nickelsburg connected it with the place name of Baal-Hermon and the deity given by Enoch as "The Great Holy One".
Eusebius recognized the religious importance of Hermon in his work "Onomasticon", saying "Until today, the mount in front of Panias and Lebanon is known as Hermon and it is respected by nations as a sanctuary". It has been related to the Arabic term al-haram, which means "sacred enclosure". Apart from the supreme god of the lofty sanctuary, other gods were evidenced to have been worshipped in the area; the god Pan is connected with the headwaters of the Jordan river in the area. Inscriptions on stones used in the church of Heleliye near Sidon have referred to Threption, son of Neikon offering stone lions to Zeus. Other deities noted to have been worshipped in the area were called Theandrios and Leucothea, which were Greek names substituted for native Caananite gods. Leucothea was the Greek goddess of the sea and she was known to have been worshipped from 60 CE at the temple devoted to her at Rakleh and at Kfar Zabad, Tel Jezreel and Segeria as evidenced by an inscription found at Ayn al-Burj.
The Gods of Kiboreia are known from a Greek inscription taken from a large temple at Deir El Aachayer on the northern slopes of Mount Hermon in Lebanon. The inscription was found noting that a bench was installed "in the year 242, under Beeliabos called Diototos, son of Abedanos, high priest of the gods of Kiboreia"; the era of the gods of Kiboreia is not certain, as is their location, not conclusively to be ide
The Golan Heights, or the Golan, is a region in the Levant, spanning about 1,800 square kilometres. The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between disciplines: as a geological and biogeographical region, the Golan Heights is a basaltic plateau bordered by the Yarmouk River in the south, the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley in the west, the Anti-Lebanon with Mount Hermon in the north and Wadi Raqqad in the east; this region includes the western two-thirds of the geological Golan Heights and the Israeli-occupied part of Mount Hermon. The earliest evidence of human habitation on the Golan dates to the Upper Paleolithic period. According to the Bible, an Amorite Kingdom in Bashan was conquered by Israelites during the reign of King Og. Throughout the Old Testament period, the Golan was "the focus of a power struggle between the Kings of Israel and the Aramaeans who were based near modern-day Damascus." The Itureans, an Arab or Aramaic people, settled there in the 2nd century BCE and remained until the end of the Byzantine period.
Organized Jewish settlement in the region came to an end in 636 CE when it was conquered by Arabs under Umar ibn al-Khattāb. In the 16th century, the Golan was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and was part of the Vilayet of Damascus until it was transferred to French mandate in 1918; when the mandate terminated in 1946, it became part of the newly independent Syrian Republic. Since the 1967 Six-Day War, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel, whereas the eastern third had remained under control of the Syrian Arab Republic. After the onset of the Syrian Civil War the control split between the government and opposition forces, with the UNDOF maintaining a 266 km2 buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line. From 2012 to 2018, the eastern Golan Heights became a scene of repeated battles between the Syrian Arab Army, rebel factions of the Syrian opposition including the moderate Southern Front, jihadist al-Nusra Front, ISIL-affiliated factions.
In July 2018, the Syrian government regained control of the eastern Golan Heights. Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981; this move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 497, which stated that "the Israeli decision to impose its laws and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect", Resolution 242, which emphasises "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war". Israel maintains it has a right to retain the Golan citing the text of UN Resolution 242, which calls for "safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force". On March 25, 2019, U. S. President Donald Trump proclaimed that "the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel", making the United States the first and only country to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the annexed regions of the Golan Heights.
The 28 member states of the European Union declared in turn they do not recognize Israeli sovereignty, several Israeli experts on international law stated the principle remains that land gained by defensive or offensive wars cannot be annexed. In the Bible, Golan is mentioned as a city of refuge located in Bashan: Deuteronomy 4:43, Joshua 20:8, 1 Chronicles 6:71. 19th-century authors interpreted the word "Golan" as meaning "something surrounded, hence a district". The Greek name for the region is Gaulanitis. In the Mishna the name is Gablān similar to Aramaic language names for the region: Gawlāna, Guwlana and Gublānā; the Arabic names are Jawlān and Djolan and are arabized versions of the Canaanite language and Hebrew name "Golan". Arab cartographers of the Byzantine period referred to the area as jabal, though the region is a plateau; the Muslims took over in 7th century CE. The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia refers to the region as Gaulonitis; the name Golan Heights was not used before the 19th century.
The Golan Heights borders Israel and Jordan. According to Israel, it has captured 1,150 square kilometres. According to Syria, the Golan Heights measures 1,860 square kilometres, of which 1,500 km2 are occupied by Israel. According to the CIA, Israel holds 1,300 square kilometres; the area is hilly and elevated, overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley which contains the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, is itself dominated by the 2,814 metres tall Mount Hermon. The plateau has an average altitude of 1,000 metres, it separates the remaining territories of Israel. Elevations range from 2,814 metres in the north, to below sea level along the Sea of Galilee and the Yarmouk River in the south; the plateau that Israel controls is part of a larger area of volcanic basalt fields stretching north and east that were created in the series of volcanic eruptions that began in geological terms 4 million years ago, continue to this day. It has distinct geographic boundaries. On the north, the Sa'ar valley divides the lighter-colored limestone bedrock of the mountains from the dark-colored volcanic rocks of the Golan pla
Baal, properly Baʿal, was a title and honorific meaning "owner," "lord" in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. Scholars associated the theonym with solar cults and with a variety of unrelated patron deities, but inscriptions have shown that the name Baʿal was associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations; the Hebrew Bible and curated over a span of centuries, includes generic use of the term in reference to various Levantine deities, pointed application towards Hadad, decried as a false god. That use was taken over into Christianity and Islam, sometimes under the opprobrious form Beelzebub in demonology; the spelling of the English term "Baal" derives from the Greek Báal, which appears in the New Testament and Septuagint, from its Latinized form Baal, which appears in the Vulgate. These forms in turn derive from the vowel-less Northwest Semitic form BʿL; the word's biblical senses as a Phoenician deity and false gods were extended during the Protestant Reformation to denote any idols, icons of the saints, or the Catholic Church generally.
In such contexts, it follows the anglicized pronunciation and omits any mark between its two As. In close transliteration of the Semitic name, the ayin is represented, as Baʿal. In the Northwest Semitic languages—Ugaritic, Hebrew and Aramaic—the word baʿal signified "owner" and, by extension, "lord", a "master", or "husband". Cognates include the Akkadian Bēlu, Amharic bal, Arabic baʿl. Báʿal and baʿl still serve as the words for "husband" in modern Arabic respectively, they appear in some contexts concerning the ownership of things or possession of traits. The feminine form is baʿalah, meaning "mistress" in the sense of a female owner or lady of the house and still serving as a rare word for "wife". Suggestions in early modern scholarship included comparison with the Celtic god Belenus. Like EN in Sumerian, the Akkadian bēlu and Northwest Semitic baʿal was used as a title of various deities in the Mesopotamian and Semitic pantheons. Only a definitive article, genitive or epithet, or context could establish which particular god was meant.
Baʿal was used as a proper name by the third millennium BCE, when he appears in a list of deities at Abu Salabikh. Most modern scholarship asserts that this Baʿal—usually distinguished as "The Lord" —was identical with the storm and fertility god Hadad. Scholars propose that, as the cult of Hadad increased in importance, his true name came to be seen as too holy for any but the high priest to speak aloud and the alias "Lord" was used instead, as "Bel" was used for Marduk among the Babylonians and "Adonai" for Yahweh among the Israelites. A minority propose that Baʿal was a native Canaanite deity whose cult was identified with or absorbed aspects of Adad's. Regardless of their original relationship, by the 1st millennium BCE, the two were distinct: Hadad was worshipped by the Aramaeans and Baʿal by the Phoenicians and other Canaanites; the Phoenician Baʿal is identified with either El or Dagan. Baʿal is well-attested in surviving inscriptions and was popular in theophoric names throughout the Levant but he is mentioned along with other gods, "his own field of action being defined".
Nonetheless, Ugaritic records show him as a weather god, with particular power over lightning, wind and fertility. The dry summers of the area were explained as Baʿal's time in the underworld and his return in autumn was said to cause the storms which revived the land. Thus, the worship of Baʿal in Canaan—where he supplanted El as the leader of the gods and patron of kingship—was connected to the regions' dependence on rainfall for its agriculture, unlike Egypt and Mesopotamia, which focused on irrigation from their major rivers. Anxiety about the availability of water for crops and trees increased the importance of his cult, which focused attention on his role as a rain god, he was called upon during battle, showing that he was thought to intervene in the world of man, unlike the more aloof El. The Lebanese city of Baalbeck was named after Baal; the Baʿal of Ugarit was the epithet of Hadad but as the time passed, the epithet became the god's name while Hadad became the epithet. Baʿal was said to be the son of Dagan, but appears as one of the sons of El in Ugaritic sources.
Both Baʿal and El were associated with the bull in Ugaritic texts, as it symbolized both strength and fertility. The virgin goddess ʿAnat was his sister and sometimes credited with a child through him, he held special enmity against snakes, both on their own and as representatives of Yammu, the Canaanite sea god and river god. He fought the Tannin, the "Twisted Serpent", "Litan the Fugitive Serpent", the "Mighty One with Seven Heads". Baʿal's conflict with Yammu is now regarded as the prototype of the vision recorded in the 7th chapter of the biblical Book of Daniel; as vanquisher of the sea, Baʿal was regarded by the Canaanites and Phoenicians as the patron of sailors and sea-going merchants. As vanquisher of Mot, the Canaanite death god, he was known as Baʿal Rāpiʾuma and regarded as the leader of the Rephaim, the ancestral spirits those of ruling dynasties. From Canaan, worship of Baʿal spread to Egypt by the Middle Kingdom and throughout the Mediterranean following the waves of Phoenician colonization in the early 1st mill
The Jordan River or River Jordan is a 251-kilometre-long river in the Middle East that flows north to south through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea. Jordan and the Golan Heights border the river to the east, while the West Bank and Israel lie to its west. Both Jordan and the West Bank take their names from the river; the river has a major significance in Judaism and Christianity since many believe that the Israelites crossed it into the Promised Land and that Jesus of Nazareth was baptised by John the Baptist in it. The Jordan River has an upper course from its sources to the Sea of Galilee, a lower course south of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea. In traditional terminology, the upper course is referred to as passing through the "Hula Valley", as opposed to "Upper Jordan Valley". Over its upper course, fed by the Hasbani River in Banias and Dan, the river drops in a 75-kilometre run to the once large and swampy Lake Hula, above sea level. Exiting the now much-diminished lake, it goes through an steeper drop over the 25 kilometres down to the Sea of Galilee, which it enters at its northern end.
The Jordan deposits much of the silt it is carrying within the lake, which it leaves again near its southern tip. At that point, the river is situated about 210 metres below sea level; the last 120-kilometre -long section follows what is termed the "Jordan Valley", which has less gradient so that the river meanders before entering the Dead Sea, a terminal lake about 422 metres below sea level with no outlet. Two major tributaries enter from the east during this last section: the Yarmouk River and Zarqa River, its section north of the Sea of Galilee is within the boundaries of Israel and forms the western boundary of the Golan Heights. South of the lake, it forms the border between the Kingdom of Jordan, Israel; the streams coming together to create the River Jordan in its upper basin are, west to east: Iyyon, a stream which flows from Lebanon. Hasbani, a stream which flows from the north-western foot of Mount Hermon in Lebanon. Dan, a stream whose source is at the base of Mount Hermon. Banias, a stream arising from a spring at Banias at the foot of Mount Hermon.
South of the Sea of Galilee the Jordan River receives the waters of further tributaries, the main ones being Yarmouk River Zarqa RiverSmaller tributaries in this segment are Wadi al-Far'a Wadi Qelt While several hypotheses for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, the most accepted is that it comes from Semitic Yard|on'flow down' <√ירד reflecting the river's declivity. Cognates of the word are found in Aramaic and other Semitic languages; the first recorded use of the name appears as Yārdon in Anastasi I, an ancient Egyptian papyrus that dates to the time of Rameses II. Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as Al-Urdunn. In the 19th century the River Jordan and the Dead Sea were explored by boat by Christopher Costigan in 1835, Thomas Howard Molyneux in 1847, William Francis Lynch in 1848, John MacGregor in 1869; the full text of W. F. Lynch's 1849 book Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea is available online. In 1964, Israel began operating a pumping station that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee to the National Water Carrier.
In 1964, Jordan constructed a channel that diverted water from the Yarmouk River, another main tributary of the Jordan River to the East Ghor Canal. Syria has built reservoirs that catch the Yarmouk's waters. Environmentalists blame Israel and Syria for extensive damage to the Jordan River ecosystem. In modern times, the waters are 70% to 90% used for human purposes and the flow is reduced; because of this and the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea, as well as industrial extraction of salts through evaporation ponds, the sea is shrinking. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained in modern times and are now salt flats. A small section of the northernmost portion of the Lower Jordan, the first ca. 3-kilometre below the Sea of Galilee, has been kept pristine for local tourism. Most polluted is the 100-kilometre downstream stretch—a meandering stream from above the confluence with the Yarmouk to the Dead Sea. Environmentalists say the practice of letting sewage and brackish water flow into the river has destroyed its ecosystem.
Rescuing the Jordan could take decades, according to environmentalists. In 2007, Friends of the Earth Middle East named the Jordan River as one of the world's 100 most endangered ecological sites, due in part to lack of cooperation between Israel and neighboring Arab states; the same environmentalist organization had said in a report that the Jordan River could dry up by 2011 unless the decay was stopped. The flow rate of the Jordan River once was 1.3 billion cubic metres per year. Recent literature sho