Maybe a short introduction to this wonderful island city would be appropriate.

Arados, Arwad in Phoenician, is the main city in Northern Phoenicia. It is located on a tiny island with an excellent harbour 2.5 km from the coast, opposite modern day Tartous. Compared to other Phoenician cities of the southern shore, there was a lack of literary and archaeological excavations telling us about the history of this city. Yet the preserved ruins show that it was inhabited without interruption since days of Antiquity. There was also an abundant source of money regularly struck during the Hellenistic period. The Aradians used their privileged geographical location to full advantage and exploited the weaknesses of the Seleucid empire, becoming an essential buffer state within the Lagids’ territories of Syria and Phoenicia. During the 3rd and 2nd centuries, they showed an unwavering loyalty to the Seleucids to whom they delivered military supplies, mainly naval, for which they received autonomy, an official alliance, and sometimes major concessions as asylia during the war between Seleucus II and Antiochus Hierax (241-239 B.C). After the turn of the 2nd century, while the Seleucid dynasty was in decline Aradian regional ambitions increased: the city took the territory of its continental rival Marathos, meets the Tigranus army of Armenia crossing its peraia and gives help to Pompeius’ camp against Caesar and Antonius. This choice explains the blockade the island was subjected to over a period of several months, which led to starvation and disease and persuaded Aradians to surrender in 38 B.C. The submission of the city to the Roman Empire is officially engraved on its bronze coins showing Astarte with a small bust of the emperor in front of her.


By Coins Of The Southern Levant Posted in Arados

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