May 18, 2015 Ancient City of Tyre is Subject of June 3 Symposium

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The African and Middle Eastern Division in the Library of Congress, in cooperation with Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) and the American Committee for Tyre, will present a symposium on the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre.

“Tyre at the Library of Congress,” a free symposium open to the public, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3 in the Northeast Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets are not required.

According to Greek historian Herodotus, the city of Tyre, in south Lebanon today, was founded 2750 B.C. by the Phoenicians, and has been continuously inhabited since then. The Phoenicians created an alphabet and the first democracy in the world with a parliament and senate elected directly by the citizens. Tyre is the legendary birthplace of Europa, the daughter of the King of Tyre, the namesake of Europe. It was besieged unsuccessfully by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon for 13 years, but was left in ruins by Alexander the Great who—after founding the city of Alexandria in Egypt—went to war against the Tyreans who had refused to surrender to his army.

“This is the Library’s first major conference on the rich archaeology of the Tyre region and its contribution to world civilization,” said Mary-Jane Deeb, chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division, who will moderate one of the three panels along with Levon Avdoyan, the Library’s Armenian and Georgian specialist, and Muhannad Salhi, the Library’s Arab World area specialist.

The first panel will be on the history of Tyre, with presentations by Leila Badre, director of the Archaeological Museum at the American University in Beirut; M’hamed Hassine Fantar, professor emeritus at Tunis University; Francoise Briquel-Chatonet, research director at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France; and Pierre Louis Gatier, research director at Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques in France.

The second panel will focus on Phoenician commerce and art, with presentations by Frederique Duyrat, director of the Department of Coins, Medals and Antiques at the Bibliothèque nationale de France; Patrick McGovern, scientific director and the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at Pennsylvania University; Peter van Dommelen–Joukowsky, professor of anthropology at Brown University; and James Fitzpatrick, senior partner in the Arnold and Porter law firm and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School.

The third panel will focus on Tyre in the Bible, with speakers Irene Winter, professor emeritus in the Department of Art and Architecture at Harvard University; Eric Gubel, director general of the Royal Museum for Art History in Brussels; Almagro Gorbea, keeper of antiquities of the Royal Historical Academy of Spain; and Rodi Kratsa, president of the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy in Athens.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division is the center for the study of 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East and the Caucasus to Central Asia. For more information, visit

The American Committee for Tyre is a 501(c)(3) organization which fosters public knowledge of and interest in the ancient city of Tyre, Lebanon, and promotes its preservation through educational and cultural programs.


PR 15-087
ISSN 0731-3527