Located in Lebanon north of Acre but south of Sidon and Beirut, Tyre was one of the most important of the ancient Phoenician cities. Today Tyre contains excavations of ruins dating to Crusader, Byzantine, Arab, Greco-Roman, and earlier eras. Tyre is also referenced quite a few times in the Bible, sometimes as an ally of the Israelites and sometimes in the context of condemning the religious or cultural influences which the Phoenicians were exercising over the Israelites.
Tyre's primary claim to fame, not to mention wealth, was a sea snail which allowed them to produce highly-coveted purple dye. This color was rare and difficult to produce, a factor in its adoption by rulers as a color of royalty. As late as the reign of Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE), two pounds of purple dye sold for over six pounds of gold. Other Phoenician cities also traded in the prized dye, but Tyre was the center of its production and the city with which the product was most closely associated.
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