In the second century BCE, the Itureans, an Arab tribe from what is now called Jordan, settled in the southern Bekaa valley. Here, they founded a city called Chalkis. The Romans took over these areas, and eventually the emperor Claudius gave it to a man named Herod of Chalkis, a great-grandson of Herod I the Great.
Herod of Chalkis, who reigned from 41 until 48, probably built the temple that is now visible at Majdel Anjar, on a hilltop some 3km southwest of the more famous ruins of the Umayyad city of Anjar. It controled the most important road to Damascus.
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