TYRE, Bank of. The city of Tyre was ancient in the time of Alexander the Great. Directly or otherwise, its trade extended to all parts of the known world and embraced every commodity included in commerce. Its ships and caravans fetched tin from Britain, ivory and gold from Africa, spices and frankincense from India. For return cargoes they carried those woolens, colored by precious dyes, which con stituted the basis of all its other commerce, the °bales of (purple) blue and broidered work and chests of 'rich apparel' mentioned in Ezekiel, xxii, et seq., a monopoly so odious to the Persians that the wife of Darius refused even to touch a piece of Tyrian woolens (Quintus Curtius, ii, 17). The enormous wealth thus created naturally led to the establishment of a bank, which after many vicissitudes was still found existing, when in A.D. 1124 Baldwin, brother of Godfrey de Bouillon, led his cru saders from the capture of Tyre, to that of Roha or Edessa, near the fords of the Eu phrates. It was here that were situated the famous woolen and fulling mills and dye-works of the Tyrians. The advantages of the place were a fall of water for power, the adjacent alum deposits of Roha for mordants, the clays for fulling and the river for transport. The dye-stuffs being light were easily brought from the seacoast, where Godfrey secured the con venient shipping port of Joppa, which he erected into a countship.
Edessa was no new manufacturing town. Under its ancient name of Oorfa or Urfa it had been one almost as long as Tyre had been a trading emporium. The two places had prob ably been connected ever since they were founded by the Kheta, for its name of Oorfa was merely a replica of that Mongolian Oorga which down to thepresent day is celebrated for its woolen manufactures and beautiful but secretly applied dyes; while as to the elusive Carchemish, where the Kheta were overthrown by Sargon, it was situated at or near the fords of the more recently named Edessa.
Following the example of his brother God frey, Baldwin, for himself, now erected Edessa into a countship and stretched its territorial boundaries across the Euphrates, with the view to enlarge its scope of taxation, as well as its facilities for trade. He also rehabilitated the ancient Bank of Tyre and invited his crusading brethren, the Rhodians and Venetians, to make avail of its advantages as a place of security for the treasures which they were daily plundering from the surprised and defeated Greeks and Moslems. These became its prin cipal depositors. Alluding to the crusading knights for description, Hallam says in his very first chapter: °Men resorted to Palestine, as in modern times they have done to the Colonies: in order to redeem their time, or repair their fortune. Thus Gui de Lusignan, after flying from France for murder, was ultimately raised to the throne of Jerusalem. . . . It was here
in 1099, when their triumph was consummated, that it was stained with the most atrocious massacre; not limited to the hour of resistance, but renewed deliberately, after that penitential procession to the Sepulchre, which might have calmed their ferocious dispositions.° The avarice of the Knights of Rhodes was nowhere exhibited more glaringly than in their connection with the Bank of Tyre. This de pository was first pounced upon by the Vene tians, who after taking possession of its treas ure and issuing in its stead parchment bank notes, signed by the doge Dominico Michieli, petitioned King Godfrey at Jerusalem to con tinue them (the Venetians) in the bank's °mer cantile privileges.° Instead of making this . concession Godfrey conferred the °privileges° upon his brother Baldwin. Among the coveted advantages of the bank was the monopoly of the wool trade which now became the spoil of the French knight.
After Baldwin had set up his mills and dyeing works at Edessa, after he had employed the most cruel means to force from the natives the secrets of their trade, after Godfrey had arranged an organized resumption of the com merce of Tyre, reviewed its ancient bank and secured and improved an additional sea-port at Joppa, their fellow-crusader, Rohemond, a son of Robert Guiscard, led several shiploads of lazzaroni from Naples, to ravage the East, steal from his allies the stolen secrets of Edessa, and carry them to Italy, there to con tinue the once famous woolens trade of Tyre in the Bay of Taranto.
From that moment the Bank of Tyre de clined; plunder still continued to come in and some measure of profits was gleaned from the melting of bullion, exchanges of coins, charges for the safekeeping of treasure, etc., but these items were not sufficient to support such a bank and cover the risk it ran from fire, rob bery or successful fraud. The commercial community of Tyre was gone; its shipping, its trade, its connections were gone; more than all, its great woolens trade was gone; and with little prospect of their revival. Yet a forlorn hope of Improvement seems to have kept it alive, or nominally alive, until the year 1145, when Edessa was besieged by a native army commanded by the brave Zenghi, or Sangiar, one of the Atabek sultans, who, after a fierce struggle of 25 days, finally made a practicable breach in its formidable walls and entered the city sword in hand. His triumph, however, was marked by his death, for here, as Gibbcn regrettingly relates, fell °the last hero of his race.° Although Tyre remained in the hands of the triumphant Latins, its woolens trade was lost ; its commercial importance annihilated ; and its bank expired and was forgotten. For the history of other ancient banks see BARC.E LONA, BANK OF; BYZANTIUM, BANK OF; FUG GERS, BANK OF THE; GENOA, BANK OF; MEDICI, BANKS OF THE; VENICE, BANK OF.