Syrtis = Sirt: Danger on the Coast of Libya

The shallow waters and sandbanks of the Syrtis, off the coast of today’s Libya, are mentioned in the Bible, in Acts 27:17, as a place of danger for the Apostle Paul, when the ship taking him to Rome was carried away by a storm. The sailors steered the ship away from the Syrtis, and the outcome for Paul was shipwreck and divine deliverance in Malta.

The Syrtis is now known as the Gulf of Sidra, but the old name survives with less change for a city on its shores, Sirt, also known as Surt and Sirte.

This city looks likely to be in the news over the next few days. The BBC reports today that

Libyan rebels have recaptured four more towns and are moving quickly towards Muammar Gaddafi’s heartland of Sirte. …

Sirte is the Libyan leader’s birthplace and stronghold, his heartland. From now on the going will get much tougher for the rebels.

Just over a week ago I was hopeful for Libya. Gaddafi didn’t go as quickly as he promised, with his lies about a ceasefire. But it is good news that now he seems to be on the run. The UN intervention has reportedly been remarkably effective with very little collateral damage – I hope that is the truth, not just propaganda.

The battle for Sirt which is surely coming in the next few days will be dangerous for both sides. Very likely it will be decisive for the future of Libya. How appropriate it is that a biblical place of danger has now become a place of danger for Gaddafi.

3 thoughts on “Syrtis = Sirt: Danger on the Coast of Libya

  1. Pingback: Gaddafi and the Bible « Fr Stephen's Blog

  2. Pingback: Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte in the Bible | eChurch Blog

  3. Pingback: The Syrtis Sands « From Genesis One to the Anthropocene

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