An ancient city in Syria. The Apostle Paul, then an official called Saul, was on his way home from Jerusalem to Damascus to arrest Christians. He underwent a dramatic conversion on the road, in which he fell from his horse, saw a dazzling light, and heard the voice of Jesus. He then became a devout follower of Jesus.


The hero who gave his name to the city of Damascus in Syria. There are various legends about him. Some make him out to be the son of Hermes and the Nymph Halimede and to have emigrated from Arcadia to Syria, where he founded the city. Others claim that he was a follower of Dionysus and that he chopped down a vine the god had planted; incensed by this, Dionysus had flayed him on the site of the future city of Damascus. Yet other legends claim that the name Damascus came from a hero named Damas, one of Dionysus' companions, who had put up a tent (σχηνη) on the site of the future city and had placed a statue of the god within it; the city was hence called Damascus (from Δαμα σχηωνη).


Da*mas"cus (?), n. [L.]

A city of Syria.

Damascus blade, a sword or scimiter, made chiefly at Damascus, having a variegated appearance of watering, and proverbial for excellence. -- Damascus iron, ∨ Damascus twist, metal formed of thin bars or wires of iron and steel elaborately twisted and welded together; used for making gun barrels, etc., of high quality, in which the surface, when polished and acted upon by acid, has a damasc appearance. -- Damascus steel. See Damask steel, under Damask, a.


© Webster 1913.

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