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 three kilometers southwest of the more famous ruins of the Umayyad city of Anjar. It controled the most important road to Damascus.
Majdel Anjar was dismantled by the Abbasids, who converted the sanctuary into a fort.