. Due to its relative geographic isolation from the local centers of power in Mount Lebanon and Syria, the town did not have any significant allies in the region to fall back on in case of conflicts or attacks. This led its inhabitants to develop a defensive attitude, which can still be felt today. Zahlé was burned in 1777 and 1791. At the time of the civil war (1860 Druze–Maronite conflict) of 1860 Zahlé had a population to 10,000 with its prosperity based on wheat, sheep and silk. In June
, which used early defeats at the hand of Aguda as a pretext for plotting the overthrow of Emperor Tianzou. Mote (1999), 201. Historian Jacques Gernet disagrees with Mote, writing that "by the middle of the eleventh century the Khitan had lost their combative spirit and adopted a defensive attitude to their neighbors, building walls, ramparts for their towns, and fortified posts." Gernet (2008), 354. Gernet attributes this change to the influence of Buddhism, which abhors violence, as well as to Chinese wealth and culture in general. Like Mote, Gernet attributes the ultimate downfall of the Liao to the interference by the ruling clans, and he additionally credits a series of droughts and floods, as well as attacks by the Jurchen tribes on the north-east edge of Liao territory, with weakening the Liao to a critical level. Government At its height, the Liao dynasty controlled what is now Shanxi, Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Inner Mongolia provinces in China, as well as portions of the Korean peninsula (Korean Peninsula), portions of the Russian Far East, and much of the country of Mongolia. Steinhardt (1994), 5. Mote (1999), 58. The peak population is estimated at 750,000 Khitans and two to three million ethnic Chinese. Ebrey (1996), 166. Law and administration The Liao dynasty employed two separate governments operating in parallel with one another: a Northern Administration in charge of Khitan and other nomadic peoples, most of whom lived in the northern side of Liao territory, and a Southern Administration in charge of the Chinese populace that lived predominantly in the southern side. When Abaoji first established the system, these two governments did not have strict territorial boundaries, but Emperor Shizong established formally delineated boundaries for the two administrations early in his reign. The newly delineated Northern Administration had large Chinese, Balhae, and Uighur (Yugur people) populations, and was given its own set of parallel northern and southern governments. Twitchett and Tietze (1994), 77. The governments of the Northern Administration and the Southern Administration operated very differently. The Northern Administration operated under a system which Twitchett and Tietze called "essentially a great tribal leader's personal retinue". Twitchett and Tietze (1994), 78. Many of the governmental appointments dealt with tribal affairs, herds, and retainers serving the imperial house, and most powerful and high-ranking positions dealt with military affairs. The overwhelming majority of officeholders were Khitans, mainly from the imperial Yelü clan and the Xiao consort clan. Twitchett and Tietze (1994), 77-78. The Southern Administration was more heavily structured, with Twitchett and Tietze calling it "designed in imitation of a T'ang model". Unlike the Northern Administration, many of the low- and medium-ranked officials in the Southern Administration were Chinese. Twitchett and Tietze (1994), 79. The Liao dynasty was further divided into five "circuits", each with a capital city. The general idea for this system was taken from the Balhae, although no captured Balhae cities were made into circuit capitals. Wittfogel and Feng (1946), 44. The five capital cities were Shangjing (上京), meaning Supreme Capital, which is located in modern-day Inner Mongolia; Nanjing (南京), meaning Southern Capital, which is located near modern-day Beijing; Dongjing (东京), meaning Eastern Capital, which is located near modern-day Liaoning; Zhongjing (中京), meaning Central Capital, which is located in modern-day Hebei province near the Laoha river; and Xijing (西京), meaning Western Capital, which is located near modern-day Datong. Twitchett and Tietze (1994), xxix. and Wittfogel and Feng (1946), 44. Each circuit was headed by a powerful viceroy who had the autonomy to tailor policies to meet the needs of the population within his circuit. Circuits were further subdivided into administrations called fu (府), which were metropolitan areas surrounding capital cities, and outside of metropolitan areas were divided into prefectures called zhou (州), which themselves were divided into counties called xian (县). Wittfogel and Feng (1946), 45. Despite these administrative systems, important state decisions were still made by the emperor. The emperor met with officials from the Northern and Southern Administrations twice a year, but aside from that the emperor spent much of his time attending to tribal affairs outside of the capital cities. Twitchett and Tietze (1994), 79-80. Society and culture Spoken and written languages thumb right The Memorial for Yelü Yanning (File:Yanningmuzhi.jpg), which contains 271 characters of Khitan large script The Khitan spoken language (Khitan language) is most closely related to the Mongolic language family (Mongolic languages); some broader definitions of the Mongolic family include Khitan as a member. More broadly, Khitan is an Altaic language (Altaic languages), although scholars are divided on the question whether the Altaic is a true language family or linguistic area in which originally distinct languages have influenced each other over a long period. Khitan shares some terms with the Altaic but non-Mongolic Turkic (Turkic languages) spoken by the Uighur peoples, who shared the steppes of North Asia with the Khitans for several hundred years. Mote (1999), 34. Prior to their conquest of north China and the establishment of the Liao dynasty, the Khitans had no written language. In 920 the first of two Khitan scripts, the Khitan large script, was developed. A second script, the Khitan small script, was developed in 925. Kane (2009), 2-3. Both scripts are based on the same spoken language, and both contain a mix of logographs (Logogram) and phonographs (Syllabary). Kane (2009), 167-168. Despite the similarities to Chinese characters, the Khitan scripts were functionally different from Chinese. Few documents written in either the Khitan large or small script survive to this day. Most surviving specimens of both Khitan scripts (List of Khitan inscriptions) are epitaph inscriptions on stone tablets, as well as a number of inscriptions on coins, mirrors and seals (Seal (emblem)). Only a single manuscript text in the Khitan large script is known (Nova N 176), and no manuscripts in the Khitan small script are known. ) were a Mongolic people that inhabited far-eastern Mongolia, northern Inner Mongolia and northern Manchuria and were recorded from the time of the Northern Wei (386-534) until the rise of the Mongols of Genghis Khan in 1206 when the name "Mongol" and "Tatar" were applied to all the Shiwei tribes. They were closely related to the Khitan people to their south. As a result of pressure from the west, south and south-east they never established unified, semi-sedentarized empires like their neighbors, but remained at the level of a nomadic confederation led by tribal chieftains, alternately submitting to the Turks, the Chinese and the Khitan as the political climate evolved. The Mengwu Shiwei, one of the twenty Shiwei tribes during the Tang dynasty (618-907), were called the Menggu during the Liao dynasty (907-1125) and are generally considered to be the ancestors of the Mongols of Genghis Khan. The ancient Korean pronunciation of Mengwu (蒙兀 蒙瓦) is "Mong-ol". Mongolia is still called "Menggu" in Chinese today. After the fall of Liao, Song court wanted the Sixteen Prefectures as promised. Jin sold the land at a price of 300,000 bolts of silk and 200,000 ounces of silver. This price was considered to be extremely generous because it was the tribute that Song was already paying to the former Liao dynasty annually since the Shanyuan Treaty of 1005 AD.