An important Latin inscription is engraved on a massive rock that borders the Ehmej-Laqlouq road.
Between the 1st and the 2nd century AD, a massive deforestation of the Lebanese mountains took place for commercial and construction purposes. This event threatened the industry of ship-building, putting at risk the maritime military and commercial power of Rome over the Mediterranean sea.
Consequently, Emperor Hadrian (76 AD - 138 AD) prohibited cutting down four main species of tree necessary for naval construction – The Cedars, the Cilician Fir, the Cypress Leaf Juniper and the Oak tree.
This ban was reflected through hundreds of rock engravings between the Metn and the Akkar districts.
These inscriptions are known today as the Hadrian Inscriptions.
The letters found on the rock are as following:
IMP HAD AVG DFS which stands for IMPeratoris HADriani AVGusti DFinitio Siluarum
Emperor Hadrian Augustus Forest Boundaries - in other words, the forests of Mount Lebanon were part of the domain of emperor Hadrian.
The Hadrian inscriptions can only be found in Mount Lebanon, making it a unique heritage in the world.
This act by Emperor Hadrian is considered by many scholars as one of the first initiatives to protect the rich forests of Mount Lebanon. A similar act was executed about 700 years earlier by the Assyrians who ruled over Lebanon when, at one point, the forests belonged to the Assyrian empire, thus prohibiting the cut down of trees and limiting this act to the governors only.
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Tour Operator & Tour Guide
Mission de Phénicie, Ernest Renan, 1864-74
Les Inscriptions Forestieres d'Hadrien, Hani Abdul-Nour
IMP HAD AVG DFS
The rock that bears the inscription (bottom right side)