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Ehmej-Laqlouq Inscription

Byblos District

· Byblos

An important Latin inscription is engraved on a massive rock that borders the Ehmej-Laqlouq road.

Why is it an important attraction?

Historical Background

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 prohibited to cut down four main species of tree necessary for naval construction – The Cedars, the Cilician Fir, the Cypress Leaf Juniper and the Oak tree.

This prohibition was reflected on hundreds of rock engravings between the Metn and Akkar districts.

Latin

The letters found on the rock are as following:

IMP HAD AVG DFS

The letters are an abbreviation of: IMPeratoris HADriani AVGusti DFinitio Siluarum

Translation

Emperor Hadrian Augustus Forest Boundaries - in other words, the forests of Mount Lebanon were part of the domain of emperor Hadrian.

Importance

What makes these inscriptions valuable is that nowhere else than in Mount Lebanon did this emperor have these forest inscriptions engraved, making it a unique heritage in the world.

In addition, 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.

Scroll down to enjoy the pictures and to locate the site on the map.

Karim Sokhn

Tour Operator & Tour Guide

References :

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)

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