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Panoramic Views > Bekaa > El Hermel > Cuneiform Inscription Wadi Brissa

A Cuneiform Inscription at Wadi Brissa

Going up the valley of Sharbeen (also spelt Charbine) above Hermel to the north-west, at one of the sources of the Orontes one comes to the village of Brissa. Then going south at the bottom of the gorge one finds two opposing rock faces, and on either side, three meters or so high and two wide, there remains visible a cuneiform inscription which has been much damaged and quite recently barred with streaks of blue whitewash, a tragic case of vandalism.

This inscription, which in 1905 was still legible but is now decipherable only in parts, was translated by Weissbach, a German. Inscribed in the Akkadian language, it relates the deeds of Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, who came to Lebanon to procure cedar wood in order to worthily embellish his palace and the temple of the god Mardok, protector of his city and his kingdom, between the years 604 and 562 B.C.. It was during the time of this king that the Great Exile of the Jews occurred, in 587 B.C., but the stele of Brissa seems somewhat older, for the king represents himself as restoring the situation and as being in fact the adversary of the Pharoah Nekao, who had recently defeated the Assyrian Empire and extended his power over the “Mashraq”, the Levant – what is now Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. Nabuchodonosor in fact had set about regaining these regions:

“Trusting in the power of our gods Nabu and Mardok, I mobilized an army and launched an expedition ... I cleansed Lebanon of its enemies and brought back there its scattered children. Then I did something that no one before me had done, making roads across the steep mountains, cleaving the rocks and opening the ways, leaving routes for the transport of the cedars, mighty giant trees, with beautiful wood of excellent deep color, which grow in Lebanon like reeds in a river. I crossed deep valleys and opened for my army passages through the rocks. I reached the mountains of the cedar trees with their enchanting scent that no other god had breathed in and which no other king had cut down, meaning to use them for our palaces and for the temples of our gods Nabu and Mardok. And I ensured for Lebanon peace and security, and to teach a lesson to those who lusted after this land I raised this stele where I proclaim myself king of this country whose reign is without end (Greetings to him who is ready to listen!)”

- Cuneiform Inscription at Wadi Brissa: >> View Movie << (2009-06-01)



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