The name Lebanon


The name Lebanon

Lebanon is an Aramaic word which means “white”.

The name of the country is derived from Mt. Lebanon, a mountain range that extends to most parts of the region. The mountain is then called Lebanon as a reference to the Aramaic word which pertains to a snow-covered peak.

Lebanon is geographically located in the Middle East near Israel and Egypt. Due to this, it became part of the setting from which Christianity developed. The Holy Bible mentions Lebanon 71 times, mostly referring to it as a place with abundant milk and honey; along with cedar trees from which King Solomon made himself a palanquin from the wood of Lebanon. It is also from these woods that King Solomon was said to have created his temple.

The oldest mention of the word Lebanon came from the Ebla tablets which are dated Early Bronze Age. Other mentions of the name have also been found in different texts from the library of Elba which is considered by some as the oldest library in the world as far as third millennium BC.

Lebanon is also included in three of the twelve tablets in the Epic of Gilgamesh dated as early as 2100 BC. Particularly, the epic tells of how Gilgamesh and Enkidu journeys to the legendary cedar forest where they plan to kill Humbaba and cut off a cedar tree.

The ancient name of Lebanon is then recorded by Ancient Egyptians as “Rmnn” after the Phoenicians who were the early settlers of the place.

Mount Lebanon also lent its name to two political parties: Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate and Mount Lebanon Governorate. These parties arose during the rise of nationalism and after the civil war of 1860.

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