Transporting the “Goodly Cedars” of Lebanon

Lost Art Press

In the ancient Mediterranean world the Phoenicians were suppliers of timber to kingdoms poor in wood and other natural resources. The cedars of Lebanon, Cedrislibani, were especially valued for their fragrance and resistance to rot and insects.

In the Old Testament, Hiram, King of Tyre sends cedar for the temple in Jerusalem and the houses of David and Solomon. Cedar was used in Egypt for constructing royal sarcophagi and the resin was used for mummification. Cuneiform inscriptions tell us the Assyrians imported timber from the region of Lebanon starting at the end of the second millenium B.C.

Assyrian King Sargon II (721-705 B.C) imported cedar from Lebanon for his palace at Khorsabad (present-day Iraq). A series of stone friezes from Khorsabad record how cedar logs were processed and transported in the ancient world. The friezes are in the collection of the Louvre and on permanent display.

The first frieze takes place…

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