Arqa

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Arqa
City
Map showing the location of Arqa within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Arqa within Lebanon
Arqa
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 34°31′50″N 36°02′45″E / 34.53056°N 36.04583°E / 34.53056; 36.04583Coordinates: 34°31′50″N 36°02′45″E / 34.53056°N 36.04583°E / 34.53056; 36.04583
Country  Lebanon
Governorate North Governorate
District Akkar District
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Dialing code +961

Arqa (Phoenician: Irqata; Hebrew: ערקת‎, Arkat in the Bible) is a village near Miniara in Akkar District of the North Governorate in Lebanon, 22 km northeast of Tripoli, near the coast. It is significant for the Tell Arqa, an archaeological site that goes back to Neolithic times, and during the Crusades there was a strategically significant castle.

It is mentioned in antiquity in the Amarna letters of Egypt-(as Irqata), as well as in Assyrian documents.

The Roman town was named Caesarea of Lebanon or Arca Caesarea. The Emperor Alexander Severus was born there.

1350 BC Amarna letters Irqata[edit]

Arqa has the distinction of being a city-state that wrote one of the 382 Amarna letters to the pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

The city-state Irqata was the 3rd city of the Rib-Hadda letters, (68 letters), that were the last hold-outs against the Hapiru. Sumur(u)-(Zemar) was the 2nd hold-out city besides Rib-Hadda's Byblos, (named Gubla). Eventually, the 'king of Irqata' , Aduna was killed along with other city kings, and also the 'mayor' of Gubla, Rib-Hadda. Rib-Hadda's brother, Ili-Rapih, became the successor mayor of Gubla, and Gubla never fell to the Hapiru.

During Rib-Hadda's lengthy opposition to the Habiru, even the city-state of "Irqata and its elders", wrote to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten for assistance. (EA 100, EA for 'el Amarna').

The letter is entitled: "The city of Irqata to the king".

This tablet-(i.e. tablet letter) is a tablet from Irqata. To the king, our lord: Message from Irqata and its el[d]ers. We fall at the feet of the king, our lord, 7 times and 7 times. To our lord, the Sun: Message from Irqata. May the heart of the king, (our) lord, know that we guard Irqata for him.
When the [ki]ng, our lord, sent D[UMU]-Bi-ha-a, he said to [u]s, "Message of the king: "Guard Irqata"! " The sons of the traitor to the king seek our harm; Irqata see[ks] loyalty to the king. As to [ silver ] having been given to S[u]baru al[ong with] horses and cha[riots] , may you know the mind of Irqata. When a tablet from the king arrived (saying) to ra[id] the land that the 'A[piru] had taken [from] the king, they wa[ged] war with us against the enemy of our lord, the man whom you pla[ced] over us. Truly—we are guarding the l[and]. May the king, our lord, heed the words of his loyal servants.
May he grant a gift to his servant(s) so our enemies will see this and eat dirt. May the breath of the king not depart from us. We shall keep the city gate barred until the breath of the king reaches us. Severe is the war against us—terribly! terribly! -EA 100, lines 1-44 (complete)

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