Cedar of Lebanon 50 Piastres Lebanon Authentic Coin Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (50 Qirsha) (Gilgamesh) 1980
Cedar of Lebanon 50 Piastres Lebanon Authentic Coin Charm for Jewelry and Craft Making (50 Qirsha) (Gilgamesh)
Obverse: A cedar tree - the symbol of Lebanon
1980 · ١٩٨٠
★ BANQUE DU LIBAN ★
Bank of Lebanon
Reverse: Two wreath branches surrounding the denomination.
Period Lebanese Republic (1943-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Value 50 Piastres (0.5 LBP)
Currency Lebanese pound (1939-date)
Weight 6 g
Diameter 24 mm
Thickness 1.83 mm
Orientation Coin alignment ↑↓
Number N# 1314
References KM# 28, Schön# 29
Cedrus libani, the cedar of Lebanon or Lebanese cedar (Arabic: أرز لبناني, romanized: ʾarz Lubnāniyy), is a species of tree in the pine family Pinaceae, native to the mountains of the Eastern Mediterranean basin. It is a large evergreen conifer that has great religious and historical significance in the cultures of the Middle East, and is referenced many times in the literature of ancient civilisations. It is the national emblem of Lebanon and is widely used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
History and symbolism
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest great works of literature, the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu travel to the legendary Cedar Forest to kill its guardian and cut down its trees. While early versions of the story place the forest in Iran, later Babylonian accounts of the story place the Cedar Forest in the Lebanon.
The Lebanon cedar is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible. Hebrew priests were ordered by Moses to use the bark of the Lebanon cedar in the treatment of leprosy. Solomon also procured cedar timber to build the Temple in Jerusalem. The Hebrew prophet Isaiah used the Lebanon cedar as a metaphor for the pride of the world, with the tree explicitly mentioned in Psalm 92:12 as a symbol of the righteous.
National and regional significance
The Flag of Lebanon
The Lebanon cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon, and is displayed on the flag of Lebanon and coat of arms of Lebanon. It is also the logo of Middle East Airlines, which is Lebanon's national carrier. Beyond that, it is also the main symbol of Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution" of 2005, the 2019–20 Lebanese protests, also known as Thawra (meaning revolution in Arabic) along with many Lebanese political parties and movements, such as the Lebanese Forces. Finally, Lebanon is sometimes metonymically referred to as the Land of the Cedars.
Arkansas, among other states, has a Champion Tree program that records exceptional tree specimens. The Lebanon cedar recognized by the state is located inside Hot Springs National Park and is estimated to be over 100 years old.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh
Tablet four tells the story of the journey to the Cedar Forest. On each day of the six-day journey, Gilgamesh prays to Shamash; in response to these prayers, Shamash sends Gilgamesh oracular dreams during the night. The first is not preserved. In the second, Gilgamesh dreams that he wrestles a great bull that splits the ground with his breath. Enkidu interprets the dream for Gilgamesh: the dream means that Shamash, the bull, will protect Gilgamesh. In the third, Gilgamesh dreams:
The skies roared with thunder and the earth heaved,
Then came darkness and a stillness like death.
Lightning smashed the ground and fires blazed out;
Death flooded from the skies.
When the heat died and the fires went out,
The plains had turned to ash.
Enkidu's interpretation is missing here, but as with the other dreams, it is assumed he puts a positive spin on the volcanic dream. The fourth dream is missing, but Enkidu again tells Gilgamesh that the dream portends success in the upcoming battle. The fifth dream is also missing.
At the entrance to the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh begins to quake with fear; he prays to Shamash, reminding him that he had promised Ninsun that he would be safe. Shamash calls down from heaven, ordering him to enter the forest because Humbaba is not wearing all his armor. The demon Humbaba wears seven coats of armor, but now he is only wearing one, so he is particularly vulnerable. Enkidu loses his courage and turns back; Gilgamesh falls on him and they have a great fight. Hearing the crash of their fighting, Humbaba comes stalking out of the Cedar Forest to challenge the intruders. A large part of the tablet is missing here. On the one part of the tablet still remaining, Gilgamesh convinces Enkidu that they should stand together against the demon.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu enter the gloriously beautiful Cedar Forest and begin to cut down the trees. Hearing the sound, Humbaba comes roaring up to them and warns them off. Enkidu shouts at Humbaba that the two of them are much stronger than the demon, but Humbaba, who knows Gilgamesh is a king, taunts the king for taking orders from a nobody like Enkidu. Turning his face into a hideous mask, Humbaba begins to threaten the pair, and Gilgamesh runs and hides. Enkidu shouts at Gilgamesh, inspiring him with courage, and Gilgamesh appears from hiding and the two begin their epic battle with Humbaba. Shamash intrudes on the battle, helping the pair, and Humbaba is defeated. On his knees, with Gilgamesh's sword at his throat, Humbaba begs for his life and offers Gilgamesh all the trees in the forest and his eternal servitude. While Gilgamesh is thinking this over, Enkidu intervenes, telling Gilgamesh to kill Humbaba before any of the gods arrive and stop him from doing so. Should he kill Humbaba, he will achieve widespread fame for all the times to come. Gilgamesh, with a great sweep of his sword, removes Humbaba's head. But before he dies, Humbaba screams out a curse on Enkidu: "Of you two, may Enkidu not live the longer, may Enkidu not find any peace in this world!" Soon later Enkidu becomes sick and dies.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the cedar forest and in particular the tallest of the cedar trees to make a great cedar gate for the city of Nippur. They build a raft out of the cedar and float down the Euphrates to their city.
After these events, Gilgamesh, his fame widespread and his appearance resplendent in his wealthy clothes, attracts the sexual attention of the goddess Ishtar, who comes to Gilgamesh and offers to become his lover. Gilgamesh refuses with insults, listing all the mortal lovers that Ishtar has had and recounting the dire fates they all met with at her hands. Deeply insulted, Ishtar returns to heaven and begs her father, the sky-god Anu, to let her have the Bull of Heaven to wreak vengeance on Gilgamesh and his city:
Father, let me have the Bull of Heaven
To kill Gilgamesh and his city.
For if you do not grant me the Bull of Heaven,
I will pull down the Gates of Hell itself,
Crush the doorposts and flatten the door,
And I will let the dead leave
And let the dead roam the earth
And they shall eat the living.
The dead will overwhelm all the living!