Mount Aqraa

Mount Aqraa

Mount Aqra` (Arabic: جبل الأقرع‎ ǧabal al-Aqra` ); also known as Zaphon in the Bible, Kel Dağı in Turkish, Mount Casius to the Greeks, and Mount Hazzi to the Hurrians) is a mountain located near the mouth of the Orontes River on the Syrian-Turkish border around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of Ras al-Bassit (ancient Posideium) and around 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit).

Rising directly from a narrow coastal plain, Jebel Aqra is a mariners' landmark with a long history as a sacred mountain.

According to Ugaritic texts it was the sacred mountain of the storm god Baal (Baal-Hadad in ancient Canaanite mythology), where his palace was erected of blue lapis and silver and where his lightning overcame the nearby sea (Yam) and Death (Mot) himself. The thunderstorm-gathering mountain was an object of cult itself, and on it dwelt also the goddess Anat. On its bare limestone peak the cult-site is represented by a huge mound of ashes and debris, 180 feet wide and 26 feet deep, of which only the first 6 feet have been excavated, in which the excavators reached only as far as Hellenistic strata before closing down.

The mountain, Robin Lane Fox observes, had an earlier sacred history among the Hurrians, who had known the mountain as Hazzi and placed their own storm god Teshub on its summit. Hittite rulers took up the name of its storm king and his victory over the sea by which he established his "kingship in heaven", according to texts found at the Hittite capital Hattusa.

Read more about Mount Aqraa:  Baal-zephon

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