Arqa (Arabic: عرقا‎) (Phoenician: Irqata; Hebrew: ערקת, 'Arqat in the Bible) is a Sunni village[1] near Miniara in Akkar Governorate, Lebanon, 22 km northeast of Tripoli, near the coast.

The former bishopric became a double Catholic titular see (Latin and Maronite). The Roman Emperor Alexander Severus was born there. 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.


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


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/Phoenicia) or Arca Caesarea.


1350 BC Amarna letters Irqata

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 (H)Apiru invasion. 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)

Hellenistic and Roman period

After the death of Alexander the Great Arca came under the control first of the Lagids then of the Seleucids. When the Romans gained control over this part of western Asia, they entrusted Arca as a client tetrarchy or vassal principality to a certain Sohaimos, who died in AD 48 or 49. It was then incorporated in the Roman province of Syria, but was soon entrusted to Herod Agrippa II. Pliny the Elder counts it among the tetrarchies of Syria. It was at this time that its name was changed to Caesarea,[2] distinguished from other cities of that name by being called Caesarea ad Libanum or Arca Caesarea. Under Septimius Severus (193–211) it was made part of the province of Syria Phoenicia and so became known as Arca in Phoenicia. Under his son Caracalla (198–217) it became a colonia and in 208 Alexander Severus was born at Arca during a stay of his parents there.[3]

Crusades period

At the time of the First Crusade, Arca became an important strategic point of control over the roads from Tripoli to Tartus and Homs. Raymond of Toulouse unsuccessfully besieged it for three months in 1099. In 1108, his nephew William II Jordan conquered it and it became part of the County of Tripoli. It resisted an attack by Nur ad-Din, atabeg of Aleppo in 1167 and another in 1171.

It finally fell to Muslim forces of the Sultan Baibars in 1265 or 1266. When Tripoli itself fell in 1289 to the army of Sultan Qalawun and was razed to the ground, Arca lost its strategic importance and thereafter is mentioned only in ecclesiastical chronicles.

Ecclesiastical history

Arca in Phoenicia became the seat of a Christian bishop in the Roman province of Phoenicia Prima, a suffragan of the capital's metropolitan see of Tyre.

Of its bishops, Lucianus professed the faith of the First Council of Nicaea at a synod held in Antioch in 363, Alexander was at the First Council of Constantinople in 381, Reverentius became archibishop of Tyre, Marcellinus was a participant at the Council of Ephesus in 431, Epiphanius took part in a synod at Antioch in 448, and Heraclitus participated in the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and was a signatory of the letter that the bishops of the province of Syria Phoenicia sent in 458 to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian to protest about the murder of Proterius of Alexandria.[4][5][6]

No longer a residential bishopric, Arca in Phoenicia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see,[7] in two traditions: Latin and Maronite (Eastern Catholic, Antiochian Rite in Syriac).

Latin titular see

The nominally restored diocese has had non-consecutive titular bishops as a Latin Catholic titular bishopric since the 18th century.

It is vacant, having had the following incumbents, all of the lowest (episcopal) rank :

Maronite titular see

Established as Titular Episcopal See of Arca (Arca dei Maroniti in Curiate Italian); promoted in 1933 as Titular Archiepiscopal See of Arca in Armenia, in 1941 suppressed, but restored in 1950 as Titular Episcopal See of Arca in Phoenicia.

It has had the following incumbents, all of the lowest (episcopal) rank :

See also


  1. ^ "Municipal and ikhtiyariah elections in Northern Lebanon" (PDF). The Monthly. March 2010. p. 22. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Maurice Sartre, The Middle East under Rome (Harvard University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-67401683-5), p. 77
  3. ^ S.M. Cecchini, "Tell'Arqa" in Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica (Treccani 1997)
  4. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 823-826
  5. ^ Konrad Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, vol. 7, p. 86
  6. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 434
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 837
  • Moran, William L. The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, 1992. (softcover, ISBN 0-8018-6715-0)

Sources and external links

Akkar District

Akkar District (Arabic: قضاء عكار‎) is the only district in Akkar Governorate, Lebanon. It is coextensive with the governorate and covers an area of 788 km2 (304 sq mi). The UNHCR estimated the population of the district to be 389,899 in 2015, including 106,935 registered refugees of the Syrian Civil War and 19,404 Palestinian refugees. The capital is at Halba.

The district is characterized by the presence of a relatively large coastal plain, with high mountains to the east. The largest cities in Akkar are Halba, Bire Akkar and Al-Qoubaiyat.

Akkar has many important Roman and Arabic archaeological sites. One of the most famous archaeological sites and the birthplace of the Roman emperor Severus Alexander (d.235) is the Tell of Arqa near the town of Miniara. Several prehistoric sites were found in the Akkar plain foothills that were suggested to have been used by the Heavy Neolithic Qaraoun culture at the dawn of the Neolithic Revolution.Akkar can be divided into 7 parts: Qaitea (القيطع), Jouma (الجومة), Dreib (الدريب), Jabal Akroum (جبل أكروم), Wadi Khaled (وادي خالد), Cheft (الشفت) and As-sahel (السهل).

Alberto Gorbatt

Alberto Gorbatt (born 1953 in Buenos Aires) is an architect at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning at the University of Buenos Aires.

Ark of the Arqans

Ark of the Arkans is the fourth studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, released in 1985 by Scarface Records. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada. The full title of the album is "Suns of Arqa Vol 5 : Ark of the Arqans, Heaven and Hell, and other strange faces", however it has been referred to simply as 'Ark of the Arqans' where its tracks have appeared on re-issue CDs in later years.

It is the first album to feature Professor Stanley Unwin who provides spoken word accompaniment on some tracks. The third track, an Adrian Sherwood remix of 'Heavenly Bodies', is from the movie 'The Earthlings'. The album 'Ark of the Arqans' has not been released on CD, however five of the six tracks have found their way onto other Suns of Arqa CD releases.Tracks A1, A2 and B2 ('Heavenly Bodies', 'Deep Journey' and 'Ark of the Arqans') all appear on the CD compilation 'Land of a Thousand Churches'.

Track B1 ('Thunder Bolt, Dark Void') appears as a bonus track on the CD re-issue 'Live with Prince Far I'.

Track B3 ('Sanskrit Hymn') appears on the 1992 CD 'Kokoromochi'.

Chris Joyce

Chris Joyce (born Manchester, England, 11 October 1959) is known for being drummer with various groups, and with Simply Red in the 1980s.

Coming from Chorlton, Manchester, he adopted the hippie lifestyle. His most remote band was Fast Breeder, a short-lived late 1970s punk group from Manchester formed by him on drums and Dave Rowbotham on guitar, and managed by Tony Wilson. Wilson called Joyce and Rowbotham to form a band alongside guitarist Vini Reilly and bass guitarist Tony Bowers, The Durutti Column. That line-up released only two songs from Factory's first EP, A Factory Sample, before Joyce. Rowbotham and Bowers quit the band to form another post-punk band around 1979, The Mothmen.

The Mothmen released only two studio albums and a number of singles, before disbanding in the 1980s. During his time with The Mothmen, Joyce worked with Pink Military, London Underground and Judy Nylon. By the mid-1980s, he was working with Suns of Arqa, playing drums on their second LP Wadada Magic. He later formed Simply Red, alongside his bandmate Tony Bowers and singer Mick Hucknall.

Joyce shares further details of his life and career, up to and beyond his work with Simply Red, in his biography on Chris Joyce School of Drums.

Dub Syndicate

Dub Syndicate is a dub band, formed by Adrian Sherwood, which became a showcase for Adrian Sherwood's collaboration with Lincoln "Style" Scott, former drummer with the Roots Radics, Suns of Arqa and Creation Rebel.

Dub Syndicate initially evolved out of Creation Rebel and had a classic dub sound until the third album, Tunes From The Missing Channel (1985), where Dub Syndicate gave birth to a more experimental, technological dub sound. Dub Syndicate's new sound centered on the interaction of Scott, Sherwood, and members of Tackhead, Skip McDonald, Keith LeBlanc and Doug Wimbish.

Dub Syndicate has collaborated with many other artists including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Bim Sherman (vocals), Felix "Deadley Headley" Bennett (saxophone) and Peter "Dr. Pablo" Stroud (melodica), (N.B. Dr. Pablo is not Augustus Pablo).

Most of the band's output has appeared on On-U Sound Records, produced by the label's owner Adrian Sherwood. More recent Dub Syndicate recordings were released on Style Scott's own Lion & Roots record label, and production duties were split between Sherwood, Scientist and Scott. More recently Dub Syndicate has worked with Dancehall artists such as Luciano, Capleton and Jr. Reid.

Scott was found dead in Jamaica on 11 October 2014.


India? is the third studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, recorded and released in 1984 by Rocksteady Records. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada. The spine reads "Suns of Arqa Vol IV - Such big ears, but still you can't see".

India? is a radical departure from the style of the previous two albums Revenge of the Mozabites and Wadada Magic. As the title suggests, this album has a strong Indian feel to its arrangements and instrumentation. It has not been released on CD, however three of the five tracks have found their way onto other Suns of Arqa CD releases.

Track A1 'Give Love' which features Ras Michael appears on the 1991 compilation CD Land of a Thousand Churches, and tracks A3/B2 (Kalashree/Vairabi) both appear on the 1992 CD Kokoromochi.The sleevenotes for this LP include thank-yous to Adrian Sherwood, Style Scott, Gadgi, Martin Hannett, Chris Nagle and Kevin Metcalf.


Jaggernaut is the seventh studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, released in 1989 by Antler/Subway Records. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada.Although the album has never been released on CD, it was remixed by Youth, Greg Hunter and Astralasia in 1992 and released on CD under the new title 'Jaggernaut Whirling Dub'.The original Jaggernaut LP is in four parts. Side A contains the first two, which are based on ragas Bhairavi & Bhupali, and Side B contains interpretations of ragas Yaman Kalyam & Misra Pahvadi.These would later become some of the most often remixed Suns of Arqa tracks, as remixes of the album produced not only Jaggernaut Whirling Dub, but also 'Cradle' (1992) and a further remix album of 'Cradle' in 2002. The B-Sides of a later single 'Erasmus Meets The Earthling' were three tracks remixed from Jaggernaut Whirling Dub, entitled "Whirling Dub", "Whirling Full" and "Whirling Forest".And these re-remixes were themselves remixed further... "Whirling Dub" was yet again remixed by Bryn Jones for Musilimgauze and "Whirling Forest" was remixed for the album 'Technomor' in the late 1990s!

Johar Ali Khan

Johar Ali Khan is an Indian classical violinist. He is the son and disciple of Gohar Ali Khan of Rampur, and belongs to the Patiala Gharana of Rampur. His grandfather was Ali Baksh, the founder of Patiala Gharana, who has produced a number of great musicians like Bade Fateh Ali Khan, Amanat Ali Khan, Asad Amanat Ali Khan, and Hamid Ali Khan.

March from Antioch to Jerusalem during the First Crusade

The First Crusade march down the Mediterranean coast, from recently taken Antioch to Jerusalem, started on 13 January 1099. During the march the Crusaders encountered little resistance, as local rulers preferred to make peace with them and furnish them with supplies rather than fight, with a notable exception of the aborted siege of Arqa. On 7 June, the Crusaders reached Jerusalem, which had been recaptured from the Seljuks by the Fatimids only the year before.

Musical Revue

Musical Revue is a live album featuring Prince Far I and Suns of Arqa released on ROIR Europe in 1988. The album was produced by Phil Rainford and features a live recording of Prince Far I with Suns of Arqa at Band on the Wall in Manchester on 7 December 1982.The sound is fairly rough with Suns of Arqa low in the mix and Prince Far I a little too close. There is lots of dub mixing, delays, reverbs, and repeats flying left and right, and the music appears improvised in places. The music here is more complex than reggae, sometimes moving towards variations on jazz/highlife (e.g. "Brujo Magic").This album captured Prince Far I's last concert. He was murdered in Kingston, Jamaica in 1983.


Myndalne (Ukrainian: Миндальне; Russian: Миндальное) is a village in the Sudak Municipality of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a territory recognized by a majority of countries as part of Ukraine and annexed by Russia as the Republic of Crimea.Previously, the settlement was known as the Arka-Deresi village (Crimean Tatar: Arqa Deresi). Following the forced deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR published a decree on May 18, 1948 renaming the settlement along with many others throughout Crimea from their native Crimean Tatar names to their current variants.Myndalne is located on Crimea's southern shore at an elevation of 134 metres (440 ft). Its population was 6 in the 2001 Ukrainian census. Current population: 143 (2014 Census).

Niya Kingdom

Niya, Niye, and also Niy of Thutmose I's Ancient Egypt, also Nii of the Amarna letters, and Nihe, etc. was a kingdom in Syria, or northern Syria.

In the Amarna letters correspondence of 1350-1335 BC, Nii is only referenced in two letters, but each is of some importance. The city of Tunip in the northern Levant had been trying to communicate to the Egyptian pharaoh for two decades, and finally resorted to another letter, EA 59: entitled: "From the citizens of Tunip", (EA for 'el Amarna'). The city-state of Arqa also sent a letter to pharaoh, requesting aid (EA 100).

The other letter referencing Nii concerns the individual Etakkama, his collusion with the Hittites, and the takeover of territory, 'city-states', and peoples in the northern and western Levant.

Prince Far I

Prince Far I (c. 1944 – 15 September 1983) was a Jamaican reggae deejay, producer and a Rastafarian. He was known for his gruff voice and critical assessment of the Jamaican government. His track "Heavy Manners" used lyrics against measures initiated towards violent crime.


ROIR (pronounced "roar"), or Reachout International Records, is a New York City-based independent record label founded in 1979 by Neil Cooper.ROIR was founded the same year that the Sony Walkman launched, and initially, the label exclusively distributed its releases in cassette format. Much of the label's catalog is now available in CD and LP formats.

ROIR released its first cassette, by James Chance and the Contortions, in 1981. In 1982, ROIR released the compilation album New York Thrash, documenting the hardcore punk scene in the New York metropolitan area. It has since become a definitive album in the genre.Most of ROIR's early catalog consists of punk rock and no wave releases by artists such as Suicide, Glenn Branca, and Lydia Lunch. The label later branched out into other genres including hardcore punk, reggae, ska, psychedelia and dub.

ROIR released early recordings by Bad Brains (Bad Brains), Beastie Boys, Einstürzende Neubauten (2X4), Flipper (Blow'n Chunks), MC5, GG Allin, New York Dolls, Suns of Arqa, Prince Far I, Television, The Legendary Pink Dots, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, The Stimulators, and The Skatalites (Stretching Out).

Revenge of the Mozabites

Revenge of the Mozabites is the first studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, recorded in 1979 and released in 1980 by Rocksteady Records. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada (credited on the sleeve as Michael Mafia), and his friend Adrian Sherwood (credited on the sleeve as Adran Ridims).The tracks on this album are completely eclectic with many different genres featured on the tracks. The styles include Dub, Irish, Indian, and a little flamenco. All tracks from this album were made available on CD in 1992 on the compilation Arqaology, released on Arka Sound.The full album was finally released on CD with its original cover art and track listing by Arka Sound in 2001, with a bonus track "Acid Tabla Remix" which was originally released on the single "GD Magick" in 1983.The album was re-issued on CD in the US by Corbett vs Dempsey in 2017, with three bonus tracks. 'Asian Rebel (Hyphen Dub)' is a dub remix by Brian Hyphen and both this and 'Acid Tabla (Hyphen Edit)' were previously released on the Acid Tabla 12", the latter being the 12" A-Side. 'Sanaiscara Saturn (Hyphen Edit)' is a new edit which is significantly faster and shorter than the original.

Seven (Suns of Arqa album)

Seven is the fifth studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, released in 1987 by Rocksteady Records. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada.

It was not released on CD until 15 years later (ARKA CD 33125 in 2002), with new artwork and a revised track listing. "Erasmus Meets The Earthling" and "Govinda" were omitted in favour of new tracks "Ishwara" and "Sunarqastra", performed with László Hortobágyi. "Libera Me" was edited and renamed "He Did Not Die" (a title used previously for remixes of this track). The CD also featured "Give Love" from India?, "Ark of the Arqans" from Ark of the Arqans, and a live rendition of "Beyond the Beyond".

The two omitted tracks "Erasmus Meets The Earthling" and "Govinda (I Wait Each Day)", can be found on their compilation album, Land of a Thousand Churches, which was released in the early 1990s.

Suns of Arqa

Suns of Arqa are a World Music collective founded in 1979 by Michael Wadada. Since the group's formation, over 200 people from around the world have played and recorded with them, and in many cases these were like-minded musicians Wadada met as he travelled the world. Pioneers of World Beat, Ambient, Downtempo and Electro-Dub, Suns of Arqa draw inspiration from around the world, interpreting indigenous, tribal and classical folk traditions. They have created an impressive legacy and earned worldwide recognition.

Wadada Magic

Wadada Magic is the second studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, recorded and released in 1983 by Antler Records. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada.

The spine of the LP reads "Suns of Arqa Vol III Wadada Magic". The style on this album is quite different from their debut album Revenge of the Mozabites, and the tracks are more dance-oriented. Some of the tracks from this album (A1-A3, B1, B2, B4) were made available on CD in 1992 on the compilation Arqaology, released on Arka Sound.On Arqaology, tracks A1, A2 here are combined as one, as are tracks B1, B2. Track B3 appears on Arqaology in truncated form (just 22 seconds!), however, it appears in full on their later album Magiczna Miłość.

The sleevenotes for this LP includes a dedication to Alice and Harry Ward, presumably relatives of Michael Ward (Wadada).

White Band Speak with Forked Tongue

White Band Speak with Forked Tongue is the sixth studio album by the band Suns of Arqa, recorded with Sprout Head Uprising and released in 1989 by BOP Cassettes. The album was produced by Suns of Arqa founder Michael Wadada. It is a compilation of previous singles, album tracks, new material, cover versions and collaborations. It was released only on cassette in 1989, and many of the tracks were re-issued on the 2018 album Pressure Drop, a tribute to the great Lizard Logan. The style of the album is a radical departure from previous albums, particularly with the more pop-oriented vocals, and the use of Hammond organ, saxophones and trombones.

The album opens with three tracks sung by Helen Watson. The first of these, "Open The Door To Your Heart", was later remixed by Ludo Camberlin for the compilation album Land of a Thousand Churches in the early 1990s. The second, "A Lot of Love" was used on the band's album Seven, as the second part of "Kalilotalove". The third was previously released on Ark of the Arqans.

Side A finished with two backing tracks which the band offered to the public to add their own material to, and then submit for later release.Side B opened with their 1984/1985 singles "Pressure Drop" and "Champs-Élysées"; contained another version of "Heavenly Bodies" from Ark of the Arqans; and finished up with the Sprout Head Uprising single "Electric Animal" from 1981.

Towns and villages
and battles
of the

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