Akkad language this place is for the first time mentioned
and called: sik-ku-u. It was one of the places belonging to the kingdom of Sidon,
that was annexed by Esarhaddon, the king of Assyria
in 676/66 BC. Esarhaddon let us know, that those are cities where there was
‘fodder and water’.
The second city in the list of Esarhaddon is Sikku or šikku, a name that should be related to Hebrew skw/h, a lion’s den. This word is attested in Jer.25:38 = He left like a young lion his den …… and Psalm 10:9 = He lay an ambush in a hidden place, like a lion in his den ….
This interpretation suggests identifying S/šikku with Leontopolis of Ps.Skylax and of Strabo.
Sikku is even more difficult to find in nowadays Libanon. But we know, that it has to be somewhere around
, because of the order from south to
north in the list of Esarhaddon. And we get some help from classical authors.
Strabo enumerates the Sidon , the holy grave of
Asclepius, and Leontopolis. The Tamyras
River is the Nahr
ad-Damur, while Eshmun’s sanctuary is at Bostan aš-šayḥ, on the Nahr al-Awwali.
Leontopolis should thus be located between the Nahr al-Awwali and Tamyras
River . Now, precisely in
this area, about 2 km from the old centre of Sidon , at the northern extremity of the
suburb of al-Baramiyé or El Bouramieh and near the Nahr al-Giyas. The Han Abu
šaka seems to preserve the ancient place name. This (k)han is apparently also
called Khan es Sakkiyeh. Sidon
However, 6,5 km north of the Nahr al-Awwali, the old road to
crosses the Wadi as-Sekke, where there
as a khan with a few houses. I am not certain, if it is the Ouadi de Zeini, or
the Ouadi Halaya. Nevertheless this is a good alternative. H.Sadr identifies
S/šikku in 1997 at Rmayla (c.8 km north of the center of Beirut ).
There is even a third possibility, because Plinius (V.78) says: Leontos oppiddum lies between
Lycus river (Nahr el-Kelb), but this is too far to the north. Beirut
One can thus hesitate for the location of S/šikku between al-Baramiyé and a site near the khan at the Wadi as-Sekke. At those places no excavation has been done so far. We will have to wait for that. After that maybe a more decisive conclusion can be drawn.