Mount Nemrut

A horrendous battle ensued in the mountains of south east Turkey. The year is 190 BC, and the Romans have decided to establish territory further into the lands of the nomadic. A siege is laid against the Seleucid Empire, and the Battle of Magnesia transpired, for them to finally be defeated by the Romans. Later on in the century, new kingdoms were established throughout the territory, further expanding the rule of the Roman empire.

King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, one of the Seleucid successor states, decides  to occupy land between the Taurus mountains and the Euphrates. He leads a diverse state, which convinced its leaders to carry on a peculiar dynastic religious program. This sort of program is a blend of Armenian, Greek and Persian deities. The reasoning behind this is to unify Antiochus’s multiethnic kingdom and secure his dynasty authority.

To ensure this for the long run, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene build on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary. He adds huge statues of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Medes gods. He seats them with names of each god inscribed on them, so that all passerbys knew the greatness that they have bestowed upon them. Antiochus supported his cult as a propagator of happiness and salvation.

Throughout the years, several of his successors had their own tombs built on Mount Nemrud. the heads of the statues have been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site. The snowy mountains and windy weather affect the statues and increases their withering more and more into the ground.

Current day, many of the ruins on Mount Nemrut are monuments of the imperial cult of Commagene. The most important area to the cult was the tomb of Antiochus I, which was decorated with colossal statues made of limestone. In 1987, Mount Nemrut was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tourists typically visit Nemrut during April through October as well as the nearby town of Adıyaman, which is a popular place for car and bus trips to the site.

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