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Blog 15 (08/19)

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Mount Nemrut

Last month, our visit to Malatya, was yet another revelation about the ancient and varied heritage of Turkey. So many civilizations have inhabited this land and left traces of their culture. Arslantepe and Mount Nemrut provided experiences from different eras.

Mount Nemrut was developed by Antiochus, a post-Alexander satrap from the eastern Mediterranean. You are aware that Alexander stopped his campaign and went homewards after his bitter struggle against Porus on the Hydaspes. After his death, the Greek generals carved up his empire, as none was powerful enough to control all of it, in its entirety. Four major successors emerged with the one on the eastern Mediterranean being more prosperous than many others.

Antiochus was one of the satraps, though he was not the most powerful. He led many campaigns and sought legitimacy by claiming both Persian and Greek heritage, an indication of the powers of the time. He ordered the construction of huge statues of Greek gods atop a mountain and a funerary mound made of pebbles looking out to the far horizons sought to establish the legend of a king to posterity. We find Zeus sharing the platform with Ahuramazda and Hercules with Verathrana, representing the blend of Greek and Persian traditions. The scale is impressive but it seems Antiochus never visited the site!