Mausoleum of King Antiochus I

Mausoleum of King Antiochus I
Mausoleum of King Antiochus I

In eastern Turkey are the remains of what was once a grandiose Hellenistic monument. The mausoleum of King Antiochus I, who ruled the Commagene kingdom in the mid-1st century BC. A mausoleum located on Mount Nemrut, at no more and no less than 2,150 meters above sea level, and which today remains in a state of ruin, although even so, given the size of the vestiges found tell us about a spectacular place.


Heads of Mount Nemrut

Despite the size of the finds, they were not discovered until the end of the 19th century. And also that was a coincidence, since they emerged during a study of roads in the area.

The find was impressive for several reasons. One of them due to the appearance of various heads of colossal dimensions as well as interesting reliefs. And secondly, because it was something that we can surprisingly describe as a small Hellenistic kingdom that in the 1st century BC was allied with the powerful Rome.

How could that date be assured? Thanks to the inscriptions found, one of which identified the enclosure as the mausoleum of King Antiochus I. A character who wanted to be buried at the highest point of his domain in order to be closer to the gods, both Greek and Persian, perhaps and as he himself left in writing.

Even though I wasn't aloneburied here he. He is also part of his family, from his father to his royal wives.

The truth is that the feat of building all this at such heights and in quite adverse weather conditions is something to admire, and sometimes even incomprehensible. Even more so if you take into account that it was not built in any way, and that it is to be assumed that the best artists of the moment would work here, who above all have bequeathed us an impressive set of sculptures.

he ordered the construction of a burial mound that reached fifty meters in height. And there great statues of up to 9 meters high representing Greek and Persian gods, such as Hercules or Mithras, were placed. But the king also had himself portrayed in one of those sculptures, and the curious thing is that due to his attitude and his features it is not difficult to establish a resemblance to some sculptures of Alexander the Great.

We can identify all these sculptures, which were seated, thanks to the inscriptions. Just as other mythological figures are identified in the form of lions or protective eagles.

However, unfortunately, these sculptures are currently in a sorry state despite being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In fact, some of these heads are knocked over and lying on the ground. Like all of them, they reflect vandal damage, which is largely attributed to the most radical and iconoclastic currents. Some incomprehensible destruction, just like today it is incomprehensible how it could bebuild this entire art complex in a place as inhospitable as Mount Nemrud.

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