September 28, 2012

0345 TURKEY (Southeastern Anatolia Region) - Nemrut Dağ (UNESCO WHS)

Just as after the death of Alexander the Great the empire created by him was divided, but without being lost Hellenistic influence (quite the contrary), after the defeat of the Seleucid Empire by the Romans in 189 BC, at the Battle of Magnesia, it began to fall apart and new kingdoms were formed on its territory. One of these states was Hellenistic Kingdom of Commagene, which occupied the region between the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates. Because Mithridates I Callinicus (100-69 BC) married the Syrian Greek Princess Laodice VII Thea, his descendants could claim ties with both Alexander the Great and the Persian kings, the kingdom becoming more Greek then Persian.

As his name suggests (Antiochus I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes Philorhomaios Philhellenos, meaning "Antiochus, a just, eminent god, friend of Romans and friend of Greeks"), the son of Mithridates I introduced in Commagene's religious pantheon not only Greek and Persian deities, but also his family, probably to unify his multiethnic kingdom and secure his dynasty's authority. Unfortunately his status as a God didn't prevent per Phraates IV of Parthia to assassinate him in 36 BC.

Antiochus built his tomb during his lifetime, "in a high and holy place, remote from people and close to the gods". This tomb-sanctuary, located on Mount Nemrut (Nemrud Dagi in turkish), in southeastern actual Turkey, impresses even today by its size and syncretism, being considered by UNESCO (which included it in 1987 in its list of World Heritage Sites, under the name Nemrut Dağ) "one of the most colossal undertakings of the Hellenistic epoch".

Built on the mountain top of the mountain, it is flanked by monumental statues (8-9m) of Antiochus, two lions, two eagles and Greek, Armenian, and Persian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes, Tyche, and Apollo-Mithras. The statues' heads have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site. Also the noses were broken, this pattern suggesting that they were deliberately damaged by the iconoclasts.

Have been also preserved until today stone slabs with bas-relief figures, that are thought to have formed a frieze containing all the ancestors of Antiochus, both Greek and Persians, because he descended, as I say, from Darius through his father and from Alexander the Great through his mother. The same statues can be found on the tumulus at the site, which is 49m tall and 152m in diameter. The statues appear to have Greek-style facial features, but Persian clothing and hairstyling.

It seems that Antiochus was inspired to create his own cult in the Greek form of the Zoroastrianism, and he left many inscriptions revealing many aspects of his religion and explaining his purpose of action. Among other, he proclaimed: "Those who come to visit my grave should wear their most beautiful clothes and the most fragrant perfumes. I will give them happiness and prosperity for generations on these lands."

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series of two (with the values of 1.00 and 2.00 TRL), issued on June 9, 2012, and dedicated to the second edition of Istanbul Shopping Fest, which took place between the dates June 9 to 29, 2012. As a detail, to this festival were practiced discounts of up to 50% on offer, and first on the top of the spending were Azerbaijanis, followed by UAE and China.

Mount Nemrut - Wikipedia
Nemrut Dagi: Tomb of King Antiochus I - Rome Art Lover
Adıyaman - The City at the Foot of the Nemrut Mountain - Enjoy Turkye
Stamps issued with TR049.12 - UPU official site

Sender: Mina (direct swap)
Sent from Ankara (Turkey), on 07.09.2012

No comments:

Post a Comment