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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 September 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2017 19 FEATURE Wall relief of Antiochus I Theos of Commagene shaking hands (dexiosis) with Vahagn. Stunning Mount Nemrut dağ. West Terrace; God of Zeus, Commagene, Eagle Head, Commagene and Herakles. metres, something that the US has copied at Mt Rushmore! The Commagenean statues depict Antiochos and twelve gods and have Greek inscriptions on their backs. Each of the gods was based on a hybrid of Hellenic and Persian. One of the inscriptions outlines his belief as follows: ‘I chose to make this holy place a common consecrated seat of all the gods; so that not only the heroic company of my ancestors, whom you behold before you, might be set up here by my pious devotion, but also that the divine representation of the manifest deities might be consecrated on the holy hill and that his place might likewise not be lacking in witness to my piety.’ Around 69 BCE the Romans, who had defeated the Seleucid Empire once and for all, made a play for Samosata. The confident Romans were actually repelled by the determined defenders. The strength of the kingdom was again tested in 17 AD when Roman Emperor Tiberius annexed Commagene, only for Caligula to reinstate independence with additional territory in Cilicia, over two decades later. In 72, the Emperor Vespasian, acting on intelligence of a possible attack by Hellenes of Commagene, decided to formally annex the area. It was absorbed with ease into the province of Syria. The Commagene military was assimilated with the Romans rather than be disbanded. The final royal connection was Philopappos; he was treated well as was his family. They dispersed to Rome and he himself to Athens where he served the city in public life, and by 109 AD had been made a Consul in Rome! A visitor to Athens can find a tomb that was erected on Mouseion Hill, near the famous Acropolis. The hill is therefore called Philopappos Hill. I have to say that this was a great way for this Hellenic fusion kingdom to meet its end. Alexander the Great would have been proud of the way Commagene brought elements of different cultures together. Whilst the Hellenic kingdom in India which ended around 10 AD is more of an out and out Hellenic kingdom, Commagene can lay claim to being one too, as outlined above. This would mean that the last Hellenic kingdom actually finished in 72 AD, if one were to argue that it was Hellenic. * The Nemrut Dagi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. *Billy Cotsis is the author of ‘From Pyrrhus to Cyprus: Remembered and Forgotten Hellenic Kingdoms, Empires, Territories and a Fiefdom’.
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