Turkey 2016– Part Eleven, Mt. Nimrud

The climb up Mt. Nimrud is breath-taking, quite literally, and for some reason it was harder for me this time than five years ago. Surely it couldn’t be because I’m older now— could it? But even more breath-taking is the view in all directions from the top of Mt. Nimrud. When one approaches this peak from a distance it stands out from the range it is in, not least because of its artificial top, which may or may not contain the tomb of Antiochus (probably not). Here’s the view…. nim1nim2 The top of the mountain is all gravel or pulverized stone because before the twentieth century a crazy German tourist who thought they were Indiana Jones thought they could find the lost tomb by using dynamite on the summit of the mountain—-a big mistake! nim3

Antiochus had a vision of including himself amongst the deities on the top of the mountain. What remains today is various of the heads of statues, and some statue bases, but here is what an artist thinks it originally looked like….
nim5 nim6 This is an aerial view of the east side of the mountain. And here is the schematic of the top of the mountain…

The statues face both the rising and the setting sun and they are very deliberately placed in regard to how the sun would shine on each side of the mountain at the solstices. Much of this has to do with astrological speculation. Here first is the Aslan, the Turkish word for lion…..nim6 Here are some of the descriptions of the statues…nim12nim10
nim7nim8 Originally they may have looked like this when the heads were not off the bases…. nim9

Today the heads look like this…..nim13nim14nim15nim17nim18nim19nim20nim22

The bases of the statues are interesting in their own right….

By far my favorite however is the stone relief of Antiochus in his astrological jammys and hat shaking his tambourine, or in this case sistrum of some kind…..nim27nim28nim28

nim29 Wait look, someone has joined the astrological dance with Antiochus…..nim30

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