Nemrud Dag and Arsameia: The Ambition of a Graeco-Persian Dynasty in Turkey with Dr. Guillaume Durand

Nemrud Dag and Arsameia: The Ambition of a Graeco-Persian Dynasty in Turkey with Dr. Guillaume Durand


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The Mausoleum of the Commagene King Antiochus I (69-34 BCE), known as Nemrud Dag (The Mount of Nemrud), is one of the most exceptional monuments of the Hellenistic period, located on one the highest peaks of Mount Taurus, at 7,000 feet (2,130 meters). The Commagene dynasty ruled a small “buffer” kingdom enclosed between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire, in modern-day Turkey and has created unique artworks testifying the diversity of its population and the syncretism of its pantheon. 

This seminar aims to discover and understand the political and social political issues hidden behind the artistic creations of this dynasty. After a brief historical and geopolitical introduction, we will dedicate this talk to the study of two major archaeological sites, both part of the UNESCO World Heritage List: 
  • The royal burial and sacred site of Arsameia, which displays several reliefs depicting the dexiosis (shaking hands) of king Antiochus I with Herakles and with Apollo-Mithra
  • Nemrud Dag, a towering tumulus of 500 feet (150 meters) in diameter and 165 feet (50 meters) tall, and flanked by two terraces adorned with 26-30 foot tall (8-9 meters) statues of himself, along with lions, eagles and several gods and goddesses. 

Designed as a complementary seminar to Ancient Iran: A Discovery of the Persian Empire, Ancient Iran: Art, Architecture and the Roots of Persian-Iranian Culture, and “he Ancient Splendor of Palmyra. Inspired from several of his recent stays in this region of Turkey, this conversation is led by Guillaume Durand, Ph.D. It aims to provide an in-depth exploration of this unique and short-lasting artistic creation. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with increased knowledge and understanding of what is considered to be one of the most refined examples of artistic and human diversity in the Ancient Mediterranean History. 

Passionate about the regions and countries at the crossroad of civilizations, Guillaume Durand, Ph.D. has long-standing expertise in Ancient art and archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. Assistant dean and professor in archaeology and art history at the Institute for American Universities and the American College of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, France, Guillaume has traveled many times in Iran during these six past years in order to study the Persian Empires. He is also a tourist guide and lecturer in this country for French citizens.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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