Mount Nemrut Magnificent Monument To Megalomania | Ancient Origins Members Site


Mount Nemrut Magnificent Monument To Megalomania

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Giant seated statues of Nemrut Mountain (IzzetNoyan/ Adobe Stock)

Mount Nemrut Magnificent Monument To Megalomania

In 1881, a German engineer by the name of Karl Sester was surveying transport routes through what was then the Ottoman Empire. Some local people who lived in the area and worked for him shared some interesting news which he subsequently reported. Although they could not identify the specific ancient routes he was looking for, they told him about some monumental statues that lay in ruins on Mount Nemrut or Nemrut Dag. Motivated more by his own curiosity than professional goals, he hired a Kurdish man named Bâko to show him the site.

Representation of what the Nemrut pantheon looked like before the heads fell off. ( CiddiBiri/ Adobe Stock)

Representation of what the Nemrut pantheon looked like before the heads fell off. ( CiddiBiri/ Adobe Stock)

His reports were met with such interest that the very next year the German Archaeological Institute formed a scientific expedition to investigate. Otto Puchstein was working in Egypt at the time but was instructed to meet with Sester to do some preliminary work. What he found was so intriguing that he returned with archaeologist Osman Hamdi and sculptor Osgan Effendi. Much of what is known today about the history of this important site is due to the work of these adventurers. Sester and Puchstein discovered a long inscription written in Greek, which told the story about why the monuments had been erected. By 1883 it was published in a book written in French called Le Tumulus de Nemroud Dagh. Although no serious archaeological work had yet been done on site, the story caught on, and the public at large began to hear about the hierothesion, an ancient Greek word meaning ‘holy seat’, on Mount Nemrut.


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