Tomb-Sanctuary of Antiochus I Theos of Commagene

Tomb-Sanctuary of Antiochus I Theos of CommageneIt is known that in 62 BC, Antiochus I Theos of the Armenian Orontid dynasty built a tomb surrounded by huge, 8 – 9m tall statues on the top of the Mount Nemrut. The edges of the rocky peak housing the tomb were turned into three big terraces.

Two of the terraces were decorated with 5 majestic statues. The middle statue depicted Aramazd, its neighboring two statues portrayed Antiochus, while the uttermost statues represented Vahagn.

Since 2492 BC, the territories of Commagene, Phoenicia, and Cilicia have been ruled by the descendants of Hayk Nahapet, the founder of Armenian statehood. Antiochus I Theos was an Armenian king from the Kingdom of Commagene. He was the most famous king of the kingdom.

In 1987, the ruins of Antiochus’ tomb-sanctuary were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Interestingly, a number of sandstone bas-reliefs found at the site feature some of the oldest known depictions of two figures shaking hands.

by Vaganyan G., Professor, V. Vaganyan, Candidate of Art Criticism.

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