The Nomos: The Holy Law of King Antiochos

A large inscription is carved into the back of the colossal statues at the East- and West-Terrace. At the back of the Zeus statue, you can read the letters N O M O [ (Nomos). Here, the Holy Law of Antiochos begins. The Nomos of the Nemrud can be regarded as the testament of Antiochos.

To guide the people Antiochos initiated the Nomos, the Holy Law. In all the sanctuaries in Kommagene the Nomos is inscribed. At Mount Nemrud, Antiochos carved the Nomos on the back of the gigantic statues.

In the Nomos, he instructs the people as to how and when they have to honour the great gods. Antiochos says: “This Nomos is proclaimed by me, but it is the power of the gods that makes it law.” Further, Antiochos says that it is his intention to reveal this law to : “Kommagenians and foreigners, kings, rulers, freemen, slaves, all who are part of humanity and only differ by birth or fate.”

Antiochos requested firmly that everybody would act according to this law. He also included the people of future times: “All the future generations of humans who will possess this land in the cause of the endless times, are asked to follow the holy law.” His reference to future people is remarkable. Antiochos understood that after him and after his people, others would come to live in this region.

In the Nomos of the Nemrud, we can read his testimony at the end of his life : “I have come to the conviction that being pure and just is not only the most certain possession we humans can gain, but also gives us the deepest joy we can have. This conviction has led to my prosperous power and the beneficial use of it. The whole of my life, I was standing in front of my subjects as a person who considers his respect for the gods as his most trustworthy defense weapon…. That is why I escaped, contrary to all expectation, the greatest dangers, I mastered unforeseen, hopeless situations and I passed my life, rich in years, in happiness.”

Indeed, it is a historical fact, that Antiochos and his small kingdom were subjected to all kinds of dangers. From the west, the Romans were approaching and from the east, the Parthians. Under the reign of Antiochos, Kommagene became the centre of the ruthless struggle of both superpowers. It is remarkable that Kommagene remained independent and even reached its most flourishing heights!

Full text:

Inscription I: Artagnes / Herakles / Ares

Inscription II: Apollo / Mithras / Helios / Hermes

Inscription III: Zeus / Oromasdes

Inscription IV: Kommagene

Inscription V: King Antiochos I Theos