The East-Terrace

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The worn treads of a rock stairway lead you to the East-Terrace. The first thing you see, as you reach the square, is a row of five enormous statues. Massive and lifeless, they look down on you from their thrones. They are in perfect harmony with the surrounding mountain landscape. The fallen heads of the statues have been set in front of them.

You see from left to right :

1. King Antiochos I Theos
2. Kommagene
3. Zeus/Oromasdes
4. Apollo/Mithras/Helios/Hermes
5. Artagnes/Herakles/Ares

The gods are shown sitting, not as is usual, standing, because the top of Mount Nemrud is their home. “Here,” says king Antiochos, “are standing their heavenly thrones”.

Originally the statues were 8 to 10 metres high. They are made of limestone, now dull and weathered. Formerly, when the sun shone on their smooth, polished surface, their brilliance must have been visible from a great distance.

The statues tower over two raised platforms cut from the rock. On the lower, stood five steles, four showing the king welcoming the gods and one stele, depicting a horoscope. Little has remained of these steles, but on the West-Terrace they are quite well reserved.

The court was originally paved with white slabs. A number of these have been found and set by the pedestal of the Lion Horoscope on the West-Terrace.

Opposite the statues, on the other side of the court, there is a stepped platform. This is the restored fire altar.

If you stand with your back to the statues, you see to your left and right, a long row of pedestals with the remnants of steles. On each of those steles was portrayed an ancestor of Antiochos. To the left, were the Persian ancestors, led by the King of Kings, Darius I. To the right were the Greek ancestors, led by Alexander the Great.

At the back of the colossal statues is a large inscription. It is one of the largest inscriptions known from history. The inscription is identical to the inscription at the back of the statues at the West-Terrace; see ‘The Nomos’.