CIMRM 32 - Inscriptions on throne-backs, Nemrud Dag

1. Inscriptions

The following translation and images are from: International Nemrud Foundation. The text appears on the back of the seated images of the following personages, on the East and West terraces.

There are a number of commercial photographs of portions of the inscriptions online.

1.1. Artagnes / Herakles / Ares

The Great King Antiochos, the God, the Righteous One, the Manifest (Deity), the Friend of the Romans and the Greeks, the Son of King Mithridates Kallinikos and of Laodike the Brother-loving Goddess, the Daughter of King Antiochos Epiphanes, the Mother-loving, the Victorious, has recorded for all time, on consecrated pedestals with inviolable letters the deeds of his clemency.

I have come to believe that, for mankind, of all good things piety is both the most secure possession and also the sweetest enjoyment. This judgment became, for me, the cause of fortunate power and its blessed use; and during my whole life I have appeared to all men as one who thought holiness the most secure guardian and the unrivaled delight of my reign (or kingdom). By this means I have, contrary to all expectations, escaped great perils, have easily become master of hopeless situations, and in a blessed way have attained to the fullness of a long life.

After taking over my father's dominion, I announced, in the piety of my thought, that the kingdom subject to my throne should be the common dwelling place of all the gods, in that by means of every kind of art I decorated the representations of their form, as the ancient lore of Persians and of Greeks -- the fortunate roots of my ancestry -- had handed them down (to us), and honoured them with sacrifices and festivals, as was the primitive rule and the common custom of all mankind; in addition my own just consideration has further devised still other and especially brilliant honors.

And as I have taken forethought to lay the foundation of this sacred tomb1, which is to be indestructible by the ravages of time, in closest proximity to the heavenly throne, wherein the fortunately preserved outer form of my person, preserved to ripe old age, shall, after the soul beloved by God has been sent to the heavenly thrones of Zeus Oromasdes, rest through immeasurable time, ...

1.2. Apollo / Mithras / Helios / Hermes

.... so I chose to make this holy place a common consecrated seat of all the gods; so that not only the heroic company of my ancestors, whom you behold before you, might be set up here by my pious devotion, but also that the divine representation of the manifest deities might be consecrated on the holy hill and that his place might likewise not be lacking in witness to my piety.

Therefore, as you see, I have set up these divine images of Zeus-Oromasdes and of Apollo-Mithras-Helios-Hermes and of Artagnes-Herakles-Ares, and also of my all-nourishing homeland Kommagene; and from one and the same quarry, throned likewise among the deities who hear our prayers, I have consecrated the features of my own form, and have caused the ancient honor of great deities to become the coeval of a new Tyche. Since I thereby, in an upright way, imitated the example of the divine Providence, which as a benevolent helper has so often been seen standing by my side in the struggles of my reign.

Adequate property in land and an inalienable income therefrom have I set aside for the ample provision of sacrifices; an unceasing cult and chosen priests arrayed in such vestments as are proper to the race of the Persians have I inaugurated, and I have dedicated the whole array and cult in a manner worthy of my fortune and the majesty of the gods.

I have decreed the appropriate laws to govern the sacred observances thus established for everlasting, so that all the inhabitants of my realm may offer both the ancient sacrifices, required by age-old common custom, and also new festivals in honor of the gods and in my honor. The birthday of my natural body, the sixteenth of Audnaios, and the tenth of Loos, the day of my accession to the throne, I have consecrated to the manifestation of the great deities, who were my guides in a prosperous beginning and have been the source of universal blessing for my whole kingdom.

1.3. Zeus / Oromasdes

Because of the multitude of offering and the magnificence of the celebration I have consecrated two additional days, each of them as an annual festival. The population of my empire I have divided up for the purpose of these assemblies, festival gatherings, and sacrifices, and directed them to repair by villages and cities to the nearest sanctuaries, whichever is most conveniently located for the festival observance.

Moreover, I have appointed under the same title that, in addition to the observance just named, my birth on the sixteenth and my accession on the tenth shall be observed every month by the priests. Now that these regulations have been established, to be observed continually as the pious duty of men of understanding, not only in my honor but also in the blessed hope of their own good fortune, I have, in obedience to the inspiration of the gods, ordered to be inscribed upon sacred, inviolable stelae a holy law, which shall be binding upon all generations of mankind who in the immeasurable course of time, through their special lot in life, shall successively be destined to dwell in this land; they must observe it without violation, knowing that the stern penalty of the deified royal ancestors will pursue equally the impiety occasioned by neglect as that occasioned by folly and that disregard of the law decreed for the honor of the heroes brings with it inexorable penalties. For the pious it is all a simple matter, but godlessness is followed by backbreaking burdens. This law my voice has proclaimed, but it is the mind of the gods that has given it authority.


The priest who is appointed by me for these gods and heroes, whom I have dedicated at the sacred tomb of my body, on the topmost ridges of the Taurus range, and who shall at a later time hold this office, he, set free from very other duty, shall without let or hindrance and with no excuse for evasion keep watch at his memorial and devote himself to the care and the proper adornment of these sacred images.

On the birthdays which I have established forever as monthly and annual festivals of the gods and of my own person, throughout the whole year he shall, himself decently garbed in Persian raiment, as my benefaction and the ancestral custom of our race have provided, crown them all with the gold crowns which I have dedicated as the sacred honors due the deified ancestors; and out of income from the villages, which I have designated for the sacred honors of the heroic race, he shall offer on these altars rich additional offerings of incense and aromatic herbs, and also splendid sacrifices in honor of the gods and in my honor, ...

1.4. Kommagene

... in worthy wise setting up sacred tables with appropriate foods and filling jars from the winepress with precious drink (that is, wine mixed with water).

He shall hospitably welcome the whole of the assembled people, both the native and the foreigners who stream hither, and he shall provide for the common enjoyment of the feast by the assembled multitudes, in that, as is the custom, he shall take for himself a portion, as a gift in honor of the priestly office, and then distribute the rest of my benefaction to the others for their free enjoyment, so that during the holy days everyone may receive a never failing sustenance and may thus be able to celebrate the festival without running the risk of malicious calumny. The drinking cups, which I have dedicated, are to be used by them as long as they remain in the holy place and participate in the general assembly for the feast.

The group of musicians whom I have chosen for the purpose and those who may later be consecrated, their sons and daughters, and also their descendants shall all learn the same art and be set free from the burden of every other responsibility; and they are to devote themselves to the observances which I have established to the end, and without any evasion are to continue their services as long as the assembly requests it. No one, no king or ruler, no priest or official shall ever make slaves of these hierodules, whom I have, in accordance with the divine will, consecrated to the gods and to my own honors, or their children or the descendants of their children, who shall continue their family to all later time; he shall neither enslave them to himself nor alienate them to anyone else in any way, nor injure one of them, nor deprive him of this ministry; but the priests shall take care of them, and the kings, officials, and all private persons shall stand by them, and the favor of the gods and heroes will be laid up for them as a reward for their piety.

1.5. King Antiochos I Theos

It is equally not permitted for anyone to appropriate or to alienate the villages which I have dedicated to these gods, to sell them or to devote them to some other purpose, or in any way to injure those villages; or to reduce the income from them, which I have dedicated to the gods as an inviolable possession.

Nor shall anyone go unpunished who shall devise in his mind against our honor some other scheme of violence or of disparaging or suspending the sacrifices and festal assemblies which I have established. Whoever shall presume to rescind or to injure or guilefully to misinterpret the just tenor of this regulation or the heroic honors which an immortal judgment has sanctioned, him the wrath of the daemons and of all the gods shall pursue, both himself and his descendants, irreconcilably, with every kind of punishment.

noble example of piety, which it is a matter of sacred duty to offer to gods and ancestors, I have set before the eyes of my children and grandchildren, as through many other, so too through this work; and I believe that they will emulate this fair example by continually increasing the honors appropriate to their line and, like me, in their riper years adding greatly to their personal fame.

For those who do so I pray that all the ancestral gods, from Persia and Macedonia and from the native hearth of Kommagene, may continue to be gracious to them in all clemency. And whoever, in the long time to come, takes over this reign as king or dynast, may he, if he observes this law and guards my honor, enjoy, through my intercession, the favor of the deified ancestors and all the gods. But if he, in his folly of mind, undertakes measures contrary to the honor of the gods, may he, even without my curse, suffer the full wrath of the gods.

2. CIMRM entry

1"Επεὶ δὲ ἱεροθεσίου" ... the Greek word for the monument is thus "hierotheseon".(RP)

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