Hatra

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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Hatra (الحضر), was an ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia located in present-day eastern Nineveh Governorate in northern Iraq. The city lies 290 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Baghdad and 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of Mosul.

Overview

The temple complex covered some 1.2 hectares and was dominated by the Great Temple, an enormous structure with vaults and columns that once rose to 30 metres. The city was famed for its fusion of Greek, Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Aramean and Arabian pantheons, known in Aramaic as Beiṯ Ĕlāhā ("House of God"). There were about thirteen temples in the temple complex.

The city had temples to Nergal (Assyrian-Babylonian and Akkadian), Hermes (Greek), Atargatis (Syro-Aramaean), Allat, Shamiyyah (Arabian), and Shamash (the Mesopotamian sun god). Other deities mentioned in the Hatran Aramaic inscriptions were the Aramaean Ba'al Shamayn, and the female deity known as Ashurbel, which was perhaps the assimilation of the two deities the Assyrian god Ashur and the Babylonian Bel—despite their being individually masculine.

Notable Structures

circa

Maran Temple

circa

Shahiru Temple

circa

Triad Temple

Art

circa

According to John M. Rosenfield, the statuary of Hatra belong to the Parthian cultural sphere, with numerous similarities in terms of clothing, decorative elements or posture, which tend to be massive and frontal, with feet often splayed. The architecture of Hatra itself is generally seen as an example of Parthian architecture. Similarities can be seen with the Art of the Kushans as well, due either to direct cultural exchanges between the area of Mesopotamia and the Kushan Empire at that time, or from a common Parthian artistic background leading to similar types of representation.

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See Also

References

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