Thursday, October 19, 2006

Déjà Vu?

In eastern Turkey the big tour groups don't go to Ani (too far and too Armenian) or Hasankeyf (not monumental enough and soon to be submerged), instead they head for Nemrut Daği (Mount Nimrod). Now those of you who have been paying attention to my posts will remark that I have been there already, and judging from my bland commentary at the time you would assume that it's not particularly remarkable. And that is what I thought too, until I discovered that there are in fact 2 Nemrut Dağis and that the other is considerably more interesting. Around 100 B.C. the tiny kingdom of Commagene was nestled uncomfortably between two giant neighbours: the Romans to the west and the Persians to the east. And despite being outsized and outmuscled by these two giants the rulers of Commagene certainly didn't have any inferiority complexes, considering themselves the equals of their more illustrious peers. This is best illustrated by Mount Nemrut where the Commagene king Antiochus built his tomb. Not only was he not content with the size of the mountain and therefore added a 50m cone on top (thereby making it nice and spikey, more like a proper mountain), but around the base of this tumulus he erected statues of himself hob-nobbing with his friends: the gods Zeus, Ahura-Mazda, Apollo and Hercules among them. Certainly not one to be modest about his connections. The statues are still standing but all sans heads, which are lying around on the ground, which makes for an amusing sight. Most tour groups come to catch either the sunrise or the sunset on the mountain, but since I was trudging up on foot like a true penniless backpacker (even managing to skirt the ticket office as the attendant was having a snooze) I got there at midday and had the whole site to myself. A nice place to sit and ponder the transience of existence and what we leave behind us when we are gone. I wonder if someday somebody will come upon this blog and read it. What will they think (apart from the obvious of me being a tight Scotsman)? how pertinent will it be? or will this just be another entry for the cyber-dustbin, never to make it past my circle of friends and family?

1 comment:

Yann said...

Congratulations for the three words in french! But I think it will never be enough for Florian. You'd rather try with simple sentences in Béarnais...