Arsameia Archaeological Site is 35 km (21 mile) far to Adiyaman centurum. Arsameia on the Nymphaios  is an ancient city located in Eski Kahta in the Turkish province of Adıyaman, the ancient Nymphaios is the modern river Kahtaçay. Arsameia was a royal seat of the kingdom of Commagene. It is best known for the Hierothesion of King Mithridates I. Kallinikos, built for him by his son and heir Antiochos I.

Arsameia was founded in the Third Century BCE by the Armenian king Arsames (255–225 BCE). It was then taken in 235 BCE by the Seleukid Antiochus Hierax who was fleeing from his brother Seleucus II, who was later claimed as an ancestor by the Commagenian King Antiochus I. The city had already been abandoned again by Roman times, stones from local graves were used by Roman soldiers or building bridges.

The Greek word Hierothesion is term for the holy burial areas of those belonging to the royal house, and is only known from Commagene. Apart from the Hierothesion, which Antiochos himself built on Nemrut Dağı, and the second one on Karakuş, which his son Mithridates II. Built for the female members of the royal house, a third is to be found in Arsameia , the burial site and the associated cultic area for Antiochus’ father Mithridates. A processional way leads up the mountain in the form of a Z and passes three sites which its discoverer Friedrich Karl Dörner marked as Sites I–III. At the first of these, Site II, stands the fragment described as the Mithras Relief. It is the right hand side of a dexiosis, which shows Antiochos or Mithridates shaking hands with the sun god Mithras. Antiochus and those associated with him depicted themselves as being on the same level as the gods through these representations which are distributed throughout Commagene. Dörner was able to re-erect the upper and lower halves of Mithras, of the left-hand side of the relief only part of a shoulder was found, which Dörner however identified with one of the kings due to its clothing.

On the first bend of the path is located Site I. Here too can be seen the remains of the depiction of a dexiosis, in which the portraits can no longer be identified. In addition to this there is a hallway carved into the rock, from which 14 steps lead up to a further room, nine meters high and about eight by eight meters in size. The function of this is not clear Dörner took it to be a temple to Mithras, while other archaeologists conjecture that it could be the burial site of Mithridates.

The path leads on further to Site III. Here on a wall of rock was found an inscription of Antiochos in five columns, in which he relates the story of how the city was founded and the building of the Hierothesion as well as detailed instructions about how to carry out the rites that needed to be performed. Since the inscription had been almost completely covered in earth from ancient times it is still in an amazing condition. In the lower part of the inscribed wall a walkway begins that goes steeply up the rock and then suddenly ends after 158 metres. Nothing is known about its purpose. Above the wall stands the best preserved dexiosis relief of Commagene. It shows one of the two kings, either Antiochos or Mithridates shaking hands with a naked Herakles, recognized by a club.

The processional way leads further beyond this site as far as the summit of the mountain. There was found the foundations of buildings with mosaic flooring, which can be dated back to the Second Century before Christ. On the basis of fragments of sculpture Dörner takes it that this is where the mausoleum of Mithridates stood, decorated with statues.

Open daily between 09:00-17:30
Address: Kahta – Adıyaman
Tel: +90.
Admission: 5 TL

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