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The camel-rider's stele and related sculpture from Hatra

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 August 2014


During the excavation season of 1974 and 1975 archaeologists of the Iraqi Directorate General of Antiquities uncovered at Hatra a huge edifice, built of ashlar masonry, located in the forecourt of the Great Temple. The building was a temple dedicated to the worship of Allat, the great Arab goddess. This identification is based on epigraphic evidence and sculptural representations, some of which offered in turn evidence for the goddess's assimilation with Nemesis, the omnipresent Greek goddess of justice and vengeance. The plan and architecture of the temple exhibit the distinctive features of the Hatrene style, characterized by the appearance of a triple iwan. In this way the temple is similar to the southern and northern units of the great iwans, the temple of the Triad and the temple of Smya, though its dimensions are larger. The inscriptional evidence indicates that it was King Sanatruq who was responsible for planning and building the temple. However, the final stages of the work were completed by his son, 'Abdsmya, who acted as Sanatruq's viceroy before succeeding him as king. Both kings left their images carved in high relief in two niches in the small iwans.

Research Article
IRAQ , Volume 60 , 1998 , pp. 103 - 108
Copyright © The British Institute for the Study of Iraq 1998

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1 The expedition was headed by Mr Hazim Najafy. See his articles Celebration for the goddess Allat — musical scene from Hatra”, Sumer 37 (1981), pp. 131–42Google Scholar, and Inscriptions of Hatra”, Sumer 39 (1983), pp. 75199Google Scholar.

2 Al-Salihi, Wathiq, “Allat-Nemesis, iconographical analysis of two religious reliefs from Hatra”, Mesopotamia 20 (1985), pp. 131–46Google Scholar.

3 The final report on the excavations is being prepared by Mr Hazim Najafy.

4 Najafy, , “Inscriptions”, Sumer 39, pp. 193–4, Nos. 373 and 376Google Scholar.

5 Ibid., No. 376.

6 Najafy, , “Celebration”, Sumer 37Google Scholar.

7 Ibid., pp. 134–7, and Al-Salihi, , “Allat-Nemesis”, Mesopotamia 20, pp. 134–6, Figs. 38–40Google Scholar.

8 Najafy, , “Inscriptions”, Sumer 39, p. 197, Pl. 8, Fig. 4Google Scholar; Al-Salihi, , “Allat-Nemesis”, Mesopotamia 20, pp. 136–43, Figs. 41–5 and 48–53Google Scholar.

9 Ibid., pp. 143–6.

10 Al-Salihi, Wathiq, “Further notes on Hercules-Genda at Hatra”, Sumer 38 (1982), pp. 137–40Google Scholar.

11 Field inventory No. H22–808, now IM 78133 in the Iraq Museum.

12 Salman, Isa, “Foreword”, Sumer 30 (1974), p. dGoogle Scholar.

13 Downey, Susan, The Stone and Plaster Sculptures. Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report III, Part I, Fascicle 2 (Los Angeles, 1977), p. 191Google Scholar.

14 Zuhdi, B., “The myth of Nemesis in Syria”, Annales archéologiques arabes-syriennes 11–12 (19611962), p. 79Google Scholar.

15 Downey, , Stone and Plaster Sculptures, p. 191Google Scholar.

16 Zuhdi, , “Myth of Nemesis”, AAAS 11–12, p. 81Google Scholar.

17 Ibid., pp. 82–6.

18 Salman, , “Foreword”, Sumer 30, p. eGoogle Scholar.

19 Ibid.

20 Colledge, M. R., The Art of Palmyra (London, 1976), p. 92, Fig. 129Google Scholar.

21 Ibid., p. 166.

22 Ibid., p. 37, Pl. 20, Fig. 13.

23 Ibid., p. 43, Pl. 33.

24 Downey, , Stone and Plaster Sculptures, p. 195Google Scholar.

25 Ibid., pp. 55–7, Pl. XI, 43.

26 Ibid., p. 195.