Zeugma

Zeugma

Hattusili de eerste

No one before me had crossed the Euphrates. I, the Great King, crossed it on foot, and my troops followed me. Sargon of the Akad had also crossed it and defeated the army of Hahhu. But he had done no harm to Hahhu, had not set the city on to fire and raised its smoke up the God of Storms. But I, the Great King, defeated the kings of Haººu and Hahhu, set their cities on to fire, and raised their smoke up to the Gods of Storms and the Sun. And I harnessed the King of Hahhu to a cart....!

These words by Hattusili I, the great king of the Hittites, proud of crossing the River Euphrates, can be found in a document chronicling his military pursuits in two languages. Also a theme in the Assyrian inscriptions with its fertility and might, the Euphrates hosted Ea, the water god of the Sumerians who lived in Mesopotamia around 2,000 BC. Wandering over all seas and rivers in the world, Ea was believed to have his native home in the Euphrates.Starting from the Palaeolithic age and up to the Ottomans and the modern Republic of Turkey, the Euphrates has witnessed many civilizations and has been the subject of legends and miracles. It played an important role in the history of Mesopotamia; it used to be the route of boats and caravans which connected lower Mesopotamia to Anatolia and Syria. Now it is once again a source of wealth with its dams and irrigation schemes. The GAP has revitalized the region in a way that matches its magnificent past.Now submerged by the waters of the Ataturk Dam,

Samosta

Samosata (Samsat), starting from the Mummuh Kingdom back in the late 2000s BC, had been the capital of the Assyrians, Urartus, Meds, Persians and Hellenistic kingdoms. It retained its importance throughout history owing to its geographical location. Around 130 BC, the city was given the name of King Samos, the founder of the Kommagene kingdom. It was also the principal town of Antioch I, another Kommagene king.Archaeological excavations in the tumulus revealed 30 successive layers, the oldest one dating back to prehistoric times. Many stone-made instruments belonging to the Paleolithic Age were found. In Nevali Cori - prior to the construction of the Ataturk Dam - many finds were discovered dating from the Neolithic Age to Ottoman times.The obelisk Sesonk meaning hree stones or three pillars is an oval shaped tumulus dating back to the Kommanege Period, which is located on the plateau of Kizildag near Besni, Adiyaman The southern, northwestern and northeastern corners of the tumulus are surrounded in by three pairs of unevenly spaced pillars. Sculptures which used to sit on these pillars were either destroyed or moved somewhere else.

The mausoleums

The mausoleums in the villages of Elif, Hasanoglu and Hisar in the Araban district of Gaziantep date back to Roman times. In these structures, over a square shaped high base made of cut stone, four pillars make up the main body about 10 meters high. Despite some differences in roof designs, supporting structures and ornaments, these mausoleums present an overall architectural unity. Among the three, Hisar survived to our times without much damage. Halfeti, a district of Sanlıurfa, mentioned as “Halpa”in the Urartu inscriptions, is one of the oldest and most striking centers of the region with its natural assets and traditional architecture. The importance of the settlement derived from its location on the route, occasionally controlled by the Urartu, through which the iron ore of Melitene (Malatya) was transported to the land of the Assyrians. Rumkale, at a distance of 25 km. to the Yavuzeli district of Gaziantep, is located on a rocky hill on the western bank of the Euprates. With its strategic position overlooking the passages of the Euphrates, Rumkale is believed to have been inhabited since the Assyrian period. The fortress was probably built around the 9th century BC., in the old Hittite period. Having witnessed the domination of the Assyrians, Meds, Persians, Romans and the Arabs, the settlement became, under the name“Hromgla”, one of the principal cities of the County of Edessa established in 1098 during the Crusades. Rumkale was brought under Islamic rule after the defeat of the Crusaders in 1292. As such, it has many remains bearing the imprint of the Islamic-Turkish Period. It is also considered as sacred and visited by the Christians who believe that Saint loanenns, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, used this place as a base for spreading Christianity. He is also believed to have written a copy of the Holy Bible here and to have been buried in the fortress.Located on the west bank of the Euphrates, Arulis (Gumusgun) was an important center of the Kommagene kingdom. The ancient stone quarries of Arulis were used in the construction of the walls and other structures of the antique city of Belkis, Zeugma.The antique city of Zeugma, Belkis is located to the northwest of the Nizip district of Gaziantep, on the west coast of the Euphrates. It too was an important settlement of the Kommagene kingdom.

The city minted coins bearing its name, and became known as “Seleukeia Euphrates”in the Hellenistic period. Excavations revealed Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine remains as well as a Roman villa on one of the slopes overlooking the river. On the mosaic floor of the villa, there is a description of the wedding ceremony of Dionysos and Ariadne.

The hand axe found in 1984 by J.E. Gautier, a French archaeologist, in Birecik, which is almost 80 km to the southwest of Sanliurfa and on the east coast of the Euphrates, indicates that the cultural history of Birecik dates back to the early Paleolithic Age. Birecik was annexed by the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. Most of the pieces of art which have survived belong to the Ottoman period.

Once an important center of the Crusader County of Edessa (Urfa), Birecik is now an outstanding center of tourism with its fortress, traditional architecture and the bald ibises which are under protection.

Importance Style of Sculpture

There are many characteristics that puts Belkis? Zeugma in a distinguished position among similar antique sites in Anatolia.One of these is the style in the sculpture and teliefs.Samples of this uniqe style can be seen at many museums around Turkey the world.

World record 100 thousand Bulla

The bullas found in Zeugma during the excavations is one of the other features that makes Zeugma unique.Bulla means seal put on sending in mail.These are the remnants of the Zeugma state Archives. Expert says that the 100 thousand bullas found in Zeugma is a world record.And Gaziantep museum has the largest Bulla collection registered in its files.4th Legion of Roma Zeugma is also exceptional among other Antique cities because during Roman Era the Skitia Legion which consisted of soldiers from Anatolia was stationed in this city and this legion was one of the most important cities of Roman Empire.

Zeugma The City of Mosaics

The main importance of Zeugma are the Roman villas and the floor mosaics found in them only.A small number of which could be brought to daylight by the excavations.These hillside villas which similar can only be see in Ephesus Antique city in Turkey and they carry utmost importance archeologically. Researches by experts have proved that once the excavations are completed Gaziantep Museum will be the leading mosaic Museum in the world. The reason it is on a cross road and it's a trade and military city it has been very popular by the artists. Even the retired officers had a attracted the best artists of the period. This way they have left behind the masterpieces of mosaics and frescos which is today a big issue.

Master Piece Mosaics

Different kinds of material was used on a mosaic panel. But when we look at the development process of mosaics we can see that the top layer material has varied from one period to another.

At the first only black-white pebble stone was used in mosaics. Later we see the pebble stones dyed in various colors.In this period we can also find planed samples. But the real planed samples can be seen by the technique called "Tesserae" is first seen in early Greek. Later in Roman mosaics. In this technique stones were planed in cubical,quadrangle and triangular prism shapes and prepared. Later these would be used on the mosaic panel. The discovery of Tesserea technique was due to need of making picture like mosaics. The most important mosaics of Antique Era were made by pebble stone and glass in Tesserea Technique. The most important mosaic material was glass after gabble store. The first samples are seen between first and third centuries BC in Hellenistic Era. And it has enabled the artist to use uncountable shades of colors. Apart from these two main materials marble and pieces of ceramic, ceramic Tessellates pieces of Terrekota and finally gold and silver had been used.

Roman mosaics can be categorized in two first the style called Opustesselaturn which is done by applying small cubes next to each other. Then the design made by quadrangle and prism shaped cubes would be colored.

The second technique is called opusvermici latum. Or miniature in this technique the natural colors of the stones would be kept and the mosaic pieces would be laid according to the picture. And there the laid stones look like long warms and that is what opusuermicilatum means.

Ares (Mars) Statue

Another very important finding is the 1.50 cm tall bronze mars statue from Roman Era Mars is the Roman equivalent of “Ares”the war Good. Mars is raid to be a very important Good for Rome it represents power and abundance. The statue had remained under ground for 1800 years. It is saia that the thick limestone layer is not easy to be taken off. It needs a long and expertise process without oxidizing it's bronze. There are some marks of burn on the statue and that is estimated to have happened at the time when the parts invaded destroyed and burned Zeugma in 252 AD.