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Galerie > Ancient World > Mesopotamia > Carrhae
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Carrhae in Mesopotamia, 193-211 AD., Septimius Severus, AE 24, BMC 4.

Carrhae in Mesopotamia, Septimius Severus, AE 24, 193-211 AD.
Av.: CEΠTIMIOC [CE]OYHP[...] , laureate bust of Septimius Severus right, undraped and bearded.
Rv.: ΛOYK AYPHΛ KA[PP KOΛ] , front view of a tetrastyle temple, the temple of the moon god Sin, in the middle a conical baetyl (sacred stone) on tripod, on top of stone: crescent, standards (with crescents on top) on both sides inside the building; another crescent in the pediment.
Lindgren 2557 ; BMC p. 82, 4.

ΛΟΥΚΙΑ ΑΥΡΗΛΙΑ ΚΑΡΡΑ , a name from the campaign of Verus against the Parthians 163-166 AD.


The city and the region played an important role in roman history.

Carrhae / Harran, (Akkadian Harrânu, "intersecting roads"; Latin Carrhae), an ancient city of strategic importance, an important town in northern Mesopotamia, famous for its temple of the moon god Sin, is now nothing more than a village in southeastern Turkey with an archeological site.
In the Bible it is mentioned as one of the towns where Abraham stayed on his voyage from Ur to the promised land. Abraham's family settled there when they left Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:31-32).
Inscriptions indicate that Harran existed as early as 2000 B.C. In its prime, it controlled the point where the road from Damascus joins the highway between Nineveh and Carchemish. This location gave Harran strategic value from an early date. It is frequently mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions about 1100 BC, under the name Harranu, or "Road" (Akkadian harrānu, 'road, path, journey' ).
During the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Harran became the stronghold of its lasts king, Ashur-uballit II, being besiged and conquered by Nabopolassar of Babylon at 609 BC. Harran became part of Median Empire after the fall of Assyria, and subsequently passed to the Persian Achaemenid dynasty.
The city remained Persian untill in 331 BC when the soldiers of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great entered the city.
After the death of Alexander on 11 June 323 BC, the city was claimed by his successors: Perdiccas, Antigonus Monophthalmus and Eumenes. These visited the city, but eventually, it became part of the Asian kingdom of Seleucos I (Nicator), the Seleucid empire, and capital of a province called Osrhoene (the Greek term for the old name Urhai).
The Seleucids settled Macedonian veterans at Harran. For a century-and-a-half, the town flourished, and it became independent when the Parthian dynasty of Persia occupied Babylonia. The Parthian and Seleucid kings both needed the buffer state of Osrhoene which was part of the larger Parthian empire and had nearby Edessa as its capital. The dynasty of the Arabian Abgarides, technically a vassal of the Parthian "king of kings" ruled Osrhoene for centuries.

Carrhae was the scene of a disastrous defeat of the Roman general Crassus by the Parthians. In 53 BC. Crassus, leading an army of 50.000, conducted a campaign against Parthia. After he captured a few cities on the way, he hurried to cross the Euphrates River with hopes of receiving laurels and the title of “Emperor”. But as he drove his forces over Rakkan towards Harran, Parthian cavalry besieged his forces in a pincers movement. In the ensuing battle, the Roman army was defeated and decimated. The battle of Carrhae was the beginning of a series of border wars with Parthia for many centuries. Numismatic evidence for these wars or the corresponding peace are for instance the "Signis Receptis" issues of Augustus and the “Janum Clusit” issues of Nero.
Later Lucius Verus tried to conquer Osrhoene and initially was successful. But an epidemic made an annexation impossible. However, a victory monument was erected in Ephesus, and Carrhae/Harran is shown as one of the subject towns.
Septimius Severus finally added Osrhoene to his realms in 195. The typical conic domed houses of ancient Harran can be seen on the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Forum Romanum.
Harran was the chief home of the moon-god Sin, whose temple was rebuilt by several kings. Sin was one of the great gods of the Assurian-Babylonian pantheon.
Caracalla gave Harran the status of a colonia (214 AD) and visited the city and the temple of the moon god in April 217. Meanwhile the moon god (and sacred stones) had become a part of the Roman pantheon and the temple a place to deify the roman emperors (as the standards on both sides of the temple indicate).

Caracalla was murdered while he was on his way from Temple to the palace. If this had been arranged by Macrinus - the prefect of the Praetorian guard who was to be the new emperor – is not quite clear. On the eighth of April, the emperor and his courtiers made a brief trip to the world famous temple of the moon god. When Caracalla halted to perform natural functions, he was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, Julius Martialis, who had a private grudge against the ruler, because he had not been given the post of centurion.

In 296 AD Roman control was again interrupted when nearby Carrhae the emperor Galerius was defeated by the king Narses / the Sasanid dynasty of Persia. The Roman emperor Julianus Apostata sacrificed to the moon god in 363 AD, at the beginning of his ill-fated campaign against the Sassanid Persians. The region continued to be a battle zone between the Romans and Sassanids. It remained Roman (or Byzantine) until 639, when the city finally was captured by the Muslim armies.

At that time, the cult of Sin still existed. After the arrival of the Islam, the adherents of other religions probably went to live in the marshes of the lower Tigris and Euphrates, and are still known as Mandaeans.
The ancient city walls surrounding Harran, 4 kilometer long and 3 kilometer wide, have been repaired throughout the ages (a.o. by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the sixth century), and large parts are still standing. The position of no less than 187 towers has been identified. Of the six gates (Aleppo gate, Anatolian, Arslanli, Mosul, Baghdad, and Rakka gate), only the first one has remained.

A citadel was built in the 14th century in place of the Temple of Sin. This lies in the south-west quarter of the ancient town. Its ruin can still be visited.

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Datei-Information
Dateiname:9965n.jpg
Name des Albums:Arminius / Carrhae
Schlüsselwörter:Carrhae / Mesopotamia / Septimius / Severus / Temple / Baetyl / Sacred / Stone / Standards / Moon / God / Sin / Crescent / Tripod
Dateigröße:137 KB
Hinzugefügt am:04. Dezember 2010
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