DER Documentary

Mount Nemrud: The Throne of the Gods



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by Tolga Ornek
color, 52 min, 2001




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Located in one of the most remote areas of Eastern Turkey and considered the eighth wonder of the ancient world, Mount Nemrud has been shrouded in mystery for more than 2000 years. At 7,700 feet above sea level and containing a 150-foot high tumulus flanked by colossal statues, the Mount Nemrud sanctuary has become synonymous with absolute grandeur. Widely believed to house the undisturbed tomb of it's builder, Mount Nemrud has puzzled researchers for more than a century. Antiochus, a self proclaimed King and God, ruled over Kommagene, a small buffer kingdom situated between the Roman and Parthian Empires during 162 BC and 72 AD. Ambitious and determined to protect his kingdom against his powerful neighbors, he initiated a cultural and religious reform that culminated in the building of Mount Nemrud, his greatest achievement.

Theresa Goell was the first american female archaeologist to lead a dig in Eastern Turkey. Despite rapidly deteriorating hearing, she became the head of the most extensive and long-term excavation of Mount Nemrud. She spent more than 30 years working to elevate the sanctuary to its rightful place among the great monuments of the ancient world. Many of the unearthed artifacts and historical information are a result of her tenacious work. The Lion Horoscope is one of archaeology's great finds. Initially excavated by the Germans in 1882, it was re-excavated and studied by Goell in the 1950's. It is the oldest known Greek calendrical horoscope in the world and believed to represent either the date of Antiochus' ascension to the throne or the foundation date of the sanctuary.

Through the use of on-site interviews with world renowned scholars, 3-D computer animations, and battle reinactments the film makers journey back in time to recreate history. Incorporating rare archival footage of excavations and memoirs of dedicated archaeologists such as Otto Puchstein and Theresa Goell, Mount Nemrud: The Throne of the Gods, is a valuable tool for educators to inform and excite students from young to old who are eager to learn more about the history and achievements of the ancient world.

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