Illustrated by Marco Pio Mucci
ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND THE EXCELLENT WATER
Antioch was founded by Seleucos I Nicator after his conquest of Syria in 300 BCE, on the location where Alexander the Great had stop to drink declaring that the water was excellent exactly as the taste of the milk from the breast of his mother. According to the story, Alexander erected a temple in honour of Zeus Bottiaeus and moved away, pressed by the war.
A SYRIAN LANDSCAPE
The River Orontes of Syria is not directed straightly to the sea; it rises from a hilly rocky place and moves down the hills. The Roman Empire wanted the ships to be navigated from the sea towards Antioch. After spending lots of labour and costs, they constructed a canal that is suitable for navigating, in reverse, against the flow, and directed the river to this canal. (İbn Battûta 2004, C.1/101-102; quoted in Jones, 2000, 476-477).
THE STORY OF THE
Whenever the old river bed dried, a tomb with 11 cubit (5,5 m approx..) and a human skeleton with the same size emerged. Antiochians decided to consult to an Apollon wise in Klaros and the wise said that the skeleton belongs to the God of Orontes and he is from Indian blood.” (İbn Battûta 2004, C.1/101-102; quoted in Jones, 2000, 476-477). The statue of Giant Orontes is displayed at Louvre Museum.
WATERMILL, THE ASI RIVER IS CALLING OUT TO GOD
In many languages and cultures water wheels are linked to a beautiful woman or water nymph (naure), or to a weeping wood; the sounds resulting from the friction of the wheel during rotation are associated with groaning, crying, praying; and the rotation of the wheel itself is metaphorically linked to the passing of time, the movement of the universe, the rotation of the earth, the turning of the wheel of fate, and the recurrence of memories and thoughts.
In one of the Islam philosophy, the Sufi literature, water wheels’ sound is likened to “groaning” as suffering from staying apart from Allah (God).
TYCHE OF THE CITY WITH RIVER ORONTES AT HER FEET
Tyche symbol of the city is related to these calamities. The city of Antioch on the Orontes is identified with Tyche, goddess of fortune and protector of the town. In such a town with calamities, forecasting the future is main way to survive. Tyche is represented seated on a rock, wearing a crown with crenelated towers. At her feet the bust of a young swimmer emerges from the waves: he is a personification of the river Orontes, beside which the town was founded.
PERSONIFICATION OF THE
According to Greek mythology, Orontes is the son of Okeanos (God of the seas) and Tethys’, (God of the springs), and brother of Rivers like Tigris, Eupharates and Nile.
Asi river is known in several Greek names in this period including Drakon, Thyphon and Ophites. The first two refer to something that is somehow unstable and dangerous: a dragon (Drakon) and Thyphon literally a typhoon so a storm.
AN ANIMAL SACRIFICE AND THE EAGLE
Seleucos dedicated the city to his father or to his son, both named Antiochus. He could not decide whether to settle the new city by re-constructing the old Antigoniea (he was governing the city) or by constructing a new one. To make a decision, he sacrificed of an animal during the act of inaugurating the settlement. The eagle stolen a piece of meat from the sacrifice and bring it to the site where Antioch locating now.
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