Roman-Period Altar in Turkey Features Mythical Battle Scene

News December 29, 2015

(Courtesy Hasan Malay)
Turkey altar Bargasos
(Courtesy Hasan Malay)

IZMIR, TURKEY—According to a report in Live Science, villagers discovered an altar dating to the second century A.D. near Turkey’s Akçay River. Hasan Malay of Ege University and Funda Ertugrul of the Aydin Museum wrote in the journal Epigraphica Anatolica that the Greek inscription at the top of the altar says Flavius Ouliades dedicated it to the river god Harpasos. They think the image on the altar—a nude warrior wearing a helmet—may represent Hercules’ son Bargasos battling a many-headed serpent monster with a dagger and a shield. The “scene on our altar may be a representation of a local myth telling about Bargasos’ fight against the ravaging river with many arms,” Malay and Ertugrul wrote. After Bargasos defeated the monster, “the river turned into a beneficial deity, the recipient of our dedication,” they concluded. To read about the ancient world's most massive inscription, which was discovered in Turkey, go to "In Search of a Philosopher’s Stone."

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