Two twin temples were discovered in the ancient city of Girsu, a Sumerian city now known as Tello in southeastern Iraq. Photo/Live Science
BAGHDAD – Two twin temples were discovered in the ancient city of Girsu, a Sumerian city now known as Tello in southeastern Iraq. The twin temples built on top of each other are Hellenistic in style associated with Hercules and Alexander the Great.
Archaeologists from the British Museum in London who discovered the old temple explained that the young Hellenistic temple was built in the fourth century BC and was linked to Alexander the Great. The temple contains burnt bricks with Aramaic and Greek inscriptions referring to the giver of the two brothers.
“Possibly refers to the Macedonian king (Alexander the Great), who conquered most of the world during his 13 year reign from 336 BC to 323 BC,” said Sebastien Rey, archaeologist and curator of Ancient Mesopotamia at the British Museum, quoted by SINDOnews from the Live Science page, Friday (8 /12/2023).
The remains of an older Sumerian temple were found buried in the exact same place as the newer construction. The temple was dedicated to the Greek God Hercules and his Sumerian equivalent, the hero god Ningirsu (or Ninurta).
The fact that a temple was founded on the same site where it had stood 1,500 years earlier was no coincidence. The site must have had significance for the people of Mesopotamia.
“This shows that the Babylonians of the fourth century BC had extensive knowledge of their history. “The legacy of the Sumerian people is still very alive,” said Rey.
While exploring the double site of the temple, archaeologists found silver drachms (ancient Greek coins) buried beneath the altar or shrine, as well as bricks with the inscription of the two brothers. The inscription is particularly interesting because it mentions an enigmatic Babylonian name written in Greek and Aramaic.
The name ‘Adadnadinakhe,’ meaning ‘Adad, giver of brothers,’ was clearly chosen as a ceremonial title because of its archaic overtones and symbolic connotations. All evidence points to the fact that the name is extremely rare.’
The inscription itself is a tribute to Zeus, the Greek sky god, who was often symbolized by a lightning bolt and an eagle. Both of these symbols can be found on the coins, which were struck in Babylon under the reign of Alexander the Great.
“It shows Hercules in a young, clean-shaven portrait that is very reminiscent of conventional representations of Alexander on the one hand, and Zeus on the other,” Rey said.
However, researchers do not yet know whether the Macedonian king actually visited the site. Apart from artifacts, researchers also found offerings that were commonly given after battles, including clay statues of soldiers.