ISIS Militants Destroy Iraq's Ancient Hatra City: Officials

ISIS Militants Destroy Iraq's Ancient Hatra City: Officials...
huffingtonpost.com 08/03/2015 History

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By Ahmed Rasheed and Isabel Coles
BAGHDAD/ERBIL,Iraq March 7 (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have destroyed ancient remains of the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra in northern Iraq, the tourism and antiquities ministry said on Saturday.
An official told Reuters that the ministry had received reports from its employees in the northern city of Mosul, which is under the control of the radical Islamist group, that the site at Hatra had been demolished on Saturday.
The official said it was difficult to confirm the reports and the ministry had not received any pictures showing the extent of the damage at Hatra, which was named a world heritage site in 1987.

The Great Temple of Hatra (Unesco World Heritage List, 1985), Iraq. Persian civilisation, AD 80. (DeAgostini/Getty Images) | DEA / C. SAPPA via Getty Images

* * * But a resident in the area told Reuters he heard a powerful explosion early on Saturday and said that other people nearby had reported that Islamic State militants had destroyed some of the larger buildings in Hatra and were bulldozing other parts.
Hatra lies about 110 km (70 miles) south of Mosul, the largest city under Islamic State control. A week ago the militants released a video showing them smashing statues and carvings in the city's museum, home to priceless Assyrian and Hellenistic artifacts dating back 3,000 years.
On Thursday they attacked the remains of the Assyrian city of Nimrud, south of Mosul, with bulldozers. The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO condemned the actions as "cultural cleansing" and said they amounted to war crimes.
Hatra dates back 2,000 years to the Seleucid empire which controlled a large part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great. It is famous for its striking pillared temple at the center of a sprawling archaeological site.
Saeed Mamuzini, spokesman for the Mosul branch of the Kurdish Democratic Party, said the militants had used explosives to blow up buildings at Hatra and were also bulldozing it.
The antiquities ministry said the lack of tough international response to earlier Islamic State attacks on Iraq's historic sites had encouraged the group to continue its campaign.
"The delay in international support for Iraq has encouraged terrorists to commit another crime of stealing and demolishing the remains of the city of Hatra," it said in a statement.
Archaeologists have compared the assault on Iraq's cultural history to the Taliban's destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas in 2001. But the damage wreaked by Islamic State, not just on ancient monuments but also on rival Muslim places of worship, has been swift, relentless and more wide-ranging.
Last week's video showed them toppling statues and carvings from plinths in the Mosul museum and smashing them with sledge hammers and drills. It also showed damage to a huge statue of a bull at the Nergal Gate into the city of Nineveh.
Islamic State, which rules a self-declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, promotes a fiercely purist interpretation of Sunni Islam which draws its inspiration from early Islamic history. It rejects religious shrines of any sort and condemns Iraq's majority Shi'ite Muslims as heretics.
Last July it destroyed the tomb of the prophet Jonah in Mosul. It has also attacked Shi'ite places of worship and last year gave Mosul's Christians an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death by the sword. It has also targeted the Yazidi minority in the Sinjar mountains west of Mosul. (Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Pravin Char and Stephen Powell)
Hatra (Arabic: الحضر‎ al-Ḥaḍr) was an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It was known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Persian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies 290 km (180 mi) northwest of Baghdad and 110 km (68 mi) southwest of Mosul.
On 7 March 2015, various sources including Iraqi officials reported that ISIL had begun demolishing the ruins of Hatra.
Hatra was probably built in the 3rd or 2nd century BC by the Seleucid Empire. After its capture by the Parthian Empire, it flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD as a religious and trading center. Later on, the city became the capital of possibly the first Arab Kingdom in the chain of Arab cities running from Hatra, in the northeast, via Palmyra, Baalbek and Petra, in the southwest. The region controlled from Hatra was the Kingdom of Araba, a semi-autonomous buffer kingdom on the western limits of the Parthian Empire, governed by Arabian princes.
Hatra became an important fortified frontier city and withstood repeated attacks by the Roman Empire, and played an important role in the Second Parthian War. It repulsed the sieges of both Trajan (116/117) and Septimius Severus (198/199). Hatra defeated the Iranians at the battle of Shahrazoor in 238, but fell to the Iranian Sassanid Empire of Shapur I in 241 and was destroyed. The traditional stories of the fall of Hatra tell of an-Nadira, daughter of the King of Araba, who betrayed the city into the hands of Shapur. The story tells of how Shapur killed the king and married an-Nadira, but later had her killed also.
Hatra was the best preserved and most informative example of a Parthian city. It is encircled by inner and outer walls nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) in circumference and supported by more than 160 towers. A temenos (τέμενος) surrounds the principal sacred buildings in the city’s centre. The temples cover some 1.2 hectares and are dominated by the Great Temple, an enormous structure with vaults and columns that once rose to 30 metres. The city was famed for its fusion of Greek, Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Aramean and Arabian pantheons, known in Aramaic as Beiṯ Ĕlāhā ("House of God"). The city had temples to Nergal (Assyrian-Babylonian and Akkadian), Hermes (Greek), Atargatis (Syro-Aramaean), Allat and Shamiyyah (Arabian) and Shamash (the Mesopotamian sun god). Other deities mentioned in the Hatran Aramaic inscriptions is the Aramaean Ba'al Shamayn, and the female deity known as Ashurbel, which latter is perhaps the assimilation of the two deities the Assyrian god Ashur and the Babylonian Bel, despite their being individually masculine.
List of rulers

In inscriptions found at Hatra, several rulers are mentioned. Other rulers are sporadically mentioned by classical authors. They appear with two titles. The earlier rulers are called mrj´ (translation uncertain), the later ones mlk -king.
Rulers of Hatra
danamotor.ir/Rulers-of_Hatra.csv
Modern Hatra
Hatra was used as the setting for the opening scene in the 1973 film The Exorcist, and since 1985 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Demolition by ISIL
Purposeful actions by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which occupied that area in mid-2010s, have been a major threat to Hatra. In early 2015 they have announced their intention to destroy many artifacts as they offend their religious views, and destroyed some artifacts from Hatra. After the bulldozing of Nimrud on March 5, 2015, "Hatra of course will be next," said Abdulamir Hamdani, an Iraqi archaeologist from Stony Brook University. On March 7, Kurdish sources reported ISIS had begun the bulldozing of Hatra.
---By Ahmed Rasheed and Isabel Coles BAGHDAD/ERBIL,Iraq March 7 (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have destroyed ancient remains of the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra in northern Iraq, the tourism and antiquities ministry...---
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