IDENTIFICATION OF A NEW CULT IN CAPPADOCIA: ZEUS ARGAIOS

Abstract

Author(s): Meral HAKMAN

Argaios (Erciyes) constitutes one of the most deeply-rooted cults as a mountain god in Cappadocia Region since the Hittite period. Pictured antropomorphically by the Hittites, this mountain god is seen as a triangular mountain symbol in numismatic data since the reign of Archelaus. Since then and until the 3rd century A.D., Argaios was depicted together with many figures and motives on coins, gems, and agalmas, which created the versatile worship and the syncretic structure of this mountain cult. One result from this versatile worship in Argaios is the cult of Zeus Argaios. Nevertheless, there is no epigraphic data yet to support the existence of a belief system as Zeus Argaios. However, the existence of this cult is necessarily proved by Zeus-Argaios and Argaios-eagle depictions seen on the coins minted in Caesarea, the capital of the region, and on the agalmas some of which have the image of a bearded god. It can therefore be concluded that the seat of Zeus was on top of Argaios for almost three centuries, and this cult was widely worshipped.

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