German archaeologists unearthed in an ancient shrine, located in Doliche southeastern Turkey, a unique Roman relief depicting an unknown god associated with the cult of Jupiter Dolichenus, according to the website of the University of Münster. The study suggests the relief is carved on a basalt stele five feet high, which was used as a buttress of the wall of the sanctuary. Archaeologist Professor Engelbert Winter who leads the excavation said that it represents a god of fertility and vegetation. “We are very lucky that the image is very well preserved.” added Professor Engelbert Winter
It provides valuable information about Roman beliefs and the persistence of the ancient traditions of the Middle East. However, extensive research to identify the deity accurately is necessary,” said Professor Michael Blömer
“The basalt stele shows a deity emerging from a cup of leaves. Its long stem rises from a cone decorated with astrological symbols. In each of the ends of the cone there is a large horn and a tree which the the deity is depicted grabbing with the right hand. The pictorial elements suggest that it is a god of fertility, “added Blömer.
Experts say the relief contains surprising iconographic details, such as the composition of the beard or position of the arms, which suggest that the image was carved in the early first century BC.
“The trail provides information about the ancient Eastern traditions that have survived from the Iron Age to Roman times,” adds Professor Winter. Jupiter Dolichenus was a Roman god created from the syncretism of the Roman Jupiter, “the king of the gods” and the worship of Baal in the ancient Greco-Roman city of Doliche, located a few kilometers north of the modern Turkish city of Gaziantep .