(Eski Kâhta) Turkey.
km SE of Malatyn in ancient Commagene (the area between the Taurus range and the Euphrates) on the river
Nymphaios (the Kâhta Çay). Founded by a certain
Arsames, an ancestor of a Seleucid king, Arsameia was
by the 1st c. B.C. a fortified city containing a royal palace.
It was here that Antiochos I of Commagene built a tomb
and a cult center (hierotheseion) for his father, king
Mithridates Kallinikos, about the middle of the 1st c.
B.C.; this is attested by a remarkable rock-cut inscription. Above the inscription is a large and well-preserved
relief, recently re-erected, showing king Mithridates shaking hands with Herakles (the Persian Artagnes); the
style is provincial Greek. About 2 km SW of the town
is a Roman bridge erected in honor of the Septimian
house by four Commagene cities (ca. A.D. 200). The
bridge was marked by four columns, two at each end,
symbolizing the emperor, Julia Domna, Caracalla, and
Geta; one is missing and may have been dismantled after
Geta's murder. Farther on, beside the Nymphaios, is a
tumulus that served as the burial place of Commagene
queens and princesses. There three Ionic columns carry
statues of animals (a lion, an eagle, and a bull), and
these works may be contemporary with Antiochos' own
hierotheseion, the celebrated remains of which are nearby
upon Nemrud Dağ.
F. K. Dörner, “Die Entdeckung von
Arsameia am Nymphenflus . . . ,” Neue Deutsche Ausgrabungen im Mittelmeergebiet und im vorderen Orient
; id. et al., Arsameia am Nymphaios
; E. Akurgal, Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of
(3d ed. 1973) 347f.
W. L. MAC DONALD