Home Sciences They discover a lost city in Iraq that is more than 2,000...

They discover a lost city in Iraq that is more than 2,000 years old


A group of researchers has discovered an old fortress that would belong to the lost city of Natounia, in Iraq. Known as Rabana-Merquly, the ancient construction would be part of the remains of the lost city, which once formed the Parthian or Arsacid Empire, which reigned between 247 BC. C. and 224 d. C. The Parthians were bitter enemies of the Roman Empire and fought several battles against them for more than 250 years.

According to new archaeological research recently published in the journal Antiquity, the discovery of the remains of an ancient fortress in Iraq could indicate the discovery of the lost city of Natounia. It is one of the nerve centers of the Parthian Empire, a nomadic people from the steppes of Asia who created a vast empire on that continent, defying first the Hellenistic kings and then the all-powerful Rome.

The Parthian or Arsacid Empire displayed its power in Central Asia and Mesopotamia between 247 B.C. C. and 224 d. C. For more than 250 years they had strong warlike conflicts with the Roman Empire: apparently, the discovered fortress and the city of Natounia they served as one of the regional centers of the empire, approximately 2,000 years ago.

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Located in a mountainous valley in Iraqi Kurdistan, the old fortress includes intricately carved rock reliefs, which archaeologists say depict an ancient leader of the Brown Empire. The fortress was known as Rabana-Merquly: Its remains were identified during a recent international scientific expedition, led by Michael Brown, a researcher at the Institute for Prehistory, Protohistory and Near Eastern Archeology at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.

Political propaganda

According to an article published in Live Science, Brown indicated that the twin rock reliefs that were discovered in the area are rare examples of near-life-size monuments to Parthian rulers, linking the fortress to those who built it. It is a ancient form of political propagandaaccording to the researcher, since the figures of the rulers were located immediately next to the two entrances to the city.

The most specific association of the fortress with the city of Natounia comes from inscriptions present on the discovered coins. Precisely, before this discovery, the only known representations of the existence of Natounia, which was also called Natounissarokerta, have been documented in various currencies dating from the 1st century BC. C. The discovery of the same coins seems to confirm the discovery of the city lost in time.

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In the same vein, Brown and his team highlight in the new study that the Rabana-Merquly fortress is clearly the largest and most impressive Parthian-era site in that region, and the only one with actual iconography. This positions it as the best candidate to finally be considered as part of the city. by Natounia.

A meeting and business center

The scientists also highlighted that most of the architecture discovered is from a single phase, with practically no reconstructions. This would indicate that the fortress was not used for a long time: it would probably have been used for no more than 100 years. Everything indicates that construction played an important role in commercial, diplomatic and military negotiations starring the Parthian Empire.

Throughout their reign, the Parthians played a crucial role in the development of the Eurasian globalization, through complex relations with Rome, India and China. This fact, and its defiance of Greece and Rome, allowed the Parthian Empire to be regarded as the great Eastern empire of antiquity.


Rabana-Merquly: A fortress in the kingdom of Adiabene in the Zagros Mountains. Brown, M., Raheem, K., & Abdullah, H. Antiquity (2022). DOI:https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2022.74

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