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From what i have read, the Romans never conquered Hatra yet the monuments are disinctly Hellenistic in design. Was it built by the Seleucids?

1 Answer 1


According to wiki, your hunch is essentially correct - the original influence is Seleucid indeed. But if I undertstand correctly, the actual buildings are in the Parthian style.

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.

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.

  • perhaps i havent dug deeply enough, but it is intriguing that even on general info sites like wikipedia or unesco, no firm assertions are made in regards to who built these magnificent structures. At first glance, the building appears Hellenistic in style, but perhaps i assumed incorrectly that the Parthians were not influenced by Hellenistic art
    – Notaras
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:16
  • @Notaras The Parthians were, in fact, hugely influenced by Hellenism. The Parthian empire was originally a breakaway province of the Seleucid one, in which indigenous nobility revolted against their Hellenistic overlords and their political and cultural domination. Within a short time of gaining political independence, the newly sovereign dynasty and state adopted a great deal of the Hellenistic culture they originally had rebelled against. That's the same dynamic as with the Hasmoneans in Judaea; and (arguably, arguably, just throwing out a hunch) also Ireland in the 20th century. Apr 18, 2017 at 8:16

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