Hatra, stad van de zonnegod - Sociale achtergronden van een heilige plaats | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 126, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


This article examines the role of religion in the society of Hatra, a desert city in the eastern Jezirah (north Iraq). The city suddenly rose to power in the second century CE, but its flourishing was short-lived. In 240 CE the Persians conquered Hatra, and the formerly invincible city soon fell into ruins. Hatra owed its short period of prosperity to its strategic location between the two superpowers of the day: Rome and Parthia. It was by means of the rulers of Hatra that the Parthian King of Kings controlled the large desert area around Hatra, which functioned as a buffer between these two hostile empires. In their turn, Hatra’s rulers had power over the people of the desert because they succeeded in making Hatra the political, economic, and social centre of the surrounding tribes. It is argued that religion played a vital role in this process, for it was via the gods that the leaders of Hatra sanctified their rule and united the warring tribes.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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