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An accidental tourist? Caracalla's fatal trip to the temple of the Moon at Carrhae/Harran

Hekster, Olivier; Kaizer, Ted

An accidental tourist? Caracalla's fatal trip to the temple of the Moon at Carrhae/Harran Thumbnail


Authors

Olivier Hekster



Abstract

The circumstances surrounding Caracalla’s death in AD 217 remain confusing. In particular the presence of the emperor near the famous temple of the Moon at Carrhae-Harran has led to much scholarly speculation. Often a preference for ‘the East’ has been put forward to explain Caracalla’s actions. This paper discusses the various possibilities why he decided to visit this specific temple, and argues that the episode ought to be understood through a combination of religious notions and individual, ‘political’ needs and conveniences which would have made it impossible for this emperor not to go to a deity whose local cult stood for total, universal power. In the process, this article also provides some clarity regarding the contradictory sources describing the events.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2012
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2012
Publicly Available Date Apr 21, 2015
Journal Ancient society.
Print ISSN 0066-1619
Electronic ISSN 1783-1334
Publisher Peeters Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Pages 89-107
DOI https://doi.org/10.2143/as.42.0.2172289
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1494736

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