BĀṬĀS, a village in Iraq on the Arbīl-Ravāndūz highway, center of the Ḥarīr subdistrict (nāḥīa) of Arbīl province. To the northeast of the village a rock relief, no longer in good preservation, stands on the cliff wall of the long valley some 80 m above the floor. It was discovered in 1899 by C. F. Lehmann-Haupt (see his Armenien einst und jetzt II/1, Berlin, 1926, pp. 278-81).

Set in a rectangular recess, the relief depicts a man in a posture of prayer (Figure 29). He has short hair and is wearing a pointed tiara with a headband or diadem. His clothes are a pleated robe, tucked up by means of a strap suspended between the legs, and an overcoat going down in pleats to the knees. Also more or less discernible are a belt, a scabbard, and shoes. The right hand is raised in prayer; the now vanished left hand held a long staff which rests on the ground and was once capped with a device of four superimposed balls. It is uncertain whether anything was carved in the rock above the right hand. Most probably this space was left blank; it was certainly not filled (as some have supposed, e.g. Lehmann-Haupt, op. cit., p. 281) with Hittite or Urartian hieroglyphs. (For detailed description of the relief and full bibliography, see R. M. Boehmer and H. von Gall, Baghdader Mitteilungen 6, 1973, pp. 65ff.).

There are good grounds for the opinion that the relief depicts Izates II, the king of Adiabene (ca. 36-62 A.D.), who was converted to Judaism. He is likely to have ordered the carving after the unexpected retreat of the Parthian king of kings, Vologases I (see BALĀŠ), who had marched against him but had been forced to abandon the campaign when nomadic Dahi and Sacae invaded the northeast of the Parthian empire.

Below the relief and close to the highway are some visible remains of stone walls. In addition to Parthian potsherds of the 1st/2nd century a.d., Islamic potsherds of the 13th/14th century have been found near the surface in this area. Approximately 1 km from Bāṭās a mound called Tell Tlai rises from the valley plain. Lehmann-Haupt took it to be “an Assyrian outpost” (Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatisch-Aegyptischen Gesellschaft 21, 1916, [1917], p. 124), and a superficial probe yielded potsherds of the Early Babylonian, Late Assyrian, Hellenistic-Parthian, and Islamic periods, including the 13th/14th century (see E. M. Boehmer, Sumer 30, 1974, pp. 101ff.).

Bibliography: Given in the text.

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باطاس batas baataas  


(R. M. Boehmer)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: December 15, 1988

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 8, p. 859