Excavations underway to locate ancient Greek temple in western Iran

A team of Iranian archaeologists recently began searching for the location of the ancient Greek Laodicea Temple in Nahavand, Hamedan Province, the director of the team announced on Thursday.

“On June 15, the team began excavations, which will probably last until late July,” Mehdi Rahbar added.

In 1943, archaeologists discovered an ancient inscription written in Greek in Nahavand, indicating the existence of a temple named Laodicea in the area, which dated back to the reign of Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC), the Seleucid king who ruled Asia Minor.

He was the most distinguished of the Seleucids. Having made vassal states out of Parthia in present-day northeastern Iran and Bactria (an ancient country in Central Asia), he warred successfully against the Egyptian king Ptolemy V and in 198 BC obtained possession of all of Palestine and Lebanon.

He later became involved in a conflict with the Romans, who defeated him at Thermopylae in 191 BC and at Magnesia (now Manisa, Turkey) in 190 BC. As the price of peace, he was forced to surrender all his dominions west of the Taurus Mountains and to pay costly tribute. Antiochus, who early in his reign had restored the Seleucid Empire, finally forfeited its influence in the eastern Mediterranean by his failure to recognize the rising power of Rome.