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but also the troubled history of this region since the days of Preusser and Bell.? Of course, other scholars have discussed the bridge, which is sometimes named after the closest town, Cizre in Turkey or the closest village ? The famous British traveller, archaeologist and spy, Gertrude Bell, was also active in this part of the Middle East, her photographs forming an invaluable archive now held by Newcastle University Library in England (? a few hundred meters inside Syria, within sight of the Turkish frontier and almost as close to the Iraqi frontier ? Preusser waxed lyrical about the architectural and sculptural treasure which was the remaining structure. then presumably in flood and, of course, uninterrupted by modern dams ? The carved panels stood out clearly in the sunlight, and Preusser assumed the existence of carvings or other comparable forms of decoration on at least some of the other piers, though nothing now remained or, perhaps, had never been completed. The bridge itself was faced with dark ashlar blocks of basalt which contrasted with the lighter carved panels of limestone. The downstream side of the western pier of this surviving arch was, and still is, decorated with a remarkable sequence of eight carved panels forming, in effect, a semicircle (? In direct sunlight the contrast between the almost limestone of these carved panels, and the dark volcanic basalt clearly impressed Preusser and remains striking to this day (?

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Driven by hunger, they are finally driven from the Castle by the population. These poor and hungry peasants occupy Najac and rouergue. Umar when Preusser visited) stood the ruins of a great bridge which once spanned the Tigris river in a series of broad arches (some later scholars have suggested that the bridge was never completed; see below). Subsequent descriptions have done the same, and have also been more specific in their identifications. Despite being more weather-beaten than the hard basalt, the limestone panels were ? Preusser described the subjects going from right to left; that is in a clockwise direction if seen from above. ); 8 - Sagittarius and, being badly damaged, an unidentified serpent (? Subsequently Herzfeld, followed by Hartner, believed that this figure was “riding on Capricorn”. Whelan had been able to visit or photograph the site when she came within a kilometre or so in 1975. It is located in a territory which played a significant role during the early Islamic period, and even more so during struggles against the Crusades in the 12 centuries AD. For example, Preusser, being unable to photograph and perhaps even to view all of the carvings from a close and convenient angle, mistakenly thought that panel 3 with the mounted figure (identified as Mars), also included a scorpion. More is, in reality, known of the history of the bridge. Hence the importance of fords, ferries and bridges across various rivers large and small which essentially flowed from north to south, from the highlands of eastern Anatolia, through the ? A triangular hillock separates the horse from a small goat with long, curving horns, which rests its forefeet on the summit”. The ancient Graeco-Roman God of War had thus been conflated to some degree with the ancient Graeco-Roman hero Perseus who was shown in astronomical and astrological sources holding a sword and the severed head of Medusa - though again not riding a horse.

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