Taurus

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Location of Taurus Mountains in Turkey

Taurus Mountains (Turkish: Toros Dağları, Ancient Greek: Όρη Ταύρου) are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, dividing the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau.

Origin of name

The bull was commonly the symbol and depiction of ancient Near Eastern storm gods, hence Taurus the bull, and hence the name of the mountains. The Greek historian Herodotus mentions that Heracles plowed that land using a huge ox ("Taurus"), hence the name of the land.

Location

The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east. It is a part of the Alpide belt in Eurasia.

History

The mountains are a place of many ancient storm-god temples.[1] Torrential thunderstorms in these mountains were deemed by the ancient Syrians to be the work of the storm-god Adad to make the Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise and flood and thereby fertilise their land.[2]

The Hurrians, probably originators of the various storm-gods of the ancient Near East, were a people whom modern scholars place in the Taurus Mountains at their probable earliest origins.

A Bronze Age archaeological site, where early evidence of tin mining was found, is at Kestel.[3] The pass known in antiquity as the Cilician Gates crosses the range north of Tarsus.

References

  1. Ravinell, Alberto and Green, Whitney The Storm-god in the Ancient Near East, p.126. ISBN 1-57506-069-8
  2. Saggs, H.W.F. The greatness that was Babylon: a survey of the ancient civilization of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, Sidgwick & Jackson, 2nd Revised edition, 1988, p.380. ISBN 0283996234
  3. Yener, K.A. (2000) The Domestication of Metals: The Rise of Complex Metal Industries in Anatolia Brill, Leiden, ISBN 90-04-11864-0