Rodoguna, queen of Syria, daughter of the Parthian king Mithridates

Rodoguna, queen of Syria, daughter of the Parthian king Mithridates

Rodoguna (c. 130 BCE) – Queen of Syria, daughter of the Parthian king Mithridates. In 141 BCE, she married Demetrius II Nicator, the king of Syria, who was a prisoner of her father at the time.

Legend has it that once Rodoguna was bathing in a pool when a messenger arrived and informed her of the approaching enemy cavalry. Without hesitation, and with only her wet hair pushed back, Rodoguna put on her armor and mounted her horse, vowing to finish her toilette only after victory.

Leading a small personal guard, she charged at the enemies like a whirlwind, catching them off guard with such a fierce and swift attack. Rodoguna put them to flight and returned to the palace victorious. This story was so popular among the Parthians that they commissioned artists to depict Rodoguna as a beautiful woman emerging from the water after bathing. The emphasis was not on her strength and courage, but on the beauty and grace of the brave woman.

The queen was often portrayed with unkempt hair, even on coins, to emphasize her loyalty to her vow.
18 km west of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, archaeological excavations are being carried out in Old Nisa, which was part of the Parthian Empire in ancient times. Old Nisa is a fortress, a royal reserve, and a place where the most interesting finds have been made.

In Nisa, golden vessels, coins, and marble statues have been found. The statue of Rodoguna was brought to Nisa from the western regions of the Parthian Empire. The statue was created around the 2nd-1st century BCE. It follows the canonical image of the goddess Aphrodite, who squeezes her wet hair. However, the stern and commanding face of this statue made researchers wonder if the sculptor wanted to depict not an ancient goddess of love, but the Parthian princess Rodoguna, daughter of Mithridates I.

The sculptor created a very lifelike image of the princess, accurately reflecting her nature in the sculpture. Her face portrays courage, bravery, and valor. Her body is large and powerful, indicating strength not typical of ordinary girls.”

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