Ancient Near Eastern Art in Context

Culture and History of the Ancient Near East
Founding Editor

M.H.E. Weippert

Thomas Schneider

Eckart Frahm, W. Randall Garr, B. Halpern, Theo P.J. van den Hout, Irene J. Winter



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barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia


Irene J. Winter

Ancient Near Eastern Art in Context
Studies in Honor of Irene J. Winter by Her Students

Edited by

Jack Cheng Marian H. Feldman


This book is printed on acid-free paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in Publication data Ancient Near Eastern art in context : studies in honor of Irene J. Winter / by her students ; edited by Jack Cheng, Marian H. Feldman. p. cm. — (Culture and history of the ancient Near East) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-90-04-15702-6 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Art, Ancient— Middle East. I. Winter, Irene. II. Feldman, Marian H. III. Cheng, Jack. IV. Title. V. Series. N5370.A53 2007 709.39’4—dc22 2007010469

ISSN: 1566-2055 ISBN: 978 90 04 15702 6 Copyright 2007 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints BRILL, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. printed in the netherlands

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List of Contributors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editor’s Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix xiii xv

Introduction Introduction Jack Cheng and Marian H. Feldman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Personal Perspective on Irene Winter’s Scholarly Career John M. Russell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Picturing the Past, Teaching the Future Michelle I. Marcus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bibliography for Irene J. Winter, 1967–2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . I. “Seat of Kingship/A Wonder to Behold”: Architectural Contexts A Note on the Nahal Mishmar “Crowns” Irit Ziffer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Upright Stones and Building Narratives: Formation of a Shared Architectural Practice in the Ancient Near East Ömür Harmanâah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Blurring the Edges: A Reconsideration of the Treatment of Enemies in Ashurbanipal’s Reliefs Stephanie Reed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II. “Idols of the King”: Ritual Contexts Assyrian Royal Monuments on the Periphery: Ritual and the Making of Imperial Space Ann Shafer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 13 21 35






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The Godlike Semblance of a King: The Case of Sennacherib’s Rock Reliefs Tallay Ornan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ceremony and Kingship at Carchemish Elif Denel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Temple and the King: Urartian Ritual Spaces and their Role in Royal Ideology TuÅba Tanyeri-Erdemir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . III. “Legitimization of Authority”: Ideological Contexts Workmanship as Ideological Tool in the Monumental Hunt Reliefs of Assurbanipal Jülide Aker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Darius I and the Heroes of Akkad: Affect and Agency in the Bisitun Relief Marian H. Feldman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Melammu as Divine Epiphany and Usurped Entity Mehmet-Ali Ataç . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IV. “Sex, Rhetoric and the Public Monument”: Gendered Contexts Between Human and Divine: High Priestesses in Images from the Akkad to the Isin-Larsa Period Claudia E. Suter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shulgi-simti and the Representation of Women in Historical Sources T. M. Sharlach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lead Inlays of Tukulti-Ninurta I: Pornography as Imperial Strategy Julia Assante . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . V. “Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth”: Interdisciplinary Contexts Barley as a Key Symbol in Early Mesopotamia Andrew C. Cohen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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265 295





table of contents Biblical mÀlîlot, Akkadian millatum, and Eating One’s Fill Abraham Winitzer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Self-Portraits of Objects Jack Cheng . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . From Mesopotamia to Modern Syria: Ethnoarchaeological Perspectives on Female Adornment during Rites of Passage Amy Rebecca Gansell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Ninety-Degree Rotation of the Cuneiform Script Benjamin Studevent-Hickman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


423 437

449 485 515

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g. he writes for academic and general audiences. sexuality and magic in the ancient Near East.D.list of contributors ix LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS Jülide Aker is a Ph.D. Bryn Mawr College. A number of her essays are targeted at the widespread distortions in scholarship that impose over-sexualized interpretations (e. 2000. She received her Ph.” Marian H. Andrew C. Jack Cheng received his Ph. Julia Assante (Ph.D. He is the author of Death Rituals. Mehmet-Ali Ataç is assistant professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. 1400-1200 BCE (2006). prostitution) on women in Mesopotamian images and texts. . she’s finishing her dissertation on the ideological effects of Assurbanipal’s monumental lion hunt reliefs.” Based in Boston. Ph. and the Development of Early Mesopotamian Kingship: Toward a New Understanding of Iraq’s Royal Cemetery of Ur (Styx/Brill 2005). Ideology. from Harvard in 2001 for his thesis “Assyrian Music as Represented and Representations of Assyrian Music. Cohen. in Fine Arts from Harvard University in 1998 and is the author of Diplomacy by Design: Luxury Arts and an ‘International Style’ in the Ancient Near East. Columbia University) has written on eroticism. candidate at Harvard University’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. Feldman is associate professor of Near Eastern art at the University of California at Berkeley. Elif Denel received her Ph. Currently.D. in 2006 from the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College with a dissertation entitled “Development of Elite Cultures and Sociopolitical Complexity in Early Iron Age Kingdoms of Northern Syria and Southeastern Anatolia.D. (2001) in Near Eastern Archaeology. is a Visiting Research Associate in Anthropology at Brandeis University.D.

Iran (1996). Ömür Harmanâah is an architectural historian who primarily works on the ancient Near East. “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur.” She holds a Whiting Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2006-2007. Jerusalem. Mellon Curatorial Intern at the Harvard University Art Museums in 2001-2002 she helped co-curate and write a gallery guide (Harvard University Art Museums Gallery Series 36.D. As Andrew W. gender and sexuality. . Tallay Ornan (Ph. She has held post-doctoral fellowships from the Getty Foundation. teaching posts at Columbia University and the Pierpont Morgan Library. and a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. Commemorative Practices and the Building Project: New Urban Foundations in Upper SyroMesopotamia during the Early Iron Age. from University of Pennsylvania in 2005 with a dissertation entitled. Pictorial Representation of Deities in Mesopotamia and the Biblical Image Ban (2005). Tel Aviv University) is the Rodney E. She is the author of The Triumph of the Symbol. Her publications include Emblems of Identity and Prestige: The Seals and Sealings from Hasanlu. body ornament and social identity.A. 1998. She is currently Resident Art Historian and Museum Liaison at The Dalton School in New York City. and seals and administration. from the University of Pennsylvania. as well as many articles about Assyrian palace program. National Endowment from the Humanities. Jerusalem. candidate in the History of Art and Architecture Department at Harvard University.” Michelle I. and The Heschel School.x list of contributors Amy Rebecca Gansell is a Ph. Marcus received her M. He received his Ph.D. 2002) with Irene Winter for the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s traveling exhibition. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan. and consulting work at The Jewish Museum. He is currently a visiting assistant professor of Near Eastern art and archaeology at the Joukowsky Institute of Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University.D.D. Soher Curator of Western Asiatic Antiquities at The Israel Museum. the Metropolitan Museum of Art and others. from Columbia University and her Ph. Her scholarly work focuses on ancient Near Eastern pictorial representations and their bearing on religious and political issues. “Spatial Narratives.

primarily on the subject of Neo-Assyrian art. T. He teaches the art of the ancient Near East and Egypt at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. ideology and power.A. and an M. Benjamin Studevent-Hickman is a Research Associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. from the Rhode Island School of Design. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. Israel. Sharlach is assistant professor in the History Department at Oklahoma State University. She served four years as coordinator of the Diyala Project at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and is currently working on a complete catalogue and study of the ivory carvings from Samaria.D. He has written four books and numerous articles. Her revised dissertation was published by Styx in 2000 as Gudea’s Temple Building: The Representation of an Early Mesopotamian Ruler in Text and Image. John Malcolm Russell received his Ph. candidate in Mesopotamian Art and Archaeology at the University of Chicago.D. He received his Ph. M. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department. She is writing her dissertation on hospitality and gift-exchange in the court reliefs of Persepolis. Her 1999 dissertation was published by Brill in 2003 as Provincial Taxation and the Ur III State. Suter received her Ph. identity.D. an M. working under the supervision of Irene Winter. in Assyriology from Harvard in March 2006. . Her main interest lies in ancient Near Eastern images and texts as reflections and expressions of philosophy of life. in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Archaeology from the University of Chicago. Ann Shafer is assistant professor in the Performing and Visual Arts Department and Director of the Art Program at the American University in Cairo.Arch.D.D.list of contributors xi Stephanie Reed is a Ph. Since 2004. Claudia E. from Harvard University in the History of Art & Architecture. She holds a Ph. she has been a visiting scholar in the History of Art and Architecture Department at Harvard University.

and Innovation: Considering the Agency of Rusa II in the Production of the Imperial Art and Architecture of Urartu in the 7th Century B. with a dissertation titled “Continuity.” She currently teaches in the graduate programs of Middle Eastern Studies and Eurasian Studies in the Middle East Technical University.C.xii list of contributors TuÅba Tanyeri-Erdemir received her Ph. . in 1999 from Tel Aviv University.” He teaches Semitic languages at Notre Dame. Islamic Metalwork (1996). and The Corn Spirit (2002).D. from Harvard University in 2006 with a dissertation entitled “The Generative Paradigm in Old Babylonian Divination.D. At That Time the Canaanites Were in the Land (1990). and works at the Science and Technology Museum in the same university as a researcher. from Boston University in Archaeology in 2005.D. Tel Aviv. Change. Tel Aviv University. Her publications include. Abraham Winitzer received his Ph. Ankara. Oh My Dove that Art in the Clefts of the Rock: The Dove Allegory in Antiquity (1998). From1976-1979 and 1982 she was a member of the Aphek-Antipatris Expedition and from1999-2005 adjunct teacher in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Irit Ziffer is curator of ceramics and metals at Eretz Israel Museum. She received her Ph.

ucla. and Sumerian is set in Helvetica bold font. found on-line at http://cdli. .table of contents xiii EDITORS’ NOTE The editors chose not to impose particular rules of transliteration. although contributors have been consistent within their papers. spelling or dates. and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI. Akkadian and foreign phrases are rendered in italics. References are listed at the end of each article. and abbreviations follow the standard forms found in the Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD).edu). the American Journal of Archaeology (AJA).

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fielding questions in their areas of expertise and offering practical advice. . Likewise. with assistance from John Russell and Brian Brown. Marian is deeply grateful to James Berger for his constant support. Michiel Klein Swormink at Brill has been extremely generous with his time and patient with us throughout the editing process. encouragement and good sense of his wife. Over the course of this project. although various commitments drew them away. etc. Jülide Aker compiled Irene’s bibliography for this volume. partners. in addition to numerous other life-changing events. Crosson. Thank you. spend some time reading and writing. Jack relied on the support. both of them helped shape the scope of the project.table of contents xv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This volume owes its existence to many people. Kathryn Slanski and John Russell contributed as editors in the initial stages. just a few of whom are singled out here. including the list of contributors. Julie M. we thank them and all the friends and families for letting their parents. more than half a dozen babies were welcomed by contributors. All the contributors pitched in in numerous different ways—commenting on one another’s papers.

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introduction 1 Introduction .

feldman . cheng and m.2 j.h.

In addition.introduction 3 INTRODUCTION Jack Cheng and Marian H. Fully engaged in the Near Eastern sources while drawing upon theoretical approaches from numerous disciplines rarely brought together. visual and textual design. opening up new possibilities for understanding them. Similarly. objects that seem to have exhausted their store of historical information become not deconstructed but re-constructed under Irene’s gaze. At the same time. she brought text and image together and forged them through her familiarity with ethnography to reframe a study of statuary into a consideration of living idols that required care and maintenance. Again and again. in large part due to the limitless imagination of her scholarship and her insistence on the material’s relevance in art historical and Mesopotamian studies. She subsequently turned her attention to Neo-Assyrian arts and in particular the throneroom of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. Irene arrives at conclusions that had never before been considered and that irrevocably alter the way we see the artifacts under study. For that reason. she has taken care to publish her papers in a range of journals and essay collections so that the material reaches the greatest audience and so that discussions of the theories and ideas presented enter a diversity of fields and disciplines where they may be further tested and applied. She began her career with a magisterial dissertation on North Syrian ivories that immediately established her commitment to an understanding of Near Eastern art through a contextualizing lens. Feldman Irene Winter is widely recognized as the seminal scholar of ancient Near Eastern art of her generation. they decided that a volume of essays. Mario Liverani and others. written and edited by the younger generation that . when several of her students considered what form of tribute would be fitting for her. in her work on Gudea of Lagash. Irene broke fresh ground in proposing the expression of a coherent Assyrian ideological system by means of a programmatic architectural. Building on the work of Julian Reade. Irene has always taken her pedagogical responsibilities seriously and has shared her teaching across a wide spectrum of eager acolytes.

h. was coaxed out for a ride in Oppenheim’s red convertible and even escaped the library from a second story window. while studying in a Chicago library. Thus was born this collection of essays that is uniquely informed by the perspective of our educational formation under her tutelage. but they’re there. Irene and Jack spoke about the recent passing of Erica Reiner and Hayim Tadmor. or a particular museum curator. . Toward the end of January 2006. Edith Porada and Leo Oppenheim. generous. Jack responded. Oh. or her students. her lectures and her writing she makes her positions clear. but upon reflection the stories serve better in an oral tradition for a number of reasons. One doesn’t wonder what Irene “really” feels about art collectors.4 j. never flinching from telling details even if they were unflattering—to them or to herself—and always conveying the mutual warmth and respect she felt for her friends. But also because in an oral tradition the stories take on the sheen of legend or fable. We’re sure we’ve gotten more than one detail wrong in the retelling but it doesn’t matter—it’s a great story because of the wonderful image and because it reveals that the professor emeritus we knew at Columbia University was once vivacious and impetuous. Libel laws being the first. They may not last more than three generations. follows horse racing and reads science fiction novels with the same enthusiasm and intensity that she brings to her scholarship. Her public conduct is as warm. “It’s a little like losing your last parent. even Porada knew there was more to life than the library. and you’ll pass down those stories.” And then. The bare bones version: Edith. “Those were the last two who had any connection to my dissertation. for all her dedication to her work. cheng and m. was particularly apt. “I’ve heard so many stories from [Edith] Porada and Leo [Oppenheim] and I tell them to you. And in turn. Stories about Irene are not like that. she socializes. open and principled as her private life. One story we love to hear Irene tell involves two of her mentors. Irene said. and maybe stories about me. They don’t reveal a side of her that you didn’t know because those sides aren’t there. In her teaching. It’s a shame. Irene told more stories of her mentors. and become more meaningful for that reason.” she told him. that this rich history “behind the scenes” in Near Eastern scholarship is never preserved. but it is. feldman has benefited so much from her intellectual generosity. of course.” We had considered writing down some of these stories.

Irene’s scholarship impresses us. the student said. I think it was the first time I had been to Irene’s office to do anything but get a signature and we talked and cried for an hour. the student recalled. Lest this introduction seem too cloying. This student did not specialize in ancient Near Eastern art but had just had a talk with Irene in Irene’s capacity as graduate student advisor. she is called upon by many people. We talked. but ultimately she simply let the student speak her mind and then shared her own thoughts on the complex balance of life and work. they know that they’ll have her to themselves. always taking each other very seriously except for the times when they don’t take each other seriously at all. in a lecture or a footnote. But what makes her example so worthy of emulation is that she recognizes her imperfections and is not afraid to share her problems with you. that she’ll have read in detail everything they have written and she will listen intently to whatever they have to say and respond instantly from her gut and give them a useful answer. Hunt—can be more intense than his wife. Bob and Irene clearly belong together. We cried. growing and reforming and coming into sharper focus each minute. about how hard it is to live the life of a scholar while having a family. they tend to reveal her depths. you might find that your skill level improves as you try to match her shot for volley. but it is her character that inspires us.introduction 5 So stories about Irene don’t show another side of her. One of the editors remembers talking with an art history graduate student who had just decided to leave Harvard. Naturally. to allow herself to be vulnerable. Irene is never prouder than when she can publicly cite the work of a student or young scholar. always giving credit. . we need to state that Irene is hardly perfect. her strengths and her foibles. committees and groups for her advice and expertise. and it can sometimes be hard for individual students to find a moment with her. She talks faster than most people can think. It can be a surprise for new students to find out that her husband Bob—Robert C. Irene listened respectfully to the student and made the case for staying in the program. But when they do. As her students. She can be intense. And they’ll know if their argument or idea made an impression because Irene will reference it. A conversation with Irene sometimes feels like a tennis match: you’d do well to warm up first and then as things go along. listening to them talk—about research or computers or gardening—one sometimes feels like one can see the ideas flying through the air.

it is Irene’s generosity—intellectual and otherwise—that has provided all of us contributors with the wherewithal to pursue our various studies into the ancient Near East. cheng and m. offering of modern art. Winter in its content. Among .h. but also in its conception and production. we found a common ground in the approaches and concerns that we learned from Irene. (We regret turning away her colleagues who offered to contribute here but if we had dithered on this one principle. while not technically her students. Although some participants have never met. Indeed. Although two names are listed as editors of this book. However. when the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. not to say schizophrenic. history and culture reflects our appreciation of Irene’s mission to make Mesopotamia and its neighbors legitimate and important components of the art historical curriculum. she clearly relishes and excels in her role as a teacher. all of the authors could also be named contributing editors. and to include visual culture in the body of evidence that must be considered by scholars of the ancient Near East. Although Irene is loved and respected by her peers. benefited from her mentorship. feldman You are very lucky to have her as your advisor. other archaeological collections and innumerable sites all over Iraq were vandalized and looted during the invasion and occupation of that country. the next generation of scholars that she has done so much to nurture. if we had solicited all of the students who have felt her influence in their work. this volume would have ballooned uncontrollably. This volume strives to honor Irene J. However. this book would have been a rather diverse.6 j. Chinese archaeology and Egyptology. among other subjects. with the thought that we could have it published within a few years. Drafts of each paper were distributed among the writers who then offered comments and critiques of each others’ work. All the contributors to this volume know that.) Contributors to the volume were solicited from both Irene’s “formally enrolled” students and also from many younger scholars who. Our choice to limit our contributors to scholars of ancient Near Eastern art. anthropology. we became a multigenerational cohort (to use a word Irene often invoked in her exhortations to us as students to find a like-minded and supportive community). The idea for this volume was conceived in 2002. and so our contributors are drawn from the ranks of her students. and some earned their degrees decades after others. she said. our work stalled.

and when activity once more began. arguably one of the most profound has been her unfailing commitment to contextualization in the widest and richest sense of the term—from a careful consideration of the art within its archaeological settings to the ideological. images and architecture as an integrated and coherent program . we were pleased to find that common themes emerged as we assembled the finished articles. some went to Iraq. others created databases of looted material to aid authorities and most wrote letters and opinion pieces to their local newspapers. John Russell contributes a scholarly biography. we have grouped the articles in five sections. the situation in Iraq is still in flux. As of this writing. including the regretful absence of some participants. Michelle Marcus writes about Irene’s role as an educator and mentor as a model for pre-college education. It is this total integration that has inspired the title of this volume and that we hope to have emulated in the diverse array of articles gathered within it. ritual and aesthetic networks in which these arts existed and participated. In the rest of the contributions. The project lay dormant for several years. To begin. assessing Irene’s contributions to the academy from his own perspective as a scholar. sometimes small ways that have affected the final shape of the volume today. I. and she makes the case for the importance of and potential for studying visual culture even in kindergarten and elementary school classrooms. teacher and activist.introduction 7 those who planned to participate in this volume. personal situations had shifted—sometimes in large. rhetorical. although we did not solicit specific topics. “Seat of Kingship/A Wonder to Behold”: Architectural Contexts Irene’s work in the early 1980s on the Neo-Assyrian palace of Ashurnasirpal II pioneered an approach to studying the relationship between texts. While Irene’s contributions to the field of ancient Near Eastern art are so numerous that it might seem impossible to make an accurate accounting of them. Thus. the title of each having been drawn from seminal articles in Irene’s corpus. we have two articles of a more personal nature from two of Irene’s first graduate students that put Irene herself into context. however. intersect with those that Irene has explored in her own work. not surprisingly. And these themes.

and considers how the physical and structural qualities of the orthostats convey as much meaning as the images carved on them. were designed as focal points of rituals that reinforced the power of the North Syrian rulers. but rather key participants in social action and thus represent traces of physical acts and desires played out long ago. Monuments are not simply objects to admire. Elif Denel demonstrates that areas of the city of Carchemish. reconstructing ritual based on archaeological. Irene considered the ways in which ancient monuments operated within contexts of ritual and in particular how such ritualized use reinforced royal needs. elaborately ornamented with carved reliefs and exhibiting evidence of offerings. Tallay Ornan proposes that the Neo-Assyrian king Sennacherib may have appropriated aspects of the divine in his images. but also as sites and residues of ritual performance critical to the maintenance of royal ideology. Ömür Harmanâah explores the development of the orthostat tradition in North Syria. finding traces of emotive affect in the depiction of prisoners of war that may be indicative of a little-explored aspect of conflicting Assyrian perceptions of the enemy. Irit Ziffer examines a group of Chalcolithic Levantine copper “crowns” and suggests they reflect palatial forms of an early.h.8 j. feldman designed to define or defend a royal ideology. cheng and m. TuÅba Tanyeri-Erdemir traces the coevolution of temple architecture and state ideology in the Urartian Empire. In this section. emerging rulership. Stephanie Reed problematizes the interpretation of the Neo-Assyrian palace reliefs of Ashurbanipal. II. Her students continue to explore the use of architecture and architectural decoration as symbol. Ann Shafer considers the peripheral monuments of Assyrian kings—carved stelae and rock reliefs—not only as marking the borders of conquest. representational or architectural evidence and then contextualizing how those rituals may have served significant functions in maintaining hegemony. blurring the lines between god and king and moving toward a kind of royal deification. A number of our contributors have taken a similar tack. “Idols of the King”: Ritual Contexts In her work on the statues of Gudea in the late 1980s and early 1990s. which the Neo-Assyrian rulers later drew upon for their palaces. especially as they convey messages about royal power. arguing that rituals conducted .

she has written on the Disk of Enheduanna. Claudia Suter identifies representations of priestesses in the Akkad through Isin-Larsa periods. Irene applied theories of gender and masculinity to demonstrate how Naram-Sin’s physical allure functioned as a key quality in his royal persona. Rhetoric and the Public Monument”: Gendered Contexts Given that questions of gender and sexuality must be considered in any social history and Irene’s commitment to a total understanding of ancient Mesopotamia. lineage of Darius I’s “heroizing” style and proposes methods of transmission from Mesopotamia to Persia and from the third millennium to the first. “Legitimization of Authority”: Ideological Contexts In her work on the seemingly mundane sealings of Ur III bureaucrats. III. Marian Feldman traces the Mesopotamian. one of the very few images of women in the corpus of ancient Near Eastern art. as well as in her research on royal images. The three papers in this section explore different ways in which Near Eastern rulers derived political legitimization through artistic production. brings their socio-economic and ideological roles into focus. Jülide Aker’s contribution focuses on Ashurbanipal’s lion hunt reliefs to find the hierarchies of the royal personnel reflected and affirmed in the quality of the craftsmanship applied to different subjects. the two being inextricably entwined with the larger socio-political landscape of the Near East. In her 1996 study of the Stele of Naram-Sin. Mehmet-Ali Ataç draws upon parallels from Classical Greece to explore the description of divine radiance—melammu in Akkadian—as a heroic quality associated with Mesopotamian kingship.introduction 9 outside and inside state sponsored sacred sites were critical to the establishment and perpetuation of an Urartian royal ideology. and in particular Akkadian Empire. exploring diverse cases of gendered contexts. Attempting to reconstruct the roles of women in Mesopotamian society. Irene has shown us that ideological messages are pervasive in the visual culture. IV. The three contributions in this section follow suit. and in so doing. it is not surprising that a part of her work has focused in this area. Using a . “Sex.

Our authors cited . disciplines. Julia Assante studies a group of presumably private monuments—pornographic lead inlays—proposing that the aesthetic treatment of women and foreigners seen on them. Jack Cheng considers the phenomenon of objects depicted with representations of themselves as a message from the past to the future. Tonia Sharlach discusses the methodological considerations in studying a “woman’s” archive—including how to define such a thing. Andrew Cohen discusses how and why barley became a “key symbol”—an important and pervasive touchstone that helped define Mesopotamian culture on an economic as well as ideological level. Abraham Winitzer combines his knowledge of both Hebrew and Akkadian to parse the Deuteronomic laws regarding the taking of a neighbor’s fruit and grain. time and space. cheng and m. A few additional editorial observations may serve as further testament to the quality and breadth of Irene’s scholarship. V. played a decisive role in bolstering the royal ideology of Tukulti-Ninurta I. Benjamin Studevent-Hickman takes a new look at the moment at which cuneiform writing turned ninety degrees and discusses the variables involved. The title of this section is taken from an article from 2000 in which Irene drew upon living rituals observed in India to gain insight into the ancient practices in which artworks once existed. feldman case study of an archive attributed to a wife of Shulgi. media. and the ways in which they would have been experienced by Assyrian courtiers.h. researches a modern tradition of Syrian bridal adornment as a way of furthering our understanding of ancient jewelry. Amy Gansell. in a nod to Irene’s ethnoarchaeological explorations of Hindu ceremonies. The article—like so much of Irene’s work—emphasizes and capitalizes on the benefits of crossing fields. suggesting that to insist on a single point in time is to miss the dynamic complexity of language and writing. The contributions in this final section exhibit a similar “breaching” of traditional boundaries and in the process reveal new aspects of the ancient Near East. “Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth”: Interdisciplinary Contexts One of Irene’s great talents is to look at familiar objects in a fresh light and through new “eyes” in order to provide a different perspective on them.10 j.

Sharlach and Suter. Her recent work on aesthetics and affect threads through many of these papers. It is certainly a tribute to her continuing relevance in the field that Irene has never had a fallow period in her scholarship and continues to publish groundbreaking work on almost every period of Mesopotamian art history.1 This is mirrored in the wide range of dates and cultures explored by the contributors. 1 We had to limit the bibliography of Irene’s scholarship provided at the end of this introductory section to works through 2005. Despite the disruptions and lengthy time in the production of this volume. we are delighted with the quality and breadth of the essays. Ornan. we hope that promise has been fulfilled. In pitching the idea of this book to our publisher. .introduction 11 29 different articles by Irene. dating from 1974 to her more recent publications in 2004. Irene’s continuing interest in the relationship between text and image is explored by Studevent-Hickman and Cheng. For Irene’s sake. her corpus continues to grow as we know of several works in press and others in progress. Her interest in the first millennium kingdoms of northern Syria and southeastern Turkey surfaces in papers by Denel. from Ziffer at the beginning of state formation in the fourth millennium to Feldman at the end of the independent ancient Near East in the Achaemenid period to Gansell’s ethnographic study of Syria in the 20th century CE. In addition. however. Harmanâah and Tanyeri-Erdemir. Reed and Shafer. we made the argument that Irene’s influence is so broad and deep that her students represent the next wave of scholarship of the visual culture of the ancient Near East. Different aspects of the third millennium are addressed in the papers of Cohen. The Neo-Assyrian period—an area in which Irene has produced such impressive scholarship—is the subject of papers by Aker.

m.12 j. russell .

so young in manner and appearance that all her students except me called her “Irene. Sarantis Symeonoglou’s “Art of Ancient Mesopotamia. or memorable trips abroad might incline one to focus on the study of Classical.a personal perspective 13 A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE ON IRENE WINTER’S SCHOLARLY CAREER John M. or Asian art. Russell I don’t know what might draw a student to specialize in the more popular areas of art history. to my knowledge she was the first ancient . This was certainly true for me. not born. childhood trips to local art museums. cultural reinforcements abound. That all changed dramatically that fall with the arrival of Professor Winter at Penn to teach ancient art.” and was so taken with the experience that I changed my major to Art and Archaeology. Renaissance. All those I can think of discovered this art more or less by chance. For the art of these periods. it was looking very much like my future was Flanders. Graduating with an interest in art history in general. I suspect this is rarely the case. and ancient art in particular. and archaeology. however. One can imagine that a great high school art class. for the art of the ancient Near East. history. Louis. Medieval. are made. the ancient art professor left the department. at the end of the Spring 1976 semester. an area not well represented in most museums and one often neglected in art history survey classes. modern. At the end of my first semester at Penn.” Despite the university’s strong tradition in ancient Near Eastern languages. and went on to take every ancient art course he taught. leaving me to explore a range of later periods the following year. As a vaguely pre-med freshman at Washington University in St. Thirty years ago. under the influence of a teacher who somehow inspired them to see the attractions of the art of a period that they otherwise wouldn’t have considered. I commenced graduate studies in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania with no declared area of concentration but with strong interests in ancient and northern Renaissance art. I stumbled into Prof. in other words. Students of ancient Near Eastern art.

she was able to negotiate the addition of a classical specialist. Gaps there were aplenty. even after her departure to accept another position in Near Eastern art history created specially for her. a foretaste of the rich range of methodologies that Irene was drawing upon in her investigations of ancient Near Eastern art. Looking through my notes from “Ancient Mesopotamia.14 j. including studies of style. Even so. portraiture. The first 2 pages were devoted to method and theory. Winter! These bibliographies. the royal presentation scene on Ur III seals. Although I didn’t think about it at the time. she was expected to teach not only the Near East and Egypt. narrative.” the first course I took with Irene in Fall 1976. Apart from the content of the lectures themselves. and her appointment probably wouldn’t have happened without lobbying from outside the department. and empire? After years of teaching all of ancient art. serving as they did both to summarize the state of knowledge and to highlight gaps where one might make a contribution. semiotics. First. I believe she considered these latter areas to be distractions from her main area of interest. Rome influenced her later inquiries on narrative. the relief program of Assurnasirpal II’s throne room. but I wonder to what extent this obligatory immersion in the art of Greece and. These averaged three typed pages in length (and in those days they were indeed typed). due in no small measure to the work of Irene herself—the 26 pages of bibliography that Irene distributed to us in 1976 contained exactly one entry by Irene J. especially. and covered not only artistic media. she handed out a comprehensive bibliography for the period to be covered. russell Near Eastern specialist to be appointed in the History of Art department. the strong arm of Gudea.m. but Greece and Rome as well. this time at Harvard University. my notes from that term remind me of two other remarkable aspects of Irene’s teaching. I’m struck by the themes already there that she would develop in her research over the following years: hierarchy in the Warka vase. but also excavation reports and cultural/historical studies. landscape elements in the stele of Naram-Sin. at which point the ancient Near Eastern art history position came into its own and continued as one of Irene’s enduring legacies to the field. in retrospect I believe these bibliographies were critical to bringing students into the study of the field. . with a full six pages devoted to the Neo-Assyrian period. at the beginning of each lecture. and reception. It’s stunning to see how much has been added in the past thirty years.

The other remarkable feature from my notes from Irene’s first semester at Penn is a notation on the last page that the class was invited to her house for an end-of-semester dinner. I met Edith Porada. In growing us as scholars. there’s always more to see. namely Irene’s generosity as teacher. When I needed to visit Iraq for dissertation research and couldn’t get a visa. Nadav Na’aman. Through her. I vividly recall (though unfortunately I didn’t write down her exact words) that during one class she observed that the key for the health of our field was the love that we bear for those who till it. Irene never insisted that we do things her way. her magnificent study of the Stele of the Vultures. She first described to us the painstaking process of close . Irene arranged for me to accompany Mac Gibson’s Oriental Institute expedition to Nippur. She has certainly been a beacon of love and respect for a generation of students. was to learn to look closely at the object of our inquiry. mentor. From my own graduate student days. Haim and Miriam Tadmor. and many others who would become treasured friends and colleagues. she allowed me to use her office at Penn for a year while she was away on leave. a tradition that she continues to this day. This prompts me to expand a bit on something that every contributor to this volume has experienced. live on in the bibliographies that I and Irene’s other students now distribute to our own students. always making sure to introduce me to everyone we met. As teachers. and friend. there is no more important legacy that we leave our field than the students who will continue to nurture it. and once there. In this respect also. When my dissertation writing was getting bogged down because of distractions. and that proved to be just the environment I needed to settle down to serious writing. no matter how many times we’ve looked at it. She did. I recall Irene inviting me to exclusive events. No matter how familiar we are with a piece. insist that we develop three critical scholarly tools. She demonstrated this lesson herself memorably in a class shortly after the publication of “After the Battle is Over” (1985). First. such as meetings of the Columbia University Seminar and the Marching and Chowder Society. That many other students also felt she was an extraordinary teacher is clear from her receipt of the Lindbach Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. however.a personal perspective 15 sporadically updated. This volume is another testament to Irene’s impact as a teacher. Irene has made our field a much richer place than she found it.

While this has long been standard scholarly practice in most areas of art history. and who was later deliberately and selectively obliterated. Not long thereafter. and this may well have been true in an era when the dictionaries of these languages consisted of individual scholars’ handwritten notes. however. The prize gave her five years of total freedom to do whatever she chose. The second tool was to learn the languages of the people we were studying. There the prevailing view was that the study of Akkadian and Sumerian was beyond the ability of all but philologists and historians. It seems to me—although she might dispute this—that for Irene. I vividly remember when she won the MacArthur Prize in 1983.16 j. and there again Irene was the art-historical pioneer. they both had missed one of the stele’s most remarkable features: the hand and arm of a mystery figure who originally stood behind the king in his chariot. Elizabeth Simpson. the Assyrian Dictionary and Akkadisches Handwörterbuch were well advanced and Akkadian language classes were taught at every school with an ancient Near Eastern art history program.m. and she announced that she was going to use the opportunity to learn Sumerian at Penn. Irene must have been one of the first (if not the first) art historians to learn Akkadian. the home of the fledgling Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary. As every student of Akkadian and Sumerian knows. her articles began to be peppered with bold-face lower-case Sumerian syllables. Sumerian was less accessible at that time. while earning her Master’s degree at the University of Chicago. but rather an investigation of contexts. By the time I started graduate school. This is not to say that . that resulted in the beautiful drawings of the stele’s two faces that were published in the article. the verbal (when we have it) is the fundamental key to the visual in understanding ancient Near Eastern art. it had not generally been true for the ancient Near East. home of the editors and files of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project. so there was no excuse not to learn the language. that their words are a more reliable guide than our eyes to what they were seeing. Then she surprised us with the news that despite all that looking. the study of these languages is not primarily an exercise in mastering vocabulary and grammar. russell observation and consultation between herself and the artist. contexts in which is embedded the culture we seek to recover. joining the italicized Akkadian words that had featured in her work all along.

while bringing the field and its issues to the attention of a new audience. you can learn a lot about the way ancient people lived by living in the same environment yourself. for me. you can’t critically read an excavation report unless you’ve experienced the process that generates one. and so many of them are by Irene that students joke that I might as well call the course “reading Irene Winter. She gave us two reasons for this. Another was the publication of “Royal Rhetoric and the Development of Historical Narrative in Neo-Assyrian Reliefs” in 1981. . as an archaeologist. presumably imagining I had better things to do. The third tool that Irene urged her students to develop was a hands-dirty familiarity with archaeological fieldwork practice. It simultaneously reframed a number of major issues for those who work in the field of ancient Near Eastern art. but gradually the idea caught on as I discovered what is. “Royal Rhetoric” begins with a summary of received opinion on the elements of narrative (content—telling—narrative). MA in Oriental Languages and Literature. This is the first time I recall her employing a motif that recurs throughout her work. and PhD in Art History. I’ve always assigned a large selection of required articles. In my ancient Near Eastern art classes. and second. you dig and the data set chooses you. It strikes me that these three tools may derive from her own scholarly upbringing in three different disciplines: BA in Anthropology. a few points in her career stand out for me as major watersheds. you chose the data set for your research. This was her first article to be written for a nonspecialist theory-sophisticated audience. which used both social-science-style author references in the text and lengthy humanities-style notes at the end. namely the structuring of her subject in triads of related elements. the fundamental difference between art history and archaeology: as an art historian.a personal perspective 17 she discounts the evidence of her eyes. or at least that’s what this student learned from her. One such was her receipt of the MacArthur Prize and ensuing study of Sumerian.” Nevertheless. I resisted this expectation at first. which led to a series of startlingly original articles on Sumerian monuments and culture. which at the time just overwhelmed me with its richness of new ideas and methodologies. only that she distrusts it. Irene’s scholarly career has been characterized by one landmark study after another. First. The interdisciplinarity of her approach even carried over to her unorthodox reference system.

” Several of my students. it occurs to me. triggered by I don’t know what.” For Irene. and to . I recall a recent discussion of her “Aesthetics in Ancient Mesopotamian Art” (1995) in one of my classes at Massachusetts College of Art. artists all. especially their own. member of the editorial board of half a dozen journals. and affect. Foremost among these causes is the issue of the illicit trade in antiquities and its destructive consequences for us. she represents the ancient Near East to a wide range of professional audiences and works tirelessly to promote causes for the well-being of the field. Active on numerous committees of the Archaeological Institute of America and the College Art Association (where for years she has represented ancient Near Eastern art history pretty much singlehandedly).” 2000). and of ourselves. resulting in her development of a rigorous ethnographic approach to investigating ancient Mesopotamian ritual practice (“Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth. observed that this seemed to them to be a superior way to evaluate any art. Her professional activities by themselves would seem to constitute a full-time job. appearance. Irene’s article makes the point that since the Mesopotamians apparently lacked an explicit concept of art.m. classical aesthetic approaches to appreciating their artifacts are anachronistic. russell and then goes on to formulate a new and very powerful theory of political expression (ideology—rhetoric—propaganda). to conclude. the big question isn’t “what is art about?” but rather “how does art communicate?” Other watersheds were the series of trips she took to India beginning in the mid-1980’s. A similar approach figures in her various discussions of the concept of style (maker—object—perceiver) and aesthetics (making—appearance—affect). Finally. and her ongoing interest in Mesopotamian aesthetics. Irene’s influence on the field extends far beyond her scholarship and teaching. I have class lecture notes from 1978 where Irene digressed from the topic (Achaemenid Art) to educate us on the difference between provenanced and unprovenanced objects.18 j. as humans and as students of antiquity.” and the even more fundamental “self—communication—others. and one of the founders of the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. In all of this work her research defined new areas of inquiry that have enriched our understanding of the past. I think. She therefore proposes that we consider their handiwork in terms of the categories of quality that they themselves valued. All of these formulations. namely “making. derive from the very human structure “idea—expression—reception.

Whether it is urging museums to adopt an ethical approach to collecting (“Change in the American Art Museum.a personal perspective 19 warn us against scholarship that blurs the distinction. her voice on this matter has been clear and singularly uncompromising. . promoting ethical standards for scholars.” 1992). are willing to step forward to do so. following her example. One of her greatest legacies is a generation of students and peers who understand why it is critical to protect heritage. or educating students on the issues. and who.

marcus .i.20 m.

Stephanie Fins. The hoof beat of the one-horned bull. Teach the children a lesson. 1700 BCE). huge mouth and 1 I am extremely grateful to Karen Rubinson. 2002)2 A noisy classroom is like a drum. O summoned Ishtar. on loan from the collection of the Queens College Art Library. We need you Ishtar. Foster 1996. 68-71. Bring down your love. your hate. A steady beat. Restore the quiet. Neil Goldberg. Thanks also to the Dalton families who gave permission to publish student work. teaching the future 21 PICTURING THE PAST. with big eyes. the plaque shows the demon full face. Bring back the peace. when I was recovering from a back injury in college. A lesson they will never forget. Jack Cheng and Marian Feldman for their comments on earlier drafts of this article. Lynn LiDonnici. Thirty years ago. Never stopping.picturing the past. Like other images of this guardian of the Cedar Forest. 2 Based on Sumerian hymns and incantations in B. The calmness. Marcus How to Calm a Classroom An incantation by Katherine Pryor (fifth grader. beheaded by the mythological heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Irene Winter brought me an Old Babylonian clay plaque carved with the head of the ancient Near Eastern demon Humbaba (ca. TEACHING THE FUTURE1 Michelle I. your temper. Sharon Almog was the classroom teacher. O summoned one. a dangerous lesson. A kind lesson. .

her influence has encouraged generations of scholars to pursue broad issues of gender. aesthetics. cultural and archaeological. She has us all turning the visual evidence upside down and inside out. This experience summarizes for me all the qualities that make Irene Winter such a phenomenal teacher: her humanity. and about the relationship between the context of an object and its meaning. Irene. She even had me call Professor Gregory Johnson in the Anthropology Department at Hunter College to talk about my notion that the popularity of hybrid human and animal creatures in the art of the third millennium BCE was related to new needs to harness the forces of nature for the purposes of city life. convincing way. program. iconography and style. like the Greek Gorgon after him. And. We talked for hours about big intellectual ideas. . as well as particular and detailed studies of cylinder seals. that artifact nevertheless carried with it an arsenal of meaning that still stays with me: about one incredible teacher. of course. her ability to pull all the pieces together in a cohesive. relief-sculpture. her infectious excitement about the power of visual things. kingship. sculpture in the round. Irene Winter’s approach to teaching the art history of the ancient Near East is so extraordinary that it has provided her students with a vast range of ideas to explore. kindness and spirit. healing and heroism. her respect for her students.i. narrative.22 m. about the creation of hybrid monsters in the ancient Near East and the concomitant rise of the early state. Although open access to the precious cedar wood of the Lebanon didn’t mean to me what it did to the residents of southern Mesopotamia. always with an emphasis on the context of the material—historical. social. ideology. her insistence on the importance of context. the head of Humbaba became a protective amulet. inscriptions and pedagogy. and her evolving commitment to the methods of art history. marcus labyrinth-like markings framing the facial features. knew the affective power of visual things. her generosity. about hope. temporarily confined to bed. her interest in the relationship between texts and images. once disembodied. a seventeen-year-old undergraduate. her skill at pulling compelling ideas out of even the most rudimentary visual materials. sexuality. her sense of collaboration. As this volume indicates. To fully appreciate this incident one has to realize that it followed a year of phone conversations about the Gilgamesh Epic between Irene Winter and myself. her ability to see the big picture. power.

This is remarkable training that could have taken any of us anywhere. Marcus 1988.. how their meaning shifts once they are withdrawn from their original social setting (Kopytoff 1986). What is wonderful about working with such a young audience is the challenge it provides to teach the very basics of what I do as an art With the generous permission and support of Robert H. there is always an emphasis on interdisciplinary study in her scholarship. She has taught many of us how to pull slides for a presentation: to find the perfect pair of images. Dyson. Irene encourages us all to work with excavated materials. to make the very best comparison. as well as her pedagogy. I had the privilege of working on the cylinder seals and sealings. 1993). for both ethical and intellectual reasons. including my experiences as a new mother. 3 . teaching and scholarship: as the Resident Art Historian at the Dalton School. to make a particular point in the most concise. however. Thanks to a relationship with the Anthropology Department at the University of Pennsylvania. transformations and changes.picturing the past. Jr. and then the personal ornaments from the Iron Age site at Hasanlu. Iran. kindergarten through twelfth-grade school in New York City. teaching the future 23 She has us studying Baroque palace programs in order to get insights into Assyrian relief sculpture. In my own life. as in more advanced studies. In the K-12 classroom. she is meticulous in her comments on our papers. director of the Hasanlu excavations. gender and sexuality. With Humbaba. a private. presented a “secondary life” for my years of college and post-graduate study. and body decoration (for example. so that we can try to make sense of some of the metaphors we see in the art. As a teacher. images have the remarkable power to motivate beginning learners to care about the past. This position has given me the opportunity to apply what I learned from Irene about pedagogy and content to an audience of young learners and teachers. Irene teaches us how to tease original meaning out of works of art. In other words. she was teaching me about the secondary life of things.3 With Irene’s direction. She demonstrates in her teaching and writing that insights always become richer when one can embed a work of art in its original context. She has us studying Akkadian. to be published or otherwise. these simple objects brought me into contact with some of the larger theoretical ideas in art history—about cultural identity. visually convincing way.

My official mandate at Dalton is to integrate visual materials into the K-12 academic curriculum. and.24 m. not simply as illustrations of a text. always with an eye towards context and meaning. And yet. to do these things with students that still have a sense of fun in their approach to learning. their capacity for making sophisticated inferences is remarkable. challenging and far-reaching approach to visual materials. best of all. how to contextualize. If our goal as educators is to encourage more sophisticated visual thinking (Elkins 2003). . while the later ruler Gudea drew on Early Dynastic temple figures in order to promote his proper relationship to the gods in his statues in the round. interdisciplinary. unburdened by years of bias. In the fifth grade.i. at a time when students need better tools to navigate an increasingly complex visual world. how to use visual materials as primary sources of evidence about the past. for instance. how to see the big picture. It summarizes their collaborative. our students can immediately see connections between art styles and political ideologies. that the third millennium ruler Eannatum chose to stress his role as a military leader in a time of competing city states in his Victory Stele. It means passing on Irene’s excitement about the power of visual things. then it makes sense to start the conversation about what is worth learning as early as possible. Our third graders can suggest that Mughal manuscript patrons incorporated elements of landscape and perspective from contemporary European art in order to show off their cosmopolitan relationships with the west. I have learned that once youngsters are given a few well-selected images. public school education is stressing reading and math at the expense of the humanities and visual history (Klein 2006). Irene herself has addressed the issue of teaching in an article about the introductory syllabus at Harvard University. The field continues to attempt to redress the long-standing neglect of education within our professional ranks. a sense of context and good directions in how to pull information out of visual sources. That means teaching students and teachers how to use works of art and artifacts as historical tools in order to clarify the past. in the end. to keep the field of history alive beyond the graduate school arena or to create a generation of global critical thinkers. The College Art Association has called for articles that discuss ways to engage beginning viewers. how to compare. marcus historian: how to look. And. about looking carefully and critically. it means adapting Irene’s extraordinary pedagogical skills to a much younger audience. co-authored with Henri Zerner (1995).

see also Sandell 2005). James Elkin and others have written compellingly about how to connect our visual expertise with pedagogical strategies that artfully engage college students in visual learning (2003. Alexander and Dey 1991). In the K-12 arena as well. there is a vigorous discourse about teaching with visual materials. rural colleges. educators have begun to discuss “visual literacy” (Yenawine 2003. At the same time. such as finding ways to foster respect for the cultural heritage of people other than ourselves (Smith 2006) and reaching students with different learning styles. College level and K-12 educators have similar goals. more needs to be done to connect visual literacy curricula with the study of history and with some of the most interesting concepts of art history: for example. 2005). it emphasizes the skills of looking and thinking about visual media that. long consigned to an outsider status. including writing for a younger audience. especially art history. the idea of a visual program. like the skills of reading and math. This term has a range of meanings. and the relationship between art and ideologies. Similarly. the concept of influence. primarily. Some of the pedagogy sessions at the 2006 Annual Conference of the College Art Association in Boston spoke to the value of interchanges between the academy and learning work in different environments. when children are in . need to be part of an integrated curriculum at every grade level. This discussion of some of the curricula that my colleagues and I have developed at Dalton may bridge the gap that exists between these two groups engaged in separate conversations on similar subjects. as well as K-12 schools. This began with a series of publications by the Getty Foundation and Harvard’s Project Zero. but for me. how art can be used as evidence of cultural interaction. such as museums. the concept of style. These efforts strive to bring higher education. civic dialogues. it may redress the bias that exists in the academy against having graduates work on the pre-college level. community colleges. One of the many things I have learned at Dalton is that visual literacy can be introduced immediately. Gardner and Perkins 1989. Although this educational movement is a positive development.picturing the past. which called for integrating art history into what Howard Gardner and others then called a disciplinary-based (studio) arts education (Dobbs 1998. teaching the future 25 by which they mean college undergraduates (Bersson 2005). into the mainstream (Bersson 2005). More recently.

2003. including an archaeology component. New York. especially in museum settings. there will be enough comparative information available for them to do a sophisticated. our cultural anthropologist affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History. the students have access to a team of experts. creates a three-level site for each class. 1200-1500 CE).26 m. Our resident archaeologist. 4 . It takes the students about six to eight weeks to uncover their finds using true scientific methods. Karen Bass. as well as at a conference on the AMICO Library K-12 pilot program at Asia Society. by now. that. largely because it is wrapped around simulated archaeological excavations that the children dig up in specially constructed plastic boxes in the back yard of the school (figure 1). New York. At this point. satisfying job. no matter what artifact a student chooses to analyze. it’s not too early to sneak in larger concepts: about personal identity when looking at self-portraits. and pictorial narrative when looking at nineteenth-century representations of Greek myths. there are Stephanie Fins.i. Mary Smeltzer. For the analysis. Neil Goldberg. computer technicians and outside specialists. Barbara Cramer. even at this level. Nevertheless. it becomes relatively simple. cultural style when looking at period rooms.4 This curriculum has become so fine-tuned over the years. marcus Kindergarten. The Dalton program has been discussed previously at the annual conference of the New York Association of Independent Schools. packed with hundreds of artifacts that are directly tied to the curriculum.6 Through these. 5 This curriculum.” The third grade happens to have one of the richest visual literacy curricula at the school.5 We ended up creating on-line galleries of carefully chosen images for each of the six sites the children excavate. to integrate larger concepts “into the picture. 2004. 6 This work was supported by grants from the AMICO Library (now CAMIO) and Artstor. When the classroom curriculum directs the choice of images. the science teachers. the main goal is to start teaching children how to look and describe what they see. The excavation gives the children the motivation and sense of ownership they need to carry out very sophisticated analyses of one or two artifacts of their choosing. the classroom teachers. which explores cultural exchange in different parts of the world during the so-called Age of Exploration (ca. Margaret O’Connor. has been adapted with a small budget by Pamela Weinreich and Denise Jordan for a third-grade unit on China at PS 158 in New York City. Jody Seifert. to date: Tracy Fedochnik. in addition to Neil Goldberg and myself. when Including. Fred White and Laura Haddad. Scott Lerner. Ben Lesch.

see UNESCO 1997. she used paintings by Vermeer to suggest that the earring once belonged to a Dutch woman who may have worn a blue head scarf and sat at a table with a Chinese-style bowl in a room with Delft tiles along the floor boards. the goal of the exercise was for the students to see how elements of style were able to inform their understanding of long-distance interaction 500 years ago. The notion that third graders For other curricular ideas on the Silk Road. inexpensive copies of Chinese artifacts. teaching the future 27 one young girl found a blue and white porcelain vase in a simulated excavation of Kashgar. the netted body of a dragon. Interaction and Cultural Exchange nd. Likewise. of course. The students are able to go from here to quite sophisticated conversations about population movement. The point is that the imagery allows the students to reach a level of critical thinking that would not have been possible from texts (especially third-grade texts) alone. with a partner. With that list in mind. and I developed.picturing the past. we tried organizing a third-grade Silk Road curriculum around the concept of style. articulate their reasons: the bend of a tree. Mughal India and Ming China. She then sorted through our galleries of Islamic paintings and found similar vessels in a courtly scene in a Timurid manuscript page. the perspective in the background. she was able to find comparanda among our gallery of fifteenth-century Chinese ceramics and suggest a similar date and place of production for her own artifact. wealth and status. in anticipation of the mix of goods the students would be finding in their simulated excavations of Kashgar. commercial exchange. This past year. Tracy Fedochnik. 7 . when a student uncovered a pearl earring in their simulated site at New Amsterdam. Ultimately. She made the intelligent suggestion that her vessel was imported from eastern China and traveled along the Silk Road to Kashgar. the children generated a list of stylistic attributes for each cultural group. they were able to play a style game that the classroom teacher.7 We devoted one week each to Renaissance Europe. The children were expected to identify the larger cultural group to which the detail belonged and then. Each child was given a small laminated card with a telling detail from a larger work of art. Timurid Persia. The Silk Road Student Activity Package 1997. where it was used in elite courtly settings by individuals wearing decorated garments in highly decorated palace settings. Along the Silk Road: People. Through a combination of classroom work and museum trips.

9 was to center the curriculum around the available literature. one based on the Assyrian outpost at Til Barsip in northern Syria in the first half of the year. was written by Mary Kate Brown. Our Near Eastern and archaeology staff includes Goldberg. P. building programs and cultural values. the other a hypothetical Classical Greek site. using a curriculum centered on a compelling in-house computer program that simulates the excavations of an archaeological site. Instead. taught in the fifth grade by classroom teachers with little background in the Near East or in how to use primary visual sources. and The Descent of Ishtar (Moore and 8 This program. . See a description of the program in Gordon 2000. Greece. myself. this curriculum was already heavily driven by visual culture. As the fifth-grade teachers have become more comfortable with this material. In the sixth grade. By the time the children enter Middle School. with recent revisions by Craig Brown. called Archaeotype. and Rome. such as imperial program. power and propaganda. for example. conceived in collaboration with the classroom teachers. Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta (K. The initial idea. the students study the Iron Age in Assyria. as well as with John Russell then at Columbia University and Rita Wright at New York University. Foster 1999) to raise issues of geography. militarism. Maria Arellano and Amy Terpening. 9 Especially Lisa Gross. in addition to Carole Brighton. Lisa Larsen and. The software has been shared with a school in California. as well as Susan Springer and Paul Zimmerman. art and ideology. we expect them to be visually equipped to address some of the more theoretical concepts that arise in the history curriculum. Sage Sevilla-Morillo. and gender and other aspects of social identity. what needed attention when I first joined the staff was a unit on Bronze Age Mesopotamia. We let the literature introduce the related intellectual issues and material culture. it is a pleasure to see them revise the original curriculum to suit their own teaching needs and styles.i. more recently. This was created before my arrival by the several other Near Eastern archaeologists that we are so lucky to have on staff at Dalton. available from dsanders@vizin. Dalton commissioned Donald Sanders (Institute for the Visualization of History) to create and add a virtual simulation of the palace at Til Barsip to the Archaeotype software. marcus could meet this goal came from two sources: the collaboration with a wonderful classroom teacher and the legacy of Irene Winter. the development of cities and long-distance exchange.8 Obviously. The Gilgamesh Epic (Zeman 1998) to talk about concepts of kingship. Susan Jaxheimer.28 m. Neil Goldberg and William Waldman. John Russell helped provide the original architectural data from Til Barsip for the Assyrian simulation. Sharon Almog.

see Oriental Institute of Chicago 2006. with articles by Richard L. burial. systems of administration and emblems of prestige. which Sidney Babcock created for us.picturing the past. The key at any level is providing the proper contextual information. The High School is a different animal in some ways. issue of Calliope (Summer 2003). long-distance trade. the students have the rare privilege of handling the actual seals in the Morgan Library. with too much to cover in too little time and an agenda tied to college admissions. Stix and Hrbek 2001. Best of all. Although this opportunity is not available at most schools. this experience is a remarkable one. Nevertheless. collaboration with some of the English teachers has created lovely opportunities to talk in small groups at the Metropolitan Museum of Art about the relationship between text and image.11 In the context of a curriculum about the development of cities and the concomitant rise of craft specialization. sketching and describing in a classroom setting. teaching the future 29 Balit 1996) to bring in goods from the Royal Cemetery at Ur. for instance. as well as to introduce the function of cylinder seals in the ancient Near East (figures 2. 3). the students feel the power of handling 3000-year-old objects. as well as issues of death. See also Sumer and its City State. between the Odyssey and Greek male statuary. and Willa Cather and contemporary American portraiture (see Johnson 1994). Zettler and Elizabeth E. social stratification and prestige. Even in the fifth grade. for providing students at Dalton with this rare opportunity. 10 . In a time when ancient Near Eastern objects are bought and sold on eBay. many museums have study collections that are available for teaching purposes. Curator of Seals and Tablets at the Morgan Library. just as I did when Edith Porada allowed her graduate students to handle these same seals in the Morgan Library and when Irene let me borrow the clay amulet of Humbaba when I was an undergraduate. These impressions provide a unique opportunity to practice focused looking. For other curricular ideas for Mesopotamia. The fifth grade also uses a set of modern impressions of cylinder seals in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library. Payne. At this point.10 As part of this curriculum. and Marcus and Gross 2000. it is a pleasure to witness how certain collections can be marvelous tools for teaching purposes without the notion of buying antiquities coming into the picture. the Gospel of Luke and Spanish Baroque paintings. rolling them across wet clay and keeping their baked impressions. 11 I am especially grateful to Sidney Babcock. the students create their own texts. one of which was the remarkable incantation with which this essay began.

rather than segregating the images in a class by themselves. for example. ready to act on behalf of his city state.i. there exists an opportunity for collaboration between art historians and K-12 educators: the former can help classroom teachers integrate visual materials into their history curriculum. a costume designer from the High School to create seventeenth-century British costume with the third graders. and how the skills I learned from Irene can be adapted to younger students. its ability to evoke an emotional response. and the latter can share their strategies for active learning. as well as to influence the way people think and behave. What is so compelling about this K-12 program is that it aims to provide the students with the skills and content of a cultural history curriculum in a sequential integrated fashion. who are just as eager as college students to make visual things talk. The cultural anthropologist. Personally. Most important. or the way the perfect athletic male body in Greek art would have served as a model of the well-fit citizen. who have had similar training in different disciplines. the joy for me is seeing how visual materials can get youngsters hooked on history. We also make every effort to bring in outside experts. who are willing to collaborate and share their ideas as well as their students.12 Part of what makes the program work and what makes it so much fun to teach is that it is a team effort. It seamlessly incorporates material culture into whatever the students are doing in the classroom. More important. all speak the same intellectual language. actors to recite Civil War poetry to the eighth grade. the way Baroque representations of the Passion would have made the intended audience feel and believe the suffering of Christ on a level that the text alone could not. 12 . we work with extraordinary classroom teachers and a great technology team. archaeologist and myself.30 m. for instance: a manuscript illuminator to create Medieval or Aztec manuscripts with the third and seventh graders. marcus the students are intellectually ready to talk about the affective properties of art. Stephen Murray of Columbia University to talk to the seventh-grade teachers and students about Amiens Cathedral. and various upper-school historians to talk to the lower-school students. The point is there is room for art historians (even those with a specialty in the ancient Near East) to join An official art history class is offered by Robert Meredith for advanced highschool students.

picturing the past. Mary. 1999. 2000. New York: Routledge. nd. David T. Lidner. Vol. 2006. Molly M. The New York City Department of Education (June 1). In The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. 1998. 2005. Klein. Robert. 1885-1915.ucla. Benjamin. 1991. Dobbs. 1989. inside and outside the Near East.” an unpublished teacher’s guide to the exhibition American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life.. She has produced a generation of students who knows the value of visual materials. Interaction and Cultural Exchange. 1994. Building the Literature of Art Pedagogy. and David Perkins. Johnson. Cambridge: Harvard Education Letter. James. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kopytoff. The City of Rainbows: A Tale from Ancient Sumer. 2003. Joel A Thousand Words: Promoting Teachers’ Visual Literacy Skills. Burns. Before the Muses.htm). Bethesda: CDL Press. Klein. Irene Winter has done so much more than produce academic scholars. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ed. Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction. 64-91. Multimedia and Internet@Schools 13: 16-20. Mind. eds. The Digital Classroom: How Technology is Changing the Way We Teach and Learn. Art. Bersson. Los Angeles: The Getty Education Institute for the Arts. Howard. 1986. American Literature and Interdisciplinary Study. who knows that by keeping people in touch with the world and its history. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum Publications. Learning in and through Art. Igor. In “A Resource for Educators. Gordon. Elkins. teaching the future 31 the mainstream. Discipline-Based Art Education: A Curriculum Sampler. Foster. References Alexander. USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center (at http://www. Foster. CAA News: Newsletter of the College Art Association 30 (September). Warren. 2006. Karen Polinger. 2005. . A Letter to Parents from Chancellor Joel I. 41-43. Gardner.isop. 1996. Along the Silk Road: People. eds. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust. Arjun Appadurai. unpaginated. Stephen Mark. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. and Michael Dey. 1. ed. CAA News 30 (September): 7-9. Kay. ed. Problem-Based Learning in the Art-History Survey Course. and Education: Research from Project Zero. visual resources can promote a much-needed understanding of cultural difference. The Cultural Biography of Things.

Mesopotamia: Ancient History. Oriental Institute of Chicago. and Social Identity in Ancient Iran. CAA News 30 (September): 6-7. Philadelphia: University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Art and Visual Culture. Moore. 1993. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bradford R. Marcus. and Lisa Gross. A History of World Societies. 3 (Special issue: Rethinking the Introductory Art History Survey. Jump Starting Visual Literacy. (HTML. Roberta. 1997. Iran.. 845-846. and Christina Balit. Shirley Brice Heath. Chicago (at http://mesopotamia. Bennett D. Art Education 56/1 (January 31): 6-12. Vancouver BC: North American Multimedia Corporation. and Frank Hrbek. Michelle I. The Dalton School (Summer. July 22): 7. Yenawine.. Our History. and Diane Lapp. Smith. 2006. Michelle I. 2004. 2005.32 m. Sandell. ———. Incorporating the Body: Adornment. 2000. Christopher. 13. Irene J. Hill. John Buckler. marcus Marcus. ———. Emblems of Status and Prestige: The Seals and Sealings from Hasanlu. 2006. 1996. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2005. Mahwah.i. 2003. no. 1995. Southern Mesopotamia During the Bronze Age. . Ancient Mesopotamia. The Silk Road Student Activity Package. New York: Kingfisher Books. Winter. Ishtar and Tammuz: A Babylonian Myth of the Seasons. McKay. Zeman. Collins): 42-43. ed. 2001. Renee. Stix. UNESCO. and Henri Zerner.. 1988. Philip. Ludmila. The Silk Roads: Roads of Encounter. Gilgamesh the King (The Gilgamesh Trilogy). Gender. revised edition). ed. Westminster. Inspiring Pedagogy: The Art of Teaching Art. In Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy through the Communicative and Visual Arts.lib. John P. Should Museums Always Be Free? The New York Times (Sunday. Thoughts on Visual Literacy. Unpublished curriculum package for the fifth grade. Toronto: Tundra Books. and Patricia Buckley Ebrey. CA: Teacher Created Materials. 1997. 40. distributed by ProQuest Information and Learning). Art Journal 54. Andi. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 3: 157-178. James Flood.

Photograph courtesy of Neil Goldberg. Impression courtesy of the Morgan Library. Photograph courtesy of Susan Jaxheimer. View of the middle level of Dalton’s simulated excavation at Kashgar.picturing the past. Figure 2. Photograph of two fifth-grade students (2005) working together with a modern impression of an Old Babylonian cylinder seal in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library and an enlarged photograph of the impression. teaching the future 33 Figure 1. third grade. .

371). The second figure is a king. There is also cuneiform on the side. She has arrows coming out of her shoulders and is holding a mace or something. fifth grader. marcus My seal design shows three people. 2003. The third figure is Ishtar wearing a robe or dress. two women and one man in a presentation scene. By Celena Kopinkski. . Photograph courtesy of the Dalton School. who is wearing a “ski cap” and a short robe.34 m. He is holding a sword and he has very muscular legs. Figure 3. Sketch and description of the impressed design of an Old Babylonian cylinder seal in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library (No.i. The first woman is a goddess with a flounced skirt and a horned headdress. She has her hands up in front of her face.

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2: 150-153. Fasc. by Georgina Herrmann. Papers presented to the XLIVe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. In Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Fales and G. 17851798. Nelson. Milano. edited by Paolo Matthiae. B. Actes du colloque organisé au musée du Louvre par le Service culturel les 24 et 25 novembre 1995. Lanfranchi . Tree(s) on the Mountain: Landscape and Territory on the Victory Stele of Naram-Sîn of Agade. In Fluchtpunkt Uruk: archäologische Einheit aus methodischer Vielfalt. Luca Peyronel and Frances Pinnock. 22-44. 1999. In Visuality Before and Beyond the Renaissance: Seeing as Others Saw. 1998. May 18th-23rd. edited by Annie Caubet. edited by Hartmut Kühne. S. The Eyes Have It: Votive Statuary. Cambridge Studies in New Art History and Criticism. 63-72. 229-256. Jones and Peter Galison. de l’Antiquité à l’Islam. edited by Caroline A. Reading Ritual in the Archaeological Record: Deposition Pattern and Function of two Artifact Types from the Royal Cemetery of Ur. Rahden: Marie Leidorf. 1999. In Cornaline et pierre précieuses: La Méditerranée. no. Alessandra Enea. 2. Internationale Archäologie. History of the Ancient Near East. Schriften für Hans Jörg Nissen. Gilgamesh’s Axe. winter 41 Producing Art. Invited Lectures. edited by Robert S. Studia honoraria 6. Babylonian Archaeologists of the(ir) Mesopotamian Past. Review of The Small Collections from Fort Shalmaneser [Ivories from Nimrud. 55-77. edited by L. New York and London: Routledge. Vol. de Martino. 43-58. Venezia. 1999. . Monographs III/1. Reinhard Bernbeck and Karin Bartl. Frontiers and Horizons in the Ancient Near East. The Aesthetic Value of Lapis Lazuli in Mesopotamia. 1998. and Cathected Viewing in the Ancient Near East.bibliography for irene j. Part I. V]. Paris: La documentation Française / Musée du Louvre. 2000. F. Rome. Rome. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. M. 2000. 7-11 July 1997. In Landscapes: Territories. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 57. Padua: Sargon srl.

2002. Petros M. 2002. Md. Ind. and Historiography. In Seals and Seal Impressions. In Images as Media: Sources for the Cultural History of the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean (1st Millennium BCE). 2000. History. edited by Erica Ehrenberg. Fribourg: Fribourg University Press. Williamstown. 745-762. Proceedings of the XLVe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Hellas.: CDL Press. Md. with William W. Hallo. winter 2000. Jaipur and New Delhi: Rawat Publications. 2001. Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth: The Utility of Comparing Images in Worship in India and the Ancient Near East. How Tall was Naram-Sîn’s Victory Stele? Speculation on the Broken Bottom. Proceedings of the First International Symposium. edited by William W. Thera.: CDL Press. Hallo and Irene J. Winona Lake. edited by Michael W. Mass. Athens: Thera Foundation.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Part 2. Aesthetics. Vol. Defining “Aesthetics” for Non-Western Studies: The Case of Ancient Mesopotamia. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. edited by Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey.42 bibliography for irene j. Hansen. Nomikos Conference Centre. . 3-28. 129-162. Meister. (editor. Winter. 2. In Ethnography and Personhood: Notes from the Field. Part 2. 51-87. Le palais imaginaire: Scale and Meaning in the Iconography of Neo-Assyrian Cylinder Seals. 2000. 2001. Thera Paintings and the Ancient Near East: The Private and Public Domains of Wall Decoration. In Art History. 30 August-4 September 1997. Visual Studies. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 175. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.) Seals and Seal Impressions. Introduction: Glyptic. In Leaving No Stones Unturned: Essays on the Ancient Near East and Egypt in Honor of Donald P. edited by Susan Sherratt. Proceedings of the XLVe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Bethesda. 301-311.: Eisenbrauns. edited by Christoph Uehlinger. 1-13. In The Wall Paintings of Thera. Bethesda.

edited by Claudia E. by Jeanny Vorys Canby. (with Amy Rebecca Gansell. 2005. S.bibliography for irene j. EretzIsrael 27 (Special issue in honour of Hayim and Miriam Tadmor. The Conquest of Space in Time: Three Suns on the Victory Stele of Naram-Sîn. Ornament and the “Rhetoric of Abundance” in Assyria. edited by Timothy Potts. 2003.) Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. winter 43 2002. edited by Peter Machinist et al. 23-42. Michael Roaf and Diana Stein. Establishing Group Boundaries: Toward Methodological Refinement in the Determination of Sets as a Prior Condition to the Analysis of Cultural Contact and/or Innovation in First Millennium BCE Ivory Carving. Review of The “Ur-Nammu” Stela. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 210. “Surpassing Work”: Mastery of Materials and the Value of Skilled Production in Ancient Sumer.): 252-264. In Assyria and Beyond: Studies Presented to Mogens Trolle Larsen. Uitgaven van het Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten te Leiden 100. G. Fribourg: Academic Press. 403-421. 2003. edited by J. Suter and Christoph Uehlinger. . Moorey. Oxford: Griffith Institute. Gallery Series 36. 2003. Cambridge. In? Crafts and Images in Contact: Studies on Eastern Mediterranean Art of the First Millennium BCE. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2004. Dercksen. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten.: Harvard University Art Museums. Harvard University Art Museums. In Culture through Objects: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of P. R. Journal of the American Oriental Society 123: 402-406. Mass.

44 bibliography for irene j. winter .

a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 45 I “Seat of Kingship/A Wonder to Behold”: Architectural Contexts .

46 i. ziffer .

a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 47 A NOTE ON THE NAHAL MISHMAR “CROWNS”1 Irit Ziffer Among the art objects of the Chalcolithic period in Palestine. I shall offer more insights into the iconography of crown no.3 My attention focuses on one of the ten circular ring-like objects from the treasure. 50 meters below the top and 250 meters above the gorge. 142*) suggested that the treasure was the stock of traders or smiths who handled the trade of such commodities and who acted as intermediaries between production centers and the Negev sites. nos. Irene Winter’s wide-ranging work served as a textbook. 2004. 7-16). 1 At a tutorial seminar “Eclectic Art” given by Pirhiya Beck in Israel. triggered by her article on Mesopotamian palaces (1993). 1997. comprised the cultic equipment of the En-Gedi temple which was hidden in the cave once the temple was abandoned.2 The hoard was discovered by a team headed by Pessah Bar-Adon in 1961 in the cave to be known as “Cave of the Treasure” on the western shores of the Dead Sea. . thereby seeking a new interpretation for the function of the crowns. Namdar et al. Gopher 1996. 3 Tadmor (1989. 7. Based on textual and artistic evidence. 1980) proposed that the hoard of 429 objects. in a steep cliff-face of the Nahal (Wadi) Mishmar canyon. Ussishkin (1977. Shalev and Northover 1987. stands out. which the excavator defined as “crowns” for want of a better term (Bar Adon 1980. The following discussion. 1990. dating from the second quarter of the fourth millennium BCE. 114-213. and previous literature within see: Gopher et al. 252. 131) assumed that the hoard was a store of metal goods whose piece-meal sale was intended to provide for the families of nomadic pastoralists who wintered in the cave. Levy and Shalev 1989. therefore. 2002. that all the students looked forward to a special class given jointly by Irene and Pirhiya. Small wonder. Her participation was an eye-opener to all of us attending. cat. 2 For gold and copper objects discovered since. Gates (1992. Gal et al. the majority of which are made of arsenical copper. the hoard from Nahal Mishmar. is offered to Irene with respect and very best wishes.

All agree that crown no. Another pillar. Aside from the Nahal Mishmar crown featuring an architectural façade. It has one rectangular opening in its herringbone-decorated wall. Three are plain. no. A pillar is placed on the rim above the right side of the opening.4 Between these gate-like projections. She concludes that because the horns emanating from this stepped building are those of a bull. ziffer The “Crowns” The “crowns” measure 15 to 19 cm in diameter and 8 to 10 cm in height. 5 Griffin vultures (Tadmor 1986. others may represent open-air shrines. cat. doves (Schroer and Keel 2005. 4 Tadmor (1986. and since in Mesopotamia bull’s horns were the hallmark of the divine image. . Two gate-like projections decorated with studs and topped by a pair of caprid horns stand on opposite sides of the rim. opposite the opening in the wall. but what was the nature of this building? Bar-Adon (1980. 75). 16). Namdar et al. 75-76. three have a linear ornament and additional decorative projections on the rim. no. the horned building represents not a specific god. two have simple linear decorations on the sides. 21) compared the gates with the clay ossuary façades. whose openings are flanked by studs and are surmounted by frontons. and one plain-sided crown has two horned animal heads peeping from the top. 179. or perhaps enclosures where the dead were exposed to birds of prey prior to burial (1988. 6. 7 represents a horned temple facade. 2004. 7 represents a building. According to Moorey the crowns may be miniature models of animal byres. 130). now broken. one has a human face with a prominent nose on the outer face. but divine power in general. cat. 132-133) and Epstein (1978. Beck compared this crown with a two tiered horned building depicted on a Late Uruk cylinder seal impression from Susa (figure 3). two more fragments of horned gate posts from a copper crown retrieved from the underground cavities at Giv‘at ha-Oranim have recently been published (Scheftelowitz and Oren 2004. Beck finds an Egyptian parallel for the horned building on a sealing from Abydos (1989. two birds (of prey or perhaps doves?)5 are set.48 i. was placed above the left side. which sometimes are decorated with ibex horns. 44). All are open-ended cylinders with concave walls. 26) suggest that crown no. which depicts a war scene with a horned stepped building. 7 in Bar-Adon’s list is exceptional among the crowns (figures 1 and 2). Crown no. with studs flanking the upper part of the opening.

cult stands or altars. 1959. the top pieces being those with decorative motifs projecting vertically from the rim (figure 2). Attempting to solve the discrepancy between the depiction and the archaeological reality. therefore also the most telling. thus compatible with the impression. such as the “White Temple” at Uruk. Amiet has discussed the subject of ancient Iranian buildings decorated with horns extensively over the years (Amiet 1953. The sealings from Syria6 and Choga Mish show a war scene near a stepped building. Although no round buildings are known from the Chalcolithic period. of which crown no. 257) also postulates that the ornate crowns are architectural models. one reportedly from Syria (figure 4). Margueron postulates that if the seal cutter indeed intended to depict an existing sanctuary of his time. Amiet dismisses his previous identification of the bovine-horned building on the Susa impression (figure 3) as a ziggurat-temple on its platform. In an article published in 1987. 67. 41-42). admit that his suggested interpretation of the cutter’s viewing angles of the real building still requires a systematic study. fig. Amiran proposes that these crowns were too small and too heavy to be worn on the head and were instead drums of composite stand-like objects. 38).a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 49 see also Merhav 1993. 27-29. comparing the Nahal Mishmar hoard crowns with the only so far known round model of a house of the Chalcolithic period with a doorway and a hearth found in Cyprus (Peltenburg 1988. He does. Amiran (1985) reconstructs these cult objects as superimposed drums. or the “terrasse” of Susa. However. however. Tadmor (1990. 7 with its horned gate-like projection is the most articulate. in view of two other Late Uruk impressions. .12:2) has published it as Susian. 3. the stepped building is without horns. 7 Margueron (1986) points out that the Susa impression does not describe sacred architecture of its time.7 He compares these Late Uruk representations of a horned building on a platform with the Median stepped. Comparative Material: Horned Buildings in Ancient Near Eastern Art and Texts The Nahal Mishmar crowns may well be architectural models of round buildings. Potts (1999. the other from Choga Mish in Iran (figure 5). 1989). he must have depicted it from angles that would emphasize a certain feature of the building. Evidence for horned buildings seems to come from Iran. multi-crenellated fortress of 6 Contrary to Amiet’s ascription of the sealing to northern Syria.

silver and precious stones to the craftsmen attached 8 De Mecquenem. I would like to add yet another piece of textual information pertaining to the embellishment of palaces.v. besieged by Sargon II during his sixth campaign and depicted in the palace at Khorsabad (figure 6). The bull horns that emanate from the sides of the building on the Assurbanipal relief and those of the Susa impression building may be construed as signifying the sacred character of these edifices. 9 Potts provides further examples of hunted gazelle and ibex horns attached to religious as well as secular buildings from Arabia (1990. that is. Kassite documents from Dår-Kurigalzu of the thirteenth century BCE confirm that the embellishment of public edifices with figures or protomes of stags. 60-63). These traditions go back to the eighth century CE (Sharon 1992. rightly points out that these antlers belong to another tradition than that of the horn as a divine symbol and proposes Iran as the origin of the horned building tradition. which by no means are a mark of divinity. following Amiet. where antlers were used to decorate the houses of local khans in Luristan. see also p. Potts. 7. 37-39). cited by Potts (1990. that has so far been overlooked in support of a new interpretation for the Nahal Mishmar crown no. the Sargon relief of the Iranian fortress of Kiàesim has the antlers of a stag. there was on the dome of the Dome of the Rock a deer made of gold. qarnu) that mention horns attached to buildings—to temples as well as to the palace gate at Isin.8 Potts carries the topic of the horned edifice one step further. fig. 36. 35). who read his work at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1019 CE. however.9 The texts. 4). ziffer Ki à esim. Furthermore. He collectes the textual evidence from the dictionaries (CAD and AHw s. are not specific about what kind of horns were to decorate the various buildings. Interestingly. its eyes inlaid with precious stones. with horns. deer and mountain sheep originates in the Iranian plateau. Another Iranian horned building is the Elamite edifice adorned with bull horns in a wall relief from Room I of Assurbanipal’s palace at Nineveh (figure 7). by the light of which the women of the Balqa (in Transjordan) could spin their wool at night. The majority of Dår-Kurigalzu documents are vouchers concerning the issue of gold. However. as exemplified by the later Luristan bronzes with horned creatures. Potts emphasizes the longevity of the horn motif in Iran. non-religious edifices. as described by de Mecquenem. displaying conservatism in the representation of animals (Potts 1990.50 i. This tradition endured well into the twentieth century CE. . 40. according to Islamic traditions compiled by W§siãi. The Kiàesim fortress is topped by three pairs of antlers.

12 The hunt was a royal activity that epitomized the power of the ruler—no one can control the powerful creatures but the ruler who is thus represented as the maintainer of order against the forces of chaos. I group the decorative protomes with the variety of Iranian animal subjects that have to do with wildlife and heroic huntsmanship (Porada 1990a.RA). stones and wood were issued for the production of scepters. 11 Ehrenberg (2002. Merhav 1993. 41. 315). 24-26). mountain sheep and birds (Gurney 1953. when building their palaces at Dår-Kurigalzu. Furthermore. The gate-like structures possibly further enhanced the magic border between the wild. untamed nature and civilized life (Mazzoni 1997. no. These vouchers mention the names of two palaces at Dår-Kurigalzu: the Palace of the Stag (¿kal ayyali) and the Palace of the Mountain Sheep (¿kal UDU. 20-22)10 as well as lions (Gurney 1953.11 These animal protomes may have been symbolic of deities. 1990b. especially the doors and doorways.KUR. 12 See also Kawami (2005. nos. whose origin was in the Zagros. 75. cherished reminiscences of their original homeland. bows. 24. these ferocious beasts must have been conceived as protective of him. and also figures of stags. they adorned them with figures or protomes of the animals typical of the Kassite’s mountainous origin (Sassmannhausen 1999. These documents prove that the Kassites. Originally an early Iranian symbol of a supreme celestial power. especially the standards and scepters. the cross was assumed by the chief Babylonian deity in the readily adopted Babylonian culture. Precious materials were used to embellish various parts of the palaces. no. 23. these documents mention that metals. 120-122) regarding proliferation of deer antlers in the architecture and imagery at Hasanlu BB II. some with a haft (or hilt) of gold and an alabaster head (Gurney 1953. Such scepters were carried in processions 10 Carnelian for birds’ beaks and stags’ bodies and lapis lazuli for stags’ hooves for the Palace of the Stag. 24. The variety of ceremonial items mentioned in the Dår-Kurigalzu documents recalls the assemblage of copper artifacts of the Nahal Mishmar hoard. 50). perhaps related to the patron deity of the citadel. thereby fit to decorate his royal abode. whose early parallels found outside Israel are the decorated mace heads from Iran and Mesopotamia (Beck 1989. 25). 66) proposes a similar transfer of a symbol for the Kassite cross. Once tamed by the royal hunter. . Assorted stones and glass for the Palace of the Stag.a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 51 to temples (Gurney 1953). 24). 415). swords and ceremonial weapons made of bronze.

256). Suggested Interpretation of Crown no.” in which an Iranian tradition of palace decoration was emulated. conceived in the late fifth-early fourth millennium BCE. I contend that the crowns too were symbols of status and that they were used in public display. compare the goatman bronze statuette dated stylistically to the Late Uruk period and the goat-demon (“shaman”) subduing wild beasts and snakes on stamp seals from western Iran of the Chalcolithic period.13 Contacts with Iran in the Chalcolithic period are further confirmed by the fact that the Nahal Mishmar ceremonial objects are made of antimony-arsenic-rich copper. Instead of qualifying such buildings as “temples. gave rise to two different constructions—the temple and the palace (Aurenche 1982. the monumental buildings set in the center of a village. 1995. ziffer as symbols of status. see Barnett 1966. The identification of “exceptional” edifices within village architecture as “temples” was challenged some twenty-five years ago by Aurenche (1982). sometimes on a platform. a rare alloy which is not attested from any contemporary site in the Near East. such as buttressed walls.” Aurenche proposed to term these buildings as “bâtiments de prestige. Indeed. Wilburn 2005. whence ingots were brought to Palestine for the production of prestige articles (Tadmor. Hence I suggest that the decoration of crown no. 68. were differentiated from the rest of the houses only by their larger size or special architectural features. 85). Begemann et al. who points out the clear resemblance between ordinary houses and monumental buildings of the Ubaid period in Mesopotamia. I propose an alternative one: that it represents a “palace” or the residence of a leader. Amiet 1979. 40-41. most recently the horns incorporated in the Susa impression building (figure 3) have been said to recall the exaggerated ibex horns so prominent in the pottery and seals of prehistoric Iran (Johnson 2005. The only region rich in suitable arsenic and antimony copper ores is in northwest and central Iran and in Azerbaijan. .52 i. Porada 1995. With similar “canonical Ubaid” plans.” This prestigious architecture. 7 with its birds and gate like projections topped by caprid horns may be a local expression of such a “bâtiment de prestige. Pittman 2003. 141-144. 13 For the predominance and symbolism of caprid horns in Iran. 7 In contrast to those who seek a temple interpretation.

The mining area of ores is not necessarily identical with the area where the smelting of the ores took place. 24-26). 93).15 of which the horned façade may be one. as well as precious stone from the Sinai—would have conferred power and status on those who controlled their distribution within the local exchange networks. Beck 2002. Many standards represent caprid heads or horns. The “Hennessy 14 This rare type of copper alloy is attested only in the artifacts from Nahal Mishmar and from several other sites in Israel. *142-*143). 5 copper scepters. 61-62. Metal ingots were imported into Palestine and the artifacts were produced in local workshops which so far have not been unearthed. ARM XXIV 91. 15 One wonders whether the festive silver stands decorated with lion heads and stag horns of Aàkur-Addu. The Nahal Mishmar elaborately decorated standards or scepters17 may illustrate symbols of status carried by certain people on special occasions to indicate their social ranking or a political or religious role in society (Moorey 1988. gold and hippopotamus and elephant tusks from Egypt. 18’. and semi-precious stones from the Sinai. Bearing in mind that some of the animal head cups imported to Syria were made in the Iranian town of Tukrià. nor with the artifact production centers. *142). In some of the underground houses in the Beersheba valley evidence exists for the smelting of copper ores mined in the Arabah (Shalev and Northover 1987) or the re-smelting of scrap metal. Dalley 1984.a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 53 Tadmor 2002. as well as on the evidence of far-reaching trade and unique craftsmanship of the period. obsidian from Anatolia. king of Karana. This network of trade must have allowed for cultural contact and transfer of ideas and symbols of authority (Teissier 1987). 449 rev. 184. 17 The total number of mace heads and standards included: 240 mace heads and 116 “standards. 5-6. 7 may thus represent a “palace.” 12 elaborate triangular or disk-shaped mace heads. . obsidian from Anatolia. So far no such “palaces” have been identified in Chalcolithic sites.14 Imported prestigious materials—metals from Asia. Caprids horns are found on clay ossuaries and the portable basalt altars from the Golan (Beck 1989). the decoration of the king’s stand could reflect a Syrian borrowing of an Iranian motif (ARM VII 239. gold and tusks from Egypt. 9. that must have been controlled by economic and political systems headed by a leader (Tadmor 2002. but does not occur in any other contemporary site in the Near East. on which silver goblets of many kinds were placed (ARM XIII 22). But the differential status of individuals is increasingly accepted—on the basis of funerary evidence (Levy 1986). 12’.” the seat of rulership in miniature. ARM XXV 347. Crown no. also echo an Iranian tradition. including items manufactured of composite metals originating in the east (Eldar and Baumgarten 1985).16 These systems exercised their power through symbols of authority. 22-23. 16 Imported materials include metals from the Caucasus and Iran. *138. no two of which were equal in size or identical in decoration.

which became known as the “Warrior’s Tomb. productive. probably by associating him with protective deities (1995. The palace is thus set up as a mirror of the king. for example. . As Irene Winter so aptly put it. Visible and enduring. The deceased. It may well be that crown no. 7. served a function similar to that of the mace heads and the standards—a means of elite or royal display for society. representing a palace with a decoration of horns. may depict such a procession of goat-masked participants headed by a boomerangshaped standard bearer. pl. no. by having built so impressively.54 i. was interred in an enormous linen fringed wrapping sheet with decorative bands. and other luxury objects. and ceremonial functions. 13 and cover). and at the same time. administrative. who according to C-14 data lived in the early fourth millennium BCE. 477-478). along with a long stave. Instead of visual representation (and writing). whose likeness was immortalized in the figure wearing a tall headdress and carrying a longstemmed spear-like object. 38-39) Compare to goat-headed shaman wielding a boomerang on a Chalcolithic container sealing from Tepe Gawra (Root 2005. The single burial unearthed at Wadi el-Makkukh in the vicinity of Jericho. Moortgat 1966. ziffer Fresco” from Teleilat Ghassul. .” (Winter 1993. bow and arrows. architecture conveys its message to people through exclusion (Baines 1989. its location is significant as are its scale and quality. 120. 18 Baines points out that in Egypt the standards and attendants defined and circumscribed the king’s presence and that the standards proclaimed the king’s power. An architectural feature dominates the landscape in which it is set. Jordan. the ruler has further demonstrated his power and ability to command resources. induce astonishment. 38). all portrayed frontally (Cameron 1981. 18 . perhaps from the Late Chalcolithic period (Beck 2002. *138). incised on a paving slab from the vicinity of the earliest temples at Megiddo (figure 8). It is a physical manifestation of the ruler’s power and ability to build. cat. He may be the only surviving “chief” of the period (Tadmor 2002. and create a fitting seat of government—in short—to rule. architecture—a palace or an enclosure—is the chief form of more general display.” may furnish the (so far) only archaeological evidence of a leader in the period (Schick 1998). is as essential as its residential. 6:33). The rhetorical function of the palace . 25).

La Ziggurat d’après les cylindres de l’époque dynastique archaïque. 1953. 1951.a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 55 A miniature version of the seat of kingship. pl. which in the ancient Near East was conceived as incorporating various activities and functions—residential. 26:1. When thus interpreted. RA 47: 24-33. 166) denotes both “crown” as a mark of royalty and “crenellation” of gateway towers. Börker-Klähn 1997). industrial. Porada 1967. 16. which are depicted in palace reliefs brought as tribute to the Assyrian king and placed for display to symbolize the victory over a city (Mallowan 1966. perhaps signifying the ruler’s scepter. pls. George.19 These models are shaped as defensive walls with battlements. Calmeyer 1992. the crown. fig. each of the plastic elements represented may be ascribed a symbolic significance: the gate-like structure possibly representing the magic border between civilized life and nature. RA 45: 80-88. 22:2. Ziggurats et “culte en hauteur” des origins a l’époque d’Akkad. political. and Postgate 1999. or laid out for public display. such as investitures or renewal of kingship. while the pillar. 37. 7 may have been instrumental in conveying the concepts of authority and rule. Crown no. 22:1) and the turreted iron brazier found in storage magazine A2 at Fort Shalmaneser (Oates and Oates 2001. 23. representing the seat of rulership. Pierre. This assumed function of the crown brings to mind town models of the second millennium BCE and those of the first millennium BCE. A clay model of a citadel (Calmeyer 1992. References Amiet. Similarly to the standards and maces as symbols of martial values and prowess ascribed to the leader. 20 Crown no. pl. ———. may have been carried in processions. 20 The brazier brings to mind Amiran’s suggestion that the crowns were altars or stands. ritual and ceremonial—crown no. 19 M/Ass. 12c) may be a material form of the Assyrian models. 7 may have served in royal rituals. so reminiscent of the mace standards of Nahal Mishmar. . 99-101. 446-449. Winter 1993. embodied in the birds. j/NB kulålu (Black. 7 may be an early example of such an architectural model which signified the majesty and success of the ruler. administrative. implying the protective power and probably often the sanctity of the buildings which they enclosed.

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fig. Copper crown with gate-like projections (Amiran 1985. ziffer Figure 1. 1) .60 i.

fig. as reconstructed by Amiran (Amiran 1985. 1) . Cult stand/altar made of superimposed crowns.a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 61 Figure 2.

fig. Late Uruk cylinder seal impression from Susa depicting war scene with horned building (Amiet 1987. ziffer Figure 3. 1) .62 i.

Late Uruk cylinder seal impression showing war scene with stepped building (Amiet 1987.a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 63 Figure 4. fig. 2) .

3) . fig. Late Uruk cylinder seal impression from Choga Mish showing war scene near a stepped building (Amiet 1987.64 i. ziffer Figure 5.

fig. Khorsabad (Amiet 1987.a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 65 Figure 6. 4) . Siege of Kiàesim.

Nineveh (Potts 1990. 2) .66 i. Elamite edifice adorned with bull horns. fig. ziffer Figure 7.

a note on the nahal mishmar “crowns” 67 Figure 8. Megiddo (Beck 2002. Figure of a ruler on a paving slab. 5a) . fig.

ziffer .68 i.

However.” Kenneth Frampton. Irene J. These orthostat programs were commemorative in nature and often took the form of pictorial narratives that structured and animated the ceremonial spaces of the Iron Age cities. lining the monumental walls of ceremonial and public spaces. building remains essentially tectonic rather than scenographic in character and it may be argued that it is an act of construction first. Late Assyrian and Syro-Hittite rulers of this period are known for sponsoring building projects that incorporated carved orthostats into their architectural corpus.upright stones and building narratives 69 UPRIGHT STONES AND BUILDING NARRATIVES: FORMATION OF A SHARED ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST Ömür Harmanâah The beginnings of the Modern. Raising Orthostats as an Architectural Practice The architectural practice of using orthostats—sculpted wall slabs in stone—in monumental buildings is usually understood as an idiosyncratic phenomenon in the Upper Mesopotamian cities of the Iron Age. . volume and plan . In Martin Heidegger’s terminology we may think of it as a “thing” rather than “sign. and the much more recent advent of the Post-Modern are inextricably bound up with the ambiguities introduced into Western architecture by the primacy given to the scenographic in the evolution of the bourgeois world. rather than a discourse predicated on the surface. dating back at least two centuries. Thus one may assert that building is ontological rather than representational in character and that built form is a presence rather than something standing for an absence. . while breaking new ground in developing a contextual approach to study Syro-Hittite monuments within the artisanal networks of the . Winter was among the very first to address critically the problems of representation in the narrative relief programs of Late Assyrian palaces. “Rappel à l’ordre. the case for the tectonic” (1990).

. Winter 1997. and esp. several scholars have been investigating how the relief sculpture contributed to the articulation of space in palatial contexts (see esp. 334-335 nos. concluding that the palaces had a “rhetorical function . however.70 ö. art historical discourse has principally treated sculpted orthostats as representational surfaces. In a later article. the historical-narrative character of their programmatic display. . For an articulate discussion of the recent approaches to Assyrian relief programs. 1999). 359f. as embodiment of the state. In two foundational articles. The extraordinary quality of the carving techniques applied to the gypsum slabs at Assyrian sites. and the sophistication that they exhibit in their iconography receive well deserved attention in art historical literature.3 Furthermore. Frampton suggests that the tectonic character refers to the ontological aspect of building construction in contrast to the representational or the scenographic. also Hartoonian 1994). Visual analyses of Assyrian palatial relief programs occupy a distinctive place within the art historical literature on the ancient Near East. Winter 1983. 20. . see Winter 1997. 38) explores this idea in a broader historical scope and reflects on the entire layout of the Near Eastern palace. their architectural role as part of the material corpus of the buildings in question. The issue was partially taken up again from another perspective in Winter 1998. 1. 1 .2 As the following discussion was sparked in part by Irene Winter’s work on networks of cultural interaction. 2. 1983) explores royal rhetoric and narrativity in the sculptural program in Assurnasirpal (Aààår-n§sir-apli) II’s Northwest Palace at Kalhu (modern Nimrud). she eloquently demonstrated that architectural technologies and material styles offer exceptional opportunities to study cultural interaction between the Assyrian empire and the Syro-Hittite polities. Winter (1993. Winter (1981. in other words. in the way that it is currently employed in contemporary architectural theory. For the most up-to-date list of references. Rarely acknowledged. 377 n. Pittman 1996. 1-4.” 2 Especially Winter 1982. Reade 1979. Russell 1991. often reducing their materiality. it seems appropriate on this occasion to present this paper on the architectural significance of the orthostats.1 In a number of articles. 377 n. harmanâah early first millennium BC. see Russell 1999. is the architectonic context of these orthostats within the structure of monumental walls. Nonetheless. The term architectonics (or sometimes simply tectonics) is used here in reference to aspects of building pertaining to construction and materiality. The concept of tectonics not only “indicates a structural and material probity. 3 The bibliography of the art historical scholarship on the Assyrian programs is vast. but also a poetics of construction” (Frampton 1990.

the only valuable aspect of these artifacts was apparently their pictorial content. But more significantly. This understanding has indeed been materially damaging to the stone artifacts at the time of their excavation. To this day. esp. the strategies of exhibiting Assyrian orthostats in Western museums and their publication formats only continue to endorse this view of orthostats as two-dimensional planar entities. nothing less.4 It seems therefore important to start to address the material aspects of orthostats as architectonic members in monumental contexts. 6ff. tool marks and slab thicknesses. The parts bearing the “standard inscription” that occupied the middle section of many orthostats were sawn into pieces and apparently sent to Layard’s friends across the world as souvenirs. leading to “surgical interventions that made ‘art’ out of the reliefs by cutting semi-human figures down to what would correspond to good Western portrait bust formats” (Winter 2002. Max Mallowan (1966. Austen Henry Layard hired some marble cutters from Mosul to slice the stone orthostats in order to relieve them from their “excessive” weight for easy transport to England.upright stones and building narratives 71 their ontological quality. 10). nothing more. which assume that the cultural significance of the orthostats is only dependant upon their pictoriality and textuality. 1: 98. This iconographic and textual content as well as the stylistic form are conveniently studied by means of standard art historical and philological methods of analysis. a view that has largely dominated the art historical and archaeological interpretations of these artifacts accordingly. while the overall thickness of the slabs was reduced by cutting away their back (Layard 1849. For Layard. This cultural confrontation in the museum contexts was often painful. In this paper. I will refer to relevant archaeological and textual evidence for the early development of orthostats as an architectural practice. even prior to the incorporation of relief imagery on them. 324 n. 4 See now Winter (2002. the ontological quality of the orthostats was altered: solid architectural members were transformed into thin pictorial plaques. Following the initial discovery of the Assyrian orthostats at the site of Assurnasirpal II’s Northwest Palace at Nimrud in 1845. was destroyed in this manner. such as dowel holes. Much valuable architectural evidence about the Assyrian wall construction techniques. to iconographic and literary content. 10) reports that approximately 15 centimeters of “plinth” was also cut from the base of several slabs. . 1: 140).) on how European aesthetic judgment was applied to Mesopotamian artifacts upon their arrival to Western museums.

when orthostats extensively began to receive pictorial representations on them.72 ö. H. harmanâah and reflect upon the subsequent formation of an architectural koine in Upper Mesopotamia through the widespread use of carved orthostats. Furthermore. The curious transition in the cultural biography of this architectural technology took place between the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages.6 Practically. public sphere and social memory in Assyrian and the SyroHittite cities. Feldman recently referred to the idea of a ‘visual koine” in defining the “international style” in the eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age (Feldman 2002. and this shared rhetoric involved perceptibly common ideological tools (Harmanâah 2005). I also maintain that the making of the orthostat programs with symbolic technologies of architectural production acted as powerful agents in the constitution of the urban space. these stone slabs were used to 5 koine is used here to refer to a multi-regional dynamic phenomenon of shared/exchanged material culture. which was then a prominent region of cultural interaction between Mesopotamia. Egypt and the Levant. Orthostats: A Monumental Finish for Weathering Walls The word orthostat is an architectural term borrowed from classical Greek [Ñrqost£thj = orthostatês] to refer to upright stone slabs in Near Eastern wall construction. or “the whole milieu of cultural. I argue that this transformation in fact coincides with the formation of a cultural koine between the Assyrian empire and the Syro-Hittite city states. social and economic interchanges” (Horden & Purcell 2000. 6 Orthostatês simply means in ancient Greek “one who stands upright” but also attested with the specific architectural meaning “building stones laid with their longest edges vertical” in a number of Greek building inscriptions (Liddell and Scott 1940.5 The early orthostats seem to have appeared in the form of finely dressed plain slabs on a regional scale during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages in Syria. not only offering a new visual medium for Near Eastern craftsmen but also transforming urban contexts into commemorative and narrativized spaces. 530). M. 1249). Anatolia. 18 with n. it is possible to argue that the symbolically charged technique of using upright stone slabs became part of the royal rhetoric among the Assyrian and Syro-Hittite elites. esp. suggesting that the source of such widespread innovative practice may have to do with the historical circumstances of a cross-cultural encounter. Based on available archaeological and literary evidence. 87). 17-23. .

conversely. 53) concept of habitus. Newly constructed buildings as representations or architectural dispositions.” Long-term architectural practices generate certain objective structures (in Bourdieu’s sense) of tradition. see Moorey 1994. as Bourdieu has shown.7 In certain regions that have abundant sources of building stone (and a wetter climate) such as the Anatolian For Mesopotamian building techniques in general. wind or other forms of everyday physical damage. which appear to the society as unchanging. of which they are the products. as the weather phenomenon illustrates.upright stones and building narratives 73 consolidate the lower courses of mudbrick walls against erosion and weathering caused by rain. In other words. The materials and technologies employed in wall construction varied considerably from region to region in the northern Syro-Mesopotamian settlements. present themselves to their makers as being part of those objective structures. comparable to other finishing techniques such as plastering or painting. through continously producing new representations (architectural forms. This approach allows architectural historians to consider innovation and change not as antithetical to tradition. but the most common technique was mudbrick walls with timber framing. This is reminiscent of Pierre Bourdieu’s (1990. Therefore. as principles which generate and organize practices and representations that can objectively be adopted to their outcomes. then. in our paradigm). “systems of durable. orthostats were developed primarily to alleviate the effects of such weathering on wall surfaces. integral to it. those representations and practices continue to reproduce and transform the objective structures. As a technique of wall cladding. 7 . building practices are reflexively adjusted in response to the continuous monitoring and the anticipation of weathering processes. However. structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures. architectural practices and technologies effectively continue to regenerate and redefine the very social processes of which they are believed to be the products. Mostafavi and Leatherbarrow (1993) suggest that the acquired knowledge of the weathering process enabled the building craftsmen to turn this problem into a design criterion and continuously improved the tectonic qualities of building surfaces by means of a variety of innovations in architectural finishing. but in fact. that is. transposable dispositions. 302-362 and Naumann 1971. and this has been an important component in the formation of architectural traditions.

the Levant or Cyprus.8 The history of Syria in the Middle Bronze Age runs roughly from the beginning of the second millennium BC to the military campaign of the Hittite king Muràili I into North Syria at the beginning of the 8 For a detailed overview of this material. harmanâah plateau. It is indispensable to turn then. ritual and institutional spaces in the Early Iron Age cities. and therefore it is beyond the limits of this brief paper to survey comprehensively the manifestations of the technique before the Early Iron Age. One must consider this process in correlation to the development of other wall cladding techniques throughout the Late Bronze Age. However. to be inscribed onto the tectonic surfaces of the finely dressed walls. to serve as a protective “wall socle” (Naumann 1971. A stone socle provides greater structural stability to the mudbrick superstructure and avoids surface dampness. such as wall painting and glazed brick decoration. in an apparent architectural economization and refinement of the socles (figure 1). 2. builders of the Middle Bronze Age North Syria introduced thinner rectangular slabs cut to cover the lower wall faces of mudbrick walls as revetments.74 ö. then. no doubt. Stimulated by the tectonic surface quality and the sense of dignified monumentality that the wall socle or the orthostat masonry offered. ashlar foundations were raised up to the dado level. So I will limit myself to only some new archaeological evidence to point out the socio-cultural and architectural context of this symbolically charged tectonic expression. the materiality of stone and the building technologies it embodied remained in the foreground of the significance of these urban spaces. by means of a few finely dressed ashlar courses above the ground. . It is possible to understand this phenomenon. Alternatively. either with isolated images or narrative programs in painting and relief. as an incorporation or appropriation of representationality as symbolic value by the Iron Age craftsmen. water creepage and erosion at the base of the load-bearing mudbrick walls (Gregori 1986. was an essential constituent of the ceremonial. both of which had already served as representational-narrative media. chs. This appropriated representationality. 91-92). they eventually transformed the stone surfaces into fields of pictorial representation. The architectural and archaeological evidence is vast and complex. 75). 5. see Harmanâah 2005. to North Syria during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages to trace the early history of the orthostat technique in monumental structures.

The inscription is a dedicatory inscription of [Y]ibbit-Lim.21. Excavations at the sites of Tell Mardikh. In the first half of the Middle Bronze Age. In the second half of the Middle Bronze Age. presumably influenced the political and cultural climate of the northwestern Syrian kingdoms of Yamhad. The inscription not only confirmed the identification of the site with Ebla. palatial and temple complexes on the citadel. figs. . 380. 39-49). They were probably an important aspect of the temple furniture (see Matthiae 1997. a new urban foundation that sealed off the remains of the Early Bronze Age IVB (Mardikh IIB) levels after a short hiatus. 1: 98-102). Alalah. 1810 BC) and the short-lived Assyrian territorial state under ’ amà i-Adad I (ca. Qatna and Karkamià and important urban centres like Ebla (Tell Mardikh) and Alalah (Tell Atchana) (Kuhrt 1995. Tell Atchana and Tilmen Höyük provide the earliest evidence for the use of orthostats in urban contexts and suggest the flourishing nature of architectural traditions in northwestern Syria in the Middle Bronze Age often associated with the construction of cities such as Ebla. Several architectural 9 See also Matthiae 1997. 22. Flourishing archaeological work in Syria at sites like Tell Mardikh. N and D.upright stones and building narratives 75 sixteenth century BC. however. 22). “king of the Eblaite dynasty.9 This involved the construction of two sets of fortifications (one for the citadel and the other for the lower town). Aleppo and others suggests that a new wave of urbanization and the formation of regional states were in place during this time period (figure 2). but also was suggestive of the nature of kingship in the earlier part of the Middle Bronze Age. and Hattuàa suggest that the “Great Kings” of Yamhad represented the strongest territorial power in Syria until the Hittite kings Hattuàili I (1650-1620 BC) and Muràili I (1620-1590 BC) campaigned effectively into North Syria (Bryce 1998. Tell Mishrifeh. and a belt of public buildings immediately around the citadel.” to the goddess Iàtar (concerning a cult basin). 102-105). 75-89. 400-404. 23). especially Temples B1. the Aleppo citadel. Elaborately carved basalt cult basins with cultic scenes are known among the finds in MB levels at Ebla. especially under Yahdun-Lim (ca. A fragmentary basalt statue with a cuneiform inscription in Akkadian on its torso was excavated at Tell Mardikh citadel out of stratigraphic context in 1968. textual sources especially from Mari. the kingdom of Mari on the middle Euphrates. 1813-1781 BC) that expanded into the Habur and the middle Euphrates. a period only now becoming better known archaeologically (Klengel 1992. 14. It has recently been argued that Ebla of the Middle Bronze I (Mardikh IIIA) was “built in a relatively short period of time” as a planned monumental project (Pinnock 2001.

485). 10 For a detailed architectural description of the gate.10 Basalt revetments consolidated the protruding 3-pier and 2-pier structures while limestone was used in the facing of inner rooms/recesses. 382.2.12 Similarly massive orthostats were also used in the contemporaneous monumental buildings from the rest of the site. also Ussishkin 1989. see Mazzoni 1997. such as Temple D on the western edge of the Ebla citadel and the Western Palace in Area Q to the west of the citadel (Matthiae 1997). constituted fundamentally important threshold monuments in the ceremonial-ritual structure of urban landscapes. with comparable architectural planning and full-fledged visual narrative programs. Since 1996. including the widespread use of finely dressed stone slabs. 118-123. One of the most essential gaps in the archaeology of Syria has been the lack of archaeological investigations in the city of Halab (Aleppo). which has been identified with the capital city of Yamhad. seated basalt statue wearing a thick cloak was found near the inner gateway and dated by Matthiae possibly to the twentieth century BC (Matthiae 1997.76 ö. see Matthiae 1997. 12 On the Syro-Hittite gates and their ceremonial function. The significant component of the earthen rampart on the outer face of these fortifications is also a shared feature. such as the well-known Iron Age examples from Karkamià. finely dressed basalt and limestone orthostats of about 1. for instance. 14. Such overall architectural design and construction technology are attested in the gate buildings of Syria and the Levant at this time and are understood as a distinctive feature of Middle Bronze Age architectural practices in the region. . fig. Malatya and Zincirli. harmanâah innovations are identified in the construction of these buildings. 399-400. Both the monumental design and tectonic quality of the gate. One must consider here the fact that similar ceremonial gate structures continued to be built in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages in Anatolia and Syria. 11 They are often referred as “three-entrance gates” (Gregori 1986. These gate structures. as well as its association with a royal/cult statue. Ussishkin 1989).80 meters in height lined the walls of the inner and outer gate structures. which were then tightly connected with a trapezoidal hall. Orthostats were raised on slightly protruding ashlar foundations. It is therefore probably no coincidence that the earliest plain orthostats of Ebla appear at its gates. 1981. suggest that the gate had a ceremonial character in the urban landscape of Ebla.11 A headless. In the Southwest (“Damascus”) Gate of the lower city in Area A.

A detailed archaeological report on the 1996-1999 seasons appears in Kohlmeyer 2000b. as the eastern Mediterranean world 13 Preliminary report of the 1996-1997 season appears in Khayyata and Kohlmeyer 1998. Qal‘at Halab-I. 116117). 3. It is evident that uncarved orthostats and finely dressed ashlar masonry were prestigious architectural technologies in Middle Bronze Age North Syria.2 meters in height and raised above an ashlar foundation. in contrast. the re-use of architectural elements of former buildings in new constructions. 26. Relatively comparable evidence for the use of plain orthostat slabs are attested at the sites of Tilmen Höyük and Alalakh. is under preparation and will report on the 1996-1998 campaigns. Abb. and they were used primarily in ceremonial and public spaces including temples.upright stones and building narratives 77 excavations were carried out in a limited area of the citadel of Aleppo by a joint Syrian-German archaeological team. Kohlmeyer 2000b. For a plan of the temple see Kohlmeyer 2000a. the excavators identified the building as the textually well-known temple of the Weather/Storm God Teààub of Halab (Khayyata and Kohlmeyer 1998. During the Late Bronze Age. reminiscent of the Southwest gate at Ebla in its workmanship (figures 3-5). The team located a Middle Bronze Age temple on a massive scale and its early first millennium rebuilding (Khayatta and Kohlmeyer 2000). and the relief program on the early first millennium orthostats that have been uncovered so far. Later. Abb. 1. 94. becomes a symbolic practice in the early and middle Iron Ages especially in the case of carved orthostats.1) indicates that the first volume of the excavations. circular dowel holes or mortises on their top surfaces. where he (2000a.13 Based on the prominent location of the structure in the topography of the citadel. and reconstructions of the temple are continuous throughout the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. city gates and the urban façades of palaces. with considerable amounts of spoliation and recarving of the stone slabs in these later phases. its massive size (its cult room possibly ca. Spoliation. Kohlmeyer (2000a) published a small monograph on the temple. The orthostats consistently have small. Khayyata and Kohlmeyer 1998. The northern and western walls of the early second millennium temple are lined with finely dressed uncarved limestone orthostats. presumably used to receive wooden tenons with molten lead fixing and to attach it to the timber beams above and thus to the rest of the wall structure (Hult 1983. 5 n. . 79).65 meters in width). 6. Preliminary reports demonstrate convincingly that the earliest temple with uncarved orthostats must date somewhere to the beginning of the second millennium BC.

with literature.78 ö. 20) recent argument that “added value” was created within such urbanized “technologically more advanced centres of manufacturing” can perhaps be applied to the stone-working technologies of North Syria. dates back to the military campaigns of Hattuàili I and Muràili I in the late seventeenth and early sixteenth 14 Ashlar masonry is most comprehensively studied in Hult 1983. the koine of stone masonry gradually encompassed the Anatolian plateau. The Hittite interest in the North Syrian region. For the development of an “international style” in the craftsmanship of prestige goods. Enkomi and Hala Sultan Tekke on the eastern coast of Cyprus and the Hittite cities of the Anatolian plateau like the capital Hattuàa. like Ugarit (Ras Shamra) and Ras Ibn Hani on the Syrian coast. with particular emphasis on Late Bronze Cyprus and the Levant. see most recently Feldman 2002. but also in the form of material manifestoes of the ruling elite to express royal prestige and cultural interest in the lingua franca of building practices in stone. Only then. By the end of the Late Bronze Age. 15 The historical problem of the Late Bronze Age political contact zones in the Near East is addressed from a structuralist point of view by Liverani (1990).15 Andrew and Susan Sherratt’s (2001. but also reached the middle Tigris cities of Assyria. the Near Eastern supra-regional powers had increasing material interests in Syria. mobility of craftsmen.” in reference to the complex material manifestation of building technologies forming “the framework for the unmistakable imagery of imperial urbanism.14 This was carried out on such an extensive and monumental scale in these urban environments that it is reminiscent of what William MacDonald (1986. the Levantine coast and Cyprus in particular. participated in the inter-regional architectural practice of using finely dressed ashlar and orthostatic masonry in large quantities. . especially directed at the kingdom of Yamhad. the major entrepreneurial cities of the eastern Mediterranean. 5) has argued for the Roman cities of the Mediterranean: an “urban armature.” It can be argued that this was possible not only by means of an operative circulation of architectural knowledge and other artisanal technologies across these regions (through gift exchange. etc. where cultural value of the monumental use of stone in Near Eastern architecture is reconfigured with the introduction of limestone and basalt orthostats.). its regional centers like ’apinuwa (Ortaköy) and ’ariààa (KuâaklÌ). harmanâah became the hub of a remarkable geography of inter-regional contacts.

17 The sculpted architectural blocks are fitted together in at least three courses in a finely bonded cyclopean technique. mainly associated with temples and city-gates. the outer and inner façades of the casemate walls have a series of andesite ashlar blocks carved with scenes depicting a particular sacrificial festival and scenes of hunting. Mellink (1974. 81-82) prefers a late 13th c. even though the date of its construction is debated. excavated by Theodore Macridy in 19061907. 42-43). with his appointment of his own sons.18 Apart from its well known monumental gate sculpture. The prosperous city of Karkamià then became the main center of Hittite presence in North Syria and the Hittite dynasty there survived the destruction of Hattuàa at the end of the Bronze Age. 17 The narrative subject matter is also known from a number of Hittite relief vases.upright stones and building narratives 79 centuries BC. 18) rejects this late date. the thirteenth century Upper City temples of Hattuàa exhibit an even more sophisticated version of cyclopean/coursed ashlar masonry in combination with uncarved orthostats. while Mellink (1970. ’uppuliliuma I (1344-1322 BC) was the one who consolidated the territorial power of the Hittite empire over this region. presumably as a priest of the Storm God Teààub of Halab (Bryce 1998. featuring not only megalithic wall socles with oblique or crotched and finely fitted joints.16 The gate’s double passageway is flanked by colossal guardian sculpture in the form of andesite monolithic sphinxes. which is mostly unknown from the North Syrian Late Bronze or Iron Age sites . 1974. Only two centuries later. 18). On either side of the entrance. especially from Bitik and InandÌk (Mellink 1970. see Mellink 1970. but also well-cut orthostats (Hult 1983. ’arri-kuàuh (Piyaààili) as a viceroy ruler at Karkamià and Telipinu at Aleppo. Hattuàa’s stone blocks were never worked to form flat and dull surfaces but 16 See Macridy 1908. date. The fourteenth and thirteenth centuries in North Syria and Hittite Anatolia provide abundant archaeological evidence for sculpted orthostat programs. . 75-102. however. is perhaps the earliest narrative program in such scale. comparable to the gate sculpture at the Upper City at Hattuàa and the unfinished basalt sphinxes of Yesemek quarry near Tilmen Höyük. 18 On the Alacahöyük relief program. Naumann (1971. 203) has already pointed out the architectural character of the relief blocks. Naumann (1971. 195). The impressive and characteristically unique citadel-gate at the imperial Hittite city at Alacahöyük. 79-81) briefly discusses the architectonic aspects of the construction.

which was built at the time of Tudhaliya IV (1235-1216 BC) within one of the major cult complexes of the Upper City and connected with an ancestor cult. Naumann 1971. 96. Abb. creating a very distinctive tectonic aesthetic. harmanâah rather usually given a smooth three-dimensionality with bulging and pillow like surfaces. It seems possible to argue that the flourishing of this masonry and sculptural tradition under the patronage of Hittite kings especially in the last two centuries of the Late Bronze Age should be associated in general terms with the Hittite participation in the architectural koine of the eastern Mediterranean. decorated with an impressive sculptural program in basalt and limestone. when carved steles. presumably founded sometime in the Late Bronze Age. about 40 kilometers northwest of Aleppo. identifies at least three building phases in the history of the temple. and in particular in relation to the intense Hittite involvement with North Syria at the time. 100-103). 34-37. The architectonic features of the temple are better understood for the slightly later second phase. have further illuminated not only the early formation of the sculpted orthostat programs in cultic contexts but also thrown light on the problematic cultural transition between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Ages in the region. According to Neve’s reconstruction (1993a. For instance. namely Ain D§r§ and the Aleppo citadel. . 39-41). well dressed orthostats of 1. Abå Assaf (1990. The earliest temple. extending from 1300 to 740 BC. mostly based on its program of architectural sculpture. overlooking the Afrin valley (Abå Assaf 1990). 76). Appropriation of Representationality: The Transition to Early Iron Age in North Syria Recent excavations in two North Syrian sites. 93. which served as one of the ancestor-cult buildings in the same sanctuary. a relief orthostat of Tudhaliya IV was raised above this orthostat level on a column in House A. Abb.80 meters in height are raised on ashlar plinths and line the northern and eastern façades of the temple as well as a cult-room (Neve 1993. features a common North Syrian temple plan: it is raised on a limestone platform with a monumental double-columnar entrance. 20-24. an ante-cella and a main cult-room. The director of the excavations.80 ö. A monumental temple (possibly to Iàtar-’awuàka). was excavated between 1980 and 1985 at the Late Bronze-Iron Age settlement on Tell Ain D§ r§ . in Temple V.

Zimansky 2002). or Ninurta in Assyria. Abå Assaf himself has accepted that at least some of the reliefs found at Ain D§r§ should be associated with the imperial Hittite realm. particularly concerning the Iàtar-’awuàka relief (Orthmann 1993. Throughout the tenth and early ninth centuries BC. The temple combines limestone and basalt forming a striking overall material contrast between the tectonic members in limestone and sculptural elements in basalt. at least during the Late Bronze Age. the orthostat programs eventually became a domain of historical commemorations of the ruling elite during the Early Iron Age as much as they maintained their cultic and mytho-poetical significance. orthostats with guilloche pattern “false window”) dates to 10th c.19 The architectural sculpture of the temple presents several innovations including cultic reliefs.e.. This idea is strongly supported by the fact that especially in Kalhu and Karkamià. and the ceremonial gate structures at Alacahöyük. while the second group. Storm God of the Syro-Hittite world.upright stones and building narratives 81 orthostats and decorated architectural members were introduced to the corpus of the temple construction. and therefore should date to the 13th-12th c. a new wave of urban foundations and large scale building activities is attested in Syro-Hittite realm. rather than Iron Age SyroHittite styles. which covers the lion and sphinx protomes (C 5-26 and 31-42) and the reliefs D 1-4 of the ante-cella (i. BC. BC. The last phase of the temple in the Early Iron Age introduced a corridor-like processional platform all around the cella and a series of basalt steles erected on limestone bases. . The evidence from the monumental urban temples of Aleppo and Ain D§r§. This intersection of ritual and stately ceremonialism of official ideologies is common to both Syro-Hittite and Assyrian relief programs. orthostats and stairs inlaid or carved with guilloche patterns. suggests that the introduction of relief representational sequences in the form of complex pictorial narratives was principally associated with cultic performances and urban cult festivals. Problems for this art historical dating have been pointed out already. whose religious ideologies were always enmeshed with ideologies of the ruling elite and state ceremonialism. as well as lion and sphinx orthostats and protomes decorated all around the façade of the temple. where novel architectural forms were introduced to 19 Abå Assaf dates the sculptural program of the temple based on stylistic criteria and concludes that the first stylistic group that includes the mountain-god relief-orthostats (E1-7) dates to 13th-12th c. Karkamià and Malatya. I argue that these festivals usually related to powerful supra-regional cults of Tarhunzas. the relief of the mountain-god with upward turned toes.

The urban renewal program carried out by the Suhis-Katuwas dynasty at Karkamià during the tenth century and early ninth century BC is significant. The orthostat is now fragmentary. punctuated with monumental inscriptions in hieroglyphic Luwian. with one fragment in the British Museum (BM 117916). In one building inscription found in the so-called King’s Gate. palaces and monumental gates. gives us an important understanding of the architectural context and the cultural significance of ku-ma-na AEDIFICARE+MI-ha 20 Hawkins 2000. the city or citadel gate was a ritually strategic. owing to the complexity of the building operations in this Early Iron Age city and the wealth of epigraphic material that comes from the site. as well as narrative scenes of military and cultic subject matter. Beyond the city gates. In the Early Iron Age urban landscapes. Tell Ta’yinat and Malatya.14 a-wa/i PURUS. An outstanding aspect of these projects was the construction of ceremonial urban ensembles that contained temples. Tell Halaf.ia DEUS. Text II. monuments to ancestor cults. The monumentalized public space of Karkamià was exuberantly animated with several programs of carved basalt and limestone orthostats and architectural sculpture. the early ninth century Karkamiàean king.1: 94).9. Karkamià A11a (A8). It is a “basalt orthostat in the form of a rebated door jamb for right side of entrance bearing 7 line inscription” (Hawkins 2000. harmanâah the urban landscapes. 10900a-h).12 wa/i-tú-ta-‘ PANIS(-)ara/i-si-na PONERE-wa/i-ha for him I established ARASI-bread.DOMUS.1: 95-96. the archaeological evidence from Early Iron Age Karkamià offers an even more comprehensive picture of how these orthostat programs transformed the entire city-scape into a coherent spatial narrative. largely in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum. Ankara (nos. Katuwas. I. . 4.13 |za-ia-ha-wa/i “PORTA”-la/i/u-na á-ma |AVUS-ti-ia mu-|PRAEna CRUS. I. Hama. The tenth and ninth century programs are especially well known from the sites kar-ka-mi-si-za (URBS ) (DEUS)TONITRUS-ti DEUS.CRUS-ta And these gates (of) my grandfathers passed down to me 4.82 ö.MI .20 4.DOMUS-tà PUGNUS-ru-ha But I myself then constructed (?) the temple(s) with luxury for Karkamiàean Tarhunzas 4.11 mu-pa-wa/i-‘pi-na’ LINGERE . ceremonially significant part of the urban sacred and political landscape and construed collectively as a liminal space to be protected for the well-being of the city.

5.19|za-zi-pa-wa/i (DOMUS)ha + ra/i-sà-tá-ni-zi a-na-ia BONUS-sa-mi-i FEMINA-ti-i DOMUS + SCALA(-)tá-wa/i-ni-zi i-zi-i-ha and these upper floors for Anas my beloved wife as TAWANI-apartments I made.DARE-si-ia sa-tá-’ they were foremost in(?) cost(?) (very costly?) 5. Still. state ceremonies and ritual spectacles that continuously refer to a mytho-poetical past appears to be a striking innovation of Early Iron Age artisans in Assyria and Syro-Hittite cities. Orthostats appear in this fascinating text not simply as components of an outstanding architectural ensemble but as personified powerful agents who bolstered the king’s socio-political power. their architectonic disposition in the form of a prestigious technology. the articulation of the relief representations in a complex mixture of historical commemorations. Middle and Late Assyrian kings also erected carved . Moreover.18 wa/i-tà-‘ “LIGNUM”-wa/i-ia-ti AEDIFICARE+MI-ha I built them (also) with wood 5.16 a-wa/i za-ia “PORTA”-na |SCALPRUM-sa5+ra/i-ha these gates I “orthostated” 5. Tiglath-pileser I: Middle Assyrian Orthostats and the Idea of Commemoration Analogous to the Syro-Hititte practices of raising commemorative monuments. the comprehensive program of new urban foundations.15 |PES-wa/i-ta these orthostats “came after” me. their cultural power and their social significance are not at all tied solely to the pictorial and textual narratives inscribed on them: their efficacy derives precisely from their materiality.upright stones and building narratives 83 When I built the holies of the temple (OR: the Holy (one)’s temple) 4.15 wa/i-mu-tà-‘|za-zi (SCALPRUM)ku-ta-sa5+ra/i-zi |POST-ní|| 5.17 wa/i-tà-‘ |FRONS-la/i/u ARGENTUM. Complex narrative schemes of the Early Iron Age monumental projects built their significance over the previously existing practice and the tectonic culture of raising orthostats as a symbolic technology.. The cumulative evidence suggests that the transformation of such orthostatic surfaces into surfaces of representation and surfaces of performativity coincides precisely with the production of urban spaces in the Early Iron Age..

and celebrated a significant political and economic accomplishment. glazed brick paneling and wall painting in architectural contexts. and rock reliefs. and presented the geography of the empire in the form of a narrativized map. mainly in the form of “symbol socles. 21 . The carving of display monuments were culminating moments in the course of the king’s expedition: they marked strategic locations in the foreign/frontier landscapes. which then weaved the landscapes into a narrative through the establishment of sites of memory. Shafer 1998. but also represented this commemorative event in the narrative relief program of his Mamu temple gate bronze reliefs at Imgur-Enlil (modern Balawat) and additionally mentioned it in his annals. a spatial narrative. such as bronze architectural friezes. These various architectural representations were raised as commemorations following specific historical events. obelisks. such as a military campaign or a building project. north of Lake Van near the Malazgirt plain in eastern Turkey. This was accomplished not only literally by means of the pictorial narratives themselves. These commemorative monuments delineated public spaces of the Assyrian cities and marked the landscapes of contested frontiers with a calculated (re)presentation of royal and religious imagery. 191-201. 281-283. but also through the performative acts of erecting these monuments at specific locations at specific historical moments. Tiglath-pileser (Tukulti-§pil-eàarra) I (1114-1076 BC) is known to have carved a series of rock reliefs during his campaigns to eastern Anatolia. created places of imperial ritual to be frequented and reaffirmed by future generations and locals.21 Textual evidence for the use of orthostats and gate sculpture in late Middle Assyrian architecture comes from the annals of Tiglath-pileser For a survey of references to the Birklinçay monument in Shalmaneser III’s annals.” modern Birklinçay source near Lice in the DiyarbakÌr province of Turkey. The Birklinçay (“Tigris Tunnel”) rock relief of Tiglath-pileser I was later visited by Shalmaneser III.” steles. however. one at the so-called “source of the Tigris. 291-92. harmanâah and inscribed public monuments in the medium of stone.84 ö. who not only had his craftsmen carve his own image and inscriptions at the same site. as well as others in YoncalÌ on the Murat River. As mentioned earlier. other representational techniques of monumental display. see Yamada 2000. should be added to the list of narrative media.

not only in terms of the political expansion of Assyrian presence in Upper Mesopotamia.BAR a-na si-hír-ti-àu al-mi É la-bu-ni àa puti-àu 22 Tadmor (1997. Tiglath-pileser I went twice to the city of Melidia (Malatya). king of Hatti (Hawkins 1982. I followed this translation mostly with some rewording. including Melidia and Karkamià with their flourishing orthostat programs. once during his return from the land of Dayeni (fourth campaign) and the second time during his return from the Mediterranean. During his expeditions to the north and west. I constructed those bÊt àahåru from foundations to crenellations 63) i-na a-gúr-ri àa NA4. 38-45.87.0. and received tribute from the king Allumari (Hawkins 2000. I. during which he crossed the Euphrates. It was originally collated. Among the variety of details concerning their architectural technology. 327) suggests that two literary genres of the time period were blended together by the scribes of Tiglath-pileser I’s court: “the heroic epic” and “the chronicle. In his campaign to the land of Amurru. translated and published by Weidner (1958. but also due to a series of innovations in the cultural sphere. During his rule. he defeated the so-called Ahlamu-Aramaeans. accompanied by the accounts of royal hunts and building activities. and imposed tribute over Ini-Teààub of Karkamià. the writing of annals on clay cylinders and prisms took shape and. In an interesting text restored from a number of clay and stone tablets and a clay prism excavated from Aààur. he claims to have provided stone revetments for these cult rooms and gate sculpture:23 61-62).. Tiglath-pileser I’s reign stands as an important period in the later section of Middle Assyrian history. i-na si-te-et GI’ e-re-ni É àa-hu-ri àa-tu-nu ià-tu uà-àe-àu a-di gabadib-be-àu ar-ßip .4. His annals provide solid evidence that the king had seen the Syro-Hittite cities in existence in the early eleventh century BC.upright stones and building narratives 85 I.with this (same) cedar wood. 347-59) .22 His annals record that he campaigned extensively to the west and north of Assyria. Tiglath-pileser I describes his reconstruction of the bÊt àahåru and bÊt labbånu of a cultic complex.AD. text A..1: 283). military expeditions were presented in a new narrative format in chronological order. felled logs of cedar from the Cedar Mountain. 380).” 23 The text is translated most recently by Grayson 1991... ritually “washed his weapons” in the Upper Sea (Mediterranean). for the first time.

pe-e-li I constructed of terebinth from foundations to crenellations.AB.GAL-la àu-a-ti i-na GI’ e-re-ni I surrounded it all around. completed perfectly and made its appropriate decor splendid.RA àa A.86 ö.. which was transported from the land of Lumaà 70) [. great gods. 67) na-“hi ”-ra àa AN’E.” When used with a stone determinative followed with a type of stone. This is a rich text and it is hard to do justice to its historical significance within the limits of my discussion here.BA which by the command of the gods Ninurta and Nergal. From the variety of stones that are being used in these monumental buildings and from the implication that they were conspicuously displayed. which he surrounds with slabs of giànugallu stone and deposits his royal inscriptions within. harmanâah I surrounded it all around with slabs of basalt.AB. the king refers to another palace. my lords.IGI.]-te am-mi-te àa KUR hab-hi na-ßu-ú-ni tam-ài-li-àu-nu àa NA4.ME’ GAL.BA i-qa-bi-àu-ú-ni pa-ri-an-gi ep-àet qa-ti-ya a nahiru. which means a sea-horse. the agurru can be understood here as orthostats.v. “agurru. in the [Great] Sea 69) [(rabÊte) àa m§t a]-mur-ri a-du-ku-ni bur-hi-ià ba-al-ãa àa ià-tu KUR luma-áà [of the land of A]murru. ME’ EN. tile (of stone).AD.24 Even more interesting is the description of the apotro24 CAD s. it is attested as “paving stone. slab” in inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser I.MA’ ù DINGIR.BAR e-pu-uà [.. and a live burhià.ME’-ya i-na A.KUR. 64) i-na GI’ bu-uã-ni ià-tu uà-àe-àu a-di gaba-dib-be-àu ar-ßip i-na a-gúr-ri àa NA4. The alternative word . Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. I killed. This palace of cedar 66) ù GI’ bu-uãni ar-sip ú-àék-lil ú-àèr-rih ú-si-im and terebinth I constructed. of boxwood this time. With slabs of limestone 65) pa-ße-e a-na si-hír-ti-àu al-mi É...] the other side of the land Habhu. BÊt labbånu. opposite to it. with a pariangu (harpoon?) of my own making 68) àá i-na siq-ri DINGIR. I made their representations in basalt 71) [ina n¿rib àarrå]-ti-ya im-na ù àu-me-la ú-àa-zi-iz I stationed them on the right and left [at my ro]yal [entrance]. Later in the same text.” Originally “kiln-fired brick.DU DINGIR.

345-346). . the idea of erecting gate sculpture as replicas of animals that were victims of the king’s royal hunt in the west. 1-5.v. 357-358. see Andrae 1905. 17) and reads: (Property of) the palace of Tiglath-[pileser. see Weidner 1958. all suggest that Tiglath-pileser I is making reference to the architectural technologies of the Syro-Hittite cities that he had visited in his campaigns. text A. askuppu was later adapted from the time of Tiglath-pileser III onwards. an architectural feature from an expressly North Syrian domain. For pictures of these sculptural fragments.87. See discussion on the nahiru and burhià statues in Weidner’s commentary (1958. conqueror [from] Babylon [of the Land of Akkad] to Mount Lebanon [to the Great] Sea [of the land Amurru and] the sea [of the land(s) Nairi. acquisitions from the king’s campaigns in foreign territories. 25 For a brief description of the inscribed pieces.upright stones and building narratives 87 paic sculpture that is erected at a royal entrance: basalt replicas of exotic monsters. A significant number of basalt fragments of animal sculptures and inscribed slabs of Tiglath-pileser I were excavated at Aààur during Walter Andrae’s expedition at the site of the king’s palace in 1905 (Grayson 1991. as much as the royal rhetorics that is shaped around its cultural significance in Upper Syro-Mesopotamia in the making. 62-63. king of] Assyria. and should be understood along the same lines as later Assyrian kings who imported the bÊt hil§ni. 52-56. to be used for upright slabs in architectural contexts (CAD s. 355-359) to his edition of the text. On this topic. The alternating use of limestone and basalt as orthostats.0. builder of] the cedar [palace].25 One of the now-lost inscriptions from this collection was edited by Grayson (1991. see now Briquel-Chatonnet and Bordreuil 2000. as well as the historical context of the inscription. are reproduced in basalt. a stone that is not found easily around Aààur and had to be imported (Moorey 1994. Abb. 62). a nahiru and a burhià. throughout those transitional decades from the end of the Bronze Age to the beginning of the Iron Age. “askuppu”). It is then possible to argue that Assyria was already participating in the architectural koine of raising orthostats. carved in basalt as they were in the west. The text should be read as an ideological statement of the king that expresses the incorporation of an architectural technique and material of a particular foreign cultural domain into a building program that he initiates at the Assyrian capital.

therefore. the production of monuments as a social practice can not be disengaged from the cultural practices of the society. As it was argued throughout this discussion. while the historical narrativity in their pictorial and textual representations aligns with the particular rhetorics of rulership. However. The study of commemorative practices comes with dichotomies of its own: on the one hand. commemorative monuments are usually considered as ideological statements of the ruling elite. The practices of historical commemoration in buildings make use of socially recognized systems of representation. The monuments themselves make the space speak. a balanced view of monumental buildings should be sought. On the other hand. between . they also commemorate their own making through the celebratory building inscriptions inscribed on them. Monuments often commemorate particular historical events of major socio-political significance. and operate at a societal level of historical consciousness and collective memory. and the narrative accounts of their representational program negotiate the conceptual relationship between society and history. harmanâah Concluding Remarks This discussion aimed at bringing to the forefront the complexity of archaeological and literary evidence regarding commemorative monuments in the Upper Mesopotamian Iron Age and their interpretation in the relevant cross-cultural contexts. The metaphorical language of monuments. xx-xxi). thereby serving as vehicles of securing social prestige and political power. both textual and pictorial.88 ö. Repeated social practices that involve such public monuments maintain the mental maps of this historicized topography. Therefore. construction materials and techniques—the tectonic qualities of buildings—become part and parcel of the metaphorical vocabulary of architectural representation. if one considers that rhetorical acts of the ruling ideology “effectively constitute culture” and “confer meaning on the world” (Holliday 2002. the erection of the monument becomes a historically conspicuous event itself. being laden with cultural references and historical representations and creating “topographies of remembrance” (Jonker 1995) and “sites of memory” (Nora 1989). as seen in several cases such as Assurnasirpal II’s Northwest Palace or Katuwas’s temple to Tarhunzas at Karkamià. is not limited to the pictorial and textual narratives that the monuments may offer. Among other levels of meaning.

the material acquisition of a particularly prestigious material resource as well as the craftsmanship associated with it. but also in its cultural meanings in different regions and time periods. therefore. but also its symbolic significance was commented upon.upright stones and building narratives 89 imperial practices of commemoration as symbolically charged gestures and artisanal practices that create their own corpus of skilled knowledge and operate in regional and supra-regional levels. The innovative moments in Assyrian history such as the reigns of Tiglath-pileser I and Assurnasirpal II should be considered in the context of long-term supra-regional networks of cultural interaction and circulation of artisanal knowledge. Otherwise. formulated elegantly by Irene Winter (1993): the fine distinction between supra-regional sharing of artisanal practices through the circulation of skilled knowledge and the conscious borrowing of culturally significant foreign elements in a symbolically charged rhetorical gesture of the ruling elite. where both of the above mentioned phenomena were operative. as well as with respect to the shared power rhetorics among the ruling elites of regional polities. . it remained a component of prestigious architecture and commemorative monuments. Assyria was an important participant in this koine of stone masonry. Nevertheless. Archaeological and textual evidence demonstrate that Assurnasirpal II’s reign certainly involved experimentations and innovations in building technology in the context of his new foundation at Kalhu and his large-scale building projects. My argument here is that the Assyrian involvement in the architectural practice of raising orthostats should be read in various levels of meaning. In the building accounts of Tiglath-pileser I. that is. not only the construction technique of raising orthostats was known to Assyrian monarchs. the skilled knowledge of the making of orthostats circulated cross-culturally and extra-regionally as a highly esteemed architectural technique. This question conveniently brings us to the problem regarding the Assyrian orthostatic tradition. The survey of the long-term development of orthostats in the context of Near Eastern architecture demonstrated that this construction technique not only changed in physical form and architectural context. at the latest from Tiglath-pileser I onward. The Assyrian contribution to the representational use of orthostats was spectacular. the accomplishment of raising orthostats was presented as symbolic capital. especially after the administrative center of the empire was shifted to the stone-rich environments of the Ninuwa-Kalhu region.

were appropriated by the architectonic culture of upright stones. Looking at this orthostat evidence. Complex narrative schemes of the Early Iron Age projects built their significance over the previously existing practice of raising orthostats as a symbolic technology. The configuration of the relief representations on upright stones. that is. First and foremost. representationality and narrativity. the comprehensive program of new urban foundations. harmanâah The initiation of orthostat relief programs functioned on multiple levels of social signification and material practice in the earlier part of the Iron Age. The imaginative handling of distinct materials through skilful work therefore transforms the site of a building project into a site of material elaboration. orthostats were transformed into a pervasive feature of the urban fabric in the refounded cities of the Early Iron Age. Or to put it in another way. with a complex mixture of historical commemorations. which he calls “facture”. who recently argued that social spaces are explicitly bounded and distinguished by the technologies of their production. as forms of socio-symbolic value. physically inscribed in the social space and thus configures the collective imagination with its material significations. ritual ceremonies and state spectacles that continuously refer to a mytho-poetical past. having started as a prestigious architectural practice in the Middle Bronze Age. Technology or facture dwells in social spaces as one component of their multiple and complex meanings. The making of orthostatic surfaces into surfaces of representation and surfaces of performativity coincides precisely with the production of urban spaces in the Early Iron Age. constituted building narratives in the social space and effectively shaped the collective imagination. and assembles a world of artisanal knowledge around it. it bounds and marks them for long durations and continuously commemorates their own making. The innovative technological style of finely worked and pictorially articulated stone surfaces brought in a renewed concept of ceremonialized public spaces. I agree with David Summers (2003).90 ö. . coinciding with the significant shifts in the ideological and socio-economic structures of the new Syro-Hittite cities.

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(Drawing by author with the permission of Refik Duru). . Middle Bronze Age palace.upright stones and building narratives 95 Figure 1. system section through northwestern façade orthostats. Tilmen Höyük.

(Base map: MODIS Rapid Response Project. NASA/ GSFC).96 ö. North Syria with sites mentioned in the text. . harmanâah Figure 2.

Yamhad (Aleppo). courtesy of Kay Kohlmeyer) .upright stones and building narratives 97 Figure 3. general view. summer 2002. Middle Bronze Age temple orthostats. (Photo by author.

Yamhad (Aleppo). detail (Photo by author. harmanâah Figure 4. summer 2002.98 ö. courtesy of Kay Kohlmeyer) . Middle Bronze Age temple orthostats.

detail (Photo by author. summer 2002. Middle Bronze Age temple orthostats.upright stones and building narratives Figure 5. Yamhad (Aleppo). courtesy of Kay Kohlmeyer) 99 .

100 ö. harmanâah .

C. 2002 on the “language” of Mesopotamian aesthetic experience). provide insight into Assyrian aesthetic value. Ömür Harmanâah. esp. whose insights were indispensable to this paper. 18) summarizes that when approaching aesthetics. during the reigns of Sennacherib (705-681 B. but intriguing portraits of the vanquished. These images not only draw the viewer into the action.2 In Nineveh. not to mention the very nature of Mesopotamian art. the palace sculptures 1 I am honored to contribute to this volume in honor of Irene Winter. How do we begin to compare modern encounters with the reliefs to those of the Assyrians themselves? Winter (2002. Though we lack contemporary Assyrian accounts of the sculptures’ visual effectiveness. exotic “otherness” (whether man or beast). while recognizing the problematic nature of “audience” and the difficulties of evaluating aesthetic response. I am also grateful to TuÅba Tanyeri-Erdemir. my teacher and surrogate advisor.blurring the edges 101 BLURRING THE EDGES: A RECONSIDERATION OF THE TREATMENT OF ENEMIES IN ASHURBANIPAL’S RELIEFS1 Stephanie Reed The imperial art of Neo-Assyria is famously violent—battle narratives lined the palace walls in order to awe the spectator with the power of the king and the state. and Jack Cheng. and to Peter Machinist. 2 I refer to both the modern and ancient viewer. the Neo-Assyrian narratives contain overt and subtle elements that create thematic tension: alongside glorified depictions of the conquering Assyrians are less conspicuous. the palace reliefs. who has gifted me with the boundless generosity and devotion she bestows upon each of her students. 2005). There is an emphasis upon ornament or “auspicious” objects. . The original version of this paper was developed for her seminar on cross-cultural aesthetics (Harvard University. for the gift of his personal bibliographical sources.). For both audiences. Irene continues to inspire my deepest gratitude and admiration. Like any good story. and I can only hope that maturing versions of this study will complement her own pioneering approach to Neo-Assyrian art. in movement or action sequences.C. 66-67 on “style” and “affective agency”. descriptive clarity and design symmetry. designed to produce the desired affect in the intended audience.) and Ashurbanipal (669-627 B. These attributes reflect cultural ideals of beauty. “the cultural and the social must be engaged as necessary variables between the subject and the species”. we can surmise that even variations of “fear” and “awe” would fail to capture the full range of responses (see Winter 1998. Given the variety of individuals who may have viewed the reliefs. but can also evoke varied and complex responses. reactions to particular stimuli would derive from the individual’s socio-historical situation and personal experiences (see note 3 below).

Thus scholars concluded that Assyrian art lacked human relations. 1995). they are often juxtaposed with elements that imply imminent danger or death. suggests conflicting perceptions of the enemy. 10. or vignettes. accustomed to traditional Western hierarchies of “art” and “beauty. and without a variety of “expression. Parrot 1961. A useful source for the ancient Assyrian audience is Russell’s (1991) analysis of Sennacherib’s palace sculptures. The violent sculptural themes reflect the king’s struggle to maintain as well as justify his realm. Reade 1979.g. Frankfort 1971. they nonetheless contain traces of an existential uncertainty that pervades Mesopotamian thought (see Bottero 2001. 10-11. see Barnett (1976) and Barnett et al. The vignettes layer various episodes within the narrative that enhance the larger story. Winter 1981. 331. At the same time. and how Assyrian elites and visitors to the palace might have received them. 112). These “emotive” images are found within scenarios of human interaction or familial relationships. expressed by symmetry and traditionalized human forms (see Albenda 1998. and while the palace narratives give the impression of extreme confidence in Assyria’s invincibility. 12-13). 202-219. These individuals.” the reliefs could not produce a powerful emotional response in the viewer (e. 262-274. Winter (2002) outlines the problems of European aesthetic scholarship and its hindrances to reconstructing a non-Western aesthetic experience.3 From a modern perspective. I will argue that the complexity of Assyrian royal ideology is evident in depictions of foreign captives that are not purely hostile and demeaning but suggest an element of “good shepherd” protectiveness. Most are “minor” representations of Assyrian war victims within a relief sequence. especially in the reign of Ashurbanipal. Strommenger 1964. the artistic treatment of Assyria’s opponents.102 s. and allowing for multiple interpretations. Jacobsen 1977. which may indicate conflicting motivational values at work within imperial propaganda. reed reached new levels of novelty. 3 The essential sources for Neo-Assyrian sculpture are listed in Iraq 34 (Reade 1972. Oppenheim 1964). where individual human features and emotions can be distinguished (Bersani and Dutoit 1985. 30. . complexity and sensitivity. The examples provided below are primarily excerpts from the battle narratives of Ashurbanipal. 7).” saw bland repetition in a style that adhered to an Assyrian aesthetic ideal. The influence of this intellectual heritage is evident in cases where scholars found Assyrian art to be deficient as “true” narrative: the standardized. aspects that may go unobserved to those more accustomed to Western narrative styles. their intent. For the full corpus of sculptures from the Southwest and North Palaces. “lifeless” human figures failed to meet a Western ideal of reality. leaving authorial intent ambiguous. (1998).

Blurring the Edges Beginning in the reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC). Only then would the viewer grasp the essence of the work. and force awareness of the overall context and subtle complexities of the narrative. but the vignettes utilize postures and gestures. Marcel Proust (1924) observed that the cultivation of illusion required the artist to obscure the edges of demarcation. The ideology of the Assyrian kings lay in the stories they told—and what is a more riveting vehicle than action sequences? Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit (1985.” “Incongruous” images can be used to arrest our attention.. The vignette seems to be a particularly appropriate viewing methodology for our purposes. so that passing between images created a sense of constant movement. human faces and bodies were generally standardized and rendered in traditional Mesopotamian profiles. especially on campaign. ultimately. true-to-life details that contribute to the emotional character of the episode. some scholars have found that Assyrian art lacked emotive expression (see note 2). and perceptive. but its edges are gradually faded into the background (Webster’s New World Dictionary). since one of its definitions is “an image with no definite border. the Assyrian kings developed a unique form of sculptural narrative in ancient Mesopotamia. space and time that perhaps should not logically . through the mediation of other forms.” In other words. and suggest that “blurred edges” in the vignettes create startling irregularities that add tension to the narratives.” I will address this aspect in more detail in the next section. The palace reliefs commonly document the king’s activities. Due to the lack of individualized human features. or apprehend the commonalities between objects. selected battles. 64) observe that in Assyrian palace reliefs. the narrative function of these images is nonetheless subservient to their larger ideological implications.[T]hey touch. In my view.blurring the edges 103 and create subtle associations in the mind of the viewer. and episodes of Assyrian life. to make connections between images. keeping the viewer off-balance and in anticipation (or perhaps apprehension) of the next act. we must pass through “interesting space which diverts us from the connection.. Due to the stylistic conventions of Assyrian art. and within these vignettes lies the underlying power of the palace reliefs. “visual analogies are subverted by the obstacles we encounter.

A recurring “border” for instance is the Assyrian solider. even killed.” or could he be “guardian”? In some cases. . the borders of a scene are enforced. Bersani and Dutoit (1985. who alternately watches over the “civilian captives”—exiles who will be relocated to other Assyrian lands—and/or the “enemy soldiers” who are being roughly treated. 63) summarize Proust’s argument as follows: The writer and painter should deliberately cultivate those illusions which blur the distinctness of individual objects. between land and sea. The soldier’s purpose then becomes open to question: to which scenario does he truly belong. Proust believed that the goal of art was to recapture the “errors” of our original vision by the creation of this constant movement between melded boundaries. Proust found that there can also be a “detemporalizing essence.” or a past sensation that invades the present. In his “psychic space” between the terms of all relations (or for example. juxtaposed objects are fused in a transcendental identity. marking commonalties where they might otherwise be obscured. In the battle reliefs. . where we only have a portion of a relief sequence. and is he “guard. the border of a vignette of foreign captives often seems to be a “suggestive” marker between the captives and an alternate fate. . and creating narrative depth. These arguments point to the power of “minor” irregularities that distort the frames of contrasting spaces. fade. homogenous space of essences. between events in the narratives). and the heterogeneous space of human life would be replaced by a unifying. The demarcations between past and present. For each such illusion may be the sign of a hidden quality common to different objects (or to different moments of time) . reed connect.104 s. creating associations that may or may not be true to the original narrative (see below. the “Minor Images”). the artist can move the viewer’s gaze between elements in the narrative that are seemingly contradictory. producing ambiguous readings and suggesting multiple outcomes. leaving the viewer somewhere in between. in the space beyond. By “blurring” the borders of multiple vignettes.

in which one of the king’s roles is “pious shepherd. their cultural and sometimes physical characteristics.. when viewing the reliefs.. The scenes are largely commemorative. the Assyrians depict only successful battles.[T]he attitude just described indicates an audience sure of itself.[foreigners] are all treated alike: tremendous care is taken to represent them. and an ideological component manifest in royal hymns and inscriptions. 1992).. Julian Reade (1979.” the potential contributions of deportees to the Assyrian state. For instance. suggests that the Assyrians were not indifferent to the plight of the conquered.4 This propensity for distinguishing details also extends to the rendering of foreign peoples. n. see B. 12) recalls Leo Oppenheim’s commentary on the account of Sargon’s eighth campaign: The text addresses itself at an audience really interested in learning about foreign peoples. 334-335) comments. Oded 1992. deeply imbued with a conscious tradition of native origin but.. Reade (1979. their way of life.” Assyria’s general interest in novelty or “otherness” appears in both text and image. The reason for this is perhaps multivalent: an inherent interest in “otherness. Thus each new palace contained its own corpus of personal propaganda. 5 On the scale of Assyrian deportations and the resettlement of foreigners. at the same time. The narratives may contain elements of suspense. with themes designed to emphasize a specific royal persona. As Oppenheim observes.” or protector of the weak (see Livingstone 1997. Tiglath-Pileser III asserts that he added “countless people” to the land of Assyria. Oded (1979. but the eventual Assyrian victory is a foregone conclusion. their religion and customs. created with specific details that lend authenticity to the historical moment (Russell 1991. 256). 3).. and the artists’ attention to detail.[A] receptive attitude is implicit in the sculptures. and only the enemy can be shown wounded or killed. but their prevalence. and the landscapes in which they live. and “continuously herded them in safe pastures” (Tadmor 1994. aware of the existence of other traditions without reacting to them so intensely as to evolve patterns of either aggression or fossilizing self-isolation. Saggs 1982).. 5 4 There is nonetheless “an ideological ‘end’” to the historicity of the representations (Winter 1981. “in one respect. 105 .blurring the edges Assyria and Its “Enemies” 105 Neo-Assyrian kings were anxious to prove their own worthiness and surpass the achievements of their predecessors. the figures of the defeated seem to be treated with a rather detached scrutiny.

and even wives (Saggs 1982. their hands upraised and beseeching their captors. meaning the public execution of local dignitaries. 36-38). 334). 2. fig. sophistication and general superiority of the Assyrians. 92) remarks here. 10). and the consequences to its people. or hubt§nu. and sometimes performing forced labor. see also Oded 1992. reports contain instructions to provide prisoners with footwear.except for those guilty of some specific offense against the state. Assyria’s policy in dealing with the defeated was generally commensurate with the historical cooperation of the foreign state and the category of allegiance to which it belonged (see Reade 1979. 7 An image from Ashurbanipal shows Assyrian soldiers in their battle encampment. “Whilst this [the treatment of captives] certainly does not suggest any abstract concern for human life. Indeed. Sennacherib’s destruction of Lachish. conquered peoples are often shown humbled and subservient. it does indicate a complete lack of racialism. 15-24. cattle and sheep. 91-92). the various representations of the defeated can be viewed as another element of royal propaganda. Correspondence between the king and his officials also indicate the Assyrian government’s concern for war prisoners.” 6 In the Southwest Palace. assaulting the women of an unruly Arab tribe (Reade 1979. a political tool used to contrast the misery and simplicity of these societies with the strength. fig. A few soldiers carry looted items from the be- . 334. 11). 8 After the battle of Lachish. was the exception rather than the rule. while the Assyrian army razes its weakened city (for example. 6 Artists illustrate the torture and death of enemy soldiers and/or their leaders. for instance. processions of captives are shown marching along a rocky landscape with the Assyrian army.106 s. is a famous example of what happened when tributary states rebelled against their Assyrian overlords. reed If we take the reliefs at face value. senior Assyrian administrators and foreign war-prisoners were not thought of as beings in different categories. Saggs 1982). Certain peoples were treated with greater or lesser consideration and uncooperative nomadic peoples. forced labor. the king’s duty was to shepherd all peoples equally.8 col. Saggs (1982... Severe punishment. II B. figures 1. occurring in cases of particularly recalcitrant tribes or rebellious tributary states (Reade 1979. and the life of the Assyrian administrator might be required if any of the prisoners came to harm by his negligence. Sennacherib illustrates the quarrying and transport of a human-headed winged bull by gangs of foreign prisoners (Reade 1998. seem to have fallen in the latter category.7 In the aftermath of battle. The Assyrian narratives told a cautionary tale: in order to dissuade disloyalty and rebellion by foreigners and courtiers alike (Russell 1991. 51). or the elimination of an entire people. 256). the artists displayed the atrocities incurred by the enemy with a rather macabre relish.

are not consistently. were the proofs of that victory. 334). and deftly incorporates bodily postures and gestures to convey the captives’ fear and anxiety. . war was morally and ethically justified as a crusade against the foreign monarch whose rebellious acts made him unfit to govern his peoples. male prisoners stand before Assyrian officials.” The “Minor” Images: Assyrian Captive Vignettes Some of the most striking aspects of the Assyrian campaign sequences are the realistic details. showing vignettes of relatively well-treated civilians next to harshly treated prisoners. and moreover.. Families carrying their possessions follow. there seems to be a distinction made between pictures of the actual enemy—meaning the foreign king. demeaned. Foreign subjects. in my opinion. In front of the exiles. his officials and soldiers. two local dignitaries are flayed while others are beheaded for their roles in the rebellion (Reade 1979. Many intricate reliefs capture the “climax” of the battle. indicating close observation of the subject. that the ideology behind portraits of Assyrian captives is not so straightforward. r§’im k§n§ti “true king. showing the Assyrian army besieging a fortified city with arrows and battering rams.. As we will see. There are several instances in which an exceptional rendering by the artist provides a figure with subtle dignity (for example. and the civilians—foreign peoples subject to the fate of their city-state. figure 4). revealing the activities of the Assyrians and their opponents within the midst of warfare.blurring the edges 107 The battle narratives were primarily concerned. humbly bent forward from the waist. In Assyrian terms. drawing attention to two versions of imperial “justice. 68). 37-38). The artist shows the relatively well-treated families with the tortured rebels. rid of their “oppressors. fig. while firebrands sieged city (Reade 1998. their hands upraised and signifying their distress. and war victims. lover of justice” (Oded 1992. nor perhaps even intentionally. “civilian” captives. Campaigns were launched in order to “defend the subjects of a foreign country against the unjust sovereign . The borders of adjacent vignettes can be “blurred” via artistic devices or irregular scenic elements. however. the narratives often juxtapose two groups of Assyrian victims. with commemorating an Assyrian victory. with small children clinging to the skirts of their parents. 38).” came under the protection of the àarru k¿nu. in their varied states. Toward the front of the procession. through the agency of war he [the Assyrian king] sets right the injustice committed by the transgressors” (Oded 1992. In the reliefs.

like figure 4 of this article. pl. 9 Sennacherib reports (perhaps with exaggeration) that he deported 200. The curving groundline beneath the procession diverts the viewer’s eyes downward and toward the left.150 people for resettlement after this campaign (Reade 1998. are distracted by a child seen just beyond this group. his arms wrapped around her waist. reed rain down from above. This man guides the animal from behind with one hand.108 s. and in the center of the fighting. but is attributed to Ashurbanipal. he lifts the boy’s arm up in the direction of the other children. See below.9 A comparable scene from the reign of Ashurbanipal shows the Assyrian army toppling Egyptian soldiers from their defenses. and ours. The “father” walks behind. collecting enemy heads. 246). ostensibly in the process of relocation to other parts of the empire. note 13. Barnett et al. is from the “marsh battle” sequence from the Southwest Palace. The man is holding one of the little boy’s legs against him. This excerpt. The individual leading the group carries a basket pole that merges into the line of doomed warriors.10 The little ones are either looking toward their father for comfort. An example from Sennacherib’s assault of Lachish depicts three enemy dead impaled on staves in the lower right foreground. and setting fire to the city (figure 2). “interrupting” the battle scene by breaking the dividing line between the upper and lower registers. and balances a bundle upon his head with the other. fusing the two processions. In the center of this image. a procession of enemy warriors emerges from a tower gate. (1998. As they march with their families and meager belongings. In Assyrian narratives. Yet among the group of exiles is another vignette that distracts from the spectacle of Assyria’s revenge —two small children are riding out on a donkey. 10 Cf. where a Chaldaean family is pictured in a similar manner: a woman sits upon a donkey with a naked male (?) child riding behind her. perhaps in order to greet them. and blurring the lines between exile and (presumed) execution for the soldiers. riding on another man’s shoulders. is guided toward the harsher punishment of Egypt’s defenders. grasping the tail of the donkey. where the warriors are bound and led away by Assyrian soldiers—two of whom triumphantly hoist the decapitated heads of fallen Egyptians. but with his other hand. This procession is contrasted with a row of civilian exiles on the far right. or alternatively. the civilian peoples of a besieged city are often shown in this manner. 48). both of whom nervously turn back toward their “father” (figure 3). a small row of captives file out of the walled fortress carrying their possessions (figure 1). . The “innocents” are facing the warriors: their focus. the artists depict mothers nursing their babies.

The man is inclined in the direction of a seated woman whose hands are lifted toward him. as if she is requesting a taste. its seeming empathy diverts attention from the source of their plight (that is. Her arm is held up. his right arm stretched across his body and down toward the man on the opposite side. or four sets of “couples. one woman raises her arm. In a small register just below the main battle scene. or liberators? Another remarkable sequence of vignettes. but its message is ambiguous: it alerts the audience to the Chaldaeans’ misfortune and vulnerability. fig.blurring the edges 109 and fathers carrying older children upon their shoulders. The two women in this scene are not speaking with one another: one directs her attention toward the man with the “wineskin. and one that poses a similar question. The man seated next to her is looking toward the figure opposite him. to his lips. palm open. however. On the right side of this register is another. toward the woman sitting across from her (figure 6). 285b. . the man on the right leans forward. with his fingers touching the top of the vessel. Their gestures suggest lively conversations in progress: on the left. Are we to view the Assyrians as their captors.. a man who is perhaps minding the cauldron: his right arm is shown stretched toward it. alerting the viewer that these two individuals are engaged in a separate conversation from the women.” while the woman on the opposite side is turned. fig. the alternating positions of the men and women enliven the scene. two groups of prisoners.” are seated in the Assyrian camp around cooking cauldrons. This time. Another male stands next to the seated figures holding what looks to be a drinking vessel. sensitively carved image from Ashurbanipal shows a Chaldaean woman on the march. gesturing toward an Assyrian guard behind her. 213. Assyrian aggression). perhaps a wineskin. 1998. 645b.11 A wellknown. In order to show that the two men are conversing with one another. pl. stopping to give her child water from an animal skin (figure 4). while holding a bowl in her left. comes from a relief commemorating Ashurbanipal’s victory over the Elamites at Hamanu (figure 5). mimicking the same “conversational” 11 See also Barnett et al. similar group of captives (figure 7). The artist may also be using this gesture to convey directionality: the arm is lifted toward the man facing him. The woman on the right returns the same gesture with her right hand. palm up. 465. pl. The vignette makes the procession of captives memorable. while at the same time.

We have a small piece of the second camp register. suggesting that he was in fact the “border” of this scene. even emotions. As it remains. 12 The woman could have been gesturing toward someone behind the guard in a missing panel. the women entering the scene convey no signs of agitation—their gestures and body postures indicate a happy reunion. suggesting that the artist wants to draw our attention to the guard’s presence. A separate relief fragment from the “Hamanu” series also shows Elamite and Chaldaean prisoners in the Assyrian camp.110 s. turned toward a hypothetical threat to the camp. but the panel is cropped evenly behind the Assyrian guard. his back to the group of prisoners. The episodes may be viewed as a poised threat within a convivial atmosphere. To the far left is an Assyrian soldier. It may also indicate that the woman is in conversation with her captor. The relief stops just beyond the image of an Assyrian solider to the left. we cannot be certain if the Assyrian guard was originally part of another episode. human relations. and just behind a group of two other male captives conversing on the right. reed gesture as the women on the left portion of the register. showing similar couples seated around a cauldron. are conveyed without individual facial expressions. The tone of the camp vignettes is created by the actions of the participants. yet her fingers are touching his shield. which illustrates all the remaining images from this series. or to the group’s imprisonment. The fragment seems to have been roughly the same width as the camp register described above. or whether he indeed guarded the perimeter of this space. LXVI). his shield. . implies to the viewer an element of protectiveness. or was continued on another relief panel. but she has one arm stretched toward the man who greets them. Two women behind him are just entering the camp carrying their possessions and are welcomed by a seated man who turns and waves to them. but nonetheless remains a “snapshot” of a scene: without the remaining panel or panels. See Barnett (1976. pl. only the battle above and the first register below exist in their entirety. one of whom is stoking the campfire (figure 8). a subtle warning that creates 12 There are fragments of camp vignettes that most likely made up two more registers below this one. guarding another group of prisoners. seemingly “introducing” him to her female companion. moreover. palm up. The first woman’s head is turned back toward her friend who follows behind. It is unclear whether the scene ended with the guard.

Its legs overlap with the upper portion of the reed bank that camouflages the group. The dating of the reliefs to Ashurbanipal seems very likely. XXXIII. beardless individuals in long robes. 88). 233-265). according to E. crouches on a reed boat facing two smaller. highlighting a problematic aspect of the vignette: without knowing if an extended scenario existed. The gestures of the Chaldaean “family” indicate that they are either in the midst of an activity—perhaps a prayer. pls. 1998. his posture inclined protectively toward the younger refugees. 13 For the full marsh battle sequence. No inscriptions survive on these slabs. The male is presumably their father and is perched upon the prow of the boat. But while they raise awareness of the captives’ reduced circumstances.” they are being “protected” by the Assyrians. On stylistic grounds. while his left is lifted in a fist. his hair bound by a fillet. Bleibtreau (Barnett et al.blurring the edges 111 tension.13 Groups of Assyrian soldiers in reed boats are systematically apprehending escapees hiding in the marshes (figure 9). but the viewer is. the images can become mentally parsed into vignettes with ambiguous readings. This small moment captures the Chaldaeans’ anxiety and the overall precariousness of their situation.” The headless body and relentless progression of Assyrian soldiers imply the ultimate capture of our group of refugees. insinuating danger by blurring the space between their hiding place and the open water. but the adjacent room. at least momentarily. who occupied the palace early in his reign) recreates the capture of Chaldaean refugees from southern Babylonia. see Barnett et al. The two children have their left hands fisted upon their laps. but the nuances of the scenes leave the captives’ status open to interpretation. bearded male in a short tunic. naked enemy body floating in the water nearby. or a game of distraction. (1998. . His right hand is placed on his lap. but their right hands are raised. either male or female. A series of illustrations from the Southwest palace of Sennacherib (but usually attributed to his grandson Ashurbanipal. was redecorated with reliefs after Sennacherib’s reign. it also suggests that rather than being “threatened. and presumably children (figure 10). Both viewpoints serve to emphasize Assyrian dominance. The particular vignette I would like to draw attention to is a group of three figures huddled together within a bank of marsh reeds: an older. Adding tension to the scene is a headless. or between “safety” and “death. palms up. unsure of their fate. they have been attributed to the same period of Ashurbanipal’s sculptures in the North Palace.

where the king lounges upon his royal couch next to the queen. see also Bahrani 2004. grisly trophy contradicts the complacent tranquility of Ashurbanipal’s garden. the head of the Elamite king Teumman. The small.112 s. and for “Til Tuba. and finally. The “Battle of Til Tuba” relief is a deliberate. Bonatz 2004): the Assyrians capture and kill Teumman and his son. .” Ashurbanipal’s artists take full advantage of this innovation: though the registers are not entirely discarded. we find the head hanging in a tree on the edges of the king’s celebratory banquet—almost as an afterthought. but this incongruous memento of victory also signals the thematic tension of the narratives. act as guideposts. they are abbreviated and blurred by continuous and overlapping action sequences. Watanabe 2004. it encapsulates the power of suggestion that propels the battle sequences. extraneous to the main event. The horizontal groundlines. ordered chaos: the space is littered with seemingly jumbled yet carefully orchestrated vignettes that provide a fuller picture of the action. The directional gestures of the soldiers. creating sweeping landscapes. reed The “Battle of Til Tuba” series from the Southwest Palace (also from the reign of Ashurbanipal). bringing the head of the Elamite ruler home to hang as a prize in Ashurbanipal’s garden (figures 12. 13). In the final act. where life and death are juxtaposed. makes its insertion all the more chilling. that traditionally divided narrative sequences were distorted in the reign of Sennacherib. only about as large as the register of Elamites in the Assyrian camp. it hangs if we look closely. The banquet panel is comparatively small. the strategic positioning of weapons. and thereby more powerful. or registers. creating a pervasive anxiety. moving the viewer through an intricate battle landscape and a grand chase (Bersani and Dutoit 1985. It symbolizes a humiliating defeat for the Elamites. yet like the headless body in the Chaldaean marsh. illustrates the merciless (and unambiguous) fate of one of Assyria’s most worthy opponents and exemplifies the evolving complexity of Assyrian palace narrative (figure 11). Yet its subtle. almost nonchalant placement. but the head of Teumman connects the scenarios to Ashurbanipal’s ultimate victory.

and in the Assyrian worldview. I would suggest that the “humanity” of the Assyrian sculptures is not to be found in Western preconceptions of how human emotion is expressed. more confident title suggests to Liverani that Sennacherib earned the title only after several years of successful campaigning—after he had filled the role of “heroic warrior.” but also “pious shepherd. The fate of the enemy was part of the historical moment represented. and effectively. 165-166).C. taking the royal office required that the king meet divine expectations.blurring the edges King as Conqueror. native and foreign peoples were to be cared for as the “flock” of Aààur. which were embedded in Assyrian cultural traditions and the royal ideological code (Livingstone 1997. fearful of the great gods” to “expert shepherd. and the right to rule must be earned. The Assyrians felt themselves bound to the gods.” Sennacherib. and to justify the traditional titles of great Mesopotamian rulers: not only “king of the world. favorite of the great gods” (after 697 B. Iran. . The late. With few natural barriers. Assyria’s success as a trading nation in the late third and early second millennium attracted foreign aggression and eventual 14 M. Liverani explains that Sennacherib’s epithets evolved over time: from “pious shepherd. The ambiguities are more likely a result of the nature of that message: in text and image. Middle Assyrian to Neo-Assyrian rituals and royal hymns express Aààur’s wish that with his “sword. see also Weissert 1997.” the king expand his imperial borders and his peoples (Tadmor 1999. conveyed the imperial message. 242. Babylonia. 240). we can observe each ruler’s anxiety to fulfill the duties of royal office required by the gods.” even for themselves. King as Shepherd 113 The overall character of Assyrian battle narratives does not suggest to me that the vignettes of “innocents” are a conscious effort toward “humanitarianism. 58. Arabia and Syria-Palestine. citing Liverani). believed that his future was uncertain—the gods did not automatically bestow a king with good fortune.”14 In Assyrian royal ideology. following in the wake of Sargon’s ominous and untimely death. was a relative term. but in the carefully wrought vignettes within each battle sequence—they contain narratives within narratives that provide a fuller picture not only of the campaign but also its consequences. Assyria’s religious ideology (and its particular form of imperial anxiety) was conditioned by its geopolitical situation: the heartland lay on a crossroads between Anatolia. “safety.) (Russell 1991.” Rather. the artists documented highlights from the battle and its aftermath that most efficiently. but also intertwined with that of Assyria itself.

The king’s outward show of invincibility is colored by the . By the Neo-Assyrian period. that may be reflected in the varied representations of Assyria’s opponents. reveal the complex character of Assyrian imperialism.[T]hey represent not-necessarily-conscious reflections of worldview and experiences held by some members of that culture. Royal rhetoric aside. citing Oppenheim). Assyria responded with an offensive policy of conquest and expansion (Livingstone 1997. war was the natural “vocation” of the king (Oded 1992. however.” I might propose that those instances of “receptive. or anxiety. 66-67) remarks that in art. but Assyria’s attitude toward the world outside the empire was necessarily more complicated. perhaps not altogether consciously. Tadmor 1999). 165. Irene Winter (2002. it did not preclude (consciously or otherwise) an understanding of the inherent vulnerability of man. Oded 1992. Assyria recognized that there were practical limits to its external control. who have been robbed of their homelands and will be deported to other parts of the Assyrian empire to become Assyrianized. Embedded within the late palace reliefs are scenes that. It is this underlying apprehension.114 s. “certain visual attributes derive from the special geographical and/or historical situation of the producing culture.” expanding the empire and defeating upstart rivals.. due to both the intense vitality of the vignettes and the small. the desire of the king’s desire to be depicted not only as “heroic warrior. 38). and its relationships with foreign states. The “unquestioning loyalty” of Assyrian citizens (particularly soldiers) to the crown is a common ancient Near Eastern artistic idiom.” defender of the innocent and protector of his own. “reflecting in a practical fashion the realities of imperial power and responsibility” (Reade 1979. whether equal. I would argue that Assyrian narrative hinges upon human relationships and their emotive affect.” even “empathetic” renderings of victims convey that. by the late second millennium. but also as “good shepherd. The contradiction of the captive images lies in the fact that these peoples are ostensibly Assyria’s enemies. whether victor or vanquished. although the king’s role may have necessitated warfare and conquest (Livingstone 1997. They may reflect. tension-creating details that capture the precarious circumstances of life in the Neo-Assyrian period. Whatever the authors’ or artists’ motivations. tributary or subject. reed domination.. were designed to insure Assyria’s own stability. 332).

Frankfort. Irwin. 1997. Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia. 1971. Leo. 3rd ed. 2004.blurring the edges 115 realities of maintaining the “four quarters” and the demands of his position as divine liaison. Helsinki. New Dimensions in the Study of Assyrian Religion. Parpola and R. Kingship and the Gods. Dominik. Alasdair. Foster. 2001. Monumental Art of the Assyrian Empire: Dynamics of Composition Styles. J. ed. H. Richard David. Jacobsen. however. Bonatz. Malibu: Undena Publications. Thorkild. Jacobsen. In The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man. London: The British Museum. New York: Schocken Books. Pauline. or his practical and ideological responsibilities. are full of ambiguities that convey the inherent tragedy of the situation. Sculptures from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (668-627 BC). A. The King’s Head. M. Benjamin Read. Press. Ashurbanipal’s Headhunt: An Anthropological Perspective. Bersani. blurring triumph with tragedy. Zainab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The Forms of Violence: Narrative in Assyrian Art and Modern Culture. 1985. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The vignettes suggest his attempt to balance a dual role: conqueror and shepherd. Whiting. H. ed. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project Helsinki. Frankfort. as a necessity. Iraq 66: 93-101. 1995. They transcend the morbid recesses of the battleground. Jean. 1976. and persecution with protection. and Geoffrey Turner. This struggle is underscored within violent propaganda that signified a strong central authority—one that perceived warfare. A. Iraq 66: 115-119. September 7–11. S. . T. Barnett. and W. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 125-202. Richard David. 1998. Bahrani. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. Mesopotamia. and therein lies their power to captivate. Erica Bleibtreu. Henri. Frankfort. 2004. 1977. The “enemy” vignettes. Bottéro. In Assyria 1995. Barnett. 2005. A. 1998. Livingstone. Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh. 165-177. and its consequences. and Ulysse Dutoit. Bethesda: Capital Decisions Ltd. 2nd ed. References Albenda. London: The British Museum. Wilson.

ed. Elnathan. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the NeoAssyrian Text Corpus Project Helsinki. 1982. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Aesthetics in Ancient Mesopotamian Art. 2568–2582. S. Winter. M. Parpola and R. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. 2004. World Dominion: The Expanding Horizon of the Assyrian Empire. 1961. Sennacherib’s Palace Without Rival at Nineveh. Ideology and Propaganda in Assyrian Art. 1924. 1997. ———. War. J. reed Oded. 1979. and Empire: Justifications for War in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions. Reade. London: The British Museum. 2nd ed. S. Royal Rhetoric and the Development of Historical Narrative in Neo-Assyrian Reliefs. 2 vols. 1964. Larsen. Oppenheim. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag. 1992. 329-343. F. Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization. L. Strommenger. Fales. Parrot. New York: Golden Press. Eva. Chikako E. 1998. Mesopotamia 7. ———. Helsinki. A. In Power and Propaganda: A Symposium on Ancient Empires. Tadmor. B. AfO19: 85-93. 1994. 1981. ———. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Irene. Saggs. Peace. ed. King of Assyria. Wiesbaden: Reichert. The Continuous Style in the Narrative Scheme of Assurbanipal’s Reliefs. Russell. Leo.116 s. Milano. W. M. ———. Proust. T. New York: H. Assyrian Sculpture. 7–11 July 1997. Julian. Remembrance of Things Past. New York: Thomas Seltzer. Sasson. 1999. In Landscapes: Territories. Iraq 34: 87-112. ———. 1995. 1964. Royal Hunt and Royal Triumph in a Prism Fragment of Ashurbanipal. New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons. The Arts of Assyria. Frontiers and Horizons in the Ancient Near East: Papers Presented to the 44e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Iraq 66: 103-114. Lancranchi. Whiting. N. The Neo-Assyrian Court and Army: Evidence from the Sculptures. ed. In Assyria 1995. 1972. 55-62. H. Bustenay. Studies in Visual Communications 7: 1-37. Wiesbaden: Reichert. Hayim. de Martino. 1991. Venezia. André. Abrams. 1979. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ed. 1995. Mass Deportations and Deportees in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. History of the Ancient Near East 3/1. and G. Padua: Sargon srl. Assyrian Prisoners of War and the Right to Live. Watanabe. September 7–11. Marcel. 5000 Years of the Art of Mesopotamia. F. The Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III. M. Weissert. . M. John M. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The Arts of Mankind. 339-358.

55-77. Moxey. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. In Art History. In Picturing Science. Holly and K. London: Routledge. M. ———. A. Galison.blurring the edges 117 ———. ed. The Affective Properties of Styles: An Inquiry into Analytical Process and the Inscription of Meaning in Art History. ed. Visual Studies. 1998. Defining ‘Aesthetics’ for Non-Western Studies: The Case of Ancient Mesopotamia. Jones and P. A. C. Aesthetics. 3-28. Producing Art. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. . 2002.

The Assyrian assault on Lachish (British Museum.118 s. reed Figure 1. © Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) . WA 124906.

The Assyrian army attacking an Egyptian town (British Museum. WA 124928.blurring the edges 119 Figure 2. © Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) .

120 s. reed Figure 3. detail of figure 2 . Egyptians departing the city with their belongings.

© Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) .blurring the edges 121 Figure 4. WA 124954. featuring a mother giving her child a drink from a pigskin (British Museum. A Chaldaean group of exiles.

reed Figure 5. WA 124919. The Assyrian battle against Hamanu. © Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) .122 s. Elam (British Museum.

detail of figure 5. left side of bottom register 123 . Elamite prisoners in an Assyrian camp.blurring the edges Figure 6.

reed Figure 7. detail of figure 5.124 s. Elamite prisoners in an Assyrian camp. right side of bottom register .

© Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) 125 .blurring the edges Figure 8. Elamite and Chaldaean prisoners in an Assyrian camp. WA 124788. relief fragment from the battle of Hamanu series (British Museum.

The Assyrian army capturing Chaldaeans in the southern marshes (British Museum. © Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) . WA 124774.126 s. reed Figure 9.

A group of Chaldaeans hiding in a reed bank. detail of figure 9 .blurring the edges 127 Figure 10.

© Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) . reed Figure 11.128 s. A relief panel from the Assyrian battle at Til Tuba (British Museum. WA 124801.

Ashurbanipal and his queen banqueting in the royal garden (British Museum.blurring the edges 129 Figure 12. © Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) . WA 124920.

130 s. The Elamite king Teumman’s head hanging in Ashurbanipal’s garden. reed Figure 13. detail of figure 12 .

assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 131 II “Idols of the King”: Ritual Contexts .

shafer .132 a.

if not all of these royal stelae and rock reliefs were the recipient of ritual activity. In their quest for territory. and consisted of freestanding stone stelae and rock reliefs (figures 1. . one begins to see another possible purpose and message. Irene Winter. they seem to have been sacred objects. the Neo-Assyrian state grew to become the most far-reaching and militarily powerful entity in the ancient Near East.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 133 ASSYRIAN ROYAL MONUMENTS ON THE PERIPHERY: RITUAL AND THE MAKING OF IMPERIAL SPACE Ann Shafer During the early first millennium BCE. Assyrian kings campaigned from the heartland of Assyria to outlying regions. the Assyrian capital cities. however.D. As such. were carved in various types of locations. but in the peripheries of the expanding empire. creating a unified realm that lasted for approximately three centuries. including elaborate ceremony and sacrifice. Much of what we know of these conquests comes from texts and images from the center of this realm. and were distributed over a wide geographical area. or objects commemorating sacred acts. Once we begin to view the monuments 1 I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the foresight and generosity of my mentor. I shall always be indebted to and inspired by Irene for her powerful wisdom and presence. Approximately fifty of these monuments still survive today. however. I would like to discuss another group of Assyrian monuments not in the center.1 These monuments were erected while on military campaign. Many. under whose tutelage this study was originally developed as a Ph. dissertation (Shafer 1998). and nearly as many undiscovered monuments are mentioned in royal texts. It is the goal of this paper to begin to foreground the relationship of these monuments to ritual activity. it might make sense to interpret them as political in aim. If one looks more closely at their larger context. Because these monuments were erected on military campaigns. 2). Here. They were produced by every major Neo-Assyrian king from Ashurnasirpal II in the ninth century to Ashurbanipal in the seventh.

Geographical Distribution In order to understand fully the symbolic power of these royal monuments in Assyria’s peripheral zones. Shalmaneser III (858-824 BCE) effected a much more ambitious military program. and in so doing.3 Using the conquests of his father as a base. it is first necessary to discern the patterns in their spatial distribution and related function. takes on a new identity. In tandem with the speed of his territorial expansion. but also engaged a highly-charged symbolic field of space. through the simultaneous actions of image-making and ritual performance.134 a. the monuments mostly marked endpoints of campaigns or secure zones of political transition. apparently established tradition of revisiting sites previously marked by earlier kings. together marked the perimeters of the king’s realm as a whole. shafer this way. tradition and legitimacy. During the reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE). Appendix A). the Assyrian campaigns themselves. 2 Individual textual sources—which include palace historical inscriptions of both the annalistic and display types as well as the inscriptions on the peripheral monuments themselves—are far too numerous to list here (see Shafer 1998. steadily marking outlying territories as they were added to Assyria’s borders.2 When we survey the monuments in chronological order. as well as the making of Assyrian art in general. 3 Ashurnasirpal II is said to have visited and marked the “source of the Subnat River. we are able to plot their original locations. extending Assyria’s borders and erecting a record number of monuments far a field. the nature and evolution of their purpose becomes clear. the peripheral monuments assumed their paradigmatic function. Using both the extant monuments as well as ancient textual references to others that did not survive. are able to understand the deliberate ways in which they were crafted and placed into the landscape.” where his predecessors Tiglath-Pileser I and Tukulti-Ninurta II also erected monuments (Grayson 1991. Assyrian kings not only marked territorial conquest in a literal way. In the ninth century. The present study outlines our evidence for these rituals and will show how. It is also during his reign that these monuments began to engage an earlier. during the early period of the Assyrian territorial consolidation. 200-201). and as such. .

His monuments reflect a clear knowledge of Assyria’s previous territorial boundaries. In contrast to the significant political gains of the ninth century. he also appears to have used royal monuments to mark his most notable territorial expansions beyond those of his predecessors. especially during the reign of Sennacherib (704-681 BCE). it was the increasingly powerful provincial administrators who began to use the monuments for their own purposes instead.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 135 Shalmaneser III’s monuments were erected more frequently. This trend toward broadening the function of the royal monuments saw its fullest expression in the seventh century. the successful reign of Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BCE) heralded an upsurge in the production of royal monuments on the periphery. In addition. although using monuments to mark military victories. the beginning of the eighth century marked a degree of political decentralization in Assyria. but like the slowly-weakening empire. not only marking important military victories. peripheral monuments remained a powerful royal symbol. marking further territorial expansions. Finally in the ninth century. who. their production appears to have eventually halted. As for Esarhaddon (680669 BCE). during his reign monuments seem to have become a tool for political negotiations among Assyria’s allies. the monuments were used in a similar fashion. Like his father. Despite the political discontinuity of the early eighth century. but also delineating entire geographical regions. thus marking only those victories that resulted in significant territorial expansions beyond those of the ninth century. during Sargon’s reign the function of the monument began to expand to include political diplomacy as well. marking off administrative boundaries within the Assyrian heartland. in the time of Ashurbanipal (668-631 BCE). Nevertheless. Shalmaneser III also adopted the practice of revisiting and remarking sites containing monuments of his predecessors. although Shamshi-Adad V’s reign was relatively short and military victories few. the most fundamental characteristic of the Assyrian monument type—territorial delineation—now played itself out on a much smaller scale. . Finally. While Adad-nirari III (810-783 BCE) may have intended to use the royal monument in the same fashion as his predecessors. During the reign of Sargon II (721-705 BCE). also explored their potential to commemorate construction projects closer to home.

seems to have been the monument’s most salient characteristic. as the tradition matured. Not just an image of the Assyrian king. Iconography The patterns in spatial distribution and dynastic continuity are further reinforced by the singular. not only in their placement. Moreover. their locations corresponded to what were viewed as the most important outlying regions or borders of the Assyrian realm. In many cases. Long overlooked because of its deceptively accessible iconography. clear patterns in geographical distribution and political function emerge. and all have several important features: a similar image of the Assyrian king. but also in their intended message and political function. we are able to examine the image in relation to well-established domains of visual elaboration and convention. when we plot the locations of the monuments in relation to historical events. and an Akkadian annalistic inscription (figures 1. Assyrian kings created increasingly subtle and sophisticated variations. One of the monument’s most distinctive characteristics is its deliberate adherence. even for the Assyrians. despite its location on the empire’s periphery. we see that the monuments consistently marked important culminating or transitional points in the campaigns. but of the complex notion of “kingship. to the central palace idiom of royal representation. First of all. shafer Thus. 2). therefore. that the central agent in Assyria’s growth and power is the king himself.” as the Assyrian term ßalam àarråtija (“image of my kingship”) implies. Over the three centuries of their production. which in turn allows us to arrive at a more precise understanding of the image and its referents. In addition. . the royal peripheral monuments acted as a consistent and effective tool for creating a powerful Assyrian presence on the periphery. namely. I will examine the monument image that. For the purposes of this study. and felt the desire or political necessity to engage that tradition by placing monuments in the very same locations. As a result. The surviving monuments consist of both rock reliefs and stelae. divine emblems. the monument’s standardized image can be shown to reflect a strong cultural investment and self-consciousness about its message.136 a. we see that each king was aware of his predecessors’ monuments. very consistent form of the Assyrian monuments themselves. when we compare reigns.

6 More important. but in Irene Winter’s study of images of the Mesopotamian ruler Gudea (1989). But here. In addition. which depicts Sargon II and the crown prince before the god Ashur (Loud 1938. The king’s physical fitness to rule and potential for action are indicated by his upright and alert stance. One way in which the peripheral monument communicates the notion of ideal Assyrian kingship is through its rendering of the king’s physical attributes. 6 The nature and meaning of this gesture in the Neo-Assyrian period is not adequately documented in the ancient sources. What results is a multi-layered image of the ideal aspects and attributes of Assyrian kingship.5 While these individual features locate the king in a general cultic guise. and grounded. in the visual realm. the king’s gesture is meant to reference such a scene. his arm gesture is coded in a more specific way. the image is not a “portrait” in the modern sense of representing individual likeness. . detailed musculature. as examples from seal impressions and palace frescoes indicate. pl. Whether the deity represents a cult statue or simply an abstract idea. yet forward-moving feet. the gesture usually appears in scenes of the king addressing one or more full-figured images of deities.4 Shown only in profile or three-quarter view. This gesture has been shown to have been made during prayer and seems to express the king’s humility before the gods. 89).assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 137 the peripheral monument image intersects with multiple systems of royal visual communication. More recently. displaying at a respectful distance a full array of notable attributes. although relatively lifelike. divine emblem necklace. Most distinct is his raised right arm. the full-scale divine recipients of his gesture do not 4 The discussion of “portraiture” in the ancient world has largely been Greco-centric in nature. and conical polos crown are coded for specific action. the king’s gesture clearly indicates his capacity for piety. 5 For a fuller discussion of the royal robe and costume types see Magen 1986. in the wall painting from Residence K at Khorsabad.7 It is therefore probable that on the peripheral monuments. of course. she elaborated upon this discussion for the Neo-Assyrian period (1997). Adhering to well-established palace convention. locating him immediately in his cultic role as high priest. 45-54) strongly points to this interpretation. but Magen’s reconstruction of the evidence (1986. wherein his hand-gesture shows the forefinger extended as though pointing. 7 For example. but instead occupies a separate plane. but engages a highly-charged set of codes for representing the multiple aspects of Assyrian “kingship” in the broadest sense of the term. the figure of the king never engages the viewer directly. other details such as the king’s robe. she has begun to decipher the complex aspects of royal attributes in the ancient world. and of the Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin (1996).

his raised right hand. is missing. they often appear in scenes of military parade. the image on slab B-23 of Ashurnasirpal II’s Northwest Palace throneroom (figure 3). the Assyrian king himself. While this image on the peripheral monument is unique. Instead. the way in which they embody and affirm the royal prerogative to make established iconographies into new images. are divine emblems.9 This scene is simple compositionally. Although the exact origin of such representations of divine emblems is unclear. it is helpful to look further into the peripheral monument iconography. in this case. It is this kind of iconographical reconfiguration that characterizes a second level of meaning in the peripheral monuments. In many ways. effectively unaware of the emblems above. . While for the casual viewer the king might seem to be pointing toward the emblems. and so what remains is not an image of the king’s action toward any particular deity. this gesture is usually used to show the king’s reverence or piety toward a divine figure. namely. comprising elements of several distinct visual traditions. from Nineveh (Börker-Klähn 1982. shafer appear. In order to understand this second layer of meaning. in the field above the king’s head. 9 This image also appears in the throneroom of the Northwest Palace on slab B-13. Let us return to the most “active” iconographical element of the king’s figure. Closest to the tree and deity stand two nearly mirrorimages of the Assyrian king wearing a fringed robe and gesturing in a now-familiar manner with a pointed finger. Ashur. Behind the figures of the 8 For example. whose representation. assumes the role of creator. comparing it to a specific body of images from the Assyrian center does help us to understand its symbolic message further. upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the king focuses and points directly ahead.138 a. In the process of uniquely re-combining such traditions. probably representing the state god of Assyria. on the so-called Broken Obelisk of Ashur-bel-kala.8 More important than what this reveals about iconographic sources. provides the best parallel for our peripheral monument image. depicting four figures symmetrically arranged around a central stylized tree. is the fact that our peripheral monument image is a new one. above which floats an anthropomorphic winged disk. however. fig. 131). Instead. the peripheral monument’s frame seems to isolate the king’s figure. it seems. As noted above. but an abstracted image of pious action alone.

With this direct relationship in mind. of those monuments still surviving. That such alternation was not simply coincidence. not only by Ashur’s gestural acknowledgement of the king. was thought to be divinely generated is suggested in glyptic images.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 139 king. is suggested in slab B-23. and thus framing the entire scene. the meaning of the tree scene remains the subject of debate. figs. Likewise. are two winged male deities with horned crowns (apkallus) carrying in the left hand a pail. Although placed prominently in Ashurnasirpal II’s throneroom. Irene Winter (1983) makes this particularly compelling symbolic argument. however. and that the stylized tree represents not only the concept of abundance. More specifically. While the exact purpose of their gestures cannot be certainly determined. 203-204). but more specifically. In B-23.12 That the king was thought to be the primary earthly agent in this divine growth. 180-184. and half facing left. perhaps pollination. since no direct mention of this scene is made in Assyrian texts. figs. and in the raised right hand an oval object similar to a pinecone. how can B-23 be used to complement our understanding of the peripheral monument image? One important parallel is the reduplication of the king’s figure in both right and left profile views. but it seems most likely that the image symbolically characterizes the king’s relationship with the divine world. roughly half depict the king facing right. it seems that they are performing some kind of operation on the tree. wherein the winged disk’s long pendant tassels encircle the tree. See for example. the royal figures on peripheral monuments alternate too. 10 For a summary of theories identifying the figures and their actions. whereby he too becomes the recipient of the apkallus’ actions. fig. 341). is graphically represented by the monuments of Sennacherib—such as the rock reliefs at Cudi Dag and the stelae from Nineveh—where alternating royal figures were used at the same site (Börker-Klähn 1982.11 That the growth of the tree. the ninth-century cylinder seal from Sherif Khan (Collon 1987. 10 Specific interpretations vary. but was an integral feature of the monument type in general. see Porter 1993. the two royal figures alternate on either side of the central tree. from right to left profile. 12 11 . but also by the king’s position in the composition. or Assyria. the land of Assyria and its potential for territorial growth.

from the monuments themselves. . There. but may also play a role in the larger body of images that make up Assyrian palace visual culture as a whole. by the king himself. however. the peripheral monuments might be said to represent the king’s movements around the territories of his realm.13 It is precisely because of their paradigmatic nature. This becomes especially apparent when we step away. shafer In order to understand the alternation and reduplication of the king’s image on peripheral monuments. that monuments on the periphery becomes so valuable a tool for expanding our understanding of ancient Assyria. the monuments are shown to have been the focus of an elaborate set of rituals performed. however. they now become a window onto a complex Assyrian perceptual reality. for a moment. the reduplicated peripheral monument images erected at various locations in the Assyrian landscape appear to embody the literal meanings of both movement within. On the basis of this evidence. a comparison with images in the Assyrian center reveals that peripheral monuments were directly linked with ideas about the king’s relationship to Assyria’s territorial growth. This is suggested by the abovementioned interpretation of the scene as depicting a pollination ritual performed by the apkallus and the king upon the tree (Porter 1993). To summarize. With these readings of B-23 in mind. If we agree that the tree symbolically represents the collective Assyrian lands. it is possible that one function of the reduplication was to describe movement. however. instead. Here. these images become much more than simply markers of territorial conquest. in part. as well as imposition of order upon the land of Assyria itself. it is necessary to re-examine slab B-23. Russell 1991. The symbolic complexity of the Assyrian royal image is probably not unique to monuments on the periphery. and look instead at the way they are described in both inscriptions and visual representations. see individual studies by Marcus 1987. If so.140 a. 13 For example. the reduplicated figure of the king could represent his successive movements to encircle the tree. where the symbolic and the real become one.

More to the point. the rural locations may reflect a move to control and protect the land and its resources. Sargon II erected a stele in the city gate of the city of Tikrakki. many monuments were also carved into the landscape itself. and furthermore. attributed to Shalmaneser III. . a tributary of the Tigris River near the modern village of Lice in southeastern Turkey. however.16 Shalmaneser III visited the site on two separate occasions. indicating that only those with prior knowledge of their locations would be likely to visit them.” today called the Tigris Tunnel. a large portion of the peripheral monuments were stelae erected in enemy cities. 187-188. While the remote rural monuments were probably hidden even from enemy populations. The most vivid example of such a site is what the Assyrians called the “source of the Tigris River. 30-31. which is depicted in Room 2 of his palace at Khorsabad (Albenda 1986. located on the Birklincay. see Börker-Klähn 1982. requiring the visitor to either wade through the river or to climb. pls. as is captured in a visual representation of the site on the upper and lower friezes of Band X of Shalmaneser III’s Balawat Gates (figure 4) (King 1915. in more remote and often inaccessible regions.15 In contrast to the urban contexts where siting may reflect the desire for political visibility. Neither of the locations is easily accessible. and each time carved images and inscriptions marking two portions of the site: a lower tunnel. 15 The rock carving at Uzunoglantepe. is a good example of how remote and difficult to access such monuments can sometimes be (Tasyürek 1975). the monuments were well-known to the Assyrians.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery Assyrian Ritual Revealed 141 As a background to our discussion of ritual activity. through which the river flows. that they functioned as important loci of Assyrian ceremony and ritual. and an upper cave. neither the upper nor the lower monuments are visible to the naked eye from a distance.14 In addition to the urban sites. LVIII-LIX). pl. 16 For a complete bibliography. it seems that in many cases. 120). displayed prominently in the city gate or outer defensive system. 14 For example. Since the Assyrian process of military expansion often involved the conquest of urban centers. it is first important to clarify an important relationship between monument accessibility and function. so too did it seem for the Assyrians. Just as the Tigris Tunnel seems remote for the modern visitor. because of the symbolic nature of their locations.

what is most striking about the Balawat images is their depiction of an elaborate ritual procession. 27-32). Water is flowing profusely from the tunnel. but also confirmed in Shalmaneser III’s annalistic texts (Grayson 1996. Framed by the curvature of the cave walls. which emphasizes both the difficulties of the mountainous terrain and the raging force of the river. this scene and others on the Balawat Gates reveal invaluable information about the facts of Assyrian ritual activity on the periphery. Assyrian soldiers carefully wade through the dark. two Assyrian craftsmen carve an image of the Assyrian king. two solitary craftsmen—shown to be deep in the cave by their diminished scale—carve an almost imperceptible image and/or text into the darkness.17 Although the text accounts are reticent in their description of details. shafer Here. and in order to gain enough height above the river to carve the relief. the performance of ritual seems to have been so important in the ninth century that even the Assyrian palace texts. Just below this scene in the lower frieze of Band X is a similar scene. made sacrifices to my gods. 65-66). interrupted only by a solitary figure and the tiny outline of a mountain fortress in the distance. On a rocky wall outside the tunnel. the men must stand on a stone block placed in midstream. In these texts. While this image reveals much about the details of the making of a monument. we see the simultaneous carving of two royal monuments. depicting a semi-circular enclosure surrounded by the rocky landscape of its remote setting. those approaching the site must also combat the river. gesturing toward the cave interior. the vast and remote mountainous terrain fills the entire height of the image. The only witness to the carving is a single Assyrian official with his attendant. who both stand outside the cave on a small footbridge. which in other periods rarely discuss such details. At the end of the frieze. and gave a joyful feast. one at the upper cave and one at the lower tunnel. 17 . the king describes his actions. “I washed the weapon of Ashur. an activity identified not only in the scene’s caption. The upper frieze of Band X focuses on the concealment of the monument in the upper cave. while in front. behind them. make relatively frequent mention of these rituals. For example. saying.” In fact. in Shalmaneser III’s text on the Black Obelisk (Grayson 1996. a procession of Assyrian soldiers and officials crosses a swirling torrent.142 a. Just like the craftsmen.

For an analysis of the visual representation of ritual paraphernalia and ceremony. we are shown yet another. a three-legged tripod. however. so that its height is equal to that of the participants. As is shown in the Balawat image of the Tigris source. see Watanabe 1992. For various discussions on this subject. in the upper scene we see a later moment. based on comparisons with Assyrian images. been important to these rituals is suggested in the scene at the Nairi Sea (figure 5). and the other at the lower tunnel. see Quaegebeur 1993.18 These images do tell us. in fact. these unusual objects. It is possible. and that it may have occurred early in the procession and in front of the monument image. In the upper and lower friezes we see two ritual processions. one at the upper cave. that these two scenes represent sequential moments in the same ritual. even later. and in the process. While these scenes are graphic in their representation of the ritual killing. near the monument—presumably in front of it—stands an array of cultic furniture: military standards with tasseled disks. and a libation stand with vessel. when encountered in the larger narrative reading of the band as a whole. If so.19 Placed at regular intervals to create a visual rhythm. 19 18 . That proximity to the royal monument may have. slow the viewer’s gaze. recreate a sense of ritual distance and awe for the royal monument itself. where the arrangement of the ritual paraphernalia delineates a ritual precinct. moment in the activity. an important event in the ritual procession was animal sacrifice. In contrast. in the Balawat Band I scene of Shalmaneser III’s visit to the Nairi Sea (figure 5). To carry this thought even further. here specified as the slaughter of cows and rams. a flaming incense burner. we know little about the beliefs behind such activity in ancient Assyria. Here. when the sacrifice has already taken place and the remains are being thrown into the water. Further emphasizing the close relationship between the monument and the ritual procession is the placement of the monument on elevated ground. when the sacrifice itself is taking place. in the lower scene we see the procession at an early stage when the entire entourage—with the sacrificial animals in tow—moves toward the royal monument. that animal sacrifice was just one step in a ritual series.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 143 including details on ritual paraphernalia and the participants.

and other members of the Assyrian military and administration. members of the priesthood. during these reigns in particular. In the process of ritually acknowledging his own image-as-border. the Balawat scenes are also important for what they reveal about the identities of the ritual functionaries. Whether these types of locations were considered to be more sacred . the king foregrounds the role of his own divinely-sanctioned deeds and accomplishments. the climax of the events is fully developed in the Nairi scene only (figure 5). One of the most frequently mentioned types of locations is said to have been a “river source. including several carrying bundles. In so choosing to highlight this moment. they appear to have been limited to the ninth-century reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III. and the king himself. it seems.” much like the Tigris source mentioned above. involving several waves of activity. While the abovementioned texts and images are highly evocative of the importance of Assyrian ritual activity. For example. other figures were part of the ritual procession as well. however. especially those associated with mountains and waterways. the scene at the Nairi Sea (figure 5) focuses its perspective. As such. showing the moment when the Assyrian king himself reaches the head of the procession and. as is emphasized by the careful rendering of the mountainous landscape. the ritual procession also consisted of musicians. the king sanctifies Assyria’s new border. In the process. In fact. in the depiction of the monuments at the Tigris source (figure 4). While the Tigris source scene depicts the ritual procession from a distance. ritual appears to have been restricted to particular types of sites. Here we see that in addition to the military personnel. Shalmaneser III characterizes what must have been. performs libations. While from both scenes it appears that Assyrian soldiers were given charge of the animal slaughter. one on horseback. facing his own image. In addition. the soldiers at the front of the procession are followed by other figures. While a full procession is depicted in both Balawat scenes. Assyrian officials. the procession seems to have been a complex affair. a relatively large number of monuments was erected in association with topographical features. which.144 a. at least during the ninth century. translating territorial gains into concrete form. shafer In addition to the details of ritual paraphernalia. the peripheral monument’s defining significance. is very literally carved from the land itself. so that the ritual functionaries take center stage.

In contrast to what we might hope for.” These texts imply that in addition to the monuments having a political message for the local populations.” In creating such an image. archaeological evidence addresses more specific issues of monument placement and function in temple . 41-49). the benefits of Assyria’s conquests. and in the process. Much later than Shalmaneser III. that frequently these locations were mentioned in conquest summaries. those that do elaborate. we find this ninth-century tradition revived during the reign of Sennacherib. instead. One imagines the water “source” to have been particularly symbolic of the king’s ability to rechannel. Supplementing the texts. In Shalmaneser III’s account of his visit to the Tigris source. but also his own perseverance and strength. simply emphasize the monument’s proximity to the abovementioned “weapon of Ashur. There he carved a total of at least eleven rock reliefs along the cliffs of the Gomel River. as being located “where the waters rush forth. created his own version of this same phenomenon (Jacobsen and Lloyd 1935. As such. the king places his image where the river begins. however. the reliefs mark a new kind of water “source” that is the very creation of the king himself. We do know. in urban contexts they also served as an important cultic focus for the visiting Assyrian populations as well. and in no case does a text describe the temple itself. While the ninth-century examples emphasize the importance of ritual activity in remote locations. however. and as such. at the site of Khinnis. Instead. few of the text accounts describe the actual erection of the monument in the temple. whereby waters could be drawn to irrigate the fields. so to speak. As a powerful military leader. other evidence exists for Assyrian monuments in temples. where their exposure to ritual activity must have been more regular. these reliefs did more than simply mark the river. a theme also underlying accounts of booty and foreign tribute. likens himself to the source of Assyria’s abundance. for example. not only does the king evoke the great force and abundance of the waters.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 145 than others—as is suggested by the rituals associated with them—is uncertain. who. he describes the monument site in a vivid manner. they commemorated Sennacherib’s construction of a canal head. More to the point. seem to have defined important cosmic extremities. In a related fashion. they may also have symbolized the king’s far-reaching control of important natural resources and trade.

the monument may have been erected to be viewed and even read regularly by learned scholars. Moreover. at least in some cases. There. Mallowan 1966. Ashurnasirpal II’s monument at the Subnat source (Grayson 1991. is without question the site at the Nahr el-Kelb. oriented so that the king’s gesture pointed directly toward the cult statue. although all of our evidence comes from Assyrian rather than foreign centers. as a precursor to the activities inside. An equally plausible interpretation is that because the king’s image was visible to the temple visitor. and therefore. placed next to a doorway leading into the temple cella. Despite what we learn from the above examples. or other Assyrian officials. to stand in perpetual supplication for the king. discovered in the Ninurta Temple at Nimrud. where the royal stela stood in the temple’s inner cella. Furthermore. 32a). for example. pl. Two factors suggest that the monument may have served as a cult object: its presumed original location in the temple. 200-201). temple personnel. generation after generation. our most securely contextualized monument is from the site of Tell el-Rimah. the monuments occupied a central position in the temple interior and confirms that they were themselves important ritual objects. it is important to remember that ritual activity associated with the monuments was not usually performed in formalized settings. the king’s figure is oriented so that it points toward the cella. Although not erected on Assyria’s periphery. asking that the monument be treated with care. For example. This evidence reveals that. I: 87). another example of a monument that may have functioned in the same manner is the Great Monolith of Ashurnasirpal II. it may have also received offerings itself. evidence suggests that some of the ritual activity was performed by subsequent rulers who revisited the sites. As its inscription suggests. Perhaps in this case the location and orientation of the royal monument reveals notions of spatial movement and approach. the stela may have functioned as a votive offering to the deity. 302-304. .146 a. so that the king’s image would receive ritual attention first. where a total of six Assyrian reliefs were carved in the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea (Weissbach 1922). however. which contain conclusions that directly address future visitors to the site. right next to the cult platform (Oates 1968. The most dramatic example of royal Assyrian revisitation. points toward the cult image itself. shafer settings. much like the Rimah Stela. Addressing an unnamed viewer. 20 See.20 We learn this from the peripheral monument texts themselves. and the discovery of an “altar” at its base (Layard 1853.

Usually. the monument texts—especially with their references to ritual blessings—have an important parallel in the Assyrian capitals.ME’ lipàuà). the blessing asks that the monument be heeded in some way. anointing it with oil (àamna.ME’ liramik). when former kings’ military accomplishments were both acknowledged and relived by future generations. however. In this way. More specifically. While the exact purpose of the rituals is never made explicit. and performing sacrifices (niqâ liqqi). thus directly invoking Assyrian tradition and legacy. would be viewed as perpetually reconstituted. In several cases the viewer is asked to perform rituals on the monument. On the one hand. the visitor to the site—the agent for this renewal of tradition—would be an immediate dynastic successor. they outline the specific activities such as ritual ablution and sacrifice. 5). like the monument images. Ideally. Equally important.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 147 the text usually consists of two main parts: a blessing for those who treat the monument properly. The Making of Imperial Space In the same way that the monument inscriptions reveal intended connections between successive generations of rulers. In this process of continued communication. they also embody an important connection to the Assyrian palace center. in some important ways. and a curse against those who might wish to destroy it. More striking. by reading it and preserving its inscription. the Assyrian empire. the monument texts show the way that rituals effected a re-birth or renewal. the monument would represent and effect communication from one king to another. Of course. the monument text conclusions describe a ritual activity similar in form and function to that represented much earlier on the Balawat Gates (figures 4. as an analogue to the way the Balawat images show the monument’s creation.” whose very . these same types of ritual prescriptions appear in building inscriptions or “foundation documents. More specifically. is its emphasis on the performance of ritual. since the consequences of the proper ritual activity are said to be divine recognition and favor. is what these texts reveal about monument longevity. clearly they are meant to propitiate the deities in some way. which the monument helped delineate. however. There. including washing the monument with water (mê.

because of the great gulf of time and space that separates us from the ancient world. but also in its symbolic reiterative associations with abundance. forget to envision the possible full range of a monument’s meaning. not only in literal terms of its depiction of the king’s figure. as modern viewers. we. In general. prisms and other objects. another important image from Nimrud is the glazed brick panel from Fort Shalmaneser (figure 6) (Reade 1963. Although this scene is highly reminiscent of that on B-23. the peripheral ritual activities—including the making of the monument itself—might be understood as the activities necessary for the ‘building’ of the Assyrian imperial space. Curtis and Reade 1995. Mallowan 1966. shafer classification as such reveals their function as architectural markers. by extension. With the B-23 connections in mind. Here. not only through their communication with future ruler-builders. we see an enlightening reworking of some of the same elements found on orthostat B-23. but also through their very literal spatial function as a record of the building’s form (Ellis 1968. the Assyrians ensured a strong symbolic association between the empire’s center and its borders. While the notion that these monuments were very literally delineating Assyria’s spatial footprint is convincing. Written on tablets. it appears that it was not the physical object itself that held intrinsic value. In the case of the Assyrian monuments on the periphery.148 a. there is a . as discussed above. If we take a moment to examine the monument iconography further. First. Assyrian monuments in general—were viewed and experienced. in the lower central part of the brickpanel image appear two mirror images of the Assyrian king dressed in a long fringed robe and pointing with the familiar raised right hand. cylinders. For example. there is yet another layer of discovery at hand. the peripheral monument image clearly had direct connections with the stylized tree scene on orthostat B-23 (figure 3). the power lay in its making and commemoration. 373). 94-96). but rather. these inscriptions were systematically buried in structural foundations as a means to ensure a building’s perpetuity. we are able to shift our focus from a description of the monuments in a physical sense to a deeper understanding of how they were originally experienced. By extension. In the process of translating this text idiom from the center to the periphery. II: fig. Further iconographical comparisons with several other Assyrian images provide a window onto how the peripheral monuments—and perhaps. especially as it relates to its contextual presence.

but as the very manifestation of the tree’s eternal abundance. seem to have connoted reproductive potential and perhaps instinct. placed directly above the royal figures. Still making reference to its original location. Perhaps more than the internal cross-references within the upper and lower scenes themselves. Meanwhile. and palmettes and caprids. and as such. of royal prowess. human.21 In this process of iconographical transposition. or supernatural figures. 21 The stylized tree was usually flanked by either animal. the tree has grown in size and appears in the area directly above. the tree attains a new prominence in the overall composition and assumes a new form. the tree also incorporates the Assyrian king within its branches. in a more fully abstracted form. now not as its guardian. among other elements. represent the tree yet one additional step removed. The bull in particular. which. pomegranates and buds. instead. emblems of the faunal wealth of the land. . the king’s reduplicated and now object-less image remains below as an echo of its former composition. occupy a parallel visual and metaphorical position. and by extension. The brick-panel scene thus constitutes a variation on the elements that comprise the orthostat B-23 scene. incorporates the two bulls. The animals. was associated directly with the king (Parpola 1993).22 Not only framing the central scenes but enveloping them. Here. As such. More specifically. these abstracted bands contain elements that would never be seen on one single stylized tree alone. instead. there is no longer a stylized tree between the royal figures. so that its branches now envelope two symmetrical addorsed rampant bulls.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 149 significant difference. the framing elements are what enrich the overall message of this visual map. by definition. around the central tree scenes appear a series of five tree-shaped bands. they seem to represent an array of types. showing more explicitly that the tree and king represent nearly interchangeable parts. and I would argue that the tree’s longevity serves as a metaphor for the king’s desire to engage dynastic continuity and thus legitimacy. These metaphorical associations are mapped not simply through one reconfiguration. which contain. what was in B-23 the object of the king’s gesture—the tree—now in the brick panel transcends the royal scene as its framing member. in the process of its transposition. however. the abstracted tree-bands convey the notion that just like the rampant bulls. indicating that the Assyrian king—now the object of his own gesture—is himself a manifestation of Assyria’s divinely-bestowed abundance. 22 Moreover. Such a combination of tree elements seems to be the result of the tree’s long history (Parpola 1993). the tree.

spatial level as well. Therefore. In particular. It is perhaps easy to overlook the implications of the fact that the image on B-23 was located in Ashurnasirpal II’s throneroom directly behind the Assyrian king’s throne (Meuszynski 1981. In her reconstruction and analysis of the throneroom reliefs. the outer edges of the tree behind would have appeared to both emanate from and envelope the king. when the king assumed his position to receive visitors. but also that another version of the scene—located directly opposite the throneroom entrance—oriented and guided the palace visitors physically and psychologically toward . There. she demonstrated how the tree scene stood not only as the focal point of the room and culmination of the surrounding narratives. Not only is it a mechanism for image reconfiguration. with the king in this position. Now our reading of the peripheral monument image (figures 1. Irene Winter (1983) has discovered how the imagery of orthostat B-23 served the crucial role of orienting the visitor’s approach and movement through the throneroom. 2) also becomes more complex. It is the raised frame that assumes perhaps the most important visual role in the entire image. Winter was able to suggest that the throneroom stood as a microcosmic representation of the real territorial state of Assyria. but because it is the mechanism by which the image is recast.150 a. revealing the metaphorical parallels between king and tree. but it also serves—as a reference to the tree—to emphasize the king as a manifestation of Assyria’s divine abundance. we begin to understand the importance of the peripheral monument’s raised frame. especially its outermost plain band. functioning as a symbolically eloquent canopy or frame for his royal person. plan 3). With this moment of visual sophistication in mind. shafer but through two. not just because it contains the image. especially as we look to the Fort Shalmaneser brick panel. When we return to orthostat B-23. we now notice a metaphorical connection between the figure of the king and the figure of the sacred tree. taking elements from several different monument types and recombining them. until what was once the object of the king’s gesture becomes the divine canopy that frames and protects his rule. it is helpful to remember that palace iconography functioned on yet another. the peripheral monument frame acts much like the brick-panel’s abstracted outer tree-bands. Moreover. pl. 1. and thus the king’s contribution to the tree’s abundance. his person visually merged with the tree behind. Moreover.

Then. for this was the moment the king appeared simultaneously as the creator and the created. therefore.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 151 the king. once again. As for the relationship between these images and the real-time experience of the space. What Winter has convincingly argued. With this visual organization in place. it certainly was spectacular to witness the king in direct relationship with his own image. as the ultimate created object himself. There. it was the king’s gesture before his own image that must have been the most spectacular moment of all. we unfortunately have no evidence. He acknowledges much more than simply an abstracted version of the sacred tree. reflexive-action stance. he honors the very moment when the tree and the king are both transformed and materialized. but is himself fully realized and acknowledged as both leader and creator. thus acknowledging simultaneously the other and themselves. we can imagine that a similar transformation must have taken place. Here. suggested by the Fort Shalmaneser brick panel (figure 6). the king asserted himself as both the creator of his own images. the king became the object of creation as the two royal figures behind must have seemed to gesture toward him. it must have been the real-life occupancy of the space that made the monuments and their message come alive. This dual role is. it must have been the moment of the king’s presence that forged the ultimate symbolic connection between the microcosm of the palace and the macrocosm of the Assyrian territorial state. as the tree becomes abstracted and widens to become the image frame. As Band I reveals (figure 5). the two identical royal figures remain. thus delineating and anchoring the four corners of this microcosmic realm. however. now standing in a mirror-image. at the slow culmination of an elaborate procession. In other words. Most important. other reduplicated stylized trees were carved in the corners of throneroom. rather. the king stands in a reflexive moment before his own image. Returning to B-23 (figure 3). but only when the king himself was present. the images on the Balawat gates reinforce this assertion that originally. seated on his throne in front of the tree. it was the ritual presence of the king that gave the peripheral monument power. In taking his seat upon the throne. Indeed. Likewise. is that the images were arranged in a deliberate way to direct movement and to affect the viewer’s experience. this is the moment when the king is no longer oriented toward something outside of himself. . In addition. and also.

King of Assyria. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1986. 3 vols. Geography as an Organizing Principle in the Imperial Art of Shalmaneser III. Max. this moment of royal ritual was the moment when the Assyrian peripheral monument carried its fullest meaning. First Impressions: Cylinder Seals in the Ancient Near East. 1986. Pauline. B. Assyrische Königsdarstellungen—Aspekte der Herrschaft. 1966.152 a. Dominique. Mallowan. Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC II (858-745 BC). RIMA 3. Loud. London: Collins. Gordon. Meuszynski. L. Marcus. Curtis. Exhibition catalogue. It was the moment when the king’s central role in Assyria’s growth and abundance very literally transformed a landscape into the realm called Assyria. 1938. Jacobsen. Altvorderasiatische Bildstelen und vergleichbare Felsreliefs. Ellis. Paris: Editions Recherche sur les civilisations. Richard. 1987. 1915. E. Discoveries among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. New Haven: Yale University Press. and Seton Lloyd. 1853. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. when the idea and its materialization. RIMA 2. 1996. The Palace of Sargon. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Kirk. Collon. King. Magen. therefore. 1995. Iraq 49: 77-90. Nimrud and its Remains. King of Assyria. It was the moment. when the king and the land. London: British Museum. Grayson. Grayson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1987. Layard. Kirk. and Julian Reade. 1982. Foundation Deposits in Ancient Mesopotamia. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag P. 1991. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. L. W. 1935. Austin Henry. von Zabern. von Zabern. Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC I (1114-859). References Albenda. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag P. Michelle. Thorkild. 1968. Börker-Klähn. . shafer In this sense more than any other. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag P. The Bronze Reliefs from the Gates of Shalmaneser. Sennacherib’s Aqueduct at Jerwan. 1981. Khorsabad II. Janus. Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum. Ursula. Jutta. 860-825. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Die Rekonstruktion der Reliefdarstellungen und ihrer Anordnung im Nordwestpalast von Kalhu (Nimrud). John. von Zabern. became one.C. New York: Barnes.

Parpola. 1996. Nimrud: An Assyrian Imperial City Revealed. and M. Behrens. Iraq 30: 115-138. In Sexuality in Ancient Art. Art in Empire: The Royal Image and the Visual Dimensions of Assyrian Ideology. Ph. ed. ed. Sennacherib’s Palace Without Rival at Nineveh. 1975. F. 1967. Ozgün A. ———. 2001. Ritual and Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East . Harper and H. 1922. Mikasa. P. 1995. In Cult and Ritual in the Ancient Near East.. Iraq 25: 38-47. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ed. David. Harvard University. J. Wiesbaden: O. H. 1998. ———. Ann. 1968. I. In Essays on Near Eastern Art and Archaeology in Honor of Charles Kyrle Wilkinson. Philadelphia: University Museum. Helsinki. 1991. Whiting. C. Die Denkmäler und Inschriften an der Mündung des Nahr-el-Kelb. 1989. Barbara. Date Palms.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 153 Oates. H. M. N. In DUMU-E2-DUB-BA-A: Studies in Honor of Ake W. . The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy. 91-104. The Body of the Able Ruler: Toward an Understanding of the Statues of Gudea. D. Porter. 1992. 1993. Anatolian Studies 25: 169-180. and the Public Monument: the Alluring Body of NaramSîn of Agade. Tasyürek. Sex. Joan and David Oates. and the Royal Persona of Ashurnasirpal II. Russell. Parpola and R. 1997.. Rhetoric. Sjöberg. September 7–11. H. ed. Weissbach. John. 359-381. Harrassowitz. S. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1963. Berlin and Leipzig: Vereinigung wissenschaftlicher Verleger. In Assyria 1995. Loding. diss. Winter. Oates. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project Helsinki. ———. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Excavations at Tell al-Rimah. ed. A Glazed-Brick Panel from Nimrud. Reade. H. Roth. Irene. Simo. ed. Shafer. 1993. The Carving of an Empire: Neo-Assyrian Monuments on the Periphery. A Problem in the Libation Scene of Ashurbanipal. 1983. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. JNES 52: 129-139. Watanabe.D. The Program of the Throneroom of Assurnasirpal II. Leuven: Peeters. Kampin. Pittman. Some New Assyrian Rock-Reliefs in Turkey. Sacred Trees. B. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq. Julian. JNES 52: 161-208. 1993. Quaegebeur.

154 a. © Copyright The Trustees of the British Museum) . Kurkh stela of Shalmaneser III (British Museum. shafer Figure 1.

1922.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 155 Figure 2. Rock relief of Esarhaddon at Nahr el-Kelb. Lebanon (after Weissbach. XI) . pl.

shafer Figure 3. Nimrud (British Museum. © Copyright The Trustees of the British Museum) . Slab B-23. Northwest Palace.156 a.

Band X .assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 157 Figure 4. Line drawing of Balawat Gates.

shafer Figure 5.158 a. Line drawing of Balawat Gates. Band I .

Reconstruction drawing of glazed brick panel above the south doorway of Fort Shalmaneser Room T3 (after Oates and Oates 2001. 112.assyrian royal monuments on the periphery 159 Figure 6. 183: fig. courtesy of Julian Reade) .


a. shafer

the godlike semblance of a king


Tallay Ornan1 The deification of rulers in first-millennium Assyria is far less traceable and clear than the short-lived royal deification during the late third and early second millennium in Mesopotamia (Sallaberger 1999, 152-154; J. G. Westenholz and A. Westenholz 2006): neither were the names of the Neo-Assyrian kings prefixed with the dingir determinative nor were temples built for them as was the case with their predecessors. Nevertheless, indications of a process of the elevation of Neo-Assyrian kings and hints at the increased status of the Assyrian kings by lending them divine-like properties are encountered in monumental Neo-Assyrian art. As phrased by Irene Winter (1997, 376),
while in the Neo-Assyrian period the king does not claim to be a god, he is not averse to claims of having been divinely shaped, . . . to being seen as the very likeness of a god.

Focusing on the divine-like properties of the king as manifested in art in a Festschrift in honor of Irene Winter is, of course, not a coincidence. This issue was examined by Winter in some of her various contributions by which I was profoundly inspired. Among these are her seminal papers on Ur III glyptics (1986, 1987), on the Gudea statues (1992), and on the Neo-Assyrian royal image (1997) that initially motivated me to investigate the intricate subject of king and god in Mesopotamian art. Although I never had the opportunity to be Irene’s formal student, I consider myself as one, and this contribution is a small token presented to her with love and deep gratitude. Indeed, we can detect several artistic devices that convey a tendency to promote the monarch in Neo-Assyrian imagery. Among these pictorial means is, for example, the gradual removal of protective divinities from the proximity of the king on Assyrian wall reliefs, leaving him as the sole elevated figure within the composition and
I am most grateful to Claudia Suter, Joan Westenholz and Irit Ziffer for reading an earlier draft of this paper and for their comments and insightful remarks.


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granting him roles previously carried out by these secondary divinities (Ornan 2005a). Another manner in which the king was elevated and was represented as if he were a god was by showing him enthroned while facing to the left—a stance usually reserved for the representation of major Mesopotamian deities—as is shown, for example, in some depictions of Sennacherib (Barnett et al. 1998, pls. 343, 412). Among these visual means of elevation we may also include the contrast in scale between the ruler and the divine presence—carved in very small emblematic form—on royal steles, where the huge gap in dimensions no doubt emphasized the status of the king to the onlooker (Ornan 2005b, 135-136). My aim here is to shed light on yet another pictorial device for the upgrading of the royal image in official Assyrian art, namely the depiction of the ruler alongside and close to a major god in anthropomorphic shape. I maintain that this manner of representation makes use of the physical likeness between the earthly king and the heavenly one in order to elevate the former. The physical semblance emerging between king and god increased the royal image by conveying, perhaps somewhat indirectly, that the king was like a god. As will be shown, the visual similarity of god and king can be matched with some textual occurrences where, indeed, physical similarity or likeness of king and god are used in descriptions aimed at the elevation of the king. The monuments to be examined here are Assyrian rock reliefs dated to the reign of Sennacherib, located in northern Assyria and associated with the irrigation systems built by this king, which carried water to Nineveh and probably also fed its agricultural hinterland. Of the two compositions rendered on these monuments—the king gesturing before divine symbols or venerating human-shaped deities—I will focus on the latter.2 Of the four hydraulic engineering systems attributed to Sennacherib, sculpted rock reliefs were found only in association with the later two archaeologically documented systems. These rock reliefs accompanied the so-called Northern System, which carried water from northwest of Nineveh, probably using the water of the Rubar Dohuk and the Bandwai rivers, and the Khinis System situated to the north

2 A thorough discussion of Sennacherib’s steles and rock reliefs depicting the king worshipping divine symbols is given by Ann Shafer who, however, does not deal with the reliefs treated here (Shafer 1998, 9, 44 n. 105, 88-89, 97-98, 284-289).

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east of Nineveh (Boehmer 1997; Bagg 2000, 207-215; Kreppner 2002, 371; Ur 2005, 325-339; Wilkinson et al. 2005, 28-30). Associated with the Northern System are three groups of rock reliefs. The most northern and the better preserved one consists of four reliefs sculpted on cliffs on the bank of the river Rubar Dohuk opposite Maltai (Bachmann 1927, 23–27, pls. 25–32; Boehmer 1975; Börker-Klähn 1982, 210–211, nos. 207–210; Bagg 2000, 211; Ur 2005, 327-328). Three worn reliefs are located at Faida, situated some fifty kilometers north of Mosul, on the main road to Zacho at the northeastern side of Jebel el-Qosh, southeast of Girrepan (Reade 1978, 159-162; Börker-Klähn 1982, 208, nos. 200-201; Boehmer 1997; Bagg 2000, 210-211; Ur 2005, 328-330). A curved rock relief was also found at ’iru Maliktha, situated some ten kilometers east of Faida. The theme depicted on the latter monument does not adhere, however, to the veneration of human-shaped deities discussed here as it presents the more common Neo-Assyrian theme of a royal worship before divine symbols (Reade 1978, 164-165; 2002, 309; Börker-Klähn 1982, 208-209, no. 202; Boehmer 1997; Shafer 1998, 327-329; Bagg 2000, 211; Ur 2005, 330-331). While the reliefs of the Northern System are attributed to the reign of Sennacherib only on stylistic grounds, the attribution of the Khinis System’s single group of reliefs to Sennacherib is confirmed by the so-called Bavian Inscription, which summarizes the accomplishments of the four hydraulic systems of Sennacherib and, in particular, tells about the construction of the Khinis System and the sculpted monuments that adorned it (Jacobsen and Lloyd 1935, 36-39; Frahm 1997, 151-154).3 The report about the hydraulic activities of Sennacherib is followed in the Bavian Inscription by its main theme, which describes in an unusual literary form the flooding of Babylon and its devastation in 689 by Sennacherib (Hallo 2003, 305 and see below). The Bavian Inscription is related to fourteen rock reliefs carved on a western cliff within a gorge at Bavian; the three that illustrate Sennacherib

3 The detailed report of the Bavian Inscription accords well with other inscriptions of Sennacherib, who expanded the literary scope of the Assyrian military exploits to include building and technological achievements in a way never previously recorded in Assyrian royal propaganda (Tadmor 1999, 61). The importance of the building activities carried out during the reign of Sennacherib is also made clear by the construction works depicted on wall reliefs in the Southwest Palace at Nineveh (Russell 1991, 94– 116).


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with anthropomorphic deities are dealt with here.4 These well preserved reliefs are found on the bank of the Gomel River, some sixty kilometers northeast of Mosul, opposite the village of Khinis located on the western bank of the river (Börker-Klähn 1982, 206–208, nos. 186–188; Ur 2005, figs. 15, 16). The interest in these particular monuments of Sennacherib lies in their thematic deviation from other Assyrian rock reliefs and steles. In contrast to the common pictorial theme depicting Assyrian rulers worshipping divine symbols on Assyrian monuments, including those of Sennacherib himself, the above-mentioned rock reliefs show the king gesturing in front of human-shaped deities (Börker-Klähn 1982, 207; Ornan 2005b, 79-86). The question then is why Sennacherib discarded the royal veneration of divine symbols more common in Neo Assyrian art in favor of the adoration of anthropomorphic deities for these monuments. The iconographic modification reflected on these rock reliefs deserves a special examination since, as noted above, the representation of (small) divine emblems with the king on Neo-Assyrian monuments is one of the pictorial means used for the exaltation of the royal image, and it seems inconceivable that Sennacherib would have abandoned this kind of propagandistic message. Winter (1982, 367) offers some explanation for the unique presentations depicted on these works of art, in which she deals with the impact of the western territories conquered by Assyria on some pictorial and architectural Assyrian constructs. She suggests that the theme in question, in particular the display of deities on animals and fantastic quadrupeds, was one of the motifs the Assyrians borrowed from Syrian iconography. Indeed, it is not only the representation of deities on animals, but also their very representation in anthropomorphic shape that can be considered as an inspiration of Syrian imagery, since this was the common manner prevalent in Syria during the late second and early first millennium. The representation of deities on animals reflects artistic traditions already encountered in Syria at least as early as the Late Bronze Age and in particular in thirteenth century Hatti (Winter 1982, 367; Ornan 2005b, 75-79; Collins 2005, 15-22,
4 A similar theme was also probably depicted on the so-called Great Rider relief (Bachmann 1927, 16-21, pl. 20; Börker-Klähn 1982, 206, no. 186) where two large figures of an Assyrian king facing each other can be traced. Above these figures is a small row of deities mounted on beasts. The positioning of the two probable royal figures recalls the compositions rendered on the other nearby rock reliefs discussed below.

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38-42). Western influence is not the only possible explanation for these representations. The tradition of rendering deities in human form was well rooted, of course, in Mesopotamia from the Old Akkadian period until the mid-second millennium, and thus the appearance of anthropomorphic deities on monuments dating to the reign of Sennacherib can be viewed as a reintroduction, in a sense a revival of old themes generated by the encounter of Assyrian artists with western models. However, the anthropomorphic form selected for the depiction of the divine on the discussed monuments of Sennacherib should be regarded as a unique artistic expression when compared to other monumental Assyrian works of art of the first millennium. A reexamination of these rock reliefs of Sennacherib reveals that, in spite of the fact that they diverge from other monumental displays then current, they nevertheless fit the official Assyrian propaganda that exalted the king. Moreover, it can be argued that the incentive for the adoption of the anthropomorphic rendering of deities was to bring together divine and royal images in order to increase the status of the king by demonstrating his physical proximity to the gods and, more importantly, his likeness to the divine. The depiction of a deity and a ruler side by side was probably intended to evoke the idea that god and king not only looked the same but also shared similar characteristics. The intention to elevate the king by visually comparing him to a god is demonstrated by the nuances shown in the four compositional layouts selected for the monuments in question. In the first type the king is shown twice, on either side of a row of deities. This type was selected for the two relief groups of the Northern System: the reliefs at Faida and Maltai. Of the three ill-preserved reliefs found at Faida, two depict a procession of six human-shaped deities (Reade 1978, 161-162; Boehmer 1997, 248). Four almost identical and much better preserved rock reliefs were found at Maltai (figure 1; Boehmer 1975; Börker-Klähn 1982, 210-211, nos. 207-210). They present the small figure of Sennacherib as a worshipper facing right towards a line of five large figures of gods and two goddesses mounted on animals and fantastic beasts. An identical figure of the king, facing left, is depicted at the end of the row of deities creating a composition of divine figures flanked by two identical, antithetically-placed royal figures; I refer to this format as an “antithetical layout.” The message is rather clear here and conveys that the king is the only human who is shown in the presence of the great gods of Assyria.


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Although he does not stand on a beast as the crowd of deities, his similarity to the gods is implied by the fact that he too carries an attribute in his right hand. This lofty rank of the king is further enhanced through two rather subtle, yet sophisticated, pictorial devices. One is the distinction between the seven deities and the single worshipper, which emphasizes the latter. The second is by applying an element of surprise that makes the royal figure even more noticeable. At first glance the spectator may perceive the figure of the king shown on the right as one of the deities since he turns to the same direction as they do, and only then, it seems, does the onlooker realize that the last figure of the divine row in fact depicts the king again. The emphasis on the king is accentuated even more on the Maltai rock reliefs in his reappearance, although in miniature dimensions, in more than one recurrence of the theme. The worshipping ruler is seen within the ring held by the three first deities: Aààur, Ninlil and Sin. This unique display of the king is also repeated on the Khinis Great Relief (Boehmer 1975, 47-49, 51; Bachmann 1927, pls. 9-12).5 The manner in which the king is shown in these instances—as a small figure “decorating” an object held by a deity—is rather unique, since customarily the situation is reversed. In Assyrian imagery it is usually the king who is adorned with the emblems of the divine presence—diminutive godly symbols worn as protective jewels by the king (Winter 1997, 372; Ornan 2005b, 142-143). By this rendering the physical nexus of the king to the gods is strongly demonstrated. Furthermore, it may be conjectured that by integrating the royal figure within a divine attribute he could have been perceived as if he were a secondary supernatural protective divinity. This suggestion seems plausible since on the support of Ninlil’s throne at Maltai, the royal figures reappear alongside benevolent demons (Bachmann 1927, pl. 29, relief II; Boehmer 1975, 49). Whereas all the rock reliefs of the Northern System display a similar layout, the reliefs of the Khinis System represent three different compositions. An abbreviated version recalling the antithetical layout of the reliefs of the Northern System is rendered on the so called Great Relief (figure 2; Bachmann 1927, 7-10, pls. 8-9; Jacobsen and Lloyd 1935,

5 According to Boehmer (1975, 47) a royal image was also depicted within the ring held by the god on the heavily reconstructed mural from room 12 of Residence K at Khorsabad (Loud and Altman 1938, 84-85, pls. 31, 88, 89).

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pl. 33; Börker-Klähn 1982, 206-207, no. 187). Here only the figures of Aààur and Ninlil mounted on beasts and facing each other are shown and, similar to the longer version of Maltai, two identical figures of Sennacherib flank the scene. Although the compositional correspondence to the reliefs of the Northern System is apparent, the reduced number of major deities here implies the added importance of the king since his figure is one of only a select few to be represented and, furthermore, displayed in the company of Aààur and Ninlil, the supreme divine pair. Another type of the antithetical layout typified, in this case, by an inverted positioning of the royal and divine figures within the composition, is represented on the side relief of the solid natural block found partly sunk in the Gomel River, which formed part of the “Gate” monument at the canal head of the Khinis System (figure 3; Bachmann 1927, 14-16, pl. 15; Jacobsen and Lloyd 1935, pl. 34A; Börker-Klähn 1982, 207, no. 188). Here it is the worshipping royal figure that occupies the central place whereas the two deities, Aààur (on a muàhuààu and a lion griffin) and Ninlil (on a lion) are shown flanking the king on either side. Similar to the above noted compositions, the “Gate” side relief also lacks total symmetry since the three participants are shown in profile and a slight emphasis towards the figure of Aààur is insinuated by the king looking in that god’s direction. This pictorial encounter of Sennachrib with Aààur and Ninlil is shown here in the upper register of two scenes. The lower register shows a huge herolike frontal figure holding a sickle sword in his right hand and a small lion in his left. At his two sides are two large aladlammus depicted in profile and looking outward. The entire scene and in particular the hero grabbing the lion brings a palatial entrance to mind such as façade “n” of the palace of Sargon at Khorsabad (Albenda 1986, pls. 16-17). However, it seems that the combination of the two registers here was not aimed at alluding to Sargon’s palace but rather, again, at elevating the king. The scheme of (two) registers one above the other is a known ancient Near Eastern pictorial means for describing three dimensional architectural elements in a two-dimensional articulation: the lower register presents the outer part of the building, at times, the entrance, while the upper register stands for its inner and most important architectural component (compare to the Mari wall painting, Barrelet 1950, 19-20). The godly presence in the upper register of the side relief of the Khinis System Gate hints, then, at a shrine


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in which the focus of attention is the king who occupies the central place. This central positioning of the king almost directly above the hero grabbing the lion on the lower register creates as yet another visual simile, which grants the king a heroic supernatural quality. A complete symmetrical layout of the theme of Sennacherib and the gods is achieved on the front relief of the above-mentioned “Gate” block of the Khinis System canal head. The lower right side of this carved panel of the block “Gate” is sunk into the river. The head and front legs of a frontal-looking aladlammu, whose body is engraved on the lower right part of the “Gate” side relief, is shown on this front panel. This protective hybrid is matched with another aladlammu sculpted on the right side whose body is presumably found on a third relief, now hardly traceable, carved on a third panel of the “Gate” block (figure 4; Bachmann 1927, 16, pl. 17; Jacobsen and Lloyd 1935, pl. 34B; Börker-Klähn 1982, 207, no.188 right). Similar to the compositions of the Northern System and the Khinis Great Relief, the double figure of the king is also depicted on both sides of this front panel of the “Gate” block. It is worth mentioning that this type of the antithetical layout is echoed in seventh century Neo-Assyrian royal correspondence where one finds several references to the positioning of two royal figures on either side of the images of major deities such as Bel in the cella at the city of Aààur, Iàtar at Arabela, Sin at Harran or Taàmetu at Borsippa (Cole and Machinist 1998, xiv). The siting of the royal figure on either side of a god or group of gods reflected through texts and pictures further accentuates the promotion of the king since it reiterates a known Mesopotamian construct of placing a pair of minor divinities on either side of a major deity; thus, the possibility that the king could have been perceived as a minor divinity is more than plausible (for example, the Well Relief from the city of Aààur; Orthmann 1975, pl. 194). The layout of this relief of the “Gate’s” front panel, however, diverges from all the other compositions of Sennacherib’s rock reliefs of both the Northern and the Khinis Systems, as here only one deity, most probably Aààur, is flanked by two kings, and the three figures are represented frontally, and thus a total symmetry is achieved. This symmetrical display not only acts as a pictorial device bringing the divine and royal figures closer to the spectator but also creates a sense of balance, which enhances the message that god and king are as if alike. Moreover, the similarity apparent between king and god

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is even increased here by the same type and height of the pedestal selected for the divine and royal figures. While on the previous reliefs the worshipping king appropriately stands on the ground and the deities are mounted on beasts, on the front relief of the canal head “Gate” the divine and earthly participants stand on similar rectangular shaped pedestals recalling the age-old Mesopotamian sockels on which godly images were positioned (CAD s.v. n medu; CAD s.v. àubtu; Seidl 1989, 110-115), and thus the divine-like nature of the king is again suggested. The more varied compositional repertoire representing Sennacherib and anthropomorphic deities apparent on the Khinis reliefs fits the chronological sequence offered for the Northern and the Khinis Systems. It may be postulated that the unified theme introduced during the construction of the Northern System, dated between 694-691, was further developed during the later building of the Khinis System around 688 (Bagg 2000, 208, 210) into three different pictorial layouts of Sennacherib and his gods, in which the message that the king and the god resemble one another was more forcefully suggested. The iconographic manipulation of depictions of Sennacherib and the god, in physical proximity or with similar gestures that stressed their likeness, has some forerunners. Although divine human-shaped deities are usually missing from Assyrian palatial sculpted decoration, when occasionally they do appear, a conscious parallelism can be traced between divine and royal representations. This is manifested on the south wall of throne-room B in the Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, where the figures of Aààur and the king are rendered with a great deal of resemblance except for scale—the king is much larger than the god. For example, on upper slabs 3 and 11 the two are shown in the same position of shooting an arrow (Westenholz 2000, 116; Layard 1849, pl. 13). This kind of resemblance is also manifested on upper slab 5 and lower slab 7 of the same room, though with minor differences. While both figures hold the bow in the triumphal gesture in their left hand and extend their right arms, on slab 5 the king holds arrows while the god salutes with an open palm. Similarly on slab 7, where the king faces an official, the god wields a ring in his right arm while the king carries a bow (Layard 1849, pl. 21). The parallelism between god and king explicitly equates these two figures but at the same time implicitly raises the king, as after all, he is the larger of the two prominent figures in the scene.

The red golden face of the king highlights the resemblance between god and king since a “red face” (zÊm¿àu ruààûti) was considered an exclusively divine trait (CAD s. Woods 2004. lines 13-14). which implies shared physical and possibly other properties between god and king. In this inscription Sennacherib tells of the pictorial heroic theme that he had commissioned for the bronze bands decorating the doors of the akÊtu house at the city of Aààur. lines 76-78 and compare 295. the text. Although we do not know whether the description in K 1356 was indeed represented in an actual pictorial narrative showing Aààur fighting Tiamat. 6 . 105. on the reliefs of Ashurnasirpal. 56) points out. was represented earlier. zÊmu. insinuated in Ashurnasirpal’s report about the installation of the royal image in the Ninurta temple at Nimrud in front of the image of Ninurta: “I created my royal monument with a likeness of my countenance of red gold (and) sparkling stones (and) stationed (it) before the god Ninurta my lord” (Grayson 1991. 292. 291. 33 with bibliography. by a textual reference found in the royal inscription K 1356. 168 n. 110-111 with n. transmits the notion of the equation between god and king and thereby matches the compositional layouts rendered For the physical likeness of the king and the gods in Middle and Neo-Assyrian records see Parpola 1993. 86-86. 207-209).170 t. for example. that were put side by side: “The image of Aààur who goes into the midst of Tiamat for battle. meaning semblance.6 The unique and conscious choice of Sennacherib to represent himself alongside human-shaped deities in order to demonstrate his tamàÊlu—his divine likeness. manifest on some of the rock reliefs of Sennacherib. for a different interpretation see Pongratz-Leisten 1994. The passage in question reads: ßalam Aààur (AN. and the appearance of this term belongs among the characteristics of imperialistic propaganda. The comparison between the physical likeness of god and king is. one of Aààur and one of Sennacherib. Ashurnasirpal was also the first king since Naram-Sin of Akkad to reuse the term tamàÊlu. As Westenholz (2000. can be corroborated. lines 18.’ÁR) àa ana libbi (’À) Ti§mat ßalti illiku (DU-ku) ßalam Sîn-aÉÉ¿-eriba (IdXXX-PAP. nevertheless.ME’SU) àar (MAN) m§t (KUR) Aà+àur (line 26). for example. the image of Sennacherib. Hurowitz 2003. According to Frahm (1997. 224) the passage describes two separate images. king of Assyria” (English translation by Uehlinger 2003. ornan It does not seem to be a coincidence that the resemblance between king and god. 44). though in a different manner.v.

However. see Shafer 1998.7 The purpose of the complex water systems created by Sennacherib was not only to improve Nineveh’s water supply. fig. Shafer 1998. It seems that this type of subject matter. 2005. its main occurrences are on the monuments accompanying the irrigation systems of Sennacherib (Börker-Klähn 1982. 210. 207. 131). 81-83. 14-17. 291). where the poetic language turns the earthly clash between Assyria and the Babylonian-Elamite alliance into a divine combat between a supernatural hero and monstrous rivals (Weissert 1997. 342. figs. 30-32) is indicated by the fact that the Khinis monuments showing it are much larger than the accompanying small rock reliefs depicting the adoration of divine symbols (BörkerKlähn 1982. like other Assyrian monarchs. forthcoming). The fact that the veneration of anthropomorphic deities was typical of the pictorial programs accompanying the remote hydraulic systems north of Nineveh suggests that it was not widely adopted into Neo-Assyrian imagery during the reign of Sennacherib and that Sennacherib too. especially under Shalmaneser III. Andrae 1977. 205. 230.the godlike semblance of a king 171 on the rock reliefs of Sennacherib’s water systems (Uehlinger 2003. nos. That this kind of metaphorical royal propaganda was adopted during Sennacherib’s reign is reinforced by the account of the battle of Halule in 691. no. 232. such as a stele and a model plaque from the city of Aààur or on the so-called Seal of Destinies of the god Aààur. 7 . 197). retained the more common subject matter of venerating divine symbols. Wiseman 1958. 189-199. George 1986. Wilkinson et al. 209. as is recorded in the On the Assyrian control over natural water sources and its pictorial and textual use in royal propaganda. 98-102. 91-98. Ornan 2005b. The consistency of the move away from the display of major human-shaped deities on Sennacherib’s monuments is proven by the absence of such images from the carved decoration at the Southwest Palace at Nineveh (Ornan. that this theme played a significant ideological role within the context of Sennacherib’s hydraulic systems (compare to Ur 2005. 284-289). Although the theme of the veneration of anthropomorphic deities also appears on some smaller works of art from the reign of Sennacherib. was deliberately chosen for the representational program of the hydraulic constructions. in which the elevation of the king reached its climax by the explicit demonstration of his similarity to the divine.

Das wiedererstandene Assur. Felsreliefs in Assyrien. Die neuassyrischen Felsreliefs von Maltai (Nord-Irak). Bachmann. und der I. 1977. Brill. R. Hälfte des 2. Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations.. Beck. indeed. Barnett. 1986. Leipzig: J. Boehmer. Hrouda. 1950. and E. Wilkinson et al. 2000. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern. ed. Barrelet. far reaching consequences for the huge population living in Assyria in the late eighth and early seventh century. Munich: C. 1927. 1998. Bawian. 9-35.J. This grand scale of the manipulations of watery sources causing life or death for hundreds of thousands of people echoed mythic events and intensified the divine aspiration of Sennacherib. Leiden: E. revised and expanded by B. 1975. Assyrische Wasserbauten. the representation of a godlike Sennacherib fits very well the main theme of the Bavian Inscription. 343. H. A. In Studia Mariana. M. P. Bagg. These engineering accomplishments of Sennacherib had. reports the flooding of Babylon and its devastation. Hinrichs. Bleibtreu. Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 90: 42-84.-Th. Landwirtschaftlische Wasserbauten im Kernland Assyriens zwischen der 2. most probably. 26-27). as these intensive construction works improved the conditions of the population of Nineveh by ensuring its livelihood (Ur 2005. Maltai und Gundük. Hälftedes I.. Une peinture de la cour 106 du Palais de Mari. Moreover. D. A. W. Parrot. W. whose terrible outcome haunted Mesopotamian history for generations to come. but also to enhance the irrigation infrastructure of the agricultural hinterland beyond Nineveh (Ur 2005). Jahrtausends v. References Albenda. G. Chr. he were a god. The Palace of Sargon King of Assyria. I would suggest that the major change in the physical surroundings caused by the modifications of the water courses—a “divine-like” intervention in the order of nature itself—may have encouraged royal ambitions to render the figure in charge of these systems as if. 2005. is paralleled in this inscription with the beneficial and resoration activities of Sennacherib toward Nineveh (Van De Mieroop 2003).172 t. which as mentioned.C. . Andrae. Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Seannacherib at Nineveh. R. Turner. Such an unprecedented destructive action. M. 2nd ed. ornan Bavian Inscription. Baghdader Forschungen 24. London: British Museum.

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BASOR 340: 23-56. ———. Art in Empire: The Royal Image and the Visual Dimensions of Assyrian Ideology. 1987. Whiting. ed. Woods. bis 1. Parpola and R. 2004.. I. Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag. The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon. Wiseman. . In Assyria 1995. Winter. 1992. C. Art as Evidence for Interaction: Relations Between the Assyrian Empire and North Syria. Ur. Bibliotheca Mesopotamia 21. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. 191-202. Legitimation of Authority Through Image and Legend: Seals Belonging to Officials in the Administrative Bureaucracy of the Ur III State. In Mesopotamien und seine Nachbarn. In The Organization of Power. E. ed. H. Berlin. Waetzoldt and H. Hauptmann. 1986. H. ———. The King and the Cup: Iconography of the Royal Presentation Scene on the Ur III Seals. E. J. 355382. 359-381. Studies in Honor of Edith Porada. 69-106.the godlike semblance of a king 175 ed. ed. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 253-268. M. T. The Sun-God Tablet of Nabu-apla-iddina Revisited. 1997. Gibson and R.-J. 1958. Journal of Ritual Studies 6/1: 12-42. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project Helsinki. ———. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer. Kelly-Buccellati. 1982. Chr. Barbanes Wikinson. Jahrtausend v. M. D. Iraq 20: 1-28. Landscape and Settlement in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Altaweel. Helsinki. Politische und kulturelle Wechselbeziehungen im alten Vorderasien vom 4. In Insight through Images. Renger. Malibu: Undena Publications. S. ‘Idols of the king’: Royal Images as recipients of Ritual Action in Ancient Mesopotamia. J. 1995. Biggs. Wilkinson. J. Nissen and J. M. D.. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 46. Proceedings of the XXVe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. 2005. JCS 56: 23-103. Aspects of Bureaucracy in the Ancient Near East. ed. Heidelberger Studien zum Alten Orient 6. J. ———. September 7–11. and M.

187) . ornan Figure 1. the northern hydraulic system (Thureau-Dangin 1924. Rock relief from Maltai.176 t.

8.the godlike semblance of a king 177 Figure 2. The Great Relief. the Khinis hydraulic system (after Bachmann 1927. Arad) . fig. redrawn by P.

the Khinis hydraulic system (after Bachmann 1927. fig. the Khinis hydraulic system (after Bachmann 1927. redrawn by P. Side relief of the “Gate” head. 13. left. middle. Arad) . ornan Figure 3. 13. Front relief of the “Gate” head.178 t. Arad) Figure 4. fig. redrawn by P.

By the ninth century BC. I first argue that public areas of Carchemish functioned as settings for ceremonies of kingship. Following Winter’s lead in seeking connections between material culture and social structures in the region. 365. when the Assyrians systematically began to report their increased military interactions with northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia. I then focus on the reigns of three rulers. To that end. and diminish threats to the office and status of kingship. Winter highlighted Carchemish and its impact on the broader cross-cultural developments of the period. In these investigations. 1983). I focus here on the inner organization of the kingdom of Carchemish. 1989) addressed the relationship between monuments and portable luxury goods of northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia as elements of kingship strategies in the Near East during the early first millennium BC. 1982. expressions of sociopolitical differentiation and kingly status had already emerged and developed at Carchemish and had even become influential in the wider Near Eastern cultural scheme (Winter 1982. Winter (1981. and Yariris. Irene J. I argue that the manipulation of the monumental urban infrastructure at Carchemish—the creation and installation of monumental inscriptions and visual representations and the configuration of public spaces—constituted an integral part of elaborate rituals or ceremonies of kingship that were designed to legitimate individual rule. maintain local and regional power. Suhis II. In this process. 1983. Using a combination of archaeological remains and textual sources. . royal ancestor worship developed as a key element in conceptual and ceremonial strategies of power. in order to illustrate how each king developed distinct strategies and manipulated the pre-existing monumental urban framework to establish his legitimacy in the changing conditions particular to his reign. I investigate the links between the monumental infrastructure of the city of Carchemish and the political and social dimensions of the system of kingship established in the kingdom of Carchemish. Katuwas. In particular.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 179 CEREMONY AND KINGSHIP AT CARCHEMISH Elif Denel In a series of groundbreaking articles.

Excavations conducted on behalf of the 1 This observation has emerged mainly on the grounds that the descendents of Hittite royalty who took control of Carchemish in the fourteenth century BC remained in power into the first millennium BC. In this process. The strategic location of the settlement on a major crossing of the Euphrates River must have contributed to the city’s emergence as a political and economic authority in the first millennium BC. inscription and architecture defining the public sphere of the city. It was by means of such formal events that rulers configured and reconfigured social and political concepts. and their authority over the sociopolitical order. In fact. the wealth that accumulated in the hands of the highest elites through production and exchange became manifest in the form of art. Archaeological remains show that a series of walls around and within the city created a strong system of protection. These differences reflect purposeful reconfigurations of familiar expressions of power and status in response to existing historical dynamics and political objectives. the ruins of Carchemish show that the ruling elites controlled substantial wealth and manpower to complete large scale and complex public works. changes that occurred throughout the Early Iron Age in the political and ideological center of the settlement illustrate differences in strategies of power under the authority of certain rulers. Winter (1983) has shown that at this time Carchemish became a major participant in interregional exchange systems of elite goods. a small and well-differentiated group with substantial economic and social power controlled the generation of an elaborate royal culture at Carchemish. denel After wider interregional mechanisms of political and economic control disintegrated in the twelfth century BC (Liverani 1987). . As a rare example of a relatively well-excavated and documented Iron Age center in the wider region of northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia. Thus. This feature emphasizes restriction of access to certain areas as a major architectural and social concern in Carchemish. modes of expressing power and status that had developed in the Bronze Age continued to be used by ruling elites who survived the transformation of this historical phase at Carchemish to maintain substantial regional authority. power relations among members of the elite class.180 e. which had originally and exclusively designated Hittite kings at Hattusha (Hawkins 1995). According to Winter. the orthostats and stelae carved in limestone and basalt monumentalize kingship ceremonies.1 Nevertheless. They also claimed the title of Great King.

were excavated in their entirety. A series of decorated and inscribed buildings. where buildings are almost entirely destroyed by erosion and later building activities (Woolley 1952. forms the focus of this study (figure 1).2 Although two buildings. the Temple of the Storm God and the Hilani.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 181 British Museum during the first half of the twentieth century. very little evidence of the architectural plans of other structures has been recovered in this area. These designations suggest that the excavators relied on artistic representations also to speculate on the nature of formal events conducted in the architectural spaces of the Lower Palace Area. where almost all buildings had been greatly eroded and destroyed. 158-159) recognized remains of the royal palace on the terraces covering the slope of the Citadel Mound. The King’s Gate connects the Lower Palace Area with the Inner Town in the south. the excavators have distinguished the architectural units in this area on the basis of their decorative schemes. which lies directly below the Citadel Mound. stands on an artificially built earthen mound and gives access from the Outer Town to the Inner Town through two entrances. thus the gate system and its relationship to the surrounding buildings is only partially understood. identifying them with such descriptive labels as the Processional Entry. Herald’s Wall and Long Wall of Sculpture. first by D. the West Gate and the South Gate. The Water Gate controls entry into the Lower Palace Area from the western bank of the Euphrates in the east. The western extent of the broad area beyond the Temple of the Storm God remains unexcavated. 51) identified as an earlier city wall. The inner fortification system. uncovered a 120hectare area of the settlement (Hogarth 1914. 1952). walls and elaborate gateways highlights the highly monumental and exclusive nature of this sector of the settlement. The Great Staircase in the north provides a monumental passage between this area and the higher ground of the Citadel Mound. 210-214). A highly formalized section of the site called the Lower Palace Area. which Woolley (1921. Woolley 1921. . G. located in the long occupied Inner Town. A series of decorated gates further emphasizes the exclusive character of this sector. Royal Buttress. This gate consists of a broad area to its north that includes imagery of processions on a substantial wall known as the Processional Entry. Another smaller gate immediately 2 Woolley (1952. As a result. Hogarth and later by Leonard Woolley.

the Lower Palace Area of the settlement provided a physical setting for rites and rituals in broad ceremonial events. ceremonies rely on shared values and goals to articulate a community as coherent.3 These gates set apart the Lower Palace Area as a highly exclusive location reserved for a distinguished sector of the society during the formal events of political ceremonies. denel to the south of the Royal Buttress within the King’s Gate and in line with the eastern wall of the Processional Entry leads into what may have been a wing of the palace or another official structure. that is. Consequently. the village elders) or the political interests of distinct constituencies and subgroups” (Bell 1997. These contributed to the production of royal culture at Carchemish. 128). how the ruling elite controlled this mechanism 3 Separated by the 15-meter wide path that leads west from the Water Gate. . 129). habits and beliefs (Bell 1992. ordered and legitimate through symbols and symbolic actions that are embedded in the perceived order of the cosmos (Bell 1997. the aspect of ceremony with which this paper is concerned is mainly political. With its monumental spaces lined with artistic representations and monumental inscriptions. it is this transformative nature of ritual that enables it to function as an effective social mechanism for establishing and maintaining political power relations. See Woolley’s description (1952. which does not specify how this structure was linked with the Lower Palace on the ascending ground to its north. Ceremonies. state. Inherent in the nature of a ritual act that is relevant to this study is thus its power to transform social attitudes. These acts operate in societies to “construct. therefore. 26) in an overarching framework of tradition and continuity. They further involve the reorganization of culturally embedded meanings and values through rites and rituals to meet changing political circumstances (Kertzer 1988. As such. the architectural relationship between the terraces of the Lower Palace and the structure immediately to the east of the King’s Gate is unclear. provide a conventional platform for powerful members of the elite class to maintain their social differentiation. display and promote the power of political institutions (such as king. Furthermore. 192-193).182 e. It involves the ability of societies to establish power relations and sociopolitical order through symbolic acts conducted in the formalized areas of built environments. 175). The archaeological evidence from the settlement of Carchemish provides insight into the operation of such a mechanism in the sociopolitical system of the kingdom of Carchemish.

fig. 171) had mistakenly called a “basalt impost” was in fact a second altar or table offering placed in front of the images of the two gods. Two such altars were discovered in situ in the Lower Palace Area of Carchemish in front of the images of the Sun and the Moon Gods (Woolley 1952. 1952. et al. Such circular cuttings are found in a wide range of ritual contexts in Late Bronze Age Anatolia. Four types of evidence point to the performance of rituals for political purposes within monumental spaces of the Lower Palace Area. the Long Wall of Sculpture and the Herald’s Wall. Another stone block with carved indentations was found disturbed near a lion protome outside the South Gate of the Inner Town. Perhaps the most obvious archaeological markers of ritual acts at and around Carchemish are what David Ussishkin (1975) calls hollows or cup marks. rock outcrops within the settlement of BoÅazköy (Neve 1996) and on the processional way that leads to YazÌlÌkaya (Neve 1977/1978). 93-93. 86-89) contain a group of hollows or cup marks that designate an area of libation and dedication in Hittite religious activity. Ussishkin 1975. The cemetery of OsmankayasÌ near BoÅazköy (Bittel. representations of processions. 85-86). 31a.4 Some altars from Carchemish and its vicinity contain rectangular compartments alongside circular ones. and a relief of Muwatalli on a rock cropping by the Ceyhan River near the village of Sirkeli (Ussishkin 1975. 27. a lion protome at the Lion Gate of BoÅazköy (Ussihkin 1975. pls. 102. as well as in different areas of the settlement of Carchemish (Woolley 1921. 20)5 (figure 1). 1958). and inscriptions that refer to the installation of offerings and dedications. . fig. 91) and Fraktin (Ussishkin 1975.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 183 of social differentiation. such altars were common in the nearby Yunus cemetery (Woolley 1939). 91-95). 69) (figure 2). images on orthostats that depict actual acts of offering. 181-182. These are indentations carved in stone that functioned as receptacles for libations and other offerings. Representations of these deities are carved on a large orthostat on the Great Staircase overlooking the wide space between the staircase. fig. These are a series of circular indentations cut into a variety of stone objects including statue bases and dedication tables (or altars). 101-102) recognized that what Woolley (1952. This block may have been originally associated with 4 See Hoffner (1967) on the widespread utilization of dedication pits in the second millennium BC as a particularly significant element of Hittite religion. B33. the open-air sanctuaries of YazÌlÌkaya (Ussishkin 1975. 5 Ussishkin (1975. 159.

In addition. These date to the end of the Bronze Age or the transition period from the Late Bronze into the Early Iron Age (Akurgal 1962. denel the lion protome or brought to its findspot at some point in time from the vicinity of a destroyed statue in the northeast chamber of the gate (Woolley 1921. Mazzoni 1997. yet as areas of passage. Ussishkin 1989. 436). It is possible that gates did not necessarily function in antiquity as areas where communal feasts were actually held. images. current opinion agrees that the Water Gate orthostats belong in the initial phase of the Early Iron Age (Hawkins 1976-1980. Perhaps the conduct of such a culturally significant action as ritual in such a conceptually meaningful area of the settlement developed to emphasize the ownership of the royal family and the long lasting authority that it exercised over the city. the evidence for ritual activity at gate structures associates the city gate with the royal ancestor cult. Such indentations on stone blocks mark areas of ritual activity and distinguish certain representations as foci in rites and rituals. Not all images at Carchemish acted as direct recipients of dedications or depicted the very act of dedication. 130. Mellink 1974). 12). Initially dated to the Late Bronze Age. B30b) and libation offering (pl. Thus. pl. pl. B30a) reflect certain elements of actual rites and rituals. Thus. The survival of Bronze Age traditions in the monumental configuration at Carchemish suggests that the conduct of ritual activity within city gates was an existing tradition. Scenes of libation and other forms of ritual activity are found at such centers as Alaca Höyük and Malatya and resemble the representations of Carchemish. 118. statues and the carving of indentations designate cultural significance of the gate in ritual activity. which feasts and libations also transmitted through their activities.184 e. Two types of representations surround open spaces in the Lower Palace Area: self-contained . Haettner Blomquist 1999) and have emphasized its character as a physical and conceptual source of access between the outside world and the inner realm of the community. they provided built environments for artistic display of beliefs and views. the decoration of gates must have emerged in the first millennium BC as a kingship strategy that was founded on an existing tradition. A seated figure and its base carved with a series of circular hollows indentations show that the King’s Gate was also a likely setting for such activities. Orthostats in the Water Gate decorated with scenes of feasting (Woolley 1921. Numerous studies have highlighted the material and conceptual aspects of the city gate in many Near Eastern cultures (Mellink 1974.

priestesses and animal bearers on the Processional Entry (Hogarth 1914. Carved on stone stelae and architectural orthostats during the reigns of different rulers. B18) refer to incantations and performances that often form components of rites and rituals and consequently emphasize the festive and ceremonial nature of the processions. pls. B37-B46) and soldiers. Woolley 1921. pl. The self-contained images. palace attendants. images of procession represent the act of bringing dedications and thus complement the act of actual dedication in rites and rituals. and representations of processions that extend on long stretches of adjoining orthostats. Woolley 1952. most inscriptions found at the site commemorate building activities. B1-B5. the reuse of these representations on the southern border of the wide space in the Lower Palace Area indicates the operation of a pre-calculated procedure to incorporate them into this area and into the formal events conducted here. 1997). and honor deities. Therefore. B9-B17. these inscriptions mention sacrifices and offerings made during the inauguration of buildings and monuments and the subsequent installation of regularized celebrations. celebrate military victories. The mythological themes on the majority of these orthostats convey traditional messages of strength that entrench kingly power and authority in the past. In some distinct cases. emblematic images together with representations of processions define ceremonial space and complement the formal acts conducted in the political heart of the city. images are removed from their original contexts and reorganized on a new architectural construction (Orthmann 1971. pls. on the other hand. pls. highlight the religious and mythological traditions of the society in which ritual acts are by nature integral (Bell 1992. 31-32). such as the arrangement of the Herald’s Wall (Hogarth 1914. Representation of soldiers. they highlight the overarching ceremony that consists of several steps including the actual bringing and display of the offerings. The fourth type of evidence that points to ritual activities in monumental spaces of Carchemish consists of actual statements of dedication in monumental inscriptions. Consequently.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 185 images displaying the iconography of ritual and power. B17a. B19-B24) are ordered in a formalized progression typical of processions (figure 3). Of these two. Written in Luwian hieroglyphs. Although they may not have originally contributed to the formal events of ceremonies. chariots and deities on the Long Wall of Sculpture (Woolley 1952. In his inscription . pls. Musicians and dancers on the gate next to the Royal Buttress (Woolley 1921. kings and the royal family. pls. 42). B17b.

A set of wooden doors restricted access into this area from the outside through the Water Gate in the east (Woolley 1921. bread and libation offerings for the images of the gods and the newly erected statue of himself (Hawkins 2000. claims to have built the temple himself. 98) on a discussion of what Katuwas calls “building” that might in fact be a renovation of the temple. In addition to conveying specific messages. . 192) reveal the operation of a highly secure control system in the more monumental King’s Gate. On an orthostat slab of the King’s Gate his descendent. The ritual inauguration of monumental sculpture and architecture was often followed by regular food offerings so as to integrate the beliefs and ideologies of the king into a pretext of tradition. The 6 While Katuwas. 88-89 A1a). See Hawkins (2000. which regulates entrance from within the settlement. The evidence for sloping and grooving of the pavement in the gate supports this suggestion as it reveals planning for wheeled access into the Lower Palace Area (Woolley 1952. 103-104 A11b+c). 104). The monumental and formal nature of the Lower Palace Area suggests that this sector of the settlement was not available to all segments of the society. who reigned in the tenth or early ninth century BC. One would expect less security at this gate. this over-emphasis on the protective nature of the King’s Gate suggests a purposeful display of power rather than a real necessity for protection. 95 A11a §11-12)6 and other similar offerings in addition to oxen and sheep to other gods of the city to commemorate his construction of women’s quarters probably in the royal palace (Hawkins 2000. denel on the Long Wall of Sculpture. Therefore. 199).186 e. Suhis II celebrates the city gods and his ability to reinstall them in their proper places after an enemy disturbance by establishing regular sheep. 80 A4b). ox and sheep for the seated image by the King’s Gate (Hawkins 2000. 198-199) and a small guardroom on the southwest corner (Woolley 1952. a stele found in the courtyard of the temple and dedicated to Great King Ura-Tarhunzas. who may have ruled Carchemish in the late eleventh or early tenth century BC. to honor his (re)building of the Temple of the Storm God (Hawkins 2000. for instance. mentions “ARASI-bread.” annual bread offerings (Hawkins 2000. Katuwas also declares instituting annual offerings of bread. where the potential for threat to the political sector would be relatively minimal. suggests a much earlier date for its construction (Hawkins 2000. the material display of inscription is a powerful element in kingship strategies. 101 A4d). Katuwas. 98). Massive cedar doors (Woolley 1952.

members of other elite families.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 187 monumental nature of this sector also indicates that wheeled traffic must have been restricted. Elites rarely possess undisputed authority. the presence of chariots and soldiers here must be symbolic. When the royal family. conceptual elements and performative aspects of rituals sustain a certain degree of flexibility in order that they may effectively respond to social. 435). foot soldiers and charioteers are collectively considered as the main participants of ceremonial events. if physically present. the Lower Palace Area with irregular dimensions does not seem broad enough to contain extremely large masses of participants. Ceremonial participation would probably have been restricted to those who contributed to instituting sociopolitical order and who could potentially generate a real threat from within the community to the operation of societal systems. to redefine and legitimize its newly acquired status every time a new generation replaced the previous one. 194) has pointed out. Images of chariots and foot soldiers carved on the surrounding walls also raise the possibility of a military presence here. Winter (1992. political and economic variables in the framework of societal unity and continuity. the ruling class especially needed to appeal to tradition and ritual. high elites of Carchemish based their legitimacy on descent from the Hittite royalty as they reconfigured power relations and established political offices appropriate for their new political structure. 73-74). then only in limited numbers and during the formal events of political ceremonies. a calculated sense of historicity and tradition in kingship strategies replaced the preexisting . Although Hittite authority had disappeared. as Bell (1992. In such a volatile historical setting. Since the Lower Palace Area is inappropriate by nature to house the military power of the kingdom. by means of which they could secure their privileges and convey their authority to the masses. The material evidence for the Late Bronze Age is limited at the archaeological site (Hawkins 1976-1980. 2) has noted that ritual and monumental art are particularly effective in assisting controlling factions in such processes. not all members of the society could collectively enter the ceremonial sector of the settlement during rituals. Conceptual. When Suhis I appropriated the seat of kingship probably in the eleventh century BC. yet historical sources transmit a long history for the city as the main center of Hittite control over northern Syria in the Late Bronze Age (Hawkins 2000. palace and temple attendants. Thus.

representations of processions. who ruled between roughly the tenth and the beginning of the eighth century BC. 88 A1a §3-4). In this respect. pl. and Yariris. political and cosmic order. The evidence of cup marks. B41. The Long Wall of Sculpture not only defines the ceremonial function of its surrounding area. Suhis II.7 This inscription commemorates this king’s reconstruction of sanctuaries and reinstallment of the city gods to their proper places after an enemy “hacked down” and “overturned” their images during an incursion into the city in the tenth century BC (Hawkins 2000. A clear reflection of the kingly power and unusual skill to conserve social. The decorative program of the king emphasizes the stretch of the wall that adjoins the Great Staircase. B46). the formalization and re-formalization of ceremonial space illustrates developments in ritual performance as kingly strategies to maintain authority over the sociopolitical order of Carchemish. . To investigate the relationship between ceremonial space and changing concerns of the Carchemishean kings. and contents of monumental inscriptions mark distinguished spaces of Carchemish as settings for elaborate rituals that connect the current political order with the distant past and redefine tradition during the reign of each king. pls. but also places particular emphasis on Suhis II as its creator. I now concentrate on three rulers. denel close association between the royal family of Carchemish and their Hittite predecessors. Katuwas. the monumental entrance leading to the top of the citadel from the Lower Palace Area. An inscribed orthostat among the artistic representations of the Long Wall of Sculpture designates Suhis II as the creator of this installation on the exterior of the wall surrounding the Storm God Temple. depictions of actual rites in ritual performance. Military figures include archers in chariots over the naked bodies of the fallen enemy (Woolley 1952. B42) and a procession of soldiers holding spears in one hand and decapitated heads of the enemy in the other (Woolley 1952. Representations of the Long Wall of Sculpture consist of an array of deities followed by a series of chariots and foot soldiers facing the direction of the Great Staircase. such representations 7 The king may have carried out additional constructions.188 e. yet this decorated and inscribed wall forms the sole surviving archaeological evidence with such elaborate decoration that is securely associated with his building activities.

the king’s vital position in restoring order to the city and preserving the social and political systems of the kingdom. The inscription on the Long Wall declares that the king in Orthmann (1971.8 Consequently. even though material remains of the king’s own image are yet to be found in the archaeological record. but also defined the ceremonial nature of the area in which rites and rituals to maintain order were carried out. These figures signify the entrance of the Great Staircase as a location across from the Long Wall of Sculpture where libations were poured into the receptacles of the altars probably in the presence of an audience gathered in the open space of the Lower Palace Area.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 189 also ensure the continuation of divine protection after a potentially fatal threat to the existing order of the city and the kingdom at large. among other things. Great Staircase and the large ceremonial space expanding in front of these structures. These ceremonies celebrated. the monumental scheme of the Long Wall of Sculpture highlights Suhis II as a successful king. the room in which it stood forms a unit with the Long Wall. As constant reminders of his achievements. B33) (figure 1). As a result. The statue is currently lost and thus its identity is not clear. The orthostat lines the exterior of a room where a statue base flanked on either side with bull protomes had once supported a statue (Woolley 1952. As such. The clearest evidence for ritual in ceremonial activity consists of two altars on the platform supporting the images of the Sun and the Moon God (Woolley 1952. through his building activities. It is therefore possible that Suhis II constructed the Long Wall of Sculpture in order to complement these preexisting structures. The two images are carved on a large orthostat in standing position on a crouching lion facing away from the opening of the Great Staircase. pl. Whomever the statue represents. 8 . A deep indentation on the base that is carved in the manner of what Ussishkin (1975) calls a cup mark or a hollow designates the statue also as a recipient of libation offerings. pl. Suhis II not only memorialized his conservation of religious and political order in his realm. 501) dates the base and the orthostat on stylistic grounds to a phase slightly before the execution of the Long Wall of Sculpture. B53). these images were also engaged in the ritual activity of ceremonies conducted in the open space in front of the Long Wall. artistic images actively memorialize the king’s exceptional abilities to carry out this endeavor and to restore order to Carchemish.

A6. Nevertheless. Suhis II included a seated figure of his wife. An innovation in kingship strategies. denel fact installed his own representation and intended it to be included in rites and rituals honoring “this assemblage of the gods” (Hawkins 2000. B6). The ancestor 9 Upon the king’s claim that he made and erected a statue of himself (2000. 88-89 A1a §25-27). This statement suggests that an image of the king may have been carved in relief on a damaged segment of the Long Wall. which the king instituted during his lifetime. either as a discrete representation. “BONUS-tis” (figure 4). this inscription shows that Suhis II attempted to combine the cultic activities of the gods with those of the king in order to promote and elevate further the distinguished status of kingship. the inscription shows that the image was funerary in nature: “I (am) BONUS-tis the Country-Lord Suhis’s dear wife. The king. Wheresoever my husband honours his (own) name. fig. Among the deities depicted here. 89 A1a §30-33). the king introduced ancestor worship into the ceremonial scheme of Carchemish when he created the decorative program of the Long Wall of Sculpture. therefore. 89 A1a §28-33). pls. 107. But (he) who (is a man) of bread.9 It is also possible that a freestanding statue stood in the vicinity the Long Wall and the Great Staircase. 4) has suggested that an image of the king must have been included on the Long Wall of Sculpture. the attempt of Suhis II to incorporate his wife among the deities reflects a new attempt to formalize ancestor cult in order to introduce the royal family into the realm of the deities. This act. Hawkins (1972. . bread and libation to it” (Hawkins 2000.190 e. did not originally stand alone. A13d) or Yariris (Hogarth 1914. also prepared the grounds for his entry into the realm of the supernatural after his death. Images on the Long Wall of Sculpture. Ancestor cult was already an important element of ruling elite cultures of north Syria in the second millennium BC (Tsukimoto 1985). he shall honour my own with goodness” (Hawkins 2000. 92 A1b). furthermore. mentions instituting rites for his own statue to be carried out along with those carried out for the deities: “(He) who (is a man) of sheep. Although there is no evidence for a burial in the area of the Long Wall. or as a smaller figure introducing the hieroglyphic figures of the inscription carved in the style of the image from the inscriptions of Katuwas (Woolley 1921. let him . let him offer a sheep to this statue. like those of the deities. . but functioned in combination with other elements in its surrounding area. Although the statue is now lost. .

the stele of UraTarhunzas identifies the dedicator as the priest of the goddess Kubaba and the son of a “ruler. but retained substantial social and economic ability to contest the authority of the descendents of the usurper. usurped the throne from the Great Kings. 80 A4b). Later references made by Katuwas to the trouble caused by the grandsons of UraTarhunzas suggests a significant social and political resistance to the order and authority of his kingship. the emphasis Suhis II placed on the ancestor cult possibly relates to his ancestors’ seizure of control from the previous ruling family. Another piece of evidence that complements this information is a later reference made by Katuwas.” the kinsmen of Ura-Tarhunzas (Hawkins 2000. This probably emerged in response to a fundamental power transformation that occurred at Carchemish with the deposition of Ura-Tarhunzas. 78). Hawkins links this individual with Suhis I. 95 A11a §5. the grandfather of Suhis II. Inscriptions further show that the royal title changed at the same time as when political power was fundamentally altered in the kingdom. Hero. the father of king Atuwatamanzas and the grandfather of Suhis II (Hawkins 1995. stands as a pretense for the king’s own dynastic aspirations to elevate the state of kingship onto the even higher plane of the gods. In addition to this strategy to secure the king’s power in the social. The family of Ura-Tarhunzas seems not to have lost all its influence. On the basis of the genealogical references made in monumental inscriptions. the “Great King. the son of Suhis II. A major source on the change of power at Carchemish is an eleventh or tenth century BC stele with an inscription honoring Ura-Tarhunzas. Consequently. The descendents of Suhis I took the titles of “Ruler” and “Country Lord” instead of continuing the earlier tradition of “Great King” (Hawkins 1995). to his suppression of a rebellion lead by the “20-TATI. therefore.” who is named Suhis. 103 A11b §4). Such a calculated act suggests that threats to the legitimacy of the . political and cosmic order of Carchemish.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 191 cult of the queen. who descended from the Hittite royal family (Hawkins 1995). Located in the courtyard of the Temple of the Storm God. the formalization of the ceremonial space at the settlement of Carchemish and the elevation of royal status into the realm of the gods are elements of the kingship strategy that Suhis II developed to establish his legitimacy and maintain his authority as the grandson of a usurper. This is an act that reflects a deliberate attempt to break away from the Hittite roots of kingship. Several sources suggest that Suhis I. King of the land of Karkamià” (Hawkins 2000.

Of these. Images of marching soldiers. These processions culminate with a scene that was centrally positioned on the Royal Buttress. these images highlight. Katuwas placed particular emphasis on installing a ceremonial procession. and the royal palace.10 but the strategic position 10 Hawkins (2000. Later inscriptions and images of Yariris have replaced what once covered the surface of the walls here. Katuwas. 77) considers Suhis II for the identity of the statue next to the . In addition to renovating the Temple of the Storm God. The son of Suhis II. depicts Katuwas as a powerful military leader. 103 A11b §16-17). This inscription. the Processional Entry stands out as it further elaborates on the emphasis Suhis II had placed on military leadership and protection of the sociopolitical and religious order as chief elements of kingship at Carchemish. B53a) in front of the soldier figures (figure 3) may have once supported the image of Katuwas. Like his father. An inscription that was reused as a ramp in the King’s Gate might have once lined the doorjamb of the gate next to the Royal Buttress (Woolley 1952. pl. by which means he claimed to have (re)instituted or renewed the cults of certain deities: “I myself beheld my lord Karhuhas’s and Kubaba’s procession. The statue base (Woolley 1952. he created a substantial portion of the city’s surviving decorative program. priestesses and bearers of sacrificial animals line the western wall of a massive public complex that is known mainly through its decorative scheme. Yet. Nevertheless. the King’s Gate. denel king’s authority did not entirely disappear after Suhis I appropriated the seat of kingship. Images of soldiers from the north and priestesses and sacrificial animal bearers from the south converge toward one another. A6). the ceremonial function of the open space they surround. Whether the statue of this base actually depicted Katuwas is not certain. builder and worshipper of the gods (Hawkins 2000. 122 A25a). it must have had substantial significance. 103-104 A11b+c). which he claims in a monumental text to have erected in the city (Hawkins 2000.192 e. like the Long Wall of Sculpture. thus the scene that formed the apex of these processions in Katuwas’ reign is no longer available. along with others. also undertook major building projects into the late tenth or early ninth century BC and complemented the artistic and architectural rearrangements of his father. since Yariris chose this place in the early eighth century BC to display the composition that describes the nature of his kingship (Hogarth 1914. 203). pl. and I myself seated them on this podium” (Hawkins 2000.

against him may Atrisuhas come fatally!” The inscription further shows that Katuwas established an ancestor cult by the King’s Gate and took the attempt of Suhis II to include the royal family in the realm of the gods a step further by representing his father or grandfather as an actual god. With an increased emphasis on the royal ancestor cult. Erected on a lion base. A horned helmet in the style of the gods’ also crowns the head of the statue. This does not preclude the possibility that the incomplete soldier figures depict a progression in the execution of a single decorative scheme. Katuwas at least conceptually intensified the power of the living king by portraying him as a future deity. 101 A4d) recognized that the term “atri-” designates “(image) soul” and the image represents the image or soul of the deceased father or grandfather of Katuwas: “For this god Atrisuhas with the gods (he) who does not [offer] annual bread. Katuwas also elaborated on Suhis’ notion of ancestor worship as a strategy in establishing his royal power. Both his and his father’s strategies brought the tradition of ancestor cult into the political sphere of Carchemish. Hawkins (2000. Katuwas complemented the emphasis Suhis II placed on the preservation of the religious order in the kingdom by describing in art and text his kingly image as an installer of ceremonies and leader in processions. it faces the Storm God Temple and the Great Staircase in the north. perhaps in order to present the royal ancestor cult to the society as an established convention so that he lays emphasis on the historicity of kingship and ensures the continuity of its social Royal Buttress. the reconfiguration of the decorative scheme in the Lower Palace Area of Carchemish emphasizes the king’s role in kingship strategies as an organizer and leader of ceremonies. He thus continued his father’s enterprises to manipulate preexisting public spaces to formalize the ceremonial nature of the Lower Palace Area. Unfinished lower body parts of the soldiers behind the base show that the base was already in its current position by the Royal Buttress when the orthostat behind it was decorated. As such. which he identified as “Atrisuhas” (figure 5).ceremony and kingship at carchemish 193 of the base in front of the marching soldiers suggests an emphasis on the king’s leadership in the procession honoring the gods. . On the basis of the Luwian inscription on the skirt of the statue. thus. The figure is seated on a throne holding a double axe and a mace in his hands. He renovated the King’s Gate and installed a colossal image next to it. 41) points out that the base shows distinct stylistic similarities with the base of the seated figure of Atrisuhas that securely dates to the reign of Katuwas. while Orthmann (1971. both bases might have been reused during the reign of Katuwas. Whether or not these bases predate Katuwas. an ox and two sheep.

113114 A12). he also relied on the preexisting organization of ceremonial space and the ancestral aspect of kingship to legitimate his unusual background. possibly in response to a strong and pervasive threat to the office of kingship and the order it represents. He managed the court for a while probably due to 11 A fragmented stele in the vicinity the Herald’s Wall supports the association of this wall with Katuwas’ construction (Woolley 1952. This process primarily addressed the members of the elite class. When Yariris ruled Carchemish as a regent several generations later. 273. who posed the greatest potential to challenge the authority of the ruling family. economically and politically effective enough to plot rebellion in Carchemish (Hawkins 2000. 176. §30). ceremonies were designed to demonstrate the ultimate power and authority of the king by stressing his ability to maintain the sociopolitical and religious order in life. Thus. who controlled Carchemish early in the eighth century BC. In this process. Even after UraTarhunzas was deposed from the throne. Katuwas ensured their display in ceremonies and indirectly emphasized his kingly image as the protector of preexisting religious values. 187. He was also probably the founder of a new dynasty (Hawkins 1986. 2002.11 By means of incorporating traditional and religious artistic representations into the monumental urban framework of the city. . Perhaps the deification of the king emerged as a reaction to this ubiquitous threat in the community. and ultimately to reach state deification upon his death. probably did not come from royal descent. Yariris. 95 A11a §5-6. denel significance. 263-265. his descendents were still socially. in order to show the king as both physically and conceptually superior to all living members of the society. Such highly calculated schemes indicate an emergence at that time of a particularly strong need in kingship strategies to emphasize the distinguished status of the king. The rearrangement of early orthostats on the Herald’s Wall reflects this aspect of antiquity and permanence of kingship.194 e. Hawkins 2000. He was a eunuch and a high attendant in the court of king Astiruwas. Katuwas’ claim of exiling the descendents of Ura-Tarhunzas provides evidence for internal competition for power. He modified ceremonial spaces of Carchemish in which Early Iron Age rulers modified the notion of their kingship during the course of their reigns. 103-104 A11b+c §4. Katuwas relied on ceremony like his father. 229-232).

On the Royal Buttress. . Yariris presents the principles of his authority at Carchemish. Yariris adopted a strategy to legitimize his status and authority that emphasized his close association with the deities and protection of the religious order. he preserved the ceremonial space of Carchemish and inserted several monuments to commemorate his own power and to establish his legitimacy. viii. 275. he depicts himself as a proper guardian for the royal children. came of age to take possession of kingship. 28. Kamanis. a builder. Suhis II and Katuwas. Woolley 1921. 2000. 231-232). B6. Although he clearly occupied the seat of kingship. pls. The most significant of these is the composition he placed on the Royal Buttress to incorporate a row of attendants into the processional scheme of the Processional Entry (Hogarth 1914. A6. Thus. Yet he remained in control. yet visual and textual sources suggest a continued emphasis on the rites and rituals of important city gods. and a protector of the religious and political orders at Carchemish. 1952. During his reign. as he proclaimed in his monumental inscription. pl. 129 A7. Accordingly. 263-265. 128. 135. Because he was not a son of the king. b*.12 Although eunuchs played an important role in the administration of numerous Near Eastern societies. Hawkins 2000. The archaeological evidence for rites and rituals at this time is not so prolific. 134-135 A24a). probably intending to represent a group of eunuchs. Reade (1972) has shown a distinction between bearded and beardless officials in the Assyrian royal court. had established ceremonies to communicate their superior status as a source of legitimacy. 130-131 A15B. where the beardless males constitute almost a formulaic representation of eunuchs.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 195 the untimely death of Astiruwas until the king’s son. pl. A7. All of these figures depict beardless adults. Previous rulers. The peculiar appearance of Yariris that bears a close resemblance to Assyrian eunuchs and the interpretation of the term “wasinasi-” in monumental texts as “eunuch” have lead to the conjecture that the royal court of Carchemish comprised a substantial group of eunuchs at least in the 8th century BC (Hawkins 1986. only until Kamanis was ready to take the seat of kingship. 124-125 A6. 2002. Yariris emphasized his subservient position to the royal family. A15b. 266. the Royal Buttress emphasizes his protective and educational role in raising the children of the king as a main aspect of his authority. the reign of Yariris reflects a period of increased power in the administration of Carchemish. his acquisition of power implies 12 On the basis of artistic representation. A24. his status was unique and potentially open to appropriation of power.

…or who shall erase my name. he boasted about his outstanding ability to speak twelve languages and to write in the scripts of Carchemish. seems to have changed during the period of Yariris from an emphasis on the divine power and authority of kingship to an emphasis on divine protection over the political order and preservation of the kingdom. 130 A15b §2). denel the occurrence of unconventional circumstances. He conveyed this development in the monumental sphere of the kingdom in the form of both visual and verbal representation as demonstrated by the curse formula of the inscription on the Royal Buttress: “. In other words. Yariris elevated the social and political status of the eunuchs.196 e. . he asserted the intellectual skills that provided him a unique disposition to maintain leadership. Sura. he could not produce a direct descendent to carry on his legacy. pls. even if it was not gained by force. He also stressed his stance to protect the royal family so as to emphasize that he had no intentions to appropriate power. 125 A6 §29-32). . he could not rely on royal ancestor worship to promote his authority. or on the other side (a eunuch) from the eunuchs. Assryia and Taimani (Hawkins 2000. in order to elevate his own status. B4-B5) illustrates an attempt to raise the significance of the eunuch class in the political order of the city. As a non-descendent of the royal family. The pose of Yariris holding on to young Kamanis’s arm carved on the orthostat B7a of the Royal Buttress highlights his . or who shall take away on the one side (a child) from the children. 124 A6 §4-8). he faced the challenge of justifying his unusual background as a ruler and legitimizing his authority in an environment of a well-developed and prominent ideology of kingship. (for) him may Nikarawas’ dogs eat up his head!” (Hawkins 2000. from where he had originated. Furthermore. he claimed that it was the deities of the city who granted him the duty to control Carchemish (Hawkins 2000. At the same time. It seems that Yariris maintained the ceremonial function of the Lower Palace Area and placed particular importance on the ceremonial participation of the eunuchs among royal attendants. 124 A6 § 2. He promoted the eunuch class. When Yariris took to the task of controlling Carchemish. as a eunuch. The nature of kingship strategies. As a justification of his unusually acquired status. 131 A15 §131) and claimed the widespread fame of his name (Hawkins 2000. therefore. Yariris’ insertion of a procession of eunuchs into the preexisting images on the Processional Entry (Hogarth 1914.

Strategies of specific kings involved the modification of ceremonies and ceremonial space consistent with social dynamics specific to their reigns. References Akurgal. Suhis II and Katuwas. Yariris incorporated himself into the preexisting political system at Carchemish not as an intruder. Ritual Practice . When Yariris. Abrams. authority and legitimacy of the ruling elites to be conveyed within a framework of tradition. archaeological remains draw attention to the ceremonial aspect of kingship strategies at Carchemish. He further asserted the temporary nature of his rule. 1962. 1992. He also inserted himself into the ceremonial structure of kingship. Ancestor worship emerged as a powerful constituent of such strategies. During the course of ceremonial events. who reigned during the tenth and ninth centuries BC. but as a protector. In conclusion. Ekrem. In contrast to the increasingly formalized ceremonial space at Carchemish.N. Bell.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 197 proclamation of the protective position he undertook in the political order of the kingdom until he was ready to give power back to an appropriate heir to the throne. Oxford: Oxford University Press. . The royal family legitimized its high social status through incorporating the worship of royal ancestors into such ceremonies honoring the city gods. placed particular emphasis on the ancestor cult. Catherine. such attempts in kingship strategies to augment the power of the king reveal that this period was politically and socially unstable and the seat of kingship formed a source for constant internal competition. a eunuch. in response to lasting threats to the office of kingship generated from within the elite class. religious rites and rituals enabled messages of power. came to power. Ritual Theory. The ultimate deification of the king may have been intentional to generate discouragement among the likely challengers of authority and the sociopolitical order of Carchemish. he emphasized his protection of the royal family and preservation of the sociopolitical order of kingship. The Art of the Hittites. but stressed the consent of divine authority as the source of his power rather than descent from royal ancestors. Thus. The deification of deceased ancestors further elevated the distinguished status of the living king. New York: H.

Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ritual. 1988. Haettner Blomquist. In Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East. Leiden: Nederlands Historish-Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul. S. 201-214. Journal of Biblical Literature 86: 385-401. 259-271. Cilt I. Harry A. J. Otten. Parpola and R. Bittel. 1977/1978. Vol. July 2-6. Carchemish: Report on the Excavations at Jerablus on Behalf of the British Museum. Perspectives and Dimensions. Introductory. Bittel. Proceedings of the 47th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Kertzer. Ankara 21-25 Eylül 1981. In IX. Helsinki. ———. 1997. 2002. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Saarbrücken: Saarbrücker Druckerei und Verlag. Part I. J. The Gate and the City: Change and Continuity in SyroHittite Urban Ideology. Herre. . Tina. 2000. J. Röhrs. 1967. 1914. ———. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bruch. David. Internationales Colloquium der Deutschen Orient-Geschellschaft von 9. 1976-1980. part 1. Ritual. 1999. Das Hethitischen Grabfunde von Osmankayası. pt. Houwnik ten Cate on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday. Eunuchs among the Hittites. Stephanie. Türk Tarih Kongresi. M. Schalensteine und Schalenfelsen in BoÅazköy-]attuàa. Istanbuler Mitteliungen 27/28: 61-72. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell International. Hoffner. Schaeuble. P. Larsen. 307-338. ed. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions. ed. 2001. In Anatolian Studies Presented to Hans Gustav Güterbock on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday. and J. 73-85. and E. and Power. Rulers of Karkamis: The House of Astiruwas. H. J. ———. J. Mazzoni. and K. Kontinuität. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. Berlin: Verlag Gebr. T.. Rowlands. Machteld J.1. Roos. An Investigation of the Archaeological and Biblical Sources. ed. Kristiansen. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hittite Friezes and Gate Sculptures. New Haven: Yale University Press. Ancient Near Eastern Sudies Presented to Philo H. The Second Millennium Antecedents to the Hebrew ‘ÔB. Mario. 1958. Hogarth. van den Hout and J. RlA 5: 426-446. ed. Wandel. Whiting. 1986. Mann. In Studio Historiae Ardens. Gates and Gods: Cults in the City Gates of Iron Age Palestine. ‘Great Kings’ and ‘Country Lords’ at Malatya and Karkamià. Politics. Istanbul: Nederlands HistorischArchaeologisch Instituut in het Nabije Oosten. Kongreye Sunulan Bildiriler. Centre and Periphery in the Ancient World. David I. denel ———. I. 1. 1995. Wilhelm. Reiner.-10. Mellink. H. 1997. ———. W. The Collapse of the Near Eastern Regional System at the End of the Bronze Age: The Case of Syria. Houwink ten Cate. Ph. K.198 e. Hawkins. 1987. 66-73. Mai 1996. Neve. G. David G. In Die orientalische Stadt. 217-233. Liverani. edited by M. Peter. M. Karkamià. K. M. 1974.

North Syrian Ivories and Tell Halaf Reliefs: The Impact of Luxury Goods upon ‘Major’ Arts. Untersuchungen zur Totenflege (kispum) im alten Mesoptoamien. Juli 1978. The Excavations in the Inner Town and the Hittite Inscriptions. . Chicago: Oriental Institute. Tsukimoto. Anatolian Studies 25: 85-103. Anatolian Studies 33: 177-197. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu. II. Saarbücker Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 8. Renger. 1952. Kevelaer: Butzon and Bercker. Neo-Assyrian Court and Army: Evidence from the Sculptures. 1982. Berlin: Reimer. Nissen. Julian. Part III. Hollows. 1971. J. Reade. Carchemish: Report on the Excavations at Jerablus on Behalf of the British Museum. Iraq 34: 87-112. The Town Defenses. ———. B. Chr. Carchemish: Report on the Excavations at Jerablus on Behalf of the British Museum. 321-332. David. ed. J. et al. Emre. 1996. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1989. XXV. ———. Schalensteine und Schalenfelsen in BoÅazköy-]attuàa. ———. 1981. Habelt. bis 7. ‘Idols of the King’: Royal Images as Recipients of Ritual Action in Ancient Mesopotamia. 1983. 355382. edited by K. In Essays in Ancient Civilization Presented to Helen J. ‘Cupmarks. Is there a South Syrian Style of Ivory Carving in the Early First Millennium BC? Iraq 43: 101-130. ———. Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst. J. Ussishkin. 1972. 1975. Bonn: R. 1992. Irene. 1985. Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 26: 11-37. C. Jahrtausend v. ———. and H. Orthmann. 1921.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 199 ———. 1989. Part II. ———. In Mesopotamien und seine Nachbarn. The Erection of Royal Monuments in City-Gates. Winfried. ———. Berlin 3. Woolley. Akio. A. Art as Evidence for Interaction: Relations between the Assyrian Empire and North Syria. bis 1.’ and Hittite Stone Monuments. Leonard and B. In Anatolia and the Ancient Near East. vol. Williams. Leonard. Rencontre Assyriologque Internationale. Winter.. ed. Politische und kulturelle Wechselbesienungen im Alten Vorderasien vom 4. 485-496. H. 1939 The Iron-Age Graves of Carchemish. Journal of Ritual Studies 6: 13-42. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Carchemish àa kiàad puratti. Kantor. Istanbuler Mitteilungen 46: 41-56. Studies in Honor of Tahsin Özgüç.

Sketch plan of the Lower Palace Area with the statue bases B25. denel Figure 1. pl. 41a) . by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. from Woolley 1952.200 e. B53a and B34 (reprinted and adapted.

ceremony and kingship at carchemish 201 Figure 2. by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. Drawings of altars or dedication tables collected from different areas of Carchemish (reprinted and adapted. from Woolley 1921. 94 figure 27) .

denel Figure 3. pl. B1b) . Processions of soldiers and eunuchs next to the Royal Buttress and the statue base B53a (reprinted. from Hogarth 1914. by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum.202 e.

B40b) . Relief of wife of Suhis II. by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum.ceremony and kingship at carchemish 203 Figure 4. pl. from Woolley 1952. on the Long Wall of Sculpture (reprinted and adapted. BONUS-tis.

denel Figure 5. pl. B25) .204 e. Statue of Atrisuhas next to the King’s Gate (reprinted by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. from Woolley 1921.

I would like to thank Oscar White Muscarella. 41 [for AltÌntepe]). Among the edifices built by Urartian kings. and gigantic storage facilities. northwestern Iran.the temple and the king 205 THE TEMPLE AND THE KING: URARTIAN RITUAL SPACES AND THEIR ROLE IN ROYAL IDEOLOGY1 TuÅba Tanyeri-Erdemir The Urartian kings. whether or not they were tall tower temples. such as their origin (Ussishkin 1994). Aykan Erdemir and Irene Winter for critically reading and commenting on earlier drafts of this paper. Kleiss 1989. Paul Zimansky. Various aspects of Urartian temples. I will try. Özgüç 1966. Akurgal 1968. I have always admired her ability to train the brains and hearts of the next generation of scholars with patience. an inspiration. who ruled a large territory covering presentday eastern Turkey. Ömür Harmanâah. temples. She has been. 1 It is a pleasure to dedicate this article to Prof. in all aspects of my life. What has been assumed most of the time. Jack Cheng. Irene Winter. possible architectural reconstructions (Kleiss 1963/64. her apt criticisms as an advisor and her caring heart as a human. temples and open-air shrines appear to have played an important role for the establishment and perpetuation of royal ideology and dynastic continuity.. and whether they were the ancestors of Achaemenid “fire-temples” (Stronach 1967).C. and Armenia between the ninth and seventh centuries B. and much needed understanding. I would also like to thank Altan ÇilingiroÅlu for allowing me to participate in the Ayanis excavations. were among the most dynamic builders of the ancient world. In this paper. and will always be. have been previously investigated extensively. and never really explored. 40. 14 [for Toprakkale]. Elif Denel. respect. to emulate her brilliance as a teacher. We know from numerous inscriptions that they were actively involved in the erection of a large number of massive fortresses adorned with palatial structures. Naumann 1968. Kleiss 1976. I investigate Urartian sacred building tradition with a particular focus on the possible role of open-air shrines and temples in the governance strategies of Urartian kings. as best as I can. . is the role that these temples played in Urartian governance and the ways in which they secured the governing dynasty’s power and legitimacy over the populace.

if any. would carry important clues regarding the changing ideological concerns and policies of the ruling elite. two types of ritual spaces2 seem to be particularly favored: 1) open-air 2 In addition to these two major categories.206 t. 166) defines symbolic power as “a power of constructing reality. ([1991] 1994. . There are several problems with his suggestion. Therefore. we could suggest that open-air shrines displaying royal inscriptions and the lavishly decorated temples would constitute likely locales for the production of symbolic power. Consequently.” It is a. action on the world and thus the world itself. there are also “shrines of the stelae” such as the example in Karahan (Salvini 1992). if we can detect them. symbolic power is a very important part of ruling mechanisms. However. It is highly likely that the architecture of these symbolically charged spaces was carefully planned to highlight the role of the royal elite in the imperial religion. these “rock-marks” cannot be securely dated given the lack of archaeological or epigraphic finds associated with them. Oktay Belli also includes “rock-marks” in sacred spaces of the Urartian kingdom (Belli 2000). Likewise. tanyeri-erdemir Pierre Bourdieu ([1991] 1994. Among sacred architecture constructed by the Urartian kings. power of constituting the given through utterances. and thereby. language. This is why they have been left out of the present study. One could also suggest that the royal tombs cut into the rock outcrop of the Tuàpa citadel (the citadel of Van) (Tarhan 1994) and other such places that house rock-cut tombs scattered in the Urartian landscape could have been locales of important religious rituals. 170) Thus. in terms of creating and establishing a world-view amongst subjects of an empire. These are grooves cut into the living rock that are found in the vicinity of several Urartian citadels in the Lake Van basin. an almost magical power which enables one to obtain the equivalent of what is obtained through force (whether physical or economic). Bourdieu suggests that symbolic power would be implemented through the symbolic systems of religion. the artifacts and features used in their embellishment must have been intentionally selected and deliberately placed. of confirming or transforming the vision of the world. which would in return ensure the might of the king himself. and art ([1991] 1994. of making people see and believe. the changes over time in architectural layout or decorative schemes of temple contexts. 164-166). First. there is little archaeological and epigraphic evidence to illustrate what sorts of rituals. Therefore. perhaps reinforcing the dynastic continuity of the ruling elite. were enacted in these places. in the Urartian case. we could assume that the choices pertaining to the architectural layout and the decoration of these buildings must have been very important.

however. 1978b). we do not have any evidence to suggest a ritual activity associated with them. possibly utilitarian function. AltÌntepe (Özgüç 1966). These are the temples at the sites of YukarÌ Anzaf (Belli 1992a. 383). and 2) Urartian standard temples4 that are characterized by a square plan with reinforced corners. as can be seen in the YeâilalÌç inscription. The standard temple. 71). Their locations were carefully chosen with a deliberate consideration of the site’s topography and the temple’s architectural relation to the rest of the edifices in the citadel. significant dispute over this identification. The extensive mudbrick wash encountered around all the excavated Urartian temples suggests that they were significantly tall buildings. Patnos/Anzavurtepe (Balkan 1960). This interpretation of the term is widely accepted and used in literature.. 3 Three rock-cut niche monuments have been attested: MeherkapÌsÌ (Salvini 1994). and a very small square cella. . 4 Nine standard temples have been excavated to date.5 The massive stone walls were topped with mudbrick walls. the dominant temple type in Urartu is the standard temple. YeâilalÌç is a rock-cut niche monument. Susi is the Urartian word attested in the dedicatory inscriptions of several standard temples. I prefer to use “standard temple” instead of susi. thick walls.” a “tall temple. as well as the Second. and Ayanis (ÇilingiroÅlu 2001). 5 This temple type is also called a “tower temple. because susi is not exclusively used for standard temples in the 9th century B. We cannot dismiss the idea that there might be also other buildings or spaces of cultic significance that cannot be yet architecturally identified as temples. whereas Smith (1996. The vantage point from the temple grounds. Arin-Berd (Forbes 1983. the inscription on which refers to it as a susi (Sevin and Belli 1976/77. with an inscription carved into the flattened surface of the rock3 and commonly located at the foot of massive outcrops in the countryside. 74) holds the position that there is not enough evidence to suggest that these buildings were temples. YeâilalÌç (Sevin and Belli 1976/77) and Hazinepiri KapÌsÌ (Belli and Dinçol 1980). Three buildings with significantly different constructions have been identified as temples in Armavir by the excavator. 247-248) states that there can be different temple forms other than the standard temple. KayalÌdere (Burney 1966).C. Standard temples were. that were built in the form of threetiered niches cut into rock outcrops. 1993). After the excavation and publication of the temple inscription from Karmir-Blur. 1979a). is not the sole temple form attested in Urartu. although it is hard to guess exactly how high they were. Çavuâtepe main citadel. Two others are known from inscriptions at Körzüt (Dinçol 1976) and Karmir-Blur (Salvini 1967. While I agree with the identification of the term. There is. mainly based on the finds. even if one assumes that they are Urartian. Çavuâtepe upper citadel (Erzen 1976/77. Forbes (1983.” or a susi in the literature. Nevertheless. always located within the walls of the citadels.C. Toprakkale (Erzen 1967). There is one building excavated in Erebuni that shows a plan similar to a Mesopotamian bent-axis temple plan.the temple and the king 207 shrines of the ninth century B. without exception.” a “square temple. They could have fulfilled a different. Salvini (1979a) made a convincing argument stating that the word susi should refer to the Urartian standard temple. however.

208 t. and to unify them in a single pantheon under the divine leadership of Haldi. From its first emergence in the ninth century onwards. Additionally. tanyeri-erdemir visibility of the temple from major habitation areas of lower towns also appear to have played a role in choosing an appropriate locale for the temple. and some from geographically diverse regions of the empire (Salvini 1994). He is also the only deity attested in all provinces of the empire and seems to have been intimately connected with the Urartian king. a number of standard temples. Archaeological evidence collected from excavated sites strongly suggests that Urartian temples were perhaps the most lavishly decorated buildings in any given Urartian citadel. we need to consider the nature of the Urartian state and Urartian imperial religion.). The cult of Haldi. The MeherkapÌsÌ inscription lists a large number of deities. There is some evidence in the epigraphic and archaeological record to suggest that Urartian authorities employed an accommodating religious policy to incorporate the already existing cults and deities under the control of the empire. the third king of Urartian dynasty (ca. Urartian religion appears to have been an imperial religion aimed at serving the interest of the royal elites. but rather a synthetic and a conscious production of the Urartian governing authorities (Taffet and Yakar 1998. are dedicated to regional deities. to incorporate them into the state religion. It can also be seen as a conscious attempt to secure the loyalty . appears to have been implemented during the reign of Iàpuini. like the temple of Irmuàini at Çavuâtepe (Erzen et al. and a ritual practice organized around the Urartian pantheon throughout the diverse geographic and cultural lands under the control of the empire are highly unlikely to be the outcome of a cultural unity of the subject peoples under the rule of the state. 825-810 B. Zimansky 1995). At the outset. Haldi’s name does not appear in any Urartian inscriptions before Iàpuini’s reign. as has been suggested by Mirjo Salvini (1987). This could indicate an effort on behalf of the empire to accommodate local religions. and the cult disappears abruptly with the collapse of the Urartian Empire. 1963. Dinçol 1978/80). Haldi dominates royal inscriptions both on stone and on dedicatory objects. hence they constitute the most important loci of imperial arts. and is the deity to whom an overwhelming number of temples and ritual spaces are dedicated. presumably of different origins. the head of the Urartian pantheon. As previously noted by several scholars the introduction of a unified cult of Haldi.C.

C. MeherkapÌsÌ is perhaps the most renowned monument for the study of Urartian religion. and would have provided visual access for any audience standing at the foot of the rock outcrop. presumably cultic rituals.the temple and the king 209 of the subject peoples by articulating the substrata of already existing belief systems as part of an official. This flattened platform could have acted as a stage for various activities. Hazinepiri KapÌsÌ appears to have been the model for two subsequent monuments. an inscribed rock-niche monument built during the reign of Iàpuini. and the number of sacrifices a deity is allotted decreases with the rank of the deity in the list. It has a shallow rectangular niche. to be performed in front of the inscribed niche. 10). both shrines are located in the extraurban landscape and are not located at the base or immediate vicinity to any major citadels. The inscription records that some reforms were made in order to regulate the sacrifices to various gods and states that several animals should be sacrificed for Haldi and his consort Uarubani (Sevin and Belli 1976/77. König 1953. YeâilalÌç shrine has stairs cut into the bedrock leading up to the platform in front of the rock-cut niche. 51-56. The content of the inscriptions as well as the features around them show some variation. The deities appear to be arranged hierarchically. namely the YeâilalÌç and MeherkapÌsÌ monuments. Instead of a simple sunken niche like the Hazinepiri KapÌsÌ. Its inscription lists 80 deities of the Urartian pantheon and provides explicit information on the number of animals to be sacrificed for each deity (Salvini 1994. 1955. Similar to Hazinepiri KapÌsÌ. organized state religion. All three rock-cut inscribed niche shrines are situated in prominent locations that have the potential to accommodate considerable audiences. which were both built during the co-regency of Iàpuini and his son Menua in late ninth century B. both of these monuments are built at commanding positions at the foot of prominent rock spurs. Again. no. a few meters higher than the surrounding ground level. There are six slots for standing stone inscriptions (Sevin and Belli 1976/77). the inscriptions are framed by three-tiered rectangular niches. 371). It is cut into the living rock at the foot of a rock outcrop. and a flat platform again cut out of bedrock. with an inscription on the flattened rock façade. is the earliest version of such shrines (Belli and Dinçol 1980). Hazinepiri KapÌsÌ. MeherkapÌsÌ and YeâilalÌç also feature rock cut channels .

by contrast. The king’s performance in these rituals in front of these open-air shrines might have been particularly important especially if we consider that this indeed coincided with the first few decades that the Urartian religion was constructed and introduced. At the end of the ninth century B. no new open-air shrines in the shape of three-tiered inscribed niches were built (table 1). These aspects of the architecture of the monuments suggest that the king’s performance could have been enacted as a spectacle of the state. however. which suggests that performative participation in the rituals was restricted to only a few individuals. could have been performed in front of these niches and would have been highly visually accessible to the audience standing below. 1992b) and Körzüt (Dinçol 1976) built by Menua. After the end of the ninth century B.. we can imagine that this period would have been vital in the establishment and popularization of the newly launched imperial religion. and possibly the building of KayalÌdere temple (Burney 1966) around the turn of the century.210 t. It is possible that the older open-air shrines of Hazinepiri KapÌsÌ. such as animal sacrifices or libations. Meher KapÌsÌ. The concept of kingship could have been re-defined through a display of the king’s role in religion.. Additionally. The emergence of this new form of sacred architecture and the abandonment of the older form of open-air niches more or less contemporaneously suggest that there might have been a significant change in the performance of rituals. are fairly small. tanyeri-erdemir on the platform that suggest that ritual activities requiring drainage. 1964). This was soon followed by the erection of standard temples at Anzaf (Belli 1992a. The visual display of ceremonies in front of a large group of spectators might have been one way of popularizing and introducing the cultic rituals and worship.C. If we agree with Salvini’s suggestion that the cult of Haldi and the state religion of Urartu were introduced towards the end of the ninth century B.. there was a remarkable shift in Urartian sacred architecture. The platforms. the king’s performance in these rituals would have helped to define his kingship and strengthen his legitimacy. The earliest identified standard temple was built during the co-regency of Iàpuini and his son Menua at Patnos (Balkan 1960. and YeâilalÌç may have been in continuous use for the enactment of ritual performances till the fall of Urartu. defining his role as the arbiter between the divinities and his subjects.C. the conspicuous absence of such monuments around the .C.

The temples at Patnos and KayalÌdere are 5 x 5 m (Burney 1966). .58 x 4. some scholars prefer to reconstruct it as an arched gate.5 x 4. 7 The inscription on YeâilalÌç niche identifies that monument as a susi (Sevin and Belli 1976/77. Similar three-tiered door frames have also been attested in civil architecture and tombs (Tarhan and Sevin 1975. The most prominent difference is that the rock-cut shrines are located in the landscape and could have accommodated a relatively larger audience for the enactment of rituals.6 The proportions of threshold widths and depths are also comparable (Tarhan and Sevin 1975. Let us consider possible ceremonial and ritual activities that might have taken place in the Urartian standard temples. Additionally I would like to stress that in both.20 x 5. Moreover. Although it is impossible to know who watched and participated in these rituals. there seems to be a marked preference for frontality. The cellas of the Urartian temples are relatively small (table 2). we need to point out significant differences between the rock-cut shrines and the temples. The gates of standard square temples display the same threetiered frames.7 This being the case.5 m (Erzen 1976/77). 408). and perhaps to a level that was indistinguishable to the ancient audience. the upper citadel temple and the Irmuàini temple at Çavuâtepe are both 4. AltÌntepe temple is 5.62 m (ÇilingiroÅlu 2001). we can assume that access to them was significantly restricted following the relocation of sacred spaces inside the fortification walls. one should also note that the shape of the upper parts of the temple gates is still unknown. 8 The cellas of Urartian temples are square rooms usually measuring around 5 x 5 m. in the Urartian language the words KÁ (gate) and susi are used interchangeably for the standard temples and three-tiered rock niches. while the temple inscription of Körzüt states it to be a KÁ (Dinçol 1976.the temple and the king 211 newly built fortresses of the eighth and seventh centuries suggests that this sort of ritual architecture might have fallen out of fashion after the emergence of the first standard temples.20 m (Özgüç 1966). 408).8 The cella walls have 6 However. whereas only a limited audience could be hosted in the courtyards of the temples. and the Ayanis temple is 4. With the emergence of these standard temples. 383). The similarity between the open-air shrines of MeherkapÌsÌ and YeâilalÌç and the façades of standard square temples is striking and has been investigated previously by Taner Tarhan and Veli Sevin (1975). 24-25). Based on the representations of Urartian citadels in art. royal rituals appear to have moved inside the massive fortifications. linguistically. which further suggests that they might have represented similar – if not identical – concepts.

are found in front of the temples at the sites of Ayanis.C. The center of the circle is in alignment with the gate of the temple. if not impossible. but it is clear from the photograph in pl. VI shows this feature as a rectangular structure. 71. but he stated that a small window could have been placed on the roof (Özgüç 1966. AltÌntepe. This is a rectangular feature.212 t. see Özgüç 1966. Features identified as altars. There is sufficient archaeological evidence to suggest that the exteriors of the temples in general. see ÇilingiroÅlu 2001. This might have been particularly important in a harsh climate with a significant amount of snowfall. Özgüç opted for a flat roof in the reconstruction of the temple at the site of AltÌntepe. dated to the ninth century B. pl. 13-17. 1). it is probably safe to assume that there might have been some continuity in the performative acts of rituals enacted in front of the three-tiered open-air shrines and the façades of the standard temples. building on the image of the temple at Mußaßir from Sargon II’s relief.C.9 There is. tanyeri-erdemir generally survived to a considerable height but none of the excavated temples offer us any clues for understanding the structure of the roof. 4-5). They both have similar three-tiered frames. Armenia. the rock-cut niches of MeherkapÌsÌ and YeâilalÌç. see Burney 1966.50 m in diameter) constructed of small and medium-sized stones. The lavish exteriors of the standard temples. This being the case. The contents and decorations of the cella would suffer significant damage from the elements. indirect evidence to support the presence of some form of roof. whereas others have opted for a flat roof (Akurgal 1968. mea- . and western Iran today. by contrast. however. For KayalÌdere. IX/2 that this is a circular construction made of stones. envisage a pyramidal roof (Kleiss 1963/64). The emphasis on frontality in religious architecture and consequently practice appears to have started as early as the ninth century B. As discussed previously.. This is a large circular feature (3. for which the archaeological 9 Some scholars. and Toprakkale.10 We should imagine the cellas to be fairly small and very dark spaces. 10 Without a solid roof it would be hard.11 With the exception of Toprakkale. display significant similarities to the façades of standard Urartian temples. Please note that the plan in pl. pl. pl. There is evidence of red and white paint around this structure. VI. KayalÌdere. Hence. 11 For Ayanis.IX/2. we could suggest that the interiors of the Urartian temples would not be suitable for performing ceremonial functions involving more than a few people. and the frontal axis in particular. were significant for ceremonial activities. could act as a powerful backdrop for ritual acts (figure 1). For AltÌntepe. If we presume that the ancient climate was similar to what is experienced in eastern Turkey. very much like the example at Ayanis. we should account for environmental factors affecting architectural decisions. possibly for sacrifice or presenting dedications. to maintain the massive mudbrick walls. 45.

The Ayanis temple courtyard had two entrances one of which was blocked sometime during the lifetime of the temple. Through time. As opposed to the ones discussed above. In the photograph. which shows a stone-basin in the shape of a key-hole. illustrates that the temple was enclosed in a wall and was surrounded by massive pillars. It is the same size as the temple gate and is in perfect alignment with it. instead of columns (ÇilingiroÅlu 2001). all others are placed in alignment with the front door of the temple. 1993. Thus. The temples at YukarÌ Anzaf and KayalÌdere built in the late ninth and early eighth centuries B. built by Argiàti I and Sarduri II respectively.C. The seventh-century temple of Haldi built by Rusa II recently excavated at Ayanis.) in the eighth century are located farther away from the city walls. we can also observe that the temples became more and more spatially secluded and self-contained (table 1). The excavator called this feature a “stele base” but in Urartu. Burney 1966). as participants or as audience. The temples built by Argiàti I (786-764 B.. stele bases usually have a slot for erecting the inscribed stone. however. 3). Both of the entrances were fairly small and neither had direct access to the façade of the temple. The presence of these features in the temple courtyards strongly suggests that the ritual activities were performed in front of the temples. there is no indication whether it had been moved by the excavators. and three round column bases were excavated to its west (Erzen 1978b. and the temple courtyards could be reached directly by a ramp leading from the city gates (Belli 1992a. the feature is seen to the right of the entrance to the temple. In the absence of epigraphic data informing us about the details of possible ceremonial activities. towards the center of the citadels. The temple courtyards vary in size but they are significantly larger than the temple cellas and could have hosted several tens of individuals if they were to be included in the ceremonies. The temples at Arin-Berd and Çavuâtepe.C. . this altar is a heavy. but potentially moveable object. For Toprakkale. which is dated to the late eighth or early seventh century B. The AltÌntepe temple. suring 2. 377). The temple grounds were always located at the highest spot of the citadels and at secure locations. have some indication that they might have had colonnaded courtyards.35 m. The Çavuâtepe upper citadel temple was enclosed in a temenos wall.00 x 1.) and Sarduri II (764-734 B. was located in a compound with high walls and a colonnaded courtyard (Özgüç 1966).C. I believe this feature could best be identified as an altar.C. were abutting the fortification walls.the temple and the king 213 evidence related to the find-spot of the altar is unclear. see the photo published in Rassam (1897.

cat. to imagine who was allowed and to what degree into the courtyards and in the cellas of the temples. daggers.97. but also underline the military aspect of Haldi. perhaps only granted to the priestly class. 11. if not impossible. The dedicated objects displayed in such sacred contexts are inherently related to the construction of meaning of that space. 58). or otherwise important individuals in the society. From epigraphic evidence. and armbands. The formula frequently employed in these inscriptions states the name of the king. no. We can. Salvini 2001a. These include shields. see the display inscriptions of the temples at the sites of KarmirBlur and Ayanis (Diakonoff 1991. The fact that armor and weapons were exclusively dedicated to Haldi suggests that this deity must have had a strong military association. helmets. however. his patronymic. the inscriptions on bronze armor excavated from the temple grounds at Ayanis (Salvini 2001b).13 We know from epigraphic sources that the Urartian pantheon was fairly large and included a myriad of male and female deities. it was highlighted and promoted in the symbolically charged temple grounds. Rusa. he put it in Rusahinili Eidurukai” (Salvini 2001b. inscription inv. see the inscription on the imperial shield dedicated at Ayanis: “To Haldi. It could further be suggested that permission to enter the temple grounds would have been highly prestigious. For an example of an active act of dedication. argue with certainty that at least one individual was granted access to all temples in the lands of Urartu: the king himself. such a 12 For sacrifices. made and dedicated this shield for his life. and a dedication. no. swords. In both of these inscriptions an extensive list of sacrifices for gods and goddesses is listed. (his) lord. the architectural layout indicates that access was restricted.12 Whatever role he might have played in the Urartian religion. the son of Argiàti. In any case. high aristocracy. . The overwhelming numbers of dedicatory armor in sacred contexts not only create an effective display of military power of the ruling dynasty and their Urartian armies. Examples of imperial armor and weapons were displayed in great numbers on the exterior walls and on the pillars of the Urartian temple courtyards (figure 1). spears. arrows. However. 272.214 t. 13 See for example. Therefore access to the sacred temple context would be a marker of distinction. AyBr 1.1. we understand that the king was actively involved in making sacrifices and dedicating armor and other objects to Haldi in the temple grounds. tanyeri-erdemir it is hard. Van Museum inv. no. 253-261). Some of these artifacts are decorated and/or inscribed. quivers. which is always to the god Haldi.

348: text no. The written record indicates that the Urartian king’s claim to the throne was through patrilineal succession. Menua.”15 Two things are highlighted in this powerful sentence: first. Hence. 3-4. as well as his patriarchial bloodline. as published in Artunjan 2001. More elaborate versions are 14 .the temple and the king 215 spectacular display of military power might have been very important for an imperial structure in which a majority of the lands was gained through military conquest and annexation. dedicated. in which “a particular individual governs who is designated by a definite rule of inheritance” (1978. Rusa II states that: “When Haldi gave me the kingship. This is the most basic version of the dedicatory inscription. Rusa. Sarduri II. and continued up to the end of the reign of Rusa II in the late 7th century B. must have played a vital role. at the same time.C. The intimacy between the god Haldi and the king. I. it is an institution passing from father to son. Rusa I. An almost identical phrase is attested in a similar susi inscription from Karmir-Blur “LUGÁL-TÚhi a-ru-ni na-ha-[di LÚAD-si-ni?] e-si LUGÁL-TÚ-hi-ni” (ll. 275). we should suspect that the inscriptions. In this respect. 4). both monumental and dedicatory. Argiàti I. The dynastic succession is not clear after the termination of Rusa II’s reign. 231). is further emphasized by the conspicuous use of objects bearing such formulaic statements: “To Haldi. and Rusa II. that kingship is granted by a divine source. Karmir-Blur inscription. The dynasty started in the mid-9th century B. ll. did the temple grounds help establish this dynastic continuity? Language is a powerful tool in the construction of symbolic power. For instance. the son of Argiàti. 259: sect. four bronze and one iron sikkatu type nails (AyBr 15a-d. which is found on a spearhead (AyBr 13). 424. 15 “ài-da-ú-ri i-ú Dhal-di-ià-me LUGÁL-TÚ-hi a-ru-ni na-ha-di LÚAD-si-ni e-si LUGÁL-TÚ-hi-i-ni. l. his lord.14 How then. 16 “Dhal-di-e EN-’Ú mru-sa-a-àe mar-già-te-hi-ni-àe uà-tú-ni” (as translated by Salvini 2001b.C.” here translated by Salvini (2001a. In a related manner.”16 The kings are Sarduri I. the governing system in Urartu would best fit Max Weber’s definition of patriarchialism. AyBr 16). 3-4). and second. on two bronze foundation discs (AyBr 14 a-b). the temple grounds appear to have been important in establishing and maintaining the legitimacy of the ruling dynasty. Argiàti II. UKN 448. I set myself on the father’s place of the kingship (= the throne). in the beginning of the monumental inscription on the façade of the temple at the site of Ayanis. An unbroken dynastic lineage spanning two centuries and including eight kings can be traced in the inscriptions through the use of patronymics with each king’s name. as they would have been carefully and deliberately constructed by the ruling authority. Iàpuini.

it is hard to argue whether they are indeed hieroglyphics. In a tablet recently excavated from YukarÌ Anzaf (YAK 2002 5. 17 These bronze bowls were found stacked in a pithos (Piotrovsky 1952. and Rusa. Sarduri. One such artifact is the candelabrum excavated from Toprakkale (Lehmann-Haupt 1907. Gulili is identified as a porter (Belli and Salvini 2003.216 t. In the tablets from Ayanis individuals are commonly identified with their town or region of origin. and YukarÌ Anzaf contain names of various individuals. Some additionally have a small lion’s head. Bastam. which is usually translated as “inventory” of a king.17 Both the candelabrum and the bronze bowls bear the word úriàhusini on them. or an eagle’s head. For the Karmir-Blur bowls. 29-31.19 While the number of individuals that appear in the textual record is very small. 63. Menua. 49-63. Argiàti. Nulagi is identified as a person from the city of Karmir-Blur. It is possible that inscriptions of ownership were inherently different from dedicatory inscriptions. Barnett included these images in his study of Urartian hieroglyphics (1974). .18 In either case. We cannot fully eliminate the possibility that these objects were stored there for safekeeping. Ayanis. tanyeri-erdemir The use of the patronymic is a common formula that frequently appears on display inscriptions and displayed objects. bull’s head. They are inscribed with the names of Urartian kings. For the time being. 2001c. the objects were excavated from storage contexts.C. Karmir-Blur. see Piotrovsky 1952. For more examples see Salvini 1979b. 18 The inscription on the candelabrum became visible after conservation. fig. We might perhaps suggest that the use of the patronymic was not as imperative on objects not intended to be displayed in sacred contexts. We should also note that there are instances in which the king does not identify himself with his father’s name. A tower with a tree on top is depicted on almost all of them. Belli and Salvini 2003. in light of available evidence. in CB AY-4. such objects (candelabra and bronze bowls) have never been attested in excavated temple contexts up to now. the stark attested on imperial shields (such as AyBr 1. the patronymic appears to have been used only for the members of the royal family. however. in CB AY5. 282). All other individuals attested on tablets and seals are identified either through the place they are from or their occupations. Zanprina is identified as a person from the city of Qul (Salvini 2001c. which is followed by a lengthy curse formula) (Salvini 2001b). 147). Friedrich 1961). See Friedrich (1961) for the inscription on candelabrum. For example. 1988. 19 The tablets and bullae excavated from Toprakkale. 1979c.332). patronymics of the kings are not used on the 97 inscribed bronze bowls found at the site of Karmir-Blur. The bowls also have incised decorations on them. Furthermore. Moreover. 49-63).

Argiàti I. In history. Sarduri II. and seals. this might have been akin to the European royal family portraits of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries A. Names of individuals have only been attested in clay tablets. We do not know whether the Urartian rulers were involved in such practices. . Along the same lines. The number of clay tablets excavated to date is fairly limited.. and they were taken down and stored in the basement for safekeeping during the siege of the site. I would like to suggest that the selection of artifacts to be 20 Only the members of the royal family are included in the display inscriptions carved in stone.D. fratricide was practiced in the Ottoman Empire to secure dynastic succession and minimize possible fragmentation of power (`nalcÌk [1973] 2002.21 Furthermore. 280). and hence helping establish its continuity (Schama 1988). 279. quivers. the display of memorabilia from earlier kings might have also been important. However. it is highly probable that at least some of these objects were on display in the temple grounds. a new foundation of Rusa II. bullae. which were instrumental in displaying the royal bloodline. we do not know whether the artifacts were displayed or kept in the storehouses permanently. there are examples of drastic measures taken to ensure the continuity of patriarchial succession. in the case of Karmir-Blur. 21 These include a large number of shields. both as his divine right and as his inheritance. and consequently the number of individuals mentioned is fairly small as well.the temple and the king 217 difference in the identification of the members of the royal family and others is significant to note. Dynastic continuity has a fragile balance that needs to be reinforced. The frequent and abundant use of the patronymic of the king in association with the god Haldi’s name in the temple grounds might have been an effective act. underlining the legitimacy of the dynasty. and Rusa I (Piotrovsky 1969). In practice. a helmet inscribed with the name of the earlier king Argià ti II and a shield possibly inscribed with the same king’s name were excavated (Salvini 2001d. For instance. 59-64). but the success of the dynasty indicates that there must have been effective ways of ensuring the continuity. and helmets belonging to Menua.20 This abundant use of the patronymic in association with the name of the most powerful deity in terms of granting kingship in the temple grounds might be interpreted as an attempt to secure the legitimacy of Rusa II’s rule. In either case. We know that inscribed weapons of Rusa II’s forefathers were brought to the site of Karmir-Blur. in Ayanis. reminding the subjects of the legitimacy of the king.

As Irene Winter noted in reference to the Assyrian kings’ active involvement in the selection of their imagery for sculptures.C. (Winter 1997. might consequently signify that there was a continuing increase in the social hierarchy. it must. can be seen as an attempt to secure dynastic continuity. onward. at the same time.218 t. in one way or another. whether by direct reference or by allusion. dazzling the common folk living in the outer town with the glorious but unreachable. the overall output functions to represent the state as its governors would wish it to be seen. What then. can we say about the production of symbolic power in Urartian sacred spaces? In the formative period of Urartian state religion. making the king’s and the ruling elite’s status distinct. and that means. When the system is highly hierarchical.C. The seclusion and inaccessibility of the temple grounds suggest that the access to the rituals must have been more restricted than before. 376. the most prominent form of sacred space was moved into the citadels and took the form of a standard temple. in the ninth century B. towering image of the temple. as well as the excessive use of the patronymic both on objects and on stone inscriptions. like official art in any political system. imperial sacred architecture in Urartu was highly instrumental in the production and reinforcement of social hierarchy. The moving of the temple grounds. The increased inaccessibility and seclusion of standard temples. And the gradual increase in this inaccessibility throughout the eighth and seventh centuries B. reinforcing the role(s) at the top of the hierarchy. emphasis hers) I would suggest. the open-air shrines served as places to help introduce and popularize the state religion and define the king’s role in the religious realm. tanyeri-erdemir displayed on the temple grounds. as it is the case with official art in Winter’s formulation. must have marked an important juncture pointing to a change in the ideological realm in terms of the hierarchical position and perhaps the role of the ruling elite in the society.C. . reinforce those aspects of the hierarchy that keep subordinate social tiers in place. could have been an effective way of marking the distinction of the king from the rest of the populace while.. coupled with their visual grandeur. From the eighth century B. as well as the ritual ceremonies associated with them.

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———. September 7–11. Ancient Ararat: A Handbook of Urartian Studies.222 t. 41. Salvini. Berkeley: University of California Press. In Ayanis I: Ten Years’ Excavations at Rusahinili Eiduru-kai 1989-1998. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ed. Urartian and Achaemenian Tower Temples. ———. Rome: Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici. and Oktay Belli. S. Ussishkin. ÇilingiroÅlu and M. Bulletin of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan: Essays on Ancient Anatolia in the Second Milleium B. On the Architectural Origin of the Urartian Standard Temples. Winter. Taner M. Urartu TapÌnak KapÌlarÌ ile AnÌtsal Kaya Niâleri ArasÌndaki BaÅÌntÌ. tanyeri-erdemir ———.. 2001c. 251-270. Urartian Material Culture as State Assemblage: An Anomaly in the Archaeology of Empire. A. Recent Research at the Urartian Capital Tushpa. In Art and History: Images and Their Meaning. 2001b. Paul E. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization no. Documenta Asiana VI. M. Max. ÇilingiroÅlu and M. 155-183. 1985. ———. In Ayanis I: Ten Years’ Excavations at Rusahinili Eiduru-kai 1989-1998. 1975. Tel Aviv 21: 144-155. David. Salvini. 1994. 2 vol. Ph. JNES 26: 278288. 1994. Taner. and Veli Sevin. Stronach. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Zimansky. Monumental Stone Inscriptions. 271-278. 2001d. Ed. In Assyria 1995. A. Rotberg and Theodore K. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. 1995. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press. Art in Empire: The Royal Image and the Visual Dimensions of Assyrian Ideology. . Royal Inscriptions on Bronze Artifacts. Salvini. 1997. 1998. 1976/77. In Ayanis I: Ten Years’ Excavations at Rusahinili Eiduru-kai 1989-1998. Tarhan. Simon. ed. ed. Helsinki. Belleten 39/155: 389-412. Tarhan. Politics and Religion in Urartu. ÇilingiroÅlu and M. Parpola and R. Ecology and Empire: The Structure of the Urartian State. Progetto Urartu: Inscribed documents of the Campaign 2001 in Ayanis.D. Veli. Documenta Asiana VI. The Domestication of Majesty: Royal Family Portraiture. Documenta Asiana VI. 10: 133-151. ———. Rabb. Weber. 2001a. 1978. 1996. A. ed. YeâilalÌç Urartu Kutsal AlanÌ ve Kalesi. 1998. Imperial Archipelago: The Making of The Urartian Landscape in Southern Transcaucasia. Tel Aviv 21/1: 22-57. Smith. SMEA 43/2: 275-280. Rome: Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici. 1988. University of Arizona. 359–381. Irene J. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project Helsinki. and Jak Yakar. 1995. ———. diss. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich.C. Adam T. 1500-185. 1967. New York: Caravan Books. Whiting. Avia. 279-320. Sevin. Robert I. Anadolu AraâtÌrmalarÌ 4-5: 367-401. Rome: Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici. Inscriptions on Clay. Taffet. Schama. David. ed. BASOR 299: 103-115.

Urartian standard temple based on the architectural and archaeological data from Ayanis.C.the temple and the king Figure 1. Suggested reconstruction of a 7th century B. showing a possible decorative scheme of the temple grounds 223 .

224 t. tanyeri-erdemir Table 1. Three tiered rock-cut niche shrines and standard temples built by Urartian kings (temple plans not drawn to scale) .

Comparative dimensions of Urartian standard temples (measurements given in meters) 225 .the temple and the king Table 2.

226 t. tanyeri-erdemir .

workmanship as ideological tool 227 III “Legitimization of Authority”: Ideological Contexts .

aker .228 j.

while in others only those aspects that would have been necessary for their identification and differentiation from others are articulated. Additionally. as if they were assembled from cardboard cutouts. dogs and lions. makes earlier hunt scenes look stiff and lifeless. the specific pattern of deployment evident in variations in I am indebted to Jack Cheng. I then argue that the way these areas of differing workmanship are distributed across this particular cycle of reliefs resulted from an intentional deployment of variously skilled craftsmen. 157.workmanship as ideological tool 229 WORKMANSHIP AS IDEOLOGICAL TOOL IN THE MONUMENTAL HUNT RELIEFS OF ASSURBANIPAL Jülide Aker The animal hunts of Assurbanipal. which has greatly benefited from their comments. and the competence of their execution. Edward H. Here.1 The expression of action. are celebrated for several reasons as the highpoint of Assyrian visual production (for example. the degree of detail given to forms seems to vary. Indeed. I concentrate on this latter aspect of the lion hunt reliefs in Room C. 189-190). of course. dramatic tension and emotional range thought to be lacking in most other Assyrian visual production. 1 . Cohen and Marian Feldman for their careful reading of this paper. the reliefs are celebrated also for their workmanship. Moortgat 1969. the increasing correspondence of the anatomy of the horses. endows them with an inner life lacking in the animals featured in earlier works. Furthermore. Frankfort 1977. together with greater variation in their facial expressions and poses. Groenewegen-Frankfort 1951. to animals observed in nature. the degree of embellishment given to forms. 180-181. some forms are articulated from their grossest aspect to their smallest and shallowest surface details. the animation of the figures. especially the large scale lion hunts in Room C of his North Palace. the consummate carving that has given rise to forms that express movement. the naturalistic rendering of the animals. I intend first to show that there are clearly discernible differences of quality and competence in the carving of forms across the reliefs in Room C. in particular on the quality of the carving. And.

while only a few select details are further articulated. are carved to stand out in shallow and uniform relief for the most part. see Marcus 1981. Within these crisp outlines. These anatomical details are represented by combinations of rounded. Two sections of reliefs from Room C serve to illustrate the consummate level of workmanship observed in these reliefs. the shoulder and thigh muscles and the ears. In the lion hunt reliefs. eyes. In the absence of any trace of paint from Room C reliefs. . Paley 1976. if painted. shallow undulations. aker the quality of the carving. was meant to enhance some of the ideological effects intended by the planners of the room. Thus. Curtis and Reade 1995. In this article. 2). embellishment of forms and competence. flat and curved planes with sharp edges. as for example the muscles and bone of the forearm and the ears and nostrils of the king and his attendants. forms are articulated so as to present a clear crisp outline. 64. and paws of the lioness. I suggest. and their combination. From the surviving evidence.2 Carving articulates forms by separating them from the background and other forms in order to represent their distinctive identities. 10). These sections show the king spearing a lion from his chariot and the famous dying lioness paralyzed by arrows and dragging her hindquarters (figures 1. in particular.230 j. carving and embellishment of forms. for example. it is hard to determine if paint was used on the reliefs and to gauge its impact on the surface qualities of the reliefs. it is unclear whether color was used sparingly on Assyrian reliefs to emphasize or add some details or liberally to produce an effect closer to glazed bricks and wall paintings (Reade 1979. The quality of this articulation can be judged in part by the variety in the manipulation of the surface to shape or suggest form. emphasized others or obscured some of the delicacy of the surface treatment of the reliefs (for paint as a signifying element. traces of paint were found on some of Assurbanipal’s reliefs (North Palace. carving encompasses the way in which the surface of the relief is physically worked to suggest form. Room B. Accordingly. would have been greatly affected by the presence of paint on the reliefs. crisp ridges. in the volumetric 2 The visual impact of aspects of workmanship. I am proceeding as if none existed. forms. This is achieved by carving the edge deeply and narrowly into other forms or the background. 77-78). Furthermore. such as human and animal bodies. In other words. Paint may have added some details. as well as the resulting impact upon the viewer for which the reliefs are celebrated. These various treatments can be found. the hunt reliefs may have communicated to the ancient viewer different meanings from what is proposed below. I concentrate on three aspects of workmanship: carving. 18. high-relief projections. the selection of forms. and incised lines. 90) but evidence for its existence is much rarer than on reliefs from earlier reigns.

are effected in high relief as well as shallow incision. the tunic of the charioteer is decorated all over with geometric and floral patterns and figurative scenes executed in light incision (figure 4). the grip of the claws of her forepaws. in the nearby softer waves of the planes of her ear and its sharply delineated edge. the details of forms. For example. and it is the strategic alternation of these techniques that helps maintain the legibility of such intensely worked passages. thus expressing the strain of the lioness as she drags her paralyzed hindquarters. the hollow of the underarm. because the underlying forms of the forward mass of the right shoulder. For example. the volumetric treatment of a few forms in contrast to the flatter carving of the rest of the body draws the viewer’s eye to the lioness’ face. Such embellishments. the high rounded form . and in the incised line that represents the powerful muscles of the upper foreleg (figure 3). while up close the impression of texture resolves into individual rosettes. The passage that shows the king spearing a lion from his chariot illustrates the extreme degree to which detail is given to forms while maintaining their visual coherence as distinct entities. beads. The second aspect of workmanship for which the Room C reliefs are celebrated is the way forms are embellished to show a range of details from their gross mass to their shallowest surface features. The decoration is organized into panels that cover different zones of the body: the upper arms. and the anatomically nearly incoherent huddle of her lower extremity. leaves. forepaws.workmanship as ideological tool 231 treatment of the brow and deeply recessed eye of the lioness. For example. Emphasis on isolated anatomical details triggers the imagination of the viewer to conjure the rest of the form in a convincing and emotionally resonant anatomical likeness. the shoulders and the torso. The combination of these three areas in her body highlights the tense muscles of her face. and the extremity of her hindquarters. and the like. That these visual effects do not interfere with the viewer’s perception of the charioteer’s body in profile is remarkable. and the curve of the chest are indicated solely by the outline of the right shoulder and the right arm and a slight concavity along the bottom edge of the arm where its outline ends across the torso. The articulation of this strain elevates the passage from the visual notation of a fact to an expression of pain and suffering. the lightly incised patterns organized into distinct panels coalesce into an impression of texture that helps to identify the tunic as a decorated garment. From afar. squares and cross-hatches.

In addition. A much more complicated passage is the representation of the king’s face and body in profile. the carver not only managed to show correctly the way a charioteer would hold multiple straps of . the overlap causes a severe fragmentation of the body parts of the two bodyguards who stand next to the king. and when they were they were few and engaged in simpler activities. On a smaller scale. and his two bodyguards—a beardless man holding the king’s bow and a bearded man readying his spear to defend the king if necessary—are overlapped and tightly compressed into the cab of the chariot to a degree unprecedented in Neo-Assyrian monumental reliefs. Here the viewer can see the arm and wrist band of the king in nearly threedimensional form rendered to the smallest detail of the central vein of each petal of their rosettes. Here I mean not the mastery of techniques of carving discussed above but mastery in the rendering of forms and their relationship to one another. 6). figures were hardly overlapped. One can examine the decoration of the king’s tunic and his belt. he holds a whip with the thumb and index finger of his right hand. Again. The skill of the carvers is revealed in the way they manage to keep the overlapping parts and the gear of all four figures in their correct anatomical position and within the correct spatial plane in relation to one another. the degree to which forms are represented correctly and the reliefs are free of various kinds of mistakes. is the passage that shows the charioteer holding the reins of the horses. and discern even the ornamentation of his one-piece armguard and glove. In this case. He holds three straps in each hand and distributes each strap between the first four digits. the passage that shows the king spearing a lion from his chariot illustrates the extraordinary competence of the carvers. though no less impressive. The passage where the king draws back his bow shows such tiny details as the cuticle of his thumb and the shallow grooves (or the ridges of wound thread) that provide a handle grip at the riser of the bow. where high and shallow relief alternate to describe an extreme wealth of detail that ranges from the king’s ear to the silky fringe that decorates the ends of the streamers that hang from his headgear (figures 5. four figures. Until Assurbanipal. The third aspect of workmanship upon which I focus is competence. aker of the plain arm bands worn by the charioteer calls attention to these jewels against the shallow relief of the arm and the flat surface of the garment decoration. Here. Here. the king.232 j. the charioteer.

and even the production of an entire reign (for example. Russell 1987. most of this work has concentrated on the discursive content of the reliefs. 1998. palaces. but also. Such selectivity not only prevents understanding the full scale and impact of the reliefs in their actual physical configuration within a specific architectural space. Assumptions regarding the quality of workmanship in the carving of the hunt reliefs arise from the fact that a monumental program of decoration which survives in over 30 meters of length and consists of several different episodes of action is often considered in and represented by a few select scenes. but also causes us to overlook many of the critical junctures in the visual and discursive content of the cycle. such as compositional strategies (for example. Marcus 1987). 3 For an example of the impact of this method of study upon interpretation. by representing both hands in profile and slightly apart. . There are a number of passages in this relief cycle that contain mistakes and that show neither the same complexity of detail and embellishment of forms nor the same skill in carving as those discussed above and usually selected as representative of the workmanship and power of the entire work.workmanship as ideological tool 233 reins in each hand. To date. In this respect. Such is the workmanship and impact of passages like that of the dying lioness and the king spearing lions from his chariot that the reliefs are generally and deservedly praised as consummate examples of the high point of Assyrian relief carving in monumental format. Such. or their formal aspects. in fact. he grants the viewer two different perspectives of the charioteer’s grip. such as narrative structure. my study here follows the lead of those who have since attempted to understand Assyrian reliefs as deliberate.3 It was Irene Winter’s pioneering article on Assurnasirpal II’s throne room reliefs (1981) that demonstrated the importance of considering Assyrian relief cycles in their entirety and within their physical as well as cultural and historical contexts. Frequently accompanying this praise is the assumption that the entire relief cycle was brought to the same exquisite finish and executed with the same skill and competence of workmanship. is not the case. see Bersani and Dutoit (1985) whose work could have benefited from a greater awareness of the physical and visual context of the excerpted details of forms and actions upon which they concentrated and the larger whole to which such details belonged. thereby limiting our interpretation of the work. concerted programs of ideologically motivated visual statements which encompass rooms.

that has long fallen out of favor with the majority of art historians as an aspect of connoisseurship. A careful examination of all aspects of visual production. I hope to show otherwise. this later damage acts as a veil over the work such that the visual impact of less skillfully carved areas is obscured and the modern viewer is led into imagining a surface uniformly brought to the same high level of finish as the areas that display a high quality of carving. a neglect for which I was soundly and rightly criticized at the time by my advisor. I am grateful to her reminder and example that the foundations of our own work rest on the achievements of earlier scholars and that much can be gained from the application of a sound method of study even if it is out of general favor. her review of the 1972 reprint of Henrietta Groenewegen-Frankfort’s Arrest and Movement (1951) and her use of insights gained from Groenewegen-Frankfort’s formalist analysis as a springboard for her own work (Winter 1999).4 Returning to the level of workmanship displayed in the lion hunt reliefs of Room C in Assurbanipal’s palace. Some of this damage was caused by the looters of the palace who gouged out the eyes of some of the figures in the reliefs. or authorship but has nevertheless been dismissed of late as leading the scholar to little else in understanding the cultural and social context of image production. Here. chronology. For one. social and historical implications. In this limited study. I also hope that in this way I might make up for my neglect of issues and methods of connoisseurship in the early stages of my training. for example. though. it should be noted that the entirety of the relief cycle does not display the same level of exquisite carving as the two areas discussed above. This damage distracts the modern viewer from noticing the differences that exist among different areas of the reliefs in the quality of carving. aker Russell 1993. Perversely. and much of it was caused by the corrosive effect of damp earth against the limestone of the reliefs as the palace lay buried for over a couple of millennia. including quality of workmanship. the finish of surfaces and the competence in the rendering of forms. 4 Winter’s respect for earlier work and methods is evident in.234 j. there is considerable surface damage to the reliefs. workmanship. . has the potential to yield information and to lead to interpretations with cultural. Irene Winter. Albenda 1997). I am examining an aspect of visual production. a field of visual study that is acknowledged as necessary for its value in determining such issues as authenticity.

Sections of such repeated forms. 8). are barely noticeable. slab 9. both of omission and commission. 6. such as missing details and irregularities. Equally hard to detect are the occasional lapses in correspondence between sections that were meant to mirror each other. Some of the mistakes are more obvious than others. 6. slab 7). the uppermost pair of the three stacked pairs of attendants performing the same duty is missing the sticks tucked under their arms (Barnett 1976. For example. some are farther apart and others much closer. 9. among soldiers who stand to attention as the king’s horses are brought. pls. pl.workmanship as ideological tool 235 Looking beyond the distracting effect of this later damage. 1st figure from left. framing the beginning of one of the hunt scenes. pl. one of the attendants holding a temporary screen around the chariot of the king is missing his belt (Barnett 1976. slabs 9. whereas there are 10 such pairs to mark the end of the scene (Barnett 1976. 6. upper register. slabs 7. there are seven of them on the top register and only six of them on the bottom register (Barnett 1976. 7th and 9th figures from the top). perhaps because they occur primarily in regularly repeated forms. slab 5. Likewise. in the representation of forms. a careful examination reveals differences in the embellishment of forms as well as differences in the quality and competence of their carving. slab 6). slab 7. For example. slab 8. the number of helmeted spear bearers depicted on each register does not match. 6. pl. in some areas the quality of the carving itself appears shockingly poor. lower register. 5. the rosettes that decorate the inner band of the round shields depicted on the upper register are missing from their counterparts on the lower register (Barnett 1976. Mistakes of omission. The repetition of forms . Problems in workmanship fall into three categories: there are mistakes. 3rd figure from left). two of the helmeted spear bearers standing to attention on either side of the horses brought to the chariot are missing their swords (Barnett 1976. 5. and some passages appear unfinished. only nine pairs of archers and spear bearers are shown to form the boundary of the arena. A number of passages can be identified where the carving can be described as indifferent if not downright incompetent. 17). pl. pl. especially the rows of soldiers. 5th. 4th figure from left). In those same paired lines of soldiers. and three of the archers from the pairs of soldiers who line the boundary of the arena are also missing their swords (Barnett 1976. seem additionally beset with irregularities in spacing. 6. pl.

7. however. and the spear in his right hand seems caught in between. on the side that lies further away in the depth of the picture space (figure 7). but then the man who seems to have been positioned behind the dog has his foot in front of the spear in a configuration that would have been impossible to maintain. while the lower one stretches out the forms horizontally so that the man and the dog are overlapped only 5 Mistakes in the spatial representation of overlapping forms is to be distinguished from passages where forms are correctly but ambiguously distributed in depth. discussed below. overlapping the dog. on the side of his body closest to the picture plane. Each handler is shown holding a spear in his right hand. Poor handling of spatial relationships is harder to overlook. tends to fool the viewer’s eye and mask these problems. In the uppermost vignette. and in the process they seem also to have introduced some problems in the spatial relationship of the forms. in almost each case. is one example of this kind of play. Yet. While mistakes of omission can be ascribed to haste or carelessness rather than to lack of skill. The lowermost vignette shows the spear in its correct spatial plane. slab 10). the spear is positioned between the dog and the man. for the man’s left arm seems to reach diagonally across his body to the dog placed on his right.236 j. and the leash of the dog in his left hand. 6 Surface abrasion obscures this arrangement for the lowest of the vignettes. .5 Mistakes of this kind can be found in the four vignettes of dog handlers who control the hounds used to drive the lions (Barnett 1976. the overlap of forms describes an impossibility in which the body of the dog appears in front of its handler and an awkward if not equally improbable accommodation is made for the spear. The two middle vignettes appear to have resolved these issues more successfully: the upper one positions the spear to lie horizontally in the correct spatial plane by showing it overlapping the leash of the dog and the body of the handler. the resulting ambiguities of which were intended to be meaningful. In their proper order in depth. pl. The representation of the bodies in the chariot cab. the spear should appear closest to the viewer with the dog the farthest away and the handler situated in between. The latter are not mistakes but deliberate optical plays. mistakes in the representation of spatial relationships denote a certain lack of competence on the part of carvers who executed these parts of the reliefs.6 The carvers attempted to introduce liveliness to this section by varying the poses of the handlers and the dogs. aker executed in large scale over a wide expanse of space. as a result the figures appear somewhat tangled.

are represented by cross-hatchings of incised lines and not modeled into little round three-dimensional mounds as on other figures nearby. in the line of soldiers who form the human boundary of the arena. for example—is another possible explanation. To these larger displays of ineptitude can be added the smaller lapses that betray the lack of some carvers’ understanding of the structure of forms and anatomy of the body parts they depicted. hairstyle) necessary to identify the regimental association of the figures (figure 8). but it does not account for the crudeness with which these forms have been articulated. The curls at the nape and beards of some of these same figures. unskilled carving reveals itself in forms that are coarsely and unnaturally robust in their . For example. swords. This is especially evident in the figures of the screen bearers and soldiers who line the edges of the arena and stand at attention near the preparation area. That the scale of the figures is too small to depict forms with any degree of elaboration cannot be advanced as the sole reason for this lack of detail. These forms are minimally described and lack the elaboration and ornamentation employed in other areas. headbands. for the figures of the king and his companions demonstrate the degree to which skilled workmanship could represent fine details in a small area. That the gear of some of these figures might have been much humbler or cruder in nature—foot soldiers possessing plain shoulder straps as opposed to decorated ones. There are other areas in the lion hunt reliefs that betray a combination of incompetence and indifference. The same cursory representation of curls can be found among the spectators and the soldiers who stand at attention.workmanship as ideological tool 237 minimally. These areas are marked by the absence of the multi-layered. Anatomical details of the arms and calves of many of the smaller-scale figures seem to become patterns abstracted from the actual form they are supposed to describe. however. finely executed detail and embellishment found in the passages depicting the king and his closest companions in the chariot and of the sensitive modeling exemplified by the carving of the lions and horses. Neither. while the spear is unambiguously and awkwardly placed behind the man’s foot. while in the lower one the man’s foot and the dog’s hind paw are brought close enough together to introduce some uncertainty into their spatial relationship. The upper one places the man behind the dog. the carvers have represented only the bare minimum of gear and features (bows. for example. spears. is wholly free of problems. belts. Elsewhere.

6. For example. trunk and branches of some of the trees are blocked out. 1st figure from left). The problems of workmanship identified thus far suggest that a number of sculptors possessing different levels of skills were employed to carve the reliefs in Room C. Along with such poorly carved areas are others that are left unfinished. the details of the boots of the soldiers standing at attention by the king’s chariot. In the worst cases. slabs 8. straps and heels have become three-dimensional forms independent of and unrelated to one another. the headbands and shoulder straps of the archers who stand behind the shield and the spear-bearing soldiers at the edge of the arena appear puffy. the weave of his stockings and the strands of the tassel that dangles between his legs are left unarticulated (figure 9). not flat (figure 8). Likewise. 9). Incomplete areas of the North Palace are marked not by partially carved reliefs but by blank stretches of limestone facing. the laces of his boots. His belt. aker articulation. that the reliefs seem to have been inspected and that some corrections (most noticeable in the shortening of some of the lions’ tails) were made. Likewise. the waves of hair on the crown of his head. is unfinished (hillside. I pursue . Below I argue that such carelessness and indifference may not have been accidental or random. such poor carving manages barely to denote the identity of the form it described but cannot connote its character or nature. unarmed man wearing a short tunic. The North Palace is assumed to have been unfinished at the time of Assurbanipal’s death and therefore it can be argued that the carvers may have run out of time. Unfinished sections of the reliefs are localized in the area that shows the spectators climbing a hill covered with trees and surmounted by a monument. pl. In the remainder of this paper. but the finer details in the form of needles and leaves are missing (Barnett 1976. uppermost row. a bearded. are so crudely carved that the tongue. So much so. Here the outlines of the crown. and the boots appear to be a collection of these forms rather than a continuous and supple surface that covers the foot and the calf. but this seems unlikely given that the rest of the room is completed and that time sufficed to bring some areas to an extremely high level of finish. It is more likely that a combination of carelessness on the part of the carvers and indifference on the part of their supervisors was responsible for the way these areas look.238 j. especially details of those on the lower register. at least one human figure.

the modeling is subtler and shows greater technical variety. The sculptors working in the North Palace may have belonged to more than one workshop but when the focus is limited to the material in Room C. while the lower zones may have been relegated to apprentices and lower skilled carvers whose inferior workmanship was less likely to be noticed by viewers and who would have had to put up with the discomforts of working close to the floor. the reliefs under study cover a much smaller area and are localized in a single room. where one craftsman seems to have been responsible for carving the entirety of a figure or groups of figures. consisted of repetitive forms deployed across a fairly wide expanse. By contrast. 27) also demonstrated that in some cases a master carver had carved the heads of the figures while his assistants executed the rest of the bodies. there is not enough comparative data to distinguish the work of hands that belong to different workshop traditions. in particular the processions that he examined. better sculptors might have been deployed to carve these upper zones. Two explanations come to mind. An additional reason for delegating the upper zones to more accomplished sculptors may have to do with the hierarchic structure of a workshop in which senior members would have been granted the double privilege of visibility of their handiwork and easier working conditions. The upper half of the reliefs fall within a zone that is at the eye level of the average adult viewer. about five feet tall.7 Michael Roaf (1983) was able to identify different groups of sculptors who carved the Persepolis reliefs. The Persepolis reliefs with their uniform ceremonial processions seem particularly suited to this kind of labour division. In two areas of the reliefs. However. and therefore they are more visible and more likely to be examined by individuals walking across the room. the sculptors seem to have better understood and represented the forms they were carving. the Persepolis reliefs. 7 . and the impact of possible workshop conditions and procedures upon the carving of the reliefs seems minimal. where the same subject is depicted on the upper and lower sections. Accordingly. Roaf (1983. best evident in a comparison of the boots and legs of the soldiers standing at attention by the chariot and the bodies of the mastiffs used to drive the lions. However. the upper half seems predominantly better carved than the lower half even when mistakes such as omitted gear or improbable distribution of forms in depth are taken into account. In these upper zones. this difference in quality between upper and lower zones can be observed in only two areas of the reliefs. Moreover. but it seems not have been practiced in Room C.workmanship as ideological tool 239 the implications of the pattern that emerges from a consideration of the distribution of these variations in the quality of workmanship .

Equally beautifully carved as the king and shown at almost the same scale but with slightly less elaborate ornamentation of their gear and clothing are the members of the chariot crew. not surprisingly. but lack the earrings shown dangling so prominently from the king’s ears.240 j. These figures are divided into three registers (therefore executed at a relatively large size) and spread out so that the unique and necessary contribution of each to the preparation of the king for the lion hunt can be clearly articulated (figure 10). testing and bringing gear to the king (Barnett 1976. At the same scale as the chariot crew are the three men who are backing the horses into the harness of the chariot. they wear plain undecorated tunics and thus appear somewhat lower in rank. The crew’s garments are decorated but with simpler. While the figures are plainly . and fewer floral and figurative panels. predominantly geometric patterns. fillets. Most exquisitely carved and at the top of this ranked order is. “third men” who act here as bodyguards to the king. the king. It is clear that the best carved areas depicted the king. A wide gulf in quality of carving and level of ornamentation separates these figures from the rest who lack jewelry. slabs 3. aker Instead. the carving of the reliefs seems to have been governed by a much different consideration. A closer look at the entire relief program shows that the quality of workmanship in the carving of forms reveals greater gradation than simply good or bad and was directly correlated to physical and social distance from the king. They wear similar jewelry and fillets. pl. The quality of workmanship—evidenced by the tour de force carving of boots and stockings—seems as good as that lavished on the chariot crew. and level of attention and skill (together with other formal devices) combine to articulate a precise hierarchy of status among the forms and figures represented. elaboration of detail. various degrees of quality of carving. 4). possibly taàlÊàå. and decorated garments. However. That is. and their sword belts and shoulder straps are finely decorated. 5. Nevertheless these figures do separate themselves into a well differentiated rank order. and who are represented at a noticeably smaller scale and with less skill. in contrast to the chariot crew. The crew consists of the charioteer and two others. while the poorly carved areas include primarily lower-ranked individuals. They wear rings on their arms and wrists and fillets on their heads. Stationed hierarchically below the chariot crew and the horse handlers are the attendants who are preparing.

The figures are ambitiously varied in their posing. They are few and isolated in the picture field and therefore prominently displayed perhaps in acknowledgement of their role in facing and driving lions on foot with nothing but spears and mastiffs. the quality of workmanship evident in the carving of the dog handlers ranks somewhere between that of the attendants fetching gear and of the soldiers standing at attention. this initial impression of parity is undermined by the uneven and generally poorer quality of carving most evident in a comparison of their limbs. The man who releases the lions from their cages is hardly remarkable in any aspect of workmanship. and they have undecorated gear. 6. pl. and the attendants who hold screens to enclose the chariot compositionally act as counterparts to the attendants fetching gear on the other side. the competent. arms. 27). and also largely devoid of ornamentation. 9. 10. high quality carving evident in the fineness of their face. hair and beard.workmanship as ideological tool 241 dressed and devoid of jewelry. hair. However. pls. In comparison. legs and feet further elevates these figures above others who. may appear to be of similar rank. The low quality of carving and the inexperience of the carvers are evident from the accidental omissions and the modeling that gives a three-dimensional . where anatomical details veer into abstract patterns and hair and beard are rendered frequently by sketchy cross-hatchings. but like the riders he is distinguished by the obvious dangers of the service he performs for the king and like them is isolated and prominently placed (Barnett 1976. Executed at about the same quality of competent carving and level of detail. slabs 6-8). 5. 13. They are represented at the same scale and they too wear plain tunics and lack jewelry. They are executed at a small size that precludes much elaboration of details. the grooms who are leading additional horses in between these two files. let alone ornamentation of dress and gear. pls. slab 16). based on dress and accessories alone. 10. slabs 15-17. are the five outlying riders who are carrying spare equipment and spurring and driving the lions with whips in the hunt scenes (Barnett 1976. hands. The most cursorily and coarsely carved figures are those of the archers and shield bearers who form the human boundary of the arena. and at first glance they seem to be placed at the same rank (Barnett 1976. good or bad. The soldiers who are standing at attention in two files by the chariot in the preparation scene. These figures are additionally marred by carelessness that resulted in missing gear. 26.

relative position. gesture. hair. some of which are on the verge of devolving into cross-hatching. finer details of some of them—the leaves and needles of the trees. headgear and footwear) were used in Assyrian reliefs to express hierarchy (for example. aker appearance to flat surfaces. the beard. belt.242 j. They are executed at the same small scale as the soldiers who form the boundary of the arena. Here forms were blocked out but. This section shows a number of unarmed. The ideological nature of the deployment of workmanship across these reliefs is perhaps best evident in the way some figures were slighted by this means while others were honored beyond their apparent rank. This marginalization is emphasized by the mediocre workmanship given to their forms and their placement in a section of the reliefs so undervalued as to be left unfinished. jewelry. While not as poorly carved as the soldiers. hair. weapons. placement. I would argue that. In particular. Conversely. boot laces and stockings of at least one figure prominently positioned near the top of the hill—were left unfinished. in the monumental lion hunts of Assurbanipal. as noted above. the rendering of the spectators’ beards and hair curls. climbing it or nearing its summit. But it is the fact that the carving of this section was left unfinished that distinguishes it from all others. high ranking officials and officers identifiable by their long tunics with tasseled hems and fringed shawls (Marcus 1981. 53-57) were marginalized by being placed among the passive spectators and depicted in a size smaller than the dog handlers and the nearby foot soldiers standing at attention. dress. beard. bearded and beardless individuals variously converging upon the hill. Marcus 1981). Without the distracting effect of surface erosion. quality of workmanship functioned as a deliberate ideological tool that articulated and enforced rank and social status in the same way other formal and iconographic means (such as size. the . the exquisite carving and intricate embellishment of the chariot crew elevated these middle ranking officers above all others nearly to the level of the king. More specifically. This careful differentiation of groups by regulating the amount of skill and care devoted to their carving suggests that aspects of workmanship were used by the planners of the reliefs as a visual tool for communicating meaning above and beyond that of representing forms. shows that the quality of the carving is also not particularly good. One area of the reliefs stands out for the extraordinary indifference with which it seems to have been carved.

9 This process is explained and documented in detail in my forthcoming dissertation on the monumental lion hunt reliefs of Room C in Assurbanipal’s North Palace. These officers are documented to have held their posts for long periods. as well as deterrents such as the withdrawal of royal favor and the attendant loss of wealth and position in court. directed a considerable portion of their patronage toward some of the middle ranking officers in the king’s immediate service.9 I have argued elsewhere that the lion hunt reliefs in Room C constituted one of the strategies of patronage by which Assurbanipal tried to enlist and ensure the loyalty of the middle and low ranking members of his court and army upon whom he was most dependent. were placed in positions of prominence across from the king (Marcus 1981). and their considerable physical distance from the king and his activities. possibly at the expense of other. bodyguards who were physically the closest to the king and charged with ensuring his safety. From administrative records it appears that the kings employed a number of strategies designed to foster loyalty. the paucity of their numbers.8 An explanation for the attention lavished on the chariot crew in particular may be found in the efforts of late Sargonid kings to deal with the political instabilities of their times. Following the upheavals of the deaths of Sargon II and Sennacherib and the assassination attempts on Esarhaddon. The expansion of the hunt narrative. Assurbanipal among them. higher ranking officers and officials and family members who were incidentally likely to pose the greatest threat to the continuity of the king’s reign. and. These consisted of incentives in the form of gifts of tax exemptions. judging by their appearance in witness lists.workmanship as ideological tool 243 deliberate neglect of the area would have been all the more glaring during Assurbanipal’s times. These same records suggest that the kings. bejeweled and embellished with gear and weapons. . amassed immense wealth. a number of surviving records such as queries to gods and loyalty oaths document the growing concern of the Sargonid kings for the safety of their persons and the longevity of their reigns. The denigration of these high ranking figures was further underscored by their lack of jewelry and weapons of rank. in particular. gained considerable status within the court. to include the king’s preparations and multiple scenes from the course of the hunt itself. see procession scenes of Assurnasirpal II and Sargon II where such figures. land grants (and sources of income). allowed 8 By contrast. and status items such as bracelets and decorated garments. charioteers and “third men”.

the lion hunt. provided a worthy venue for displaying the heroic exploits and invaluable service of the middle and lower ranking palace and army personnel. and justify the king’s patronage of his charioteer. bodyguards and others directly responsible for the safety of the king in one way or another (such as those harnessing the horses to the chariot). and the psychological processes by which the reliefs were meant to act upon their viewers. Here the reliefs allow the viewer to observe the precise way in which the charioteer holds the six straps that control and direct the horses. including the middle and lower ranking palace and army personnel. is found worthy of acknowledgement and celebration in this monumental form of representation. while his service and his skill are articulated and emphasized in the nearly three-dimensional treatment of his hands that hold the reins (figure 11). it also functioned as a means by which an additional form of patronage. in this case the gift of commemoration in monumental format. aker the reliefs to show a great range of auxiliary figures as participating actively in the event.244 j. In part. their placement in a corridor within a section of the palace open to most members of the court. underscore. The reliefs would suggest to viewers that the role of these individuals. I argue that deployment of workmanship across the reliefs was one tool used together with other formal and iconographic tools to ideological ends. In this tiny passage. and the nearly three-dimensional treatment of the hands and fingers communicates the immense power and skill possessed by the charioteer to perform that task. The inclusion of images of spectators and the specification of a physical context would have further concretized the specificity of people and actions represented in the domain of the actual rather than the ideal. its representation.10 For example. are discussed in my dissertation. the reliefs articulate. In part. Variations 10 The location of the reliefs. especially that of the chariot crew. to the extent that they support and protect the king. . quality of carving allowed the reliefs to document the king’s favor and efforts to secure the loyalty of his subjects by articulating such items of status as arm and wrist bands and decorated garments that were given to charioteers. or more properly speaking. And at a time when the Assyrian king no longer personally led his army into battle. could be regulated and used to greatest ideological effect. scale and quality of carving work together in the representation of the charioteer so that his status is clearly indicated by his jewelry and decorated garments and gear.

the horses . might be changes in court protocol. in the very act of placing the charioteers and bodyguards immediately next to the king and honoring them with a representational treatment nearly equal to that of the king. to articulate and bestow precise and minute differences of status among a wide range of functionaries and place all individuals into a hierarchic order of rank. the extraordinarily high quality of workmanship lavished upon the horses and the lions would appear to put these animals at the level of the king and his closest companions. By contrast. which would have accommodated the elevation of the charioteers and bodyguards and other middle ranking officers in the king’s personal service to higher positions of status and honor. and. Most obviously. a great amount of detail and embellishment is given to the horses (figure 12). high quality of carving has been used to make the faces and bodies of the animals emotionally expressive. Accompanying the king’s patronage. but hardly documented in the written record. I would argue that variation in the deployment of skill and competence. First. a few veins in the legs. that is. By extension. an aspect that is not relevant to the topic at hand and that is treated in greater detail in my forthcoming dissertation. In this analysis of workmanship as an ideological tool for achieving social stratification. The detail given to lions is sparse. differing amounts of detail both distance the lions from the humans and bring the status of the horses within the human domain into proper focus. Thus.workmanship as ideological tool 245 in the quality of carving enabled those who planned Room C. where agency would ultimately rest with the king. In fact. I suggest that these hunt reliefs may have constituted an expression of such changes in court protocol. these animals are distinguished from each other by other qualities of workmanship. which translates into quality and detail of carving. the flow of blood from wounds. appears as a deliberately wielded ideological tool in the monumental hunt reliefs of Room C. by the amount of detail and embellishment given to each animal. the reliefs would have functioned partly as a form of flattery to those shown participating in the hunt and partly as an incentive for others (spectators in the reliefs or the viewers before them) by articulating the point that acceptable avenues of advancement and glory lay only in the service of the king. may have also functioned as active mechanisms for effecting these very changes. to address the matter of the lions. and the individual strands of the triangular clumps of fur of the manes. The reliefs show extended claws.

poll crest. indicates that the king’s chariot horses occupy a fairly high rank in the network of animate and inanimate tools of kingship that extend from the king and serve him. nape strap with bells. blinkers. the representation of which is only possible with high quality carving. their status is clarified with the use of ornamentation and embellishment. breast and girth bands. rendered with some relief to make it stand out. and. from high to shallow. The tack consists of a bridle. increases as one goes up the chain of hierarchy in the human domain. the fineness of the tack’s ornamentation. such embellishment. the horses are carved to show a considerable range in depth of relief. Furthermore. functions both as ornamentation and as a sign of the rank for the horses much like the dress and gear of the human beings shown on the reliefs. uneven in length.246 j. Thus. and therefore ungroomed—curl into small. in itself thoroughly decorated with floral and geometric patterns. bits. aker are equipped with highly complicated tack for harnessing them to the chariot. And like everything that extends from the king and becomes part of his representation. The horses. Furthermore. crimped into waves. headstall. thong. By contrast. the mane of the lions—unruly. the tack transforms the horse from a mere animal into a being that shares the human realm. are embellished to the same degree and for the same reason that any other gear and accessory of the king is embellished. I would argue. This tack. This variation in depth of relief reveals ever finer levels of detailing as the viewer comes closer to the reliefs. and plaited at the end into a small loop. An indication of domestication. triangular tufts. harnessed to the king’s chariot. frontlet. each strand of hair on the horses is indicated in shallow relief precisely to articulate the artificial patterning that the grooming imposes on the animal’s body (figure 13). and the tail is combed. In the lion hunt reliefs of Room C. is an aesthetic quality that hints at the increasing wholesomeness of those occupying upper echelons where . a shock of hair over the brows is given a blunt cut. That the condition of domestication is not just a matter of donning gear but one that permeates the subjectivity of the horses is indicated by their precise grooming: the mane is combed and clipped to present an unbroken sweeping outline against the neck. neck strap. Whatever is part of the civilized domain and of high status has this kind of elaborate embellishment that accrues on its form in multiple layers of increasing complexity.

so that his work is partially claimed under the agency of the king. the reliefs assert that the agency of the king’s dependents. The reliefs also placed some limits upon the prestige bestowed upon those represented. notwithstanding the skillful resolution of all these body parts in different planes of representation. scale and proximity to the person of the king. Their role in the hunt is passive. The bodyguards protect the king by deterring and deflecting the lions that attack the chariot. on the other. all the weapons used by the king plunge into the bodies of the lions. as well as quality of . I suggest that the obvious gradation of quality of workmanship functioned as a double-edged ideological tool that. Indeed. the guards’ bodies are not only situated behind the king but do not achieve the physical unity and therefore the conceptual clarity given to the king. The hierarchy of power and the supremacy of the king are maintained in the reliefs by articulating. but they never kill the lions. elaborately embellished. while prominently displayed. The scale of representation. on the one hand. combined with skill of carving. allowed the sculptors to represent clearly the tips of the spears. through various means—dress. while. even when placed in front of the king in some scenes. In clear contrast. placed next to the king. appears as an extension of the king’s body. and their arms appear as extensions of the king. they contain and limit that agency within precisely defined bounds. are featured only as tools of the king. They are so closely overlapped by the king that parts of their bodies become chopped up. The dependency of the king upon the performance of his followers is mirrored by these individuals’ greater dependency upon the king for their status and power.workmanship as ideological tool 247 perfection appears in the extreme complexity of the embellishment of the king’s form. In conclusion. circumscribed them into a precise rank order that would have underscored their place within a hierarchy. is a function of occupying a position within a hierarchic power structure controlled by the king. a variety of formal and discursive means are used to ascribe some agency and power to the middle and lower ranking members of the king’s personnel. and exquisitely carved. Furthermore. Ultimately. which touch but do not penetrate the bodies of the lions (figure 13). And. the abilities of the bodyguards appear subsumed into the person of the king. for example. for all its glory and for all that it enables. Likewise. The middle ranking officers. conferred prestige upon those represented and. the charioteer. at the same time.

Jülide. Reade. Furthermore. Leo. Henri. Sculptures from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (668-627 B. 1977. The inflection given to the nature of kingship in Room C is a minor variation that seems to have been presented through the visual domain alone and addressed to a specific segment of the palace and army personnel who might have been more sensitive and receptive to a vision of kingship that raised the profile of their role and status within the core of the empire.. even though the king is nevertheless the dominant element. ed. The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient. Bersani. and Julian E.-10.. could hardly have been so monolithic that it would have manifested no variations or even occasional contradictions in all its formulations and strategies in the course of the empire. Most Assyrian ideological productions identify kingship exclusively with the king. 11 See for example. Assyrian Wall Reliefs: A Study of Compositional Styles. 1997. Ph. Pauline. Forthcoming. ed. the Assyrian ideology of kingship. eds. XXXIXe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale.248 j.). John E. Hauptmann. New York: Schocken Books.D. References Aker. Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum. Exhibition catalogue. London: Penguin Books. Juli 1992. and Ulysse Dutoit. Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag. Harvard University. Waetzoldt and H. kingship appears as an institution that extends beyond the person and the office of the king to encompass his loyal followers. 1985. 1995. aker workmanship lavished on the representational form—a specific status that locks each individual within a particular place in this network. The Forms of Violence: Narrative in Assyrian Art and Modern Culture. 4th rev. Heidelberg 6. Curtis. I do not think that the reliefs in Room C represent the emergence of a radical change in our understanding of Assyrian kingship. In Assyrien im Wandel der Zeiten. Irene Winter’s analysis of statues of Assyrian kings (1997). in whom the person and the office are united. Albenda. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Frankfort. London: The British Museum. H. diss.C. 1976. 223-226. Richard David. Rhetoric of Transgression: Assurbanipal’s Babylonian Policy and Transformations in the Visual Domain.11 In the monumental hunt reliefs of Room C. . like all ideologies. Barnett.

1999. Whiting. Sennacherib’s Lachish Narratives. AJA 102: 655-715. London: British Institute of Persian Studies. 1997. New York: Brooklyn Museum. 1995. The Art of Ancient Mesopotamia: The Classical Art of the Near East. Padua: Sargon srl. Tree(s) on the Mountain: Landscape and Territory on the Victory Stele of Naram-Sîn of Agade. Papers Presented to the XLIVe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Russell. 1967]. S. ———. 1998. Paley. Baghdader Mitteilungen 10: 17-49. Samuel Michael. S. Marcus. 359-381. thesis. Julian E. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. B. 1987. P. 1974. Sculptures and Sculptors at Persepolis.A. Translated by M. Frontiers and Horizons in the Ancient Near East. London: Faber and Faber Ltd. Review of Arrest and Movement: An Essay on Space and Time in the Representational Art of the Ancient Near East. 64-72. M. London: Phaidon. DuMont Schauberg [orig. J. Michelle I. by Henrietta Groenewegen-Frankfort. Parpola and R.C. In Assyria 1995. Roaf. Venezia. Bulls for the Palace and Order in the Empire: The Sculptural Program of Sennacherib’s Court VI at Nineveh. 1987. ———. King of the World: Ashur-nasir-pal II of Assyria 883-859 B. Art Bulletin 69: 520-539. ed. Michael. ———. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. Columbia University. ———. 1951. 7-11 July 1997. Arrest and Movement: An Essay on Space and Time in the Representational Art of the Ancient Near East. . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lanfranchi. A Study of the Types of Officials in Neo-Assyrian Reliefs: Their Identifying Attributes and Their Possible Relationship to a Bureaucratic Hierarchy. 1993. 1969. John Malcolm. M. Geography as an Organizing Principle in the Imperial Art of Shalmaneser III. 1981. ———. Royal Rhetoric and the Development of Historical Narrative in NeoAssyrian Reliefs. In Landscapes: Territories. JAOS 94: 505-506. Anton. F. 1976. Reade. Fales and G. Henrietta A. ———. ed. Iraq 49: 77-90. ed. Studies in Visual Communication 7/2: 2-38. 1979. The Program of the Palace of Assurnasirpal II at Nimrud: Issues in the Research and Presentation of Assyrian Art. 55-73. September 7-11. S. 1981. 1983. de Martino. Milano. In Narrative and Event in Ancient Art. Holliday. Assyrian Architectural Decoration: Techniques and Subject Matter.workmanship as ideological tool 249 Groenewegen-Frankfort. Irene J. Helsinki. M. pub. Winter. Moortgat. Art in Empire: The Royal Image and the Visual Dimensions of Assyrian Ideology.

aker Figure 1. Room C. Assurbanipal in his chariot. 24.250 j. British Museum (WAA 124853-4) author photo . slabs 23. spearing lions.

Dying lioness. Room C. British Museum (WAA 124856) author photo 251 .workmanship as ideological tool Figure 2. slab 26.

252 j. Detail of dying lioness. aker Figure 3. British Museum (WAA 124856) author photo . slab 26. Room C.

slabs 23. Room C. British Museum (WAA 124853-4) author photo . Charioteer. 24.workmanship as ideological tool 253 Figure 4.

aker Figure 5. slab 24.254 j. Room C. Assurbanipal’s face. British Museum (WAA 124854) author photo .

Room C. slab 24. British Museum (WAA 1248854) author photo .workmanship as ideological tool 255 Figure 6. Assurbanipal in his chariot.

British Museum (WAA 124863) author drawing . slab 10. Dog handlers. aker Figure 7. Room C.256 j.

slabs 9. 10. Room C. British Museum (WAA 124862-3) author photo . Detail of the line of soldiers edging the arena.workmanship as ideological tool 257 Figure 8.

slabs 8. Unfinished trees and figure on spectator’s hill. Room C. aker Figure 9. British Museum (WAA 124861-2) author photo .258 j. 9.

workmanship as ideological tool 259 Figure 10. Room C. Detail of attendants fetching gear. slab 4. British Museum (WAA 124884) author photo .

Room C.260 j. slabs 23. aker Figure 11. 24. Charioteer’s hands. British Museum (WAA 124853) author photo .

slab 5. British Museum (WAA 124858) author photo .workmanship as ideological tool 261 Figure 12. Room C. Chariot horse.

Room C. slab 20.262 j. aker Figure 13. Assurbanipal and bodyguards with weapons. British Museum (WAA 124850) author photo .

British Museum (WAA 124850) author photo .workmanship as ideological tool 263 Figure 14. Tips of weapons. slab 20. Room C.

264 j. aker .

style can encompass more than an unconscious reflection of cultural or personal ethos. Catherine Demos. what she characterizes as “affective” in its ability to generate emotional responses. Despite its unusual content. to Naram-Sin’s alluring body. In addition. I would like to explore the concept of “style-as-meaning” in the case of a much later work. Ann Shafer and Stephanie Reed have contributed critical feedback. Winter has addressed this connotative and rhetorical aspect of style. . which was literally embodied in Naram-Sin’s perfectly formed and alluring figure. in relation to one of Mesopotamia’s most famous monuments: the victory stele of Naram-Sin (c. her expansion of the concept of “style” to embrace affect and agency has provided particularly fertile grounds. ultimately. Sabrina Maras. the relief of Darius I (522-486 BCE) at Bisitun in western Iran. which will lead me back. For me. Because style must exist in order to give content visible form and thus no discrete boundary can separate style from subject matter. As a tribute to Irene. Jennifer Wister and my research assistant Jean Li. stands apart from other large-scale. royal Achaemenid monuments in its representation of military triumph and its extensive textual recounting of historical events. the monument has been taken to signal the beginning 1 As is fitting for a tribute from a student to her teacher. Berkeley. In particular. this paper owes much to my own students at the University of California.darius i and the heroes of akkad 265 DARIUS I AND THE HEROES OF AKKAD: AFFECT AND AGENCY IN THE BISITUN RELIEF1 Marian H. suggesting that the newly divinized ruler strategically deployed stylistic forms associated with a heroic ideal. Style can also be intentionally deployed for purposes of meaning and response. Meliza Orantes. executed at a critical juncture during Darius’ consolidation of power. In a reconsideration of this monument. 2250 BCE). colleagues David Stronach. Feldman Irene Winter’s innovative thinking on so many aspects of Near Eastern art has inspired all fortunate to have studied with her. The Bisitun relief. I would like to thank Shane Black. Winter (1996) has pursued the affective qualities conveyed in the overwhelmingly physical rendering of Naram-Sin’s body.

carved into the living rock of the Zagros mountains. asking not only whence does the style derive. 15-30. And because Achaemenid art seems to appear abruptly. however. .2 Carved early in the reign of Darius cultural context and in the emotional response invoked/provoked by the work. 2937. useful primarily for comparative ends in order to trace the mixed ingredients that comprised Achaemenid art. the relief’s subject matter of victorious triumph has been associated with a Mesopotamian iconographic tradition. . scholars tend to concentrate on disentangling the diverse influences that led to its genesis. “the key to ‘styleas-meaning’ lies. I would like to propose that the style of the Akkadian empire. it has been easy to identify “Greek style” existing in an otherwise Near Eastern iconography without worrying about the implications of this coexistence.5 m wide). Root 1979. In such studies. As Winter (1998. 117. Stronach and Zournatzi (1997. might have been deployed by Darius in his Bisitun relief as a way to link himself to the great Mesopotamian empire of the past.” Considered in this light. 104-11. it is 2 The monument measures approximately 7 m high by 18 m wide (sculpted area: approx. 63-94. Thus. Richter 1946. Indeed. “style” has been understood solely as an aspect of form. his court and his subjects. has been derived from a narrowly defined concept of iconography that focuses only on motif. Farkas 1974. “Meaning. Luschey 1968. 72) has pointed out. 330-31) for general references. we consider style as a carrier of meaning.266 m. rises approximately 100 meters above a highway leading from central Mesopotamia (Babylon) to the Iranian plateau and the Median capital of Ecbatana (Hamadan) (figure 1). If. 6-14.h. fully formed with few indigenous precedents. but what associative connotations might it have held for Darius. . 182-226). Many of the stylistic elements of Darius’ anatomy and clothing. 121-38. 3 m high by 5. feldman of the classical Achaemenid style that finds its fullest expression at Persepolis. Frankfort 1946. most scholarship on the Bisitun relief divorces the content from the style. Curtis 2005. probably before 519/518 BCE. have been attributed instead to Greek influences (Boardman 2000.” on the other hand. traceable from Assyria and a series of western Iranian rock reliefs back to Naram-Sin’s stele. exemplified by Naram-Sin’s stele and connoting a semi-divine heroic. The Bisitun (or Behistun) relief. contra: Nylander 1970. In this way. then this dichotomy should be reexamined. however.

and images. hovers the torso of a male figure rising out of a winged disc. In the center of the relief. 3 . Before Darius stand nine rebels. Each is identified by a trilingual label and distinguished by clothing and hairstyle. before leaving to campaign in Egypt. Two armed attendants follow Darius. ascribing his rule to the favor of Ahuramazda. whereupon another character. which Darius put down over the course of the first few years of his rule. and Old Persian that frames a roughly rectangular-shaped sculpted representation depicting Darius triumphant. over the bound rebels. Darius. In the Bisitun text. Wearing a horned headdress that in Mesopotamia signals divinity. raising its right hand while holding a ring in its left hand. and reaffirms the divine sanction of his actions. connected to one another by shackles and with their hands tied behind them. following in the tradition of great usurpers of the past. and preserved examples survive from Elephantine (Aramaic text) and Babylonia (both text and image) (Greenfield The relief was carved in several stages that included later additions of the rightmost captive. Bardiya. General consensus now interprets this narrative as justification for what appears to be Darius’ murder of the legitimate successor to the throne (Kuhrt 1995. Both text and image work together to express Darius’ legitimacy and divine favor. Gaumata. Darius claims to have sent copies of it throughout his empire. The text recounts the complicated story of Darius’ succession to Cambyses as king of Persia (Schmitt 1991). took pains to stress his divine selection. the Akkadian text and the Old Persian text (Hyuse 1999.darius i and the heroes of akkad 267 unique among Achaemenid monumental works of art. 45-66). such as the Bisitun inscription. The monument consists of a trilingual inscription in Elamite. one holding an upright spear. Darius with a bow in one hand stands with his left foot planted squarely on the prone body of Gaumata who raises his hands in supplication and kicks up one foot as if in anguish. Babylonian Akkadian. the entity faces Darius. The image at Bisitun presents an encapsulation of Darius’ dispatch of Gaumata and quelling the revolts.3 As an illegitimate ruler. Slightly off center to the left. After Cambyses died far from Persia. A series of revolts ensued. Darius claims that he killed the imposter and assumed the throne. Cambyses secretly murdered his brother. stepped in and impersonated Bardiya. 655). He also carefully controlled his royal persona both through texts. According to the inscription. the other a bow and quiver.

Since the early twentieth century. no. retains an inscription of a local Lullubi ruler. Ishtar extends a ring in her right hand and secures in her left the bonds of two naked kneeling captives. nos. The geographical proximity to Bisitun of these rock reliefs strengthens the argument that Darius adopted from them the concept of a victory monument carved in the living rock. He may have considered them Elamite or perhaps Median. and thus sought to ally himself to these earlier Iranian For such scenes on seals. 1999a.h. which suggests that Darius intentionally drew upon the form and content of the earlier reliefs in their indigenous setting. 5 4 . to the left of the inscription. the rock reliefs form a discrete local tradition. The homogeneity of royal representations during the reign of Darius attests to the strict control over their production.5 The best preserved example. It depicts the armed ruler stepping upon the fallen body of his enemy. one near Darband-i Sheikan and one at Darband-i Gawr) show much the same scene. A star or sun symbol occupies the space between Annubanini and Ishtar. though with variations. Börker-Klähn 1982. scholars have traced the inspiration for Bisitun to a series of carved rock reliefs in the vicinity that date to the end of the third and beginning of the second millennium and that display both thematic and compositional similarities with Bisitun (Hrouda 1976. 29-34). The extensive narrative of court intrigue and rebel insurrections represents the only such document. While the impetus for such a monument—that is. Annubanini (Börker-Klähn 1982. Below the main scene. six more bound and naked captives move to the right. monumental or otherwise. while to his right. known from Achaemenid sources. Moreover. Darius’ desire to legitimize his rule—seems reasonably settled. feldman and Porten 1982. 1999b). found at Zohab near Sar-i Pul approximately 100 kilometers to the west of Bisitun.4 Nowhere else is such a blatant image of royal physical triumph put forth at such large scale in the public sphere. In particular. see Boardman 2000. 31) (figure 2).268 m. a quest for its artistic precedents has dominated scholarly inquiries. six reliefs (four at Sar-i Pul. Seidl 1976. while the persistence of the canonical repertoire through his successors’ reigns provides a good measure of their effectiveness. The Bisitun relief supplies one of the only historical accounts from the Achaemenid empire and is the only monumental rendering of domination. 158-59.

In an intriguing turnabout. been associated with the stele of Naram-Sin. wearing a horned headdress and holding a bow and axe in one hand and a mace or arrow in his other.” Specific motival details at Bisitun have been associated with NeoAssyrian and. Nonetheless. Neo-Babylonian precedents (Sarre and Herzfeld 1910.6 At the apex stands Naram-Sin.7 However. 199). and under the rubric of “trends” I would include “style. Root 1979. See below for further discussion and references. 84-90. the squared beard and hairstyle of Darius. Luschey 1968. is by no means a copy of these reliefs. Three celestial symbols fill the uppermost part of the relief. The early rock reliefs have. The Bisitun monument. in turn. 32. Margaret Cool Root is certainly correct to treat with caution any strictly linear developmental sequence beginning with Naram-Sin. while pleading or dead enemy occupy the space to the right. hinting at the range of “affect” such a scene could carry. 202-18). but they almost certainly post-date Naram-Sin (Börker-Klähn 1982. Certain details may be associated with one or another. less frequently. variations occur at Bisitun that indicate that no one rock relief. however. The dates of the rock reliefs are debated. 7 6 . for example the bound captives or the poses of the defeated enemy. At least three rows of soldiers scale the mountain below him to the left. As none are direct copies of any preceding ones. the very people debased by Naram-Sin in his stele—the Lullubi—later appropriated his visual formula for their own purposes in the Zagros rock reliefs. it is more fruitful to consider multiple interacting trends within the Mesopotamian and western Iranian traditions as contributors to Darius’ relief. supplied the entirety of either formal or stylistic elements. nor even the group as a whole. including the Lullubi. which commemorates the Akkadian ruler’s victory over mountain peoples of this very region. The stele has been studied and described so often that only a cursory overview is given here (figure 3). 195). The triumphant pose and overall conception of the rock reliefs are closely related to the stele. 137). With his left foot he steps upon two apparently dead enemies. the best known example of the motif of a victorious ruler stepping upon his vanquished enemy. For example. 189-98. through the Zagros rock reliefs to Bisitun (Root 1979. Farkas 1974.darius i and the heroes of akkad 269 kingdoms through the use of a peculiarly western Iranian tradition (Root 1979.

feldman which are quite different from later renderings at Persepolis. 85. and considerations regarding the role of the Bisitun relief within the development of Achaemenid sculpture as a whole. 1997a. and the extent to which Greek arts of the late sixth century contributed to Achaemenid sculpture. no one Assyrian or Neo-Babylonian extant work provides a precise model. Two features in particular have occupied the center of this discussion: the execution of the drapery of Darius’ robe and the profile shoulder (figure 5). Within this debate is a related issue. which originally were considered part of Cyrus’ oeuvre. 195) (figure 4). although examples in Neo-Assyrian cylinder seals that continue into the seventh century offer perhaps better comparisons (Luschey 1968. 11).270 m. especially the rendering of Darius’ figure and clothing. This chronological sequence rests partly on the redating of the “Cyrus inscription” from Pasargardae to the reign of Darius (Stronach 1978. relates to the style of the Bisitun relief. after the Bisitun relief and just prior to Persepolis (Stronach 1978. The crux of the problem lies in the dating of the reliefs of Palace P at Pasargadae. 48-49 with n. As with the rock reliefs and Naram-Sin’s stele. 100-101. but principally on an accepted evolutionary development of the rendering of pleats and folds in the drapery of the Achaemenid court robe. Herzfeld is one of the few to draw on Neo-Babylonian comparisons. Ashurbanipal’s hair forms a square bunch at the nape of his neck that looks altogether different from Darius’ softly rounded clump of curls. but now have been placed convincingly well into the reign of Darius. Probably the most debated and discussed issue regarding precedents. Collon 2001. Attributing the Palace P reliefs to Darius and consequently assigning the introduction of the Achaemenid robe to his reign. 715 BCE). have been compared to those of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh.h. places the Bisitun rendering at the very beginning of the sequence. for example the boundary stone of Marduk-apla-iddina II (c. The torso extending from the winged disc has often been linked to the ninth century reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. as noted by Herzfeld. which he uses as comparanda for the rounded curls at the back of Darius’ neck (Sarre and Herzfeld 1910. that of comparing Bisitun to Greek examples in contrast to comparing the Pasargadae Palace P reliefs or Persepolis reliefs to Greek . 95-99). 79-82). however. the resulting stylistic development derived from this chronology. It is important to note that the discussion has been complicated by issues surrounding the chronology of art production from Cyrus to Darius.

128-32. the investigation of the style of drapery and plasticity has unfolded apart from any consideration of meaning. such as the steles of Nabonidus (555-539 BCE) or the boundary stone of Marduk-apla-iddina II (c. nos. Boardman (2000. Root 1979. 88. Rather. as a number of scholars have remarked (Luschey 1968. there is no need to deny Greek models for the omega-shaped pleats and zig-zagging sleeve edges seen in the Achaemenid robes of the canonical imperial style established by Darius. with the notable exception of Margaret Cool Root. Most notable is the lightness in rendering the drapery of the Achaemenid robe at Bisitun in such a way that the material stretches thinly across the back leg and buttocks. especially evident in the figure of Darius whose stance accentuates the tautness of his skirt. 84). However. This opinion echoes Nylander (1970. however. One can in fact make arguments against many of the purportedly Greek elements—the plasticity of the bodies and the use of a true profile shoulder—which find precedents in Near Eastern arts of the Late and Neo-Babylonian periods. 32-37. 83-115).” and thus he considers it unlikely that any Greeks actually performed sculptural tasks. Nylander 1970. Several scholars maintain that the drapery and true profile stance can only be explained through Greek influences. 266. this translates into the presence of Greek sculptors who executed the Bisitun relief. I maintain that they are not the sole prototype for the particular rendering of drapery seen at Bisitun. Calmeyer 1994. following Winter (1998. Farkas 1974. The drapery and plasticity evident at Bisitun is markedly different from that at Palace P and Persepolis in a way that does not seem due to differences in scale or location. style is both complementary to and generative . who in his discussion of the Palace P reliefs from Pasargadae states that “the form and style of the draped figures are profoundly un-Greek. Yet. For Luschey (1968. 86-90) and Farkas (1974. 110. 215-16.darius i and the heroes of akkad 271 examples. sees clear Greek precedence but little to convince him of actual Greek sculptors. 264. revealing the well defined musculature swelling beneath it. This is in contrast to the sharply edged geometric stylizations of the zig-zagging pleats and deeply cut precision of the symmetrically arranged folds seen in the later robes (compare to Farkas 1974. 715 BCE. 3). 56 with n. 138). 137) (figure 4). Börker-Klähn 1982. 125). best illustrated on the reliefs of the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi dated to around 525 BCE (figure 6). In all these discussions. 32-33). 263.

For brief discussion with references. see Harper. In addition. for example the divine winged disc. what exactly was the specific style of Darius’ figure at Bisitun trying to say? Though she focuses primarily on Assyria. 213). no. we must acknowledge the element of agency in the manipulation and organization of form. and Tallon 1992. In a radical departure from traditional scholarship.h. but also through the actual process of production and labor similar to that detailed in the “Foundation Charter” that describes the building of Darius’ palace at Susa with manpower and materials from throughout the Persian realm. In her discussion. Root (1979. . Elamite and Akkadian and dates to early in the reign of Darius. form being the materialization of content. the reality of employing diverse peoples is confirmed by thousands of administrative texts from the reign of Darius (see Kuhrt 1995. 213-24) that specific traditions were meaningful to the Achaemenids encourages us to examine more 8 DSf exists in several versions in Old Persian. it fits well with the notion that Darius not only conveyed his message of conquest and incorporation through the depiction of elements from the various cultural units of his empire. she includes style among those aspects of conscious selection. 650 with references).272 m. she claims that this was not due simply to the fortuitous survival of Assyrian sculptors or to any peculiarly tenacious nature of the Assyrian art tradition. effectively restoring agency to the person of Darius. Root’s argument (1979. I might add that this scenario of strategic stylistic deployment does not exclude the possibility that Greek sculptural skills were tapped in order to achieve it. 191) argues that the idea of the relief guided the selection of images with an interest in creating “a series of calculated allusions to antique traditions. We can turn to Root’s scholarship on Achaemenid art for an initial exploration into affect and agency at Bisitun. And in fact. 214).8 Yet if we see meaning in style. noting that style can impose nuances of feeling or meaning. but rather to Darius’ strategic attempt to imbue the monument with “associations with archetypal power” (Root 1979. Root is getting at the affective properties of style and their potential to serve as a vehicle of meaning. which in turn can be manipulated to produce desired effects (Root 1979. feldman of messages provided by content. either directly through Ionian sculptors brought from western Anatolia or by Persian sculptors who were sent there in order to learn these techniques.” With regard to the use of Assyrian elements. 190. Aruz. In other words. At Persepolis.

1999. I believe we can more profitably look back in time to the stele of Naram-Sin and the artistic style of the Akkadian period. the visual connections are especially striking (figures 5 and 7). 109). Situating Naram-Sin’s voluptuously sculpted body in the context of the language of legendary heroes such as Gilgamesh. Despite the long temporal span between the creation of the stele and the Bisitun relief. no. it is enough to consider the stele of Naramsin. the rendering of the drapery and the articulation of the back leg and buttocks display remarkable affinity. which shows a fairly high relief with a careful modelling of volumes and even an interest in the relation between body and clothes. Nylander (1970. 2002. and perhaps also its lack of success in the periods immediately following. While their different attires locate Darius and Naram-Sin within their respective cultural and temporal spheres. . similarities between them. . and Tallon 1992.9 When we focus on the figure of the ruler in the two monuments. who vis-à-vis the Achaemenid sculptures writes. Aruz.” . no. Rather than seeking meaningful expression through connections with Greek style. His garment is tied in a loose knot on his hip. The stele of Naram-Sin has been the subject of numerous studies. these studies have examined the monument within what could be considered its original and intended context. also. as a victory stele made under the patronage of Naram-Sin as the king of Akkad during the twenty-third century BCE. Winter (1996) argues that the style of sexuality and allure serves as a potent vehicle for identifying Naram-Sin with a heroic ideal. may be partly ascribed to his unprecedented act of self-divinization. 26. including several by Irene Winter (1996. 129). some scholars have commented on the stylistic. In the case of Naram-Sin. For the most part. that is. which is signaled on the stele both visually by the horned headdress and linguistically by the divine determinative before his name. from which radiate softly undulating folds analogous to those on either side of the lower part of Darius’ robe. the early ruler of Uruk. “. The adoption of this ideal at the time of Naram-Sin’s rule. the definition of his legs appears so forcefully that the tightly wrapped skirt practically recedes from view. Middle and Neo-Assyrian traditions. 2004. which carried through Old. Harper. Börker-Klähn 1982. in addition to the motival and compositional.darius i and the heroes of akkad 273 closely the stylistic associations evident in the figure of Darius. 9 Most notably.

that of the drapery of textiles in monumental royal statuary. particularly musculature. perhaps a ruler. On two statues of Manishtushu. This includes an interest in certain kinds of materiality. the conical surface of the royal robe is broken by soft folds of drapery falling diagonally across the front of the skirt (Moortgat 1969. best seen in cylinder seals. 1995. I believe. F: 1). Throughout the period.11 But how then can I argue for a stylistic connection between two works of art made nearly two thousand years apart? Could Darius have had first-hand experience of Naram-Sin’s stele? And might it (or the Akkadian style in general) have especially resonated with him because of a long-standing collective memory of the Akkadian empire? I hope to provide a qualified yes to these questions by following the 10 The limestone statue retains its base.h. city-affiliated temple institutions. 87). nor does it present a “realistic” or illusionistic representation of the whole. a victory monument similar to Naram-Sin’s stele. What this actualization of physical forms means on a widespread level during the Akkadian period is somewhat difficult to assess and would require an extensive discussion not possible in this study. one of diorite the other of limestone and both excavated at Susa.and small-scale arts display a strongly plastic style of rendering bodies.10 The statue of an unidentified man. Yet. however. and an occasional depiction of the anatomy lying beneath. both large. 165-97) has described as the establishment of an ideology of centralized kingship that sought to emphasize the material world in order to downplay the power of local. 141. By concretizing the body of the ruler. suggesting that this sculpture should be considered. it can be exquisite in its translation of an exceptionally tactile aspect. pl. that this visual development may be linked to what Nissen (1988. the Akkadian kings sought to establish their physical presence and dominance. The depiction of materiality is in no way comprehensive. such as one belonging to a scribe of Shar-kali-sharri. in a very concrete and volumetric manner. the successor of Naram-Sin (Moortgat 1969. dead bodies of defeated peoples. . at least in part. 11 A suggestion also made by Michalowski (1993. no. found at Assur depicts the rounded musculature of the arm and stylized shoulder blade through a tautly stretched wrap (Harper. most notably. 142). pls. et al. 22). This concrete physicality also occurs on the small scale. feldman The physical realization of Naram-Sin’s body can also be understood as a culmination or an extreme example of a trend in Akkadian art towards concreteness and actuality. which is decorated with the naked.274 m.

. also Frayne 1993. 76. and I carried it off and brought it back to Elam. 13 We know from texts of the Old Babylonian period that Akkadian monuments and their inscriptions. Inshushinak. enlarger of my realm. [about 10 lines missing]. 144) On the empty space of the rising mountain peak. to some extent. 90-92. . 285-86). Aruz. 236. . Shutruk-Nahhunte’s inscription states that he set it up in the temple of the chief Elamite god. I set it up in dedication to my lord. We can track.darius i and the heroes of akkad 275 perambulations of Naram-Sin’s stele and by tracing the revival of the Akkadian tradition in later Mesopotamian history. . retained a powerful hold on later Mesopotamian imagination (Buccellati 1993. I (am) Shutruk-Nahhunte. The stele was discovered.12 It reads. I took the stele of Naram-Sin in my hand.13 Reconstructing what happened to the stele once at Susa is somewhat problematic. . . in particular its distinctive style of physical concreteness. The stele preserves a fragmentary three-column inscription of NaramSin’s. 239). and the attendant associations with its legendary empire.[. a situation that has led to general assumptions and inferences. . . son of Hallutush-Inshushinak. At the command of Inshushinak. I struck down Sippar. Inshushinak. 58-71. Michalowski 1980.about 10 lines missing or untranslatable. about 15 lines missing or untranslatable. . the geographic travels of the stele by means of the texts inscribed upon it and its archaeological context. [. as if extending from the contorted form of a pleading enemy. 12 The inscription has suffered damage due to the flaking properties inherent in the stone (Harper. flows an Elamite inscription. 22) It seems likely that the stele was originally erected in the Ebabbar temple of the sun god Shamash at Sippar. . (Gelb and Kienast 1990. beloved servant of Inshushinak. How long it remained on view after that is less clear. we know little about the final deposition of Naram-Sin’s stele at Susa. and Tallon 1992.] dedicated to the deity .] in the mountains of the Lullubi assembled and a battle. for over a thousand years until the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte carried it off around 1158 BCE. the powerful. accessible in temple courtyards. located to the left of the mountain peak. no. king of Anshan (and) Susa. (König 1965. . . Unfortunately. prince of Elam. The monument apparently remained on display at Sippar. protector of Elam. DINGIR Naram-Sin. probably in the temple courtyard. .

Lampre. 41. 500). discussing the Code of Hammurabi. that is usually blamed for the seemingly haphazard and scattered manner in which the Mesopotamian monuments were discovered (Streck 1916.” which appears to refer to those very monuments excavated on the Acropole. feldman along with several other Mesopotamian monuments. and indeed the text continues by 14 Mesopotamian monuments were found in trenches Morgan 7γ through 15γ (de Morgan 1900. he would have left them to suffer his violent wrath.15 and Elamite texts found at Susa. which was also excavated in this locale a few years later. Aruz. Kuhrt 1995.14 Jéquier (1905. 108). The hyperbole of Assyrian military annals is well known. 24 n. on the Acropole during the first two seasons of the French excavation led by Jacques de Morgan (1898 and 1899). Aynard 1957. 288-302. for example. and Babylonia that the ancient kings of Elam had looted and brought to Elam. no. while the Naram-Sin stele is recorded at three meters below the surface. Esarhaddon.276 m. esp. 189. Complete devastation is said to have ravaged the city and province. thus. it is Ashurbanipal’s sixth-century destruction of Susa. fig. though we know that soon thereafter. attest to ongoing administrative and legal functions at the site (de Miroschedji 1985. and Tallon 1992. the Assyrian king claims to have destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. and burning secret groves. which date to the time following Ashurbanipal’s destruction and before the coming of Darius. Harper. . 297). 123-27. While Ashurbanipal’s annals make reference to “the treasures of Sumer. 51-61. fig. Potts 1999. 9. cat. 585). smashing its shining copper horns. vividly portrayed in his annals. and Tallon 1992. In these accounts. it seems unlikely that. 22. appropriating its divine statues and treasuries. when stratigraphic considerations were fairly rudimentary. Aruz. and the Babylonian Chronicle states simply that the city was captured (Kuhrt 1995. reprinted in de Mecquenem 1911b). 167. Harper. Akkad. began renovations in the city. also acknowledged the notoriously imprecise method of recording (de Morgan 1900. He notes that levels associated with Hellenistic remains ranged from one to four meters below the surface. also see plan in de Mecquenem 1911a. Sennacherib’s recounting of the purportedly total destruction of Babylon.h. claims the levels were too confused to be worth even attempting a stratigraphy. 5-8. it might well have been excavated from a Hellenistic period level. 100-23. de Morgan 1905. had Ashurbanipal come upon such important monuments as the stele of Naram-Sin or the Code of Hammurabi. 6. Sennacherib’s successor. Yet. Another of the early archaeologists. 28-29). 15 See. 266.

and Tallon 1992. if not later. The Sippar archive contains tablets dating as late as the reign of Cambyses. 126. Boucharlat 1997. 309). should be placed within a chronological framework of the Achaemenid period (Frame 1984. Caubet 2003. 252-55). In this regard. and Tallon 1992. even if Darius could have seen Naram-Sin’s stele (presumably along with Hammurabi’s). and fragments of such boundary stones turned up as fill in Hellenistic constructions (de Morgan 1900. had been effaced by Hellenistic period use of the stone to polish weapons or tools. it seems quite possible that both of these monuments remained on view at Susa in the period immediately prior to Darius’ accession.darius i and the heroes of akkad 277 recounting that he carried the treasures back to Assyria (Streck 1916. 57 with n. A recently published tablet from an archive at Sippar. 108). The remains of the temple of Inshushinak lay to the east of the Mesopotamian finds. 81. and evidence exists for the reuse of its bricks during the Achaemenid period. Charpin 2003). Aruz. which is undated. it is worth remembering that Susa played an important role early in Darius’ creation of an imperial identity. in the southeastern part of the Acropole. Yet. 113-23). given the poor state of the early excavations at Susa. 330). 51-52. Darius built a large palace there. Potts 1999. 1. In short. suggesting that the building was also preserved in some form during the time of Darius (Harper. Given the proximity of Hammurabi’s stele to that of Naram-Sin’s. Textual sources tell of other violence at Susa in the centuries after Shutruk-Nahhunte brought the stele to the site. al Jadir 1998. Aruz. This tablet contains a copy of the prologue of the Code of Hammurabi and specifically notes that the copy was according to the ancient stele (narû) erected in Susa (Fadhil 1998. found in the same area as the stele. Luckenbill 1927. Charpin 2003). the architectural form of which signals his creative adoption of the Mesopotamian past as well as the invention of a new Achaemenid expression (Perrot 1981. Lampre reports that a Kassite period boundary stone. would it (and its style) have resonated with . however. the date and cause of the final deposition of Naram-Sin’s stele must remain an open question. 2001. perhaps in part because of its association with Elam. 162. and Charpin suggests that the Hammurabi stele copy. may provide circumstantial evidence supporting the continued accessibility of Naram-Sin’s stele into the Achaemenid period. including the celebrated triumph of Nebuchadnezzar I (1125-1104 BCE) and the upheavals of the early Hellenistic period (Harper.

Mesopotamian works also continued to quote both the motif and. 244).278 m. whose foot protrudes from behind Darius. importantly. Westenholz 1985. 2330 BCE). Indeed. while Naram-Sin is seen as the cause of the empire’s demise. 70. Both of these examples derive from the northern. 16 . A similar scene on a fragmentary fourteenth-century black marble lid from Assur employs a quite forceful rendering of sculptural physicality reminiscent of the bodies on Naram-Sin’s stele (Moortgat 1969.h. depicts several vignettes of military combat (Foster 1985). 1-3). in particular Sargon of Akkad (c. pl. a variation seen at Bisitun in the raised right leg of the pleading Gaumata. but significantly. These include the fragmentary “Mardin” stele. which probably dates to the reign of Shamshi-Adad I in the early part of the second millennium and depicts on one side an axe-wielding figure stepping upon a collapsing man (Orthmann 1975. A fragmentary stele from Tello carved on both sides in several registers. In contrast to the Naram-Sin stele. This tradition included Naram-Sin’s stele. no. Such variations indicate that a chance encounter with Naram-Sin’s stele on the part of Darius cannot fully account for the similarities found in the Bisitun relief. In later traditions. 182). probably to be attributed to the reign of Naram-Sin’s predecessor Rimush. We have already seen how the visual potency of victory created by the Akkadians found resonance among the small tribal kingdoms of the Zagros at the end of the third and beginning of the second millennium. Assyrian tradition. 301. the style of the Akkadian conquest imagery. the prone enemies are still alive. with knees bent and arms raised in various positions of pleading. feldman him? Certainly within Mesopotamia the Akkadian period provided a potent mytho-historical past based on the expansionist exploits of its great rulers. Sargon is the glorified ruler. in particular the unification of Sumer and Akkad and the establishment of charismatic kingship (Michalowski 1980. 1997. also embraced a wider field of representational and stylistic meaning. other examples exist from the Akkadian period. Central for the subsequent historical imagining of Akkad is the “firstness” of the Akkadian imperial accomplishment. they suggest instead that Darius was actively drawing upon a long-standing tradition in which the Akkadian rulers were associated with imperial conquest itself.16 While the stele of Naram-Sin is the best preserved and most forceful rendering of the motif of a victor stepping upon a prone enemy.

derived his own legitimation. beginning in the Old Assyrian period. Berkeley. 142). Frankfort goes so far as to say. the other sports the standard Assyrian court fashion. 86). A similar convergence of imperial ideology and an artistic style of physicality arose during the Middle Assyrian period. The two sculptures. The play between the Neo-Assyrian and Akkadian periods is further invoked in the differing hairstyles of the two heroes. Several of the kings of Assyria took the names of Sargon and NaramSin. seen in the new annalistic glorification of territorial expansion and the exquisite glyptic of the period often described by scholars as “astonishingly vital” in its sculptural modeling. Both human and lion forms exhibit extreme physicality in the plastic modeling of their musculature and the projecting planes of their various body parts.17 Claiming a direct line of kingship from Akkad. Particularly relevant for this study is Sargon II’s implementation in his palace decoration at Khorsabad of both thematic and stylistic quotations of the Akkadian period (Stronach 1997. but the best known is Sargon II of the Neo-Assyrian period (721-705 BCE) (Walker 1995. we know that Shamshi-Adad. 231). For example. but this may well be due to a similar outlook rather than to tradition” (Frankfort 1996. are executed in such high relief that they appear almost fully three-dimensional. one wears the long spiral curls of the nude belted hero well known from Akkadian glyptic. 87) of offerings to Sargon and NaramSin instituted at Mari under Shamshi-Adad’s rule. “the affinities of these [Middle Assyrian] seals with those of the Akkadian Period are unmistakable.18 The most visible of these are two colossal heroic figures grappling with diminutive lions. at least in part.darius i and the heroes of akkad 279 which early on established mytho-historical links to the Akkadian dynasty. . 18 This section also draws upon work completed in a seminar and later an unpublished 2002 senior honors thesis on Sargon II’s use of the Akkadian past by Shane Black at the University of California. The fascination with the early Akkadian rulers also appears in Babylonia. 310). who controlled a large territorial state in northern Mesopotamia and Syria at the end of the nineteenth century BCE. Offerings to a statue of Sargon were instituted 17 See also Michalowski’s discussion (1980. Shamshi-Adad rebuilt a temple to Ishtar at Nineveh that had been erected originally by the Akkadian ruler Manishtushu. from the memory of Akkad (Michalowski 1980. which stood along the courtyard façade of the throneroom.

182).h. especially the back leg and buttocks. 4. The appeal of the Mesopotamian royal tradition is also apparent in the reworking of an appropriated Babylonian stele. 617 (Frame 1984.19 In addition. straining through the fabric of the robe is a stylistic feature found in Achaemenid monumental art CT 55: 469. and Tallon 1992. That the name of Naram-Sin held power even in twelfth-century Elam is evident in its inclusion in ShutrukNahhunte’s inscription and in the rededication of the monument to the chief Elamite god. CT 57: 59. 230 with n. and Tallon 1992. Aruz. This Elamite connection with Mesopotamia might have served as a critical bridge for the Achaemenids. Bongenaar 1997. Should the later date be accepted. 117).280 m. its identity drew in some profound way on Elamite traditions (Alvarez-Mon 2006). there is indirect evidence through the appropriation of earlier Mesopotamian imperial arts and architecture for a similar incorporation of stylistic associations that ultimately goes back to the concrete materiality of the Akkadian kings. which remains at least a strong possibility. since it is now becoming clearer that. 312. Elizabeth Carter suggests the responsible Elamite king was Shutruk-Nahhunte I. it seems that Elamite kings sought to legitimize their rule by drawing upon the traditions of Mesopotamia. to which nearly a thousand years later the stele of Naram-Sin would be taken. 256. feldman at the Ebabbar in Sippar during Neo-Babylonian times and continued even into the early Achaemenid period. 117. cat. CT 56: 442. while Prudence Harper argues for a later date in the eighth century (Harper. 122). 4. 75-76). 750-51. 122 n. 307. Aruz. Aruz. That the physicality of the body. then an argument can be made for the continuation of both interaction by and resonance for the Neo-Elamites with Mesopotamian royal imagery. and Tallon 1992. in which the recarved figure of an Elamite king replaces the preexisting Mesopotamian figure receiving the rod and ring of kingship from a seated deity (Harper. The Middle Elamite Shutrukid dynasty achieved this through the acquisition and display of significant royal monuments like Naram-Sin’s stele (Harper. 205). 162. linking the city. Joannès 1992. 209. Regardless of whether Darius might have had access at Susa to the stele of Naram-Sin. 242. 451. however we define the early Achaemenid state. 19 . no. directly with the great empire (Michalowski 1993. 122 n. A Mesopotamian presence at Susa itself during the Akkadian period is evident in Old Akkadian tablets with Akkadian personal names found at the site.

as would also be the fact that the stele of Naram-Sin lay at Susa. probably the most critical public monument of Darius’ early years. And what would be more to the point than referencing the first great empire of the Near East. we should accept that these elements would have been consciously deployed as part of Darius’ creation of an imperial image. with the ability to execute such a style drawn from a distant part of the empire. we need to ask what purpose would be served (what affective associations sought) by the insertion of “Greek” stylistic elements into a highly charged statement of imperial control. If style can generate affect—and we know how strategic Darius was in the manipulation of his art and architecture for affective purposes—it seems that the style of the Bisitun relief. given the more blatant references to the Assyrian imperial tradition in hair style. that of Akkad. we might rethink the stylistic aspects of the Bisitun relief in light of Winter’s argument for the affective properties of style. Given the potency of the Akkadian rulers’ heroic myth in the historical imagination of later Mesopotamia and Elam and the possibility of Naram-Sin’s stele being accessible to Darius while at Susa. though a striking one. Since the elements traditionally assigned to Greek influences (fluid drapery revealing anatomy underneath and true profile shoulders) have precedents in the arts of Mesopotamia.darius i and the heroes of akkad 281 only at Bisitun may be due to the uniqueness of Bisitun as the only “victory monument” in the tradition of Naram-Sin’s stele. given the care with which Darius crafted his imperial image for political and propagandistic purposes. aside from the possible procurement of sculptors with the technical knowledge to execute such traits. through both content and style. must also have held significance and would not have been left to the vagaries of captive Greek artists surreptitiously inserting their “native experience and imagination” (Boardman 2000. beard and winged disc. namely western Anatolia. Yet. it seems unnecessary to look to Greece or western Anatolia. which appealed to Darius because of its imperial references. a critical locale for Darius in the early years of his reign. it seems hardly surprising that the style of rendering . perhaps what we have is a happy confluence of an ancient Mesopotamian style. Moreover. Acknowledging style as an important ingredient in meaning. while reconstituting both to be uniquely Achaemenid? Of course. With regard to possible Greek or Greek-trained artists working in Persia. the stylistic similarities between the body of Darius and the body of Naram-Sin could be only a coincidence. 110).

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pl. courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute) 287 . 26. Luschey 1968.darius i and the heroes of akkad Figure 1. Bisitun Relief (after H.

h. Potts) .3. 9.288 m. Drawing of Sar-i Pul relief of Annubanini (after Potts 1999. fig. feldman Figure 2. courtesy of D. T.

Musée du Louvre.darius i and the heroes of akkad 289 Figure 3. Stele of Naram-Sin. Paris (Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Art Resource. NY) .

NY) . Vorderasiatisches Museum.290 m. feldman Figure 4.h. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Bildarchiv Presussischer Kulturbesitz/ Art Resource. Boundary stone of Marduk-apla-iddina II.

detail of Darius (after H. Bisitun Relief. pl. courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute) .darius i and the heroes of akkad 291 Figure 5. 28. Luschey 1968.

292 m. NY) . Archaeological Museum. detail of Apollo and Artemis from the Gigantomachy. feldman Figure 6.h. Delphi (Nimatallah/ Art Resource. Siphnian Treasury.

detail of Naram-Sin. Stele of Naram-Sin. NY) .darius i and the heroes of akkad 293 Figure 7. Musée du Louvre. Paris (Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Art Resource.

294 m. ata± .-a.

architectural. While my essay is inspired by Cassin’s observations and Winter’s emphasis on her work. Oppenheim (1943. Andrew Cohen. Akkadian melammu.v. I came to know this work through her exhortations. which have not been fully dealt with so far in Assyriological scholarship.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 295 THE MELAMMU AS DIVINE EPIPHANY AND USURPED ENTITY Mehmet-Ali Ataç* Eléna Cassin’s La splendeur divine: Introduction à l’étude de la mentalité mésopotamienne (1968) is one of Irene Winter’s favorite essays on ancient Mesopotamian thought. it manifests itself as an “aureole or nimbus which surrounds the divinity. 2573). These aspects of radiance are meant to expand on some of the points already put forward in Cassin’s essay and revisited in Winter’s studies. defining it basically as “a characteristic attribute of the gods consisting in a dazzling aureole or nimbus which surrounds the divinity” depicted in art for the first time in the Neo-Assyrian period. L. supernatural awe-inspiring sheen (inherent in things divine and royal). As a student of ancient Mesopotamian art. As a tribute to Winter’s teaching. The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (s. and sacral phenomena (Winter 1994. I shall discuss in this essay the notion of divine radiance. as it relates to aspects of ancient Mesopotamian cosmology and metaphysics. Benjamin Studevent-Hickman. Sumerian me-lám. Winter’s fondness for this book is particularly apparent in her own work on Mesopotamian aesthetics. and Pamela Webb for valuable suggestions on earlier drafts of this essay. 124. it is also an attempt to focus more closely on the cosmology and mysticism of divine radiance and epiphany in ancient Mesopotamian religion.” . 1995. In deities.” 1 This radiance extends to “everything endowed with divine power or sanctified by divine presence: the holy weapons and symbols of the gods * I would like to thank Paul-Alain Beaulieu. 1 A. where radiance is often seen among the principal aesthetic qualities of artistic. Alice Donohue. 31) refers to the word melammu as “an interesting and difficult” term. The melammu is essentially a dazzling radiance of a fearful sort associated with certain divine beings and objects. melammu) defines the term on the most basic level as “radiance.

-a. though expressed in the poem in rather cryptic terms. there are certain instances in which the one exposed to the sight of such an awe-inspiring radiance or dazzling manifestation of divine power undergoes a challenging religious experience that results in a transformation of ordinary human faculties. The Scorpion Beings’ cynical and questioning attitude toward Gilgamesh sets a seemingly negative tone in this particular episode of the Epic. an accessory that imparts tremendous cosmic power to its possessor (Cassin 1968. In fact. neither melammu nor puluÉtu should be taken in the malevolent sense. the entrance to the netherworld and the beginning of the sun god’s nocturnal path. creating the impression that they are actually hostile to the hero. I shall further argue that the mythical instances that entail one divine agent’s usurping another’s melammu all allude in one form or another to shifts in cosmic power structure.” but should again be understood as a manifestation of superhuman power (Cassin 1968. 2004. 1997. Penglase 1994. in order to enrich the domain of inquiry. In fact. the formulaic portrayal . The melammu can also be thought of as an almost independent magical object. ata± as well as their chapels and temples have all such a melammu” (Oppenheim 1943. 64). puluÉtu. I shall argue that in ancient Mesopotamian literature. Burkert 1992. I shall appeal to parallels from the mythology and literature of ancient Greece.296 m. 31). Lanfranchi 2000). Associated with melammu is another concept. and/or cause its loss or withdrawal (Oppenheim 1943. Gilgamesh’s encounter with the Scorpion Beings at the twin mountains Mashu. The Melammu as Divine Epiphany In Tablet IX of the Standard Babylonian Version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. 31). whose intellectual and historical connection to the Near East has long been acknowledged (West 1971. 31). 4. While developing my arguments. Dalley 1998. which can be literally translated as “fear” or “terror. perhaps marks the beginning of a religious experience of the kind introduced above. I shall hence use these Greek parallels in order to enhance my attempt to probe the semantics of certain episodes from ancient Mesopotamian literature and myths relevant to the phenomenon of the melammu. In this essay. Oppenheim 1943. It can sometimes be manipulated by the principal divinities who may bestow it on someone or something.

to wait indoors her turn to circle the earth. it is on account of Gilgamesh’s two-thirds divine nature 2 “Said Uta-napishti to him. and barred the gate. a matter most secret. . 76): “For sure this man is a hunter of wild bulls. (IX 42-45. but also that the Scorpion Beings themselves are after all special divine beings who have the capacity to recognize the adept and guide him on the path./ barred her gate and went up to the roof. 88)./ to you I will tell a mystery of gods” (XI 8-10.”2 The fact that the Scorpion Beings recognize Gilgamesh as “flesh of the Gods” who is one-third human and two-thirds divine is an indication not only that Gilgamesh is of a nature capable of enduring this challenging ordeal (Cassin 1968. where “Day and Night share the same house. but are never there at the same time. as a veneer for a deeper level of reading in which the Scorpion Beings act as examiners who receive the adept at the ends of the earth. The same examining attitude can also be seen in the disposition of the “barmaid” Siduri toward Gilgamesh after his nocturnal journey as described in X 13-16 (George 1999. about to descend into the netherworld to become “immortal. just as there are gates and compartments in both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian netherworlds. turn around and go back!” (X 88-91. go across with him. however. at the gateway to the path that ultimately discloses to him the “secrets of the gods. As Cassin (1968. George 1999./ if it may not be done. overwhelming the mountains— at sunrise and sunset they guarded the sun. O Gilgamesh./ but where does he come from. and the barmaid then disburses advice to Gilgamesh on his quest to find Utnapishtim: “Gilgamesh. In this regard. whose glance was death./ and the Stone Ones are with him. Like the Scorpion Beings. 79).” This initial hostile and unadmitting attitude of Siduri later changes. making straight for my gate?/ Thus the tavern-keeper saw him. but later on acting as an advisor on that path. whose terror (puluÉtu) was dread. On an ancient Greek visual configuration that implies a similar relation between the entrance to the netherworld.” initially barring the gate of admission into a restricted realm that ultimately leads to the Mysteries. .” in this case Heracles. George 1999. 60) also observes.” see Pinney and Ridgway 1981. let him see your face!/ If [it may be] done./ Go then.” and the “initiate. 60). 141-144. there is Ur-shanabi. the boatman of Uta-napishti. On the Epic as an account of “initiation.. since one leaves as the other returns. the gate that Siduri initially locks to bar Gilgamesh’s passing can be seen as marking a new compartment or phase in Gilgamesh’s journey in the greater netherworld that starts with Mount Mashu.” see also Prévot 1986. George 1999. . to Gilgamesh:/ ‘Let me disclose. 71) One can take all of this seemingly negative rhetoric. Siduri can also be considered as one of the agents on the path of “examination. whose radiance (melammu) was fearful.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 297 of these beings in the poem does nothing but cast an unsympathetic shadow on them: There were scorpion-men guarding its gate.

/ of the lofty Mace worthy only for a King’s hand. in fear (puluÉtu) and dread he covered his face. 50-51): “(This is the story of) the Weapon which was cast(?) out/ of brilliant light. 3. where the armor is referred to as shining [marmaironta]). The scorpion-man called to his mate: “He who has come to us. flesh of the gods is his body.] to be in my presence? 3 The extraordinarily radiant nature of the armor of Achilles is clear from passages that describe its production by Hephaistos: “First of all he forged a shield that was huge and heavy.] such a far road? [How did you get here. like sunflare. George 1999. saying a word [to King Gilgamesh.” The scorpion-man’s mate answered him “Two-thirds of him is god. None had the courage to look straight at it. tentatively translated by Kinnier Wilson (1979. and the shield strap was cast of silver” (XVIII 478-480. 392)3 Indeed. They were afraid of it. then he collected his wits. and all its elaboration clashed loudly. the ancient Greek god of fire and the forge: The goddess spoke so. 388. 29ff. and the Scorpion Beings themselves allude to the fact that his having made it to their presence is already a remarkable accomplishment: The scorpion-man called out. and drew nearer their presence. no./ Which was so surrounded by fiery radiance that no one could come near it.” .. (XIX 12-17.” (IX 46-52. Lattimore 1961. and one third human. ata± that he is able to approach the Scorpion Beings notwithstanding the fearful aura they emanate: Gilgamesh saw them. one could think that Gilgamesh’s encounter with the Scorpion Beings is already an initial state of epiphany. 71) One can compare this episode with one in the Iliad in which Achilles is the only one who can withstand the awesome elaborateness of his new shield commissioned by his mother. from Hephaistos. suited only for (divine) kingship.298 m. 4R 1818* (K 4624). A comparable description of a weapon can also be found in a bilingual incantation from the mÊs pî series.-a.] flesh of the gods: “[How did you come here. The hero has already come a long way by reaching the entrance to the netherworld. Trembling took hold of the Myrmidons. and as he looked the anger came harder upon him and his eyes glittered terribly under his lids. and XVIII 616. the goddess Thetis. Only Achilleus looked. and set down the armor on the ground before Achilleus. Lattimore 1961./ elaborating it about and threw around it a shining/ triple rim that glittered.

which has certain overlaps in content and approach with the present essay.] whose passage is perilous?” (IX 52-59. . 68-76). though this is not certain (Livingstone 1989. George 1999: 71-72) Even though the Standard Babylonian text is fragmentary at this point.5 In the vision. xxviii). (IX 131-138. we do gather that not only do the Scorpion Beings allow Gilgamesh to pass.” 5 For a more focused analysis of this text. the prince comes face to face with the netherworld god Nergal. ‘beetle. 95). but they also wish him well on his journey. Gilgamesh!. see Ataç 2004. perhaps owing to the candidate’s now proven qualifications through his withstanding the fearful radiance of these solar creatures:4 “Go... George 1999.. 6 Epopteia. an episode that should be understood as a unique instance of divine epiphany in Neo-Assyrian literature. It describes the night vision of one Kumma. Livingstone 1989. not as a subjective illusion” (Kerényi 1991. those who obtain this vision are transported into a state of eternal beatitude. must be taken as a real seeing. seeing... was the highest level of initiation in the ancient Greek Eleusinian Mysteries as well (Foley 1994.. 73) An even more powerful instance of divine epiphany in ancient Mesopotamian literature can be found in the Neo-Assyrian poem known as the Underworld Vision of an Assyrian Prince (VAT 10057.] what [the scorpion-man] told him [he took to heart. May the mountains of Mashu [allow you to pass!] “[May] the mountains and hills [watch over your going!] Let [them help you] in safety [to continue your journey!] [May] the gate of the mountains [open before you!]” Gilgamesh [heard these words. their initial cynical and examining attitude has given way to a more sympathetic and supportive one. “The term visio beatifica (beatific vision) was coined to designate the supreme goal (telos). of Christian existence. .. videre Deum. The text is therefore dealt with here rather synoptically in order to avoid repeating the analyses carried out in the other publication.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 299 [How did you cross the seas.6 It is again 4 The solar nature of the Scorpion Beings is also noted by Wiggermann (1992.. In this case the word vision. . Clearly. 148149). In medieval usage it signifies the immediate sight of God.’ a cosmic task (watching over the rising and setting of the sun) with its pincers. who may be Ashurbanipal. like the Egyptian Éprr. visio. 39). who indicates that “the scorpion(-man) is in origin a simple mythological scorpion fulfilling.] he [took] the path of the Sun God.

. . the latter might even be thought to shed light on our understanding of ancient texts that involve divine manifestation and epiphany such as those dealt with here.. In fact.. This darkness... annihilates.. The idea of a dark and fearful stage that precedes or accompanies mystical illumination is not at all foreign to some other. 168). .7 Similarly. much later. Ereshkigal: “He cried ‘Why have you decreed this for me?’ and in his pain he praised before the peoples of Assyria the mighty deeds of Nergal and Ereàkigal. 72) In fact. invades.. religious traditions either.. with both hands he grasped two grim maces. (Livingstone 1989...” in addition to a distinct separation. there are regions in the Egyptian netherworld where only the damned must dwell. each with two . (I saw) the valiant Nergal seated on a regal throne. “the stage immediately preceding the ultimate theophany. the demonic darkness which withholds the light.” This black light is an attribute of Majesty which sets the mystic’s being on fire. then annihilates annihilation” (Corbin 1978.. who had come to the aid of the prince” (Livingstone 1989. heads. writing on Iranian Sufism and its sources.. For example. it attacks.” . as after the experience is over and the prince survives the ordeal. ata± noteworthy that this epiphany is of a fearful sort and takes place in the netherworld: When I raised my eyes. between these two kinds of “darkness.. the entire poem is almost a celebration of the netherworld and its monarchy.. talks about a “black light” which constitutes the highest spiritual stage and marks the most perilous step in the enlightenment process..-a.. apparelled with the royal tiara. I kissed the feet of his great divinity and knelt down. which the sun god does not even approach during his nocturnal journey. 100). 108). the “black light” or the divine Night is the Essence that causes the light to be revealed. “and which are never illuminated by a ray of light nor penetrated even by the voice of the creator god” (Hornung 1971..300 m. 76). Overall.. “it is not contemplated.. not to be confused with the darkness further below. or some kind of proximity. one can postulate that there is after all an affinity. the Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591 7 Likewise. I looked at him and my bones shivered! His grimly luminescent splendor (melammuàu ezzuti) overwhelmed me. he goes among Assyrian people praising the “mighty deeds” of the Lord of the netherworld Nergal and his queen. the Islamicist Henry Corbin (1978.

Kavanaugh 1987. and yet this quality might rather be a matter of choice of presentation on the part of an intellectual tradition that kept such discussion behind the scenes. Perhaps of an analogous “chthonic” or netherworldly source is Demeter’s epiphany in the Hymn to Demeter. afflictive. First. “The first purgation or night is bitter and terrible to the senses. . 201). consisting of eight stanzas on which the saint also wrote a commentary “preserving in its style something of the poem’s lyricism and symbolic language” (Kavanaugh 1987. “Hence when the divine light of contemplation strikes souls not yet entirely illumined. causes two kinds of darkness or purgation in spiritual persons according to the two parts of the soul. Kavanaugh 1987. Kavanaugh 1987. 8: 2.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 301 CE) formulates this crucial phase in the development of the adept in what he calls the “Dark Night of the Soul. 43. by which the senses are purged and accommodated to the spirit. ch. 8: 1. 9 Kevin Clinton (1992. the sensory. The Dark Night. 201). and also dark for the soul” (Bk 2. for it not only surpasses them but also deprives and darkens their act of understanding. which is the divine union of the soul with God” (Bk 1. But nothing can be compared to the second. begins to place them in the state of proficients (those who are already contemplatives) so that by passing through this state they might reach that of the perfect. A few quotations from this commentary in the translation of Kavanaugh might help make clearer the parallel that I draw between this work and the ancient literary incidents. there are two reasons why this divine wisdom is not only night and darkness for the soul.” a phenomenon that first purges and ultimately illuminates the candidate seeking admission to the highest Mysteries. it causes spiritual darkness. the Mesopotamian rhetoric is far too aloof and clinically neutral in tone regarding such philosophical speculation. and on this account the wisdom is painful. For this great supernatural light overwhelms the intellect and deprives it of its vigor” (Bk 2. gradually drawing them out of the state of beginners (those who practice meditation on the spiritual road). ch. 179). 5: 3. because of the soul’s baseness and impurity. 5: 2. for it is horrible and frightful to the spirit” (Bk 1. and the other night or purgation will be spiritual. posits that “we should not look first to the Homeric Hymn for an accurate account of the cult myth of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Kavanaugh 1987.9 When one reads the poem as a story or 8 John of the Cross’s doctrine of the “Dark Night” is expressed in a poem. Kavanaugh 1987. the poem often thought to contain the theological background and etiology of the Eleusinian Mysteries (Foley 1994. 14). “Yet a doubt arises: Why. Second. ch. if it is a divine light (for it illuminates souls and purges them of their ignorances). because of the height of the divine wisdom. by which the spirit is purged and denuded as well as accommodated and prepared for union with God through love” (Bk 1. especially Gilgamesh’s encounter with the Scorpion Beings and the Underworld Vision: “Souls begin to enter this dark night when God. 84). 1: 1. “This night.” . does one call it a dark night? In answer to this. 163).” for this is “a poem whose accuracy concerning the mysteries is in doubt. which as we say is contemplation. ch. however. but also affliction and torment. ch. 46). which exceeds the capacity of the soul. .8 Admittedly. 178).

Demeter discards her disguise and manifests herself in full divine splendor to Metaneira and her sisters: Thus speaking. 44. On account of her anger at being interrupted./ but the uninitiated who has no share in them never/ has the same lot once dead in the dreary darkness” (Hymn to Demeter 480-482. and she rose up from her couch before Demeter. we should keep in mind the fact This ultimate epiphany of Demeter before Metaneira is prefigured earlier in the poem by the goddess’s initial entrance into the latter’s house: “But the goddess walked to the threshold: and her head reached the roof and she filled the doorway with a heavenly radiance. (Hymn to Demeter 275-283. she gets caught by the child’s mother Metaneira. mother of Heracles (Ovid. the goddess’s epiphany per se is put forward in very pleasant terms. the goddess changed her size and appearance thrusting off old age. Donohue 1997. 11 According to Kerényi (1991. See. In the Hymn to Demeter.11 Indeed. however. 14). is taking care of the child of the household in which she has taken refuge. the full splendor of the Greek gods is physically destructive for those who are not of the same divine nature. especially in relation to epiphany. For a long time she remained voiceless. 10 . fear. which only a relatively small group of initiates was thought to have experienced at a later stage of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Whether netherworldly or not. and the process is irremediably interrupted. Metamorpohoses.” 12 The radiance of the Greek gods is a well-known and long-recognized phenomenon. Then awe and reverence and pale fear took hold of Metaneria. is precisely symptomatic of this experience (Foley 1994. a light beamed far out from the goddess’s immortal skin. the sight of the divine. 16). While she is in the process of making the child immortal by means of placing it in fire every night. III 250-315). The well-built house flooded with radiance like lightning. At once Metaneira’s knees buckled. and bade her be seated” (188-190). 52)12 that ultimately transforms and illuminates: “Blessed (olbios) is the mortal on earth who has seen these rites. Demeter. “the Homeric Hymn refers to the secret of the Mysteries in circumlocutions that must have been perfectly clear to the initiate. However. and awe. disguised as an old woman. 26). Foley 1994. ata± plot on the literal level. this episode can be understood as standing for the epopteia. Beauty breathed about her and from her sweet robes a delicious fragrance spread.10 On another level. consisting of speechlessness. Metaneira’s reaction to the epiphany of Demeter. Foley 1994. She left the halls.302 m. An example of a mythical human being who is destroyed by the intense radiance of the gods in classical mythology is Semele. and her golden hair flowed over her shoulders. for instance. forgetting to pick up her dear only son from the floor.-a.

Demeter is the goddess of grain and agriculture. After all.40. one would see that rather than a merely unfortunate disaster. and further that Demeter is angry during her epiphany as well as still in mourning for her daughter who is held in the netherworld (302-304). such as the thunderbolt of Zeus and the shield of Achilles. Hippolytos. Inscriptiones Graecae II2 3811. 68). Persephone’s integral association with the netherworld places Demeter in contact with that realm as well. which was the “abundance that comes from barley and wheat” (Clinton 1992. wealth. The smith-god’s forge is not on Mount Olympos but thought to be inside the earth. Again. Perhaps. another example of this sort of transcendental light that belongs in origin to the netherworld is the light of Hephaistos. whose description is augmented with elaborate compound adjectives: ‘And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy. These factors might be considered to hint at a splendor surrounding the goddess of the same fearful and awe-inspiring type that characterizes some of the mythical incidents from both the ancient Near Eastern and Greek sources introduced above.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 303 that its effect on Metaneira is utterly frightening. I would hence venture to suggest that it is again the special rare light of the netherworld that shines on the initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries.13 with their ultimate promise of “illumination” and “salvation. Host of Many. the kind of light that especially Demeter emits in her epiphany. 53). which themselves take place at night in a dark and solemn setting (Mylonas 1974. where the Cyclopes were assigned to him as his workmen (Graf 2003). but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa. 14 For instance. with his immortal horses sprang out upon her— the Son of Cronos.14 Hades was further associated with the concept ploutos. 258). Refutatio omnium haeresium 5. Moreover. there even exists a venerable notion of the lord of the netherworld in his role as the ravisher of Persephone in Greek mythology as well. Foley (1994. 35) sees lines 15-32 of the Hymn to Demeter as emphasizing “the august importance of the bridegroom Hades. Hence.’” . not only is Hephaistos’s main resource subterranean fire. located beneath active volcanoes. Moralia 81e. have a potent radiance that challenges or even 13 The rites were said to take place in darkness until a great light shone at their culmination (Plutarch. Foley 1994. especially Aetna. and the lord. Persephone’s abduction to and residence in the netherworld are what constitute one of the kernels of the Eleusinian Mysteries. if one transcended the literal plot of the myth and the poem.8. but also the artifacts he fashions. mainly earthbound phenomena. He who has many names.” Finally.

Hornung 1997). for instance the royal titulary in the version of the Standard Inscription translated in Paley (1976. 7). 76).” (Heimpel 1987. the Anunnaki.304 m. 7 n. 125): “Ashur-nasir-pal. he was given the crown (agû) by Anu. 73-76. the word for the Egyptian netherworld. By the same token. being located as it is beneath the horizons. not only does the sun traverse the netherworld at night but also the stars travel across this realm during the day. duat. 52. or Ninurta. According to certain Old Babylonian texts such as the Prayer to the Gods of the Night and the Sunset Prayer. Ashur. the king of the world. 130-131. 423). the potent king. this cosmic region is also conceived of as “heaven’s interior. Steinkeller 2005. Further evidence for the association of divine or transcendental light with the netherworld can be found in the sun god’s descent to this realm at night in both ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian religion (Heimpel 1987. made their weirs overflow. is written with a star-symbol determinative. Nergal (Borger 1956. it is again the netherworld god Nergal’s privilege to bestow divine radiance on the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (680-669 BCE). bearing torches in the Flood Story contained in the Standard Babylonian Version of The Epic of Gilgamesh (XI 102-105): “the god Errakal was uprooting the mooring poles. the divine weapon of the Great Gods. the weapons (kakkê) by Ninurta. passing by.” “an interior that remains invisible to human eyes.15 It is noteworthy that while the most tangible regalia are bestowed on the king by gods by whom kingship is usually defined in royal inscriptions. 16 Note.” bestowed on him dazzling brightness and a luminous halo (Cassin 1968.-a. reverse I. the chosen one of Enlil and Ninurta. such as Enlil. in ll. 18-22) as well as a “solar cella in an unseen portion of heaven above the sky” (Horowitz 1998. another possible indication that this special kind of divine radiance might have a degree of affinity with the netherworld.” “utul àamê. Cassin 1968. It is noteworthy that “in later texts Nergal is also described as the god of light and fire” (Kvanvig 1988. In ancient Mesopotamia as well. Esarhaddon states that Nergal./ Ninurta. The connection between luminescence and the netherworld can also be seen in the image of the netherworld gods. ata± destroys the unprepared and can only be handled by the expert. l. 36-37 of the same text. later 15 Further. the king of Assyria./ scorching the country with brilliant flashes” (George 1999. In Babylonian cosmology. “the most powerful of the gods. 91. Cassin 1968. Goebs 1998.16 the “splendor” is the gift of Nergal./ The Anunnaki gods carried torches of fire. chief-priest of Ashur. the favorite of Anu and Dagan. 32). 251). In this regard see also von Weiher 1971. In one of his inscriptions the king declares that when he was crowned king. 81. the throne (kussû) by Enlil. and last but not least the “splendor” (àalummatu) by the very lord of the netherworld.” .” or the “lap of heaven.

which again has an acknowledged indebtedness to Near Eastern antiquity (Kingsley 1995. was thought to be placed in the netherworld (Hornung 1977. stated that the fire that eventually rose up to become the sun had its origins in the earth. when the Mesopotamian archetypal sage Adapa ascends to the “sky. the heaven which those who discourse about such matters call the other.” he encounters there Dumuzi and Ningiàzida. either way invisible. 10. earth. and netherworld. and should never have heard from anyone who had seen. seeing the sun and the stars through the water. in both of these ancient traditions of cosmology. there is a co-extensiveness between a heaven that is under the earth and one that is beyond the sky. xix. by reason of sluggishness or feebleness. The oldest Egyptian texts understood the duat as the original realm of stars.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 305 the ideogram. They called it the “sun in 17 Traces of an idea of an “inner heaven” beyond the visible sky can be found in Plato’s Phaedo (109 B-D) as well. never have reached the surface of the sea. West 1971. both in essence gods of the netherworld in Mesopotamian religion. mist and air are the sediment of this and flow together into the hollows of the earth. implying that the sources of daylight and illumination are ultimately derived from the dark depths of the netherworld (Emp. and should. and should never have seen. in Egyptian cosmology. B62. for instance. Alchemists from the end of antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were so concerned with the paradoxical discovery of light in the depths of darkness that they abolished all the distinctions between upper and lower. 54. 4). in Socrates’ speech before his death: “For I believe there are in all directions on the earth many hollows of very various forms and sizes. Kingsley (1995. What seems to be a paradox. In short. 51). as the keepers of the “Gate of Heaven” (Parpola 1993. by rising and lifting his head out of the sea into our upper world. but think we live on the upper surface of the sea. Kingsley 1995. 131). Burkert 2004. should think the sea was the sky.17 Peter Kingsley has also drawn attention to the presence of similar notions in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy. Izre’el 2001. and. namely that the netherworld can be co-extensive with “Heaven’s interior. celestial and terrestrial (Kingsley 1995. 55-56) further notes the emphasis on the same concepts in the Alchemical tradition that preserved and maintained the basic associations between the sun. Now we do not perceive that we live in the hollows. 55). the water. as no paradisiacal “heaven” exists in these ancient Near Eastern religions. how much purer and fairer it is than the world he lived in” (Fowler [1914] 1995. For them fire was only secondarily a celestial phenomenon. into which the water and mist and air have run together. which. 50). in origin it came from the center of the earth. 374-377). . Empedocles. James 1966. Wilkinson 1992. but the earth itself is pure and is situated in the pure heaven in which the stars are.” might then be more easily resolved. Along similar lines. What Plato refers to as this “purer and fairer” region may be considered as the equivalent of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian netherworld and “inner heaven” in their transcendental capacity.

This earthly or invisible sun was on the one hand the “fire of hell. In each case during these heroic struggles. This poem is known today as Bilgames and Huwawa. when Ninurta defeats the monster Asag. both melammu and puluÉtu. ata± the earth. he also deprives him of his melammu (Lugal-e 289-293). All these beings are in essence antagonistic to heroes and hero-gods. Enkidu kills the monster lest he might prove too dangerous for them should he remain alive. Old Babylonian Version. and Marduk respectively.” the “black sun. obverse 2.18 Imdugud/Anzû. In the poem. however. as well as its attachment to divine beings of a “monstrous” or “demonic” character such as Huwawa/Humbaba.20 Similarly. Ningirsu/Ninurta. Tablet II: 37. when Anzû is in possession of the Tablet of Destinies. The two heroes present the decapitated 18 The work that relates Gilgamesh’s stripping Huwawa/Humbaba’s “radiances” or “auras” to defeat him is one of the episodic Sumerian poems that ultimately formed the plot of the Standard Babylonian Version. 20 Standard Babylonian Anzû. 9091).-a. Heidel 1951. When deprived of all of his seven “auras.19 For example. 56). In the Sumerian poem Bilgames and Huwawa. 19 “Elle vêtit d’horreur (puluÉtu) des dragons terrifiants.” and on the other it was the origin not only of the visible sun but also of the light of the stars (Kingsley 1995. and the Mischwesen generated by Tiamat in her cosmic struggle against Marduk in the Babylonian poem of creation Enåma Elià (I 140-142.306 m. Tablet II: reverse 82. Labat 1935. a favorite copy-text in Old Babylonian scribal schools (George 1999. .” the “subterranean” sun. Asag/Asakku. and in the case of Tiamat’s army. The Melammu as Usurped Entity It is perhaps within the foregoing framework that one should also understand the presence of the melammu in the netherworld. Bilgames/Gilgamesh. Labat 1935. he also has melammu.” the “darkness of purgatory. 156-158). the adversarial being is in possession of melammu. 149166). Dalley 2000). the monster Huwawa has seven “radiances” that protect him.” Huwawa pleads for his life. these radiances are conceptualized as cedar trees that Bilgames and Enkidu fell one by one and cut into logs in order to conquer the monster (George 1999./ Qu’elle chargea d’éclat surnaturel (melammu) et fit semblables à des dieux” (Enuma Elish I 136-137. Even though Bilgames is inclined to spare him.

Enki/Ea decides to kill Apsû on account of the latter’s intention to annihilate the young gods owing to their noisiness. upon creating her children. 126). in Enåma Elià. In Enåma Elià (I 67-68). 84-85. the Scorpion-Man being among the very creatures generated by Tiamat in her struggle against Marduk (Enåma Elià II 32). 160). after all. 98-99. 90-91. be it the Tablet of Destinies or the melammu itself. archaic divinities that perhaps contain the melammu in its pristine capacity. one way for Enki/Ea to depose a god more archaic than he. are almost accessory-like magical objects conceptualized as the embodiment of power over the cosmos (Cassin 1968.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 307 head of Huwawa to the god Enlil who in return reproaches them for not treating the monster with courtesy (George 1999. however. from these adversarial “monsters. it is Imdugud/Anzû who steals it from Enlil. The fact that they embody this special kind of divine radiance may be taken as further indication that these are. takes off his crown.22 Perhaps it is precisely on account of this particular quality that the sight of the Scorpion Beings poses a primordial challenge to the uninitiated beholder. In the case of the Tablet of Destinies. Winter 1994. and puts it on himself. From this standpoint. 64. both the Tablet of Destinies and the melammu. but also enigmatically cognate with the heroes or gods against whom they struggle. as both Cassin and Winter note. In all of the myths cited. this act can be 21 22 Labat 1935. III 85-86). 116-117. II 23-24.” depriving the latter of this tremendous cosmic potency and making it his own whence he derives his new invincible sovereignty.21 As already mentioned. What one sees in these myths is perhaps a representation of the shift in cosmic power structure from older numinous entities to later heroes and gods. adversarial on the surface. as we have seen. Tiamat dresses them with puluÉtu and imparts melammu on them. . Labat 1935. rendering these beings like gods. hence usurping it. melammu. There are significant clues in the poems centered on these myths regarding the implicit venerability of all of these monster-like beings. Further. and then takes away his radiance. he first unfastens the latter’s belt. in Enåma Elià (I 136-137. is to rob him of his melammu. the god or the hero in a way usurps a potent cosmic entity. Before Enki/Ea slays Apsû. a theme of which the ancients were never tired expressing and re-expressing in different forms and guises.

What the Sumerian text makes very clear. As for the Akkadian “Myth of Anzû. ata± understood as a revolt on the part of an archaic divine being against a new coercive cosmo-political order. Later on. 23 There seem to be two versions of this myth. mysterious and obscure as they are. as Lugal-e (70-95) signals very clearly by marking this juncture by a “flood” (van Dijk 1983. One can again postulate that these three aforementioned entities. can be considered as the magical powers of a lost mythical age that eventually become encrypted in the netherworld. On the relation between kur and ki-bala. 31-35). to the new system which is now about to overcome the former in conquest.-a. “tablet of destinies. 31). s.308 m. the già-hur. whereas the heroes and gods of the new system are now in possession of these lands’ vanished glory.” “Imdugud”). which essentially belonged to the divine realm. and not between Anzû and Enki.vv. and the lands of former radiance are now grim outlandish places associated with chaos. the limits of the cosmos. The attack is successful. As a result. 140.23 The fact that the melammu is an inherent quality of both Huwawa and Asag leads one to think that this kind of radiance is primordial and initially at home where these beings reside.” the me has been stolen by Anzû from Enlil.” see Katz 2003. was also assumed by the ruler (Cassin 1968. 24 On a discussion of kur as a Sumerian word meaning “netherworld” as well as “mountain” and “foreign country. the “mountainland” and the “Rebel Land(s)” respectively. the kur. 120. From the Akkadian period onwards the radiance.24 Given the cosmic potency of this radiance. see Kinnier Wilson (1979). Kramer and Maier 1989. a struggle seems to take place between Ninurta and Enki. 231). 231-234. the old cosmos. its presence in these lands can be thought to point toward the now deteriorated superiority of these regions and their agents. the ends of the earth. however. 63-112. Enlil’s kingship is lost and chaos takes over (Kramer 1984. as well as the Tablet of Destinies are all dropped into the netherworld by Anzû when Ninurta attacks the bird (Kramer 1984. The tradition continues through the Old Babylonian. The melammu is also an attribute of the king in his conceptualization as the representative and likeness of the gods (Oppenheim 1943. Kassite and the Assyrian periods. which is “an attempt to interpret in a consistent way the numerous stories of the gods and heroes who did battle there in the legendary twilight of man’s early beginning in Mesopotamia. Black and Green 1997. is the fact that the me. For instance. from whom Anzû steals it. The usurpation of the melammus of Huwawa and Asag by Bilgames and Ninurta respectively can in this light be understood as the coming to an end of one cosmic era and the beginning of another. or the netherworld.” the possessor of the Tablet of Destinies seems to have been Enki.” . the Assyrian king Adad-nirari II (911-891 BCE) in describing his accession to the throne indicates that he has received not only the scepter and kingship from the gods. In the Sumerian poem “Ninurta’s Pride and Punishment. 66).

126. For a recent translation of this poem see Meador 2000. is also a most potent weapon against the enemy.27 It is also the same primordial radiance that shines on the Assyrian crown prince when he descends to the netherworld and “illuminates” him with new knowledge of a fearful sort. its very occurrence shows that such an “order” is not beyond question. 73-74). could not be more significant in demonstrating that ultimately the origin of this primitive divine radiance might be the netherworld.” 26 25 . 21) also distinguish between a later governmental order. again concluding that “the weapons were in fact the same. 91-102. Along similar lines. From this standpoint. the way in which the ‘un-captured’ elements appear in the symbolic system reveals their continuing existence as a feared anti-social force and a threat to the hegemonic order” (van Binsbergen and Frans Wiggermann 1999. Yet. the king could also lose this divine support. see also Winter 1994. Wim van Binsbergen and Frans Wiggermann (1999) argue that the structure of the universe prior to the coercive divine rule of deities such as Marduk and Enlil and the realm outside “divine rule. and independence. 71). and that order in this sense is not completely secured. causing the latter’s paralysis even upon the approach of the king toward rebel cities (Cassin 1968. which they refer to as “holistic. “who might then go forth against the Rebel Lands of other days and use them again. This fearful radiance is what characterizes not only the Scorpion Beings at the entrance of this realm. This very light is not only the light of divine epiphany that.” Furthermore. 74) on how in texts the royal weapons were sometimes described in the same way as those of the gods. 31). the melammu.25 One can see here how this special kind of radiance is also a quality bestowed on the king by the gods who hold it in their possession.” the “demonic. By the same token. 5) concludes that all the divine weapons that were used by many of the hero-gods against their rebellious adversaries were ultimately given to the kings. Meador (2000. Kinnier Wilson (1979. overwhelms and transforms On the conferral of the melammu on kings.26 The fact that Esarhaddon’s radiance is given to him by the netherworld god Nergal. but also Huwawa and Asag in their lands of “Edenic” wilderness penetrated by the hero or the hero-god. 90) views the meaning of the poem as “the fundamental struggle in the psyche between the backward pull of the idealized world of paradisiacal bliss and the forward impetus toward states of competence. however.” and the previous primordial phase. “In other words.” 27 A similar defiance of authority can also be seen in the Sumerian poem Inanna and Ebih. “when his melammu disappears it becomes known that he is no longer king ‘by the grace of God’” (Oppenheim 1943. when displayed. so long as it is in kings’ possession. 22). which in turn places the king in a privileged position analogous to that of these very gods who have accomplished victories against “monstrous” rebel gods.” Although in each case the rebellion is suppressed.” Kinnier Wilson (102) further mentions Cassin’s remark (1968. which they refer to as “theistic.” share a tendency to rise against the prerogatives of the gods of “order. autonomy.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 309 but also the melammu of royalty (Cassin 1968. she thinks of Ebih as an embodiment of “Edenic” notions of purity and harmony. Van Binsbergen and Wiggermann (1999.

Mass. 7-11 July 2003. and Anthony Green. George. The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism. Cambridge. Corbin. and Others. The Legacy of Mesopotamia. D. Kevin. Boulder. Jeremy. The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age. 1956. 1997. the Flood. References Ataç. 1998. The ‘Underworld Vision’ of the Ninevite Intellectual Milieu. 1997. 2004.: Harvard University Press. ———. London: Penguin Books. 2000. The Loeb Classical Library. Demons and Symbols of Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary. Austin: University of Texas Press. Phaedo. Goebs. trans. Alice A. Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press. George. Mehmet-Ali. [1914] 1995. 1978. Mass. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation. Helene. Translated by Nancy Pearson. Katja. Hephaistos 15: 31-45. ed. Stephanie. ed. The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. Expressing Luminosity in Iconography: Features of the Solar Bark in the Tomb of Ramesses VI. Plato: Euthyphro. Riekele. Babylon. ata± the candidate who is seeking admission to the Mysteries. Commentary. Clinton.-a. Eléna. Graz: Selbstverlage des Herausgebers. Die Inschriften Asarhaddons. Crito. . 1968. Donohue. but also a potent magical entity that imparts tremendous cosmic power on the divine agent who manages to hold it in custody. Myths from Mesopotamia: The Creation. London. Myth and Cult: The Iconography of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Borger. Gods. Cambridge. Cambridge. Pinder and Walter Burkert. Foley. Nineveh: Papers of the XLIXe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. 1992. Gilgamesh. Andrew. 1994. 1999. La Splendeur divine: Introduction à l’étude de la mentalité mésopotamienne. Phaedrus. Dalley.310 m. Walter. Göttinger Miszellen 165: 57-67. Fowler. ———. 1998. Apology. Harold North. Persepolis: Eastern Contexts of Greek Culture. Königs von Assyrien. Translated by Margaret E. Stockholm: Paul Åströms förlag. The Greek Images of the Gods: Considerations on Terminology and Methodology. Henry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Paris: Mouton & Co. Collon and A.: Harvard University Press. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1992. Burkert. Black. Memphis. Colorado: Shambala. Iraq 66: 67-77. Cassin. Princeton: Princeton University Press. and Interpretive Essays. 2004.

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123-132. A Volume of Essays in Felicitation of Kapila Vatsyayan. London: Thames and Hudson. ed. Jack Sasson. Wilkinson. ———. N. 1992. . 1992. Irene J. In Art: The Integral Vision. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. ed. C. 1995. New Delhi: D. Groningen: Styx & PP Publications. M. Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts. Vol. S. Aesthetics in Ancient Mesopotamian Art. Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture. 2569-2580. Richard H. A. K. Malik and M. Khanna. 4. F. Winter. Saraswati. Cuneiform Monographs 1. B. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Radiance as an Aesthetic Value in the Art of Mesopotamia (with Some Indian Parallels). Printworld.the melammu as divine epiphany and usurped entity 313 Wiggermann. 1994.

314 m. ata± .-a.

Rhetoric and the Public Monument”: Gendered Contexts .between human and divine 315 IV “Sex.

e. suter .316 c.

Due to space limitations. little attention has been paid to their images. Despite some confusion in previous scholarship. in which I show that Frances Pinnock’s hypothesis (1998) does not hold up to the evidence. as Winter demonstrated. Suter In tribute to Irene Winter’s contribution on women (1987). The best criterion for identifying human figures in Mesopotamian imagery is an associated text. while other women wear fringed or pleated robes and their hair tied up. anonymous figures begin to take on identity. By tracing similarities of attire and scene context between textually identified figures and those that are not. flounced robes. and Markus Hilgert for sharing with me the manuscript of his paper “Aspects of en-ship: Revisiting Paraphernalia. In part. The latter are identified in associated texts as royals or their servants. They wear unique headdresses. Royal Politics. high priestesses are well attested in texts. During this time. Dedicatory inscriptions on statues or figurative images carved in relief identify the donor whom the statue represents or who figures in the carved image. this may be due to controversial identifications and the lack of a basic classification of female figures in these periods. it is my pleasure to offer her a study on images of high priestesses from the Akkad (Akk) to the Isin-Larsa (IL) period (c. I thank Julia Asher for letting me use her file on statues. however. So far. Terracotta objects were not considered because the figures they depict remain anonymous and represent more types than concrete individuals.between human and divine 317 BETWEEN HUMAN AND DIVINE: HIGH PRIESTESSES IN IMAGES FROM THE AKKAD TO THE ISIN-LARSA PERIOD Claudia E. high priestesses can be distinguished from other women by their attire and hairstyle. I shall present the evidence on court ladies in another contribution.1 Having made the distinction between high priest1 These observations are based on a survey of female figures in sculpture and glyptic from the Akk to IL period. and their long hair loose. while seal inscriptions identify the seal owner and sometimes also his or her superior. both of whom may be depicted on the seal. and the Sacred Marriage” given at the Oriental Institute of . 2334-1763 BCE). in which she traced back the office of Nanna’s high priestess to Early Dynastic (ED) times based on visual evidence.

and Yannick F. In the following. Braun-Holzinger. 2 For an excellent new overview with up-to-date bibliography. While texts provide a vital basis for iconographic interpretation. Hill for improving my English. I will only point out some differences between en and ereà-dingir. Westenholz. Joan G. and finally assess what the images add to our knowledge. then scrutinize textually identified images. They were chosen by extispicy and then ceremonially enthroned. . there are also differences determined by local traditions and changes over time. others include ereà-dingir = ¿ntum and égizi. Eva A. Although differently titled high priestesses have similar functions. There are several titles that designate high priestesses: the most important is en = ¿num. dedicatory inscriptions. En were assigned only to the highest-ranking deities. ereà-dingir are attested from ED into the Middle Babylonian (MB) period. Marian Feldman. 626-640. rich funerals. Our knowledge comes from diverse sources (administrative texts. they could receive ceremonial names.318 c. Many high priestesses were daughters of a ruler. images can inform us of common knowledge about which texts remain mute. lexical and literary texts) and is too complex to expound in the scope of this study. Although most en were female. I will first outline my understanding of the role and activities of high priestesses. consider anonymous images comparable to the identified ones. the office was not exclusive to women. but not the University of Chicago in May 2000. and Julia Assante for commenting on earlier drafts of both these contributions.e. discuss their attire and regalia. see now Sallaberger and Huber Vulliet 2003-2005. since both appear in images.2 Their office was exclusive to one holder at a time and their tenure was lifelong. regular offerings thereafter. seal inscriptions. Role and Activities High priestesses stood at the head of major temples and were among the highest dignitaries in the realm. Like rulers. one can begin to analyze their images. While en were introduced in the Akk period and ceased to exist after the IL dynasties. suter esses and court ladies. year names. I also thank them as well as Miguel Civil. and they shared regalia with them. who were often. events deemed important enough to be commemorated for eternity by naming years after them.

18. In fact. but also economic enterprises. and of Enki’s en at Eridu. However. Conversely.4 En had a residence at their deity’s temple called Gipar. there is no general Sumerian or Akkadian term for priest and the demarcation of clerics is tricky (Sallaberger and Vulliet 2003-2005. Inanaka must be a woman. since the sources rarely indicate the en’s gender (Renger 1967.5 In contrast to en and égi-zi.between human and divine 319 always. 126-127 nn. Westenholz 1992. other sources document an en of Enlil for this and later times (J. of Ningublaga’s en at Ur. 54-58. dinana-ka. the other an ereà-dingir of Enlil—should refer to different high priestesses (cf. 618-619). For bibliographical references and sources. of Inana’s en at Uruk. Steinkeller (1999. see Steinkeller 1999.2. However. The interpretation of a building in Uruk as Gipar rests on a misinterpretation of the title lukur (Sallaberger 1999. 4 See Steinkeller 1999. . This considered. 128 n. Royal inscriptions and the Lament for Sumer and Ur further attest to Gipars of Nanna’s en at Gaeà. it is hard to ascertain. the term “high priestess” cannot adequately encompass or do justice to the ancient concept that underlay the differently named offices. ereà-dingir do not seem to have taken on ceremonial names or regalia. such a general trend seems to have existed. KA-kugani’s tenure may have been unusual (J. who is mentioned in the inscription of his wife’s seal: “KA-kug-ga-ni. it may not come as a surprise that the textually attested activities of high priestesses do not differ much from those of royal wives: 3 Although this principle has generally been accepted. 106-107. 182-183). 91 (ereà-dingir). 269 fig. 302). one must bear in mind that Mesopotamian temples were not only places of worship. there is at least one case in which the en of a god was definitely male: KA-kugani. 150 with n. 6 Although Steinkeller assumed this probably for the wrong reasons (see note 16). of Nanàe’s en at Ningin. G. Despite these differences. 95). some ereà-dingir were apparently assimilated with en (Steinkeller 1999. 5 Only the Gipar of Nanna’s en at Ur was excavated. en-den-líl-lá. while Tuta-napàum refers to herself as ereà-dingir of Enlil. 42). Cooper 1993). of the opposite sex. en of Enlil. since the seal image depicts the presentation of a court lady to a goddess (Haines 1956. Aside from the possibility that the en of Inana was a woman (Sallaberger 1999. and I find it unlikely that the year names ia and ib of Naramsin—one mentioning an en of Enlil.3 while ereà-dingir served both gods and goddesses of somewhat less importance. 120-121 nn. 128-129). G. In contrast to all other translations. yet it demonstrates the danger of generalizing. 79-83 (en-priestesses). Westenholz 1992. while rites were also performed by “non-clerics” such as king and queen. 87 with n.2025). Richard Zettler personal communication). dam-ni” (RIME 3/2: 1. The alleged interchange of ¿nat dEn-líl with ereà-dingir dEn-líl for Tuta-napàum does not hold because ¿ntum is the Akkadian equivalent of ereà-dingir and not attested as female form of en (Cooper 1993. 127 n. 133). 305-306).6 When looking at daily activities of high priestesses. 83) inverted gender. Not all temple personnel were engaged in the cult.

53. for additional seals. máà-da-ri-a (Sallaberger 1993.14. overlapping: Ur III royal wives also worshipped Nanna.7 In the Ur III period. 214-215 (IL pd. The main difference between these elite women appears to be that high priestesses held an office with its accompanying paraphernalia while royal wives held only status. see also Foster 1982. suter both directed a remarkable staff in charge of their household. 38 (Akk pd. 176). the highest official in archaic administration and most frequently attested word in the Uruk IV-III texts. Heimpel (1992. 603-607.5.11 Based mainly on later reflections in literary texts. 160-170).20 ll. while high priestesses also worshipped Inana. for particular cases. Royal wives took care of the laments for deceased husbands. For economic activities of royal wives. 11 Most images are illustrated in Schmandt-Besserat 1993. nos. too. one has to scrutinize en in its historical context. It is plausible that the ruler figure in Uruk period imagery represents EN. RIME 4: 2.12 The change must have taken place sometime during the ED period in which en still figures as For staff and estate management of high priestesses in general. As dignitaries at the top of the hierarchy. 560. 184-185). 70. they were select beneficiaries of royal donations.10 Royal wives. 782. 15-25). 10 High priestesses prayed to the gods for the well being and long life of the king (RIME 4: 1. In order to understand their role. at the major festivals in Ur during the Ur III period (Sallaberger 1993. 82. 53.6 ll. the ruler was elected by clergy in the guise of the city’s patron deity. 8 For example. In general. could receive rich funerals and regular offerings thereafter. 185. that is. see Renger 1967. 130. 8-17) suggested that en-ship was characterized by divine election. en -priestesses of Nanna at Ur). There was.8 They participated in regular cult festivals9 and engaged in various rituals. 9 For example. however. and their estates may have depended on the crown. For EN in texts. see Englund 1998. 12 The claim to divine election of kings from the ED period on can then be explained as an endeavor to legitimize the new form of leadership by integrating the old principle. Charpin 1986.” designated the earliest form of sovereign leadership. 387. see Foster 1987. see Rova 1994.e. ereà-dingir of Ilaba at Girsu). 7 . Van de Mieroop 1989. En. and that this form of leadership was gradually superseded by hereditary kingship (nam-lugal). including some in honor of the king. Hilgert (see note 1 of this article) was tempted to postulate a pronounced or even complete economic dependence of Ur III en-ship on the resources of the royal household. 20-22. or “lord. Sallaberger 1999. the cultic duties of high priestesses centered on the god to whom they were assigned while those of royal wives centered predominantly on goddesses and women’s cult feasts (Sallaberger 1999.320 c. 566. 786. which in the case of high priestesses was that of a temple. high priestesses had more in common with kings.

Under whose reign en was introduced as a “clerical” title depends on when Sargon’s daughter Enheduana took on her ceremonial name (Steinkeller 1999. albeit in a new form. their production came de facto under the control of the crown. 125 n. Her tenure lasted into Naramsin’s reign. who mimicked Ur III royal ideology. 4. probably under the reign of ’ulgi. . By putting them in the hands of high priestesses who were royal children. and of Isin kings. 1. 124). 132).1. The dissemination of high priestesses would then have formed part of other well known endeavors of Akk and Ur III kings to attain power by controlling the economy in their realm.between human and divine 321 royal title but is already contrasted with lugal (Steible 1982. If Sargon installed her as zirru. but also the harsh treatment Enheduana experienced when 13 The sources are given in Steinkeller 1999. This would accord with the general picture showing Sargon still indebted to late ED tradition while Naramsin created a new image of kingship. which Enheduana uses in the one inscription that has survived from her time (RIME 2: 1. It has been suggested that the political agenda of the office was to establish loyal power bases in the major centers of the realm in order to counterbalance the influence of the local elite (Steinkeller 1999. 77). traditional title of Nanna’s high priestess. Lukin. The choice of the title en may have been intended to revive the earliest form of leadership based on the principle of divine election. en is frequently used also in reference to gods and heroes. who was from Uruk (Sallaberger 1999. who revived several features of Naramsin’s royal ideology. it may well have been Naramsin who introduced en for Nanna’s high priestess and extended this title to high priestesses of other gods. Enàak. Such an agenda would explain not only the dependence of high priestesses’ estates on the royal household.13 In literary texts. or else followed in the footsteps of a powerful predecessor. Perhaps the underlying reasons were of a pragmatic nature. A second wave of new en occurred in the Ur III period. 105 n. The rulers who installed high priestesses had hegemonical claims.16). 5). The temples in these major centers controlled large parts of the local economy. 4. En of Uruk is then a secondary title of Urnamma. 2. It is indeed intriguing that the standard headdress of high priestesses looks identical to that worn by the Uruk ruler figure (see section on attire below).

249-250. 83-84). Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (www-etcsl.322 c. since “sacred marriage rites” appear to be a scholarly construct (Assante 2003. as well as the royal epithet “beloved spouse of Inana. kings shared with priests the role of mediating between these spheres.e.4. As head of the human society. suter the local ruler liberated himself from Akk rule (ETCSL14 4. 191-192. The only texts that explicitly describe a sexual union between a human and a deity are the royal hymns ’ulgi X and IddinDagan A. 21). The marriage of a king or high priest/ess to a deity must be understood in symbolic terms. not unlike diplomatic marriages of princesses to foreign rulers cemented mutual obligations with other states (Cooper 1993. 15 14 . Naramsin’s daughter Enmenana (RIME 2: 1. 91). as the epics around the mythical kings of Uruk probably were to a large extent (Michalowski In The Lament for Sumer and Ur (ETCSL 2. Urnanàe 24 iii 3-6).16). the king unites with Inana in the guise of her husband Dumuzi.07.12-13). as well as to high priests/esses as spouses of their deity. a number of references in other royal hymns and in love lyrics. Based on these texts.2). and three en-priestesses of Nanna at Ur: Enheduana (RIME 2: 1. That of a human to a deity established close ties between human and divine spheres. 151-153. ETCSL translates en in these texts with en-priest. and Urbaba’s daughter Enanepada (RIME 3/1: 1.” can be understood as allusions to the king’s union with Inana (Cooper 1993. there are also royal inscriptions attesting to ED rulers and Naramsin of Akkad as husbands of Inana (Cooper 1993. compare The Lament for Urim (ETCSL 2. 204205. 90) suggests that the main purpose of the king’s marriage to Inana was regulations between people and gods. 85). Marriage entails mutual obligations. although the office holders serving the mentioned deities were usually female in all but one case (en of Nanàe). 183-184. 348-358).2. as well as the abduction of other en by conquering enemies. However. 345). Had we only these poetic texts. In both cases. 27-31).ac.6.orient. Both kings and en-priests/esses can be called the spouse (dam) of a deity. Cooper (1993.33).2.1.2 ll.3 ll. The marriage of high priestesses to their gods extended this network of social ties between royal family and pantheon.ox. namely an ED priest of Nanàe at Ningin (Steible 1982. we could argue that this union was an invention of the Ur III kings in their endeavor to sanction divine kingship.15 There is an undeniable connection between en and human spouses of deities.

the divine favor granted to the ruling power. continued to be used side by side with en up to the Isin dynasty (RIME 2: 1.1. respectively. and Ur III kings chief of state administration. not unlike Uruk period EN were the highest officials in archaic administration. that is. 17 This is what Hilgert (see note 1 in this article) suggests. 99-100) and this high-priestess is precisely the one who is wife of her god. 4: 1.17 Identified Images The first textually attested Mesopotamian high priestess is also the most famous today.2). Steinkeller’s hypothesis (1999) that “clerical” en-ship evolved out of a convergence of Sumerian and Semitic traditions of male and female “priestly consorts” is problematic. I am not convinced that Uruk rulers were “priest-kings” and that their political and cultic duties were later divided among ruler and en-priests/ esses. 48).DINGIR of Ebla seems more comparable to OB nadÊtu since there were several holding the same office at the same time (Archi 1998. The symbolic elevation of a royal—be it king or high priestess—to the level of a deity’s spouse was to convey the close ties between royals and deities. 4: 2. 87-88) and Sallaberger (1995.5.6. There is textual and visual evidence that kings continued to perform cultic duties after the Uruk period and the evidence for Ur III kings’ marriage to Inana is much more explicit than that of Uruk period rulers which solely rests on the Uruk Vase.4. The marriage of some high priestesses to their god is better understood as an effort in sanctioning the political agenda of their office on an ideological level. Her image has survived on a fragmentary 16 Douglas Frayne’s attempt to link the installation of en and ereà-dingir with a “sacred marriage rite” of kings was conclusively disproved by Cooper (1993. . On the other hand. That for “Sumerian male priestly consorts” consists only of the mentioned dam of Nanàe. who seems to live on as àennu and en in the Ur III period (Steinkeller 1999. I believe that the primary task of high priestesses was running their god’s estate.12-13.3. DAM. 20-21).16 as little as it was that of kings. The evidence is perhaps better explained in terms of particular local traditions. “clerical” en-ship was an offshoot of kingship on the local level. zirru. Because “clerical” en were not exclusively assigned to deities of the opposite sex and ereà-dingir also served goddesses.33. This does not exclude the performance of cultic duties. archaeological and textual evidence speak in favor of a continuity of the office of Nanna’s high-priestess at Ur from the ED to the IL period (Winter 1987. Her original title. The Semitic origin of female “priestly consorts” is equally difficult to support.between human and divine 323 To sum up. 3/1: 1. In essence then.4. the spousal function vis-à-vis a deity cannot have been their main characteristic. 2: 1. Zgoll 1997. 119 n. Enheduana. 52-53).16. at least in representation.

restored with the help of an OB copy. similar to that worn by ED women from Mari.e. however. A good reproduction of the restored relief is in Orthmann 1975. 102).16.2017. pl. The inscription on its back. For descriptions. 73. now heavily restored. 3-4. fig. the place where the throne stood. Westenholz 1999. see Winter 1987.21 The libator probably represents lagar/l. ¿ntum of Enlil: Aman-Aàtar. On Tutanapàum. remains enigmatic. bára was not a dais. commemorates Enheduana’s construction of a throne-room in Inana-Zaza’s temple. Westenholz and Oelsner 1983. shaven male figure who pours a libation before what has been restored as a four-stepped ziqqurat but may equally well have been a deity enthroned on a platform. varia 5. 22 Whereabouts unknown. 101. 23 The interpretation of Aman-Aàtar’s characterization in lines 3-4 is controversial. 190-193. 41d).22 Its inscription reads: “Tuta-napàum.18 The object. Collon 1987. (is) her maidservant. 21 Compare Winter 1987. not related. BraunHolzinger 1991. no. 20 On reproductions of the unrestored relief.20 She follows a bald-headed. For a close-up photo of the unrestored fragment with Enheduana. 628). of her servant AmanAàtar (figure 2). daughter of Uhub of the Zabirum clan (?). Her head and the bubble above it are. which appears to have been vertically pierced. The most sensible solution to me seemed to emend a DUMU in front of MUNUS and understand it in terms of her origin. 88. Westenholz 1989. suter stone relief from Ur’s Gipar (figure 1).”23 The image depicts the maidservant in audience before her superior much like the estate manager Dada stands before his 18 CBS 16665 (Woolley 1955.19 Enheduana wears a flounced robe that covered both shoulders.1. who are generally interpreted as priestesses (Asher-Greve 1985. An image of Tuta-napàum. 214-215. see also J. G. high priestess of Enlil and daughter of Naramsin. Enheduana’s headdress looks more like a polos.4. pl. For its inscription. If Nanna’s high priestess was in charge of installing the local ruler in his office (Zgoll 1997. then this is what the scene on these reliefs may represent. . A polos would fit with the fact that this relief’s inscription presents the only mention of Inana-Zaza outside of Mari (J. see RIME 2: 1.324 c. as seems to be the case in the lower register of the ED door plaque that depicts a comparable scene (Winter 1987. Steinkeller 1993. 530. A. now lost. whether it was disk-shaped or not. Her hair falls loose down her back with a tress in front of her ear and is crowned by a circlet. Westenholz and A. 540 n. 81). figs. see Legrain 1927. but designated royal quarters. Westenholz 1983. This may have been Nanna or Inana-Zaza. 6). 19 According to Miguel Civil’s talk at the 51st Rencontre in Chicago in 2005. 2). 240. is preserved on the seal. RIME 2: 1. Behind Enheduana follow two poorly preserved figures who may have represented the local ruler and his wife. the male assistant of en-priestesses (Sallaberger and Huber Vulliet 2005. A.

26 E”EM L. because its shape does not correspond to any known instrument. A. G. 657). I hesitate to interpret this object as a musical instrument (cf.” indicates that the seal was a custom-made gift of the king to his daughter’s servant (Zettler 1977. but a unique crown. The headdress of high priestesses.. His throne is stylized as a mountain. however. Because of the unusually well identified Nanna on a custom-made seal of his high priestess’ servant. the evidence for an ordination rope (J. The only detail that denotes a goddess is the multiple horned crown. Collon 1987. She wears the same flounced robe and the same hairstyle as Enheduana (figure 1). (is) her servant. Enmenana on earth (RIME 2: 1. both in flounced robes and horned crowns. 25 It cannot be a prototype of the 1st millennium BCE mural crown (Börker-Klähn 1997. fig. extending drinking cups to one another. The seated position combined with cups and attendants signifies a banquet.33). “Naramsin. 725. 525. 229) because the latter was invented for neo-Assyrian queens (Ornan 2002. god of Akkad: Enmenana. fig. 104-106).24 Tuta-napàum sits on a throne in the shape of a recessed temple gate. was not yet standardized in the Akk period and Naramsin broke up the dichotomy between divine and human spheres (Hansen 2002.]. another daughter of Naramsin who succeeded Enheduana in her office. while loose hair is more typical of high priestesses (see section on attire below). 303) is not convincing either. like court ladies. since both are Nanna’s spouses: Ningal in the divine sphere. It is placed on a platform in front of a tree. Richard Zettler (1977. en of Nanna. Even if it resembles a rope hanging from a hook. and holds an enigmatic object.4. RIME 2: 1. Perhaps both interpretations are correct. Braun-Holzinger 1998-2001b). 24 Although female musicians entertaining an enthroned audience are depicted in ED and Akk imagery. RIME 2. 33). The image shows a seated couple. is preserved in ancient impressions (figure 3). She wears a fringed robe and her hair tied up. Westenholz 1992. perhaps the temple courtyard. Behind each stands a minor goddess. while other scholars identify her with Ningal (Selz 1983. . his child: Lu-[.2020).between human and divine 325 queen Tuta-àar-libbià (Boehmer 1965.25 The seal of a scribe of Enmenana. 88). Westenholz 1999. 474477). The flounced robe is as characteristic for high priestesses as for goddesses.1094 (Boehmer 1965. scribe. which may indicate an outside setting.4..26 The formulation of its inscription. 35) suggests that his partner represents Enmenana. The crescent on his crown identifies the seated male as Nanna.

81. 249). 29 Another low quality seal from Ur (Legrain 1951. especially since the seal dates to the time when he had adopted the title “god of Akkad. no. Braun-Holzinger 1991. The horned crown and raised right hand holding a cup must have belonged to Ningublaga. 487.27 it seems a small step toward showing his daughter on a par with the god whose spouse she was. 27 . fig. pl. A banquet of a high priestess and her god may also be depicted on an Akk seal from the Royal Cemetery at Ur that belonged to an en of Utu. In the first case. suter In view of the way he represented himself. garments. Neither scenario is satisfactory and it seems inappropriate to draw conclusions from such a low quality seal. and hairstyles of the figures. the small size and low quality of the seal carving do not permit us to identify with any certainty gender. as Steinkeller would have it. Although no title is given.326 c. nor iconography and style indicate a date later than the Akk period. 30 AO 4799 (Selz 1983.30 It is dedicated to Ningublaga and can be dated to the time when ’arrakum gained independence from Akkad (RIME 2. 338. a city north of Adab that flourished in ED and Akk times (figure 4).” The blurring of divine and human spheres was probably intentional: the ancients may have seen Enmenana as much as Ningal in Nanna’s partner. figs. 1-3). 1-4). Between them is a water bird. RIME 2: 8.28 It depicts two seated figures facing each other and probably an attendant behind one of them.2001). 115-117. One could identify either the petitioner or the seated female as the mentioned en of Nanna (?). 353). the seated female might represent Ningal. archivist of ’arrakum. the fact that she Naramsin was not only the first Mesopotamian king who deified himself but he went further in the representation of his deification than his successors for which posterity branded him as the calamitous king of Mesopotamian history. laconic inscription. no. the petitioner would represent a servant. W 23. Nigdupae’s wife. For similar banquets in Akk glyptic. and enthroned on a par with Iàtar (Hansen 2002. 126 n.EN” topped by what could be interpreted as two squarish moon crescents. Neither findspot. Steinkeller 1999. 214 no. partly covering her dress. She wears a flounced robe and a large shawl over her head. Unfortunately. whose name and affiliation are written between her face and her cup. but also with a heroized body (Winter 1996. The seal depicts a figure in a fringed robe and with a single horned crown petitioning before a seated female wearing a flounced robe and probably a horned crown. bears the inscription: “SAL. The woman facing him represents Geme-Mugsagana. 28 Woolley 1934.1.29 Another banquet of a high priestess and her god is depicted on the door plaque of Nigdupae. in the second. He is depicted not only with a horned helmet. see Boehmer 1965. which Joan Westenholz brought to my attention.e.

children are attested in all periods. 401. The human presentees are better explained as a local ruler and his wife. 90-92) identified her with the priestess of the god for whom her father built the temple in which this plaque was installed. 32 The old thesis that high priestesses were submitted to celibacy cannot be sustained: according to Hilgert (see note 1 of this article).34 It exhibits an unusual composition and mentions a mysterious king. However. no. Because she is taller than her brothers and leading them. pl. because she is dressed and coiffured like a court lady. however. En-priestesses of Ningublaga existed.33 The last Akk item to consider is the seal of “Ninessa. 34 AO 22309 (Boehmer 1965. since Ningublaga was worshipped at Ur since ED times. Selz 1983. Asher-Greve (1985. but may well have existed before.2. and the Lament for Sumer and Ur (ETCSL 2. Lugal-TAR 1).32 Her attire further supports this interpretation—the only women who wear flounced robes are high priestesses. The man holds his hands to the waist. the doubling of the goddess would remain obscure. like in the libation scenes described above. Moreover. . cannot be Ninessa (cf. while the woman gestures petition.35 Pisangunu was a minor god of the Uruk pantheon.1001) considered reading TAR as ku5 and identifying lugal ku5 with king Kuda from Uruk mentioned in the Sumerian King List. on late ED sculptures that in all probability represent priestesses. 441443.between human and divine 327 is banqueting one-on-one with a god suggests that she was his priestess. Lugal-TAR is the name of an ED ensi of Uruk (Steible 1982. Behind the left throne stands a god with his hands on his waist.31 and her marital status does not contradict this. Behind the other throne. nos. RIME 2: 13. daughter of Urnanàe of Lagaà. 73). Selz 1983. the antecedent of the flounced robe. and one cannot exclude that a namesake ruled Uruk at the end of the Akk period. and no other high priestesses are attested for him.3. 583. for the evidence see Richter 2004.3 ll. wears a shawl directly on her head over a tufted robe (Strommenger and Hirmer 1962. 260-261. 204-205). daughter of Lugal-TAR” (figure 5). The image shows two seated goddesses facing one another. Abda. fig. see Suter 2000. 35 Frayne (RIME 2: 13.36 This woman. While these women wear their shawl over a polos. 445. The inscription added after the image was carved obscures their hand gestures.1001). en of Pisangunu. Large shawls are combined with tufted robes. 33 Namely statues from Mari: Asher-Greve 1985. 525). a human couple dressed in fringed robes approaches. 400.3. and if the god and the goddess seated before him represented 31 They are first attested under ’ulgi. If so. 670. 36 For this gesture. Lugal-TAR may have adapted the custom of appointing a daughter as en to the cult of this local god when Akkad’s hegemony over the south disintegrated.

e. 249) may already have belonged to such an ereà-dingir: it also depicts a presentation scene of a female to a goddess. all from recut seals.87. like court ladies. the seal neither gives its owner’s name nor Lugal-uàumgal’s title. UET 3 1155.2. 24. 39 A two-registered post-Akk seal from the Diqdiqqeh cemetery (Legrain 1951. She wears a common fringed robe and her hair is tied up.40 If the first line of its inscription were an obscure title.5. a symbol of prosperity. 162) or the seal owner before a deity (Legrain 1951.2001). 6. 636). 125 nn. Steinkeller 1999. 11. I am aware of only three images with associated text for this period. If. p. 4). Her atypical representation can be explained by the likelihood that Ur III ereà-dingir of Baba were governors’ wives. 126 n.2004. the en-priestess would mirror the divine spouse she personified and the scene could capture the installation of Ninessa or that of local ruler through her intercession. no. K. and its inscription reads “ereà-dingir. she is the only high priestess standing in audience before the deity whom she served.2. then Lillum was the servant of 37 Several seals of high priestesses’ subordinates show either a combat scene (Fischer 1997. and the figures are rather crudely carved. no.”39 The seal of the brewer Lillum probably depicts an en of Inana (figure 7). Unfortunately. we emend it to: en-MÙ’-ZA-zi <en> dinana. Although high priestesses are abundantly attested in Ur III texts. wife of Lugaluàumgal. however. The left side may then represent Pisangunu and his divine wife. who offers her an overflowing vase. Maekawa (1996. no. 10. 2: 1. nos. Moreover.3. not professional priestesses. fig. 38 BM 18207A (Fischer 1997.328 c. In this conjectural interpretation. 120 n. Fischer 1997. Other images of high priestesses’ and their subordinates’ seals preserved in ancient impressions remain unpublished (RIME 3/2: 1. no.4. suter Pisangunu and his divine wife. 172) suggested that they were essentially “secular women. presumably Baba. p. 448). 159. 127 nn. 54).” A ruler of Lagaà under Naramsin and ’arkaliàarri bore this name (RIME 2: 1. a well known ereàdingir of Baba in Lagaà (figure 6). Followed by a Lama. 3. then it is tempting to see Ninessa in the “goddess” seated before the human couple. . the name of the office holder would be missing. standing in a tradition of local rulers’ wives in charge of Baba’s temple estate that goes back to the ED period (Sallaberger and Huber Vulliet 2003-2005. For the activities of this ereà-dingir. 40 BM 89225 (Collon 1982.92-93. 408 = RIME 3/2: 1. 160-161. p.2004. see the references in Fischer 1997.38 The seal was of high quality and thoroughly recut. 166167). 2: 12. 125 n. Geme-Lama faces a seated goddess.37 An envelope in the British Museum preserves an ancient impression of the seal of Geme-Lama.

259) correctly. Not only was his beard erased and long hair added onto the shoulder.6352). 913. The original image depicted a subordinate before an Ur III king.13). in administrative texts it was common to omit the title between name and deity of an en as. but also the brimmed cap was made into a circlet. 170. 252 n.between human and divine 329 an en of Inana called En-MÙ’-ZA-zi. Braun-Holzinger 1991. found in level III of the Kititum Temple at Iàchali and dating to the early IL period (figure 8). no. 42 If I understand the footnote by Fischer (1997. Woolley 1976. 44 CBS 16229 (Legrain 1927.43 According to the inscription. RIME 4: 1.). she came to the same conclusion. Unfortunately.44 It was found in the Gipar at Ur and is 41 As Markus Hilgert pointed out to me. 140 n. 223 (U. 223-229. pl. pl. She exhibits a gesture characterisic of consorts before Ur III kings. 140). Image and inscription were recut.4. Qiptiya was the daughter of an ereà-dingir. the seal owner. Spycket 1981.4. st. While Dominique Collon (1982. in the year name AmarSuen 5: mu En-unu6-gal dInana ba-hug (Hilgert 2003: 491ff. dressed in a fringed robe with her hair tied up and held by a hairband. In front of her stands her daughter. 176. Face and area of the original beard are damaged. 135. en-priestess of . for example. 448) assumed that the king was transformed into Inana. this seal then depicts the servant of a high priestess before his superior.42 If my interpretation of text and image is correct. 43 IM 27351 (Frankfort 1955. The original neckline of the flounced robe leaving one shoulder bare can be seen below the newly cut neckline of a flounced robe covering both shoulders. the priestess’ name and that of her deity remain obscure.14) and of Enanedu. The enthroned figure still sits on the typical stool and holds the cup. en of Nanna and daughter of Ià me-Dagan (figure 9). Like Aman-Aàtar’s seal (figure 2). Again. A similar image is depicted on the seal of Qiptiya. The brimmed cap was changed to a circlet and a bun was added at the nape. see also Fischer 1997. it lends support to Sallaberger’s insinuation that en of Inana were female in the Ur III period (note 3 of this article). and shows that this en of a goddess wore the same attire and hairstyle as those of gods. the king was transformed into a high priestess. The only presently known representation of an IL en-priestess is the restored statue of Enanatuma. The seal images of a child of Enanatuma (RIME 4: 1. The left edge of the inscription’s case is still visible next to the new one. 55a.41 The original image rendered Lama’s introduction of a male petitioner to an enthroned king with cup. no. I see him transformed into a high priestess.

6?. 8-9). 17-20. The head was sculpted separately to fit into a hole in the shoulders.8. pl. pl. 52-53). 46 See Asher-Greve 2006. however. RIME 4: 2.13. 4: 6. Naramsin. The former is the standard garment of deities (Collon 1982. Braun-Holzinger (1991. most of them wear this rare variant (figures 1-2. 105) and Ur III kings on seal images (Winter 1986.2002. and a lock on each side falling on the shoulder were restored after the femme à l’écharpe (Spycket 1981. 255. 131).e.1.46 perhaps because a single covered shoulder would look unbalanced from that angle. based on the premise that flounces descended from tufts (Strommenger 1971.4. st. 4: 28. which is occasionally also worn by kings.45 The rare type occurs with goddesses whose entire upper body is rendered frontally. suter dedicated to Ningal.7. 322.2. like seals of court ladies of this period (RIME 4: 2.2021) represents Lama confronting Udug. The tufted robe . remain unpublished.12.2001). in which Lama usually wears this type. Face. Attire and Regalia Except for the atypical Geme-Lama. 45 Namely Naramsin on the stela from Pir Hüssein (Orthmann 1975.32). 136).47 The choice of a primarily divine garment for Nanna (RIME 2: 2. as his images show (see note 27 of this article). but probably the military headdress of Eblaite kings.2001.14. only those apparently visualized as spouse of their god (figures 3-5).1. 47 The two types of flounced robes can be traced back to ED garments. This robe was introduced in the Akk period.14. We can distinguish two types: the common one that leaves one shoulder bare. 4: 27.22.330 c. Enough of it survived to allow a restoration with a circlet on long loose hair. 27). 14) interpreted it as a god because of the combination of flounced robe and divine weapons. 4: 32. figs. Enanatuma sits on an inscribed cubic stool set on a platform with two holes on its bottom and copper nails around its edges. Moreover. did not follow established traditions. Although high priestesses are always rendered in profile in relief. She wears a flounced robe covering both arms and holds her hands clasped in front of her body. 4: 6. which Naramsin adopted after his victory over this region (Matthiae 1980). 10. and one recut from a royal figure (figure 7) wear the other. 22. These images date to the periods under discussion and depict high-ranking goddesses. no. 4: 32. and another that covers both. Several copper nails just above the circlet indicate that something was once attached to it. 11.1. while the seal of a servant of Enanedu (Moortgat 1966. the conical cap he wears on this stela is not a divine headgear. all high priestesses wear a flounced robe. 6. Fischer 1997. necklace. While other scholars have not questioned the identification of the figure on the Pir Hüssein stela with Naramsin. The situation changed in the OB period.

Haussperger 1991. ED priestesses seem to have worn various headdresses too. is portrayed with the same long loose hair (Braun-Holzinger 1991. is found only in the region of Mari (Asher-Greve 1985. see also Asher-Greve 1985. en-priest of Nanàe. In the aftermath of Naramsin’s elevation to divine status.between human and divine 331 high priestesses and some kings must have been intended to express their proximity to the gods. The former is a circlet. 4). 157-158). but also from most goddesses. figs. Iàtar’s hairstyle. our high priestesses inherited their standard garment in a further developed form from ED predecessors. 5. . 20). 7). 79-82). If this interpretation is correct. 88-89. while the circlet was the headdress of Nanna’s high priestess at Ur (Winter 1987. frontally with loose hair (Colbow 1991. 117). st. and thus the only part of their attire that set them unambiguously apart from goddesses. figs. 48 See Collon 1982. By Ur III times. 2. we encounter various headdresses: while Enheduana (figure 1) wears a circlet. and of later court ladies. This was exclusive to them. as with the flounced robe covering both shoulders. Tuta-napàum wears an unique crown (figure 2). In the Akk period. that a rare dress variant and hairstyle of goddesses was chosen for high priestesses to distinguish them not only from court ladies. since Urningirsu. This variety is not surprising. for example. High priestesses usually wear long loose hair (figures 1-3. 23 and 27). like that of later high priestesses.49 leaving one shoulder bare is worn by male and female figures (Strommenger 1971. fig. The explanation must be that a bun at the nape cannot be seen in frontal view and a female face without hair would look odd. 8). especially if they are rendered in profile. the headdress of high priestesses was a circlet (figures 7-9). therefore. high priestesses may even have adopted the horned crown when depicted with their divine spouse (figures 3. this is a rare hairstyle for them.48 It seems. long loose hair may have come to mark en. and Geme-Mugsagana a large shawl over her head (figure 4). while the latter is a flat hairband identical to that of the woman at the left of the lower register. I would make a distinction between the headdress of the frontally seen woman in the lower register and that of the three women in the upper register. Goddesses may also wear their hair loose but. 30. 88-90). depended on the view: in profile she is usually rendered with a bun. considering that the attire of many figures was not standardized until the neo-Sumerian period. which probably reflected local traditions: the polos. 2. while the tufted robe covering both shoulders was reserved for women who are generally interpreted as priestesses (Strommenger 1971. 5). 49 On the door plaque (Winter 1987. fig. for example. In the Ur III and IL periods. Only two ereà-dingir wear it tied up (figures 6.

696. The aga is the legitimate headdress of Enheduana’s en-ship in Exaltation of Inana (ETCSL 4. 147 n. At least two paraphernalia are unambiguously attested for high priestesses. Sculptures. but we cannot expect to recognize an aga by its form (cf. and high priests. 186). suter Although there is no Sumerian or Akkadian term for regalia.50 and administrative texts attest to many differently named robes for them. They include paraphernalia such as crown. made of gold. the aga-crown and the throne. 50 . 203). Asher-Greve 1995/96. headdress. Sallaberger 1995. and several types of túggu-za (UET 3 1256 and 1717). kings. 51 Hilgert (see note 1 in this article) observed that en of Nanna could choose from an array of nearly twenty different robes. however. 16). or high priests. With regard to garments.51 The textual evidence is difficult to correlate with the images.2 l. Sallaberger 1993. several items are regularly associated with leadership. kings. the situation is reversed: there are many terms in texts and only one type of robe in images. and high priestesses can all be seen as their respective regalia. 128 nn. Winter 1987. including túgnì-lám. 192. kings. and jewelry (Krecher 1976-80).52 If we understand aga as a term for any headdress that served as regalia. 107. and various other headdresses before that. one variant replaces aga with túg. as well as parts of the attire such as garment. Crown and throne accord with the visual evidence in so far as all high priestesses wear a headdress and most of them are depicted enthroned. respectively. 15). clearly show that high priestesses wear a circlet on their hair rather than a cap (figures 9-11. kings. 126-127. and the images show that their thrones differed in shape. The flounced robe in which high priestesses are depicted was doubtless their ceremonial The throne is documented for several en-priestesses and an égi-zi in Ur III and IL administrative texts (Renger 1967. and high priests.07. whether of gods. 110-111. When insignia of en are mentioned in literary texts. in an Ur III text listing objects to be interred with an enpriestess (Sallaberger 1995. The same holds true for the throne: one term (giàgu-za) refers to thrones of deities.332 c. It is used in reference to crowns of deities. they often leave open whether a god. scepter. the differently shaped headdresses of deities. and throne.e. Images reveal that these crowns differed in shape: deities wear horned crowns. Sallaberger 1995. kings and high priestesses wear brimmed caps and circlets. 20). a king (as en of Uruk). 14-15). “garment”) and also occurs. The term aga designates function rather than form (Waetzoldt 1980-83b. from the neo-Sumerian period on. 52 Several scholars described Enheduana’s headdress on the restored relief from Ur as a brimmed cap by analogy with the headdress of kings (Renger 1967. or a high priest/ess is meant.

while IM 18659 was found in the IL quarter of Ur. and face of two well preserved heads (figs.5 by 3. which is otherwise attested only for Gudea of Lagaà (Suter 2000. Unfortunately.54 Images certainly rendered a simplified or idealized version of the variety of robes that existed in reality. 26-30.55 I would attribute them largely to the neo-Sumerian period without excluding that one or another may date to the Akk or IL period. admitting that they could equally well date to the subsequent period. Agnès Spycket (1981. The problem is that many terms for garments are not sufficiently understood. 54 53 . however.between human and divine 333 garment and this coincided with that of deities and some kings. 497). whereas an administrative text documents red leather boots for an en of Enlil (Hilgert 2003. 21-22. which measured ca. no. block-like appearance lacks any dynamic elements characteristic of Akk statuary. 3. túgguz-za. 136). Tello.5 m and weighed between 1. 10-11) are comparable to the femme à l’écharpe (Spycket 1981. túgnì-lám. With the exception of the latter. There is. another good candidate for the flounced robe according to Waetzoldt (1980-83a. Four statues have an attribute on their lap. the contexts of the properly excavated ones were either not accurately recorded or not original. Several robes attested for high priestesses in texts are also attested for deities and kings. while stone images cannot adequately render fabrics and colors. eyebrows.5 and 4 kg. 2122): túgguz-za. fabric or color. Nippur. 127) wanted to identify túgpalá. and Adab. Only two finds help to date this group: IM 56505 was found in an Ur III context at Nippur with many tablets dating to the reign of Amarsin. Renger (1967. 58). pl. 55 Their static.53 There may have been several terms for what we identify as a flounced robe. Anonymous Images Thirteen anonymous statues qualify as representations of high priestesses by comparison with the identified images (table 1). Frontal hair. see Waetzoldt 1980-83a. Uruk. They come from Ur. So túgpalá. referring to variations in cut. with the flounced robe of high priestesses in images. 171) described them in her chapter on the Akk period. Based on stylistic considerations. as is the case of footware: high priestesses are always depicted barefoot. the garment that typically occurs in the context of regalia in literary texts.

illegible inscription on shoulder Complete. 258 (photo) van Buren 1931. Spycket 1981. 235 (drawing). limestone 13. limestone - tablet on lap - Woolley 1976. 1992. alabaster 15. pl. suter Table 1. 73 n. Spycket 1981.3 cm Headless. 38 no. 55 Banks 1912. 131. C. W 21293. 202 n. Spycket 1981. 25:3. 93. 2.5 cm. 58a. 138 Cros et al. van Buren 1931. 72 n. 18a vessels on throne Unknown VA 4854 = Fig. 2.7 cm Headless. pl. Spycket 1981.e. 171 n. Spycket 1981. 11 Adab Purchased 1915 or before Purchased 1931 or before Complete.3 cm Lower body. 83:1. 130 Cros et al. 117 - AO 13211 Purchased 1908 or before vessels on throne AO 23995 = Fig. Spycket 1981. pl. marble 9. fig. Anonymous Statues of High Priestesses Museum No & Fig AO 40 Provenience Condition. no. Strommenger and Hirmer 1962. 127 van Buren 1931. 72 n. XV. pl. fig. limestone 15 cm tablet on lap Legrain 1927. 41. van Buren 1931. 254 n. Spycket 1981. pl. 12 expedition) Complete. 172 n.334 c. 173 n. 172 n.1 cm Head. 66 McCown and Haines 1967. 232-234. alabaster 6. 132 Lenzen 1966. 5. 171 n. 1910. Material & Height Headless. alabaster 11. 71 n. 131 IM 18659 IM 56505 Ur: Ninàubur shrine in IL quarter Nippur: scribal quarter IM Uruk: nB houses on SW edge of Eanna UM L-29-214 Nippur (4th = Fig. 92 van Buren 1931. Jakob-Rost et al. pl. 145:2. Spycket 1981. alabaster? 13 cm Attributes Bibliography AO 12844 Tello: palace: under pavement of court A Tello tablet on lap de Sarzec 1884. Spycket 1981. 10 Purchased 1862 in Baghdad Ur: Tomb Mound Tello: tell V vessel in hands CBS 16228 E‘EM 2381 tablet on lap van Buren 1931. 172 n. XIV. pl. 3. 134. 1910. chlorite 6.5 cm Complete. 72 n. 8. Spycket 1981. 142. pl. 202 n. 143. van Buren 1931. 128 Spycket 1981. alabaster 20 cm Head. 135.5 cm Headless. 56 YBC vessels on throne . pl. limestone 48 cm Headless. 3. fig. white stone 15. pl. 133.3 cm Headless. 172 n. 171 n.

together with Enanatuma they are the only statues depicted enthroned from the Akk to the IL period. 226 n. The tablets some have on their lap exhibit several vertical lines intersected by one or two horizontal lines. . Moreover. deities present this symbol of prosperity to rulers for their services (Suter 2000. 53 n. both Spycket (1981. apparently representing the cases or columns in which text was written. 65-70) and can be expected to represent products of this estate or utensils used in production. 617). aside from rulers (Braun-Holzinger 1991. 73). stylus. A tablet with propitious stars would probably have looked different. 203-204). She identifies them as goddesses mainly because they wear flounced robes. 63. Braun-Holzinger 1991. they would exhibit ruler. and it is bestowed also on Geme-Lama (figure 6). 56 If the tablets were to evoke temple construction. 58). and possibly a plan (Suter 2000.1. 134140)—and divination was not a prime task of Mesopotamian priests (Sallaberger and Huber Vulliet 2003-2005. Four more images can be added to the repertory of anonymous high priestesses: two statues. The containers carved on the throne of others are vessels for dairy use (van Buren 1931. slightly different from the above. their attributes can be linked to a high priestess’ office. In neo-Sumerian times. The globular vessel held by one has the same shape as the so-called overflowing vase (van Buren 1931. By comparison with the images of Enheduana (figure 1) and Enanatuma (figure 9). For several reasons. 21) have wondered whether they represent priestesses. too—that of Nisaba explicitly had a stylus on it (ETCSL 2. many are still listed as goddesses (for example. those whose head is preserved wear a circlet not a horned crown. 672). I also doubt that the tablet referred to the composition of poetry since most literary works were not written down until the OB period and Enheduana’s authorship is disputable (Suter 2000. the tablet probably implies an administrative function56 and can be associated with the prime task of high priestesses as head of their deity’s estate.7 ll. Because writing was invented and most frequently used for book-keeping. The globular vessel must thus signify blessings of prosperity that this high priestess received from her deity for running his or her estate. 20). 67. 174) and Collon (1998. they hold their hands clasped like other statues representing their donor. 234).between human and divine 335 Elizabeth van Buren’s article from 1931 is the only previous study of this group of statues. I believe that indeed they do: their attire and hairstyle conform with identified high priestesses. Although Henri Frankfort countered this interpretation long ago (1939. 151-152).

e. The statues are from Ur. 49. see Heimpel 1998-2001. Westenholz 1989. pl. Both are dressed in flounced robes covering both arms.58 This goddess has.60 Interestingly. 126-127). Shape and location of this groove indicate a circlet. V: 10075 described]).2. p.13. 12. See also Steinkeller cited in Zgoll 1998-2001. and have generally been identified as goddesses. and Ningal. Woolley 1976. no. pl. Braun-Holzinger (1998-2001a. Geese flank the female’s throne and her foot-stool is supported by two more water birds. 541-544). Ningal cannot be the bird of her city anymore because her city is being destroyed (ETCSL 2. probably in metal. 164c.59 I suggest that similar images from Ur represented Ningal. 122 n. The statue from Ur’s Gipar is then best identified with Nanna’s en who adopted the goose-throne from Ningal. An aga made of gold is attested for an en-priestess in an Ur III administrative text (Sallaberger 1995. 58 On a door plaque from Nippur and on seals and terracotta plaques from Ur. 160). Geese or other water birds—the representations do not always allow for a precise zoological classification— are associated also with a goddess on post-Akk seals that depict a presentation to a goddess in the upper register. and Nippur (Braun-Holzinger 1998-2001a. need not necessarily characterize the goddess. this goddess. . Two seals from Lagaà depicting a goddess on the goose-throne belonged to priests of Nanàe (Fischer 1997. suter and two reliefs. 54. 60 See especially Nanna B (ETCSL 4. Because her image was widespread from the Akk to the IL period. Spycket 1981. 153. and a groove around it with two holes above the ears indicates that a headdress. 353. 161). Such a goose-throne is otherwise attested only for a goddess with the multiple horned crown. been identified with Baba. A bird is also associated with an enthroned goddess on seals from Lagaà that belonged to servants of an ereà-dingir of Baba (Fischer 1997. 225 (U.336 c. whom she personified as Nanna’s wife. Girsu. 339). the traditional title of Nanna’s en still used in IL times (see note 16 in this article). although they lack horned crowns. 59 For her connection with birds in texts. 229-232.57 The top of her head is flat. and a row of water birds in the lower register and on neoSumerian seals that depict a water bird in front of an enthroned goddess (Braun-Holzinger 1998-2001a. Orthmann 1975. 234 n. pl.6779). is never depicted on the goose-throne. 15). These birds. Uruk. 161). date to the IL period. G. not a horned crown. however. was attached. at different times. In the Lament for Urim. was adopted from Ningal. One is from the Gipar (figure 13). 162) argued that she cannot be one and the same in all places and proposed that the images from Girsu represented Nanàe. however. Nanàe. 141 [ITT 5 pl.2 l. with whom texts also associate water birds.02). 57 IM 18663 (Legrain 1927. and can be translated as “hen bird” (J. zirru.

whereas an ereà-dingir of Lugalbanda occurs only once in an OB inscription (RIME 4: 62 61 . 253). see Braun-Holzinger 1991. pl. 63 Since the hand of her right arm is missing. Textual evidence. this female cannot have been its cult statue. the holes may have held a golden circlet sitting on the notch. is unlikely on a door plaque. 239. high priestess could dedicate plaques to deities other than their own (or their deity’s spouse) as when IM 18658 (Woolley 1976. 55b (U. Spycket 1981. it is unlikely that a horned crown was mounted on it (cf. This does not explain the notch created by the indented top. pl. see Strommenger and Hirmer 1962. Visual tradition would speak for Lugalbanda as the participants of two-person banquets are more often of the opposite sex than of the same and there would be a precedent in the door plaque of Nigdupae (figure 4). For a good photo.61 Since the shrine was dedicated to a god. like royals and high priestesses on seal images. disk-shaped top of her head. Because of the hair-ornament. Deities. 91). Boese (1971. That she received a subordinate in audience. Stylistic considerations (Boese 1971.16425). on the other hand. which exhibits three holes on the back. Leonard Woolley (1976. W 30. as does the fact that door plaques are not known from later periods. have observed the female’s similarity with Enanatuma (figure 9) and identified her as a priestess who may have participated in a banquet. for more bibliography. pl. Yellow criss-cross bands were painted on the indented.between human and divine 337 The other statue is a standing female from the Hendursag Shrine with long hair down her back and two tresses on her chest. “Ninsun” must be the beginning of a dedicatory inscription. mother of Gilgameà. it remains uncertain whether she was holding a drinking vessel. are not labeled in Early Mesopotamian imagery. and symbolically also of Ur III kings. she would represent an ereà-dingir. the deity to whom the plaque was dedicated. since presentation scenes in sculpture always depict the ruler before a deity. AO 2761. 138). 129 rechts.63 Her partner would then have been the deity to whom she was assigned. however. 128 n. Instead. Spycket 1981. 253 n. 136) and the mention of Ninsun indicate an Ur III date. 64 Only ereà-dingir are attested for these deities. however. If this was Ninsun or her husband Lugalbanda. that is. 117b). followed by Börker-Klähn (in Orthmann 1975. 136). would speak for Ninsun: ereà-dingir of Ninsun are attested in Ur III and Isin times (Steinkeller 1999. A fragmentary door plaque depicts a seated female wearing the flounced robe covering both arms and a circlet on her long hair (figure 14). Several scholars identified the female as Ninsun. 239) suggested that the bands represent a hair-ornament while the holes held another upright ornament.62 All that remains of the inscription is the name of the goddess Ninsun.64 However.

287-90 (without fragment of woman). beardless men on the right and a woman on the left turn their backs on two percussionists playing a large drum. hairstyle. Except for the missing flounces. which may have been painted on. 66 AO 5682+6160 (Heuzey in Cros et al. now lost. 323). 482) who wears a circlet. no. pl. Two bald-headed. Conclusions Based on images identified by an associated text. 1910. the other carries a cloth. She holds both arms raised. When high priestesses prayed to the gods for the well being and long life of the king (see note 10 in this article). her attire. not unlike Lamas do on behalf of their protégé (Foxvog et al. Although I know of no other human exhibiting this gesture. I hope to have established that one can identify high priestesses in imagery. This one may have followed a king to a deity. The scene may then have captured a cult ceremony in which king.1. since she does not wear a horned crown. . 128. She may. Lama’s gesture is thus suitable for a high priestess. the OB ereà-dingir of Lugalbanda apparently replaced that of Ninsun (Richter 2004.65 The other relief is a fragmentary frieze of figures carved around a stone vessel (figure 15). for a detailed description. therefore. suter Enheduana dedicated a relief to Inana-Zaza. They were marked by a garment and a headdress that were insignia of their office and they wore their hair loose down the back rather than 4. The woman wears a plain robe and a necklace.338 c.9). high priestess.e. the offerings for the installation of an en of Nanna of Karzida under Amarsin conclude with sacrifices for “the house of the mother of all en.67 she cannot represent a Lama. The men wear fringed robes. They are directed toward the focal point of the scene. they interceded on his behalf. 1980-83). 67 A possible exception is the female on a terracotta plaque from Tello (Barrelet 1968. too. 191). it can be dated to the late Ur III or early IL period. One gestures petition. Ninsun” (PDT II 767 ii 15). Her long hair falls loose on her back and is crowned by a circlet.66 On stylistic grounds. Strommenger and Hirmer 1962. like a Lama. and other members of the royal entourage participated. see Suter 2000. and jewelry are identical to those of the woman on the door plaque just described. represent an en-priestess. 65 As Joan Westenholz pointed out to me.

while those of goddesses had a similar status as court ladies. Significantly. The only possible en of a goddess (figure 7) looks like en of gods. Geme-Lama (figure 6) is probably dressed and coiffured like court ladies and appears in a context typical for them because she stood in a tradition of local ruler’s wives heading Baba’s estate. . Should the woman on Ninsun’s plaque (figure 14) represent an ereà-dingir. 11). This ereà-dingir was neither a king’s daughter nor a god’s wife and her tasks apparently coincided with those of a ruler’s wife. Nevertheless. not unlike Naramsin’s horned helmet differing from horned crowns. 269) proposed that his cap was remodeled between 750 and 652 BCE. the title was not consistently used: local traditions and changes over time apparently played a factor in its definition. this was not necessarily the case for all ereà-dingir. Perhaps only those of gods were assimilated with en. Blocher (2003. they looked different from most of them. it would still have been distinct. Whether the Mari governor Puzur-Eàtar wore horns or not remains problematic.68 If an en of Nanna adopted the goose-throne from Ningal (figure 13). this one would be assimilated to en in appearance and occur in a context fit for high priestesses married to their god.between human and divine 339 tied up in a bun. and with their hair tied up rather than loose. neither ceremonial names nor insignia are attested for ereà-dingir. since goddesses are much more often depicted with a flounced robe differently draped than that adopted by high priestesses. Other ereà-dingir were assimilated with en: Tuta-napàum (figure 2) refers to herself as ereà-dingir. 68 Another possible representation of a deified king with horns on his cap is found on an IL seal (Collon 1986. and she is depicted like an en. There is only one more identified image of an ereà-dingir from the periphery (figure 8): she occurs in a context attested for en and is distinguished from them only by her bun. What distinguished high priestesses unambiguously from goddesses was their headdress. 68). Differences between differently titled high priestesses have been noted. Even if some may have had a pair of horns attached (figures 9. the circlet of Nanna’s en became standard from neo-Sumerian times on. Although meagre. While the various shapes of their headdresses probably reflected local traditions in Akk times. whereas other texts document an en of Enlil in her time (see note 6 in this article). no. the evidence suggests that. In any case. High priestesses adopted their garment and hairstyle from goddesses. while all female en were entitled to the attire of a high priestess.

If. Only in exceptional cases may the depiction of a high priestess have coincided with that of the goddess whom she personified: in the case of Enmenana. however. Enheduana only presides over this act performed by her assistant (figure 1). 5). pour libations.e. Hilgert (see note 1 in this article) showed that this event could last at least seven days. 7. so frequently commemorated in official state records. during which large amounts of food and drink were consumed. dairy vessels. while the goose-throne evoked this en’s aspect as her god’s wife. who predominantly preside over presentation scenes from the late ED through the IL period. 523-526) that remain anonymous because the seals lack an inscription and the figures are not given idiosyncratic attributes. They share this function not only with deities. making it difficult to recognize the figures’ gender and attire. In contrast to other humans. a late Ur III/early IL high priestess intercedes presumably on behalf of a king in a cult ceremony whose focal act is lost (figure 15). such as Akk court ladies and Ur III kings. who are frequently depicted as the head of state bureaucracy. the woman on the vessel (figure 15) exhibits a gesture otherwise reserved for Lama.69 The most likely occasion for this event was their installation in office. they do not perform the rite. What do the images of high priestesses tell us about them? Most of their attributes—tablet. Similarly. receiving subordinates in audience (figures 2. high priestesses banquet with their god (figures 3-5. 3. and publicly celebrated in grand feasts. suter her headdress set her apart from the goddess. Then again. . Similarly. They only chair presentation scenes.340 c.70 Installation ceremonies of OB priestesses show analogies with marriage rites (Sallaberger and Huber Vulliet 69 I have not described anonymous high priestesses in glyptic. Banquets of women with gods may qualify. but the seals depicting banquets of a human with a deity (Selz 1983. 70 Based on administrative texts. Although high priestesses participate in cult ceremonies. yet her circlet set her apart from the goddess. and small pot symbolizing prosperity—evoked their aspect as head of their deity’s estate. 8). the latter the ideological one. but also with an Akk queen and with Ur III kings. because I could not find clear examples of figures whose attire corresponds to that of identified high priestesses in this medium. a high priestess could appear in the guise of her god’s divine spouse when banqueting with him (figs. 526-527) tend to be of low quality. high priestesses do not figure in the role of the presentee. The former reflect the realist political plane of their office. the image remains ambiguous (figure 3). 14). she may be alluded to in banquets of divine couples (Selz 1983. while Ninessa might be depicted in a mirror-image with the divine wife of her god (figure 5). While other royals.

a few high priestesses may have attached a pair of horns to their headdress. The use of the same terms for regalia of kings. and perhaps even completely slipped into the guise of their divine husband’s wife on that occasion. We can expect. that this banquet implied the high priestess’ marriage to her god. Addendum To the catalogue of anonymous statues of high priestesses can now be added the high quality. Kings and high priestesses shared these privileges with deities. heroized bodies. no such banquet has survived in images. underscore their high rank in state hierarchy and support the claim that they were offshoots of kingship. 1. high priestesses. banqueted with their deity. and its publication just appeared in Menegazzi (2005.2.between human and divine 341 2003-2005. and the use of attributes. and deities in texts. some aspects lived on. Kings and high priestesses mediated between these spheres. pls. 14 centimeter-high limestone head that was recently confiscated in Jordan.4. and other divine attributes. including the spousal function vis-à-vis a god. 5. the same robe. and the context in which high priestesses are depicted. it did occasionally happen in the aftermath of Naramsin’s elevation to divine status and the revival of royal deification under the Ur III kings (Suter forthcoming). Attire. Presumably. 622-623).01 ll. therefore. A. Vito Messina presented it at the ICAANE in Madrid. adopted divine attributes. they were neither introduced to a deity nor personally performed rites because they maintained a relationship on a higher level with their deity. 2006. must have been intended to blur boundaries between the human and divine spheres. They are indeed the only humans depicted in banquet with a deity: although ’ulgi is eulogized banqueting with Utu and Inana in poetry (ETCSL 2. and both could symbolically be married to a deity. and cover). and the same posture for them in images. They were the only humans aside from kings who were entitled not only to regalia. 79-83). Similarly. Although the latter differed considerably from the high priestesses under discussion. . but also to attributes in images and to the enthroned posture in statuary. attributes. Although kings rarely transgressed borders and adorned themselves with horns of divinity.

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Richard L. D. Zu den Weihplattenfragmenten der Hilprecht-Sammlung. ed. Joan Goodnick. Ur Excavations 2: The Royal Cemetery. Aage. 1983. RlA 9: 352-356. Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna. ———. de Jong Ellis. BiMes 21. Paris: Editions de Recherche sur les Civilisations. Durand. The Sargonic Royal Seal: A Consideration of Sealing in Mesopotamia. ed. In Sexuality in Ancient Art: Near East. B.e. Westenholz. Irene J. In Seals and Sealing in the Ancient Near East. Zervos.-M. Ur Excavations 4: The Early Periods: A Report on the Sites and Objects prior in date to the Third Dynasty of Ur. ———. In Insight Through Images: Studies in Honor of Edith Porada. Greece. 1999. In Mesopotamien: Annäherungen 3: Akke-Zeit und Ur III-Zeit. Roth. and Joachim Oelsner. En-Priestess. Philadelphia: University Museum. Die Prinzessin Tutanapsum. M. 1989. 189-202. and Aage Westenholz. ———. Ningal. 1986. Sjöberg. Egypt. Spouse of Nanna. ———. Winter. ed. Kelly-Buccellati. Annette. ed. 1997.346 c. The Clergy of Nippur: The Priestess of Enlil. OBO 160/3. Loding. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag. 297-310. M. 539-556. Westenholz. 11-26. ———. 1998-2001. ed. Biggs. In La Femme dans le procheorient antique. 1992. Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 14. Eheduanna. Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 11. . suter Westenholz. Charles Leonard. 33-39. AOAT 246. 17-117. The Old Akkadian Period: History and Culture. London: British Museum. H. London: British Museum. The King and the Cup: Iconography of the Royal Presentation Scene on Ur III Seals. 1996. Hen of Nanna. Ur Excavations 7: The Old Babylonian Period. 1955. ———. L’Art de la Mésopotamie de la fin du quatrième millénaire au XVe siècle avant notre ère. Malibu: Undenda. Zgoll. Christian. McGuire Gibson and Robert D. the Beginnings of the Office of EN-Priestess and the Weight of Visual Evidence. Rhetoric and the Public Monument: The Alluring Body of NaramSîn of Agade. Cambridge: University Press. Zettler. 1987. 1976. ed. 1983. 1934. 253-268. Woolley. In DUMU-E2-DUB-BA-A: Studies in Honor of Åke W. J. Philadelphia: University Museum. Joan. Westenholz. Paris: Cahiers d’Art. and Italy. 1977. ed. Malibu: Undena. Aage. AoF 10: 209-216. Pascal Attinger and Markus Wäfler. 1935. BiMes 6. In Nippur at the Centennial. Der Rechtsfall der En-hedu-Ana im Lied nin-me-àa-ra. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag. and M. Sex. N. Kampen. Behrens. T. AoF 10: 387-388. London: British Museum.

25. h.between human and divine 347 Figure 1.6 cm (courtesy University of Pennsylvania Museum) . Stone relief dedicated by Enheduana.

suter Figure 2. 530) .e.348 c. Seal of Aman-Aàtar (after Collon 1987: no.

Seal of Lu-[. h. .9 cm (after Boehmer 1965: Figure 725) 349 . 2.between human and divine Figure 3.]. .

h. 25 cm (courtesy Louvre) .e. Door plaque dedicated by Nigdupae. suter Figure 4.350 c.

3.1 cm (courtesy Louvre) . Seal of Ninessa.between human and divine 351 Figure 5. h.

9 (after Fischer 1997: no. 4) . suter Figure 6.e. h. 2.352 c. Seal of Geme-Lama.

h.between human and divine 353 Figure 7. 2. Seal of Lillum.9 cm (courtesy British Museum) .

Seal of Qiptiya. h. suter Figure 8.e. 2.354 c.2 cm (courtesy Diyala Project. Oriental Institute. University of Chicago) .

Statue of Enanatuma. 24 cm (courtesy University of Pennsylvania Museum) .between human and divine 355 Figure 9. h.

e.356 c. 20 cm (courtesy Louvre) . Statue of enthroned woman holding vessel. suter Figure 10. h.

11. Statue of enthroned woman with tablet on lap.3 cm (courtesy Vorderasiatisches Museum) . h.between human and divine 357 Figure 11.

358 c. h. suter Figure 12.e. 15 cm (courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art) . Statue of enthroned woman with vessels on throne.

between human and divine 359 Figure 13. 29 cm (courtesy University of Pennsylvania Museum) . Statue of woman on goose-throne. h.


c.e. suter

Figure 14. Door plaque dedicated to Ninsun, h. 14 cm (courtesy Louvre)

between human and divine


Figure 15. Carved stone vessel, h. 12 cm (courtesy Louvre)


c.e. suter

shulgi-simti and the representation of women


T. M. Sharlach Obviously, a central concern of art history is the question of representation, the translation of an idea into a visual medium. Irene Winter’s varied and always thought-provoking work as a scholar and as a teacher has encouraged the field to consider both Mesopotamian ideas and their representations in new ways. Although my own work on economic documents is in many aspects quite distant from her field of study, the lessons she taught me about academic rigor, the need for clear definition and, not least, negotiating academia as a female scholar, remain central. I have chosen, therefore, to present in the current venue not a traditional economic historian’s analysis of the technical aspects of an archive, or even an attempt to synthesize such an archive, but rather a presentation of what I see to be a set of problems we face when trying to represent women in the history of late third millennium Mesopotamia. I do not claim to have solutions to the problems raised here, but perhaps by identifying them in the open, we may be encouraged to consider the issues in new ways, which, I hope, might please the honoree. The issue of the representation of women, which Irene Winter discussed most notably in her article, “Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna, the Beginning of the Office of En-Priestess and the Weight of Visual Evidence” (1987), became an issue for me recently in my work on the archive of the royal wife Shulgi-simti, who died around 2050 B.C. This woman was one of the wives of Shulgi, the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ur and the architect of its most characteristic policies. The origins of this queen and most of the details of her life history are unknown (general introductions to the archive can be found in Sallaberger 1993, 18-25; 1999, 253-260; Sigrist 1992, 222-246; van de Mieroop 1999, 157-159). An archive associated with her, consisting of approximately 500 tablets written in the Sumerian language, spans a period of a little less than two decades. The texts largely consist of records of income


t.m. sharlach

and expenditure, as a rule dealing with livestock. The archive, though not excavated, probably came from the ancient site of Puzrish-Dagan (also known by its modern name, Drehem) on the basis of the date at which the tablets appeared on the market as well as clues in the texts such as month names and place names (Sallaberger 1993, 21). The tablets allow us a glimpse into the operation of Shulgi-simti’s organization (sometimes referred to by Assyriologists as a “foundation,” or institution run under her aegis though not necessarily by her personally). Income consisted of livestock of various sorts—mainly sheep, goats and various types of fowl—gathered from male and female courtiers and crown employees; it was handed over to male officials who worked for the foundation. The livestock is described as mu-DU Shulgi-simti, “delivery (to) Shulgi-simti,” as the three sample texts translated below demonstrate. Text One
1 ox, 9 grass fed sheep, 1 goat from Hubaya, general. 1 goat from Alla’s wife. 1 goat from Ur-nigin-gar’s wife, delivery (to) Shulgi-simti, Beli-tab received (the above.) (CST 42, Shulgi 33, month 5)1

Text Two
1 tu-bird, (from) Lu-urub, 58 tugur-birds (from the woman) Tezen-Mama, 2 kaskal-birds (from) Barbaria, the 6th day having passed from the month, delivery (to) Shulgi-simti. (AUCT 1.952, Shulgi 39, month 4)

Text Three
6 ducks (from) Bagum, fowler, the 28th day having passed from the month, delivery (to) Shulgi-simti, Shulgi-ili received (the above). (PDT 1.139, Shulgi 47, month 10)

Texts like these show male and female courtiers providing small quantities of livestock—a squab here, a goat there. Occasionally, larger
Abbreviations follow the guidelines outlined by the CDLI project, to be found online at http//

shulgi-simti and the representation of women


quantities are recorded and occasionally the provisioners were not courtiers but professional livestock managers, such as the bird-keeper Bagum in the last text. The foundation then used the livestock and the fowl for royal dining or, more usually in the case of the larger animals, for sacrifices at various shrines and at various times of the cultic calendar. A few examples may be helpful in illustrating the nature of these transactions. Text Four
2 tugur-birds, for my queen’s consumption2 7 tugur-birds, slaughtered, entered into the palace, the 7th day having passed from the month, expenditure of Shulgi-ili. (OIP 115.119, Shulgi 47, month 6)

Text Five
1 grass fed sheep—(the god) An, 2 grass fed sheep—“that of the place of disappearance,” 2 grass fed oxen, 2 fattened sheep, 2 sheep that followed oxen, 2 goats—for the festival of Nabrium, (for the goddesses) Belet-shuhnir and Belet-terraban. 1 fattened sheep, 1 lamb—(the goddess) Allatum, 1 grass fed sheep, 1 goat—(the goddess) Ishara and (the goddess) BeletNagar, 1 lamb—(the goddess) Annunitum, 1 goat—(the goddess) Nannaya, the 6th day having passed from the month, expenditure of (the official) Ur-lugal-eden-ka in Ur. (TRU 282, Shulgi year 46, month 9)

In the first document, fowl were used for consumption by the palace or royal family; in the second, larger animals were sacrificed. The sacrificed animals went mainly to goddesses, many of whom were not the usual high-ranking goddesses of the Sumero-Akkadian pantheon (that is to say, we more usually find here sacrifices to goddesses like Belet-shuhnir and Belet-terraban or Nannaya than to Ninlil or Ishtar). Documents like text five record the provisioning of cults under Shulgi-simti’s auspices. It should be noted that, despite her status as royal wife, the foundation she ran was on a much smaller scale than


In Sumerian, níg-kú NIN-gá-àè.


t.m. sharlach

the types of provisioning we see reflected in other royal archives of Ur III date. An archive like that of Shulgi-simti seems at first a beacon of hope to the historian. As scholars dependent on the written record, even when we would like to include groups other than elite men in our representations of the past, we often find ourselves hamstrung by the fact that typically only urban men wrote and the topics they wrote about reflected their world. Non-elites and women may be entirely absent from the written records. Where they do occur they tend to appear as outsiders, as people fitted into the established hierarchy or viewed through the lens of the elite urban male. But even if all we can say is how elite men viewed or represented such a group, for instance women, we still move forward from previous generations’ historical accounts, in which they are essentially absent. Much important work on the representation of these various groups has been done in recent years and will no doubt continue to be a focus of inquiry (see for instance the bibliography compiled by Asher-Greve and Wogec 2002). Of course, if we had archives written by the non-elites themselves, the problem of filtering would dissipate. Women’s archives, though rare, do occur occasionally in the cuneiform record. Is the Shulgi-simti archive one of them? With most archives or historical sources, it is evident whether we are hearing a woman’s own voice or whether a learned male scribe is telling us about male views of women. A letter dictated by Shibtu, the queen of Mari, for instance, obviously falls into the first category, while the Epic of Gilgamesh falls into the second. Some texts are more ambiguous, such as the “Exaltation of Inanna,” for example, which is attributed to the priestess En-heduanna but which in the form we have it was certainly incorporated into the male world of the Old Babylonian é-dub-ba, or scribal school. The archive of Shulgi-simti is also, it seems to me, a difficult case. Does the archive represent a women’s world? With Shulgi’s wife as the nominal head of the institution that kept the archive, does it provide a rare glimpse into some aspects of the lives of royal women? If so, we could begin to see women from the royal court in their own space, an exciting prospect since heretofore they have largely been limited to walk-on appearances in the male domain. But, in what sense would one be justified in considering this a woman’s archive? The tablets do not seem to have been written by or dictated by a woman. While the livestock foundation had as its head

shulgi-simti and the representation of women


a woman, that is, Shulgi-simti, in its day-to-day operations, it was run by men. The degree of Shulgi-simti’s involvement in the actual affairs of the foundation is open to question. For example, was she present when individuals supplied animals or when sacrifices to the goddesses were made? Was she active in deciding where sacrifices should be directed? Or were these transactions carried out by her male employees in her name but with little involvement on her part? If the latter is a more accurate description, then perhaps we are not dealing with a woman’s archive or seeing women in their own space. Another issue to consider is the public/private question. Is the foundation a reflection of Shulgi-simti’s personal choices, her individual piety, as many have argued (for example, Sallaberger 1993, 18-25) or an institution tied to her official role as one of Shulgi’s wives? Should we suppose that a strict binary opposition between totally public and totally private is likely to misrepresent the complexities of the ancient past, and if so, how can we most accurately present Shulgi-simti’s activities in a historical narrative? What kind of evidence would we need to support one view over another? Furthermore, we should perhaps try to be more aware of how our own preconceptions about gender roles condition our responses to the types of questions raised. In late third millennium Babylonia, could women have public roles? Or was the public realm by definition a space reserved for men? Should we instead posit that women could have official roles which were limited to a woman’s sphere, a more private space? Or were women limited to only private roles? To further complicate the issue, issues of class (and even region of origin) must also have been factors in determining what was appropriate behavior for any given woman; if so, how can we untangle the variables? I do not claim to be able to answer these questions, especially in the few pages available here. But I do agree with my teacher Irene Winter, that it is only by being explicit with ourselves and our readers and by defining our terms that we can move forward as a field. When writing a history of women using a source such as the archive of Shulgi-simti, it is essential to attempt to define what the archive really represents, be it a public or private sphere, a woman’s archive or male one, or something along a continuum, and to be clear with ourselves what evidence we have to support our assertions. Otherwise, we run the risk of writing representations of ourselves, and our own preconceptions, rather than representing the past.


t.m. sharlach References

Asher-Greve, J., and M.-F. Wogec. 2002. Women and Gender in Ancient Near Eastern Cultures: Bibliography 1885 to 2001 A.D. Nin 3: 33-114. Sallaberger, W. 1993. Der kultische Kalender der Ur III Zeit. Berlin: de Gruyter. ———. 1999. Mesopotamien: Ur III-Zeit. OBO 160/3. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag. Sigrist, M. 1992. Drehem. Bethesda: CDL Press. Winter, Irene J. 1987. Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna, the Beginning of the Office of En-Priestess, and the Weight of Visual Evidence. In La Femme dans le proche-orient antique, ed. J.-M. Durand, 189-202. Paris: Editions de Recherche sur les Civilisations. Van de Mieroop, M. 1999. Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of History. New York: Routledge.

the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i


Julia Assante In tribute to Irene Winter, I offer a study on decorative arts. Every phase of this contribution is in some way indebted to her, not least because she has done so much to elevate the “minor arts” to a solid standing in the discourse of ancient Near Eastern art history. The objects in question are twenty small-scale lead reliefs with erotic content.1 Twelve pieces feature men and women in uncommon sexual acts, sometimes in ménages à trois (figures 1-4 and 6-8). Eight, including one mold, portray single females, usually nude, in various poses (figures 9-14).2 The erotica appeared in the reign of one king, Tukulti-Ninurta I (1240-1207 BCE), and at only two sites: Assur, the ancient capital of Assyria, and the adjacent royal city of Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta. As most former scholarship has distorted the nature and function of these objects in order to make (erroneous) sensational claims about ancient Near Eastern society, this study’s main aim is to set the record straight. The archaeological and textual evidence suggests that the reliefs were made as decorative insets for the furniture of Assyrian elite. Formal and contextual analyses in light of contemporary visual and social traditions indicate that they are private pornography. I consider the Middle Assyrian erotic reliefs as pornographic because they formed a discrete, exclusive repertoire that acutely conflicted with their moral environment, quite in contrast to Old Babylonian erotica that was mass-produced and celebrated certain long-standing cultural motifs.3

1 Not all reliefs are shown here. Nearly all are badly damaged from a disease caused by storage in oak boxes. Most are kept in an argon vacuum at the Vorderasiatisches Museum to prevent the disease from advancing. The drawings offered here are my own, taken from sketches in excavation day books. The sketches were made before storage and the onset of the disease. 2 Evelyn Klengel-Brandt remembers at least one more at the Assur site museum. 3 For a detailed discussion on Old Babylonian erotica, see Assante 2000, 2002. For comparison between Old Babylonian and Middle Assyrian erotica, see Assante 2000.


j. assante

As such, the lead inlays represent the only provenienced pornography known from Mesopotamia. The inlays are also politicized. So a further aim is exploring their ideological aspect. Politicization is introduced by the soft-pointed caps worn by all males in scenes where their heads survive. The caps unambiguously identify them as foreigners, specifically westerners from the modern region of Syria, who were deported to Assyria as captives by the thousands during Tukulti-Ninurta’s reign.4 Until the end of the Assyrian empire, the cap was the chief visual means by which westerners, especially captives, were distinguished from Assyrians. Men fornicating in sex scenes are the first Assyrian depictions of foreigners so far known. Overall, the lead inlays were part of a massive state production of decorative arts that I argue helped form and maintain an imperialist ideology at the time when Assyria was fast rising as a dominant war state. The sexual lead pieces are stylistically and, probably, functionally most closely related to contemporary non-figural lead work, of which there may have been thousands of examples.5 Yet they are considerably isolated in style and content.6 Their singular use of human figural forms, their themes, and their superior technology set them in a class of their own, while pointing to a precisely targeted elite audience. Despite their diminutive sizes (averaging 5.46 centimeters in height), they are astonishingly detailed, variable in motif, and naturalistic. The small numbers found suggest that they were produced as exclusive editions, even though mold casting normally leads to duplication. Restricted manufacture would have enhanced the status of the reliefs as well as their psychological impact. The openwork’s detail and intricacy demonstrate an unusually high degree of craftsmanship and technological expertise. Since there is not the slightest evidence, formal or otherwise, that Middle Assyrian artisans were aware of sexual representation
Specifically northwest Syria (Hattina), BÊt-Adini on the middle Euphrates and the Levant. See Wäfler 1975. This foreign element was first noted by Jerrold Cooper (19721975, 264). Soft-pointed caps occur again in Assur-bel-kala’s “broken obelisk” (10741057 BCE). 5 Of the excavated lead objects, the Vorderasiatisches Museum houses about 280, not all identifiable; others were left in Iraq, sent to museums in Turkey, or lost or discarded. 6 The extreme majority of Assur lead, mostly disks, shows highly stylized floral patterns. Although many lead objects from Anatolia and north Syria share the openwork style, they tend to take certain forms: trinkets, jewelry elements, or schematic human figurines. See Assante 2000, 262 n. 15.

the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i


from other periods and places, the lead smiths apparently invented it. It was an extremely short-lived experiment. There is a certain consistency of sexual attitudes in coitus scenes that works partly by the omission of familiar positions. Surprisingly, sex in which both partners are recumbent—so common in erotica from other times and places in the ancient Near East—does not occur. Instead, all intercourse involves at least one partner standing. The sometimes difficult postures prevent construing such scenes as representing “normal,” that is, Assyrian, behavior. There are, furthermore, no hints of the domestic or community sphere—no beds or local tavern settings as in Old Babylonian erotica, which contemporary viewers could misread as Assyrian. Assyrians simply did not show Assyrians having sex. The specific milieu is staged and theatrical rather than orgiastic or ritual. Whether or not artisans modeled these scenes on actual live sexual performances or simply imagined them may never be answered. The iconography, discussed below, of theatrical postures, sexual props, musical instruments, and dancers’ costumes further distances these scenes from everyday Assyrian reality. By these visual prompts, Assyria effectively disowned its own erotic production. Because I have already discussed in a number of studies modern scholarship’s consistent misinterpretations when it comes to sex and nudity, only a few most pertinent to the lead reliefs are mentioned here.7 First, seemingly blinded by their content, scholars missed or ignored the careful insignia of foreignness in the reliefs8 as well as the iconography of sexual theater. Furthermore, the artifact class to which they belong was not investigated, precluding the discovery of their true function. Finally, their archaeological contexts have been overlooked or distorted, beginning with the excavator himself. Although Walter Andrae was quite aware than only one female nude was found in the Ishtar Temple (and that in later fill), he published all lead erotica in his Ishtar Temple report (Andrae 1935). His decision was based on his conviction that the reliefs must depict cult prostitution.9 Many have followed Andrae in deploying the reliefs to make claims about “orgiastic cults,” fertility rites, and the pervasiveness of
7 See Assante 1998; 2000, 19-73; 2003; 2006. Fortunately, Cooper’s careful RlA analysis of the reliefs (1972-1975) eliminated a Sacred Marriage misinterpretation early on. 8 With the exception of Cooper. See n. 4. 9 See Assante 2000, 46-49; Scurlock 1993, 15; Westenholz 1995, 61.


j. assante

prostitution, sacred or secular, in ancient Mesopotamia. I have argued elsewhere that such claims for Mesopotamia are fictions. They began appearing after the popularizing abridged edition of Sir James Frazer’s monumental work, The Golden Bough, was released in 1922 (Assante 2003, 23-24). Frazer almost single-handedly invented fertility cults and religious prostitution for the ancient Near East, with some help from other sources, notably Herodotus. Until recently, these pornographic inlays wrongly stood as proof for the existence of such rites in ancient Mesopotamia. I see no evidence for fertility cults, sacred prostitution, or orgiastic cults in Mesopotamia’s primary sources, visual or textual. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Assyrians perceived Ishtar as the goddess of sex during the Middle Assyrian period. Royal inscriptions from Tukulti-Ninurta I envision her in strictly martial terms. It was probably this Ishtar that the king had in mind when he built her temple in Assur.10 Similarly, the Hurrian Ninevite Ishtar was associated with healing, not sex.11

The Case for Elite Furniture Inlays The true archaeological contexts of the reliefs present their complete life cycle: their creation, consumption, and finally, reuse in fill. The findspots taken together strongly suggest that they were furniture inlays made for the royal house.12 Eleven out of twenty were found on the New Palace Terrace of Assur, which, as I have shown, was a workshop site that manufactured luxury decorative items of many types.13 All exhibited technological failures consistent with the debris of an industrial zone. Mixed in were kiln testers, the occasional
She may also have been the custodian of secrets, perhaps having to do with oathtaking (Westenholz 1998, 77). See also KAR 139. Most Assyrian versions of Ishtar are associated with motherhood or healing in addition to war. Both Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishtar of Assur had strong connections to kings and state cult (Menzel 1981). 11 Neo-Assyrian records also refer to her as wet nurse and mother (Livingstone 1989, 99). 12 This discussion is drawn from the extensive coverage in Assante 2000, 179-209. I compiled data from Andrae’s excavation day books in Berlin, with supplements from Miglus 1996 and Eickhoff 1985. Reinhard Dittmann, who excavated at Kar-TukultiNinurta with Kartrin Bastert, C. Schmidt and S. Thürwächter in 1986 and 1989, generously shared unpublished material from his excavations. 13 Tellingly, Tukulti-Ninurta named the main gate to the terrace, “The Metal Workers’ Gate” (Miglus 1982, 274).

the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i


tool, and pieces of gold and copper sheeting often used for plating, all signs of industrial output. The great amount of raw material and scrap metal in the form of sheeting, lumps, strips, wire, and so forth, also points to production rather than consumption. This is the first archaeological context—where they were made. There are two examples for the second archaeological context— where they were used: Tukulti-Ninurta I’s South Palace in Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta and an opulent town house in Assur, whose owner was almost certainly related to the royal house (Assante 2000, 200-201). Both date the artifacts to Tukulti-Ninurta’s reign and establish the elite and secular status of the users. The third archaeological context is secondary use. One object was found in later fill of the Ishtar Temple in Assur and two in the vicinity. As I have demonstrated, this fill was probably taken from the adjacent New Palace Terrace to stabilize and pack the temple mount (ibid, 184-199). Another piece occurred in the fill of the Assur Temple at Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, which was packed and sealed just after the king’s death. Other objects in the same fill indicate the nearby palace court as the source. A great many finds from the New Palace Terrace, whether in lead, shell, ivory, alabaster, frit, gold, or bone, share similar characteristics with the erotic reliefs—they are flat, thin, shiny, or lustrous, and have one figural or decorative surface that may be raised or incised. These are characteristics ideal for decorative inlays, for furniture and chests, stone vessels and accessories. As erotica was found together with ivory inlays and other materials that are textually attested to decorate Tukulti-Ninurta’s furniture,14 the archaeological contexts alone point rather strongly toward the reliefs as inlays. Significantly, the image that is formally closest to erotic reliefs also decorated furniture. It comes from a bronze openwork panel found in the North-West Palace at Nimrud (figure 5), believed to have overlaid the upper legs of a wooden throne (Layard 1853, 198-199; Finkel 1995, 124-125). Three figures, one facing right and two facing left with the female form taking center, present a compositional arrangement that bears a striking resemblance to figure 4. Although not inlays,
14 See the inventory text (VAT 16462; T232/IX) found in the palace at KarTukulti-Ninurta that itemizes the adornments of the king’s throne room furniture. For a new transliteration and translation by Walter Mayer and myself, see Assante 2000, appendix 4; also Köcher 1957-1958.


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the figures are nevertheless further comparable to the erotica in size (approximately 4.3 centimeters high) and detailing. The minute dimensions, intricacy, and lack of standardization of the erotica would require study at close range, ideally in small viewing fields set in chests, bed frames, or chairs.15 The considerable differences between erotic art and contemporary public decorative arts suggest that lead erotica was made for private, rather than public, viewing. Public design relied on vegetal, animal, and supernatural motifs, usually stylized, as in Tukulti-Ninurta’s South Palace walls. His throne-room furniture adhered mostly to animal and vegetal forms, with a few instances of otherworldly human figures.16 Here and in other public art, when nude human forms were used, they were mythological. The naturalistic postures in sex scenes and the elaboration and flow of clothing further contradict the ideals of contemporary official art, such as the iconographical postures and stiff formality of contemporary cylinder seals. Since erotic scenes are not traceable to any literature or myth so far discovered, viewers were not permitted a comfortable, distancing frame from previous art or mythology but were put into a voyeuristic position of watching the unexpected, the surprising, and the spontaneous. Depictions of sex may have been more than contrary to formal tastes, they may have been prohibited. Beyond a few allusions to Old Babylonian love poetry, sexual encounters appear in texts only later in the Neo-Assyrian period, and then very seldom.17 Even if Assyria had produced oral or written erotica, it is unlikely that it would have described the kind of sex shown in these reliefs. In the Middle Assyrian period, sexual imagery seems to have been suppressed. In official representation of all periods, images of mortal women—even clothed—were of the utmost rarity, and Assyrian women were almost never depicted. Non-Assyrian women, who appear sparingly in later palatial reliefs on walls or gates as publicly debased prisoners of war, are fully clothed; only the exposure of legs or possibly heads metonymically suggests nakedness and sexual availability (Cifarelli 1998, 223). Thus the official arts of Assyria protected Assyrian ideals of female modesty, even for non-Assyrian women. At the least, such
15 Because such detailed edges are difficult to fit, the receiving surface was probably soft, either wood, plaster, or mudbrick. 16 See n. 14. 17 See the incipits in Black 1983, 28.

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well-observed ethics render the likelihood that erotica was intended for public view all the more slim.

The Lead Inlays The Intercourse Scenes Among the intercourse scenes, three portray coitus in profile in which a standing male penetrates a female who lies in front of him, raised on a platform (figures 1-3). The platform is a squared, probably mudbrick structure up to ten courses high and five wide. Many scholars, following Andrae (1935, 103), have interpreted it as a temple altar; the female figure is then a temple prostitute. More recently, Frances Pinnock (1995) sees it as a city wall, transferring prostitution from the temple to the street. Rather than altars or walls, the platforms are more likely to represent stage props for live sex shows. They are quite realistically sized, as though to facilitate specific sexual acts and to maximize visual access to points of sexual exchange. In figures 1 and 2, the female lies on a platform tailored to support her torso and raise her recumbent body to the exact height of the male’s groin. In the disk, figure 2, a separate step of four courses at the base of the platform brings the male’s genitals in contact with the female’s. The block step, incidentally, eliminates the city wall interpretation. In all cases, the woman lifts her legs to allow an unobstructed view of the outsized and highly articulated penis penetrating her. In figure 1, the slant of the platform’s surface enables her to raise her upper body sufficiently to see her partner’s face. But the platform in the ménage à trois scene, figure 3, in which a woman is vaginally penetrated on one end and masturbates a man on the other, is not as deep nor as slanted. The results are twofold. First, the woman cannot lift her head and make visual contact with her partners. More importantly, the shallowness of the structure emphasizes the two points of sexual contact; sexual activity takes place visually clear of the prop and is symmetrically arranged on either side of it. Whether modeled on the real or purely imaginary, the platforms are customized for the maximum exhibition of sexual feats. In spite of the naturalistic poses taken by the figures in these scenes, the action is characterized by a kind of cold practicality typical


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of pornography. Sex acts stand as the chief points of focus, stripped of narrative content and, to a great degree, warmth and familiarity. Touching or mutual gazing is de-emphasized, especially in groupactivity scenes. There are other formal signs of a pornographic nature that lie in the objectification of the female partner in these images and consequent emotional detachment. The very fact that the females are nude, for example, while the males are richly clothed sets the sexes in opposition and focuses the viewer’s attention on the feminine body. That the male partners hold her nakedness in full view, whereas her view is limited, objectifies her within the scene. The way the bodies are represented also sharply delineates gender differences. In figure 1, the male’s full beard, large protruding nose, and pointed cap all resonate with his noteworthy ithyphallicism. Male legs are also quite muscular with highly articulated kneecaps and bulging calves, signifying hard masculine tautness, like the ready penis. The man in figure 2 is the only male figure of this typology that ignores the timeless masculine ideal of erect posture. The female by contrast is soft and rounded. The display of buttocks, a penetrable part of human anatomy, is also gendered. The buttocks of male figures in all lead inlays are covered. Formally this helps to frame and therefore emphasize the penis and its point of penetration. Yet Assyrian viewers might have perceived uncovered buttocks as feminine, a reading that would disturb the picture of naturalized male dominance over women or introduce a homosexual coloration that could compromise a male viewer’s response. By contrast, female buttocks are exposed, and even outlined in figure 6. A detailed succession of anklets, bracelets, and necklaces works to accentuate female nakedness and comprises the sparse adornments allowed to a body prepared exclusively for sex. Gender hierarchy is further played out in the configuration of standing males versus supine females. This configuration has a military signature and illustrates the ideological equation of imperialism with sexual dominance. In Mesopotamian battle art from all periods and places, the victor stands upright looking down on his enemy whose passive, supine position announces his utter defeat.18 Occasionally, the victor grasps the upraised hand of his defeated enemy, a gesture remarkably similar to the one in figure 1 (and in Andrae 1935, pl. 45n).19
Examples are numerous and consistent; one of the earliest is in the Royal Standard of Ur. 19 See, for instance, Opificius 1961, pl. 13, fig. 489.

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It is in fact a gratuitous gesture in sexual scenes, suggestive of manhandling, and used to convey control over the woman’s movements. The scene creates an atmosphere of dominance and submission, a dualism favored in battle art. Another visual quotation from imperial art is the woman’s upraised palm. This gesture has appeared ubiquitously in Mesopotamia as a sign of formal supplication (Cifarelli 1998). In later Assyrian reliefs, the raised open palms of conquered peoples signified pleas for clemency. In battle art, the sexual implications of the standing and recumbent configuration become clearer when the victor holds the bow, arrow, or lance. Such weapons are long-standing similes for an erect penis in ancient Near Eastern arts and texts, demonstrating a correlation of sexual dominance of penetrator over penetrated with physical or political dominance.20 Assyrians are never depicted subjected to this emasculating imagery. Oddly, coitus a tergo appears in only one motif, the ménage à trois of figure 4. A nude woman stands in the middle penetrated from behind by her partner at the right. The woman’s second partner faces her at left, although only his legs have survived. This scene mimics live entertainment most obviously because the male at right plays a lute while engaged in coitus. He also turns up alone in a fragment that probably came from the same mold (Andrae 1935, pl. 45d). The woman again wears anklets, bracelets, necklaces and has distinctively tightly waved hair. She is in a dance step, raising her outside thigh high above her waist to allow a good view of the man’s penis at her buttocks. At the same time, she twists her upper body to the front, displaying her breasts. As her outstretched hand is nearly identical to the woman’s masturbating hand in figure 3, she is most probably masturbating her facing partner. Scenes that feature a couple in standing intercourse present a more joyful, equitable picture (figures 6-8 and Andrae 1935, pl. 45f). In two, both partners are clothed. The scenes are also stylistically different; bodies are generally fuller, longer, and less knobby, for instance. There is more physical contact as well. Figure 6, in which the heads survived, shows close face-to-face gazing. Each touches the other’s chest—perhaps the sole example of

20 For examples see Paul 2002 and potency incantations 2, 3, 4, 14, and 15 in Biggs 1967. See also Foster 1993, 141. For discussion of such homoerotic symbolism in Assyrian royal art, see Assante forthcoming.

as in the best preserved of this type. he embraces her while she holds his penis between her legs. His anklet may identify him as an entertainer. and second. bordered cloth that envelops his buttocks and a cloth panel underneath. in which male viewers could in part identify with the more dominant male alien performers. figure 7. The citation to staged performance is embedded in the type of garments worn. that the females are not just entertainers but also foreigners. to the hierarchical relationship of the beholder’s visual possession of sexualized bodies. At the same time. The man’s skirt is composed of a short. which reaches to his feet. even outlined with a decorated girdle that wraps between her thighs. The performers stand more or less side by side. The masturbation theme in many lead scenes privileges masculine pleasure and suggests a male viewing audience. Armbands and a head circlet or cap complete her attire. A long panel of cloth falls between her legs like that worn by a female dancer-entertainer copulating in an Old Babylonian plaque scene (Barrelet 1968. The woman is bare chested and her buttocks are uncovered. that the male partners are not only foreigners but also entertainers.378 j. The woman balances on one foot. such as the woman’s bust and buttocks and the man’s penis. In those images in which the heads remain. Yet they go further and imitate reality by depicting garments made to maximize freedom of movement. The woman again grasps her partner’s penis to guide it in. . The de-emphasis of male dominance in these scenes leaves room for the expression of a more lighthearted sexual showmanship. 591). no. The outfits highlight key points of sexual anatomy. This is hardly street wear. The implications are first. which the loose cascading panels worn by both and the man’s tassels would only accentuate. Other positions of standing intercourse are more acrobatic. these women can be identified as dancers or entertainers by their clothing. while lifting her other leg to the level of her partner’s waist. Long dangling tassels emerge between his legs. as they should for clear sexual representation. both male and female. The focus seems to shift away from the internal hierarchy between sex partners in previous scenes. the male wears a soft-pointed cap. The man penetrates her from under her raised thigh. Contemporary viewers probably did not read the semblance of equality in these scenes as elevating the female to male status but as reducing the male to hers. assante breast stroking in Mesopotamian erotica. Unlike the anonymous female nudes of other lead reliefs.

Alterity. pl. Six out of eight females are in profile. the woman grabs her thighs above the knees from underneath and pulls them apart. Such visual strategies give more weight to the claim that the primary viewing audience was male. 2. 11. creates and maintains dualisms that position the ruling power at the top and the conquered or subjugated 21 See the drawing in Eickhoff 1985. As they do not face the viewer and hence seem to be unaware of his (or her) attention. . and standing nude female bending over (figures 12 and 14). a voyeuristic act. And as lead is a remarkably pliable metal. a concept that here as elsewhere is usually grounded in gender. sitting female in profile (figures 10. In the spread-legged motif (figure 9 and Andrae 1935. Dominance and Conquest of the Other The non-Assyrian insignia of the soft-pointed caps locates sexual deviancy outside the Assyrian moral realm. and 13). 13. The artist has depicted her vulva as a large deltoid in abruptly high relief resembling appliqué. The reliefs play predominantly on the concept of the other. and social status. Her wide-open legs and prominent vulva invite the viewer’s visual penetration. flush with the sides of her body. It also alerts us to embedded political-ideological messages. 45m). a corroded piece from Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta. However. suggestive of dancers’ pantaloons. as there are no indications of baselines to orient the sitting and standing females. could just as well be standing or recumbent when the relief is rotated. Lone females might have been put in sets meant to parade a variety of sensuous forms. pl. shows what might be fringed cuffs above the woman’s ankles. figure 14. The Ideology of Sex.21 This group could be put into three categories: frontal spread-legged nude female (figure 9).the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i Single Females 379 Six erotic reliefs and one mold are of single nude women in various postures. he is free to peruse their bodies without interaction. ethnicity. a chief tool of the imperialistic state. some figures that seem to be seated or standing when the relief is held one way. An eighth. no. they may have been joined into more complex scenes.

with women as the other is one way the state feminized certain classes of men. More generally. economics. “nationalistic” in promoting attitudes of Assyro-centrism and supremacy. Grouping non-awÊlu men. and art. three salient traits of a military society. There are no legal provisions for non-awÊlu men as there were in the earlier laws of Babylonia. and. the more superior the dominant force appears. From all that we know. Assyria during this period was profoundly androcentric. Assyria’s martial mindset seems to have pervaded even the social fabric and was projected on the chief deities. and so on—to give shape to the discourse of alterity. In so doing it works to assert and even naturalize the inferiority and subordination of foreign men. There is no terminology even for Assyrian males of the commoner class known from other legal codes. It is apparent in those sex scenes that re-imagine battle imagery of conqueror and conquered along gendered lines. such as those depicted in the reliefs.380 j. The dominant group or regime typically employs a number of “izing” devices applied to the other—marginalizing. The most effective way the Assyrian male citizen class. feminization in particular. The laws were written exclusively for the protection of awÊlu men and their property. for it deploys all these devices. This is surprising in view of the heterogeneity of Assyria at this time. feminizing. The more extreme the degradation of the other. assante at the bottom. unseen configuration involving territorial conquest and the military. criminalizing. those who captured and deported them. Assyrian and non-Assyrian alike. Lead erotica is a good example from art. They subordinated non-awÊlu men largely by making them invisible to state recognition. since the male figures most probably represent foreign captives. I understand this legal denial as a tactic to assert awÊlu supremacy. as well as all non-awÊlu men were defined against the awÊlu male as the other. could maintain social borders and its superior position was by using these devices to manipulate laws. Hence. public signs of difference. exoticizing. Middle Assyrian lawmakers designed a legal system that forced foreign men into social structures of women and lower class men that kept them relatively helpless. finally. who . The reliefs were cut from the same cloth. The psychology of alterity in which the superior “naturally” dominates the inferior other was obviously at the root of Assyria’s military mentality. Non-awÊlu men were effectively erased. Ishtar and Assur. the inlays refer to a wider. hierarchical. barbarizing. women of no matter what class. the awÊlu.

connotes emptiness and destitution (CAD s. Grayson 1987. the king as well as elite. In one instance. 167-225). 123. such as Aààur-d§’issunu.” (KAJ 124 r. In his account of his battle with the Kassite king Kashtiliashu.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 381 took on powerfully warlike natures at this time. Many Assyrians participated directly in the military at one time or another and were thus exposed to its disciplines and biases about conquest. nudity effectively implemented submission to state punishment for both sexes. men. 0. “Assur is subjecting” (KAJ 162. as they were in later periods (Mayer 1995. Because most high army officials were presumably related to the king. The primary viewers of pornography then were also the primary ideology makers whose involvement with the ever-escalating imperialistic program would have been unavoidable. and obedient. if not royal. At this time. The remarkably convoluted Middle Assyrian Laws A §§ 36 and 45. it would have been the military elite who could best appreciate the messages of conquest and the other in lead erotica. 25 Legal texts from Nuzi and Hana describe stripping and public display of women who violated marital regulations. some of the audience no doubt belonged to the military elite. 122-138). 6 and 156.23 As we have seen. 238).24 Full nudity for both men and women in a secular context signified loss of identity. Grayson 1987. which sought to preserve the army wife’s patriarchal status in the absence of her husband. 78. Nudity in other place and times of the ancient Near East conveyed a wide range of meaning. Certainly.v.22 The military may have been entirely Assyrian as foreign personnel do not appear in the record for another two hundred years (Mayer 1995. in which the display of physical exposure was long used as a sign for the conquered or criminalized. he refers to Ishtar as she “(who) marches at the fore of my army” (TN I A. 271). 52-59. which included war service. the naked wife is set for public display on the roof of the palace (Malul 1988. 23. 26). submitted. The militarization of Assur is amply reflected in Middle Assyrian royal inscriptions that call on him to destroy the enemy and in personal names that appear for the first time in this period. 10) or Aààur-mukannis. the owners and audiences of pornographic art were likely to have come from the ruling class. “erû”). “mistress of strife and battle” to slay his enemies and inflict defeat (TN I A 0.78. 24 This discussion draws heavily from Cifarelli 1998. Even the Akkadian word for nudity.25 The correlation between defeated 22 In Tukulti-Ninurta’s royal inscriptions. see RlA 5. further indicate the average awÊlu’s high degree of participation in the militia. “Assur is trampling them down. 434-435). and female nudes did not always carry messages about sexuality (Assante 2006). called (p)ilku. he calls on Ishtar. the abject. The ideology behind physical exposure in the reliefs can partly be deduced from law and official art.1 vi 2-22. erû. 23 Anyone who owned real estate was obligated to perform service duty. .

The law was meant to be enforced by awÊlu-class men. especially concerning the definition of the Éarimtu as a woman without patriarchal status (and not a prostitute). The penalty for non-awÊlu women wearing a veil was severe. Exposure as a mark of social inferiority or criminality was imposed by Assyria’s dominant social group. were expected to wear veils in public and were thus visually available only in private.26 Assyrian law seems to have linked visual availability with sexual availability because mandated exposure applied only to marginalized unmarried women and slaves. Men also dictated visible status by performing the symbolic veiling of women in marital rituals and by stripping unsubmissive women for public humiliation. one can better understand why the exposed males in the inlays were carefully labeled as non-Assyrian. The laws of exposure for women are more finely shaded than for men and more closely structured along class lines. Full male nudity in the reliefs. awÊlu-class males. . presumably awÊlu settings. It distances marked men from the dominant class and turns them into feminized. were not allowed to veil when out and were therefore visually available in public. Only males of the awÊlu-class were responsible for looking and for policing public space to maintain a system of social ranking based on visual/sexual accessibility. that is the daughters and wives of the awÊlu. 42-106) and § 41. For discussion. it was awÊlu men who looked 26 Middle Assyrian Laws A § 40 (v. women of lower socio-legal rank. with whom a man could sexually engage without legal restraints. According to Middle Assyrian laws. In short. Given these connotations. while leaning hard on the notion of the male gaze. would have compromised the picture of malefemale hierarchy inherent in Assyrian ideology. 32-35 and passim.382 j. Conversely. as well as females slaves. Both were beaten and marked and then stripped of their clothing—the state’s way of publicly debasing the miscreant man to the woman’s criminal status. 226). visually possessible objects. Full nudity for women in the reliefs works to inscribe the hierarchy of male over female. It was also severe for awÊlu men who failed to bring the offender to the palace for punishment. the unmarried qadiàtu’s and single women not living with their fathers or Éarimtu’s. women of the awÊlu class. Male looking was therefore empowered by the state. see Assante 1998. not women. however. 213. assante enemies with punished criminals is played out through nudity in later battle accounts (Cifarelli 1998.

the objectified female body. 27 The edicts are an incomplete compilation from nine kings. edicts concerned primarily with regulating conduct between the sexes. slaves. For a recent editing see Roth 1995. Those who are clothed most probably depict entertainers from the same social groups. . also see Freydank 1991. especially in view of the content: the open. such as adulteresses who have lost their patriarchal status. as marital status may have had little relevance in exile. The harsh codes of behavior from Middle Assyrian laws and Palace Decrees leave little doubt that what women do in lead scenes defied accepted conduct. or foreign captives. the merest proximity to unauthorized men. could warrant death. The intended audience was more likely to have been men. It is doubtful that palace women were allowed to own or even ogle erotic pictures of men unless royals expressly wished it. Middle Assyrian Palace Decrees. The dispossessed positions of most foreign females would have made them fitting subjects for physical exposure. portray a life for palace women under vigilant surveillance. The impact of images in which women engage sexually with two men at once on a society where the death penalty could be enforced for adultery is difficult to appreciate at our remove. which all tend to pleasure the male eye. the pairing of these women with westerners greatly favors an interpretation of their identity as captives. the women of the king’s palace. including TukultiNinurta I. 68.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 383 and awÊlu men who imposed on women of all classes the figurative and literal degree of their physical exposure. A captive woman separated from her husband might have been considered as part of the Éarimtu-class. criminals. their complete nakedness in some is compelling reason to identify them as non-awÊlu class females. as well as the viewer’s voyeuristic stance. ironically the same place that must have housed such examples of pornography. either Éarimtu’s. penetrable vaginas. Of course. and his grandfather. Although most women in erotic insets appear anonymous to the modern eye.27 The contrast between the excessive propriety expected of palace women and the behavior of women in the reliefs underscores the pornographic character of the images. The most policed women in Middle Assyrian society seemed to have been the sinnià§tu àa ekalli. the masturbation motifs. his father. including eunuchs.

particularly for soldiers. Looking at their images meant effectively that the viewer participated in the denigration of the social group represented. hence. revealing a great deal about ancient gendered dualisms of the strong versus the TN I A. but a woman’s low status would not be adequately conveyed by referring to her simply as the enemy. 0. gender. it was a way of thinking perpetuated from the court.28 This explicit feminization of the enemy is the first of its kind recorded. 2611). 238). They also implicate live spectators who were privileged enough to witness such events.1 vi 2-22 (Grayson 1987. the word for both “enemy” and “foreigner” (and sometimes “demon”). Michelle Marcus (1995a. It is far from unthinkable that some captives entertained Tukulti-Ninurta and his court this way. Tukulti-Ninurta calls on Ishtar to change his enemy from a man to a woman and to cause his manhood to dwindle away. It was to be used again and again in curses of later ages. The more sexual exhibitions defied moral order. Such gendered dualisms are perhaps more powerful than dualisms based on class or ethnicity. the deeper the humiliation would have been for the performers and the social group they represented. The inscription survives in 18 examples. 201-202) sees Assyrian sexual and imperial discourses as inseparable and equates the “gaze of the voyeur” to the “imperialistic gaze” in Neo-Assyrian art. The masculinized dominant class and the feminized other was an important dualism.78. 28 . Feminization of the enemy is not just a modern inference. In a number of royal inscriptions. assante The visual and written record on looking maintains a hierarchy of dominant subject/viewer over exposed object. and power to do its work. and dominance over. The concept of nakru. foreign territory. in which the viewer visually consumes or possesses the object. Marcus’s equation is particularly fitting for images that present foreigners as prostituted spectacles and. as sexually conquerable bodies.384 j. especially considering the common practice to take captives as dancers for the palace (Kilmer 1995. acquires its greatest dimensions of humiliation when imbricated with women’s sexuality. The enemy or foreigner could be conceptualized as a woman and therefore inferior and conquerable. for they underlay all other hierarchical structures. The audience’s visual possession of sexualized foreign bodies in the reliefs parallels its possession of. Assyria’s imperialistic ideology banked on the nuanced interplay of sex.

29 The curses add poverty. . I discuss public art. dependency on strangers.” As “ßâÉu. penetrable. Assur-bel-kala could unify his army. where gender hierarchy is almost exclusively described by degrees of masculinities.10 (Grayson 1987.” which were probably mercenary camps (Mayer 2003. “for titillation” or “for pleasure. The nudes are not politicized. 0. 108). cities. 184). 30 In Assante forthcoming.31 Several generations after Tukulti-Ninurta I. conquering is described as something the super masculine does to something comparatively feminine. and prepare it for action—simply by getting the blood up. be alluring. can also mean “to be alluring. And see Marcus 1995a. Through the common experience of arousal. In Neo-Assyrian palatial reliefs and royal inscriptions. foreign and Assyrian. Similar curses surface in Jeremiah 50.78. See CAD s.35 and Nahum 3.0. In one. also the Assur-bel-kala inscription A. from the supermasculine.. a woman with the least power in a homosocial society.30 For Middle Assyrian times. The inscription on the shoulder of the one extant (BM 124963) says the king made them ina muÉ-Éi ßi-a-Éi. 12 v 9-11). Assur-bel-kala (10741057 BCE) openly used the female body to stimulate a masculine taste for conquest. conditions potentially not unlike those of foreign captives. In provinces. anonymity. As the Middle Assyrian inlays E.g. and conquering much like penetration.” however.13. 271) for images of penetrated virgin territory. We can see this most clearly in Tukulti-Ninurta’s royal inscriptions in which conquered territory is imagined much like the female body. the statues) or place. no doubt to avoid offending non-Assyrian mercenaries.89.”32 Whichever the case. Cifarelli 1998.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 385 weak operating in military milieus.v. 23 (Grayson 1987. 29 . and sexual vulnerability to emasculation. and “garrisons. Assur-bel-kala erected nearly life-sized stone statues of nude females. Assur-bel-kala’s deliberate conflation of sexual arousal with the warrior spirit is direct and simplistic. . the nudes would have manipulated military men to feel sexual desire. the treaty curse of Assur-nirari V (Parpola and Watanabe 1988. the situation seems to have been much the same.” and the prepositional construction ina muÉ-Éi refers to an object (here. Conquering itself had gender and sexual undertones. 32 That muÉÉu can also refer to the upper part of an object (here breasts) suggests an intentional wordplay. 31 See TN I A. another possible interpretation arises: “I made these statues. impenetrable at the top to the feminized. “muÉÉu”. and conquerable at the bottom. the warrior is turned into a Éarimtu.

77. the more his royal epithet. 272) and Shalmaneser I A. Dur-Sharrukin. From ration lists we know that some laborers were 33 TN I A. 340).34 Their representations were probably made at this time and intended for the new residence. this third-generation ruler took care to substantiate his ascendancy over his father. The armor found in the main court of the South Palace suggests that Middle Assyrian policy was much the same. animate or inanimate. by claiming to have taken exactly twice the number of hostages his father took. The more living booty the king could corral. line 74 (Grayson 1987. 34 Earlier hostages from northern Syria (Shubaru) and southern Anatolia built the New Palace Terrace (TN I A. 35 See the texts in Freydank 1974 and 1980. 0.35 One tablet alone records 1000 households of foreign laborers living at the worksite.1 iv 40-61. mostly from the South Palace.78. This later wave of hostages was made to labor on the royal building projects at Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta. The booty.23. of course. afford a glimpse of their exile conditions.800 prisoners captured from a single campaign. Grayson 1987. the influx of captives—the flow of wealth drained from the periphery—established Assur and Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta as the center of power.33 Included in these were the western peoples shown in the reliefs. . in particular his military ascendancy. For Assyrians and non-Assyrians alike. line 28 (Grayson 1987. were managed by officials with military backup (Mayer 1995. Although we do not know exactly what conditions deportees endured. 184). King of the Universe. assante were made for sophisticated Assyrian elites. Underpinning the visual possession of pornography is. 0. an astounding 28. after the building of the New Palace Terrace. Lead production itself may have implicitly carried the imprints of captive labor. 237). seems to be confirmed. the hostages who built Sargon’s new city. Tablets excavated at Kar-TukultiNinurta. Tukulti-Ninurta’s tangible ownership of captives. Although it is not absolutely clear if the images portray captives or westerners as they are envisioned to behave at home.0.78. with labor teams kept under close military supervision. the objects themselves were made and used in the capital cities and thus capture foreigners for Assyrian consumption. Through sheer statistics. streaming into the metropolis during triumphal processions stood for subdued territories metonymically brought to the Assyrian heartland. more complex messages could be communicated.1.386 j.

209). developed their imperialistic ambitions. in particular Tukulti-Ninurta. Jankowska 1969. The presence of lead in the Assyrian heartland denotes Assyria’s control over the vassal states where the metal was extracted. there was a rapid expansion of improved metal technologies and new decorative forms in Assyria that reached its maximum during the reign of Tukulti-Ninurta. From the time of Tukulti-Ninurta’s grandfather. one of Assyria’s greatest enemies during Tukulti-Ninurta’s reign. Müller 1982. and in the east. In successive stages of increasing power and might. certain mountain areas. 465).the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 387 specialized craftsmen. By this time. de Jesus 1980. Arraphe and the Zagros mountains (Mayer 1995. in which the very medium of lead played a significant role. As the extent of land under Assyrian control increased. his father Shalmaneser I (1273-1244 BCE). 244. 37 36 . probably transferred to the capital specifically for their expertise. Some were likely to have been foreigners. Tukulti-Ninurta’s grandfather Adad-nirari I (1305-1274 BCE).37 In the years of rapid economic decline See Lucas 1962. Lead as the material evidence of territorial penetration and conquest was employed as an ideological tool only during the period when Middle Assyrian kings. In spite of poor records. That this profile is coincident with the acceleration of deportation cannot be an accident. The concentration of foreign wealth. Babylonia was another area of strategic concern during the Middle Assyrian period. in the north. a knowledge that the Assyrian state would have wanted to exploit. and Tukulti-Ninurta himself made Assyria the military equal to Hatti. Assyrians collected lead ores or metal alloys not only from Syria but also from southern Anatolia. Assyria widened and tightened the peripheral border between it and central Anatolia. Since the fall of the Mitanni Kingdom. The belt of tribute-paying vassals included Rapiqu. the sheer amount of wrought lead found in Assur and Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta indicates a very large community of metalworkers. labor.36 The movement deeper into Hatti territories for lead parallels military advances against Hatti. for the peoples of the western and northern territories already had a long and established knowledge of metallurgy relative to Assyria. reaching its peak during his reign. so did the importation and use of lead. Hana and Mari in the southwest. as in later periods (Matthews 1995. and expertise at the core was part of an on-going program of Assyro-centrism. 191). while developing a feeling of nationalistic superiority and an ideology of conquest (Mayer 1995.

38 Similar patterns hold for faience. 125). The economic use of lead also promoted Assyria’s nationalizing drives. This. the brilliant. lead and lead artifacts are rarely attested (Moorey 1985. Tukulti-Ninurta seemed to have had a craze for the new. like buildings and other adornments. and their contents. see Assante 2000. glazed floral forms. His emphatic adornment of palaces. according to Assyrian custom and the archaeological record. They were the material testaments of his supremacy as ruler and conqueror. and silver were used for external exchange. temples. would have led to the perfection of individual technologies and an upgrade in artistry in general. This internal system of exchange based on lead effectively cordoned Assyria off from neighboring countries or. The lead reliefs. would unfailingly iden38 For more on lead in the Middle Assyrian period. at least. which look westward for their origins but were brought to the core. the highest-ranked men of Assyria. technology. tin. and shining metals. glittering with artificial gemstones. and wall paintings. Lead was the medium of economic exchange only during the Middle Assyrian period and was used exclusively in the heartland of Assyria for domestic exchange. gold. and their technological know-how.388 j. 256-260. as well as military officers who had access to his private apartments or who were recipients of gifts. combined with seemingly limitless royal resources. and foreign territories. . The primary audience. The internal circulation of lead as a monetary medium incompatible outside this domain effectively integrated Assyria and enforced an economically based Assyro-centrism consonant with nationalizing ideologies and imperialistic aims. Bronze. Clearly foreigners transmitted their motifs. frit work. his palace officials. These would include the king. and the artificial. their styles. Economic flow was instead turned inward. limited economic permeability between them. showcased his ownership of humans. I have argued that lead erotic inlays were intended explicitly for a type of viewer who could best infer their imperialistic content. were his relatives. assante and territorial shrinkage after Tukulti-Ninurta’s death. works to announce his dominance over captured territories. the king and his court. Some of them. The explosion of prestige technologies during this time must have been due in part to the cheap and abundant labor provided by foreigners as well as their expertise. His superiority was also apparent in the labor he was able to extract from them.

Thus. may not have been a brute. Leipzig and Berlin. or conveying messages of royal/imperial might have been power brokering in much the same vein as call girls are used today to conscript potential business clients. Ugarit-Forschungen 30: 5-96. The Erotic Reliefs of Ancient Mesopotamia. Prostitute or Single Woman? A Critical Review of the Evidence. Sex. intricate reliefs and assimilated their multivalent meaning. these images might have worked to conscript court members as allies. Assyria suffered financial collapse after his death. Ph. which suggests that he bankrupted the state with his ceaseless war and building campaigns. 2000. Die jüngeren Iàtar-Tempel in Assur. Julia. the mutuality of authorized viewers is drawn tighter and their solidarity confirmed. should they activate sexual aggression in these viewers.kid/Éarimtu. Columbia University. The drain of power away from the prominent citizens of Assur with the building of Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta might also have been an antagonizing factor. and the sheer intimacy of sexual response. Given the guarded rules all other Assyrian kings maintained for image making. 1935. his plans and his person remained safeguarded. pleasuring the eye. potentially. The removal of the god Assur from his ancient home is perhaps the most extraordinary demonstration of the king’s tendency to flout the traditions of his own people. Assante. References Andrae. The kar. WVDOG 58. ———. its social illicitness. Certainly the king met with intrigue and.. ———. Assyrians privy to pornographic scenes participated in an act characterized by its exclusivity. If this speculation should be the case. As the reliefs carry a subtext that feminizes the west. we might imagine that at least for that moment of sustained viewing pleasure while the king’s elect perused these rare.D. Magic and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period. What might have been of the utmost importance to Tukulti-Ninurta. arousal would align them emotionally and physically with the king’s imperialistic ambitions.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 389 tify with the dominant viewer position. In Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East. if the story of his assassination is true. Walter. 2002. the singular creation of pornography would be consistent with his defiant personality. 1998.39 A more complex function of the erotica than arousing desire. . Actes de la XLVIIe 39 Opposition may have formed for a number of reasons. diss. conspiracy. despotic ownership of eroticized bodies. beyond the pleasure these images afforded.

B. Bethesda. Toronto: Univerity of Toronto Press. Finkel. 13-47. Berlin: Mann. Some Problems of the Economy of the Assyrian Empire. Jerrold S. Furniture and Fittings. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag. Marie Thérèse. OBO 218. Archäologisch. Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. Jankowska. A. 177-207. Oxford: B. ———. Cooper. Socio-Economic History: A Collection of Studies by Soviet Scholars. 1987. B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cifarelli. Irving L. . eds. 2006. 1993. AoF 1: 55-89. Prentiss S. Kirk. 1995. ———. Robert D.C. Biggs.R. ———.390 j. 1998. eds. 1983. AoF 7: 89-117. Gesture and Alterity in the Art of Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria. 2 vols. Eickhoff. ———. Locust Valley and New York: J. Tilman. In Ancient Art and Its Historiography. Kâr Tukulti Ninurta. The Development of Prehistoric Mining and Metallurgy in Anatolia. RIMA 1. Columbia University. From Whores to Hierodules: The Historiographic Invention of Mesopotamian Female Sex Professionals. Geuthner. D. M. Ph. J. In Ancient Mesopotamia.C. ———. diss. ed. Exhibition catalogue. A. 1969. 1967. Whiting.A. 2003. de Jesus. Freydank. Augustin. E. E. 27-51. JAOS 103: 25-34. Schroer. 1980. Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Ancient Mesopotamian Potency Incantations.und Residenzstadt.). Forthcoming. Reade. Donohue and M.. 1980. assante Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Helsinki 2-6 July 2001). Alienation and Assimilation: The Role of Cultural Difference in the Visual and Verbal Expression of Assyrian Ideology in the Reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.ZI. Parpola and R. In Art and Empire. Helmut. 1972-1975. 1995. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.GA. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. Heilige Hochzeit. Abhandlungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 21. Beiträge zur mittelassyrischen Chronologie und Geschichte. Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum. 1968.). Figurines et reliefs en terre cuite de la Mésopotamie antique. Eine mittelassyrische Kult. A. 2 vols.D. Foster. Fullerton. Barrelet. Grayson. S. 121-132. ———. Megan. Schriften zur Geschichte und Kultur des alten Orients 21. RlA 4: 259-269. Benjamin. N. ed. ’À. Undressing the Nude: Problems in Analyzing Nudity in Ancient Art. 1974. J. Art Bulletin 80: 210-228. Assyrian Rulers of the Third and Second Millenium BC (to 1115 B. Black. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Men Looking at Men: The Homoerotics of Power in the State Arts of Assyria. Maryland: CDI Press. S. In Images and Gender: Contributions to the Hermeneutics of Reading Ancient Art. BAR International Series 74. Enmity. 1991. Jeremy. 1985. Curtis and J. with an Old Babylonian Case Study. Zur Lage der deportierten Hurriter in Assyrien. Texts from Cuneiform Sources 2. eds. Babylonian Ballads: A New Genre. Zwei Verpflegungstexte aus Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta.

Rome: Università di Roma. Murray. Brigitte. Warminster. Oxford: B. Alfred. Artisans and Artists in Ancient Western Asia. AOAT 221. 1981. 1988. Kilmer. Alistair. II. Sennacherib’s Campaign of 701 BCE: The Assyrian View. Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. eds.. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag. Peter. Assante. 4th ed. Liverani. J. Art and Ideology in Ancient Western Asia. Dandamayev et al. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Arnold. Köcher. Franz.u. Z. Quaderni di Geografia Storica 5. Jahrtausends v. London and New York: Sheffield Academic Press. New York: Scribner:. ed. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries. 270-278. Central Dept. Assyrische Tempel: I. Dipartimento di scienze storiche. J. Matthews. In Neo-Assyrian Geography. England: Aris & Phillips. Music and Dance in Ancient Western Asia. 2487-2505. Textbuch. 193-202. 2601-2613. Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea. SAA 3. In Societies and Languages of the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of I. Moscow: Nauka Pub. Grabbe. 168-200. ———. Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker. Donald. Berlin: Gebr. M. Silber und Blei als Wertmesser in Mesopotamien während der Zweiten Hälfte des 2. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Abhandlungen zur Literatur Alt-Syrien-Palästinas und Mesopotamiens 9. ZA 72: 266-279. Tabellen und Indices. Diakonoff. Administration und Personal. 1962. . Politik und Kriegskunst der Assyrer. Series Major 10. 1995. Materials and Manufacture in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Evidence of Archaeology and Art. M.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 391 I. S. ed. 1995a. London: E. Livingstone. of Oriental Literature. 1985. 1957-1958.R. Meir. 1982. R. Die Stadttore in Assur—das Problem der Identifizierung. 2003. Rome: Biblical Institute Press.A. L. eds. eds. WVDOG 95. Marcus. Miglus. Trans. archeologiche e antropologiche dell’Antichità. revised by J. P. R. AfO 18: 300331. 1982. ———. Manfred.Untersuchung zu Kult. Walter. ———. Gold. L. Knowledge. and Power in Neo-Assyrian Art. M. Austen Henry. Moorey. Diakonoff. Mayer. New York: Scribner. Studia Pohl. Sasson et al. J. BAR International Serie 237. A. In ‘Like a Bird in a Cage’: The Invasion of Sennacherib in 701 BCE. Müller. Lucas. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. M. Sasson et al. 1995. Ein Inventartext aus Kâr-Tukulti-Ninurta. Harris. Geography as Visual Ideology: Landscape. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag. 253-255. House. Menzel. Michelle. Studies in Mesopotamian Legal Symbolism. 1995. Malul. 455-468. London: J. J. 1989. Mann Verlag. Layard. Anne Draffkorn. eds. Sasson et al. 1853. 1995b. New York: Scribner. Anmerkungen. 1996. Das Wohngebiet von Assur.

Goddesses of the Ancient Near East 3000-1000 BC. Das altbabylonische Terrakottarelief.U. J. L. assante Opificius. S. Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths. Paul.A. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag. Simo. 1: 15. Sasson et al. . Scurlock. 1961. 1995. Parpola and R. Lead Plaques and Other Obscenities. 1975. Atlanta: Scholars Press. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. 2521-2531.B. 23: 43-62. London: British Museum Press. Erotic Art in the Ancient Near East. 1988. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. In Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East. Westenholz. Ruth. Heilige Hochzeit und kultische Prostitution im Alten Mesopotamien. Martha. 1995. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. 489-498. Pinnock. 1993. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. Berlin: W. 2002. SAA 2. Wäfler. Writings from the Ancient World. de Gruyter. Nicht-Assyrer neuassyrischer Darstellungen. Roth. ———. AOAT 26. and Kazuko Watanabe. Jahrbuch der Kirchlichen Hochschule Bethel n. eds. In Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and the Evidence. The Shared Legacy of Sexual Metaphors and Euphemisms in Mesopotamian and Biblical Literature. JoAnn. 1995. Parpola. 1998. Markus. eds. eds. Morris.f. Frances. Goodison and C. M. Whiting. Shalom. New York: Scribner. 2-6 July 2001). Wort und Dienst. Joan Goodnick.392 j. 63-81. Society of Biblical Literature 6. Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker. Actes de la XLVIIe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Helsinki. N.

Drawings are by the author. following sketches in the original field inventory journals.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 393 Note: All photos with VA numbers by courtesy of the Vorderasiatisches Museum. Lead inlay (VA 4244) . Berlin. Figure 1.

assante Figure 2.394 j. Lead disk (VA 5441) .

Lead inlay (VA 4245) .the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 395 Figure 3.

Lead inlay (VA 5428) . assante Figure 4.396 j.

the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 397 Figure 5a. Neo-Assyrian royal furniture decoration (photo © Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum) .

398 j. Detail of Neo-Assyrian royal furniture decoration (photo the Trustees of The British Museum) © Copyright . assante Figure 5b.

the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 399 Figure 6. Lead inlay (VA 5426) .

assante Figure 7.400 j. Lead inlay (VA 5429) .

Drawing of lead inlay (VA 5430) .the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 401 Figure 8.

Lead inlay (VA 5427) . assante Figure 9.402 j.

Lead inlay (VA 5433) .the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 403 Figure 10.

Drawing of lead inlay (VA 5160) .404 j. assante Figure 11.

the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 405 Figure 12. Mold for lead inlay (VA 8274) .

assante Figure 13.406 j. Drawing of lead inlay (VA 5432) .

103) (photo courtesy of the Vorderasiatisches Museum with permission from the British Museum.) . Lead inlay (BM WA 1922: 8.12.the lead inlays of tukulti-ninurta i 407 Figure 14.

408 j. assante .

barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia 409 V “Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth”: Interdisciplinary Contexts .

cohen .c.410 a.

for much of the second half of the third millennium BC.) • ED III. three were planted with 100% barley and the others grew between 68% and 88% barley (RTC 71. percentage “harvested” refers to the volume of barley as a fraction of the entire yield of grain. barley (see figure 1). From the time of its domestication until the era of initial state formation in the fourth millennium BC. 83). But it is in the third millennium BC—the era coinciding with the growth of urbanism and the era on which I have had the opportunity to work closely with Irene—that barley becomes a staple. This choice resulted in the creation of political-economic and symbolic value. Cohen Hordeum vulgare is an annual grass that grows in a bunch. The increasing use of barley in the third millennium. a few centuries after such wheats as Triticum monococcum “einkorn” and Triticum dicoccum “emmer” became widely cultivated (McCorriston 2000. that is. 26). We are fortunate to have documents that shed light on the crop preferences of the town of Girsu. Jacobsen 1982. matures rapidly and offers abundant fruit in the form of the familiar starchy grain. is most apparent in administrative tablets. the most important of which is the infrequently noted use of barley and parts of the barley plant for animal fodder. On nine temple-controlled fields which together total 404 ha. the principal food on which a social group lives. barley seems to have been grown in larger and larger amounts. I argue that concentrating on barley was a cultural choice that took into account a number of the grass’ characteristics. It was domesticated and brought into general use in Mesopotamia circa 7. modern Tello. . (A note on the ratios: percentage “planted” refers to the area of cultivation dedicated to barley as a fraction of total cultivated land.200 BC. The symbolic value of barley was such that barley likely constituted a key symbol for early Mesopotamia (c. 2900-1600 BC).barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia 411 BARLEY AS A KEY SYMBOL IN EARLY MESOPOTAMIA Andrew C. particularly in the irrigated alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia.

It seems likely however. as O’Shea and Halstead (1989) have pointed out. It is difficult.412 a. It is therefore impossible to judge the relative importance of any food crop in southern Mesopotamia from the archaeobotanical studies. the barley grain is sprouted and then dried. Tell ed-Der. Relying on barley was. it is apparent that barley became an increasingly important element of the agricultural system over the course of the third millennium. On several fields. at present. is paralleled by a wealth of material from individual time periods and other cities. Cooking the malt in water releases enzymes that convert . 90-91). when talking about barley as a staple in the third millennium. one is really speaking of the economy of the large institutions such as temples and palaces. Preservation of botanical remains in southern Mesopotamia is generally poor and where there are well preserved remains. RTC 195. Maekawa 1984. 97. dense and mealy texture. 28) 3rd Dynasty of Ur. Thus. excavators have only recovered small samples (Eridu.266 ha. This data. while offering a diachronic view of crop choice in a single city. Jacobsen 1982. 2nd Dynasty of Lagash. More preferably. called malting. but that is not the case. cohen • • • The predominance of barley in that account is corroborated by DP 574. Several tablets document 96-97% barley as being harvested from institutional land (Pinches Amherst 13. In ancient times and today. much barley goes to the production of beer. beginning with its use as food. to determine whether the use of barley as a staple by the great institutions was mirrored by small households or subsistence farmers. 28). the stretchy proteins that catch CO2 and make bread rise.c. This texture results from a lack of gluten. 97% was planted with barley (RTC 188. a choice made based on a combination of factors. and RTC 201. I believe. a pre-harvest survey. One might well imagine that the archaeobotanical record would shed light on this. maximizes the starches available for fermentation. Bread made from barley alone is not to everyone’s taste because it has a strong flavor. Dynasty of Agade. This process. Ur). On fields controlled by various temple and other institutions in Girsu totalling 24. that the non-institutional sector cultivated more diverse crops because small households would have aimed at self-sufficiency. Based on the textual record then. To make beer.8% of the land was planted with barley (TuT 5. and a heavy. barley is made into porridge or added to soups. Jacobsen 1982.

For both Hordeum and Triticum varieties the period of active growth is fall. At sites in northern Syria and northern Mesopotamia. emmer yields have been found to be highly variable (Stallknecht. wheat is sufficiently close to barley in salt tolerance” to make this a non-issue (Powell 1985. it must be combined with barley. at Kurban Höyük total quantities of barley appearing in soil samples increase from 45% in the early third millennium BC to 68% barley in the mid-third millennium . which coincides with the integration of these regions into the cultural orbit of southern Mesopotamia. and Ranney 1996). Gilbertson. This argument has been systematically demolished by Powell. 363). who stresses that. Others point out that emmer may match the yields of barley. Jacobsen once argued that because barley is more tolerant of saline soils than wheat.barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia 413 the starches to sugars. winter and spring—the time when temperatures are moderate in southern Mesopotamia and the water in the river increases—and both require similar numbers of frost free days. Some recognize that barley is a good performer with respect to yields (Powell 1985. Hordeum varieties require less moisture than the Triticum. yielding beer. and so barley may have been preferred because of its reliability. 14-19). it is better suited to this alluvial zone where progressive soil salinization can become problematic (Jacobsen 1982). The result being that Hordeum may be better suited to cultivation in marginal environments or in arid regions that require judicious use of irrigation water. In controlled tests. A final characteristic of barley commonly credited for its growing prevalence in southern Mesopotamia is salinity tolerance. Wheat lacks the crucial enzymes that create sugars and thus cannot be used as the sole grain in beer-making. The resulting sweet liquid is then fermented. Thus. Previous studies have commonly attributed barley’s predominance over wheat to just a single characteristic of the plant’s reproductive abilities. Still others focus on aspects of the plant’s growth requirements (van Zeist 1999. however. regions which do not rely on irrigation and for which soil salinization is therefore not a problem. Indeed. 12). the archaeobotanical record clearly shows the same increasing preference for barley through the third millennium. recent archaeobotanical studies in northern Syria and northern Mesopotamia all reveal a progressive increase in the cultivation of barley. “though barley is indisputably more tolerant of salt than wheat.

fig. Moreover . barley fodder is fed to animals. in an area as suited to growing wheat as to growing barley. 524). dried and burned. the latter being products of crop processing. which is more woody than barley straw. because only animals would be consuming and excreting a mixture of grain and field weeds. the use of barley. 311-313). The importance of barley as fodder is confirmed by the archaeobotanical record. its straw.4). This nutritious dry material stores well for winter use. cohen BC to 78% barley in the late third to early second millennium BC. 19. These materials enter the archaeological record as dung fuel. Animals can also eat post-harvest straw and non-grain products of crop processing. That is. barley accounts for 96% of the grain in the samples (Miller 1997. Given proper supervision. At late third to early second millennium Tell es-Sweyhat. Did northern Mesopotamians adopt a southern custom.” that is. is far less suitable as fodder because it has fewer nutrients.414 a. “indigenous legumes and grasses. while wheat fruit is very useful as feed. This encourages tillering.c.” The latter samples reflect the use of dung fuel. 124-125). say. Evidence for this practice comes from samples of soil scientifically collected from archaeological contexts. at the site of Tell Hamam et-Turkman. along the Khabur a sample of 16 sites shows increasing percentages of barley processing remains as a proportion of the whole set of archaeobotanical remains over the course of third millennium (McCorriston and Weisberg 2002. Many of the samples from sites in both northern and southern Mesopotamia contain carbonized clean barley grains and spikelet bits. that is the production of potentially fertile side shoots from the base of the plant (see figure 1). 490). and the dung is then collected. rather than. Finally. Samples containing “actual burned dung” are documented as are samples preserving a characteristic combination of cereal seeds and “field weeds. In contrast. barley was preferred. according to Naomi Miller (1996. the proportion of barley versus other cereal grains found in soil samples rises from 55% in the mid. just as they adopted writing? I argue that a last characteristic crucially separates barley from the wheats: hordeum plants and seed make excellent fodder. the detritus of food end of the fourth millennium BC to 85% in the mid-third millennium (van Zeist 1999. animals can graze barley crops early in the plants’ growth cycle without drastically reducing yields (Briggs 1978. On the Balikh. Thus.

palaces and temples. or brought in by some other means. . it could be consumed after having been ground and made into bread. can be categorized into two groups: those with a long-term relationship to the state and those with a seasonal or even shorter term relationship. At this time. With regard to the labor. their low moisture use and especially because of their utility as fodder.1 1 I have previously pointed out the frequency with which the Sumerian word for these dishes (tu7) occurs and have further identified an associated class of vessel. This set of characteristics enabled production of grain and other goods on a massive scale. As Waetzoldt (1987) has shown.” meaning that. their reliability. To the extent that a family could not supplement its allotment with food grown in a garden.barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia 415 ethnographic records and my own casual observations indicate that dung fuel enjoys widespread use in Anatolia and Syria. the best documented period is Third Dynasty of Ur (c. when considered from the perspective of their relationship to the state. and it fit into the cuisine as a base on which a wet meat and/or pulse braise. in the fourth millennium. the lowcapacity necked pot (A. Wool sufficient to make one garment was issued once a year and occasionally a special allotment of oil was given. Production was organized by the great Mesopotamian institutions. grain measures and work time were inseparable (Englund 1998. 171-173). 2100 BC). The institutions held land on which barley was cultivated with the intent of consistently creating a surplus. Cohen 2005. barley constituted a dietary staple. long-term employees such as craft workers and bureaucrats were allotted barley monthly in an amount that corresponded to their economic importance and level of responsibility. In the third millennium. stew or soup was commonly served (Bottéro 1985. A fraction of this surplus was fed to wool-bearing and working animals. As such. laborers. 126). hunted. “the relationship between the grain capacity system and time notations was such that they might in fact have reflected each other. Limet 1987). it has been pointed out that in the very earliest cuneiform texts. and the rest was returned to the economy in the form of remuneration for work performed. I am arguing that Hordeum varieties were favored over other cereals such as Triticum dicoccum “emmer” by Mesopotamian cultivators because of their versatility in the human diet.

One account. the new evidence presented here confirms it. To summarize. textiles. literature and symbolic domains.416 a. they are elaborated upon to a greater extent than similar phenomena in the culture. lapis lazuli. puts yearly production in Ur at 630 tons of wool and another from a single workshop in Girsu records over 6000 workers (Englund 1998. a set of signs that includes the sign for barley. the institutional choice of barley as staple was one that was made in order to maximize production of a capital good. This textile “industry” functioned primarily to produce an easily transportable high-value trade good for export.àe. 2 Adams (1981) made a similar argument some 25 years ago. tradeable craft product of the time.tir.3 The composition opens with a mythological prologue set in ancient times. transformed by workers who are paid in barley and who survive on barley. The scale of this undertaking and the labor involved ensured that barley became a “key symbol” for southern Mesopotamians.c. to use the terminology of Ortner (1973). and there are more restrictions surrounding them. the fodder generated from barley was also the raw material for the most important large-scale. These imported raw materials were transformed into prestige goods in state workshops and were largely consumed by the urban elite. they come up in many different contexts such as conversations.” which was current at least as early as 1800 BC. Barley was a crucial input at several points in this system. Wool. silver and gold that were unavailable in the Mesopotamian heartland. . Waetzoldt 1972). exhibit several characteristics: they are said to be culturally important to their users and they arouse positive or negative feelings. The state employed women in spinning yarn and weaving textiles. is a good of utility which could be exchanged. It depicts a debate between the personifications of Sheep and Grain. cohen At least as significant. 3 Note that grain is written dingir. UET 3: 1505. Sheep survived lean periods on barley fodder and produced valuable wool.2 This good had the functional property that it could be fed to animals to produce wool. The hypothesis that barley was a key symbol in early Mesopotamia is dramatically confirmed by a Sumerian literary composition now called “Debate between Sheep and Grain. and to my mind. 151 n. Traders exchanged textiles for luxurious raw materials including carnelian. Key symbols. 342.

72).barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia nam-lu2-ulu3 ud re-a-ke4-ne ninda gu7-u3-bi nu-mu-un-zu-uà-am3 tug2-ga mu4-mu4-bi nu-mu-un-zu-uà-am3 kalam g . Both make equally significant contributions to the world of humans and gods. The importance of eating and clothing has long been recognized in anthropology as being crucial in the creation and mainTransliteration and translation from Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature = ETCSL (www-etcsl. in the view of the text’s After this challenge.ox. bread and clothes are what separates humanity from animals. first describing the good they do for humanity and then trading insults. u10-àe3 àe g . Grain (barley) is privileged over sheep because of its use as fodder (thus confirming the importance of barley over wheat). they went about with naked limbs in the Land. Grain calls out to Sheep. “Sister.g . one man says to another: ‘fill the measuring cup with barley for my ewe’” (ll. iàba-an-e si-ma-ab lu2 lu2-u3 in-na-ab-e. note the privileging of Grain (barley) over Sheep. (ll. en udu-gin7 ka-ba u2 mu-ni-ib-gu7 a mu2-sar-ra-ka i-im-na8-na8-ne The people of those days did not know about eating bread.orient. 20-25) 417 The gods then create sheep. both Grain and Sheep take turns. Both also have faults. These are given to humanity so that they might enrich themselves and the They did not know about wearing clothes. saying. Second. ià-gen6-na su-bi mu-un-g . and when your neck is wrapped with your very own loincloth. At last Grain ends the debate with the statement. “When your innards are taken away by people in the market-place. and the link between the two are signaled by this exchange. We then read that during the course of a divine drinking party. àag4-tur3-zu ganba-ka lu2 u3-bi2-in-de6/ tug2 nig . 177-179). Like sheep they ate grass with their mouths and drank water from the ditches. First. grain and agricultural implements. I am your better. Grain is then declared the winner and praised. Barley’s political-economic role. I take precedence over you” (l. symbolic roles. 4 . 2-dara2 ni2-za gu2-zu u3-bi2-in-la2/ u8.

and he who has sheep wait at the gate of the man who has barley” (UET 6/2 263. Mary Weismantel built on Sidney Mintz’s idea that “food preferences are close to the center of self-definition” to show how barley is used as a “symbol of indigenous resistance” against hegemonic whites (1988). the last few lines of the composition contain a slight variation on a common Sumerian proverb: kug tuku-e za-gin3 tuku-e gud tuku-e udu tuku-e kan4 lu2 àe tuku-ka ud mi-ni-ib-zal-zal-e.” iti-ezem-munu4gu7-dNin-gir2-su “month of the festival of the Malt Consumption of Ningirsu.” Moreover. Even for the urban 5 In her research in the Ecuadorian Andes.” These festivals were no doubt important in the social life of this city—some lasted for four or five days. There is good reason to think that the view of barley encoded in this composition was pervasive. proverbs belong to that great unconscious set of knowledge and ideas about the world which organizes everyday life. . “Even the strongest laborer gets beaten by the owner of the barley” (Proverb Collection 13 20. to return to my earlier example. In the city of Girsu. he who has lapis lazuli. Barley was so central to everyday life in southern Mesopotamia that the calendar of some cities was based on aspects of barley cultivation. There are also four months named after major religious festivals which focus on barley: iti-ezem-àe-gu7d Nanàe “month of the festival of the Barley Consumption of Nanàe. one finds month names that may be read as iti-àe-kin-ku5(-ra2) “month of the barley harvest. The poem was frequently copied as part of the scribal training process.” iti-ezem-munu4-gu7-dNanàe “month of the festival of the Malt Consumption of Nanàe.418 a. “He who has silver.” iti-ezem-àe-gu7-dNin-gir2-su “month of the festival of the Barley Consumption of Ningirsu. ETCSL). There are over 50 cuneiform sources for the “Debate between Sheep and Grain.” iti-guru7-im-du8-a “month when the silo is replastered. Cohen 1993. They confirm that the attitudes embodied in the debates derive from cultural values and norms.5 Bread is the early Mesopotamian symbol that betokens a group’s status as human and civilized.” and iti-guru7-dub-ba-a “month when the silo is heaped full (of grain)” (M.” iti-ki-su7-àu-su-ga “month of clearing the threshing floor. 37-64). cohen tenance of social relations.c. ETCSL). he who has oxen. As Bourdieu (1977) has noted. Another proverb reflects the same sentiment: a2-il2 kalag-ga lugal àe-ke4 bi2-ib-ra-ra-e-[àe].

: CDL Press. Bottéro. Cohen. Bethesda. Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture 1: 73-96. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. K. Englund. Jacobsen. 1957-58. Barley also orients actions through time. Nice. Leiden: Brill/Styx. J. and M. and the Development of Early Mesopotamian Kingship. References Adams. Jean. Death Rituals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Robert McC. Although Irene does not use the term “key symbol” as such. R. Bauer. Ideology. Translated by R. Salinity and Irrigation Agriculture in Antiquity: Diyala Basin Archaeological Projects. Biblical Archaeologist 48 (March): 36-47. I have tried to show that one of the more important symbols for Early Mesopotamia. in her discussion of the Gudea statues (Winter 1992). Pierre. 13-233. . OBO 160/1. 1998. Mark E. In Mesopotamien: SpäturukZeit und frühdynastische Zeit. The Cuisine of Ancient Mesopotamia. London: Wiley. H. Robert K. 1977. Barley.barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia 419 population of Girsu. Limet. Englund. 1985. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Md. Kazuya. she shows how a visual trope can become embedded in a culture. 1984. Heartland of Cities. Bourdieu. The Cuisine of Ancient Sumer. Maekawa. ed. even for the city-dwellers of Girsu. E. 1978. The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East. Texts from the Late Uruk period. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag. In the present paper. events in the fields surrounding the city constituted markers for temporal reckoning and orientation. There are many ways in which symbolic objects or substances can come to have meaning and value. Thorkild. gained symbolic value based on its manifold political and economic values. It would be fair to say that barley was a key symbol in the specific historical context of the highly urbanized society of southern Mesopotamia in the fourth and third millennia BC. 1981. Cereal Cultivation in the Ur III period. 1987. 1982. barley. Malibu: Undena. D. Report on Essential Results. Briggs. Biblical Archaeologist 50: 132-140. Krebernik. Andrew C. Cohen. In the “Debate between Sheep and Grain” barley helps order a view of the world which elevates bread eating and beer drinking Mesopotamians over naked animals that eat grass and drink from ditches. BiMes 14. 2005. 1993.

Journal of Ritual Studies 6/1: 13-42. and Triticale. and Poverty in the Ecuadorian Andes.420 a. Bad Year Economics: Cultural Responses to Risk and Uncertainty. John. 1997. Virginia: ASHS. Hather. R. Compensation of Craft Workers and Officials in the Ur III Period. Gilbertson. Seed. Ornelas. 350-373. Joy. Alternative Wheat Cereals as Food Grains: Einkorn. 2000. In Progress in New Crops. . and Yields in Sumerian Agriculture: A Critique of the Theory of Progressive Salinization.E. Waetzoldt. Food. Philadelphia. 1996. 156-170. 1996. O’Shea. Rome.C. Barley Domestication. Miller. Seed Eaters of the Ancient Near East: Human or Herbivore? Current Anthropology 37/3: 521-528. Farming and Herding along the Euphrates: Environmental Constraint and Cultural Choice (Fourth to Second Millennia B. 2002. Ranney. L. PA: Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.. Vol. Joy. In Subsistence and Settlement in a Marginal Environment: Tell es-Sweyhat. and J. ed. and Sanford Weisberg. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Untersuchungen zur neusumerischen Textilindustrie. Salt. In Cambridge World History of Food. Northern Syria. F. New Directions in Archaeology. 1999.M. Gosden and J. and Paul Halstead. 1989. American Anthropologist 75/5: 1338-1346. ed. ‘Idols of the King’: Royal Images as Recipients of Ritual Action in Ancient Mesopotamia. Irene J. C. Kamut. ed. 1988. Evidence for Agricultural Change in the Balikh Basin. 81-90. Naomi F. Studi economici e tecnologici. 123-132. Emmer. London: Routledge. 1985. G. Hartmut. Syrian Jazira. K. Sherry B. Spelt. Stallknecht. On Key Symbols. 1987. ed. Journal of Archaeological Science 29: 485-498. Zettler. 1992. McCorriston. 1973. Spatial and Temporal Variation in Mesopotamian Agricultural Practices in the Khabur Basin. Winter. Janick. New Haven: American Oriental Society. ———. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. M. Gender. Powell. Kiple and K. J. K. ———. Mary J. cohen McCorriston. ed.c.F. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Willem. C. Ortner. In The Prehistory of Food: Appetites for Change. A. Marvin A.). 1972. 1. In Labor in the Ancient Near East. van Zeist. 117-141. 1989-1995 Preliminary Report. Weismantel. Powell. Alexandria. ZA 75: 7-38.

Barley. DC. Washington. Manual of the Grasses of the United States. USDA Misc. (rev.barley as a key symbol in early mesopotamia 421 Figure 1. from the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Hitchcock. A. 200. 1950. Chase).S. A. No. Publ.) .

c. cohen .422 a.

for example. Well beyond her insistence of a dialogue between the visual and verbal media. therefore. also 1986. 255 n. Of course this intellectual breadth is evinced in her own writings where. David’s portraiture or in the starry heights explored by (her own) planispheres. AKKADIAN MILLATUM. To have learned from Professor Winter is perhaps foremost to have experienced the shattering of artificial and senseless intellectual barriers. . akkadian millatum 423 BIBLICAL M7 LÎLOT. It does seem fitting. and in contrast to the general direction of these comparisons. however. with its aim of shedding light on a detail from the Biblical world with the aid of a counterpart from the Mesopotamian—and in turn suggesting a reassessment of the Mesopotamian evidence itself—should find a place in a tribute for Irene Winter.biblical mÀlîlot. surely this will not be the case. Be it from the Indus valley or the pages of the High-Holidays lectionary. Professor Winter has been an unflinching champion of the inclusion of ideas in her classroom. master bridge-builder and intellectual par excellence. 252*. 261*. regardless of their origin.-L. whether in truths concealed in J. For those fortunate to have studied with our jubilarian. 1 Winter 2003. on more than one occasion the echo of the Biblical text—for instance a piece of Deuteronomic rhetoric concerning agrarian abundance1—amplifies and enhances the pitch of some aspect of Mesopotamian civilization. seemingly anything that might provide an intellectual bridge to better understanding ancient Mesopotamia and its visual record was a welcome guest in Professor Winter’s classes. 1. that this brief communication. AND EATING ONE’S FILL Abraham Winitzer The inclusion of a short etymological study of a Semitic root allegedly common to Hebrew and Akkadian may seem at first an odd sight in a volume honoring Irene Winter.

though the responsibility for any errors herein is mine alone. inter alia. Huehnergard. 26 as legally permissible. 26When you enter a neighbor’s field of standing grain. àibbolet. and both seem to prohibit any further picking for later use. . one may sate oneself on the vines of another “to one’s (lit. two entries (23:25-26) function as safeguards against the possibility of overindulgence in produce while passing through a neighbor’s lands. presents an unrecognized crux interpretum. A similar injunction appears concerning grain (v. . Exactly what is specified in v. but note also the following: DCH = The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Clines 1993). it is submitted. As a counterpart to #¨n§bîm (“grapes”) in v. winitzer Deut 23: 25-262 Among the later so-called “miscellaneous” laws of Deuteronomy. 25 The first law in this couplet (v. Accordingly. A transliteration of the laws follows. with your hand. and B. 2005). This following seeks. but you must not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain. Bruning for their help on an earlier stage of this paper. . in the second (v. Abbreviations generally follow those of CAD (vol. your) satistfaction” (kÀnapàÀk§ áob #ek§). G. 25).424 a. 26) the setting shifts to a neighboring grainfield. to shed new light on both these laws. whose traditionally assumed meaning presents an overlooked obstacle to the verses’ accepted interpretation.. OBE = Old Babylonian Extispicy: Omen Texts in the British Museum (Jeyes 1989). 25 one might expect to find in this verse the common Biblical term for an ear of wheat. 25) considers a neighbor’s vineyard. along with a translation that skips over the problematic term. 26): the reaping of grain with one’s sickle—presumably in excess of that which could be plucked by hand—is forbidden. Beckmann. Both laws appear to allow for consumption and/or gathering of produce from a foreign field. placing emphasis on a particular lexeme in the second. yet take none along for the road (v. kî t§bo" bÀkerem r¿ #ek§ wÀ"§kalt§ #¨n§bîm kÀnapàÀk§ áob#ek§ wÀ-"el kelyÀ k§ lo" titt¿n 26 kî t§bo" bÀq§mat r¿ #ek§ wÀq§ãapt§ mÀlîlot bÀy§dek§ wÀÈerm¿à lo" t§nîp #al q§mat r¿ #ek§ 25 When you enter a neighbor’s vineyard. you may pluck . HALOT = The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Koehler and Baumgartner 1995). 12. Thanks are offered to J. or better its plural 2 Verse numbers follow the Hebrew. you may eat grapes to your bellyful. but you must not put any in your vessel.

. however. “fresh bread. 2: 1241): “tendrils of barley and corncobs. i. wither.biblical mÀlîlot. but cf.g. BDB. where q§m§(h) / / àibbolîm . “languish.” whether alone or in any of its stages of ripening ("§bîb. akkadian millatum 425 [ form àibbolîm .. 269. 5 So HALOT. and m-l-l IV in HALOT. e.. cf. 10 E. for which see Borowski (2002.6 In fact in itself this particular root is a hapax. karmel. 5: 328. in that context the text’s main editor rendered the pair as “fresh ripe ears. “barely. Nor does one encounter here Èiãã§(h)/Èiããîm. 3 4 . JPS) of “shuffling” for the activity described concerning one’s feet in Prov 6:13 are contextual and rather forced. “fresh.” though this sense is by no means certain. Tigay 1996. HALOT 2: 594: “rub away between the fingers. 576. 4) tentatively offers two different possibilities (in BDB’s classification): m-l-l II. scrape”. 9 See. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1998.g. fade. wheat)13 would seem to be justified. 14 below.” For a tentative suggestion as to the meaning of √mll in this verse see n. 12 Yadin 1983. 148. “standing grain” and àibbolet.g.3 though this is not the case.4 Instead one encounters the Biblical Hebrew substantive mÀlîlot. cf. is mentioned in the Biblical corpus in Exod 9:31. indeed seemingly conclusive.g. Peshitta mlwg (< √mlg. scrape > to give a sign.” or m-l-l III. cf.8 Still. Targum Neofiti pyrwkyn (< √prk. 58 n.10 Another important. Borowski 2002. the meaning of this root in BDB.. 5: 300. For the (similar) understanding of the term in Rabbinic texts see Feliks 1990. 51 below. m-l-l III in DCH. “wheat.9 as have modern commentaries. with translations as “ears of corn for rubbing”5 or the like based in large part on an assumed derivation from one of the homophonous verbal √mll..” Understandably. 576: “rub.” 7 Its occurrence is in Prov 6:13. “to rub. fresh → parched). on which see below. the rendering of Biblical *mÀlîl§(h) as an “ear of corn” (that is. LXX stáxus (elsewhere rendering q§m§(h). e. 5: 328: “scrape”. 1:106-8. 194195. 6 The root is classified as m-l-l II in BDB. Isa 17:5. mlyn in Onqelos. 576: “ear[s] of wheat”.” 13 So. Borowski (2002. 88). “to pluck”) àbl". scrape. DCH. scrape. DCH.. a hapax legomenon. Driver 1951. [ Note. von Rad 1966. 220.g. e. “ear of grain”). most ancient translations have assumed this etymological connection for their understanding of mÀlîlot. 2: 590. it becomes increasingly doubtful that this sense for mÀlîlot properly covers the term in its Biblical context. q§lî. Borowski 2002.”12 On the basis of the evidence from Qumran.7 allegedly meaning “to rub. for which see n. 2:82. “remove husks by rubbing”). 11 This term. Upon further thought.e. 2: 594. datum presented itself not too long ago from the Dead Sea Scrolls: in the Temple Scroll (11QT 19:7) mlylwt is paired with "bybwt. young ears”11 both in apposition to lÈm Èdà. Lev 2:14. 158-159. áÀ #or§(h)/áÀ #orîm. 58. 8 Common translations (e. therefore. 58.” or any other among the common terms for cereals and cereal cultivation.

26) implies a limitation on amount as in the former (v. 26. A strict interpretation of v. plundering” (?) A solution to this puzzle may be found with the aid of comparative Akkadian lexical evidence. 233-235. would deem permissible the picking of an unlimited amount of grain—even with the intent of taking some along—so long as the act was done manually. This point finds support in Rabbinic interpretations of v.. accounts for a basic problem in the understanding of the Biblical text.. if left unmodified. 789]) seems to intimate an awareness of. . strictly speaking. millatum. It would thus seem that.. Brueggemann 2001. therefore. magg§l. 25). Surely this was not the intended meaning!17 Akk. 58 and n. 26). After all. 25). 25-26 are supplementary. especially when considered in light of its counterpart (v. would be rendered nonsensical.g. winitzer In fact.” 17 To be sure.. There one finds the verb mal§lum. since ipso facto the stipulation concerning the plucking by hand establishes limitations on the amount that an individual can harvest. one could argue that generally speaking the prohibition against the sickle functions in a manner analogous to that involving baskets in the preceding verse. the allowance granted by the Biblical verse was perceived as too lenient and. with the aid of another instrument.g. 16 Or. at work’s end) were established. and perhaps a solution to. Thus it is not sufficient to suggest that the laws in vv.g. as indeed it would seem. as it was understood by the Rabbis. Yet it is important to realize that one could reap manually as well. where further temporal qualifications on the plucking of mÀlîlot (e. and Oliver 2004). ancient or modern. 148.16 Conversely. “looting. e. these verses attempt to prohibit the (excessive) pilfering of food. “to be full” [so Jastrow Dict.15 then the law concerning the grain (v. potentially deleterious to the agrarian economy. and that the prohibition concerning the method of reaping in the latter verse (v. whether or not any had been previously picked by hand. 26 (for which see the discussion in Feliks 1990. whose basis (< ml"/mly. e. if. 194-195). it appears that virtually14 no interpretation. where the contrast drawn distinguishes between a proper—substantial yet finite—and unacceptable produce amount. Unlike the first instance. according to its accepted understanding the second law contrasts two picking methods. especially where smaller plots were concerned (see Borowski 2002. “sickle. Chapman. the very problem described below. from 14 But note the translation in Targum Onqelos as mlyn.426 a. von Rad 1966. 5). the law would hold unacceptable the reaping of even a single ear with a sickle. 15 So. and note the insightful remarks therein likening the issue behind these verses to that of centuries-old legal debate concerning the enclosure movement and the laws of enclosure in early modern England (for which see most recently Kain.

àumma ina libbi b§b ekallim qûm àakim-ma iàqa<ll>al ⇒ millatum àatammå ekall§ti imallalå If in the middle of the Palace Gate a filament was situated and suspe<nd>ed ⇒ (it forecasts) looting/plundering: àatammu-officials will eat the palaces clean. eat clean.”20 along with its feminine substantive. eat one’s fill. mal§lum and millatum are in fact cognate with Biblical Hebrew mÀlîlot. edited by Kraus (1987. especially in light of its real counterpart in the preceding verse: the eating of one’s fill (kÀnapàÀk§ áobÀ #ek§) 1. 19 18 . loot. and that an understanding of their semantic range clarifies the sense of the Hebrew lexeme and the law in which it appears. akkadian millatum 427 √mll. it shall be seen that Akk. which includes the meaning “to eat o. 594.’s fill” as well. II: 1-4.”18 “to eat. 20 CDA. consume. The almost exclusively pejorative sense in these examples for both substantive and verb may initially seem problematic for our purposes (though in light of the following discussion it will be suggested that the understanding of the basic sense of Akk. 69. these are quoted as examples 1-4 below. [àumma ina (?) b§b ekalli]m àÊrum24 kupput-ma iàqallal ⇒ [millat]um sarråtum ekallam iàt[ana]rriqå [If in (?) the Palace Gat]e a tissue was compacted and suspended ⇒ AHw. 193. translated by the dictionaries as “ausplündern. CAD M/1. millatum. understood as “Plünderung”21 or “looting. (YOS 10 11 iv 12-15) 2. 23 A fifth case may be that of Ni 1218. 652. plundering. consume. 160.”22 The noun is known from at least three texts and is probably to be restored in a fourth. [àumma ina (libbi ?) b§b ekallim q]ûm iàqallal ⇒ millatum àatammå ekallam imallalå [If in the (middle of ?) the Palace Gate a fi]lament was suspended ⇒ (it forecasts) looting/plundering: àatammu-officials will eat the palace clean. 194-196) as follows: x x x x àatammå ekallam iàtanarriqå.23 Each of these represents an individual omen from the Old Babylonian (extispicy) omen collections.”19 even “to pillage. Unfortunately that publication includes neither a copy nor a photograph of the text. (YOS 10 25:63) 3. √mll demands reevaluation). 113b. 24 Spelled here ài-ir-ru-um and noted in CAD ’/3. Nevertheless.biblical mÀlîlot. 22 CAD M/2. 21 AHw.

(àumma) ßibtum palàat ⇒ àatammå ekallam imallalå kurusisså àamaààammÊ m§tim ikkalå26 (If) the Increase is (generally) perforated ⇒ àatammu-officials will eat the palace clean. (OBE 10: 64-5) . are envisaged as either eating up (mal§lum) supplies (examples 1.. (Hunger 1976: 81 l. possibly an independent initial forecast. 12 [SB]) In examples 1 through 4 the initial instance of millatum is followed by what appears to be a detailed depiction of the predicted act: àatammu-officials or. (YOS 10 35: 29 // Nougayrol 1941: 88 ll. 2) or habitually stealing (< àitarruqum) from the palace (examples 3. winitzer (it forecasts) [loot]ing/[plunder]ing: thieves (lit. as well as to the substantive millatum. On the basis of the plural subject of both versions the singular form ikkal in the version from YOS 10 35 is understood as a collective. àumma b§b ekalli el¿nu b§b ekalli ⇒ ekallu ekalla imallal If (there is) a Palace Gate above (another) Palace Gate ⇒ one palace will consume the other. 4). . thieves (example 3). criminals) will k[eep] stealing from the palace.25 millatum àatammå ekallam iàtanarri[qå] If in the middle of the Palace Gate a white spot was compacted ⇒ . . more generally. (YOS 10 26 iv 11-12) 4. the sense of mal§lum in the first prediction goes far beyond any notion of leisurely eating or dining. . (YOS 10 26 i 36-37) And compare with: 5.. which occurs as a lemma for the 25 Inserted here is: ta-da-a[k?] na-ak-ra-Lam?J. (it forecasts) looting/plundering: àatammu-officials will keep stea[ling] from the palace. 27 This forecast occurs on its own in the following loose parallel of this tradition from yet a third collection: [àu]mma ina påt ßibtim àÊlå sebet àaknå ⇒ [t]ibût kurusissim [I]f in the front of the Increase seven holes were situated ⇒ (it represents) an [o]nslaught of rodents (lit. . (alternatively:) rodents will consume the flax of the land. This voraciousness must extend to the verbs in examples 1 and 2. where the forecast describing these figures alternates with a second interpretation that foretells rodents consuming (ak§lum) the land. rodent). but nonetheless difficult even in the matter of its syntax. 26 Our normalization reflects a composite from both versions. liars. The same image of àatammu-officials eating the palace clean is also encountered in example 5.428 a.27 To conclude from this pairing. àumma ina libbi b§b ekallim påßum kupput ⇒ . 14-15) 6.

“a vegetarian. Akk. “to eat. (in omens) “looting.” therefore. 80. and more specifically the relationship in such instances between lemmata and their glosses. l. the phrase m§lil erqu is understood in its literal sense. 210. 1a. 29 Lambert 1960.” does not seem inappropriate. consume. “gluttony. plundering” On a few occasions the connotation of mal§lum does seem rather prosaic. 12). that is. complete consumption”. (in omens) loot. 26 even more senseless than before. which. 2.28 Furthermore. “one who eats (only) vegetables. Akk. “to eat. 163 in Nougayrol 1968. √mll. 141-203.” Thus in the so-called Babylonian Theodicy. since each would sanction the right to pilfer and thus render the stipulation concerning grain in v. mal§lum. simply. plunder”. for instance. √mll more compatible with Biblical Hebrew melîlot. say. to judge by its appearance before the predictions of kleptomania in examples 3 and 4. not so distant after all from the basic sense of ak§lum. “edible(s). 1a. 185 (and note the mirror image in the following line depicting persons whose sustenance is the carob fruit. 273-290 and 436-437. the semantic range of the term must have stretched beyond its immediate context so as to offer a logical fit there (note too the sense of mal§lum in example 6).”29 Another example comes from among the instructions of ’up¿-awÊlim. “eatable total or fill.biblical mÀlîlot. 278 l. From this perspective it must be granted that neither of these meanings can apply to the Biblical cognate. Yet further evidence presented in what follows points to a sense of Akk. see Winitzer 2006. eat up”. l. is not adequately conveyed by the dictionaries. it is suggested. millatum.30 where the following appeal by the father to his son is predicated on a vetitive form of mal§lum: m§rÊ [it]ti? àa ÉÊãÊ ã¿na ¿-tamlula (My) son. akkadian millatum 429 following longer interpretation in those examples. 1b. 1: 330-334 (with an updated listing of editions of and new sources for the text). meal) [wi]th criminals! (Nougayrol 1968. in fact represents the basic one for Akk. A more recent translation is found in Foster 1996. reflecting a more general act than. “to consume completely. A translation for millatum as “looting” or “plundering. Lambert 1960. 6) 28 On this “Lemma: Full Interpretation” structure witnessed in certain omen apodoses. 2. consumption”. ..” 1b. This sense. may you not eat bread (lit.” or. 30 Text no.

35 So. Lambert (1965. 1: 88.430 a.g. A case in point is the depiction of the àatammu-official in examples 1.31 it seems all but certain that mal§lum here maintains a sense not far removed from that of ak§lum. 2 and 4 above.” 32 On the debate over the identity of this royal figure see most recently Schaudig 2001. 584): ti-amat!(kur)meà. l. 84. J. 286): “[la sentence] met en garde contre le danger de fréquenter intimement les méchants et d’être tenu pour ejusdem farinae (companio. 33 Following the reading by Schaudig (2001. he offered (it) luxuriantly before the great gods.. would certainly strike the student of Mesopotamian socioeconomic history as odd. compain. On the other hand it must be recalled that by no means do omen collections like those from which the above examples are gleaned represent a neutral ground for the establishment of a particular term’s basic sense. especially evidence from non-belletristic sources. Gallery 1980. 34 B. To the contrary.35 Little if any textual evidence can be mustered to support such prejudice. cf. likely Nebuchadnezzar II or Nabonidus:32 damqa Éißbi àadî u tâmtÊ33 ultamlil uãaÉÉid-ma uãaÉÉâ maÉar il§nÊ rabûti The pleasant yield of mountains and seas he gave to eat. not infrequently in the environment of the omen collections a word. Subsequently and without additional evidence. 7): ti. but cf. (Lambert 1965.<am>atmeà. Nougayrol (1968. challenges the bounds of this selfsame understanding. 579-580 (with previous scholarly positions and bibliography). the rendering of the same line by Foster (1996. 91). 21 and n. whose sense otherwise seems well-established. The portrayal of this figure in these omens as persona non grata. Schaudig 2001. Finally. if the Note the brilliant interpretative comment by the text’s editor. In fact. 23. 73) proposed another such attestation in her recent edition to one of the so-called Aguàaya poems (= B). e. Gronenberg (1997. one notes an altogether festive context of mal§lum in the depiction of a just king. 31 . copain). 7. 584) Admittedly these three34 examples all stem from literary contexts hardly representative of a broad spectrum of Akkadian. elsewhere known as a chief supervisor of the Old Babylonian palace and temple economies. winitzer Whatever the background of this pearl of wisdom. any call to reconfigure the semantic range of mal§lum (and accordingly that of millatum) so as to bring it in line with that of ak§lum may seem premature.

40 YOS 10 24 r. trusted”)38—the connotations of these words all unmistakably positive. 33. wherein the predicate describing the seizure of palace income. its second interpretation: the sukkallu-official will consume income (in produce) (YOS 10 24:5). Nougayrol 1941. 184). 98). Lu I 135m (MSL 12. Aa VII/4 130-133 (MSL 14.and zabardabbû-officials. as well as others not listed here. 78 ll. And cf. slaves. 80 l.42 The hyperbole concerning the àatammu-officials constitutes no See Aa VII/4 130-133 (MSL 14. for instance. 70 l. OB Lu B v 32 (MSL 12. 38 See Nabnitu XVII (= J) 78-80 (MSL 16. the following parallel tradition. eunuchs. 41 For citations and brief analysis of texts mentioning most of these figures.tam.36 ebbum (“bright. with their flair for the dramatic in general. then just the opposite estimate of this figure abounded: the standard and common Sumerian rendering of Akkadian àatammum. pure”). see Jeyes 1989. 469). Nougayrol 1971.37 and. 19. 98). a most common interpretative association for “Palace Gate” omens (for which see Jeyes 1989.biblical mÀlîlot. concerning the zabardabbû-official see van Dijk 1976. clear”).39 Aside from additional references to transgressions to be committed by àatammus. and specifically their obsessive concerns about betrayal and treason. Plainly the explanation for this Samaritan-like twist in the àatammu-officials’ reputation lies in the nature of omens themselves.41 Perceived dangers notwithstanding. a contextual study of these cases leaves little doubt that by and large statements about the abnormal behavior of these persons are to be ascribed more to the hermeneutic considerations underlying the omens than to anything else. qÊpum (“trustworthy. no. 42 Note. is rendered less theatrically with maɧrum. See Lu I 135 (MSL 12. 8-9. 39 On this topic see Bottéro 1973: 140-143. 9. is equated with ellum (“pure. akkadian millatum 431 native lexical traditions are in any way indicative of wider opinion. 469). 29 // YOS 10 26 i 27. 60-61). clean. OB Lu B v 31 (MSL 12. even barbers. the two options for the prominent palace figures in the alternative interpretations of the following omens: 37 36 àumma b§b e[kallim àin§-m]a birÊtÊàunu qûm ßabit ⇒ rubûm irbam ikkal àanû àumàu sukkallum irbam ikkal If the P[alace] Gates [(are) two an]d between them a filament is seized ⇒ the prince will consume income (in produce). 156).40 this sort of role reversal is well-attested elsewhere in the collections regarding a range of functionaries who normally figure as pillars of Mesopotamian societal order: sukkallu. “to accept”: àumma àin§ b§b ekallim birÊàunu qûm ßabit ⇒ àukkallum irbam imaÉÉar . 184). àà. most frequently.

46 In light of the preceding discussion. however. Indeed. “a trustworthy. 45 Leichty 1970. YOS 10 22: 2) 43 For a brief treatment of the significance of this paradigmatic employment of numbers in the omen collections see Bottéro 1992. Indeed. trusted person. in the company of such ignominious characters and in such unflattering contexts.”44 then one can better understand how. (YOS 10 26 i 14-15.432 a. 164. the statement about the ravaging àatammu-official. the omen cited as example 5 above functions as the ultimate case in a unit of entries studying a gradually increasing number of a particular ominous finding. a more in-depth treatment of this subject in the context of the collections’ organizational apparatus may be found in Winitzer 2006. is sometimes typified by the company it keeps.” Certainly it appears that the latter two possibilities express the word’s nuance in the omen literature.47 The possibility that a substantive millatum existed outside the charged context of the omen literature is uncertain but does not seem unreasonable. that “a word. 5) and was perhaps realized by CAD (above and n. 47 The same point for mal§lum is implied by Nougayrol (1968. though in the latter case the more prosaic meaning offered is overshadowed by what follows.” does appear to be preferable after all. Accordingly. 553-605. If so. 134-136.tam (that is. an original meaning for millatum could have devolved into “looting” or “plundering. a more banal sense to the primary meaning of the verb. 422 ff. 44 Speiser 1967. cf. 46 Izbu Comm. winitzer exception..43 If it is true. 224. . was apparently deemed a fitting topos with which to interpret the ad infinitum signification of the ultimate case in this numerical-based gradation sequence. “to eat. 19). the extent to which the flavor of divinatory mal§lum and millatum is permitted to represent the words’ basic meanings demands reexamination.. one might posit for this qitl-pattern noun—this pattern often indicating in If (there are) two Palace Gates and between them a filament is seized ⇒ the sukkallu-official will accept income (in produce). Indeed. and must be viewed within the context of the discourse characteristic of the collections and their interpretative aspirations. in Leichty 1970.” but sees fit to gloss its own definition with mal§lum. as Speiser once remarked. and the latter in turn with ak§lum. a àatammu-official) as qÊpum. like a person. so radical was this transformation that a first millennium commentary on an omen series (’umma Izbu)45 explains the Sumerian àà. like the complementary forecast describing a plague of rodents.

Fox 2003. e. one may surmise. 33). 25: that corresponding to the eating of one’s fill. one finds a clear parallel situation between the two Deuteronomic laws. 26 corresponds to the limit placed on the amount of grapes granted in v.” Ȩrîà§(h). a matter internal to the hermeneutics of the omen collections themselves. “vintage(s). more likely. Hebrew nouns like mÀlîlot with the pattern *qÀtîlot (sg. The picking of mÀlîlot in v.e. as we have suggested. *qÀtîl§) are verbal nouns or substantivized adjectives. akkadian millatum 433 Akkadian the passive “result” of their verb48—a sense like “edible(s).” Possibly this development took place independently of the word’s employment in the omen literature. 50 Another factor that may have played an effective role in the evolution of the word’s meaning involves the noted expansion in post-Biblical Hebrew of attestations of words in the semantic group describing various agricultural activities patterned on *qÀtîl§ (see J. Whatever the case. or. These. nouns of action. 45 and 47). bÀßîr§(h)/bÀßîrôt. mÀlîlot ≈ Akk. 141. nn.biblical mÀlîlot. “crop(s) of an olive harvest. millatum Biblical mÀlîlot...” mÀsîq§(h)/mÀsîqôt. perhaps on account of the rarity of a Hebrew √mll (if the Biblical tradition is any indication of the broader underlying reality) with meanings similar to those of the more basic sense of Akkadian mal§lum. as J.” or perhaps “consumption. “thicket.50 Nonetheless it See J. the still more pejorative sense for millatum in the omens. both in apposition to “fresh 49 48 . The raising of a sickle.” It is likely that the Temple Scroll’s "bybwt and mlylwt noted above. perhaps in the manner of “(one’s) eatable total or fill” or “complete consumption. It is not difficult to appreciate how this term’s semantic range may have shifted so as to focus yet further on its resultative sense. is. even any additional plucking by hand. Heb. the one with which the term became linked. Of course a basic difference between these is their underlying noun patterns: unlike the Akkadian *qitl pattern (here augmented as *qitl-at). Fox 2003. Still on occasion one finds passive actant noun meanings for agriculturally based topics patterned on *qÀtîl§/*qÀtîlot.49 If taken in the manner suggested for the primary sense(s) of millatum. frequently are productive. what is eaten or consumed. Fox notes (2003. 50. the original sense of Biblical mÀlîlot was soon abandoned or.g. exceeds the maximal consumable amount by a given individual and is. consequentially. 193. shares a good deal with its Akkadian cognate. it seems after all.” i. forbidden. On the significance of this pattern for a post-Biblical mlylwt see n. forgotten. To judge by the evidence from Qumran as well as from most of the ancient interpretations.

you may eat grapes to your bellyful. The possible connection of the Ugaritic root to Prov 6:13 was discussed by Pope and Tigay (1971. Le pouvoir royal et ses limitations d’après les textes divinatoires. 43. who opts for this sense mainly on the basis of Rabbinic Hebrew (where one finds m§lal II “to crush. 221). 2: 558) means that the matter will not be resolved without additional evidence. squeeze” [Nif. J. but you must not put any in your vessel. pointing his finger”—a most reasonable sense.e. squeeze” (see following note) certainly would have facilitated this development. 1987]. In the case of the latter an understanding of √mll as “to crush. ripe) produce”—a most fitting parallel to. in the present communication. Fox (2000. O. but see M. written] form and LXX one opts for the singular “eye” and “foot”—these singular forms thus matching “finger” in the verse—then it would seem that an even stronger case can be made against understanding mol¿l as “shuffling” in a sense akin to “scraping. That there existed an additional √mll in Biblical Hebrew meaning “to shuffle (one’s feet)” (< “to scrape”) seems unlikely. evil man” with his feet. 25 References Borowski. however. Agriculture in Iron Age Israel. 1973.. IN: Eisenbrauns. 26When you enter a neighbor’s field of standing grain. relates rather to a √mll occurring in Ugaritic and meaning “to stamp” (see Olmo Lete and Sanmartín 2003. . the root in Rabbinic Hebrew. rubbing. describing an action performed by a “worthless. one complementary to the winking of the eyes and pointing of the finger. 792]). 2: 558). you may pluck (your) fill of edibles with your hand. at any rate. fresh.. ripe and ready to be plucked for eating. consume” for *m§lal also could have fostered this semantic analogy: *m§lîl would refer to the (season of the) collection of that which was eatable. Winona Lake. the proximity of that meaning to Jastrow’s understanding of the Rabbinic Hebrew root. that is. Boston: ASOR [originally published.e. note.434 a.] “be compressed” [Jastrow Dict.51 And thus an emended translation of the Deuteronomic verses with which this discussion began follows: When you enter a neighbor’s vineyard. (For the latter suggestion see Swanson 1995. Yet it is not difficult to imagine how a meaning of “to eat. Bottéro. but you must not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain. 2002. winitzer seems likely that the Hebrew tongue savored the taste of this Semitic root as well. however. "bybwt. cannot be based on this same root. And it must be granted that a meaning of “to stomp ([with] one’s foot/feet)” for √mll in Proverbs offers the verse—“winking his eye(s). 127-128) but seems to have been overlooked. stomping (mol¿l) his foot/feet. Possibly.”) Not that this makes it right: the possibility that a homophonous Ugaritic root refers to caressing of feet (see Olmo Lete and Sanmartín 2003. In La Voix de l’Opposition en Mésopotamie: Colloque organisé par l’Institut des Hautes Etudes bread.” reflect two additional examples of such substantives. (If in keeping with the kÀtîb [i. which at any rate must have drawn support from the purported understanding of mÀlîlot in Deuteronomy. and possibly a template for. with the actant noun mlylwt to “collected eatable (i.) 51 It is thus certain that the meaning of the participle mol¿l in Prov 6:13.. or.

Y. Oliver. 2003. R. . Cuneiform Texts of Varying Content. A. Old Babylonian Extispicy: Omen Texts in the British Museum. 2001. 1. MD: CDL. B. Kraus F. IN: Eisenbrauns. R. R.. Leiden: Brill. H. vol. García Martínez. Finet. U. Berlin: Mann. Richardson. J. 18a. D. 2004. Clines. E. Brussels: Institut des hautes études de Belgique. 1992. Hunger. 1976. Van De Mieroop. Driver. eds. Fox. ed. The Enclosure Maps of England and Wales 1595-1918. Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uruk-Warka 9. Translated by M. 1960. Nashville: Abingdon. Babylonian Wisdom Literature. Dijk. Deuteronomy. C. Bahrani and M. Mesopotamia: Writing. Nebuchadnezzar King of Justice. Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. S. Lambert. J. E. TIM 9. Foster. 2000. Clark. 1989. 3rd ed. and W. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press. & T. HSS 59. 2 vols. J. 3rd ed. B. Translated by Z. Baumgartner. Iraq 27: 1-11. and R. J. AfO 27: 1-36.biblical mÀlîlot. 1980. Winona Lake. ZA 77: 194-206. 1993–. Agriculture in Eretz-Israel in the Period of the Bible and Talmud: Basic Farming Methods and Implements.. 1990. W. Jerusalem: Rubin Mass [Hebrew]. 1987. The Anchor Bible. Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul. Koehler L. 1997. akkadian millatum 435 de Belgique 19 et 20 mars 1973. Brueggemann. The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. to date. Verstreute Omentexte aus Nippur im Istanbuler Museum. Vol. Jeyes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1996. M. Oxford: Oxford University Press. and Tigchelaar. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. 1947. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995. W. 1951. M. Kain. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. Feliks. Proverbs 1-9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. ———. Lob der Iàtar: Gebet und Ritual an die altbabylonische Venusgöttin Groningen: Styx. and the Gods. 1965. Fox. A. Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Deuteronomy. YOS 10. 5 vols. Gronenberg. Reasoning. Old Babylonian Omen Texts. 1998. Leiden: Brill. New York: Doubleday. Bethesda. The Office of the àatammu in the Old Babylonian Period. Gallery. ———. Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk... F. J. Chapman. Semitic Noun Patterns. van. J. 1976. Goetze. 119-165. Leiden: Brill. Rev. ed.

D. ed. G. A Description of Baal. Harvard University. Philadelphia: Westminster. 3 vols. Kelly-Buccellati. The Omen Series ’umma Izbu. In Oriental and Biblical Studies: Collected Writings of E. 1966. The Generative Paradigm in Old Babylonian Divination. 2003. M. 1941.D. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 14. I. AOAT 256. Schaffer. 252*-264*. Virolleaud. RA 38: 67-83. Translated by D. RA 65: 67-84. ed. 1995. winitzer Leichty. Commentaires des Textes Historiques. Eph’al. del. J. and P. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag. Nouveaux textes sur le ziÉÉu (II). J. ———. Nougayrol. In Hayim and Miriam Tadmor Volume. E. Textes hépatoscopiques d’époque ancienne conservés au Musée du Louvre. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society. ed. The Temple Scroll. Philadelphia: JPS. In Insight through Images: Studies in Honor of Edith Porada. “People” and “Nation” of Israel. E. Speiser. G. . 1971. Eretz-Israel 27.. Tigay. 1996. diss. Barton. Leiden: Brill. A. A. Watson. Translated by W. The King and the Cup: Iconography of the Royal Presentation Scene on Ur III Seals. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press [first published in JBL 79 (1960): 157-163]. Augustin. 1970. 1968. Schaudig. von. Winitzer. ed. J. Tigay. UF 3: 117-130.. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.436 a. J. F. E. 1-446. E. In Ugaritica 5: Nouveaux Textes Accadiens. The Temple Scroll and the Bible: The Methodology of 11QT. Ornament and the “Rhetoric of Abundance” in Assyria. Swanson. J. Locust Valley. Die Inschriften Nabonids von Babylon und Kyros’ des Großen samt den in ihrem Umfeld entstandenen Tendenzschriften: Textausgabe und Grammatik. 2006. Y. A. 160-170. Malibu: Undena. J. 1967. 2001. Sanmartín. Textes suméro-accadiens des archives et bibliothèques privées d’Ugarit. Winter. C. Ph. Finkelstein and M. Greenberg. 1986. A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale. TCS 4. 2003. NY: J. Leiden: Brill. 253-268. M. 1971.. J. Ben-Tor. G. Hourrites et Ugaritiques des Archives et Bibliothèques Privées d’Ugarit. Rad. ———. MRS 12. Pope. Old Testament Library. 2 vols. and J. Laroche. Olmo Lete. Deuteronomy: A Commentary. I. 1983. H. Yadin. ———. A. Nougayrol. Machinist. and J. and C. The JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy . A. Speiser.

Jülide Aker. This paper will review the objects. these objects were all created in different millennia and attempting to draw a meaningful connection between them suggests either an egregious conflation of distinct cultures on my part. previous work on this curious representational form. The Objects. These three objects in fact thrust themselves into that canon through the use of a particular representational characteristic: each has an image of itself on itself. However. The alabaster vessel is carved in a There is also a gold leafed copper statue dedicated to the god Martu for the king Hammurabi which has been excluded here because of its uncertain provenance. then the motivation for the creation of these self-portraits over such a long period may be considered a Mesopotamian phenomenon. 1 I refer to these self-referential depictions as “self-portraits of the objects” for reasons that will be described below. This kneeling figure and its curious self-portrait was the subject of my first paper for Irene Winter.self-portraits of objects 437 SELF-PORTRAITS OF OBJECTS Jack Cheng The Warka vase. based on the expected audience and finding non-Mesopotamian examples for analogous works. Previous Work and Descriptive Term The Warka vase has a narrow profile that tapers down. curves in and then flares out again at its base. Then. and explain the term I am using. To return to this phenomenon after fifteen years of her teaching and scholarship have informed my thinking is a pleasure. Thanks are due to the readers on this paper. Marian Feldman and Tonia Sharlach. In other words. if the canon is defined as those objects that are always taught in an introductory course on ancient Near Eastern art. potential meanings and intentions are arrived at. if this is a historic phenomenon and not merely an interpretive conflation. 1 . The different levels of intentional use and communication will be delineated. or a basic cultural trait shared in Late Uruk. Early Dynastic and Middle Assyrian times. the Great Lyre of Ur and the Altar of Tukulti-Ninurta are all included in the canon of Mesopotamian art.

an identical man kneels. A major band separates these domesticated products from a line of nude men carrying vessels—bowls. 17). below the bull’s head. there is a pair of undulating lines. A second major band separates the men from the tallest. usually identified as a jackal. and making the same gesture with their hands. Then a row of alternating stalks of grain are separated by a minor band from a line of male and female sheep. also pointing with his right hand. holding the same scepter. At the top. three animals play music. The right side of the scene depicts a rectangle with semicircular projections sitting on two plinths—the 2 The image on the vase shows two vessels with the same profile.438 j. . The Altar of Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243-1207 BCE) was found in a sealed off room of the Ishtar Temple at Ashur (traditionally called an altar. a fragment of a twin (“Doppel des Alabastergefässes”) was bought in Paris and was already in the collection of the Vorderasiatisches Museum when the Uruk Vase was excavated (Heinrich 1936. On the left side of this panel.” The rectangular shape of the sound box supports a bull’s head protome and is decorated with inlay. dressed identically.2 The Great Lyre is one of eight bull lyres excavated from the Royal Cemetery of Ur (ca. a large figure and two smaller attendants approach a female figure. Rosettes fill the semicircles and the rest of the rectangular form is carved with a scene of two men. Other objects behind the goddess include ritual vessels shaped like animals. From the bottom up. In this panel. uppermost register. four panels depict various figures in action. probably representing water. resting on two plinths. a donkey sits behind a bull lyre. On the left. The altar consists of a rectangular shape with a semicircular projection at each upper corner. vases and tables of offerings and two vessels with the same unusual profile of the Warka vase itself. found in PG 789. 2600-2400 BCE). the object is more accurately described as a socle). Of interest here is the second panel from the bottom. On the right a bear dances on his hind legs. holds a sistrum in one paw and sits with a tablet or possibly a drum on his lap. The Warka vase was found in a treasury hoard of a temple at ancient Uruk dated to about 3000 BCE but the vase is thought to have been made sometime earlier. On the front of the lyre. identified by two standards behind her as Inanna. one stands with his right hand in front of his face pointing forward. cheng series of registers. vases and jars. At the center. The Great Lyre is the largest of them. called the “King’s Grave. and a small mammal.

3 The images on each of these objects do not match themselves exactly. Mitchell’s terms are not applied by him to artworks with depictions of themselves and thus are not entirely appropriate for our purposes. however. Recently.5 They are not self-portraits as usually understood: 3 Although the inscription must have been integral for the makers of the altar. Mitchell’s terms “hypericons” or “metapictures. Centered on this object is a vertical. A cuneiform inscription on the plinth states that the object is dedicated by Tukulti-Ninurta to the god Nusku. 4 In fact. I have chosen not to deal with it in this paper because my investigation focuses on the visual effect of the monument. there has not been much study of the broader phenomenon. Mitchell’s essay (1994) concerns pictures of picture-making.” a painting by Diego Velasquez of a painter in the act of painting is an example of a metapicture. audiences that I am considering may have been illiterate. 5 The term is clearly a paradox but is chosen in part because it is so weird as not to . However. The vase and altar are presented with identifiable profiles but without any indication of relief carving.” As appealing as these terms are. “Las Meninas. Although most descriptions of each of these objects mentions the self-referential image on them. but the logical inference is that it’s a painting of the king and queen of Spain and not the scene before us.” which is at once inapplicable to any other sort of representation and patently absurd. the image is the main focus of the viewer and the inscription does not deal with the self-portraiture phenomenon as I have described it. the bull lyre depicted in mosaic inlay does not have the beard of the bull on the Great Lyre itself. needle like projection and a rectangle. The phrase Bahrani uses to describe their semiotic effect is “circular referentiality” and she also makes reference to W. the canvas has its back to the viewer and we have no idea what is on it.4 A Mesopotamian “metapicture” would be the reliefs in Court VI of Sennacherib’s “Palace Without Rival” at Nineveh which shows the quarrying and transport of the stone reliefs that make up the sculptural medium (but they do not depict the very walls on which they are carved). but is not what I am referring to as an “object self-portrait” since the painting in the picture is not of the picture. Furthermore. T. 2003) has written on both the Warka vase and the Altar of Tukulti Ninurta. Thus. the depictions clearly refer to the class of objects on which they reside. J. My phrase to describe these depictions is “object self-portrait.self-portraits of objects 439 same profile as the altar itself. Zainab Bahrani (2001.

It is not.” If grouping the vase. they are usually behind panels that explain how to remove paper jams or install toner cartridges. objects. Harvard 1960. archaeologists and interpreters of ancient art assume that these artifacts are themselves representative of the larger culture or dominant ideology. In contrast. apply to anything else. we find self-representations on vacuum cleaners and photocopiers and on children’s car seats and all the ingeniously collapsible equipment designed for babies.or herself. Within the subfield of ancient Near Eastern art. Mesopotamian stone vases and altars are much less complicated to use and so their self-depictions seem to signal complications and factors beyond the functional. a student from the Massachusetts College of Art. 6 Examples can be found in the Tampa Museum of Art. In modern examples. 18-9).339. . or under the mattresses of portable cribs.7 Furthermore.79. lyre and altar suggests a cross-cultural and pan chronological Mesopotamian phenomenon. RISD 06. Thanks to Andrew C. we should consider if it is uniquely Mesopotamian. Thus an object like the Warka vase is both one of the best known representatives of Uruk culture and a product of that culture at well. for drawing my attention to this object. these rhetorical shortcuts reflect the fact that with limited primary sources.050. even ostentatious. the self-representations tend not to stand out. These modern “object self-portraits” are extensions of (or replacements for) the instruction manuals that are required to operate these machines. the Harvard University Art Museum and the Museum of Art.440 j. 7 Thanks to Katie Ocediacz. in the twenty-first century CE. Rhode Island School of Design. reflecting the complexity of the object in question. My use of the term is meant to evoke both the context of an anonymous artisan culture and a scholarship that has at times dealt with archaeological artifacts as if they are self-generated. Cohen for pointing these out. A representation of itself on itself is the “object’s self-portrait. see Tampa 86. A major difference between the Mesopotamian and modern object self-portraits lies in where the image of the object is positioned. cheng an artist’s depiction of him. the way a more apt phrase like “self-representation” could refer to many different phenomena. there is the painted Greek vase known as the lekythoi that can include an image of itself on itself. In the ancient world. the Mesopotamian examples are placed front and center on highly visible.6 The Olmec Kunz Axe is a figure in the round holding a bas-relief representation of himself (Miller 2001.

a musical instrument. Verb: the interaction with the objects are all based on utility. but nowhere near as unique as a goddess or a musical donkey. or a regular ritual? If regular. A goddess. a pair of vases are placed near a female of some importance. was it a one time event. a more-than-human figure interacts with an object with a simple picture of itself: subject. a dexterous donkey. Generically. or her earthly presence in the form of the high priestess? Similarly. The altar provokes questions about the use of narrative by depicting two images of the same man in the same pictorial space—does doubling the king give him more power or dilute the potency of his likeness? Different levels of content need to be sorted out. Object: the objects are all useful. If real. On the altar. verb. object. Subject: the represented figure who interacts with the object can be described as metaphorical and/or spiritual. we question whether the event was imaginary or real. the donkey plucks or strums. The Assyrian king might be a special individual. On the Warka vase. the king approaches and kneels. The goddess stands before. The self-portraits on the objects each convey a basic message of functionality: “this is how the object is used. and a king. the picture on the bull lyre is certainly metaphorical since a donkey could not have played the instrument. However. . was it performed daily. On the bull lyre. To take the Warka vase.self-portraits of objects Interpretation: Levels of Content 441 A general description of any of these self-portraits seems straightforward: they describe an event in which the object is used.” The self-contained contextual information—and the lack of language—is what makes this sort of self-portraiture so useful for vacuum cleaners and photocopiers. a man stands and then kneels before an altar. the complexity of the images is apparent immediately. But it is the visual grammar that invites speculation. A container. The odd nature of the figures depicted in the self-portraits adds to the cognitive dissonance we contend with when we view the objects. and used. a flat topped piece of furniture. monthly. annually? Is the woman meant to be the embodiment of the goddess herself. except that his double depiction creates a sense of iconicity. a bull lyre is played as part of an animal orchestra.

Taking the simple messages of each representation and then putting them on a version of the objects themselves creates another level of content. To understand the meaning and purpose of each of these visual statements. all three were made for the direct participants. As objects. the local audience that witnessed the interaction. and why they were presented in this way. it would help to know to whom they are addressed. the excavator interpreted the space as storage and possibly a symbolic burial place for sacred objects (Andrae 1935. was found in a religious building. The goddess—or her representative—would use the vase. each of these may have been used at one time. cheng There is a more complex message encoded not in the demonstration of function but in the visual grammar of self-portraiture. if the gods were considered to be somewhat distant. . the king would worship at the altar. or possibly constructed to be played only in the afterlife (Woolley 1934. if the gods were considered omnipresent. the Ishtar Temple of Ashur. but not on an altar or recognizable place of worship but rather in a treasury hoard (Heinrich 1936). The archaeological findspots of these objects do not suggest definitive use. and then those who are not present when the object was used. 57-76). The Altar of Tukulti-Ninurta. then they would have been equally absent from the rituals. The Warka vase was found in a temple. However. On the other hand. In other words. a musician would play the instrument. We should consider the possibility that these objects were never actually used as depicted and therefore no one viewing the objects would have seen them in use. There is meaning in the visual medium. then they would have been present at any rituals involving these objects. The lyre was buried in a mass grave of the Royal Cemetery of Ur and could have been played for the last time during the burial rite. like the vase. but none was found in a context of regular use. On the one hand. 249ff). Another possible audience that is difficult to grapple with is the divine. The Audience The possible audiences for these images are the direct participants who interacted with the objects.442 j. but in a room that had been sealed off.

While this discussion of the object self-portraits restates the evocative nature of these representations. a comparison to a modern example may be helpful. for example. probably did not need to know how to kneel before the altar. That is. Acknowledging a tongue-in-cheek attitude. living king join his carved representations in worship could only add to the significance of the event. a smaller Pioneer shows the trajectory of the mission among the planets of the Solar System (not to scale). Its effect on the direct participants (priest/priestess. Two abstracted representations of the Pioneer are on the design. musician. A larger one is placed with drawings of a nude man and woman. The picture on the lyre. For the local audience to a ritual there would be an increased resonance. The higher level message that is evoked by the visual grammar of self-portraiture and the iconic figures interacting with the objects in their self-portraits is clearly intentional. For an audience not-present for the use of the object (or if these objects were not used at all). although it might seem obvious on which side of the instrument to sit. Similarly. it is possible that this method of representation has a direct meaning and purpose. to have a third. Ernst Gombrich (1972) discussed the image in a popular essay on how the visual perception of images is a learned skill. the most traveled object self-portrait is the image on the NASA space probe Pioneer F launched in 1972 (figure 1). . Below. Indisputably. I would argue that it is this self-portrait (as well as depictions on the Standard of Ur and various seals) that makes the arrangement seem obvious and not merely probable. He concluded that the use of contour lines. for someone standing in the room with the altar. The basic functional explanation would be more useful for anyone not present when the objects were used. as a measure of scale comparing the object to the size of its creators. anyone present would see how the object was used. the self-portrait gives these objects increased significance and an iconic status in themselves. To that end. for example. Tukulti-Ninurta. the blocking of the woman’s hand by her hip.self-portraits of objects 443 the basic message of functionality presented by the self-representations would not be for the direct participants. shows someone how to play the instrument. king or otherwise) who handled the actual artifact is hard to determine but perhaps it reinforced a ritual mindset. The purpose of that image is to communicate the origin of the spacecraft to alien beings who might come across it.

in whose reign this work shall have fallen into ruin. let him offer a sacrifice. an extra-terrestrial whose visual physiognomy could be completely alien from ours. These documents reveal that the patrons of these buildings were pragmatic about the longevity of their accomplishments.444 j. they would probably be able to understand the basic meaning of the diagram. Let him see my royal image and anoint (it) with oil. However. The Mesopotamians were active historians. Could the Sumerians and Assyrians have made these object for future viewers? That would require that they had a sense of time and chronology and their own limited place within it. Roaf 2000). this example of future human archaeologists is analogous to twentieth-century archaeologists uncovering the five thousand year old Warka vase and instantly understanding that the object was significant and having a major clue as to how it was used. renew its ruins. 8 . they did not presume as the Mesopotamians did. even if Gombrich had doubts in 1972. the basic point of the diagram is perfectly understandable to most adult humans. these foundation tablets are a hedge against the inevitability of decay. To put it another way. Evidence for this awareness of their place in a continuum of history is found in the foundation tablets and brick inscriptions that were buried in the construction of major public buildings. Let him deposit (it) with his (own) image” (Ellis 1968. if four thousand years from now. An example from Assurbanipal: “May a later prince. In fact. at least some elite Mesopotamians understood that they were part of a future’s history. cheng and the mixture of foreshortening and lack of perspective would be indecipherable to the intended viewer. the man’s raised hand would certainly be understood by a Chinese or Indian as a greeting today. Political history in Mesopotamia had already been established as a series of successive hegemonic powers and the As goofy as the NASA designers may have been. and evidence exists for their concern with the past (Winter 2000. Among this evidence are the objects found in collections by later rulers. humankind succeeded in colonizing Saturn’s moons and future archaeologists found the remains of Pioneer F crushed into Titan. particularly the Elamite Shutruk-Nahhunte I at Susa and the texts collected in Assurbanipal’s library.8 In essence. it seems they did. More significantly. 179). that their audience would share their language. To return to our Mesopotamian objects.

self-portraits of objects 445 participants in that history understood that suggesting an unnatural longevity of their own creations was an act of hubris. Certainly this process would encourage rulers to consider the future of their buildings. the Mesopotamian built with a material that would be washed away in a decade without proper maintenance. They are visual analogues to the foundation texts. saying that his works would stand forever) the kingdom was destroyed so utterly that the mighty capital city has yet to be found. Whereas Egyptian pharaohs assumed (rightly) that their sons and grandsons would complete the tombs they built for themselves. The evidence of the foundation tablets clearly shows that Mesopotamians understood that they were part of a stream of history. Mudbrick requires regular replastering to maintain a barrier against the elements that will eventually erode it. the Mesopotamians sent out messages to an alien culture. By the Middle Assyrian period. Like the Pioneer probe. lyre and altar. Although the head of a woman found at Warka is an unarguable masterpiece. The lyre from Philadelphia is probably the most reprinted object in the Mesopotamian art canon. Rather than building with a medium like stone that would last for centuries. much more than any of its brethren. The combination of an iconic figure shown interacting with the object and the fact that the representation exists . Mesopotamian rulers (rightly) prepared for the moment when their heirs lost control of their land and their monuments were destroyed. including Irene Winter’s. I believe that this was a major function of the vase. a future human culture. it lays out the hierarchical view of the nature of the society from which it came and gives us its own context even as it stands in mute witness. This is the moral lesson of the Curse of Agade—when an Akkadian king declared his divine status (in effect. After all. in this case. purposefully or by natural forces. Marian Feldman suggests that the literal foundations of Mesopotamia may also have contributed to this need for constant renewal (personal communication). start with the Warka vase. The altar of Tukulti-Ninurta is the only regularly reproduced artifact from the Middle Assyrian period. Did it work? Yes. Tukulti-Ninurta would probably have recognized that his land had once been settled by other types of people than his own tribe. The request for renewal by later princes may be particularly Mesopotamian because the region between the rivers has been occupied and ruled by so many different cultures over the centuries. most classes on early Sumer.

. New Haven: Yale. cemetery. E.H.’” in the case of Naram-Sin. ——— . I am arguing that these three particular objects are evocative because they are intentionally communicating to us as future observers of the culture they came from and exploiting “habits of viewing” which may be universal to human visual cognition. 9 Why. for scholars to reconstruct. the temple. whether or not we fully understand that significance. The self portraits on these objects establish themselves as part of a canon of ancient Near Eastern art. References Andrae. The Visual Image. 63) has argued that the Stele of Naram-Sin is particularly evocative to modern audiences because “we come predisposed to appreciate it by our own ‘habits of viewing. 15-22.9 The existence of these object self-portraits serve as a call for renewal. certain that more meaning can be found in the depictions. Performativity and the Image: Narrative. 2003. Hinrichs. 1972. Die jüngerin Ischtar-Tempel in Assur. are these three objects like this and no others? For this I have no direct answer except to point out that other object self-portraits such as the kneeling copper statuette of Hammurabi do exist. 1968. Scientific American 227: 82-96. computer models or in their mind’s eyes. if only on paper. Leipsiz: J. ed. Zainab. and the Warka Vase. palace and society from which these artifacts were excavated. Gombrich. or when. 1935. Bahrani. Walter. Julide Aker asks. Representation. The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria. Irene Winter (1999. Indiana: Eisenbrauns. symmetry around a vertical axis and a composition that emphasizes the upper part of the representational field. WVDOG 58. If. Winona Lake. Erica Ehrenberg. cheng on the object creates significance. In Leaving No Stones Unturned: Essays on the Ancient Near East and Egypt in Honor of Donald P. more of these objects are properly excavated. although without proper excavation records. Ellis. Richard S. Hansen.C. 2001. These object self-portraits give a context that allows even novice historians a sense of where they came from while tenured professors continue to pick away at them.446 j. Foundation Deposits in Ancient Mesopotamia. I predict they will be immediately placed within the canon of Mesopotamian art. There may even be an implied plea for understanding—learn about us so that we may live on in human history. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

35-82. S. Prudence O. Chicago: University of Chicago. T. 1995. 1936. In Proceedings of the First International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. 1447-1462. Mitchell. A. A. Evelyn Klengel-Brandt. L. Survivals and Revivals in the Art of Ancient Mesopotamia. Enea. Enea. Joan Aruz. P. London: Thames and Hudson. London: Trustees of the British Museum and of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.self-portraits of objects 447 Harper. eds. Leonard. Milano. L. In Landscapes: Territories. The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec. Matthiae. Lanfranchi. Peyronel. Heinrich. ed. Assyrian Origins: Discoveries at Ashur on the Tigris. and F. Pinnock. 2000. 2. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ed. 1934. The Royal Cemetery. 3rd ed. G. In Proceedings of the First International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Pinnock. Peyronel. . 1994. Matthiae. C. F. Rome: Università degli studi di Roma. Babylonian Archaeologists of the(ir) Mesopotamian Past. 2000. Metapictures. Mary Ellen. 1999. Kleinfunde aus den archaischen Tempelschichten in Uruk. 63-76. ———. and L. Tree(s) on the Mountain: Landscape and Territory on the Victory Stele of Naram-Sîn of Agade. Berlin: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Michael. de Martino. ed. Ur Excavations. Miller. Exhibition Catalogue. Picture Theory. Roaf. Winter. and Kim Benzel. W. Fales. Rome: Università degli studi di Roma. 1785-1798.. Frontiers and Horizons in the Ancient Near East. J. M. 2001. and F. B. Woolley. Irene J. Vol. Ernst. Padua: Sargon srl. P.

” (excerpted description from the NASA website) Courtesy NASA Headquarters—GReatest Images of NASA (NASA-HQ-GRIN).) The design is etched into a 6 inch by 9 inch goldanodized aluminum plate. who might intercept it millions of years from now. attached to the spacecraft’s antenna support struts in a position to help shield it from erosion by interstellar dust. photo ID GPN-2000-001623 . and by what kind of beings. (With the hope that they would not invade Earth. cheng Figure 1 Pioneer F Plaque “designed to show scientifically educated inhabitants of some other star system. from where. when Pioneer was launched.448 j.

knowledge of modern practice. regardless of direct continuity or formal affinities. might any ancient meaning have remained intact? Could folk symbolism or even regard for the historic potency of this device have motivated adherence to the ancient form? In response to these queries ethnoarchaeology is our most valuable tool. for it offers living models for the interpretation of past cultural phenomena (David and Kramer 2001). and again at the first through third century CE site of Palmyra in the Syrian desert (figures 1-3). 1 A similar headband illustrated in Neo-Assyrian art is worn by the ruler and crownprince. Variations of this headgear occur in the ancient visual and archaeological records as early as the Late Bronze and Iron Ages (thirteenth to seventh century BCE) in the Levant and Mesopotamia. Reade 1967).from mesopotamia to modern syria 449 FROM MESOPOTAMIA TO MODERN SYRIA: ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON FEMALE ADORNMENT DURING RITES OF PASSAGE Amy Rebecca Gansell Commonly acknowledged but seldom scrutinized. This paper. When applied judiciously. traditional adornment in the modern Middle East displays striking formal continuity over millennia. . A specific type of female headdress provides the most powerful example: it consists of a dorsal ribbon terminating in tassels and a central forehead ornament from which a fringe of pendants dangle (figures 1-5). nearly identical headbands were still worn by women in greater Syria (figure 4). focuses on the adornment of women. and one study compares the female diadem to male phylacteries in the Jewish tradition (Keel 1981. and related examples served as stock costume elements in French studio portraits personifying the exotic odalisque (figure 5). can illuminate ancient life. Tracking this remarkable case of continuity prompts several questions: How could this or any manner of adornment endure for over three thousand years? Was it consciously or unconsciously retained? Beyond formal properties. however.1 Within the twentieth century CE.

. Survey in Syria: Background. Sigismund Sussia Reich (1937) initially documented Anti-Lebanon attire in 1936 during fieldwork in the villages of Malula. This formal association between ancient burial and modern bridal attire prompted the present study: in July 2002 and in January 2006 I conducted field surveys of traditional adornment practices in Syria. Cambridge. “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur” was shown at the Fogg Art Museum.450 a. with new questions derived from an 2 A traveling exhibition of material from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Sixty-six years later. Since his publication. who. 1994. 2000). 1999. gansell It is with great pleasure that I offer this paper in honor of Irene J. Bakha and Djubbadin. Results and Future Considerations The 2002 field survey was implemented to learn more about the floral headdresses of the Anti-Lebanon mountain region to which Winter had called attention.2 She pointed out similarities between floral headdresses known to have been worn by Syrian brides in the Anti-Lebanon mountain region during the 1930s and visually analogous adornment found on women buried over four thousand years ago in the Mesopotamian cemetery at Ur (figures 6-8).r. Winter also emphasized the potential of ethnoarchaeology through her curatorial role in the exhibition “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur” and the accompanying Harvard University seminar she taught in 2002. although my research developed to include a second region (the Syrian Hauran) and its local adornment customs.. By evaluating consistencies between modern and ancient material. Winter. demonstrated the benefits of ethnoarchaeology by proposing “cross-cultural analogies” of ritual action for ancient Mesopotamian artifacts through field observation of Hindu rites involving parallel objects and images (1992. Exploring the limits and prospects of ethnoarchaeology. The survey results and their implications for the interpretation of ancient Near Eastern culture are presented below. May 18-September 1. 2002. no further studies had been conducted. we may enhance our understanding of traditions at either end of the historic spectrum. this paper aims to pursue the meaning and motivations underlying adornment during rites of passage. Methods. Mass. herself.

and strings of medals. He covers an array of topics including agriculture.from mesopotamia to modern syria 451 interest in ancient Near Eastern culture. By 1936 most settlements were solely Arabicspeaking. Their lower eyelids are heavily outlined with kohl. Reich’s study was based on interviews. and Reich (1937. the home. Marwan and Hanan Materwani (2006). Gold medallions frame their faces. literary and linguistic analysis. ornaments are suspended over their upper foreheads. Andrew Cohen. Joseph Malki (2002). I returned to the villages where Reich had worked. festivals. 7). His presentation of wedding adornment. practices. Anne McClanan. and ethnographic references. perhaps even ancient. marriage and death.3 Background: Reich’s Ethnography Centuries before Reich’s campaign. . and Ahmad Shadeh (2006). In the portraits. and motifs are marked on their foreheads. and field assistants: Tony and Georgette Khouri (2002). Many thanks to my hosts. 103). I would also like to thank the following individuals who have offered invaluable assistance in developing and refining this project and the resulting paper: Kim Benzel. in particular the portraits and meticulous descriptions of two elaborately decorated brides (one from the village of Bakha and one from Djubbadin). but their children were learning Arabic as their first language. translators. and life stages such as birth. 110-14) (figures 6. both brides wear paper or natural flowers atop their heads (Reich 1937. 10) observed that not only were the remaining Aramaic-speakers bilingual in Arabic. animal teeth and shells adorn their throats and chests. Widad Kawar. in close conjunction with the Aramaic language. Alicia Walker and Irit Ziffer. Travel research was supported by the G. were rapidly becoming obsolete. Susan Helft. travelers noted the archaic Syriacor Aramaic-speaking populations of the Anti-Lebanon (Marchetty 1660. Bacel Moqaw (2006). Cynthia Finlayson. serve as the foundation for this investigation (Reich 1937. Niebuhr 1774). Sinopoli Memorial Grant for Research in the Near East (2002) and the Aga Khan Foundation (2006). He acknowledged that these communities (“the last Aramaeans”) were in a period of transformation influenced by modern Arab and Western cultures. observations of daily life and ceremonial events. Bob Hunt. Traditional. circles of applied medium decorate their cheeks and chins. 3 The Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research determined this project to be exempt from review.

103. while they are stacked horizontally across the top of the head of the Bakha bride. and henna (not pictured). Reich further observed a strong aesthetic motivation in bridal adornment. and/or sexual display (1937. perhaps reflecting specific family or village traditions. may ward off the evil eye. gansell Details and the precise configurations of makeup and jewelry vary between brides. Broadly attested in Islamic culture. Reich attributed the women’s elaborate adornment to protective measures. If the practice was no longer attested. A series of marks enhance the lower jaw-line of the Djubbadin bride. and. The Djubbadin woman’s flowers are positioned in an upright formation behind her head. which dyes the brides’ hands. the woman from Bakha wears two appliqués above her mouth.” were worn in Palestine and displayed during rites of passage to avert malevolence (Granqvist 1931-1935. 87. The hand depicted on the nose of the Bakha bride is protective. In addition.r. is certainly a credible interpretation of the adornment considering the cultural emphasis on women’s fecundity. Still today plumes of feathers are attached to the fronts of vehicles to ensure safe travel on the highways of Syria. 89. forehead jewelry and cosmetically applied symbols (which were tattooed in some contemporaneous communities) function apotropaically (Charles 1939. especially bouquets in the “plume” formation (seen on the Djubbadin bride. 10811. he reported that the “most beautiful brides” were judged as those who were most abundantly adorned and most carefully made up (Reich 1937. feathers. Around the time of Reich’s study. on the outside of her right nostril. 113. Flowers. 114). Finally. 114). a small hand is depicted (Reich 1937. Describing a sense of competition among brides. figure 7). The most well documented of these interpretations is supernatural protection. Field Objectives and Methods: 2002 and 2006 Surveys Continuing Reich’s study. the 2002 survey aimed to verify whether the adornment tradition he documented survived to any extent. guards and purifies the women. sometimes actual peacock feathers that themselves have “eyes. 113). the Bakha bride has a vertical line below her lips. sexual display. 112). any memories of it would be assessed and documented to identify the historic timeframe and circumstances . aesthetics. although less explicitly discussed. Their forehead motifs differ in design. 67). Reich 1937.452 a.

my translators and I made contact with approximately two hundred people over six weeks of fieldwork conducted in two seasons (2002 and 2006). both of these potentially key informants passed away between 2002 and our return in 2006. we asked to be directed to a person or community who might be aware of it. In the communities we visited. Ultimately. proceeded with our interviews upon his invitation. In smaller villages we first asked the muhktar (administrative leader) for permission to visit the community. On two occasions we were restricted from contact with firsthand witnesses due to their frail health. however. During group and individual interviews. Survey Results: The Anti-Lebanon In the Anti-Lebanon we focused our efforts on the villages of Bakha (2002) and Djubbadin (2006) where Reich had worked. but privileging senior members of the community who may have witnessed or participated in the adornment practices under investigation. at work. history of the local tradition. we approached individuals who appeared to be at leisure in public spaces. following informants’ narratives of relevant points we had not predicted. As guests carrying out only a preliminary survey. and identification and interpretation of adornment elements and ensembles. . copies of Reich’s bridal portraits were shown and informants were asked if they were familiar with this style of adornment. we tried to be unobtrusive. I hoped to ascertain how the living cultural record might be relevant to future. Instead. preferring to avoid “cold-calling” people in their homes. Working together.5 It was soon apparent that the custom of wedding adornment reported in 1936 is 4 Standard interviews covered background on the informant. but discussions tended to be more loosely structured. Our sampling strategy aimed to interview equal numbers of adult men and women.from mesopotamia to modern syria 453 of its abandonment. or while performing labor. 5 We conducted survey in Malula and Saidnaya as well.4 When interviewees were not familiar with the adornment tradition. The elderly were rarely seen. in-depth ethnoarchaeological analyses of ancient Near Eastern adornment. but these more urban populations did not yield much data. We attempted to guide interviews according to a standard list of questions. and accepted any introductions he offered. men were much more visible and more socially forthcoming than women.

Demonstrating the cultural importance of this imagery. Many interviewees claimed to be utterly unaware of it—even declaring that it could not possibly have taken place in their village. because she was only nine years old at the time of her union. While Reich’s expedition made a lasting impression on his hosts—his interactions in Bakha. the surveys revealed three themes. as a bride. The tradition was already waning at the time of Reich’s visit and had fallen entirely out of practice about ten years later. gansell no longer practiced in this region. which she saved on account of its embroidery). They are symbolic of “joy. joy and strength were imparted and expressed through bridal adornment. several women surprised us by independently pointing out the barely visible flower depicted on the Bakha bride’s dress (figure 6). for example. numerous informants acknowledged that a bride’s adornment. were recounted in 2002 by a later generation—memory of the adornment tradition was limited. she did not participate in a formal ceremony or wear any special adornment. Corroborating Reich. That is. No surviving jewelry was made known to us. Furthermore.” the most important sentiment of a wedding. Nevertheless. the historic validity of details offered by several “knowledgeable” informants is compromised by obvious contradictions and anachronisms. Speaking in Aramaic. Finally.r. but this remains unconfirmed. They explained that floral patterns traditionally are embroidered on all bridal dresses and that each design is unique (figure 9 shows a woman proudly displaying a fragment of her deceased mother’s bridal dress. she explained that many brides were not actually bedecked in the manner documented by Reich and that the jewelry of those who were so adorned represented a collection pooled and shared by village women.454 a. “strengthened” her. but. 6 . we found that a bride’s beauty correlated to the degree of her adornment more than any other characteristic. especially the strings of teeth. Preliminarily it is evident that beauty.6 We did have the opportunity to interview one woman who was married during the 1930s. The next most prevalent statement was that flowers are an integral part of male and female bridal attire and overall wedding decoration. a woman’s beauty seems to have been based less on physiognomic appearance than on the extravagance of her embellishment. This interOne informant explained that items were donated to a museum in Damascus about thirty years ago.

both her beauty and the groom’s social standing could have motivated elaborate adornment. This opportunity remains to be explored.7 In the city of Suweida. beauty and supernatural protection from envy appear to be interdependent. adornment. particularly in the Jezirah and Tadmor (Palmyra) regions. the more she might be envied. seems superfluous unless it concurrently displays wealth. but an abundance of adornment certainly reflected some form of status. the necklaces made her more beautiful. interviewees suggested we visit the region’s more remote villages and bedouin camps.from mesopotamia to modern syria 455 pretation may be linked to apotropaic protection. In fact these characteristics themselves may have required protection from envy. but we did pursue research at the Hauran villages of Mshanef (2002) and Bosan (2006). many informants from the Anti-Lebanon referred us to the Hauran region of southwest Syria near the city of Suweida. 7 . when asked how this adornment “strengthened” her. Adornment created a beautiful bride and simultaneously protected her against the inherent danger of being envied on account of her beauty. For the wedding. it did not equate to private wealth per se. but no one explicitly confirmed this. but the more she would be protected. Survey Results: The Hauran In response to our focus on bridal adornment. The more elaborately attired she was. Although it was the beauty of a bride’s complete adorned image. cosmetics and jewelry also lured and deflected envious gazes (Mershen 1987.” Because jewelry was not necessarily personal property. Here they knew that Druze women wear relatively elaborate headdresses still today. where we began the Hauran survey. social status or identity. we were told that by adding more decoration. In fact. through this (constructed) beauty she was “strengthened. 107). more attractive women may have had the privilege of more elaborate adornment. Other individuals encouraged our consideration of bedouin jewelry. Extravagant embellishment. In the context of weddings. therefore. We were told that a young woman known for her innate beauty might attract a groom of higher status than she. that was aesthetically appreciated. Although clothing certainly contributed to attractive and socially recognizable bridal images. not simply her natural attractiveness.

” Interviews in Mshanef and Bosan indicated that the tarbouche is accepted simply as “what women wear. and the medallions are encased in black lace (figure 12).8 Its strong affiliation with cultural identity and the relative isolation of their settlements presumably sustain its endurance. the logistics of this process remain to be clarified. excited to show me her medallions up close. The more ostentatious aspects of the tarbouche are not immediately visible in public. Usually the medallions are sewn onto a fez. Perhaps aesthetic consistency based on more rigid. however. . and who among them possessed more elaborate versions. Demonstrating a casual attitude toward intervention. 81). A tarbouche consists of layered rows of gold medallions that frame the hairline and a central forehead element.9 How then could these gold headdresses have belonged to everyone’s 8 Upon arriving in a village. ripped the lace off of them. In contrast to Anti-Lebanon conventions. observation of the specific and consistent style of female dress immediately communicates that it is a Druze settlement (figure 13). 9 A documented shift from silver to gold during the 1960s suggests that headdresses are adapted when they are passed down from one generation to the next (Kalter 1992. Typically a white scarf is worn over the headdress.” Informants across a range of ages accounted for the origin of this type of headdress to be from their “grandmother’s generation. villagers generally were aware of which members of the community owned a tarbouche. visible emblem of their culture (figure 13). Two women were particularly well-known on account of their headdresses. on top of which is a silver filigree disk equal to the circumference of the head. We were told that in the past silver medallions were used. one woman. perhaps. Nonetheless. flowers are never worn with a tarbouche. The very suggestion of this combination received adamant rejection from informants. The Druze.” which. No symbolic significance was commented upon. is a convention for acknowledging matrilineal cultural heritage. gansell Druze women in the Hauran wear a traditional type of headdress called a tarbouche (figure 10). although ornamental floral and vegetal designs are depicted on the head disk.r. regard the tarbouche as an important. one of these women’s home was even called the “house of the tarbouche. even when we specifically tried to elicit interpretations. but now gold is preferred.456 a. explaining that the material was nothing special and could be easily repaired (figure 11). often inscribed “Allah” (figure 11). While headdresses are said to be passed down through families. durable forms or the ephemeral nature of actual flowers negates their use.

10 Our limited contact with informant communities may.11 He also noted (1937. it would be profitable to ask whether ethnographic photographs. However.12 Furthermore. relatives of the now deceased Bakha bride identified themselves and asked for a copy of her portrait. may provide a starting point. the tradition itself has a long history. . x-xi) that about two thousand photographs were taken over the course of his fieldwork. Presently only about half of the brides in Mshanef and Mosan still wear a tarbouche. Ideally this appeal would be met by a longer-term field commitment. fewer and fewer are being retained. In the Anti-Lebanon very few informants with firsthand knowledge of floral headdresses survive. only parts of which are generations old. x) published the names of many of his informants. and among any informant group known to have been the subject of prior study or not. the headdresses are best understood as composite objects. drawings. particularly in the Anti-Lebanon. which reproduced the plates for his publication. in part. or other relevant documentation are preserved. has come to symbolize family status and wealth. 12 Les Ateliers de Phototypie Duval à Paris.from mesopotamia to modern syria 457 grandmother? More likely. Suggestions for Future Study The data provided through this survey encourages prompt in-depth study. which they themselves had never seen. and the living tradition in the Hauran is breaking down. and although antique elements may be used.10 A variety of specific research opportunities remains to be explored. this collection certainly would be useful if located. Having a new home. For instance. in the villages studied by Reich. more so than possessing a tarbouche. 11 Due to the short duration of our visits. Many families sell their headdress for the value of its metal to fund the construction of a modern house. which often are borrowed from a relative for the wedding. Although these headdresses are by no means rare and some women continue to wear a tarbouche for daily public activity. account for their reticence regarding any symbolic and apotropaic values of adornment. we did not ask for families by name. reaching an understanding of culture far beyond what could be assessed through the preliminary survey interviews represented here. their families might have more extensive memories of the events he documented. Reich (1937.

and possibly witness the preparation of brides. Jordan. Indeed it would be productive to consider this breadth of evidence. potential heirlooms and documentary records could provide unexpected evidence. Wherever research is based. ideally by both male and female investigators. generally held from May to October.” Investigators should endeavor to attend weddings. Paine 1859). Informants strongly encouraged our consideration of bedouin traditions. Where traditional adornment is no longer practiced. in an effort to acknowledge and sustain ethnic identity. Even if weddings are entirely “modern. and recent scholarship document related adornment practices and Westernization among bedouin and settled populations of present-day Israel. evidence taken for granted within the community may remain. culturally recognizable forms. Kalter 1992. Depending on the scope of one’s project. Finally. However. and individual elements should be examined on their own as well. 2000) a family in Mshanef actually borrowed horses and conducted a highly traditional ceremony. Palestine. In addition.458 a. it may be informative to consult artisans who made the jewelry (or their surviving families) in order to investigate the cognitive process behind the crafting of standard. Often. keeping in mind that today’s political borders do not reflect hard divisions of culture. émigré groups preserve traditions. the Gulf region and Central Asia may offer relevant comparative material. Near Eastern populations residing in the West might be considered. In all cases. ethnographies. multiple wedding seasons may need to be considered. Micklewright 1989.” the documentation of this development would provide a valuable benchmark. Requiring substantial time in the field but key to an ethnoarchaeological study of adornment is the typological analysis of formal characteristics. 13 We did not observe any weddings.r. and it is hoped that future researchers may do so. Mershen 1987. To observe an accurate spectrum of wedding traditions. then. even after they have fallen out of use in the homeland (Demaray and Keim-Shenk 2003). in 2002 we were told that two years earlier (i. Adornment ensembles should be observed and documented while worn in context. gansell The surveys conducted in 2002 and 2006 focused on the AntiLebanon and Hauran regions of Syria. North Africa.13 Although informants may insist that no traditional practices survive.e. Iraq and Turkey (Granqvist 1931-1935. . antique travel accounts. a crucial component of ethnoarchaeological study is the actual observation of objects “in action.

can only be read with the aid of inside cultural knowledge. one might investigate if adorned brides. which ethnographic and textual records may provide. and if communities with different adornment traditions employ distinct descriptive vocabularies. consistently represented variables and relationships may nonetheless be described as conceptually significant. however. Ultimately verbal typologies may reveal consistencies and specificities. despite physiological differences. Patterned relationships between or among typological and cultural variables compose what may be considered a visual language of adornment. However. Even when reliable evidence to decode symbolism is lacking. Ancient Evidence The tasseled diadem introduced at the beginning of this paper (figures 1-5) demonstrates undisputable continuity in jewelry form and encour- . 21). but do not translate. Symbolism. These models may represent vestigial receptacles of meaning. if an Arabic speaker employs Aramaic words to describe brides. now potentially void. for example. distinctions of language and dialect should be considered. which may be applied in the translation of visual language. Typologies reveal. Field documentation should also aim to establish a verbal typology of costume terminology and descriptions. are described consistently. for instance.from mesopotamia to modern syria 459 Typologically consistent configurations of adornment and jewelry design derive from fundamental conceptual models. the archaism and regional specificity of the custom may be substantiated. their correspondence to cultural information provides definitions. Once significant components are identified. different words and metaphors are selected to refer to a “beautiful” woman depending on what kind of “beauty” she exhibits (Sasson 1990. the formal components of this language. In the Anti-Lebanon. their lingering replication may simply fulfill visual expectations. Applied to the present study. In Arabic. Analysis might reveal meaning embedded in vocabulary beyond what is visually apparent or consciously recognized (see glossary in Weir 1990. formal differences that persistently correspond to a particular variable (such as provenance) carry more apparent cultural information. 78). Especially when looking for the historic and regional heritage of a tradition. both ancient and modern.

Portrayed as a standard jewelry component on meticulously coifed. Queens were buried here. presumably vulnerable. gansell ages the exploration of relationships between other types of adornment across the historic and geographic breadth of Near Eastern culture. These inlay elements may have served to deflect malevolence from specific. The tasseled diadem may exemplify traditional Levantine adornment and have served to identify foreign women within royal Assyrian contexts.460 a. were probably Levantine princesses married into the Assyrian court (Dalley 2004). Additionally. 94-96). points on the head and back over which they lay. a brief review of the tasseled diadem is provided. Before turning to the floral headdresses from Ur. very similar tasseled forehead ornaments are portrayed on funerary sculptures of women from the Roman-Parthian period site of Palmyra in the Syrian desert (figure 3). Suter 1992) (figure 2). The majority of these Syrian and Phoenician sculptures were excavated from Assyrian palaces in northern Iraq. Syria.r. 193-202).14 The Ugarit mold and similar forehead ornaments depicted on terracotta figurines of related provenance situate the origin of this design in the Levant (Keel 1981. ideally proportioned ivory figures. Dated more than a half millennium later than the ancient Assyrian material. Adornment on these statues 14 This object (M10135) is on display in the Aleppo Museum. an actual gold mesh diadem of this type was discovered in a tomb (figure 1). . themselves. the “eyes” of polished agate on the Nimrud diadem suggest an apotropaic function (Harper et al 1995. A few centuries later. it may also be regarded as aesthetic embellishment. The gold example from Nimrud certainly expressed wealth. therefore. 82. At the capital of Nimrud. Tasseled Diadems and Forehead Ornaments A jewelry mold from the Late Bronze Age site of Ugarit on the Syrian coast represents a typological forerunner to the tasseled diadem. This case offers a model for the detection of other potential continuities in the material record and contributes to our general understanding of adornment. first millennium BCE Levantine ivory carvings portray elite women wearing distinct examples of the tasseled forehead ornament (Oates and Oates 2001. At the same time it may have communicated adult or married female status or have denoted rank or office. who.

The circumstances of how this adornment tradition may have passed from the Levant and Assyria to Palmyra has yet to be rigorously pursued. 120-21). individual social identity and matrilineal clan (Finlayson 1998. Kawar and Hackstein 1987. formal continuity and profusion is indisputable. 374-375. documents over two thousand graves. Although more specific symbolism cannot be traced. If this language endured through the likely conduit of bedouin populations. formal continuity. Moreover. not the mere drifting of a motif. 144) (figure 4). 132-133). published just a few years before Reich’s ethnography. Keohane 1994. Variations of another headdress type portrayed at Palmyra are documented from the ancient period through the twentieth century CE and may be linked to the tarbouche of the Hauran (Finlayson 1998. One set generally associated with women includes a headdress comprised of gold pendant . at the least. in the 1920s. Here. Pollock 1991). The Ur Burials The ancient Mesopotamian site of Ur is situated in southern Iraq. Ethnographers describe this attire as expressing wealth and having beautifying and protective properties. the formal link between Assyrian and Palmyrene jewelry is substantial enough to suppose that the tasseled design could have remained continuously visible.from mesopotamia to modern syria 461 expressed wealth and represented indigenous Palmyrene culture. 87. The “royal tombs” contained unsurpassed quantities of jewelry and grave goods of precious materials. Nonetheless. Within the last half century. Keith 1934. Woolley’s report (1934). sixteen of which he called “royal tombs” on account of their architecture. women in greater Syria wore a type of tasseled diadem that is nearly identical to the first millennium BCE example from Nimrud (Kalter 1992. These contextual consistencies indicate a shared visual language. it is not trivial that this component is worn by women and specifically on the center of the forehead. Jewelry preserved on the bodies of the deceased has facilitated identification of adornment sets and reconstruction of personal assemblages as they were worn (Gansell forthcoming. while also reflecting gender and status. 226. Sir Leonard Woolley discovered a large cemetery dating to the mid third millennium BCE. field interviews and historical documentary sources may contribute significantly to verification of. wealth and evidence of human sacrifice.

a priestly echelon. atop the head. gansell leaf wreaths and.462 a. Based on this evidence. The identity of these deceased is ambiguous (Marchesi 2004. . Precious objects may have facilitated entry into the netherworld. Their affiliation may be based on social identity. Perhaps the tomb occupants themselves. to the floral bridal attire documented by Reich in the Anti-Lebanon (figures 6.15 In the exhibition “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur.” who may have been willingly or unwillingly sacrificed or have committed group suicide. In each “royal tomb” a primary body is accompanied by “attendants. and/or their ritual roles within the tomb. worn with chokers and multiple necklaces. the gender of individuals adorned in floral headdresses may confidently be proposed as female.” Winter compared this assemblage. The Ur “treasures” display wealth. however. rank or office within a political or priestly organization. Although we do not know who the deceased are. 7). a spray of gold. and/or a special kin group? Were the “attendants” elite themselves? And did the wealth disposed of in these tombs belong to any or all of the deceased. while the aesthetic impact of adornment may have had metaphysical power (Benzel 2006. lapis lazuli and shell flowers (figure 8). or was it institutional property? Archaeological evidence indicates that ritual action was conducted within the tombs. The floral headdress itself defines a visually identifiable subgroup of women. among other factors. too. gleaming gold and colored stone jewelry. Did they represent members of the royal court. Pittman 1998. Winter 1999). as the nearly 4500 year old cemetery itself is enigmatic. Pollock 1991). extravagantly bedecked with finely made. demonstrates aesthetic investment and appreciation.r. 15 Sex determined through the physical examination of select skeletons at the time of excavation corresponds to other gender-suggestive variables such as associated cylinder seals and portable objects. although whose assets and the audience to whom they were presented are unknown. differentiates group and individual identities. adornment. The masterful crafting of objects. suggesting that death and burial constituted a rite of passage (Scurlock 1995. A dearth of textual resources. An explicit understanding of the function and symbolism of adornment from Ur remains out of reach. benefited from the resources taken with them to the grave and the effects of their aesthetic appeal. Moorey 1977. 88). visual narratives and comparative archaeological evidence leaves even the general circumstances of burial unclear. silver.

from mesopotamia to modern syria


Formal continuity of the Ur headdress is more problematic to trace than that of the tasseled diadem. Unfortunately any “missing links” cannot necessarily be accounted for, as arrangements of live flowers would not be preserved in the archaeological record. No comparable floral headgear is represented again until the twentieth century CE, when it was documented by Reich in the Anti-Lebanon region of Syria.16 Nonetheless, it should not be overlooked that floral imagery in general played a consistent role in adornment throughout Near Eastern history. Specifically associated with the head, rosettes actually occur alongside the above discussed tasseled ornaments on first millennium BCE ivory figurines (figure 2) and some Palmyrene funerary sculptures.17

Living Evidence and the Ancient Record: Synthesis and Conclusions This study highlights the potential ethnoarchaeological importance of adornment and provides specific points of focus for interpretation. Only female adornment is considered, but findings may be applicable to male culture as well. In fact, some evidence probably reflects nongendered beliefs and practices. General consistencies observed here also occur in various world contexts. Although these diverse incidences are unlikely to be related, they should not be regarded as merely universal human phenomena, but outgrowths of similar values and circumstances. They surely offer cross-cultural ethnoarchaeological insight but lay outside the scope of the present investigation (Winter 2000). The overall objective of this study was to explore adornment during rites of passage by evaluating relationships between living and ancient Near Eastern traditions. Emphasis is given to the comparison of Syrian folk practice with material from the “royal tombs” at Ur, and a preliminary array of correlations is indicated through the comparison

16 A possible ancient link, however, may be observed in terracottas, probably dating a few centuries later than the Ur cemetery, from the Indus Valley site of Harappa. These works portray female figures wearing headdresses that incorporate a row of threedimensional flowers along the hairline (Kenoyer 2003, 391-2; Pittman 1998, 106). 17 For example, a third century sculpture from Palmyra (NCG 1102) now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen portrays a tasseled ornament adorning a cap with floral decoration.


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of published ethnographies and recent field survey with archaeological remains (figures 6-8). Pursuing broad themes, cross-regional evidence is combined and trends are identified. Specific details may thereby be considered within larger, more meaningful contexts offering formal and conceptual analogies. The evidence considered here comes predominantly from weddings and burials, although the parallels between these contexts are a somewhat artificial product of ethnographic and archaeological access. Nonetheless, it is significant that women are exceptionally attired during these events. Yet it should be kept in mind that, at least in the Anti-Lebanon during the 1930s, adornment was not an essential factor in the personal transition from unmarried to married; its significance related more to public display. Likewise, at the Ur cemetery, some graves contained single, unadorned bodies, suggesting that ornamentation was an important part of the spectacle of “royal” burials, but not crucial for all deceased. In any case, the benefits of adornment during rites of passage are evident across history. Some functions include personal provisioning and protection, communication of social status and wealth, and the modification or concealment of individual identity. Literally or symbolically, adornment may equip a person or provide supernatural protection. The possible use of grave goods at Ur to obtain entry to the netherworld and the symbolism of strength expressed through Anti-Lebanon bridal attire exemplify ways in which jewelry may assist one in transition or prepare one for what lies beyond. The protective properties of adornment are attested in Near Eastern folk practice (Mershen 1987; Reich 1937, 86-90). Jinns, evil spirits that can invade and harm people during events that render the individual vulnerable, such as childbirth, circumcision and weddings, are particularly guarded against. Similar malevolence was feared by a lineage of pre-Islamic cultures in this region. Ancient Near Eastern texts cite protective measures including the use of amulets, early examples of which are found on elite bodies at Ur (Reiner 1987; Woolley 1934, 375). The adornment of Syrian brides incorporates diverse charms, such as the hand portrayed on the nose of the Bakha woman, the crescent moon pendants on the Djubbadin bride’s necklace, and, in the Hauran, the central tarbouche medallion inscribed “Allah” (figures 6, 7, 12). Furthermore, the moveable metal parts of Syrian and

from mesopotamia to modern syria


ancient Mesopotamian headgear may deter evil spirits through their jingling and glare. Adornment also serves to communicate social and cultural information. It announces and reinforces new and established aspects of personal identity and community membership, especially in the presence of family and community. In Syrian weddings and the tombs of Ur, the adornment assemblages under consideration specifically denote the wearers as female. Like a white gown and veil in Western culture, in Syria, this folk adornment immediately and primarily identified a woman as a bride, and henceforth elements of it signify her married state. At Ur, although the specific identities of the deceased are unknown, distinct jewelry sets represent collective roles (Gansell forthcoming). In addition, formal variation in adornment differentiates local and regional identities. The ancient record does not provide direct comparisons for Ur, but related jewelry is known from other third millennium BCE sites in Mesopotamia, Syria and the Indus Valley, suggesting local variation of a widespread general tradition. In the Anti-Lebanon, minor details distinguish brides from Bakha and nearby Djubbadin. Cross-regionally, many more apparent differences characterize bridal attire of the Hauran and Anti-Lebanon. Underlying this contrast is geographic as well as cultural distance. In terms of identity, adornment, especially when crafted from precious materials, signifies status. Within a group, ranges of more and less elaborate assemblages indicate hierarchy, but a display of wealth does not necessarily reflect individuals’ literal economic circumstances. At Ur, primary tomb occupants consistently wore the most adornment, and their “attendants” were outfitted to varying degrees of extravagance that corresponded to other categories of ranked privilege. But because the living status of the “attendants,” who may have been a subjugated population, is unknown, their adornment cannot be assumed to have been personal property. Alternatively, it could represent the resources of the primary deceased or the wealth of the unidentified institution with which this cemetery was affiliated. Indeed the adornment of primary tomb occupants may even be derived from institutional or general family wealth. In the Anti-Lebanon during the 1930s, a bride’s jewelry was pooled by villagers and did not represent the assets of any single individual or family. Nonetheless, it certainly expressed the collective wealth of the


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population. This may have represented the community’s endorsement of the union and assured an environment of prosperity and security for the new couple. Today in the Hauran the bridal headdress does not reflect wealth so much as Druze identity and cultural pride. Wealthier families are regarded as those who have vehicles or new houses, not those who retain a tarbouche. But, fulfilling tradition, even when families do not themselves possess a tarbouche, one is almost always borrowed and appreciated on the occasion of a wedding. The adornment elements and assemblages considered here make a strong aesthetic impact with their bulk, bright colors and gleaming, shifting metal parts. Evidence from Syria and ancient Ur indicates that both adornment itself and an individual’s adorned image were aesthetically valued. In the context of events considered here, the decoration of multiple participants in conjunction with music and action would create an awesome multi-sensory aesthetic experience. This, perhaps, would compound the success of adornment in aiding in life transitions, protecting chief participants and reinforcing issues of status and identity. Finally, aesthetic display may temporarily modify or disguise personal identity (Pittman 1998, 87). It changes a specific woman to a “bride,” for example, and during liminal phases anonymity may offer protection. Ethnographic studies of some greater Near Eastern cultures document the concealment of brides’ faces for the sake of social and supernatural security (Granqvist 1931-1935, 67; Keohane 1994, 144). At Ur, while perhaps providing personal benefits, attire would have visually organized individuals into a spectacle of standard costumed roles. Here adornment may even have had metaphysically transformative properties; recent interpretation proposes that choreographed tomb occupants embodied divine roles aided by the aesthetic intensity of their adornment (Benzel 2006). Turning now to specific affinities between the floral wreath-based jewelry set from Ur and folk adornment of the Anti-Lebanon, we are both more limited and more grounded in making interpretations. Primarily, one observes a common incorporation of floral headpieces, strands of moveable metal pendants draped around the head, and multiple necklaces. Although symbolic meaning cannot be projected from one culture to another on the basis of formal resemblance, visual correspondence indicates similar aesthetic inclinations. Also, a conceptual preference for decorating the head, neck and chest is

from mesopotamia to modern syria


evident (Eilberg-Schwartz 1995). Considering that these parts of the body are the most visible, bear personally recognizable features and contain vital organs, both cultures may consider them particularly valuable and vulnerable. Further meaning may be mined through visual and verbal typological investigations, especially considering that the repetition of designs may nurture and reinforce aesthetic and conceptual values. Ethnoarchaeology may also reveal aspects of visual and material culture not surviving in the archaeological record. In this study, hindering comparison of adornment practices, non-durable features such as hairstyle, cosmetics and clothing are not preserved in the Ur cemetery. However, study of the living record reminds investigators to consider, rather than overlook, the role of these potential costume elements. Best demonstrating this point, the flowers worn by Syrian brides would not have been preserved archaeologically, while those excavated from Ur are known only because they are made of metal. Other important aspects of bodily adornment and the aesthetic enhancement of brides include henna, perfume and depilatory practices. While it cannot be assumed that these customs were incorporated into ancient personal presentation, they offer enlivening possibilities. In conclusion, I shall respond to the questions posed in the opening of this paper. Although decisive resolution cannot be offered, the ethnoarchaeological study presented here guides preliminary interpretations. It seems that formal traditions endure, indeed for millennia. These appear to be maintained through conscious efforts to follow the tradition of previous generations for the sake of demonstrating and reinforcing cultural identity, especially in insular, clan-based communities (Finlayson 1998, 116-117). While symbolic meaning may shift or be lost, general conceptual significance may be retained. This study was initiated in response to Winter’s interest in parallels between floral bridal adornment documented in twentieth century Syrian folk culture and headdresses worn by women entombed over four thousand years ago at the Mesopotamian site of Ur. While direct continuity is not detected, ethnoarchaeological analysis has begun to shed new light on a multiplicity of issues. It is hoped that this paper encourages future research and fieldwork on this rich and promising topic. We may thereby continue to pursue the endeavor in which Irene Winter has served as a model, recuperating a more vivid


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understanding of the actions and values that comprised the “life” of ancient Near Eastern culture.

Benzel, K. 2006. “Technologies” of Jewelry: Methods and Metaphysics in Mesopotamia. Paper read at the annual meeting of the College Art Association, February 22-25, Boston, Mass. Charles, H. 1939. Tribus moutonnières du Moyen-Euphrate. Beirut: Institut français de Damas. Dalley, S. 2004. Recent Evidence from Assyrian Sources for Judaean History from Uzziah to Manasseh. JSOT 28: 387-401. David, N., and C. Kramer. 2001. Ethnoarchaeology in Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Demaray, E., and M. Keim-Shenk. 2003. Always Remembering the Motherland: Tai Dam Wedding Textiles and Dress. In Wedding Dress Across Cultures, ed. H. B. Foster and D. C. Johnson, 191-205. New York: Berg. Eilberg-Schwartz, H. 1995. Introduction: The Spectacle of the Female Head. In Off with her Head! The Denial of Women’s Identity in Myth, Religion, and Culture, ed. H. EilbergSchwartz and W. Doniger, 1-14. Berkeley: University of California Press. Finlayson, C. S. 1998. Veil, Turban and Headpiece: Funerary Portraits and Female Status at Palmyra. Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa. Gansell, A. R. 2007. Identity and Adornment in the “Royal Tombs” of Ur. Cambridge Arhaeological Journal (17/1): 29-46. Granqvist, H. 1931-1935. Marriage Conditions in a Palestinian Village. 2 vols. Helsinki: Akademische buchhandlung. Harper, P. O., E. Klengel-Brandt, J. Aruz, and K. Benzel, eds. 1995. Assyrian Origins: Discoveries at Ashur on the Tigris, Antiquities in the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin. Exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kalter, J. 1992. Syrian Folk Jewelry. In The Arts and Crafts of Syria, ed. J. Kalter, M. Pavaloi, and M. Zerrnickel, 79-102. London: Thames and Hudson. Kawar, W., and K. Hackstein. Katalog der Sammlung Widad Kawar. In Pracht und Geheimnis: Kleidung und Schmuck aus Palästina und Jordanien, ed. G. Völger, K. V. Welck, and K. Hackstein, 174-424. Cologne: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum. Keel, O. 1981. Zeichen der Verbundenheit zur Vorgeschichte und Bedeutung der Forderungen von Deuteronomium 6, 8f. und Par. In Mélanges Dominique Barthélemy, études biblique offertes à l’occasion de son 60e anniversaire, ed. P. Casetti, O. Keel, and A. Schenker. Fribourg: Éditions universitaires. Keith, A. 1934. Report on Human Remains. Chap. 23 in C. L. Woolley, Ur Excavations II: The Royal Cemetery, 400-409. London: The British Museum.

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Kenoyer, J. M. 2003. Female Figures with Headdresses and Jewelry. In Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, ed. J. Aruz with R. Wallenfels, 391-392. Exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Keohane, A. 1994. Bedouin: Nomads of the Desert. London: Kyle Cathie Limited. Marchesi, G. 2004. Who was Buried in the Royal Tombs of Ur? The Epigraphic and Textual Data. Orientalia 73: 153-197. Marchetty, F. 1660. La Vie de monsieur de Chasteuil, solitaire du Mont Liban. Paris. Mershen, B. 1987. Amulette als Komponenten des Volksschmucks im Jordanland. In Pracht und Geheimnis: Kleidung und Schmuck aus Palästina und Jordanien, ed. G. Völger, K. V. Welck, and K. Hackstein, 106-109. Cologne: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum. Micklewright, N. 1989. Late-Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Wedding Costumes as Indicators of Social Change. Muqarnas 6: 161-174. Moorey, P. R. S. 1977. What do We Know about the People Buried in the Royal Cemetery? Expedition 20: 24-40. Niebuhr, C. 1774. Description de l’Arabie. Amsterdam: S. J. Baalde. Oates, J., and D. Oates. 2001. Nimrud: An Assyrian Imperial City Revealed. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq. Paine, C. 1859. Tent and Harem: Notes of an Oriental Trip. New York: D. Appleton and Co. Pittman, H. 1998. Jewelry. In Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, ed. R. L. Zettler and L. Horne, 87-122. Exhibition catalogue. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Pollock, S. 1991. Of Priestesses, Princes, and Poor Relations: The Dead in the Royal Cemetery of Ur. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1: 71-89. Reade, J. 1967. Two Slabs from Sennacherib’s Palace. Iraq 29: 42-48. Reich, S. 1937. Études sur les villages Araméens de l’Anti-Liban. Beirut. Reiner, E. 1987. Magic Figurines, Amulets, and Talismans. In Monsters and Demons in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: Papers Presented to Edith Porada, ed. A. E. Farkas, P. O. Harper, and E. B. Harrison, 27-36. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern. Sasson, J. M. 1990. Artisans. . .Artists: Documentary Perspectives from Mari. In Investigating Artistic Environments in the Ancient Near East, ed. A. C. Gunter, 21-28. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution. Scurlock, J. A. 1995. Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Mesopotamian Thought. In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, ed. J. M. Sasson, vol. 3, 1883-1894. New York: Scribner. Suter, C. 1992. Die Frau am Fenster in der orientalischen Elfenbein-Schnitzkunst des frühen 1. Jahrtausends v. Chr. Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in BadenWürttemberg 29: 7-28.


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Weir, S. 1990. The Bedouin. New ed., first published 1976. London: British Museum Publications. Winter, I. J. 1992. “Idols of the King”: Royal Images as Recipients of Ritual Action in Ancient Mesopotamia. Journal of Ritual Studies 6: 13-42. ———. 1994. Radiance as an Aesthetic Value in the Art of Mesopotamia (and Some Indian Parallels). In Art: The Integral Vision, ed. B. N. Saraswati, S. C. Malik, and M. Khanna, 123-132. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld. ———. 1999. Reading Ritual in the Archaeological Record: Deposition Pattern and Function of Two Artifact-Types from the Royal Cemetery of Ur. In Fluchtpunkt Uruk, archäologische Einheit aus methodischer Vielfalt, Schriften für Hans Nissen, ed. H. Kühne, R. Bernbeck, and K. Bartl, 229-256. Rahden/Westf.: Leidorf. ———. 2000. Opening the Eyes and Opening the Mouth: The Utility of Comparing Images in Worship in India and the Ancient Near East. In Ethnography and Personhood, ed. M. W. Meister, 129-162. Jaipur: Rawat Publications. Woolley, C. L. 1934. Ur Excavations II: The Royal Cemetery. London: The British Museum.

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Figure 1. Gold diadem from Tomb II at Nimrud (Iraq), first millennium BCE, Baghdad Museum (IM 105696)


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Figure 2. Ivory head of a woman with diadem from Burnt Palace at Nimrud (Iraq), first millennium BCE, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1954 (54.117.8) (photo: all rights reserved, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

Palmyra (Syria). Palmyra National Museum. second century CE. Stone funerary sculpture of a woman with forehead ornament.from mesopotamia to modern syria 473 Figure 3. Syrian Arab Republic .

Tasseled folk diadem.r. Widad Kawar collection (TRXXIV 7 J) . gansell Figure 4. Irbid region of northern Jordan. twentieth century CE.474 a.

Postcard of woman modeling Kabyle adornment. Paris) . early 20th century CE (Lévy et Neurdein réunis.from mesopotamia to modern syria 475 Figure 5. Algeria.

r. fig. gansell Figure 6.476 a. Syria. 26) . Portrait of a bride from Bakha. Anti-Lebanon region. 1936 (Reich 1937.

27) . Anti-Lebanon region.from mesopotamia to modern syria 477 Figure 7. fig. Syria. Portrait of a bride from Djubbadin. 1936 (Reich 1937.

r. third millennium BCE. Tomb 800 at Ur (Iraq). University of Pennsylvania Museum (Neg#152100) .478 a. Adornment of Queen Puabi. gansell Figure 8.

Syria. Anti-Lebanon region. Woman showing fragment of antique wedding dress. 2002 (author photo) .from mesopotamia to modern syria 479 Figure 9.

gansell Figure 10.r. Hauran region. Syria. 2002 (author photo) . Druze woman modeling tarbouche.480 a.

Hauran region.from mesopotamia to modern syria 481 Figure 11. Detail of tarbouche showing central pendant. Syria. 2006 (author photo) .

Druze woman wearing tarbouche in public.r. Syria. 2002 (author photo) .482 a. gansell Figure 12. Hauran region.

Druze women in traditional costume during daily public activity. Syria. Hauran region. 2002 (author photo) .from mesopotamia to modern syria 483 Figure 13.

484 a.r. gansell .

Joachim Marzahn. Ur III (2112-2004). William Hallo. Jemdet Nasr (3100-2900). Stephanie Reed.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 485 THE NINETY-DEGREE ROTATION OF THE CUNEIFORM SCRIPT1 Benjamin Studevent-Hickman It is an accepted fact among scholars of the ancient Near East that the cuneiform script was rotated ninety degrees counterclockwise at some point in its history. Gianni Marchesi. and this change. Fara (ca. rotated the individual graphemes ninety degrees counterclockwise from their original orientation as pictographs (figure 2). The Two Basic Views There are essentially two views on the historical context of and reasons for the rotation of the cuneiform script. Walther Sallaberger. This is not surprising. Claudia Suter. Jerry Cooper. the following dates (all B.E.) are offered for the periods mentioned: Uruk (3200-3000). Particular thanks are due to Jo Ann Hackett. who has been so fundamental in forming—indeed. Middle Assyrian (1350-1000). in transforming—the way I see the objects we all hold so dear. Kassite (1595-1155). it is quite astounding. in turn. The evidence for the rotation is straightforward enough: on inscribed objects from ancient Mesopotamia the orientation of the inscriptions changed from vertical to horizontal vis-à-vis the standing position of the objects and/or any iconography they contained (figure 1). Sargonic/Old Akkadian (2334-2154). on the one hand. including Robert Biggs. Where. Karen Radner. The first places it in This article has benefited greatly from conversations with several scholars. who read an earlier draft of the manuscript and provided many valuable suggestions and corrections. and why this happened remain a subject of some debate. 1 . Emmanuelle Salgues. and even basic introductions to cuneiform disagree. 2500). for there has been no systematic treatment of the issue for over twenty years. On the other hand. NeoAssyrian (1000-610). John Huehnergard. Old Babylonian (2004-1595). For convenience. Pre-Sargonic/Early Dynastic (2900-2350). for the discussion bears on the fundamental question: how do we read cuneiform? It is a real privilege to dedicate this essay to Irene. May this be pleasing in her sight.C. when. and Christopher Woods. and especially Piotr Steinkeller.

the evidence is unequivocal: All the objects whose correct position can be easily established. 19. for it suggests that the drawing is perpendicular to the direction of the script. This differs from what is normally found in ancient Near Eastern studies. there is generally no way to determine the orientation of the script. who argued that the script retained its vertical orientation on both epigraphic and paleographic inscriptions until this time. This may have led to some misunderstanding in the literature (see.3 consisted of three primary data: Early Dynastic tablets from Ebla (Tell Mardikh). and Whiting Jr. where the change is relatively clear. e. the standing position of the graphemes as pictographs does not help either. It should be noted that cylinder seals and stamps used for brick inscriptions bridge the two domains since the inscriptions are carved into epigraphic media (generally in reverse).edu/dl/photo/P010653.5 Picchioni’s basic position has often been followed Here I adopt the basic distinction between epigraphy and paleography found in earlier Classical studies: epigraphy refers to inscriptions on stone (and. Note that at least two additional data from the paleographic record support his argument further. where epigraphy refers to inscriptions in general and paleography refers to grapheme shape and formation. by extension.2 According to him.. 42 no. 17) also cites a change in the appearance and placement of the colophon. I consider such objects to be among the epigraphic evidence since the act of writing takes place there. in which the terms above and below reflect the edges of a tablet bearing the beginning and end of a line of text. and Early Dynastic tablets from Shuruppak (Tell Fara) that contain incised drawings alongside the script.. 62. but his argument is not clear to me. some Old Babylonian mathematical texts.ucla. on metal or ivory). showing it to be vertical (Deimel [1923] 1969.4 Heinrich and Andrae 1931.C. and which have inscriptions on them that date back to a time prior to the middle of the 2nd millennium B. studevent-hickman Babylonia in the middle of the second millennium B. 63 no. in the absence of any iconography. in the Kassite period specifically. 125. 1991. see http://cdli. 3 Paleographic data—above all tablets—are more difficult to use since. Gelb. 5 Picchioni (1984-1985.C. respectively (see. paleography refers to those on clay. There are no exceptions. which is clearly not the case (for a photo of the tablet. The first are the so2 . 49 with n. 28). Neugebauer and Sachs 1945. which were discovered with their writing oriented vertically (Picchioni 1980.. Steinkeller. by contrast. 8). Archi 1988). display a vertical type of writing. 4 Deimel’s presentation is misleading. which are then impressed into moist clay. His paleographic evidence. (Picchioni 1984-1985. 135d). Without knowing whether the rotation had taken place. The best-known proponent of this view is Sergio Picchioni. his emphasis) Picchioni’s evidence stemmed above all from epigraphic sources. pl. for example.jpg).g. 4: 5-6 with n.E.486 b.

Jr. Steinkeller. 66). so the script must have been written horizontally from practically the beginning. the scribes wrote horizontally (Falkenstein 1936. 8. Gelb. 6 Falkenstein’s views were largely supported and supplemented by Margaret Green and Hans Nissen. for example. To overcome these problems. 10. 18 n. thus introducing the horizontal component. and inscribed with a description of its contents. These clay lumps. Damerow. As for the reason for the change. see also Green 1981). the internal development of the graphemes supports this argument. Goetze. 426-431). The tablet is pierced perpendicular to the direction of the script. 8. pl. The second view locates the change in Babylonia as well. generally shaped liked tablets themselves. 48). 9). The second datum is a tablet from the Old Babylonian period bearing two incantations (van Dijk. noted that wedges b and c (figure 3) were replaced by wedges f and g already in the Uruk corpus. and Hussey 1985. In the Ur III and Old Babylonian periods. . they maintain. but much earlier. As the tablets grew larger and more oblong. 1.6 Subsequent called tags used in antiquity to label tablet containers (Sum. 306. presumably to wear it as a necklace (Reiner 1960). where the mechanics of handwriting play a much greater role. note also figure 2 in this article). Englund 1998. Postgate 1995. for example. albeit in less forceful and absolute terms (see. Jr. With the object worn this way. pisan-dub-ba). moreover. Steinkeller. since the earliest text-fields progressed from right to left. and Englund 1993. and Whiting. the script would have appeared vertical to an observer. Powell 1981. the scribe rotated the tablet to his or her left. and Whiting. once implemented. 116-124. Assuming a right-handed scribe.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 487 in the literature. were discussed by Gelb. whose observations. I thank Gianni Marchesi for this reference. Proponents of this view have placed considerably more weight on the paleographic evidence. For proponents of the earlier date. Nissen. Fitzgerald 2003). 65 no. they became harder to manipulate. Holding them by their long sides (that is. though not published. and here there is some ambiguity concerning the date. (1991. they have argued that vertical writing required a cumbersome grip on the stylus and made it difficult to write wedges in certain directions. 1991. the tags clearly hung in such a way that the script was vertical (Goetze 1950. the scribe had to deal with the added problem of smearing. Messerschidt 1906. with the length of the tablet running more or less perpendicular to the forearm). were wrapped around the two ends of a string used to seal the container. as many left-handed writers of English do today. and esp. affected all media (Picchioni 1984. 63. he simply sees it as a Kassite innovation that. Adam Falkenstein (1936.

With a wedge standing upright... da ihm nur hier die Bildungselemente zur Verfügung waren. 12-13)7 Citing an important study by Messerschmidt (1906). In den Texten der Dynastie Ur wird b durch c ersetzt.etwas mehr nach e zu geschrieben [sic]. d bilden einzig die Bestandteile aller Keilschriftzeichen. 11). they offered 7 See also Falkenstein 1936. studevent-hickman changes followed this basic trend. 551-552. 196 fig.. war er von Anfang an gezwungen. b ist nur eine Ziffer vor gan [a cuneiform sign] und bedeutet 1/4. b. 1) is clear: “Die Keilchen g und f sind in der Periode von Ur meist senkrecht eingedrückt. g. but both of these authors added an important qualification: while the scribes certainly wrote the earliest signs horizontally. Die Keilchen e und d werden immer mit der stark nach rechts geneigten.b und c leicht zu schreiben. the stylus was a reed. f.” . dass die alten Schreiber ihr Schreibrohr genau so hielten wie wir unsere Feder. those from the strands appear on the left face. and 306 fig. with respect to figure 3): Der Keil a findet sich in der ältesten Schrift nur in wenigen Zeichen. and the smooth outer surface forms the right face (see the images in Powell 1981. 6. das Bild auf die linke Seite zu legen.488 b. they did not read them this way until shortly after the Fara period (Deimel [1922] 1970. d handlich zu Gebote standen. Im letzteren Falle wurde d.. Anton Deimel has provided the most detailed outline (again. 427-430. 5. 4. he also claimed that the signs were written horizontally from the beginning. Mit der Faust wären. b. Unfortunately. e. spricht auch sehr gegen das “Faustschreiben. Falkenstein 1936.” Da somit dem Schreiber praktisch nur g. Auch dies spricht sehr dafür. 7). Messerschmidt also examined the angle at which the stylus contacted the clay in various periods. impressions from the tips of the fibers appear on the top face. (Deimel [1922] 1970. with Messerschidt 1906. Von der Dynastie Ur an sind daher die Keilrichtungen a.8 Like Falkenstein. e.. the significance of his analysis for Deimel ([1922] 1970. 8 Messerschmidt discovered what is common knowledge today: in the early history of Babylonian cuneiform. 13 n. Edzard notes the existence of a few wedges at angles not covered by Deimel or Falkenstein. zuweilen zeigen sie etwas nach der linken. f.. es ist das Gesetz der Trägheit: a. Deimel went on to argue that the stylus was held like a pen or pencil. Der Grund hierfür ist leicht ersichtlich. 192 fig. kieseligen Seite des Kalamus eingeschrieben. dass diese Keilrichtungen trotzdem so selten vorkommen. 9 and Edzard 1980. c kann man nur sehr schwer mit der rechten Hand eindrücken. 305 fig. but these are of no real consequence. faserigen Seite. zuweilen auch durch d. This is clearly indicated by the fact that the three possible surfaces of a cut reed formed the three faces of all cuneiform wedges. 13. dies Zeichen ist bis Urukagina einschliesslich im Gebrauch. nach der Zeit Urukaginas verschwindet er vollständig aus der Keilschrift. c gänzlich ungebräuchlich.

however. (1991. Beginning in the Fara period. it was held between the thumb and fingers. in which case they were read horizontally from the left side or vertically from above. According to them. from above. the pegs were positioned below eye level. however. Christopher Walker noted that the first texts written in a single column date to the time of Lugalzagesi. the well-known founder of the Old Akkadian dynasty. so its script could only have been read horizontally (that is. In one case from the late Early Dynastic period. For him. there is no point of reference on a tablet for determining horizontal or vertical. as noted above. Piotr Steinkeller. 10 The authors also cite evidence from ancient kudurrus. 546. and Englund 1993. 3-4. 14. Nissen. cf. Also. stone monuments of various shape having inscriptions recording transactions in landed property. For him. 64 with 57 fig. . were pierced along their axes by wooden stakes used to affix them to a wall. which eliminated their pictographic component and made them more susceptible to the rotation (Edzard 1980. a row of text-fields with the signs oriented vertically traverses the entire object. Marvin Powell (1981. Postgate 1995. the archaic tablets from Uruk generally follow their “later” format (see Englund 1998. 119. for example. also called “nails” or “cones. it would have appeared upside down). 63). On similar grounds (namely. 240-241). excepting the last one on the obverse. cited the evidence of sale transactions inscribed on clay pegs. a ceremony that finalized the transaction and made it public. For them this indicates that the orientation of the script has changed from vertical to horizontal. wrapping around the edge. Walker did not elaborate on this 9 See also Postgate 1995. however. In the earliest kudurrus shaped like tablets. 58-59). 2: 5). the rows are confined to the obverse or reverse. Damerow. the disappearance of certain wedges and the presumed grip of the stylus). one gets the impression. that it is based on the larger sizes of some tablets in Fara times and the growing level of abstraction in the signs.9 Some proponents of the earlier date have used still other paleographic data to show when the change took place. Jr. For them. and Robert Whiting. this suggests “that the change had taken place shortly before” (Walker 1987. inscribed up the taper as a rule. and continuing on the reverse. 8-10. a contemporary of Sargon. 63-64.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 489 no real evidence for this claim. starting on the obverse. this indicates that the script must have rotated by this time.” Such pegs. which continues on the reverse. a peg is inscribed down the taper.10 To cite a final example. Powell uses Messerschmidt’s analysis as evidence for the grip of the stylus. Postgate 1995. Like Deimel. 431) dated the change in reading to the Sargonic period. I must admit that I do not understand their logic here since. Labat 1995. however. Ignace Gelb.

it must be said that there are real problems with all of the arguments outlined above. This line of reasoning is unacceptable to many proponents of the later date. As noted above. they claim that the vertical orientation was retained on epigraphic inscriptions. there are exceptions. but their position does raise one important question: if the script was rotated in the third millennium. 547 and 551). the rotation of the cuneiform script happened purely by accident. But some of Picchioni’s claims are simply not true. it seems. 12-16. and the few paleographic data cited would appear to support it as well. as a result. studevent-hickman claim. Some of these problems stem from a simple misstatement of the facts. the point here is to show that such claims might be stated in less forceful terms. We begin with the argument for the later date. To be sure. see also Edzard 1980. eliminating any element of common ground between the two views (Picchioni 1984-1985. it changed from vertical to horizontal beginning in the Kassite period. Several objects from pre-Kassite times clearly have horizontal inscriptions and they stem from epigraphic and paleographic sources alike. whenever that happened. the bulk of the evidence does support Picchioni’s basic position: in those cases where the direction of the cuneiform script is clear. the epigraphic material provides the primary evidence for this. which are more conservative by nature and.490 b. but are surely not limited to. others involve more methodological issues. This is not a problem per se. These include. Given the amount of evidence we have and . An Assessment of the Two Views With all due respect to these scholars and their contributions. why did it continue to appear vertical for another thousand years or so? The general explanation is “the context”. Such oversights are understandable. For all proponents of the earlier date. in short. noting only that the change accompanied—even affected—the development of the graphemes in accordance with the observations by Deimel and others. more likely to incorporate archaizing elements in both script and language. esp. in other words. the following:11 11 It should be noted that several of these examples were available when Picchioni wrote his essay.

.C. an unpublished stone monument in the British Museum dating to the Early Dynastic period (BM 117936. so that the possibility of using the hole to mount the cylinder on a stick vertically is excluded. dating to the thirteenth century (Orthmann 1975. an unpublished brick in the British Museum dating to the reign of Sin-kashid (ca. the cylinder has a hole along its axis that “starts at the left end of the inscription and only runs halfway through the cylinder. 275e. Orthmann 1975.. for example. Walker 1981.E. 154). see Reiner 1960. see Walker 1987. 13 According to Hallo (1982.. if the object was inscribed in this position. XI). Note also the seals from Buchanan 1966 cited by him.” It is possible that the hole reflects a post used to form the cylinder. several post-Kassite objects clearly have vertical inscriptions.C. for the object. 115. the brick is BM 90267. the scribe would have had to write upside down). Orthmann 1975.13 an Assyrian amulet like the Old Babylonian incantation tablet cited above (see n. 14).12 By the same token. well after the change was purportedly implemented. b. f. 11 with p. c. 11). 108b). this might be suggested as a prudent general rule. 12 See Hallo 1982. Walker 1981. 289). not to mount it.C. of the Sinkashid inscription noted above). since the hole is at the top of the object even from the point of view of the older [vertical] direction of writing. . 294 no. Steinkeller.. 114). 384 with fig. 41). which appear vertical until the time of Marduk-apla-iddina II (721-710 B. Hallo’s argument may still be valid (i. They include: nearly all brick inscriptions (with the exception. If so. pl. 273a. see Molina 1989).E. a seal from the Middle Assyrian period (Orthmann 1975.C.e. and Whiting. and the fate it has suffered at the hands of the antiquities market. 271c). see also 362 fig. 355-359. 361-363 with figs... 274 e. 5 in this article.E. Jr.E. a statue of a kneeling figure from the time of Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.). 1991.. g. f. 351-351 with fig. Assyrian glyptic inscriptions did not become horizontal until the thirteenth century.E. a statue of Napir-asu. According to him. a duck weight from the time of Naram-Sin (2254-2218 B. a stone monument probably dating to the Uruk period and coming from ancient Urum (modern Tell #Uqair) in northern Babylonia (see Gelb. and a bilingual clay cylinder of Samsu-iluna (1749-1712 B. 1850 B. several Neo-Assyrian seals (for example. 11).the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 491 the so-called Blau Obelisk.

“Aramaic egirtu. One wonders if it may not first have been used to refer to a specific type of tablet written or shaped in an unusual fashion.. . so.... the Akkadian term egirtu is used in the first millennium to refer to an Aramaic letter and ultimately becomes a loanword in that language. used to refer to the beginning and end of a line of text) 14 Cuneiform appears horizontal in the overwhelming number of times in this period. coexisting with spr. The semantic difficulties are of a more serious nature. this suggests that there were Aramaic inscriptions at that time. (Kaufman 1977.. modern Tell Halaf). Nonetheless. Bearing in mind the reference to an egirtu armÊtu. Bordeuil. 124 n.. some two centuries later. which contains a bilingual inscription in Neo-Assyrian and Aramaic—the former oriented vertically (see Abou-Assaf 1981. the native Aramaic term. uses of the stem from which egirtu is derived generally indicate some aspect of “crossing” in Assyrian.C. for the date. 139-142). 13 in this article). Admittedly. it may have entered Assyrian during the Aramaean incursions of the thirteenth and twelfth centuries.. His comments on the etymology of egirtu consider the direction of the script: The correspondence egirtu: spr should serve to finally settle the dispute over the etymology of egirtu. 1000 B. studevent-hickman the famous ninth-century statue of Hadad-Yith’i.Morphologically. 44) Attestations of egirtu are limited to the Neo-Assyrian period. it is the only possibility. Aramaic "grt/h. the idea—of vertical cuneiform well after Kassite times. ruler of ancient Guzana (biblical Gozan. see esp. Kaufman 1982.E. . twisted”. there is no problem in seeing it as the feminine verbal adjective of the verb eg¿ru.492 b. from right to left. and our earliest linear alphabetic dates to ca. so there may be something to Kaufman’s might even suggest that egirtu originally referred to a document written in alphabetic script. if the term does refer to the perpendicularity of the Aramaic script and not to its reverse direction (or to still some other aspect of the script or medium). “to be crossed. and thus “twisted” from the cuneiform point of view or even more literally “crosswise” to the original direction of cuneiform writing from top to bottom. but the term may nonetheless refer to the perpendicularity of the two scripts. Abou-Assaf.”. and Millard 1982. this provides yet another case of the use—perhaps better. This is to say. indeed. . This last item raises yet another consideration: as noted by Kaufman..14 As a final point: the mathematical texts cited by Picchioni cannot be used as evidence for the direction of the script since the phrases above and below (again. precisely when the cuneiform script started to run horizontally on Assyrian seals (see n.

There. 9). in describing the directions of individual wedges and the development of the graphemes. 16 To the best of my knowledge. the elimination of certain wedges says nothing about the orientation of the script. held horizontally in the hand with very little manipulation (Ellison 2002. Ellison (2002.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 493 may be frozen expressions used well after the rotation had been implemented. nothing in the order in which the wedges were impressed sheds any light on this problem. esp. not straight to the right (f) and straight down (d). Even setting this observation aside. note 8). And.15 More than likely. Beginning with the most obvious. the only sure fact in this context is that the stylus and tablet had to be rotated with respect to each other since. both vertical and horizontal wedges were likely made with a square-headed stylus. The problems with arguments for the earlier date concern methodology more than fact. 15 This situation differs from the one found in Ugarit. 72-86). 95) reached . Sallaberger (1996. 109-110 n.16 modern experiments appear to have debunked the argument based on smearing (Walker 1987. and others all assumed that the script had already been rotated! If we consider the evidence without this assumption. it only indicates its direction or “flow” (Englund 1998. limiting this movement was the primary reason for simplifying the graphemes. 14). there is no evidence whatsoever for the way it was held from the graphemes themselves (nor can we assume that all scribes held it the same way). it is clear that this development could have transpired whether the graphemes had been rotated or not. the basic disagreement between Deimel and Powell is indicative of this point (see n. Falkenstein. and. vertical orientation with the stylus held or manipulated differently. while we can determine the angle at which the stylus met the tablet. Unfortunately. as noted. the graphemes could have developed in much the same way if the script had been written in its original. 63) concluded that there is no real order in which the wedges were impressed save that 1) they are formed in the direction of the script and 2) there are discrete units that are written the same wherever they appear. particularly given the predominantly administrative context of most tablets and the sizes of most graphemes. In other words. which he dates to the late Early Dynastic period. the only detailed studies of cuneiform grapheme formation are Sallaberger 1996 and Ellison 2002. the most common wedges (figure 3) are those running straight down (d) and straight to the left (b). In the end. the same surfaces of the stylus formed all of the wedges (see above. while this forces one to ask how the scribes were able to write with any efficiency. Deimel. perhaps of bronze. 72). In his study of the tablets from Tell Beydar in northern Syria.

. na-du3-a]. Jr. An image from the so-called Uàumgal Stele shows what appears to be a peg driven into a wall. they give no indication of its ultimate orientation or position.. and Whiting.. studevent-hickman The other two arguments in favor of the earlier date are also equivocal.In January 2000 I was able to inspect several tablets from the state archive collection in the British Museum. for “stele” or. for alphabetic cuneiform and the Neo-Assyrian script. their argument leaves some element of reasonable doubt. and those were invariably presented upright (Ellis 1968. however.[are] far from fixed. mah§ßu).494 b. CAD s. Daniels 1995. suggesting that this feature is much more related to an individual scribal technique than to either a fixed temporal or geographic style. 1991. and Whiting. 72).. .du3 also carries the sense “to stand the peg upright” (cf. esp. 13 and 14). If nothing else. largely confirms Picchioni’s basic claims. 46-93. “stone stood upright”). 17 The Sumerian phrase that refers to the post-transaction ceremony in these inscriptions is kak. no fewer than five different scribal hands could be easily documented.e. In these tablets. the single-column tablets first introduced during the reign of Lugalzagesi (Walker 1987) may reflect nothing more than text-fields composed of vertical strings of graphemes. literally. that peg appears at roughly forty-five degrees. cf. where the wedges are formed in the direction of writing. and. Jr. In this context. Steinkeller. as well as a few paleographic data. the epigraphic evidence.. just not a similar conclusion concerning early logosyllabic cuneiform: “The principles.” The same is not true. The order of the wedges varied among these hands. 44 with pls. 1991.v. it is worth noting that the phrase kak.. but horizontals are written before verticals and from bottom to top while verticals are written from top to bottom (Ellison 2002. Jr. since it remains unclear precisely how transaction pegs were presented with respect to an observer. Steinkeller. halfway between the two possibilities considered here (Gelb. The adoption of this typology and presentation would not be surprising. it is a logical progression based solely on the fact that the orthography of compound logograms and the syntax of written Sumerian were largely fixed by this time. 241. 110. as fate would have it. and Whiting. na-ru2-a [i. For other considerations regarding handwriting in the earlier periods.. is inscribed precisely like foundation deposits of the same shape at this time. A New Point from Old Data There can be no doubt that the Kassites introduced a major change in the direction in which the cuneiform script was read (that is. 84-85).17 Finally. see Biggs 1973. Steinkeller. As noted above...du3. The Early Dynastic peg cited by Gelb. Akkadian equivalents of the phrase support the translation “to drive the peg (into the wall)” (Gelb. All of the tablets came from the same site and were dated to the same period on the grounds of prosopography. apparently. but. presented).

it appeared rotated ninety degrees with respect to the other graphemes (figure 4b. and occasionally it could be replaced by a purely circular impression. 746). 179). But they are precedents nonetheless. its size could vary.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 495 in the absolute terms in which he stated them. In the earliest examples. however. this grapheme had transformed into a true cuneiform wedge. The impression had no semantic value of its own. there is a dearth of lexical witnesses between the Fara and early Old Babylonian periods. and grammatical texts. and they show that the use of horizontal cuneiform was alive and well in the epigraphic record from very early on. though. Krebernik 1998. has gone overlooked in the literature. lists. There is one possible datum that. As a corollary. 83 n. unfortunately. the same phenomenon occurs in a Fragments of lexical texts are attested from the Old Akkadian and Ur III periods (Englund 1998. and. but overall its shape and orientation remained the same (Englund 1998. 175. In cuneiform lexical texts. which consist of lexicons proper.18 Fortunately. in general. 88-89 fig. 105). see also Englund 1998. vertical wedge. Cavigneaux 1980-1983. this “wedge” was actually a rounded impression that appeared vertical with respect to the original orientation of the proto-cuneiform pictographs (figure 4a). 314 with n. note also Nissen 1981. and in many of them the reasons were surely practical or even aesthetic in nature. 16-18). To the best of my knowledge. By the Old Babylonian period. the rest of the script must have shifted by this time. the marker serving as a stationary point of rotation. being used instead as a “visual and memory” aid “in counting the number of lines inscribed on tablets so as to be able to collate line totals on original and copies” (Englund 1998. 179 with literature). 83 n. The question is whether there is any evidence in the paleographic record that supports the earlier date of the rotation while eliminating some of the methodological problems that have undermined arguments for it in the past. While exceptions appeared well before Kassite times. they remain isolated incidents. 24 and Veldhuis 1997. More significantly. For much of the third millennium. 18 . individual entries were often marked with a single. While there are real differences between the lexical traditions of the third and second millennia (see. to the best of my knowledge. particularly given the overall durability and prestige of the lexical tradition. 99. it seems reasonable to assume that this grapheme remained vertical to the reader. at least with respect to the topic at hand. 82 n. The question is precisely when this happened. which come from the Uruk period. syllabaries.

There. it seems reasonable. so they offer nothing that would allow us to date the change more precisely. rounded numbers were still used in Ur III times. The qualification “possible” is necessary for two reasons: First. According to Nissen. an “error” acknowledged but carried out nonetheless. 465. certain objects were simply more prone to being counted with wedges. 467. CXIII no. and Englund 1993. pl. and that evidence places the change within the timeframe demarcated by the lexical sources. but I know of no evidence for this outside this context. 140). I have not yet found other texts corresponding to these examples in which the same items are counted with the original notation. as in the lexical texts. the Fara to Sargonic periods clearly represent none of them bear the entry marker. 20 The rounded impression continued to appear as part of a system of notation for workers in Ur III administrative texts. incidentally. studevent-hickman different context for which there is more than ample evidence. xx). not the rest of the script (e. Other possible examples of the rotation include Jestin 1937. pl. even when rounded impressions were still the norm (see Gelb 1970a. Jestin’s copies can be unreliable (Biggs 1974. and pl. and Englund (1993. 906. This is an important control for the argument presented here. for it is well known that different notational systems were used to count different objects in the Uruk period and that. and the original. disappearing completely from this context by Ur III times. 140). particularly given the fact that numbers are the most consistently written graphemes in the script—indeed. 100). from the Uruk period). both rounded impressions and cuneiform wedges appear.. to assume that the orientation of the grapheme remained vertical to the reader. Second. Nissen. that this development is generally presented as if the grapheme for one rotated. discrete objects were invariably counted with a rounded. this metamorphosis was accompanied by a ninety-degree rotation of the rest of the script about this grapheme (figure 5). Damerow. Regardless of whether one accepts the assumption. This logogram for the integer one. and. . retained its basic shape and orientation until the Fara period.496 b.20 While it cannot be proven. vertical impression—precisely the same grapheme used to mark entries in the early lexical texts. 19 The texts in figure 5 are probably from Fara (Powell 1973. in Old Akkadian times. again. 120. Note. rounded impression continued to appear in the majority of cases into the Sargonic period. The cuneiform legal and administrative records provide the first real evidence for the phenomenon outlined above. CLXXII no.g. In the earliest such documents (again. CXII no. Unfortunately. when it started to appear as a true cuneiform wedge. and in both directions. Damerow. they are the progenitors of cuneiform itself.19 But the change was sporadic. cf. this system remains largely undeciphered. 36). 25. as it were. This is a direct result of the fact that most introductions to cuneiform present the earliest tablets with the script in the horizontal position.

moreover. the entry marker from the lexical texts (or the logogram for one. essentially. pl. a stage that may reflect the rotation of the entire script (this observation. the first step in the overall process (see. I know of no examples where the wedge appears in the original orientation alongside a rounded impression that had rotated. a determinative for personal names. In the interim. the Fara and Sargonic periods still represent a transitional stage of the writing of this grapheme. Nonetheless. 22 I have intentionally left the so-called Personenkeil. provided the impetus for this article. 161-165. Damerow. e. such cases must represent a period in which the older system had not yet “caught up” to the new. see Steinkeller and Postgate 1992. and even in the Fara period itself. for all intents and purposes. Since it remains almost certain that the end result preserved the original orientation. for a detailed discussion of the Personenkeil and its development. 906: 1.g. 64). Gelb and others consider the Sargonic period to be the initial stage of the change.21 As argued here. 465). This may have been true initially.22 Given the relative abundance of administrative and legal texts from the third millennium. In support of this. As with the notation used for workers in the Ur III corpus (see n. In some texts from Fara. in others. 20 in this article) the shape and direction of the Personenkeil involved a host of social and economic factors that are not yet understood. illustrating the simultaneous use of the original and final systems (see esp. only the direction of the rounded impression is changed. but it was clearly short-lived.23 Gelb 1955. Jestin 1937. It may be noted here that a similar alternation occurs elsewhere in Fara texts: the grapheme for one is also rotated in compound graphemes of which it is one of two components (note. In the Fara period. 59. CXIII no. not the script. 178-179. 21 . Edzard 2004 and Gelb 1955. 465: ii: 1’). Alternations having nothing to do with this grapheme are attested in other systems at this time as well (see Nissen. rounded impressions and rotated cuneiform wedges illustrates that the numerals rotated. but these examples clearly show that it was taking place already in Fara times. and Englund 1993. Jestin 1937. see Krecher 1974. In the second millennium. they also mark the first real evidence for the rotation of the script as a whole. CXIII no.. rounded impressions of the original orientation appear alongside cuneiform wedges that have rotated. pl. 324). in which case it appeared. cf. CLXXII no. 23 It could be argued that the simultaneous use of the original. the grapheme became. predictably. pl. which undergoes a similar development. out of this discussion. it may be possible to trace the implementation of the rotation in more detail. the use of this grapheme was somewhat unpredictable. ]IxA’ and ]IxDI’. it could appear as a rounded impression or cuneiform wedge in either direction (in the case of the latter. illustrating. as a cuneiform wedge rotated ninety degrees with respect to the other graphemes. for example. it could even appear at an angle). 15). if you prefer) was adopted as a prefix for personal names—hence the designation—appearing specifically in rosters or before the names of witnesses in legal texts. originally made by Piotr Steinkeller [personal communication].the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 497 the “transitional stage” in the writing of numbers.

3-4. XIII no. This observation should be taken with some caution. and the fact that there are so few attestations from this period supports this further still. and continue to do so until the time of Naram-Sin (Steinkeller and Postgate 1992. but by and large the older. studevent-hickman Combined with the evidence cited above. This is surely connected to the development of single-line tablets noted above. the earlier tablets “tend to arrange the text in rather short and broad compartments” within narrower columns. see Gelb 1955. 7. Foster 1982. xxii). Tablets written after Sargon show this vertical wedge made with a downward stroke. however. 3). 203 no. 75 (shekels). 170 n. the number of attestations of the rotated wedge increases considerably. 281 no. the son of Naram-Sin (Gelb 1970a. with a noticeable spike during the reign of Shar-kali-sharri. pl. 169). 4). more “spheroid and square” tablets predominate. 34 (garments) and Gelb 1970a. there are several attestations of the “later” forms of these signs in Umma texts dating to the reign of Lugalzagesi. The Sargonic period is something altogether different: at that time. more “pillow-shaped” tablets are the general rule. so much so that the fundamental variable in tablet size is length (Gelb 1955. 3). xix-xx). According to Gelb (1955. Other changes within the paleographic tradition may reflect this development. 40). and of the “earlier” forms in tablets from Nippur dating to the 24 For examples from the Sargonic period. 7 citing Westenholz 1975. “whereas in the later texts the compartments are longer and slimmer” and found in wider columns (Westenholz 1975. a contemporary of Sargon (Biggs 1973.498 b. Moreover. longer. Returning to the graphemes themselves. Beginning with his reign. lexical and literary texts and some administrative texts) start to become more oblong (Deimel [1924] 1968. Other examples are available by browsing the various volumes of Sargonic administrative texts. for it is based on a limited number of tablets from a relatively small area in northern Babylonia (Biggs 1973.24 By the end of the dynasty. the new system was used almost exclusively (Gelb 1970b. In the Fara period some tablets (namely. there are several other changes within them that may reflect the rotation. pl. and they are thus linked epigraphically to the Pre-Sargonic period. XXXII no. 30. The standard examples here are the signs ’U and DA. these examples place the onset of the rotation in Fara times. . [t]he tablets dated to Sargon have the first vertical wedge [in these signs] written with an upward stroke. cf. 40). 2*). In addition.

2). northern Babylonia and the Diyala region). and there is ample evidence for a distinctive writing tradition from the Akkadian heartland (namely. one connected no doubt to the disappearance of certain wedges and the larger simplification of the script in Sargonic times (Sallaberger 1996. even graphemes in epigraphic inscriptions were carved to look like they were composed of paleographic wedges (Edzard 1980. a recent study of Sargonic Akkadian isolates its origin to that area (Hasselbach 2005. 7). but the larger body of evidence for a distinctive. 3). 63). On a more speculative level. Babylonia. . 36).25 Still. where scribal practices are concerned. so much so that there is relatively little difference between graphemes in Sargonic texts from Susa.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 499 reign of Naram-Sin (Westenholz 1975.26 the very area that supplies most of the attestations we have. Postgate 1995. 64). there can be no doubt that the first large-scale implementation of the rotation of the cuneiform script took place in the Sargonic period. Conclusions If one accepts the arguments presented here. 26 The Akkadian heartland may have been confined more precisely to the Diyala region. cf. the other primary datum for the rotation (Cavigneaux 19801983. most of the Sargonic tablets in general come from this region. The effects of these changes were certainly far-reaching. 232-235). both the Akkadians and their script may be 25 Note also that comparable developments were taking place in other graphemes in much earlier periods (Falkenstein 1936. Hallo 1957. see Westenholz 1975. 177). 27 True. northern. for the period as a whole is marked by unparalleled changes in virtually every aspect of Babylonian society. specifically during the reigns of Naram-Sin and Shar-kali-sharri. This simplification created an unprecedented level of standardization and uniformity in the script. 261)—early in its history. the rotation itself may be an Akkadian (that is. and. 24-25 with 25 n. 616). 544-545. the Diyala region. this appears to be the general trend (Steinkeller and Postgate 1992. they may even have extended to the later lexical tradition. Indeed. 27 Indeed. writing tradition suggests that this is more than a coincidence (for additional remarks. Semitic) innovation: Semites were clearly present in Babylonia—including in Fara (Krebernik 1998. 9. esp. 548. In the end this should come as no surprise. and northern Syria (Gelb 1955.

. 64). This dichotomy may be reflected in later temple architecture as well (Matthiae 1975.Many questions must remain unanswered.28 This returns us to the question raised against proponents of the earlier date: why did the cuneiform script continue to appear vertical on so many objects? On the one hand.500 b. and they continue to do so today. 64 with bibliography). As noted by him. Comparative studies may shed further light on this issue. studevent-hickman connected to the larger Semitic phenomena that characterized northern Babylonia and much of Syria during the third millennium (Steinkeller 1993. But even with this situation in mind. this is not surprising at all. The Beydar script. (Sallaberger 1996. the best comparisons for Beydar writing still stem from Pre-Sargonic Nippur. 65) In light of these observations. his additional comments on that script are worth quoting in full: [W]ithin Syria the cuneiform writing of Beydar shows the closest affinities to that of the nearest ED [Early Dynastic] site. and Englund 1993. opening enclosed areas within the graphemes in the process (Sallaberger 2001. it is certainly interesting that the scripts from Ebla and later Assyria followed a similar development while those from Tell Beydar and Babylonia followed another (for the distinction in terms of the Assyrian and Babylonian scripts. 442-443. but the connections between Ebla and Babylonia are documented in various ways.. 115-116).” If one denied the use of such archaisms. It should be noted. 560 and Hallo 1957. Damerow. shows “none of these features” (Sallaberger 1996. specifically those from Tell Mardikh (ancient Ebla) and Tell Beydar (see Sallaberger 2001 and 1996. Isin and Adab. 28 .29 On the other hand.. 29 Note especially the “Latinization” of U’s on buildings such as the “HARVARD SEMITIC MVSEVM. the explanation they offered is quite reasonable: epigraphic inscriptions do show a tendency to employ archaisms in ancient Mesopotamia. 4. namely Kià [in northern Babylonia]. Looking at the map. 123). 6. 1996. esp.. Walther Sallaberger has provided the most detailed studies of third-millennium scripts from northern Mesopotamian. Babylonia was linked with the ]abår triangle by the well-known trade route following the Tigris valley and then passing through the hilly landscape to the north of Jebel Sinjar. Furthermore the cuneiform of Mari and Beydar is much more strongly linked with the Babylonian tradition than with that of Ebla. he or she would think U and V were interchangeable in written English. incidentally. Mari. because we lack comparative material first of all from two places. see Labat 1995. the question is somewhat misleading. Apparently. by contrast. respectively). This route is also known from archival sources from Ebla. that archaisms in cuneiform were not confined to the epigraphic record (see the examples in Edzard 1980. for it assumes that the rotation must be fully implemented. and it must also be kept in mind that the Beydar tablets are the northernmost ED tablets found until now. 24-25). Nissen. 56 with bibliography).and the area of later Assyria. the transmission of cuneiform writing into the ]abår triangle followed the same way. the former shows a homogeneity in wedge thickness and a marked tendency to simplify graphemes into vertical and horizontal wedges.

and in both cases precedents had already been set. too. See the kudurrus in King 1912. each marking a point when a non-native power represented Babylonia’s literate culture. Toscanne 1917. and igigubbû “inversed. this is something Irene has always taught her students. the classic example of foreign influence on the direction of a script is illustrated by Uighur.32 In Mesopotamian history. This is illustrated not only by the objects. some of which even have the script running in both directions. both dates for the rotation of the cuneiform script—more precisely. 65. tilted” (e. In closing. 32 As noted by Edzard (1980. but from horizontal to vertical. XLIII-LII. In both cases major changes were introduced in the script..30 but also by the specific descriptions of the graphemes found in lexical sources. however. which was rotated precisely like the cuneiform script.” The basic study of these terms is Gong 2000 (esp. “the ’U2 sign is the BAR sign tilted”). But this.g. foreign influence should always be considered when such a drastic change to a script occurs. pls. but from both top to bottom and bottom to top. or purely textual data. 30 . 108b. and both can be corroborated by the evidence available. For examples showing the manipulation of proto-cuneiform graphemes. always had a certain malleability about it. In short. The reasons for the rotation remain unknown. 31 Note in particular the uses of the terms tenû.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 501 The exceptions that appear after both the Sargonic and Kassite periods illustrate that that was not the case. archaeology. 69 fig. gilimû “crossed (obliquely)”. 546). 362 fig. 194 fig. should not be surprising. 68 (note especially the appearance of the signs EN. 18-41). for cuneiform. cf. SANGA. CIII. In my experience. I should stress that analyses of this type illustrate one fundamental point of which students and scholars of the ancient Near East are growing increasingly aware: we need to use all of the evidence available to answer the questions before us. the cover and spine of nearly any book will show this to be true. for its large-scale implementation—are essentially correct. Be it iconography. the Neo-Babylonian seal in Orthmann 1975. 31). see Englund 1998.31 Both practicality and aesthetics will determine which way a script is presented. each of these domains has something all its own to contribute to our understanding of the past. where the script runs vertically. the Sargonic and Kassite periods were truly momentous occasions. 22 and 102 fig. 58-59. and MU’3 on p. like most scripts. and it is only by integrating them that we can fully deal with such questions as how cuneiform was read. “inclined.

Mann Verlag. and A. Archaische Texte aus Uruk. Inscriptions from Tell Abå ‘al§bÊkh. diss. RlA 5: 544-568. Buchanan. R. ed. RlA 5: 609-641. 1936. WVDOG 40. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. MDOG 113: 3-22. A. Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations 7. D. . [1922] 1970. 2004. OBO 160/1. 1966. studevent-hickman References Abou-Assaf. Or n. ADFU 13. A Paleographic Study of the Alphabetic Cuneiform Texts from Ras Shamra/Ugarit. Or n.D. 1980. A. P.. S. 1976. [1923] 1969. 1980-1983. RlA 10: 431-432. 81-90. Harvard University. ———. In Mesopotamien: Späturuk-Zeit und Frühdynastische Zeit. Die Inschriften von Fara III: Wirtschaftstexte aus Fara. Lexikalische Listen. P. 1981. J. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Berlin: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. 1995. R. 1974. ———. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. In Nineveh. J. Millard.’ ZA 66: 156-195. On Regional Cuneiform Handwritings in Third Millennium Mesopotamia. 1993. L. Texts from the Late Uruk Period. 1998. 1988. B. WVDOG 43. K. OIP 99. and H. Pascal Attinger and Markus Wäfler. F. Die Inschriften von Fara II: Schultexte aus Fara. A. Edzard. WVDOG 45. Die Inschriften von Fara I: Liste der archaischen Keilschriftzeichen. R. Keilschrift. ———. Cuneiform Calligraphy. La Statue de Tell Fekherye et son inscription bilingue assyro-araméenne. Volume I: Cylinder Seals. 1982. 57: 67-69. 612 BC: The Glory and Fall of the Assyrian Empire. Foundation Deposits in Ancient Mesopotamia. O. R.s. 1968. Ph. F§ra und Abu ‘al§bÊh: Die ‘Wirtschaftstexte. ADFU 2. Ellison. Catalogue of Ancient Near Eastern Seals in the Ashmolean Museum. Daniels.. Osnabrück: Otto Zeller. Englund. ed. A. 1973. Personenkeil. K. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 2002. 42: 39-46. ———. Archi. Bordreuil. Abou-Assaf. D. A. Position of the Tablets of Ebla. König von Guzana. Osnabrück: Otto Zeller.502 b. Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations. Biggs. Englund. Nissen. Falkenstein. Deimel.s. Ellis. Raija Matilla. Die lexikalischen Listen der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk. ———. A. Archaische Texte aus Uruk 3. Die Statue des HDYS#Y. Osnabrück: Otto Zeller. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag. [1924] 1968. Cavigneaux. 15-233. Berlin: Gebr.

I. Memoirs of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 19. eds. Die Namen der Keilschriftzeichen. R. Hamden. In Mesopotamien: Späturuk-Zeit und Frühdynastische Zeit. Gelb. 2 vols. Steinkeller. ———. the City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. 1957. Early Mesopotamian Royal Titles: A Philologic and Historical Analysis.html>. Green. Sargonic Akkadian: A Historical and Comparative Study of the Syllabic Texts. An Assyro-Aramaic egirtu àa àulmu. Gelb. 1931. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag. J. M. Whiting. 1970a. Babylonian Boundary-Stones and Memorial-Tablets in the British Museum. Pascal Attinger and Markus Wäfler.. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1937. and R. Review of Cuneiform Brick Inscriptions in the British Museum. Fara. King. Heinrich. W.. 1970b. Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary 5. W. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Fara und Abu Hatab 1902/3. Old Akkadian Inscriptions in Chicago Natural History Museum: Texts of Legal and Business Interest.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 503 Fitzgerald. In Essays on the Ancient Near East in Memory of Jacob Joel Finkelstein. Jestin. American Oriental Series 43. ZA 72: 1-27. A. M. Paris: E.4: 345-372. 1982. R. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Andrae. Y. AOAT 268. Gong. Maarav 3: 137-175. Jr. 1977. and W. CT: American Oriental Society. Goetze. JCS 34: 112-117. 1982. London: Trustees of the British Museum. Foster. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. 2000. Tablettes sumériennes de ’uruppak conservées au Musée de Stamboul. 2005. Kaufman. CT: Archon Books. the City of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. ed. ———. 1950. by C. 2 vols. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 119-127. JCS 4: 83-118. M. 237-427. ———. M. The Construction and Implementation of the Cuneiform Writing System. Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin 2. Reflections on the Assyrian-Aramaic Bilingual from Tell Fakhariyeh. 1991. Sargonic Texts in the Louvre Museum. Krebernik. ———. A. OBO 160/1. 1912. Walker. Fieldiana: Anthropology 44/2: 161-338. W. Archives and Record-Keeping in Sargonic Mesopotamia. Hasselbach. I. 2003. de Boccard. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag. S. Hallo. P. 1955. Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary 4. M. Chicago: Chicago Natural History Museum. . 1982. W. Die Texte aus F§ra und Tell Abå ‘al§bÊh. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Earliest Land Tenure Systems in the Near East: Ancient Kudurrus. Oxford. E. ed. B. <http://cdli. New Haven. Sargonic Texts in the Ashmolean Museum. OIP 104. R. de Jong Ellis. Sin-iddinam of Larsa. L. 1998. pisan dub-ba and the Direction of Cuneiform Script.ucla. the Ashmolean Museum. Visible Language 15. 1981.

Studi Orientali e Linguistici 2: 11-26. N. In La lingua di Ebla: Atti del convegno internazionale (Napoli. 1993. Sign List: Palaeography and Syllabary. E. and R. Sumer 42: 48-54. 1984. 1996. M. J. P. JNES 19: 148-162. Aula Orientalis 7: 127-128. Messerschmidt. ed. Matthiae.504 b. Malbran-Labat. Three Problems in the History of Cuneiform Writing: Origins. L. 1960. ZA 63: 145-271. O. Unité et développement du temple dans la Syrie du Bronze Moyen. 21-23 aprile 1980). ———. Parts 1-3. 1981. Subartu 2. Englund. by E. Luigi Cagni. 1981. J. Berlin: Propyläenverlag. Rev. 1906. J. Jahrtausend. In Le Temple et le culte: Compte rendu de la vingtième Rencontre assyriologique internationale organisée à leiden du 3 au 7 juillet 1972 sous les auspices du nederlands instituut voor net nabije oosten. ed. Archaic Bookkeeping: Early Writing and Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient Near East. Bemerkungen zur Listenliterature Vorderasiens im 3. Der alte Orient. A. Una mina de Nar§m-Sîn. 33-67. American Oriental Series 29. 49: 225-251. Die Keilschriftrichtung und ihre Archäologischen Implikationen. Istituto Universitario Orientale.s. Plague Amulets and House Blessings. Translated by Paul Larsen. Review of Pre-Sargonic and Sargonic Economic Texts. Sallaberger. 1973. Direction of Script. and A. 1989. 1975. revised and enlarged by F. Nissen. syllabaire. P. Nissen. 1980. 43-72 with plates IX-XVI. Or n. Reiner. Neue sumerische Rechtsurkunden des 3. K. The Direction of Cuneiform Writing: Theory and Evidence. S. Postgate. Propyläen Kunstgeschichte 14. studevent-hickman Krecher. M. Turnhout: Brepols. Neugebauer. Visible Language 15/4: 419-440. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 9/6: 304-312.. Sachs. In Administrative Documents from Tell Beydar (Seasons 1993-1995). Damerow. Jahrtausends. Zur Technik des Tontafel-Schreibens. 1974. ed. New Haven: American Oriental Society and the American Schools of Oriental Research. 9/7: 372-380. J. Orientalistische Litteratur-Zeitung 9/4: 185-196. Mathematical Cuneiform Texts. ———. Sollberger. Orthmann. H. New York: Routledge. Picchioni. 1995. Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. W. ZA 63: 99-106. W. idéogrammes). . R.. Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner. 99-108.. Powell. Literacy. Seminario di Studi Asiatici: Series Minor 14. Napoli: Don Bosco. 6th edition of the 1948 original. 1975. Publications de l’Institut historique et archéologique néerlandais de Stamboul 37. 1945. H. Manuel d’épigraphie Akkadienne (signes. 1995. Molina. 1984-1985. La direzione della scrittura cuneiforme e gli archivi di Tell Mardikh Ebla. Leiden: Nederlands Historisch-archeologisch instituut te istambul. A. ———. Labat.

Cuneiform. N. E. Ideology. Third-Millennium Legal and Administrative Texts in the Iraq Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum. Traditions. the City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. RA 14: 187-203. Padua: Tipografia Poligrafica Moderna. . Novák. C. Pruss. Mesopotamian Civilizations 4. J. London: The Trustees of the British Museum. 1975. ed. A. the City of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. 107-129. 436-445. Archäologisches Institut. Pre-Sargonic and Sargonic Economic Texts. London: British Museum Publications. and J. Steinkeller.. the Ashmolean Museum. Münster: Rhema. Liverani. Bibliotheca Mesopotamica 1. B. Reading the Past. Das Dijala-Gebiet: Tutub. Steinkeller.D. 1981. IN: Eisenbrauns.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 505 ———. 1992.-W. Westenholz. Old Sumerian and Old Akkadian Texts in Philadelphia Chiefly from Nippur. Die Texte der Akkade-Zeit 1. Hussey. In Akkad: The First World Empire: Structure. J. A. N. In Beiträge zur Vorderasiatischen Archäologie: Winfried Orthmann gewidmet. 1917. RA 9: 73-80. 1997. Fr. Notes assyriologiques. Sommerfeld. P. 1972. F. IMGULA 3/1. Ph. Oxford. History of the Ancient Near East / Studies 5. ed. Malibu: Undena Publications. Yale Oriental Series 11. Cuneiform Brick Inscriptions in the British Museum. M. I. and A. 1999. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. diss. Part One: Literary and Lexical Texts and The Earliest Administrative Documents from Nippur. Baghdad. and M. 2001. Early Political Development in Mesopotamia and the Origins of the Sargonic Empire. Meyer. Velhuis. P. Ltd. Toscanne. 1993. Van Dijk. 1912. Sollberger. Winona Lake. Elementary Education at Nippur: The Lists of Trees and Wooden Objects. Walker. Thureau-Dangin.. 1985. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Die Entwicklung der Keilschrift in Ebla. P. ———. Frankfurt am Main: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität. Postgate. 1987. W. Goetze. M. Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum 50.. Early Mesopotamian Incantations and Rituals. Sur la figuration et le symbole du scropion.

Musée du Louvre (photo Erich Lessing/ Art Resource. NY) .506 b. studevent-hickman Figure 1. The rotation of the cuneiform script as illustrated by two objects from ancient Mesopotamia a) Vertical script on a fragment of the “Stele of the Vultures” from the late Early Dynastic Period.

the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 507 Figure 1. British Museum (© copyright The Trustees of the British Museum) . b) Horizontal script on a slab from one of the reliefs found in the Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal II. Room Z.

studevent-hickman Figure 2. A sample chart showing the development of several cuneiform graphemes from early pictographs (from Nissen.508 b. Damerow. 124 fig. 106. and Englund 1993. reproduced courtesy Hans Nissen) .

the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 509 Figure 3. The possible directions of cuneiform wedges (from Deimel [1922] 1970. 12) .

17 fig. reproduced courtesy Dietrich Reimer Verlag) . studevent-hickman Figure 4.510 b. Two examples of cuneiform lexical texts showing the orientation of the original entry marker vis-à-vis the other graphemes a) a composite of the archaic witnesses of the series Lu2 A (after Englund and Nissen 1993. 4.

provenance unknown (from Thureau-Dangin 1912.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 511 Figure 4. b) drawing of a fragment of an Old Babylonian syllabary in the Louvre (AO 5399). 80) .

l. 1 [top right] (“5 pounds of copper”) . i.512 b. collations kindly provided by Irving Finkel) a) Sollberger 1972. Two texts from the Fara period showing the proposed rotation of the script about the logogram for one (© copyright The Trustees of the British Museum. 6 (BM 15828): see col. studevent-hickman Figure 5. 4 no. pl.

b) Sollberger 1972. 5 no. pl. 9 (BM 26238): see col. iii. 1 [top right] and elsewhere (“4? pounds of copper”) . l.the ninety-degree rotation of the cuneiform script 513 Figure 5.

514 b. studevent-hickman .

192. 340. 421. 332. period 9. 450. 306. 381. 158 banquet 112. 80–1. 457–9. 430. 479 Anzu 306. 7. 335. 476. 319. 325–7. 270. 76. 273–5. 337. 51. 53. 151. 381. 89. 138. 163. 444. 495. 304. 489. 496. 135. 433. 380. 367. 98. 340. 372–3. 18. 88. 250. 438. 90 Asag 306. 101. 308 Apsu 307 Archaeological Institute of America 18 archaizing script 490 Architectonics. 48. 462. 205. 386. 138–9. 141 . 265.index 515 INDEX Achaemenid 11. 204 attire 273. city or Aààur. 276. 414–7. 266. 141. 172 beer 412–3. 382–3 Babylon 51. Babylonia 111. 79. 129. 389 Assur (site) 274. 272. 299. 488. 169. 184 Alalah (Tell Atchana) 75. 370. 389. 270–2. 193. 144. 262. 102. 333. 245–6. god) Ashurbanipal (see Assurbanipal) Ashurnasirpal II (see Assurnasirpal II) Aààur (god) 137. 144. 266. 196–7 animal 22. 438. 336. 103. 498 aesthetic. 429. 245. 247. 276. 329. 150. 330–2. 22. 308–9 Asakku (see Asag) Ashur (see Assur. 107. 10. 77 Aleppo 75–7. 229–30. 325. 462. 442 Assurbanipal (or Ashurbanipal) 133. 317. 499 Akkadisches Handwörterbuch 16 Alacahöyük 79. 145. 136. 295. 378. 466–7. 142–3. 270 Assurnasirpal II 133. 276. 492. 369. 326. 18. 71. 365. 71. 325. 267. 139. 303 Adad-Nirari I 387 Adad-Nirari II 308 Adad-Nirari III 135 administrative texts 272. 209–10. 496. 453. 280. 16. 270. 50–1. 80. 265. 452. 464–6. 464–6 awÊlu 380. 265–8. 170. 424. 108–9. 332. 341. 451 Annubanini 268. 288 Anshan 275 Anti-Lebanon. 267. 419 Beersheba 53 Behistun (see Bisitun) Bel 168 Bilgames 306. 279. 487. 460 alien (extra-terrestrial) 443–5 ancestor worship or ancestor cult 179. 269. 412. Akkadian art and culture 137. 461–2. 88. 50. 307. 295. 146. 87. 14. 326–7. 303. 113. 477. 426. 327. 130. 11. 445. 329. 52. 99. 277. 387. 70. 9. 87. 365. 278–282. 380. 340. 170. 73–4. 142. 246. 367. 272 Ahuramazda 267 Ain D§r§ 80–1 Akkad 276. 87. 456. 185. 134. 425 Bavian Inscription 163. 280–1 Achilles 298. 229–248. 341 Bardiya 267 barley 10. 81. The (Syria) 450–1. 255. 321. Akkadian Empire. 129. 184. 486. 498–501 Balawat (Imgur-Enlil) 84. 149. 165. 455. 101–115. 373. 79–81. 190. 233. aesthetics 7. 23. 308. 365 Birklinçay 84. 495. 381. 29. tectonic 69. 171–2. 55. 501 Agade (see Akkad) agency 101. 507 Astiruwas 194–5 Atrisuhas 193. 486. 441. 164–5. 304. architectonic. 336. 494. North Palace at Nineveh (and sculptures) of 8. 419. 243. 463. 317–8. 374. 454–5. 273. history. 308 bird 48. 491. 97. Northwest Palace at Nimrud (and sculptures) of 3. 318. 431. 411–9. 147. 191. Akkadian language 10. 322. 308. 143–4. 445. 278. . 83. 70–1. 455–6. 387. 254. 157. 75. 411. 364. 338–9. 460.

380 Delphi 271. 338. 337. 130. 24–5 Columbia University 4. 181. 366 god (see also deity. 297. 215. 386–7 DiyarbakÌr 84 dog 196. 463. 458. 296. 239. 329. 336. 318–20. 417. 243–4. 415. 338. 137. 412. 340. 79. 309. 331. 329. 494 Chaldaeans 108. 125. 159 garment 27. 275. 360 Dår Kurigalzu 50–1 . 281. 53. 383. 426 Fort Shalmaneser 55. 74. 269. 265–82. 272. 114. 54. 135. 451. 209. Late Uruk seal impression from 49. 304–5. 15. 119. 376–7. 186. 332–3. 253. 412 erû 381 Esarhaddon 86. 300. 229. 106–11. 331. 214–5. 28. 321. 126. 81. 498 Gaumata 267. 370. 48. 90. 85. 321– Bisitun (Behistun) relief 265–282. 445–6 caprid 48. 214. 292 Demeter 301–3 deportees. 208–9. 380. 330. 328. 299. 242. 148. 280. 112. 339–40. 201 ceremony (see also ritual) 10. 125. 28. 11. 412.72. 332–3. 190–3. 255. 137. 122. 325. 169. 162. 466 eunuch 194–7. 53. 336. 268. 287. 378. 302–9. goddess) 8. 261 Chicago Assyrian Dictionary 16. 107. 185. 231–2. 190. 459. 54 . 275. 267. 52. 445 Elam. 141. in display 375. 340. 331–3. 295–300. 120. 276. 464. 304. 187–8. 326. 418. 331. 79. 124. 370. 336. 280–1. 328. 277 canon. McGuire 15 Gilgamesh 21. 109–12. 418. 308. 291 bread 82. 22. 318–9. 411. 330. 127 chariot 16. 23. 150–1. 431 Faida 163. 363. 164. 188–9. 165–72. 138. 189 Cyprus 49. 451. 149 captive 102. 14. 256 door plaque 324. Mesopotamian art 437. 77. 186. 327. Elamites 50. in scholarship 19. 323. 329–330. 339. 467 ethnography 3. 185. 291 deity (see also god. 217. 415. 306. 146–7. 161–2. 242. 74. 335. 327. 309 ethics. 188. 193. 500 Egypt 6. 304. 337. 250. 417 food 186. 108. 301. 123. 425. 66. 235–47. 414. 458. 75. 337–8. 143. 444 Elephantine 267 Eleusinian Mysteries 299. 489. 486.516 index Eannatum (see Stele of the Vultures) Ebabbar (see Sippar) Ebla (Tell Mardikh) 75. 165 fodder 411. 429. 454. 416. 162–71. 275. 48. in collecting 19. deportations 105. 78 Cyrus I 270 Dalton School 23 Darius I 9. 192–3. 339–40 craft workers 415 cup marks (hollows) 183. 457. 218. 113. 81–3. 326. 320. 230–3. 18. 267. 449–50. 76. 383–6 Carchemish 8. 453. 104. 260. 273. 121. 318. 296–9. goddess) 51. 301–3 en or en 86. 155. 338. 197. 278 gesture 89. 142. 114. 183. 328. 188– 90. 280. 317–29. 414–5. 236–7. 319. 438 Gibson. 243. 81–2. 108. in war 107 ethnoarchaeology 10. 146. 76–7. 322–4. 88. 331. 241. 501 En-Gedi (Israel) 47 Enki/Ea 307. 340–1. 24. 142. 301. 109–112. 138–9. 434 calendar 365. 267–8. 64 College Art Association 18. 423. 30 court lady 317. 240. 195. 338. 273. 243. 380. 217. 109–10. 337–8. 323. 350. 77. 210–3. 103. 276–7. 415. 461. 183. 179–97. 419. 69. 415. 418 Cambyses 267. 330. 195–6. 319. 458. 137–9. 319 Enkomi 78 Enuma Elish 306 ereà-dingir 318–9. 86. 202. 149–51. 52. 171. 332. 339 Eridu 319. 170–97. 51. 133. 295 Choga Mish. 54–5. 338–9. 76.

14. 281 Gudea 3. 267. 107. 279 king 8. 115. 136. 224. 233. 382. 78–9. 449–50. 320. 183. 105. 384. 454–5. 80. 440 Iliad 298 illicit trade in antiquities 18 Imperial religion 206. 179. 372. 215. 465 high priestess 317–341. 301 K-12 curriculum 23. 326. 26 Kamanis 195 Karhuhas 192 Karkamià (see Carchemish) Katuwas 82. 88. 338–41. 242. 171. 372. 332. 376. 29. 325. 75. 460–3. 380. 240–1. 481. 438. god) 34. 338. Code of 276–7 Éarimtu 382–3. 24. 274. 178 Khorsabad 50. 142. 308–9. 338. 384. 325. 107. 18. 186. 366. 214. 144. 381–2. 377. 381. Cambridge. 324. 185. 55. 141. . 438.index 3. 90. 455–7. 7–10. 304. 442 goddess (see also deity. 452. 302. 187–8. 298. 387–8. 269–70. 8. 458–9. 329–33. 319. 464–6. 239–40. 87–8. 133–4. 235. 53. 34. 180. 335–7. 34. 244–6. 184. 205–6. 180 Hattuàili I 75 Hauran. 24. 267. 125 Hammurabi 437. 185. 317. 213. 75. 466–7 Hephaistos 298. 242. 210 India 10. 29–30. Greek culture 9. Assyrian king as 102. 113–4. 186. 28. 232. 446. 419 habitus 73 Hades 303 hair or hairstyle 111. 483 headdress 34. 430. 113. 430. 246. 51 Hatti 85. 180. 303. 411. 16. 28. 279. 166. Massachusetts 5. 340. 217 Halule 171 Hama 82 Hamanu 109–10. 365. 440. 324. 379. 144–6. 267. 167. 463. 208. 370. 24. 279. 14. 480. 114 Great Staircase 181. 218. 245–7. 188–90. 54–5. 439. 441–2 Golan 53 good shepherd. 419 Khinis System 162–4. 240–1. 161. 148–52. 305. 299. 380. 333. 306 Huwawa 306–9 ideology 3. 329. 325. 244–5. 417. 164. 161–72. 177. 450. 323. 74. 325–6. 455–6. 384. 237. 441 horse 4. 136–7. 237. 296. 340. 147. 247–8. 183. 440. 229. 279–280. 445. 18. 238. kingship 7. 122. 218. 25. 302. 281. 371. 385. 445. 191. 22. 298. 112. 167–9. 273. 197 key symbol 10. 491. 24–5. 277 International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East 18 Ishtar (also temples at Nineveh and Assur) 21. 337–41. 303. 367. 205–218. 385 Harvard University. 102. 321. 72. 297. 320. 330–1. The (Syria) 450. 166. 337. 373. 336. 437. 105. 365. 437. 279. 337. 325. 329. 303. 441. 416. 438. 191–5. 186. 439. 376. 22. . 330. 137–40. 179. 333. 326. 196. 137. 363. 339–40. 188. 330–2. 261. 303 Herald’s Wall 181. 171. 229–30. 25. 193 Greece. 317. 188–97. 102–3. 81. 72. 182. 298. 321. 230–3. 331. 130. 332. 214. 339. 237–8. 194 hierarchy 9. 319–23. 389. 456. 461. 341 human spouse of a deity 322 Humbaba 21–3. 457–8. 235. 327–9. 14. 65. 14. 373. 370. 28. 26. in Persia 266. 241. 444 Inshushinak 275. 273–6. 323. 137. 458 517 human and divine spheres 322. 330–2. 54. 464–6 John of the Cross 300. 242. 482. 338. 22. 467 Hala Sultan Tekke 78 Haldi 208–10. 327. 209. 369–372. 268. 385–6. 442–3. 82–7. 190. 270–3. 9. 451 Hasanlu 23. 387 Hattuàa 75. 462. 242–4. 27. 302. 442 Iàtar-’awuàka 80–1 jewelry 10. 269. 365. 341. 381. 190–7. 335. 339–41. 328. 101. 179. 383. 325–7. 388– 9. 460–1. 106. 101–3. 28. 240–8. 378.

446 narrative 14. 14. 243. 101–115. 80. 270. Boston. 500 lexical texts 495–6. 366. 500 Massachusetts College of Art. 148. 491. 430 Nahal Mishmar (Israel) 47–55 . 101. 194 ossuaries. Massachusetts 18. 185–6. 26. 183. 317 orthostat 8. 279. 398. 84. 298–301. 69–90. 167–8. 304. 324. 162– 3. 443. 17. 279 Marching and Chowder Society 15 Marduk-apla-iddina II 270. 302. 448 Nebuchadnezzar I 277 Nebuchadnezzar II 430 Neo-Assyria art and culture of 3. 204 koine 72. 439 Ninlil 166–7. 78. 293. 341 King’s Gate 82. 170. 105. 299. 78. 183–4. 376. 487. 217. 203 Lullubi. 494 Nergal 86. 108. 340 Lindbach Award for Distinguished Teaching 15 lion 9. 308–9. 462. 170. 193. 495. 184. 289. 138. 215.518 index nakru 384 Naram Sin 137. 471. 464 Nimrud (see also Assurnasirpal II. 269. 374. 279 Long Wall of Sculpture 181. 460–1. 118 landscape 9. 89 Kubaba 191. 498. 236–8. 101–9. 462 NASA 96. 275. 280–1. 189–90. 491. 85. 137. 324. 290. 161. 298. 510 libation 143. 146. 209. 95. 366. 486. 188–9. 17 Malatya 76. 24. 372. 180. 295. 216. 498–9 Pasargadae 270–1 patronage 80. 87. 299–300. 192. 365 Ninurta 81. 170. 265–6. 70. 76. 267– 8. 374. 165–9 numerals (graphemes for) 497 Old Babylonian 21. 327. 86. 491. 306. University of Chicago 15. North Palace of and Sennacherib. 229–48. 378. 233. Nadav 15 Nabonidus 271. 248. 304. 369. 279. 494–5. 273–8. 134. 183–4. 229–234. Southwest Palace of) 50. 146. 181–2. 453. 297. 152. 51. 472 Nineveh (see also Assurbanipal. 275. 427. 99. 384–5. 144. 306. 97. Stele of 9. 430. 397. 492. 144. history and language of 105. 192 kudurru 489. 306. 148– 50. 252. 82. 133–52. 246. 8. 108. 210. 184 Maltai 163. 327. 167. 500 Northern System 162–3. 14. 66. 114. 501 kulålu 55 kur 308 Kurban Höyük 413 Lachish 106. 271. 81–2. pictorial paving slab 54. 250. 29. 251. 320–3. 240–7. 67 melammu 9. 441. 206. 17. 193. 336. 304. 171. 295–310 Middle Assyrian Palace Decrees 383 mountain sheep 50. 444. 150. 269–70. 71. “Great” 437–445 MacArthur Prize 16. 440 Megiddo. 308. Northwest Palace of) 3. 34. 22. 373. 81. 279. 367. 274. 308 Nippur 15. 133. 163. 14. 339. 53. 211. 183–6. 489–90. 139. 189–90. 54. 33. 372. 371. 424. 98. 165–7. 176 Mamu 84 Manishtushu 274. 243–5. 303–5. 273 pedagogy 22–31 Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary 16 210. 141–2. 278–80. 449. 497. 192–3. 309 netherworld 296. 189. 51 muÉÉu 385 Muràili I 74. 170. 387. 168. 279. 511 Oriental Institute. 304. 156. 485. 334. 112. 269. 11. 268. clay 48. 186. 170. 331. 270. 485. 143. 112–4. 498–9. 140. 275 Luristan bronzes 50 Lyre of Ur. 7. 171–2. 69–90. 273. 84 Na’aman. 269–70. 75. 491 Mari 75. 186. 164. 333. 53 Paleography/paleographic evidence 486– 7.

109. 146. 34. 280. 378–9. 106. 320. 268. 325. 317–320. 182. 212. 248. 356. 185. 363–7 Shutruk-Nahhunte 275. 349. 276. 336–7. 341 Reich. 354. 446. Delphi 271. 54. 149. 351. 183. 419. 18 regalia 304. 301. 309 seal. 239. 105. 423. 370. 185. 165. 192–3. 365. 327. 108. 165. 443. 339. 51. Marcel: 103–4 provenanced antiquities 18 puluÉtu 296–8. 204. 170–1 Proust. 52. 86. 301. 113. 105–6. 192. 106–0. 497. Edith 4. 358. 137. 192. 457. 9. 70. 455. 325–8. 137. Southwest Palace at Nineveh (and sculptures) of 102. 77. 145. 439 Shalmaneser I 386. 192–3. 462. . 439 Sennacherib 8. 332. 242–8. 102. 498. 161–172. fringed 138. 171. 279 Shamshi-Adad V 135 Shar-kali-sharri 274. 186. 87. 54. 110. 336. 270. 333–7. 189–90. 243. 445. Sigismund Sussia 450–4. 88. 17–8. 337. 302. pleated 271. 328. 179–80. 113. 461–3. 317. 381–4. 279. 329. 487. 28 Royal Buttress 181. 165. 75–6. 200. flounced 317. 14. 55 presentation scene 14. 329. 353. Elizabeth 16 Sin 166. 270–1. 279. 337. 106. 63. 151. 217. 437. 141–5. 102. 195–6. 444 Simpson. 500. 499 Shulgi-simti. 135. 111–2. 163. 379 semiotics 14. sealing. 340 prestigious architecture (bâtiment de prestige) 52. 52. 167. 501 519 Sar-i Pul 268. 142–4. 78. 385. 273. 328. 326. 440 Rimush 278 robe 34. 460. 329. 317. 186. 183–4. 374. 332. 202. 54–5. 327. 161–172. 321 ßâÉu 385 ’apinuwa (Ortaköy) 78 Sargon II (Sargonid Period) 50. 280. 17–8. 88–9. 297. 111. 476–7 rhetoric 7. 292 Sippar 275. 52. 387 Shalmaneser III (also see Fort Shalmaneser) 84. 111. 28. 33. 188. 277. 190. 319. 489. 282 (p)ilku 381 Porada. 185. 288 ’ariààa (KuâaklÌ) 78 ’arri-kuàuh (Piyaààili) 79 Scorpion Beings 296–9. 492. 279. 187. 270–1. 139. 139. 309 reception 14. 52–3. 306. statuette 8. 485. 22. 348. 115. 307. 34. 341. 83. 274. 161–2. 114. 29. 137. 27. 14. 338. 64. 202. 72. 48–9. 279. 464–6 Stele of the Vultures 15. 295–310 Ras Ibn Hani 78 Rebel Lands 308. 498–9. 341. 135. 302. 265. 327. 151. 386 Sargon of Akkad (Sargonic Period) 278. 29. 277. 443. 280 ’iru Maliktha 163 Source of the Tigris 84. 240. 141 stag 50–1. 386 Processional Entry 181–2. 272. 324–6. 141. 464. 190–1. 460–1. 339–40. 195– 6. tufted 327. 113. 491. 161. 457. 193. 243. 137. 62. 330. 280. 10. 266. 24. 359. 373. 24–7. 331. 333. 352. 501 seated figures 76. 145. 192. 202 Royal ideology 8. 274. 216. 24. 87. 486. 506 style 9. 53 statue. 111. 318–9. 194–7. 321. 339. 330–3. 338. 22–3. 333. 491–2 status 25. 243. 15. 168 sinnià§tu àa ekalli 383 Siphnian Treasury. 205. 101. 70. 134–5. 276. 171 Shamash 275 Shamshi-Adad I 278. 52. 28. 89–90 procession 51. 324–330. 218. 327. 300. 317. 307 qadiàtu 382 qarnu 50 radiance 9. 418. 108. 355. 154. 195–6 propaganda 18. 9. 335–7. 184. 496. 331 Rome 14. 181.index Persepolis 239. 274.330. 341. 193. seal impression 9.

496 Uruk (site) 49. 49–50. 495. 325. 207. 464. 128 Tilmen Höyük 75. 365. 49. 62. 47. Hayim 4. 319. 23. 453. 114. 327. altar of 437–446 Tukulti-Ninurta II 134 Ugarit (Ras Shamra) 78. 83. 334. 322. 52. 52. 320. 363. 318 University of Pennsylvania. 444. 64. 210. 450 unprovenanced antiquities 18. 480. 79. Pennsylvania 13. 340–1. 134 Tiglath-Pileser III 87. 35–43 (bibliography of). 52. 269–75. 295. Miriam 15. 186. 14. 333. 308 Tadmor. 130 Theodore Macridy 79 Tiamat 170. 443. 487. 89. 437. 332. Missouri 13 Water Gate (of Carchemish) 181. 431. 206. 494 ’uppuliliuma I 79 Susa 48. 90. 270. “Henessy Fresco” 53–4 Telipinu 79 Tell Beydar 493. 194 urban armature 78 Uruk (culture) 48–9. 188–93. 212. 135 Til Tuba. 48. 272. 326. 53. 21. 461. 26 Wadi el-Makkukh (Israel). 151. 77. 274–7. 218 Symeonoglou. 323. 208. 309. 488. 15. 138–9. 55. 113. 85. 184. 320. 13–9. 366. 197. 437. 322. 500 Tell ed-Der 412 Tell es-Sweyhat 414 Tell Fara 485. 163 Tadmor. 376. 333. 213. 332. 496. 323. 326. 189–90. 450. 95 town models 55 . 331. 460. 333. 488. 438. 214–5. 203 Sumerian language 16–7. 47. 81. 374. 323 437–446 Washington University. 331. 63. tarbouche 456–7. 79. 411 Teààub 77. 90. 83. 85. 267. 191–2 Suhis II 179. 306. 332. 492 Tell Hamam et-Turkman 414 Tell Ta’yinat 82 Tello 278. 416. 273. 336. 330.520 index Tukulti-Ninurta I (and Kar-TukultiNinurta) 10. 461–7. 481. 384–9 Tukulti-Ninurta. 416. 301 University of Chicago 16. 187. 388. 381. 432. 338. 191 Well Relief (of Aààur) 168 winged disc (or disk) 138–9. 377. 438. 54. 383. 379. 336. 321. 21–32. 85. 266. 369–70. 336. Irene J. 495. 218 Ura-Tarhunzas 186. 319. 163. 440. 81. Philadelphia. 186. 89. 495–9 Tell Halaf 82. 418. 456. 370. 280–1. 334. 417. 327. 487. 62. 319. 489. 148–9. Saint Louis. Royal Cemetery of (or Royal Tombs of) 29. 161. 326. 337–8. 272. 363. 370. 90 Tablet of Destinies 306–7. 329. 442. 301. 482 Taàmetu 168 technology 30. 337– 8. 478 Ur III Period 9. 277–81. 78. 333. 461–7. 105. 72. Sarantis 13 Syro-Hittite 69–70. 195. 84–5. 72. 76. 497 Urartian temple 205. 485. 111. 332. 190. 489 vignettes 101–15. 306–7 Tiglath-pileser I 83. 322. 388 Teleilat Ghassul (Jordan). 446 Ur 319. 105. 365. 236. 334. 3–11. 333. 499 Symbolic power 134. 494 Suhis I 82. 214 Urartu 207. 87. 320. 85 Teumman (Elamite king) 112. 278 visual literacy 25. 87. 491. battle of 112. 321–3. 327. 281 Winter. Warrior’s Tomb 54 Warka vase (or Uruk vase) 14. 86. 493 Ugaritic (language) 434 Underworld Vision of an Assyrian Prince 299. 485. 72. 191. 372–4. 466. 415. 71. 415. 182. 215. 211. 328–9. 54. 412. 308. 193. 460. 101–3. 76.

218. 411. 194–7 Yesemek 79 Zincirli 76. 271. 166. 332. 161. 71. 139. 164. 450. 188. 462. 324. 82 zirru 321. 266. 369. 133. 467. 105. 367. 485. 273. 445. 317. 444.index 69–70. 239. 323. 180. 331. 295. 307. 187. 205. 101. 372. 363. 330. 102. 150–1. 89. 192. 114. 265. 336 Zohab 268 521 . 248. 281. 423. 416 Yariris 179. 438. 323. 326. 190. 233–4. 446. 463. 419. 501 workshop 53. 309. 137. 179.

xvi table of contents .