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Look Inside The Mythology of Kingship in Neo-Assyrian Art

The Mythology of Kingship in Neo-Assyrian Art


  • Date Published: April 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521517904

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About the Authors
  • The relief slabs that decorated the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which emphasized military conquest and royal prowess, have traditionally been understood as statements of imperial propaganda that glorified the Assyrian king. In this book, Mehmet-Ali Ataç argues that the reliefs hold a deeper meaning that was addressed primarily to an internal audience composed of court scholars and master craftsmen. Ataç focuses on representations of animals, depictions of the king as priest and warrior, and figures of mythological beings that evoke an archaic cosmos. He demonstrates that these images mask a complex philosophical rhetoric developed by court scholars in collaboration with master craftsmen who were responsible for their design and execution. Ataç argues that the layers of meaning embedded in the Neo-Assyrian palace reliefs go deeper than politics, imperial propaganda, and straightforward historical record.

    • Explains the layers of meaning behind Neo-Assyrian palace reliefs
    • Special focus upon visual representations of animals and the king as priest and warrior
    • Explores ancient Mesopotamian kingship and religion
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'There is much in this book that ancient and art historians will find of interest. The method of analyzing Assyrian art in the light of the wide body of textual sources and comparative mythology is most welcome.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    'All interested in the adaptation of primordial myth to illustrate a later art will find many thought-provoking observations in this book.' American Journal of Archaeology

    'The field of ancient Near Eastern studies has traditionally been characterized by the philological virtue of attending closely to the text. Ataç's book demonstrates how this virtue is as relevant to the reading of visual material as it is to the study of verbal records.' Journal of the American Oriental Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521517904
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 184 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.8kg
    • contains: 130 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Human and Animal Ontology in Assyrian Art: Introduction
    1. Ashurnasirpal II
    2. Tiglath-Pileser III
    3. Sargon II
    4. Sennacherib
    5. Ashurbanipal
    Conclusion to Part I
    Part II. Kingship and Priesthood in the Art of Ashurnasirpal II: Introduction
    6. The king, non-king
    7. 'La sale dite 'g''
    8. The mixta persona
    9. The king and the 'sacred tree'
    10. The encounter
    Conclusion to Part II
    Part III. The Semantics of Sages and Mischwesen in Assyrian Art and Thought: Introduction
    11. Before the flood
    12. Fertilization and purification
    13. King the man, the king-man
    14. 'Tiamat's brood'
    15. The ancient Mesopotamian flood traditions
    16. Lord of the netherworld
    Conclusion to Part III

  • Author

    Mehmet-Ali Ataç, Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania
    Mehmet-Ali Ataç is Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. A scholar of the art of the ancient Near East, he has contributed to The Art Bulletin and The Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions.

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