Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Trees, Kings, and Politics: Studies in Assyrian Iconography


Porter, Barbara Nevling (2003). Trees, Kings, and Politics: Studies in Assyrian Iconography. Fribourg, Switzerland / Göttingen, Germany: Academic Press / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Abstract

The essays collected in this volume (two previously unpublished) examine ways in which the kings of ancient Assyria used visual images to shape political attitudes and behavior at the royal court, in the Assyrian homeland, and in Assyria's vast and culturally diverse empire. The essays discuss visual images commissioned by Assyrian kings between the ninth and seventh century B.C., all carved in stone and publicly displayed - some on steles erected in provincial cities or in temples, some on the massive stone slabs lining the walls of Assyrian palaces and temples, and one on top of a stone bearing an inscription granting privileges to a recently conquered state. Although the essays examine a wide assortment of images, they develop a single hypothesis: that Neo-Assyrian kings saw visual images as powerful and effective tools of public persuasion, and that Assyrian carvings were often commissioned for much the same reason that modern politicians arrange "photo opportunities" - to shape political opinion and behavior in diverse and not always cooperative populations by means of publicly displayed, politically charged visual images.
Although there is increasing agreement among Assyriologists and art historians that Assyrian royal stone carvings were created and displayed at least in part for their political impact on contemporaries, there is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of visual imagery as a political tool, about the message each particular image was designed to convey, and about the audiences these images were meant to influence. These are the problems the essays collected here confront.
Four of the essays focus on a group of enigmatic, widely varied images often lumped under the misleading rubric, "the Assyrian sacred tree." The essays collected here consider the Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal II as the setting for one important group of these images; the implications of the scene in which winged figures flank the "tree" image and touch it with bumpy oval objects; the proposal advanced by Simo Parpola that some Assyrians understood the image to represent the Assyrian king as "perfect man"; and the function of the scene showing the "tree" with winged figures as an Assyrian response to a haunting sense of time as destroyer. Other essays in the volume explore the political implications of the images carved on the object known as "The Black Stone of Esarhaddon"; the potential for visual images to undermine the political agenda they were intended to support; the adaptation of similar images to carry different political messages; and the role of visual imagery in an Assyrian propaganda that presented messages of both intimidation and friendly persuasion.

Abstract

The essays collected in this volume (two previously unpublished) examine ways in which the kings of ancient Assyria used visual images to shape political attitudes and behavior at the royal court, in the Assyrian homeland, and in Assyria's vast and culturally diverse empire. The essays discuss visual images commissioned by Assyrian kings between the ninth and seventh century B.C., all carved in stone and publicly displayed - some on steles erected in provincial cities or in temples, some on the massive stone slabs lining the walls of Assyrian palaces and temples, and one on top of a stone bearing an inscription granting privileges to a recently conquered state. Although the essays examine a wide assortment of images, they develop a single hypothesis: that Neo-Assyrian kings saw visual images as powerful and effective tools of public persuasion, and that Assyrian carvings were often commissioned for much the same reason that modern politicians arrange "photo opportunities" - to shape political opinion and behavior in diverse and not always cooperative populations by means of publicly displayed, politically charged visual images.
Although there is increasing agreement among Assyriologists and art historians that Assyrian royal stone carvings were created and displayed at least in part for their political impact on contemporaries, there is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of visual imagery as a political tool, about the message each particular image was designed to convey, and about the audiences these images were meant to influence. These are the problems the essays collected here confront.
Four of the essays focus on a group of enigmatic, widely varied images often lumped under the misleading rubric, "the Assyrian sacred tree." The essays collected here consider the Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal II as the setting for one important group of these images; the implications of the scene in which winged figures flank the "tree" image and touch it with bumpy oval objects; the proposal advanced by Simo Parpola that some Assyrians understood the image to represent the Assyrian king as "perfect man"; and the function of the scene showing the "tree" with winged figures as an Assyrian response to a haunting sense of time as destroyer. Other essays in the volume explore the political implications of the images carved on the object known as "The Black Stone of Esarhaddon"; the potential for visual images to undermine the political agenda they were intended to support; the adaptation of similar images to carry different political messages; and the role of visual imagery in an Assyrian propaganda that presented messages of both intimidation and friendly persuasion.

Statistics

Altmetrics

Downloads

228 downloads since deposited on 23 Feb 2018
228 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Monograph
Communities & Collections:Special Collections > Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
290 Other religions
930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:23 Feb 2018 11:17
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 11:39
Publisher:Academic Press / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Series Name:Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Volume:197
Number of Pages:113
ISBN:3-7278-1449-7
Additional Information:Digitalisat erstellt durch Florina Tischhauser, Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar, Universität Zürich
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:http://www.zora.uzh.ch/54117/

Download

Download PDF  'Trees, Kings, and Politics: Studies in Assyrian Iconography'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF
Size: 6MB