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I. "Seat Of Kingship/A Wonder To Behold": Architectural Contexts

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Chapter Summary

The author focuses on one of the ten circular ring-like objects from the treasure, which the excavator defined as “crowns” for want of a better term. The Nahal Mishmar crowns may well be architectural models of round buildings, of which crown no.7 with its horned gate-like projection is the most articulate. 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. From a modern perspective, the artistic treatment of Assyria’s opponents, especially in the reign of Ashurbanipal, suggests conflicting perceptions of the enemy. The “enemy” vignettes, however, are full of ambiguities that convey the inherent tragedy of the situation; and therein lies their power to captivate. They transcend the morbid recesses of the battleground, blurring triumph with tragedy, and persecution with protection.

Keywords: architectural models; Ashurbanipal; Iron Age; monumental buildings; Nahal Mishmar crowns



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