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II. "Idols Of The King": Ritual Contexts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines our evidence for these rituals and will show how, through the simultaneous actions of image-making and ritual performance, Assyrian kings not only marked territorial conquest in a literal way, but also engaged a highly-charged symbolic field of space, tradition and legitimacy. Assyrians ensured a strong symbolic association between the empire’s center and its borders. By extension, 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. The monuments to be examined here are Assyrian rock reliefs dated to the reign of Sennacherib, located in northern Assyria. Using a combination of archaeological remains and textual sources, the author investigates 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.

Keywords: Assyrian rock reliefs; imperial space; ritual activity; Sennacherib



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