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Ornament And The "Rhetoric Of Abundance" In Assyria

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Chapter Summary

Among the many roles and identities associated with the Assyrian king in textual sources, some verbal epithets can be paired quite literally with images in the visual repertoire of respective rulers. Because of the relationship to the relief of Assurnasirpal, attention has tended to focus on this central panel of the ?Tree of Abundance," and the concentric ornamental bands that surround the center. This chapter argues that the surround for the more iconic and ceremonial scenes at the center are far more than mere decoration. It suggests that they form an intrinsic part of the iconography of the panel as a whole, and actually represent the extended universe issuing forth from the center: the promise of plenty and abundance in the land, called for by the Assyrian kings as per the citations, that will come about as a consequence of the king's proper relationship with the divine sphere.

Keywords: ?Tree of Abundance"; Assyrian kings; ceremonial scenes; iconography; ornamental bands; relief of Assurnasirpal



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