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Social Aspects

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Chapter Summary

Various religious ceremonies and activities were probably conducted in a besieged city. Unfortunately, there is very little extant data on this subject. According to our sources, appeals to the god(s) were generally initiated by the king, who personally participated in such ceremonies, and can be divided into two spheres: appeals within the ceremonial sphere of prayer and request for deliverance, and appeals within the mantic sphere of divination. The technical nature of appeal to the god(s) suggests that the activities required specialized experts: priests in the sphere of prayer and various kinds of prognosticators in the sphere of divination. One of the characteristic acts of the king of a besieged city is his appeal to the god through prayer and divination. The information available about public life in the ancient Near East during siege is, sparse and fragmentary, and its interpretation often requires conjecture.

Keywords: ancient Near East; besieged city; divination; prayer; public life; religious ceremonies



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