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'Idols Of The King': Royal Images As Recipients Of Ritual Action In Ancient Mesopotamia

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Chapter Summary

The city-state over which Gudea ruled was one of the most important of early Mesopotamia. Its territory was considerable, including several satellite cities and towns, of which the site of Tello (ancient Girsu), where the statues were found, was one of the largest. It can be shown that different city-states in ancient Mesopotamia had different traditions in nomenclature, with a consistent preference throughout the historical sequence in Lagash for the term that emphasized the ruler's stewardship vis-à-vis the tutelary deity, who in title at least was the primary ruler of the state. The presence of the royal image as votary in the god's sanctuary both speaks to a need for the god's munificence and also testifies to a special relationship between the ruler and the divine. It makes manifest a ruler's privileged mediating role between the gods and the people, a status sanctioned in the Mesopotamian cosmology.

Keywords: ancient Mesopotamia; Lagash; royal image

10.1163/ej.9789004174993.i-542.28
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004174993.i-542.28
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