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6. Family Matters: Psychohistorical Reflections on Sennacherib and His Times

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with some reflections on the theoretical foundations of psychohistory. 'Common-sense' attempts to elucidate the psychology of important historical figures can be traced back to the historiography of the classical world. In Egyptology, the psychohistorical approach has some prominent advocates. Especially the Amarna period, and the 'mad' monotheistic king who defined it, Akhenaten, has attracted the attention of scholars interested in psychohistory. The chapter provides hundreds of inscriptions, comprising thousands of lines, in which Sennacherib records his own achievements and, at least occasionally, refers to his emotional responses to the challenges he faced. It talks about a genealogical tree that provides some key information on Sennacherib's grandparents, parents, siblings, wives, children, and a few other relatives. In the midst of his tenure as king of Assyria, Sennacherib claimed that in his prenatal state, the gods had felt great sympathy and affection for him.

Keywords: Akhenaten; Amarna period; Egyptology; genealogical tree; psychohistory; Sennacherib



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