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Title: Claiming the world : geographical conceptions and royal ideology in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, with focus on the reign of Sargon II (721-705 B.C.)
Author: Zamazalová, S.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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The thesis investigates the way in which the world and its various aspects are presented in sources from the Neo-Assyrian empire, and how they relate to the ideology of kingship. The investigation follows a two-pronged approach, exploring natural landmarks such as watercourses, lakes, seas and oceans, as well as man-made landmarks in the form of cities and toponyms used to label the Assyrian and non-Assyrian worlds. These are analysed in the context of a wide range of textual and visual sources, including royal inscriptions and reliefs, archival documents such as correspondence and administrative texts, and scribal and literary compositions. While the role of geographical conceptions in shaping and promoting royal ideology forms the underlying theme of the research, this is contrasted where possible with perceptions of the world in administration, scholarship and literature. The result is a rich and multi-layered picture in which different ways of seeing the world emerge from different types of sources. The main chronological focus of the study is the reign of Sargon II (r. 721–705 B.C.). It was during this period that the world view presented in official documents underwent an important shift, from the traditional “four corners” model, in which seas and lakes defined the extent of the known world, to a world encircled by the “Bitter Stream” (marratu), a permeable barrier to lands beyond. The new model is closely linked to a literary source, the Babylonian Map of the World, for which a new date is suggested. The evolution of the “Bitter Stream” world view and the perceptions of other landmarks are placed in a wider historical, administrative, scholarly and literary context in order to elucidate broader patterns of influence and underline the connection between ideology and political reality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available