The image of violence and the violence of the image: War and ritual in Assyria (Ninth - seventh centuries BCE)

2018-04-01T02:54:57Z (GMT) by Marcelo Rede
<p></p><p>Abstract The idea of a predominantly bellicose and cruel Assyrian Empire (Ninth - Seventh centuries BCE) was based on certain visions inherited from the past (ranging from classical authors to the Hebrew Bible). From the nineteenth century onwards it developed following archaeological discoveries and the deciphering of cuneiform texts. Alongside official documents (inscriptions, annals, etc.), the images of the reliefs of Assyrian palaces played a central role in this construction. Considering this vision as the result of ideological and propagandistic manipulation of royal discourse and identifying an acritical approach of modern historiography is necessary, but not sufficient. This article seeks to offer an alternative appreciation. It proposes that it is necessary to conceive images of violence as active agents of the social phenomenon of sacred war, in a context of a process of expansion. The responses point in a dual direction: first to the relationship between visual violence and the specific type of Assyrian expansionism; in second place, to the ritual nature of visual artefacts.</p><p></p>