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Cultic pedestal of Tukulti-Ninurta I, King of Assyria, Assur. Courtesy of the Museum of the Ancient Near East, Istanbul (7802). 

Cultic pedestal of Tukulti-Ninurta I, King of Assyria, Assur. Courtesy of the Museum of the Ancient Near East, Istanbul (7802). 

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Standing at the head of the social hierarchy, the Mesopotamian king had a close relationship with the gods and was considered a mediator between the earthly and divine spheres. The interaction between kings and gods had a supreme role in ensuring social welfare and a vital function in the empowerment of the ruler. The worldly needs of the ruler led...

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... I (1114-1076Feller 2010: 729); on one, the object of worship, Gula's dog, has survived (Herles 2006: 74-75, 221-22, figs. 26667). A rendering more relevant to our discussion is depicted on a larger pedestal, probably a nēmedu, 10 which was found outside the entrance to the Ishtar Temple, near the gate closest to the Sin-Šamaš Temple temple (Fig. 6). Here the royal image is highlighted by occupying the central location of the composition and emphasized by the two lahmu-like guardian figures flanking him. The composition recalls a temple facade (Herles 2006: 108-109, fig. 401;Winter 2008: 84) that permits a glance into its interior, in which the king replaces a divine image and, as ...

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... The potential divide between historical and legendary kings is frequently indistinct in written and material evidence: imagery from epic literature underlies the historical ideology of early Mesopotamian kings, and royal iconography blends the image of the historical king with his legendary predecessors (Ornan, 2014). Royal epics contain motifs very close to those that appear in the epics of legendary heroes and in Sumerian king lists; rulers who feature as the heroic subjects of epic are listed along with later historical kings. ...
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