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Drawing of a cylinder seal impression of Mukanišum, Mari. Ornan 2007: fig. 7. 

Drawing of a cylinder seal impression of Mukanišum, Mari. Ornan 2007: fig. 7. 

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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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Context 1
... to humble clay artifacts depict- ing pictorial features of the legendary archetypal Urukian king. Some terracotta figurines bear a large head recalling that of Humbaba surmounted by a figure wearing a short dress (Fig. 4). This figure has been identified by scholars as Gilga- mesh trampling the head of Humbaba, an episode mentioned in the epic (Fig. 5) (Barrelet 1968: 410-11, nos. 677, 831; George 2003: 100, n. 39; see, however, Braun- Holzinger 2007: 164). The telling feature of such figurines for our concern is the frequent depiction of a splayed, fan-like beard of Gilgamesh, which forms part of the representations of kings from the time of Ibbi-Sin (Suter 2010: 345 and n. 78) ...
Context 2
... by the manner in which the trampling is depicted on seals of two officials of Zimrilim from Mari (1775- 1761 BCE), suggesting the lack of a decisive convention to identify the trampling figure (Ornan 2007): on the cylinder seal and impression of Ana-Sin-taklaku it is the god who strides over the enemies, while on the seal impression of Mukanišum (Fig. 5) it is the king who tramples enemies. On the impression of Mukanišum the king is also highlighted by his position between two goddesses, on the right an interceding-type goddess and on the left a warrior goddess, probably Ishtar. That Ishtar shares the victory with the king is expressed by her standing, like the king, on the pile of ...


... 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. ...
In this ground-breaking study, Robin Baker investigates the contribution ancient Mesopotamian theology made to the origins of Christianity. Drawing on a formidable range of primary sources, Baker's conclusions challenge the widely held opinion that the theological imprint of Babylonia and Assyria on the New Testament is minimal, and what Mesopotamian legacy it contains was mediated by the Hebrew Bible and ancient Jewish sources. After evaluating and substantially supplementing previous research on this mediation, Baker demonstrates significant direct Mesopotamian influence on the New Testament presentation of Jesus and particularly the character of his kingship. He also identifies likely channels of transmission. Baker documents substantial differences among New Testament authors in borrowing Mesopotamian conceptions to formulate their Christology. This monograph is an essential resource for specialists and students of the New Testament as well as for scholars interested in religious transmission in the ancient Near East and the afterlife of Mesopotamian culture.
This contribution explores the material manifestations of Assyrian kingship and how they intersected with Assyrian ideology and religion. This state-of-the-field discussion focuses on the Neo-Assyrian period, 883–612 BCE. To legitimate their positions as the god Aššur's chosen delegate, the kings produced and consumed a vast array of monumental and portable goods, which served to represent the kings as beneficent creators of an orderly realm and protectors of the Assyrian world keeping chaos at bay.