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Shepherds of the Black-headed People : The Royal Office Vis-a-vis Godhead in Ancient Mesopotamia, 2nd Edition

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Shepherds of the Black-headed People : The Royal Office Vis-a-vis Godhead in Ancient Mesopotamia, 2nd Edition

Shepherds of the Black-headed People :
The Royal Office Vis-a-vis Godhead in Ancient Mesopotamia, 2nd Edition

by Katerina Saskova and Lukas Pecha
English | 2016 | ISBN: 8026106075 | 232 Pages | PDF | 3.16 MB

Review of archaeological contexts of seal finds in excavations of early Sumerian Ur (30th-26th centuries BC).

"How, the, can we envisage the position of the Mesopotamian rulers vis-a-vis their gods and goddesses? This is hardly fitting into the popular cliches pertinent to the ancient Oriental rulers. Kings and queens of ancient Mesopotamia did not grovel in the dust below the feet of their deities, slavishly executing what they deemed to have been "celestial orders". Neither, however, can they be likened unto Sardanapal the tyrant of the famous painting by Eugene Delacroix, who, when he felt his own death approaching, put to death and destruction all that belonged to him including his harem. Should we choose a modern simile that may seem shocking, we propose that the relations among the Mesopotamian kings, their subjects and their deities may be figuratively compared to a soccer match in which the royal and the non-royal sectors of Mesopotamian society represent the two player teams, while the playground and the rules of the game are defined and provided by the divinity institutions.

Though the political courses of ancient Mesopotamian states might have sometimes led them into dire straits, the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians learned well that what had always to remain stable and unmoved, was the underlying cultural pattern, the "blueprint" on which their civilization rested, defined, by and large, by religion. Much the same role was played by religion with respect to the set of rules regulating supra-kinship ties within Mesopotamian societies. Bearers of the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations felt no need for any office of high priest, a papal curia, or an Inquisition office, though religious institutions they did know well. To a certain extent, it might be said that for the ancient Mesopotamians, religion was society and society was religion." - from the Preface