Browsing by Subject "assyriology"

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  • Ito, Sanae (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Assurbanipal, the last great king of the Assyrian Empire (934-609 BC), ruled from 668 BC until at least 630 BC. He had to spend four years suppressing a revolt by ama - umu-ukīn, his older brother and the king of Babylon (667-648 BC), but his reign was much longer than his predecessors and he controlled almost all the area of the Ancient Near East. One of the essential bodies of research material on his reign is his correspondence, which has never before been studied in detail because much of it has been published in cuneiform copies only. His extant correspondence consists of 359 letters: 72 letters from him (the so-called royal letters) and 287 letters to him. Royal letters are particularly rare in the Assyrian correspondence and Assurbanipal s royal letters outnumber those of his predecessors, hence this dissertation focuses on them. The letters deal with political, military, and diplomatic matters through the king s point of view and in his words. The aim of this research has been to find out what image of himself Assurbanipal tried to convey in his letters and how he utilized the image in order to further Assyrian policies. The dissertation uses philological method and also takes advantage of the electronic database of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project (Helsinki), which contains the majority of texts of the Neo-Assyrian period in transliteration. Most of Assurbanipal s royal letters were written during the revolt and its aftermath, and sent to Babylonia, Elam, and the Sealand, which were deeply involved in the revolt. Since the most common recipients of the missives were citizens, Assurbanipal clearly considered it particularly important to address the population at large when the revolt shook the foundation of the empire. As the royal letters originate in the state archives in the capital of Assyria, Nineveh, most of them are archival copies or drafts. Two languages and two scripts (Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian) were used in them, but the drafts would have first been drawn up in Neo-Assyrian, and later translated into Neo-Babylonian, perhaps first in Assyrian script and only later in Babylonian script. Assurbanipal had dialogue with both adversaries and adherents, emphasized the favours he had done, and described himself as a benevolent and merciful king who was capable of establishing justice, peace, and equality in the realm. He involved Nippur and Uruk in Assyrian military activities against rebels and settled a sibling rivalry between the governor of Ur and his predecessor. He continued a conciliatory policy towards Babylon even during the revolt in order to resolve the conflict peacefully. He tried to incorporate foreign countries into Assyrian control by treaties and sometimes exerted direct pressure on them with thinly veiled threats. Some countries came under Assyrian rule at their own initiative in order to acquire military and political gains from Assyria. Throughout the royal letters, he stressed his devotion to the gods and their support for his rule. Especially A ur, supreme god of Assyria, was an important figure in the letters.
  • Bennett, Eleanor (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    During the Neo-Assyrian period (approximately 934-612 BCE, based in modern Iraq) the annals and royal inscriptions of several kings mention women with a curious title: ‘Queen of the Arabs’. These women have been included in previous discussions regarding Assyrian interaction with the ‘Arabs’, but a full investigation into their roles as rulers has been lacking. This is what this dissertation seeks to answer: what were the roles of the ‘Queens of the Arabs’ during the Neo-Assyrian period? The reason for no prior traditional Assyriological research into these women is due to a very small number of texts. As Assyriology has traditionally been a text-based discipline, a corpus of just twenty-eight texts has not been seen as ‘worthy’ of a full investigation. This dissertation goes beyond the traditional approach, by incorporating gender theory and comparative methodology. A key heuristic tool in this dissertation is Michael Mann’s ‘IEMP’ model of power. This has identified three key areas where we can clealy see the roles of the ‘Queens of the Arabs’: military, economic, and religious roles. The most important finding was that the process of researching about ‘Arabs’ meant contending with two layers of misinterpretation. The first of which is the misunderstandings of modern scholars allowing modern stereotypes influence how they write about ‘Arabs’. The second is that the ancient sources themselves do not seem to know who or what they refer to when they discuss the ‘Arabs’. This has resulted in a discussion based on these women as individuals, not as a group. We do not know if they all ruled the same population group, and so they may have all been rulers of different cultures. We see Samsi, Teʾelḫunu, and Adiye in positions of military leadership, and Samsi was potentially even present on the battlefield. Zabibê, Samsi, and Tabūʾa all exhibited the ability to control either resources or access to the networks that transported these resources. And finally, Teʾelḫunu likely had a religious role of some sort as part of her leadership duties, but we do not know what that was. None of these women appear in all of the chapters, and as such should be discussed as individuals.