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Communities of StylePortable Luxury Arts, Identity, and Collective Memory in the Iron Age Levant$
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Marian H. Feldman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226105611

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226164427.001.0001

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Creating Assyria in Its Own Image

Creating Assyria in Its Own Image

(p.79) Chapter 3 Creating Assyria in Its Own Image
Communities of Style

Marian H. Feldman

University of Chicago Press

The chapter proposes that practicing a consistent style, distinct from the varied stylistic practices of the Levant, helped to bolster Assyrian state consolidation as a community of culturally conversant courtiers. It first articulates the traits that have defined an Assyrian state style, considering aspects of homogeneity across media, technique, scale, and context. Then a case study of images of booty and tribute highlights the oppositional nature of the Assyrian style that defines itself chiefly in contrast to others. The strong, coherent, and consistent style produced by the Assyrian state was part of an active strategy for maintaining a memory of conquest over the vanquished Other, at the same time neutralizing the Other so it could no longer threaten Assyria. Thus the rendering of otherness acted to establish norms of “being Assyrian” through a process of stylistic Assyrianization that emptied the Other of its own stylistic identity. The controlled and orderly nature of the Assyrian style further suggest an underlying allusion to cosmogonic myths of creation, in particular that of Enuma Elish, such that the creation of an Assyrian world through a pervasive style coextends with the divine world and cosmic order.

Keywords:   Assyria, Assyrian style, Booty, Tribute, the Other, Enuma Elish, Cosmogony, cosmic order

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