Abstract: Neo-Assyrian Palaces: Prestige, Power and Propaganda


In the first millennium BCE, in what is today Iraq, the ancient Assyrians built great palaces to serve not just as homes for their kings, but gathering places for their armies and store houses for their tribute.  They also used the art in their palaces to send messages of power and prestige to the peoples of their empire and beyond.  The images were carved onto large scale wall reliefs which were beautiful, yet also intended to educate the viewer on the dangers of failing to obey the king’s authority.  The earliest palaces bore images of the king as warrior, religious leader and mighty hunter, while later palaces were adorned with scenes of loyal subjects paying tribute, and disloyal ones paying the consequences.  Friend and foe would have been paraded past these illustrations on their way to see the king.  This illustrated lecture will present the wonders of these ancient monuments, the great variety and detail of their decoration, and their use as political propaganda by the Assyrians.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

There are numerous books available on Assyrian art all of which would contain a lot of images of the reliefs.  I also recommend:

Assyrian Sculpture, by Julian Reade

Assyrian Reliefs in the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, edited by Ada Cohen

Sennacherib’s Palace Without Rival, by John Malcolm Russell

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