Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

Kings and Kingship in the Ancient Near East

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1929
Section 001
Instructor Hallie Franks
Days MW
Time 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, PREMOD, GLOBAL



Sargon. Hammurabi. Nebuchadnezzar. Darius. While these names might sound only vaguely familiar to modern ears, the men behind them were influential ancient rulers. What do we know about them, and how do we know it? How did these men define their kingship and communicate their power to their subjects, rivals, and allies? In this class, we address these questions, concentrating in particular on the role of visual material in the construction and maintenance of the image of kingship in the ancient Near East (an artificial, modern category that encompasses many millennia of diverse civilizations in and around the region of the modern Middle East). Working primarily with archaeological material and with pieces of art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we think about how ancient kings and their courts used images to assert the king’s right and worthiness to rule, to attest to his character, and to describe the extent of his power. We consider, too, the legacies of individual kings and how successors—ancient and modern—have responded to them. And we look at the evidence for women in and around positions of power. Monuments from the following cultures will be our focus: Early Dynastic, Akkadian, Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid Persian.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)