This book assesses how Middle Eastern leaders manipulated visuals to advance their rule from around 4500 BC to the 19th century AD. In nine fascinating narratives, it showcases the dynamics of long-lasting Middle Eastern traditions, dealing with the visualization of those who stood at the head of the social order.
Picturing Royal Charisma assesses how Middle Eastern leaders manipulated visuals to advance their rule from around 4500 BC to the 19th century AD. In nine fascinating narratives, it showcases the dynamics of long-lasting Middle Eastern traditions, dealing with the visualization of those who stood at the head of the social order. The contributions discuss: Mesopotamian kings who cast themselves as divine representatives in art; the relationships between the ‘king of men’ and ‘king of beasts’ – the lion; Akhenaten’s visual conception of a divine king without hybrid attributes; the royal image as guiding movements of visitors in the palace of Nimrud; continuities in the functions and representation of Neo-Assyrian eunuchs that survived in the Achaemenid, Sasanian, Byzantine and Islamic courts; the triumphal arch of the emperor Titus and its reflections in Christian Constantinople; patterns of authority and royal legitimacy in 3rd century AD Palmyra and Rome; the use of the Biblical past in the construction of kingship in 12th century Crusader Jerusalem; and the use of ‘the power of images’ by Islamic rulers, adopting visuals of thrones and throne-rooms despite Islamic opposition to the figurative portrayal of kings.
Introduction : Picturing Royal Charisma: The Image of Kings in the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Fourth Millennium to the Islamic Period (c. 3250 BCE to 1600 CE) – Arlette David, Rachel Milstein, Tallay Ornan ;
Chapter 1: In the Beginning: The First 1200 Years in Mesopotamia – Claudia E. Suter ;
Chapter 2: The Defeat of the Lion: A Visual Trope Promoting Ancient Near Eastern Kings – Tallay Ornan ;
Chapter 3: Hybridism as a Visual Mark of Divinity: The Case of Akhenaten – Arlette David ;
Chapter 4: The Architectural Presence of the Assyrian King in His Palaces – David Kertai ;
Chapter 5: The King’s Faithful Servants: The Eunuch’s Role as Sovereign Attribute with an Emphasis on Assyria – Irit Ziffer ;
Chapter 6: The Arch of Titus: Jerusalem in Rome – Galit Noga-Banai ;
Chapter 7: Basileus basileion: Weberian Approaches to Authority in the roman Near East – Michael Sommer ;
Chapter 8: Royal Sovereignty in Frankish Jerusalem: Davidic Legacy and the Transformation of Jerusalem’s Cityscape in the 12th Century – Anna Gutgarts ;
Chapter 9: Sacred Space and the Royal Seat: Islamic Imagery of Kingship – Rachel Milstein
About the Author
Arlette David trained as a lawyer (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and as an Egyptologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she is now Professor of Egyptology. She has published studies on ancient Egyptian legal languages, scriptural categorization, art and material culture, and especially on the iconography of the Amarna Period (recently Renewing Royal Imagery: Akhenaten and Family in the Amarna Tombs, 2021).
Rachel Milstein studied Islamic art and culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where, until her retirement, she taught Islamic art. Her research focuses on illustrative painting, mainly in Persian manuscripts, and her principal publications concentrate on religious iconography (Miniature Painting in Ottoman Baghdad, Costa Mesa, 1990, and La Bible dans l’art islamique, 2005).
Tallay Ornan is Professor emerita in the Departments of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and of Art History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She specializes in the art of the ancient Near East, focusing on the Bronze and Iron Ages, c. 3000‒500 BCE. Her publications combine studies dealing with Mesopotamian, Syrian, and Levantine art to shed light on the transfer of ideas within the Near Eastern Bronze and Iron Ages and processes of cultural borrowing and reception.