AbstractAssyria (911–612 BCE) can be described as the founder of the imperial model of kingship in the ancient Near East. The Assyrian court itself, however, remains poorly understood. Scholarship has treated the court as a disembodied, textual entity, separated from the physical spaces it occupied – namely, the palaces. At the same time, architectural analyses have examined the physical structures of the Assyrian palaces, without consideration for how these structures were connected to people’s lives and works. The palaces are often described as secluded, inaccessible locations. This study presents the first model of the Assyrian court contextualized in its actual palaces. It provides a nuanced model highlighting how the court organized the immense flow of information, people and goods entering the palace as a result of the empire’s increased size and complexity. It argues that access to the king was regulated by three gates of control which were manned by specific types of personnel and a more situational organization that moved within the physical spaces of the palace and was contingent on the king’s activity.
Journal of Ancient History – de Gruyter
Published: May 26, 2019