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The Madness of King Rusa: the psychology of despair in eighth century Assyria

The Madness of King Rusa: the psychology of despair in eighth century Assyria Assyrian royal inscriptions, often dismissed as formulaic accounts of military campaigns, can be highly expressive in their representation of emotions, a subject of research that has gained much popularity in recent historical scholarship. This paper analyzes the description an author in the employ of the Assyrian King Sargon II gave in 714 BCE of the despair his opponent King Rusa felt when he observed how his troops were routed and his sacred city destroyed and looted. He found unusual terminology in literary and medical writings in order to convey the Urartian king's emotional breakdown and he was so successful in doing so that later readers concluded that Rusa committed suicide. Keywords: emotions, suicide, Assyria, Urartu, Sargon II In 714 BCE, the Assyrian emperor Sargon II led his army into the Zagros Mountains to the east of his then capital Kalhu, an aggression his northern neighbor Rusa of the mighty kingdom of Urartu chose to challenge, with disastrous consequences. Sargon crushed Rusa's troops in open battle near Mount Waush and the enemy king barely escaped alive, fleeing in a cowardly manner and hiding in the mountains. In revenge Sargon attacked the city of Muair, sacred to the Urartians, and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

The Madness of King Rusa: the psychology of despair in eighth century Assyria

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 4 (1) – Jun 1, 2016

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by the
ISSN
2324-8106
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2015-0024
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Assyrian royal inscriptions, often dismissed as formulaic accounts of military campaigns, can be highly expressive in their representation of emotions, a subject of research that has gained much popularity in recent historical scholarship. This paper analyzes the description an author in the employ of the Assyrian King Sargon II gave in 714 BCE of the despair his opponent King Rusa felt when he observed how his troops were routed and his sacred city destroyed and looted. He found unusual terminology in literary and medical writings in order to convey the Urartian king's emotional breakdown and he was so successful in doing so that later readers concluded that Rusa committed suicide. Keywords: emotions, suicide, Assyria, Urartu, Sargon II In 714 BCE, the Assyrian emperor Sargon II led his army into the Zagros Mountains to the east of his then capital Kalhu, an aggression his northern neighbor Rusa of the mighty kingdom of Urartu chose to challenge, with disastrous consequences. Sargon crushed Rusa's troops in open battle near Mount Waush and the enemy king barely escaped alive, fleeing in a cowardly manner and hiding in the mountains. In revenge Sargon attacked the city of Muair, sacred to the Urartians, and

Journal

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Jun 1, 2016

References