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Stealing the enemy‘s Gods: an exploration of the phenomenon of Godnap in Ancient Western Asia

Johnson, Erika Diane (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

When an ancient Near Eastern city was besieged and looted the statues and cultic appurtenances of the gods were often confiscated by the conquerors. Their loss was more than a heavy blow to the defeated people: the statue was the god‘s representation on earth and watched over and protected the city so his abandonment of his city was thought to have a lasting devastating effect. From the point of view of the conqueror the statue could be used not only as a tool of intimidation but for bribery and a crude form of diplomacy and as propaganda for his might and glory. In this thesis the history of the phenomenon of godnap is explored for the first time and there is also an investigation of related problems in religion and cultural history. At the outset a detailed investigation of the numinous character of an ancient Mesopotamian statue is given including an account of the ritual that imbued it with this divine quality. Special attention is given to Marduk of Babylon and the episodes in which even he found himself the victim of theft. The thesis includes an excursus on evocatio and parallels between Hittite and ancient Roman practices are drawn.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Livingstone, Alasdair and Haskamp, Birgit
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
Subjects:CB History of civilization
D051 Ancient History
DS Asia
PJ Semitic
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3187
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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