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

Johnson, Erika Diane (2011). Stealing the enemy‘s Gods: an exploration of the phenomenon of Godnap in Ancient Western Asia. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
P Language and Literature > PJ Semitic


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