Dr. David Kertai - "Assyria and the culture of being an empire"

Dr. David Kertai - "Assyria and the culture of being an empire"
Activity Date: 
Monday, Mar 14, 2016

In this colloquium I introduced the Assyrian Empire to the fellows and discussed the problems and potential inherent in the sources we have available for studying it. Studies have tended to focus on the empire’s political, economic or military history. This presentation aimed to highlight the role of material culture in creating a culture of empire and its importance in becoming and being an empire. The presentation introduced the central hypothesis of my project “The Otherworldly Places of Assyria”, which argues that Assyria’s culture of empire was centred on the idea of bringing the world together in Assyria. The booty, tribute and prisoners collected in Assyria are perhaps its most tangible manifestations, but this presentation focused on the role played by exotic animals and different mythological and apotropaic creatures brought to Assyria from the edges of the world, and their role in Assyria’s centres. Moshe Bildstein, who acted as moderator and respondent, expanded these points through an excellent series of comparisons and examples.