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Representations of the North Syrian Landscape in Neo-Assyrian Art

Allison Karmel Thomason
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
No. 323 (Aug., 2001), pp. 63-96
DOI: 10.2307/1357592
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1357592
Page Count: 34
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Representations of the North Syrian Landscape in Neo-Assyrian Art
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Abstract

This article explores the way in which landscapes are imagined by imperialist regimes, and in particular by the Neo-Assyrian empire of the early first millennium B. C. The landscape of North Syria, a primary territorial target of the expansionist Neo-Assyrian empire, was mapped out at the heart of the empire in depictions on stone reliefs adorning the palace walls at Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Nineveh. An analysis of these images suggests that the landscape of North Syria was represented by the Neo-Assyrian royal apparatus as a lush and bountiful world, full of exotic animals and natural diversity. Five pictorial topoi, or consistent themes of representation, of the North Syrian landscape are identified within the reliefs throughout the Neo-Assyrian period. These topoi expressed the political ideology that the North Syrian landscape, captured in the distance and recreated in the heartland in the form of royal gardens, was a necessary and beneficial addition provided by the Neo-Assyrian kings for the prosperity of the empire.

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