Bit by bit : an iconographic study of horses in the reliefs of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883 - 859 BC)

Baldwin, Stephanie (2014-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The focus of this study is to investigate the role that horses played in the Ancient Near East, specifically during the reign of the Neo-Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883-859BC). By studying nine of the reliefs from the North-West Palace at Nimrud, the function of horses with regard to warfare during that time was explored. The analysis included an examination of all horses and equine tack, which consists of chariots, bridles, bits, breastplates and decorations. The reliefs are studied by using Erwin Panofsky’s Theoretical Scheme, which allows for three stages of analysis. Each of the reliefs is examined as a whole, in order to place the relief in context, followed by a detailed breakdown of the horses, specifically their body language, as well as their tack and the function thereof. It was found that the Assyrians used the horses’ body language to help set the tone of the relief, as the horses would display aggressive body language when under attack and relaxed body language when not under attack, for example reliefs showing parades or military camps. It was also noted that the horses of the enemies were illustrated in such a way as to show the prowess of the victorious Neo-Assyrian army. It was found that horses were instrumental in warfare as well as depicting status and rank within the military structures.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die fokus van hierdie studie is om die rol wat perde in die Ou Nabye Ooste gespeel het, te ondersoek, spesifiek tydens die bewind van die Neo-Assiriese koning Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 v.C.). Deur nege van die reliëfs van die Noordwes-Paleis by Nimrud te bestudeer, is die funksie van perde met betrekking tot oorlogvoering gedurende daardie tyd ondersoek. Die analise sluit ’n ondersoek van alle perde en perdetuig in, wat uit waens, tome, stange, borsplate en versierings bestaan. Die reliëfs word bestudeer deur Erwin Panofsky se Teoretiese Skema, wat vir drie fases van ontleding voorsiening maak, te gebruik. Elkeen van die reliëfs word as ’n geheel ondersoek, ten einde die reliëf in konteks te plaas, gevolg deur ’n volledige uiteensetting van die perde, spesifiek hul lyftaal, asook hul tuie en die funksie daarvan. Daar is gevind dat die Assiriërs die perde se lyftaal gebruik het om die toon van die reliëf te help stel. Die perde sou aggressiewe lyftaal vertoon wanneer hulle aangeval word en ontspanne lyftaal wanneer hulle nie aangeval word nie, byvoorbeeld reliëfs wat parades of militêre kampe wys. Daar is ook opgemerk dat die perde van die vyande op so ’n wyse geïllustreer is om die dapperheid/vaardigheid van die oorwinnende Neo-Assiriese leër te toon. Daar is gevind dat perde instrumenteel in oorlogvoering was asook dat hulle status en rang binne die militêre strukture uitgebeeld het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86362
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