The Form, Function and Symbolism of Standards in Ancient Mesopotamia during the Third and Fourth Millennia BCE: An Iconographical Study

van Dijk, Renate Marian (2016-03)

Thesis (D.Phil)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: A standard can be defined as a long shaft with a sign or emblem attached to the top which may be held or which may stand on the ground. Standards are represented in Mesopotamian art from the emergence of the first city-states in the fourth millennium BCE until the first millennium BCE. This study examines how standards are depicted in the iconographic record of the third and fourth millennia BCE by examining their form, function and symbolism. Perhaps the most well-known type of standard is the battle standard, but there were also other types of standards — divine standards, royal standards, standards in ritual context, standards in judicial procedures, architectural, ritual, and city standards. The iconographic sources include glyptic art, or cylinder seals, as well as representations on vessels, inlays, plaques, stelae or stelae fragments, and rare examples of extant standards. A catalogue of all known iconographic representations of standards is provided. These examples are presented and compared, and commonalities and differences are identified and examined. The study is laid out in seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides the methodological framework for the study. Chapter 2 follows as a short background to the period under discussion, the third and fourth millennia BCE, providing a general context for the discussion. The main discussion of standards begins from Chapter 3. The standards of the four periods under consideration — namely, the Uruk, Early Dynastic, Akkadian and Neo-Sumerian periods — are discussed in Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 respectively. Each standard represented in each period is discussed in turn and some preliminary summaries and conclusions are presented. In Chapter 7 the findings from Chapters 3-6 are presented, analysed and interpreted. This entails first a discussion on the different standards themselves, then an evaluation of the different functions or the different contexts within which these standards are depicted, and thereafter a brief summary of each of the four periods under discussion is provided.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ’n Standaard kan gedefinieer word as ’n lang stok met ’n teken of ’n embleem wat aan die bopunt van die stok aangeheg is en wat vasgehou kan word of op die grond kan staan. Standaarde word in die kuns van Mesopotamië van die eerste stadstate in die vierde millennium vC tot die eerste millenium vC verteenwoordig. Hierdie studie ondersoek hoe standaarde uitgebeeld word in die ikonografiese rekord van die derde en vierde millennia vC deur hulle vorm, funksie en simboliek te ondersoek. Die mees bekende tipe standaard is dalk die oorlogstandaard, maar daar was ook ander tipes standaarde — goddelike standaarde, koninklike standaarde, standaarde in rituele konteks, standaarde in geregtelike prosedures, argitektoniese en stad standaarde. Die ikonografiese bronne sluit in gliptiese kuns, of silinderseëls, asook voorstellings op potte, inlegsels, gedenkplate, stelae of fragmente van stelae, en seldsame voorbeelde van behoue standaarde. ’n Katalogus van alle ikonografiese voorstellings van standaarde wat bekend is, is aangeheg. Hierdie voorbeelde word aangebied en vergelyk, en gemeenskaplikhede en verskille word geïdentifiseer en ondersoek. Hierdie studie bestaan uit sewe hoofstukke. Hoofstuk 1 bied die metodologiese raamwerk vir die studie. Hoofstuk 2 volg as ’n kort agtergrond tot die periode wat bespreek word, die derde en vierde millennia vC, wat ’n algemene konteks vir die bespreking aanbied. Die hoofbespreking van standaarde begin vanaf Hoofstuk 3. Die standaarde van die vier periodes onder oorweging — naamlik die Uruk, die Vroeë Dinastieke, Akkadiese en Neo-Sumeriese periodes — word in Hoofstuk 3, Hoofstuk 4, Hoofstuk 5, en Hoofstuk 6 onderskeidelik bespreek. Elke standaard wat in elke periode voorkom, word om die beurt bespreek en sommige voorlopige opsommings en gevolgtrekkings word aangebied. In Hoofstuk 7 word die bevindings van Hoofstukke 3-6 aangebied, ontleed en geïnterpreteer. Dit behels eerstens ’n bespreking van die verskillende standaarde, dan ’n evaluering van die verskillende funksies of die verskillende kontekste waarin hierde standaarde uitgebeeld word, en daarna volg ’n kort opsomming van elkeen van die vier periodes onder bespreking.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98400
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