On Pax Assyriaca in the Eighth-Seventh Centuries bce and Its Implications
Pax Assyriaca remains, even 150 years after Botta’s and Layard’s first discoveries at Nineveh, Nimrud, and elsewhere, a controversial issue in ancient Near Eastern studies; the very mention of the term is still likely to evoke outright skepticism. In point of fact, this skepticism may be traced back to a long-standing historical bias that surrounds the Assyrian empire, seen as a uniquely efficient and remorseless warmongering and bloodthirsty military machine, with quasi- Hitlerian connotations: an “evil empire” of antiquity, such as to require, in the eyes of history, an overall moral judgment; and for which any possible acquittal can only be found in “justificationist” statements, with reference to the particular time and place (e.g., “ail peoples in the ancient Near East were cruel”). In this nightmarish light, undoubtedly, Pax Assyriaca risks sounding more like an oxymoron than a historical concept.
KeywordsState Archive Seventh Century Direct Speech Ideological Exchange Royal Palace
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