This dissertation thesis discusses questions related to the representation of power in the archaeological record of the ancient Near East. The analysis offered here will focus on how power and power structures are created by analyzing on the one hand images on cylinder seals from the Late Uruk-Period at the end of the 4th millennium BCE, and on the other hand the finds from the Early Dynastic Royal Cemetery of Ur dating roughly to the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE. In particular, this analysis will focus on the ways in which hierarchical structures are established, maintained, and transmitted from the perspective of power and gender. The first part contains a detailed analysis of Late Uruk cylinder seals in order to show how power and domination is created through ideas that are represented on these images. This analysis is based on the hypothesis that Late Uruk-Period images are a visual archive of Mesopotamian ideas on the relationship between domination and the dominated, and that this imagery of power established patterns that are still visible today. I shall argue that these representations are an embodiment of political and social aspects of power and powerlessness, and that the bodies that are represented on these seals validate and give meaning to social and political order and organizations. My analysis includes a study of the positions that women held within these power constellations during the Late Uruk- and Early Dynastic Periods with the objective of deconstructing our own notions of power and, ultimately, of deconstructing our notions of history as an aspect of male ways of existence. The second part of this thesis is concerned with why and how power was created within the framework of the formation of city-states. Burials that accompany the royal tombs lead to questions regarding the relationship between perpetrators and victims within the context of the state. In this context, I discuss the ways in which modern scholars give meaning to the historical processes that led to the supposed human sacrifices in the Royal Cemetery of Ur. The (still contested) identities and social ranks of the skeletons interred in the Royal Tombs and the accompanying burials are determined by interpreting the goods that were placed within the tombs. The objective here is to show that there is a relationship between power, gender, and objects within the context of the Royal Cemetery of Ur. A detailed analysis of the inventories of the Royal Tombs and certain “private” burials will reconstruct the social rules and social classifications in Early Dynastic Ur and recreate the political paradigm within which these rules and classifications were embedded. The findings of the Royal Cemetery of Ur illustrate at least one aspect: human existence is always social as well as bodily, but also reified. How goods are distributed within a society is therefore not a political effect but an expression of a production of political structures. The distribution of goods is not only a reflection of poverty and plenty in the economic sense but also offers a possibility to express identity, action, and knowledge, which determine the identities and social participation of people.
953 General History Of Asia; Arabian Peninsula And Adjacent Areas ; Ddc:953 ; 953 Geschichte Der Arabischen Halbinsel Und Benachbarter Gebiete ; 709 Histor., Geogr., Personenbezogene Behandlung Der Bildenden Kunst Und Des Kunsthandwerks ; 709 Historical, Areas, Persons Treatment ; Ddc:709 ; Macht ; Herrschaft ; Gender ; Vorderer Orient ; Königsfriedhof Von Ur ; Glyptik ; Urukzeit ; Frühdynastikum ; Body Politics
Freie Universitat Berlin
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