AbstractUnderstanding how the numerous temples in the Neo-Assyrian Empire situated themselves within the imperial network is challenging, largely because of a bias in the official sources towards a few temples, especially that of Aššur. Revealing the relationships between the less-attested temples necessitates not only moving beyond the top of the hierarchy but also doing away with hierarchies almost entirely, as they both limit the possible connections and are impossible to build for the majority of known temples. Because there are myriad ways of organizing temples relative to one another, this paper proposes heterarchies as a more effective framework for understanding the changing dynamics of cultic landscapes. This study uses royal patronage (or its absence) as its barometer, establishing a typology that ranges from temples operating entirely independently of imperial support to those that actively seek it, and demonstrating how heterarchies can expose different perspectives of power, status, and affinities amongst institutions. Ultimately, a heterarchical approach shows that the relationships established by royal patronage were not straightforward, homogenous, or stable, and that the ways in which temple and state interacted with one another affected both “vertical” and “horizontal” positioning of temples within the cultic landscape of the empire.
Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions – Brill
Published: Sep 6, 2021