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Cultural interaction between Assyria and the northern Zagros

Dlshad Marf defended his thesis on 4 July 2016

Dlshad Marf
04 July 2016
Leiden Repository

Landscape, flora, fauna, resources and climate of the lowlands of Assyria were very different from and economically complementary to, those in the high Zagros Mountains. The northern part of the Zagros was where the Assyrians found raw materials, labourers and horses, which often brought them into conflict with its inhabitants. However, there were many peaceful commercial and diplomatic ties between the Assyrian Empire and the Zagros peoples on its northern border. These contacts brought frequent exchanges with Assyria in the material and immaterial culture of the Zagros region.

Three main sources are used in this thesis to assess the cultural interaction between Assyria and the northern Zagros:

  • material culture – such as architecture and artefacts discovered in Assyria and the northern Zagros Mountains;
  • visual sources – such as Assyrian reliefs, where town architecture is depicted so precisely that every city is recognisable by its peculiarities (not stereotypes), and that show towers, city walls, temples, and plundered objects it their correct surroundings;
  • immaterial culture – as found in textual sources; mostly Assyrian texts, but also a few in Akkadian, Urartian, and Aramaic. Classical sources, among which Herodotus, also speak of the peoples from the Zagros Mountains, such as Medes and Scythians.

Supervisors: Prof. W.H. van Soldt and Dr. D.J.W. Meijer

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