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Enthroned Figure Furniture Inlay, Samaria

Enthroned Figure Furniture Inlay, Samaria

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Book of Kells

The Book of Kells (Latin: Codex Cenannensis Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. [58], sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in either Scotland, England, or Ireland and may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from each of these areas. It is believed to have been created c. 800 AD. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as one of Ireland's finest national treasures. The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells, which was its home for centuries.

The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript's pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations.

The manuscript today comprises 340 leaves or folios the recto and verso of each leaf total 680 pages. Since 1953, it has been bound in four volumes, 330 mm by 250 mm (13 inches by 9.8 inches). The leaves are high-quality calf vellum the unprecedentedly elaborate ornamentation that covers them includes ten full-page illustrations and text pages that are vibrant with decorated initials and interlinear miniatures, marking the furthest extension of the anti-classical and energetic qualities of Insular art. The Insular majuscule script of the text appears to be the work of at least three different scribes. The lettering is in iron gall ink, and the colours used were derived from a wide range of substances, some of which were imported from distant lands.

Today, it is housed at Trinity College Library, Dublin which usually has on display at any given time two of the current four volumes, one showing a major illustration and the other showing typical text pages. A digitised version of the entire manuscript may also be seen online.

The Boudoir of Queen Shubad

QUEEN SHUBAD was so fond of her jewels that when she died in ancient Ur, six thousand years ago, they buried her in queenly state with all her regalia, so that her spirit might have rest. After so many centuries this treasure of feminine adornment is still a delight to the eyes. Her golden comb, her wreaths and diadem, earrings and necklaces, amulets and garters, finger rings, pins and seals, the silver box with black stibium paint for her eyebrows, her golden cockle shells and the golden chalice full of the purple-blue of turquoise for her eyelids, the thirteen yards of golden ribbon wound about her hair, the stiletto, the tweezers, the ear-spoon, the dainty implements of her vanity case, make us wonder at the richness of the material, the skill of the workmanship, and the good taste of the objects once spread ready for the royal hand in the queen’s boudoir and today displayed in a freshly decorated room of the Museum, where we can satisfy our curiosity.

Queen Shubad’s headdress, reconstructed at the University Museum.
Museum Object Numbers: B16693 / B16992 / B17709 / B17710 / B17711 / B17712
Image Number: 8313

We like to think that the queen was a brunette with a mass of dark hair, which, alas, has long turned to dust in the grave. Her skull, irremediably damaged by long exposure in a clay soil, was found collapsed on the bier. Only the gold ribbons wound in a gentle spiral about her head retained their position and to a certain extent outline her coiffure. We wonder what she looked like in the days of her splendour, whether she wore a wig, or her natural hair dressed after the fashion of the time and what were the fashions for ladies of quality at the court of Sumerian Ur in 3500 B.C.

Fortunately we have more than one clue for solving such important questions. Among the best are the scenes engraved on her three blue lapis seals (Plate I), found lying with three gold pins on her right shoulder. Pins and seals served to attach her shawl after the manner of the fibulæ of more recent classical times. The largest seal (B) has given us her name inscribed in cuneiform characters : Shubad the Queen. The surface of the seal is divided into two registers. In the upper, the queen herself is seated on an elegant throne, and is attended by two servants. In her left hand she raises a cup, perhaps the fluted tumbler or the small oval bowl of gold found in her grave. A servant has filled it with wine poured from a silver jug. Opposite, on a throne of equal elegance, sits a male figure, who like the queen raises his cup before drinking. He is a person of importance. A servant attends him, jug and fan in hand, a lively touch of oriental luxury. He is probably the king and the high priest of the local god. His hair is short and his servants’ heads are entirely shaven, but the queen wears her hair tied in a heavy roll on the neck.

Plate I — The three lapis seals of Queen Shubad.
Museum Object Numbers: B16728
Image Number: 8648

The same scene is represented on the first seal Pl. I (A). The same servant holding a fan like a flag, of a type still used in the East, and a bowl hanging from a rope handle stands behind the king. Again the king wears his hair short and the queen a heavy roll tied and resting behind on her neck.

An interesting variant of the drinking scene is found on the third seal (C). Both the queen and her partner are using a reed, or long thin tube, to draw the liquid from the jar placed on a support between them. The beverage was probably a kind of beer, a fermented liquid with froth on the surface. Strainers of gold, silver, copper, or clay, show that the filtering of brews or mixtures was as common in that venerable antiquity as today. Four tubes rise from the vessel full of choice drink, two of which are for the king and queen, while two are destined for the other participants in what may be a ritual symposium. Four tubes of rich bejewelled material were found in the queen’s grave. One is a reed covered with thin gold, the others are of copper, plated with gold or covered with lapis, or with gold and lapis sections in alternating lengths. The pipes are three or four feet long with a short mouthpiece four to six inches in length, bent at right angles. A third person seated apart and attended by a servant raises a cup to his lips in the usual manner. The queen again wears her hair in a roll on the neck, while her companions are men with shaven heads.

A joyous banquet, the counterpart of the ritual symposium, is represented in the lower register of the three seals. A remarkable sideboard laden with bread, cups of wine, and pieces of meat, choice morsels, heads or legs, is the centre of the picture. Servants bustle about. The sideboard is a movable piece of furniture, like the one carried by the dog-butcher in one of the scenes decorating the king’s harp, a frame reinforced by crosspieces as on a throne or a chair. The queen’s sideboard rests on four elegant bull’s legs, probably of copper. In a religious ceremony the sideboard would be called an offering table. This Sumerian cane altar is found only on archaic seals of this time, so that it belongs only to the splendid period represented by the royal graves. It is replaced by a small altar with a ledge when new customs, perhaps new racial traditions, prevailed in the land.

On the seal bearing her name, the queen is not seated at the banquet, but the king, attended by a servant carrying jar and saucer, enjoys his cup with another companion. Both are shaven. On the second seal the queen is enjoying a little feast of her own, with music. She has called for her maids, her harp player, and her two singers. One brings a cup and a footed jar hanging from a rope handle. The harp player stands to play. His small semi-circular instrument has four strings and a metal knob. The singers clap their hands in cadence. The queen is faithful to her style of hairdressing.

Plate II — Queen Shubad’s headdress as reconstructed in the University Museum.
Museum Object Numbers: B16693 / B16992 / B17709 / B17710 / B17711 / B17712
Image Number: 8316

On the third seal the king and queen are amicably seated at the same banquet, the queen with her heavy roll of hair tied behind while the king’s head is closely shaven. Sometimes the king wore a wig, sometimes even an artificial beard. Such a wig was the splendid golden one of Meskalamdug, which he assumed on solemn occasions and when he went to war. But in private life the king and his men showed their bald heads, a sensible custom in a hot climate. What a relief for him to take off his wig and enjoy a cup of wine in a cool, darkened room. Flints and copper razors by the dozen have been found in many tombs. The shaving of head and chin was not limited to the priestly or to the servant class. The king is attended by his cupbearer holding jug and saucer.

All three seals show the queen wearing her hair tied in a roll behind. Drinking a cup, seated at a banquet, listening to music or watching the dancers, she seems in a most human mood, enjoying the quiet evening hours. The scene is taken from private life, with nothing of the solemnity and religious meaning common on later seals. There are no shrines, no gods, no emblems in the field, no libations, no services of offering. The queen does not even wear the glorious golden crown and diadem or the golden comb which were deposited with her in the grave. At least the engraver did not try to represent them and was satisfied with the plain gold band which ties her hair. Nor does he place on her head that remarkable horned crown, the regular attribute of Babylonian gods of later centuries. Instead of a mitre we have the simple plain headdress instead of libation and votive offerings, the joy of a cup and a solid banquet. In short, the worship of the gods after the fashion of a court and their anthropomorphic representation as kings and queens seated on thrones are not yet an institution. All scenes are borrowed from ordinary life and have a primitive simplicity void of all symbolism. The animals are real animals drawn by artists with the keen eye of a hunter for the graceful or terrible beasts of the field, like the lion, deer, and goat on the seal of King Lugalshagpadda.

But even the naïve charm of these banquets and drinking scenes is not without a deeper meaning. The milking scene of Al’Ubaid with its graphic details of cows and calves, pots and jars, the straining of the cream and the storing of the buttermilk, cannot be understood apart from the shrine of Ninkhursag, the mother goddess, protector of herds and pasture land. The kings and queens of Ur were high priests and high priestesses of the Moon God. Sisters and daughters of kings from Sargon to Nabonidus kept up the venerable tradition, and were thought to be the living personification on earth of the Moon Goddess. The banquet of the queen and her symposium have a ritual solemnity of their own, which gives full value to the rich equipment of gold and silver cups, drinking tubes, lamps, and jewels, and to her complete silver outfit of table, tumblers, jars, bowls, strainers, and wineskin. Raising a cup of wine is a rite which survives strangely in our modern toasts. It is a part of all libation services, the elevation of the holy grail. The sideboard laden with food and drink easily becomes an altar. The same cakes, pieces of meat, and cup of wine are deposited on the ledge altar in front of the divinity. But the scene, when the cane table disappears, takes on a more precise ritual meaning. The ledge altar of stone or clay is placed between the seated goddess and the priest. The goddess wears the horned crown, henceforth the indispensable attribute of divinity. The priest pours a libation into the cup. There is a crescent emblem in the sky. An assistant goddess in the background lifts her two hands, praying. The scene has become stereotyped and official. When and by whom the horned crown was introduced is still a very interesting problem. But it is clear at least that Queen Shubad took no delight in the mighty pair of horns which decorates the head of all the gods at the time of the first dynasty of Ur. The decorative motif of her comb, wreaths, and diadem is purely floral: beech leaves, willow leaves, pomegranate flowers, fruits in threes, buds and pods, palms, ears of corn, a comb spreading plumelike into digits tipped with seven lapis balls or seven golden flowers. The figures of animals in lapis, silver, and gold, which were used as decorative motifs, are pure animal forms. The ram, bull, deer, and antelope on the diadem, the fish and bull amulets, the monkey placed on the head of a pin, the donkey and the bull on rein-rings, the bulls and lions on the harps, thrones, and sledges are fine examples of realistic modelling. The characters of fable are still splendid animal figures. The imaginative mythology which gives them human attitudes is satisfied to give them also human hands only, or to hang a false beard from the nose of the bull. The man-headed bull and the scorpion-man point the way towards a new world of legendary creatures, half beasts, half men. But we are still far from the gods in human form, enthroned like kings and queens and worshipped in the style of a court. The high priest and the high priestess dressed in all their regalia and seated at their ritual banquet may have been prototypes of these.

Plate III — Queen Shubad’s Jewels. Chokers of gold and lapis triangles. Choker and belt of gold, lapis and carnelian beads. Heavy gold rings form a fringe below the belt.
Museum Object Numbers: B17063
Image Number: 8383

Music and dancing also have a ritual aspect. The harp roaring like a bull and the clang of cymbals accompanied the chanting of prayers in the Sumerian temples. The small harp was sufficient for the private chapel of the queen. The magnificent harps of gold and silver discovered of late in the royal tombs must have been used in official ceremonies, real oriental pageants where the ladies of the court, the dancers, and singers would appear with their gorgeous headdresses of golden leaves, combs, and beads. The cymbals of Shubad’s time were flat metal pieces straight or horn-shaped, which the dancers struck in cadence. They are seen in the hands of the kid dancing behind the scorpion-man in the hands of a cymbal player on a gold cylinder seal of the high priestess buried in the domed vault discovered last winter in the hands of a woman musician on the Kish inlaid plaques. Curiously enough the Museum has two such plates of copper brought from Fara thirty years ago, together with the well known bronze head of a goat with spiral horns. They are, most likely, Sumerian cymbals of Queen Shubad’s age. They are curved, thirty-five centimeters long, and four in width at the larger end.

The ladies of Kish dressed their hair very much after the style of Queen Shubad on her seals. It is lifted from the shoulders, forming a heavy roll on the neck, is bound with a golden band passing over the forehead, and is twisted into a topknot on the crown. It is waved and curled over the eyebrows, and two small braids caressing the ears add an attractive charm. The large noses of the ladies, their prominent eyebrows, large almond eyes, and small, firm chins are decidedly oriental, but the rather heavy features are attenuated to more graceful type than that of the men. Their ears are not covered by any wig or ” bob ” after the fashion of Egypt. They wear one or two strings of beads round the neck. A shawl covers the left shoulder. One raises a fluted bowl, the other plays the cymbals or resonant plates (Plate X, A).

Plate IV — Queen Shubad’s gold comb, earrings and crowns.
Museum Object Numbers: B16693 / B16992 / B17709 / B17710 / B17711 / B17712 / B17708
Image Number: 8369

At Kish roughly modelled figures of women decorate the flat spouts of clay vessels buried with the dead in the oldest cemetery. These are probably ritual vessels, known as Kish “granny vessels.” The figure has neither arms nor legs, but only a nose pinched up from the clay, two eyes and two breasts made of pellets of clay, and, in the more complete examples, a large triangular patch with incised markings for the pubes. Sometimes the figure is reduced to a couple of pellets and crossed incised lines. The spout is planted on the shoulder of the vase, and the bulbous part of the vessel may represent the rest of the feminine body. Such figures modelled and incised on a clay plaque are often called idols, though with no clear reason. Their association with the grave may give them a ritual meaning, common to funerals, the solemn passing of the dead into his house of eternity. The tombs were furnished according to the means and rank of the occupants. Royal persons took with them their guards, servants, singers, chambermaids, their chariots, harps, and gaming boards, their rich vessels and jewels, and a large provision of food and drink. The poor man had to be satisfied with less. The representation of the female body with direct and crude oriental realism, simply as a decoration of a jar of clear water, might, through its symbolism, satisfy his eternal thirst, better described in the style of the Arabian Nights. We need not see in these figures a mother goddess, an object of worship, but a practical means of satisfaction for the dead. Clay figurines, reliefs of the gods, or of the deceased worshipper before the shrine of his god, are found abundantly more than one thousand years later in the graves of the third Ur dynasty. But only the “granny vases ” in the early Kish cemetery suggest an analogy with the later practice. The rough clay figures modelled on the vases are purely natural and human like the scenes engraved on the seals of Queen Shubad. No symbolic meaning can be attached to them, any more than to the still earlier mud figurines of men, animals, sheep, goats, cattle, and dogs found in deeper levels. They are figures of a natural person or thing, a means of affecting the hidden spirit through its outside form.

The “granny vase” found at Ur in grave 778 (Plate IX), not far from the royal tombs, shows that the practice was not limited to Kish. Still more interesting is another clay figurine roughly modelled by hand and planted on the shoulder of a jar like a spout. It is no longer a flattened tube but a real handle decorated with the head, breasts, and arms of a woman. She has the unmistakable attitude of the oriental Ishtar exposing herself which has been translated by the Greeks into the pudical Aphrodite. The style shows progress, but the inspiration is the same as in the Kish series. The nose is pinched up with the fingers out of the mass of clay. Eyes and breasts are added pellets. The hair of the head and of the pubes, the mouth, fingers, and necklace are marked by incisions. The figure has no legs, but rests on the shoulder of a jar, a fragment of which is seen behind the figure, with decorative markings in front of it (Plate IX).

Plate V — Queen Shubad’s pendants of lapis, agate and carnelian on gold chain. The bearded bull belongs to the University Museum, U. 10985, CBS. 16726 the reclining calf to the British Museum. U. 10946, 10947.
Museum Object Number: B16726
Image Number: 8378

Her hair is tied after the fashion of the ladies of Kish, parted and waved, tied on the top of the crown and forming a roll on the neck. This is almost the style of Queen Shubad. The ears are visible they are pierced to receive rings. She wears a dog-collar necklace. The ladies of the court at Ur preferred a tightly fitting necklace made of alternate triangles of gold and lapis with a wavy surface, and extraordinarily large gold earrings with crescent or lunate ends.

The fair ladies of Ur took pride in their hair. It might be worn simply floating on the shoulders, or hanging down the back, or parted and waved and bound with a crossband. They knew the allurement of locks and braids. Even when they tied it up in a roll they loved to let luxuriant curls play on the breast in front. Ishtar always had curls on her shoulders and curls lying on her breast. Little ” Mother Goose” insisted on two curls but the rest of her hair is tied in a dignified roll on the neck. On many later terra-cottas the young mother goddess or votary has “bouclettes” on her shoulders, but the ears are never hidden. The Museum has two charming examples of the type, a clay head modelled in the round and a small gold statuette which forms the head of a gold pin (p. 242).

When the hair was too long to be completely confined, it was allowed to flow freely over the band which pressed the roll down on to the neck. This slender curling end, which is visible on many seals and reliefs, sometimes takes on the proportions of a queue, distinguishing the daughters from the sons on a fragment of a stone votive plaque from Ur. A beautiful diorite head, on which all the details of waved hair, roll on the neck, band, and unconfined hair are quite distinct, shows that Shubad’s style survived for more than a thousand years. The head belongs to the British Museum and was found at Ur with the blue-eyed white marble head of the University Museum. A fragment of stone vase from Nippur shows a water nymph holding an overflowing ampulla. Her head, unfortunately broken, must have been turned sideways, and a heavy lock falls between the two breasts (C, Plate VIII).

But these heads and reliefs are comparatively late, dating from Gudea and the third dynasty of Ur. Monuments of the time of King Ur Nina of Lagash are more interesting because closer to the time of Shubad.

Plate VI — Queen Shubad’s diadem of gold figures and ornaments on a background of lapis beads. Four pair of bulls, antelopes, rams and deer, amidst gold shrubs, flowers, ears of corn and fruits.
Museum Object Number: B16684
Image Number: 8365, 8366

Besides their long hair, tresses, and chignons, the ladies, enthroned or walking, wear crowns adorned with horns, feathers, plumes, or animal figures in relief, which compare with the crowns, diadems, and combs of Shubad and of her maids of honour. The gods and goddesses, distinguished by the horned mitre, are not unlike the high priestess and her votaries in their best attire. Old and well known reliefs from Nippur, Lagash, and Ur show how much they have in common.

In Figure D, Plate VIII, a priestess of high rank introduces a votary, whom she leads by the hand. Both have the same long hair falling down the back, with a loose lock in front, both wear the same interesting crown, both have the same type of Sumerian beauty marked by large noses, arched eyebrows, almond eyes, small chin, and a naïve smile. Both are dressed in a plain shawl passing over the left shoulder and decorated with a simple fringe. But the priestess-leader has tied about her waist a long embroidered belt or bejewelled stola, passing in a spiral around her body and crossed in front. She carries a sceptre in her right hand. Beneath a mass of beads which were found covering the upper part of the body of Queen Shubad, and which were of course unstrung and much disordered, there was about the waist an embroidered belt, the design of which could be made out. It consists of ten rows of bugle beads of gold, lapis, and carnelian, which were originally stitched on to some material, probably leather, with a row of at least twenty-nine large gold beads below. The belt did not completely encircle the body, the span being completed by strings of small lapis beads. Sceptres decorated with mosaic work of blue and white stone above and gold bands in relief below, were found this winter in the great four-chamber tomb, which was probably that of another royal priestess. The votary has neither sceptre nor belt but raises her right hand in what is clearly a ritual gesture, with the thumb crossing the four fingers on the palm of the hand.

Plate VII — Handle of mother-of-pearl with lion in relief. U.10437A. CBS.16765
Museum Object Number: B16753
Image Number: 8261

The band tied about the head of the priestess and of the votary, to keep their hair in order, becomes, through added ornaments, a fillet, a diadem, a crown, a mitre. Queen Shubad preferred a wide gold ribbon wound many times in a spiral about her luxuriant black hair. She used thirteen yards of the bright soft metal from two fifths to four fifths of an inch in width and weighing 1.04 lb. The end of the ribbon was bent over and soldered in a loop by which it was fastened with a pin to the mass of hair. A priestess and a votary, engraved on a small shell plaque from a deep level at Ur, both wear the horned mitre. Above the first band around the head and attached to it by two strands of ribbon a pair of bull’s horns, probably imitated in metal and joined in the form of a crescent, forms henceforth the accepted emblem of the gods and of their households. Between the horns, objects resembling feathers or palm branches may be the upper branches of a golden comb planted in the roll of hair. Shubad’s golden comb spreads into seven branches tipped with golden rosettes having centres of gold and lapis. These are linked together by a golden chain, and droop gracefully over the head. Her maids of honour wore silver combs having three points ending in flowerlike rosettes inlaid with gold, shell, and red stone. Others preferred silver combs spreading into five or seven points ending in balls of gold or lapis. Shubad sometimes changed her flower comb for a large golden triangular pin. The top of the pin is rolled over to form a tube in which feathers could be fixed. The ladies of the court were satisfied with silver pins of the same form. The queen’s gold pin lay beside her waist, together with another splendid diadem of gold and lapis.

On the horned mitre in Figure A, Plate VIII, the central piece of the comb is decorated with a bull’s head. The animal motif may be a symbol of the god of the silver crescent called the young bull of heaven, but it at once becomes the common property of all deities. The warrior goddess on a terra-cotta from Nippur holds up two lances with heads of an elegant leaf-shaped type, very much like the gold, silver, and copper spears of the royal tombs of Shubad’s time. They were mounted in an octagonal wooden shaft by means of a square tang secured with bitumen. Gold and silver bands decorate the shaft of the royal spears. Some have plain butts in other cases the butt is of gold or silver with a projecting copper fork to engage the throwing thong, when fighting at a distance. The smith has put his mark on many of them, a bull’s leg, a jackal, or a bird. The soldiers of the guard had two spears apiece. Spears go in pairs. Our Sumerian Minerva holds two lances. She wears not a helmet but the horned mitre. The horns are attached not above but below the diadem, planted on each side of the head, probably meeting behind across the chignon. The comb has three feathers or palmettes on each side and a bull’s head in relief in the centre. The heavy ornaments are planted in the roll or mass of hair tied on the neck. Large earrings project below the horns. Shubad’s enormous golden earrings, eleven centimeters across and sixty ounces in weight, were attached under the gold ribbon in the hair. They have lunate ends, too large to be passed through the lobe of the ear. They were hung on the ear, not descending below the level of the jaw, framing the face like the large silver rings of modern Arab women. There were also earrings of gold, silver, or copper in the form of rings made of plain spiral coil, and pendants which were open rings with crescentic ends overlapping. Four spiral rings of gold of Queen Shubad were perhaps earrings. A dog-collar necklace made of gold and lapis triangles enclosed her neck. The warrior goddess wears a very closely fitting necklace. She has the Sumerian type of face with large nose, bushy, meeting eyebrows, almond eyes and small chin.

Plate VIII — A. Nippur, terra-cotta, CBS. 350 B. Nippur, limestone relief. C. Nippur, stone vase with figure in relief, CBS. 9553. D. Ur, engraved shell plaque, U. 2826.
Museum Object Number: B3508 / L-29-346
Image Number: 9111, 6007

In Fig. B, Pl. X, the goddess of Lagash seated on an ancient Sumerian stool with rungs and drinking out of a fluted tumbler is a distant relative of Shubad and has inherited her beautiful cups. But she has adopted the horned mitre. Her hair falls loosely behind and in two tresses in front. It is waved and arranged in formal curls over the forehead. The points of the horns are much closer. The feather and plume decoration of the comb are somewhat indistinct. A servant, perhaps a nude priest, with a libation vase stands before her. Her husband the king is dispatching a prisoner by knocking him on the head with his big club. It is a speaking picture, the emblem of a protector of the city. He wears a false beard attached below his chin and perhaps a gold wig like that of Meskalamdug, with imitation of hair confined by a band. The prisoner, kneeling and handcuffed, is closely shaven and has the wound mark of the vanquished enemies which is seen on the inlay stela. This fragment of a limestone plaque with figures in low relief is one of the oldest sculptures from Lagash, anterior to King Ur Nina and close to the time of Shubad.

In Fig. B, Pl. VIII, the “Mother Goose” from Nippur on another fragment of limestone relief belongs to the same family of monuments. It was published years ago, but the new discoveries throw light on some of its details. The goddess is lifting the same ritual cup. Her throne is the symbolic goose. She holds in her right hand what looks like ears of corn or bunches of dates, but this may be simply a fly-whisk, to judge from a comparison with the object in the hands of the old Sumerian king on the engraved shell plaques which decorate a harp discovered last winter (Museum Journal, March, 1929, p. 28). She wears a gold band about her head, a heavy roll on the neck, a long tress down her back and formal curls above the forehead. Her comb is curiously like antlers with three tines on each side and a similar one is seen on the head of her husband, who is introducing the worshipper. Her long fleecy shawl of kaunakes modestly covers her left shoulder. Branches planted in a vase shaped like a small offering table stand before her, while the curious object beyond has been explained by Hilprecht as a lighted candlestick and by H. Schäfer as the representation of a nude woman seated with legs apart and arms erect, possibly in the pangs of childbirth. Most probably it is a candlestick or a ritual emblem, like that on the charming seal illustrated on Pl. XXXVI, 79, or on the engraved shell plaque published in the Museum Journal, June, 1927, p. 150. The nude libator holding a saucer and a jug with a spout stands in front of a high tripod, from which hangs the same curious band with two looped ends which decorates the Nippur candlestick. The same bull’s legs of copper support the shaft in both cases. They are found again on the seal as the support of a flag, and below the sideboard of Queen Shubad. The same looped band is thrown across a vase on which the nude libator pours water before the shrine of the Moon God (Museum Journal, September, 1926, p. 258). The looped ends here take the place of bunches of dates which in libation scenes usually hang on each side of a vase holding palms. Perhaps an older form of ritual is represented on this last limestone relief. It is remarkable that the vase is placed in front of a pile of sticks—the wood of the holocaust?—here and on the stela of the vultures and on another seal, Pl. XXXVI, 80, found in an early grave. But in the last two examples palms and bunches of dates are unmistakable. The right meaning of the looped band is still dubious.

Plate IX — Clay pot with flat spout incised and decorated with pellets. Ur predynastic cemetery. U. 10183, PG. 778. CBS. 17249. Terra-cotta figurine of a nude woman as handle of a clay pot. U.10747. In the British Museum.
Museum Object Numbers: B17249
Image Number: B17249

The crowned husband of the goose goddess acts as a verger, introducing the worshipper. The goddess turns her back on the scene, which lacks unity here and on the Lagash relief, forming a series of disconnected ritual actions. The king has long hair and a false beard after the old Sumerian fashion, from Kish to Nippur and Ur. He holds a sceptre, his staff of office. He and the shaven worshipper wear short fringed kilts. The offering is a kid or a young gazelle.

The ritual scene on a seal cylinder from Berlin (Bruno Meissner, Bab. u. Assyr., Bd. I), Plate XII is full of the same old Sumerian tradition. It is a complete picture of a libation before a shrine. The libator holding a vase with a spout before the enthroned god has long hair and a simple kilt closing in front. It is hard to decide whether we have a male or a female official of the temple, since entire nudity is no longer prescribed. The god and his worshipper both wear long hair falling down their backs. But the god has a false beard hung below his chin, while the smooth chin of the worshipper and the tresses falling on his shoulders are ambiguous. The long locks may be the formal headdress of a king or of a queen. Anyhow this important person stands one step higher than the libator. The object in his hands is not distinct, and leaves our curiosity unsatisfied. It may be a fluted bowl hanging from a rope handle, with a long spout, or perhaps a small hand harp.

The throne of the god, his headdress, furniture, and shrine are rich in details invaluable for a true reconstruction. A recessed gate leads to the throne room. Two posts bearing buckles decorate the outside. What is perhaps a curtain or a banderole hangs from the buckles. The tops of the posts end as the rounded heads of colossal clubs. Above the clubs a crescent-shaped panel between two projections of the towerlike gate forms a parapet breast high at the edge of the upper terrace. The throne inside is raised on a dais, with two crouching animals in front. These may be bulls or, more likely, goats, to judge from the tuft of beard, the hair on the neck, and the shape of the horns. The two prodromes of crouching rams cut in limestone, which were found four years ago inside the temple close to the Nebuchadnezzar gate, served the same purpose. The animals are represented in a familiar attitude with one fore leg raised, ready to rise from the ground. Back to back they form a well balanced group, in good Sumerian style.

Plate X — A. Kish ladies playing the cymbals and drinking from a cup. Kish, Vol. I, Plates VI, XXXVIII.

Plate X — B. Goddess drinking out of a fluted tumbler. Bearded hero clubbing a prisoner. Limestone relief from Tello Lagash, Déc. Plate I, 1.

The offering table, the old Sumerian cane altar decorated with the figure of a rampant bull in the round, is a most fascinating piece of furniture in the light of the latest discoveries. Pieces of bread—the shew-bread—and cups of wine, and the frame, if not the crosspieces, of the cane altar are familiar. Metal figures, bulls’ heads in gold and silver, bulls passant, and even stags rampant amidst bushes, are the magnificent ornaments of the royal harps. They were not known in connection with the cane altar. The figure on the seal may explain the two famous statuettes of goats rampant, found in January in a royal tomb, together with four harps, one wagon, and seventy-two bodies, among which thirty-four were those of court ladies with their headdresses of gold ribbons, wreaths, and silver combs, and their earrings and necklaces. The goats are twenty inches high, rearing up on their hind legs, with their fore legs caught in bushes, the stems, leaves, and flower rosettes of which are of gold. The fore legs are tied with silver bands. The heads and legs are of gold, the bellies of silver, the horns and shoulder hair of lapis, and the fleece of white shell, each tuft being cut separately. The same composition is found on many engraved plaques and strangely resembles the bull rampant on the Berlin seal. Bulls and goats stand on a small base, which in the Ur examples is a charming mosaic of checkerboard pattern. There are sockets above the figures of the goats, which proves that they formed part of a piece of furniture. The gold offering table in the very shrine of the god is preserved in the Hebrew tradition, and existed in the temple of Babylon in the days of Herodotus.

Plate XI — Headdress of men and women on a fragment of an inscribed limestone plaque. U.6691 (Ur Texts, No. 13). CBS. 16682.

The enthroned god holds in his hands an indistinct object, cup, jar, or sceptre. Like the Moon God on the limestone relief (Museum Journal, September, 1926, p. 258), he has long hair and beard, long skirt, what is perhaps a shawl closing in front, and the primitive horned mitre, with one pair of horns and a plume. His throne with a concave seat and a small back is of the same style as the cane altar. A rich cloth of kaunakes, or perhaps a real fleece, covers it.

On a seal from Ur, Pl. XXXVI, 80, discovered not far from the royal graves, two worshippers approach another Sumerian deity of the same primitive type. An interesting vase of offerings is the centre of the picture, between the god and his servants. It is the familiar clay or alabaster vase with palms, branches, and bunches of dates, placed in front of a pile of sticks. The god holds a small bowl. The worshippers bring offerings. All wear the thick fleecy skirt. The throne is still of the old Sumerian cane type. The crescent of the new moon adds to the scene a ritual meaning.

The seal has two registers of figures, like many archaic seals. The lower scene, which represents the gathering of dates from the palm tree by two apparently nude figures, was long ago mistaken for a scene of paradise. Many religious feasts preserve the tradition of the offering of the first-fruits. The month of the date harvest was a great occasion in Southern Babylonian life. The fecundation of the palm tree had a ritual importance, and so had the cutting of the first clusters of ripe fruits. The gold saw was probably used for the purpose by Queen Shubad, when the silver crescent first appeared at the beginning of the season. A saw of the same form is still used by the natives, and was placed thousands of years ago in the hands of the Sun God, the great judge, the divider between light and darkness.

Plate XII — Sumerian shrine, enthroned god, libator and worshipper. Remarkable cane altar and figure of a bull rampant. Seal cylinder in the Berlin Museum. Cf. Bruno Meissner, Bab. u. Assyr., Band I, Abb. 163.

Also from the Ur cemetery, but of later date—the time of Gudea —comes a very interesting seal, Pl. XXXVI, 79, representing the offering of the first ears of corn to a god of vegetation. The seal is the property of Ursi, a servant of Enmenanna, probably a high priest of Ur, whose name was found engraved on a door socket in the shrine of the Moon Goddess (Ur Texts, No. 64). Ursi himself carries the traditional plough of Babylonia, which evidently existed long before Cassite times. It has two handles on either side of the ploughshare, to which is attached the curved pole with tackle for two yokes over two pairs of oxen. The title of Ursi is nigab, which means the opener, the ritual cutter of the first furrows. The high priest Enmenanna leads the procession, his staff of honour in his hands. He is followed by the high priestess carrying the ripe ears. A flag on a tripod resting on bull’s legs, flies the colours of the god, and marks the approach to the shrine. The god is distinguished by his sacred animal, a charming gazelle which has stopped behind the throne, and by his star on high. He may be Lugal-edin-na, the god of Eden, the fertile plain. He is dressed in the official style of his time. A shawl of kaunakes covers one of his shoulders. The three dignitaries have the long pleated linen garment which men wore fastened about the waist. It covers modestly one shoulder of the high priestess. The style of mitres and headdresses is remarkable. Four pairs of horns for the men and only one pair for the high priestess. The horned crown of the gods is probably borrowed from their human representatives. The hair of the enthroned god is tied in a heavy round mass with a projecting topknot after the style of the ladies of Kish. The same is true of the Moon God on the stela of Ur-Nammu. The male officials have a flat figure-eight roll of hair confined by a tight band. Graceful tresses fall down the back of the high priestess.

The many contemporary or slightly later evidences of Sumerian fashion in the time of Queen Shubad make possible the reconstruction of her headdress with fair certainty of truth. Hair and skull have disappeared, but the gold ribbons retained their position in the earth, and by lifting them without disturbing the strands outline and measurements were obtained. Mr. Woolley was led to assume “that the queen had a coiffure dressed over pads, the width across being no less than 0.38 m.”

“Bobbed” hair covering both ears was a charming Egyptian fashion, but one seldom seen in the Sumerian land, where custom left the ears more or less visible. The golden ribbons may have spread when the hair and skull collapsed. It is more likely that the heavy mass of hair was held against the back of the neck in a figure-eight by the golden ribbon which passed across the forehead, so that the larger diameter was originally from the front to the back of the head. We should expect a mass of hair fastened at the neck, since this would seem necessary to support a golden comb over one pound in weight. Thirteen yards of gold ribbon are not too much to secure the adjustment. One end—if not both—of the gold ribbon was rolled over and soldered into a loop to attach it firmly to the hair with a pin driven through. Two strands of the ribbon passing from the nape of the neck to the crown reinforced the edifice on very pure Greek lines. The small curls before the ears are like those of the ladies of Kish and the locks on the shoulders like those of many Ishtars love goddesses and goose goddesses. The heavy gold earrings hang below the gold band, over the ear, and do not descend below the jaw. On many terra-cottas of later times they give a false appearance of ” bobbed ” hair. Probably a dog-collar of alternate triangles of gold and lapis was tightly fastened round the neck of the queen, like that worn by all the court ladies. The elements of it are found at the upper edge of the so-called cloak of beads. Other necklaces doubtless hung below in tiers.

Lid of Queen Shubad’s kohl box. Relief cut in shell with lapis background.
Museum Object Number: B16744A

To mount the headdress and provide a realistic setting for the ornaments, the University Museum has had a head made on lines differing somewhat from the one so charmingly modelled by Mrs. Woolley. Even if we had the skull of Cleopatra, we should have little suspicion of her beauty and of the curve of the nose which turned the destinies of the Roman Empire. The work of the Greek artists and the reliefs of the queen on her coins are of great assistance, even if the result is beneath our expectation. The opinion of Sumerian sculptors working on living models among contemporaries merits consideration. Even if they had not the Greek ideal of a portrait and the subtle Greek power of expression, they were masters of their craft and could carve a statue in hard diorite. They could give it a likeness true to the general type if not to the peculiar characteristics of an individual. Their masculine type is attenuated into one of feminine beauty, which always has heavy eyebrows meeting over the nose and giving to the face strength and character. The nose is strong, nearly straight, and somewhat rounded at the tip. The eyes are large, almond shaped, slightly drawn up at the outer corners. The lips are well formed, not of the objectionable fleshy type. The chin is small, firm, and, in the model selected, protruding and marked by a dimple. This model is a little diorite statue of the Gudea time from Lagash now in the Louvre and called, from her headdress “la femme à l’écharpe.” She has the high cheek bones, large nose, and large eyes under powerful eyebrows of a true oriental beauty, and in spite of the sculptural effect of her staring eyes she possesses a charming queenly dignity.

Silver filigree buckle with embossed and gilt centre. Found in the early cemetery. U. 8009. CBS. 16770.
Museum Object Number: B16770
Image Numbers: 8243b-8247b

Her eyes are shown as blue, for the reason that in many statues they are made of lapis lazuli inlaid in shell. We may enjoy the lapis blue, as the Sumerian artists did. It gives depth to her beauty. The mighty arc of her eyebrows was defined with black paint made of khol or stibium. Pots of this pigment have been found in many ladies’ graves. Calcite vases half empty show on the surface of the black cosmetic the prints of dainty fingers dipped in it centuries ago. The queen kept her kohl in a pair of silver cockleshells and in a charming semicircular toilet box of silver. The lid of the box is made of a piece of shell with animals in relief against a background of lapis lazuli. A powerful lion has thrown a ram down on its back and is biting its neck. The scene shows a keen observation of animal life and action and forms a well balanced group. The curve of the lion’s uplifted tail fills, by a happy inspiration, the semicircle of the lid. Blue lapis dots in a chain of engraved diamond pattern decorate the edge of the lid.

The gold chalice of the queen, modelled on very classical lines, is filled with a new cosmetic of turquoise blue colour. Perhaps the blue is not the original colour, which may have faded with age. But the analysis made by the chemical department proves that the queen’s cosmetic was really powdered turquoise mixed with traces of lead. Lead oxides vary from red to brown and yellow. Alloyed with the turquoise blue, they produce dark brown and purple shades of wonderful effect when applied to the eyelids. Very modern dolls must have heard of Queen Shubad’s cosmetic. Every court lady had some of the blue paint, a small mass between the two valves of a cockleshell. A pair of cockleshells may have the two cosmetics in one mass, half blue, half black.

The blue cosmetic of the queen filled not only her gold chalice but also a pair of cockleshells of gold and a pair of very large real cockleshells. It was tempting to use the royal blue in a reconstruction of her head. A streak of blue defining the eyelids is just as wonderful as the green malachite about the eyes of Egyptian beauties.

We may fancy the colour of the skin of the brunette queen to have been anything from dead white to golden brown. Her lips were the only red spot. If she used rouge it was made of hæmatite powder with traces of magnesite and phosphates from the clay with which it was mixed, as consistently found in examples from Ur and Nippur.

Golden wreaths added to the splendour of the queen’s headdress. The gold ribbon bound to the neck the heavy roll of hair and secured the edifice. Above this the golden comb spread its seven golden rosettes linked by a gold wire, their gold and lapis hearts nodding aloft. The golden earrings framed the face in their heavy double crescents. On the rigid lines of the ribbon the wreaths embroidered the delicate pattern of their ornaments. Four wreaths were placed upon the head of the queen. One is a mass of rings and beads. Twenty gold rings are mounted on three strings of lapis and carnelian by narrow strips of gold. The second has twenty birch leaves of gold attached to two strings of lapis and carnelian. The third is built on the same pattern, but the eighteen golden leaves are larger and are tipped with beads of carnelian. The weight of gold of the three wreaths is, respectively about 0.53, 0.44 and 0.375 lb. The fourth and most exquisite wreath is made of fourteen golden flowers with inlaid petals alternately of blue lapis and white paste, mounted on three strings of gold and lapis beads, with gold and lapis drops. Between the flowers are groups of three willow leaves of gold with carnelian tips. This wreath has been placed on her reconstructed head. It is hard to believe that she wore, when alive, the four at the same time. A queen has always more than one wreath, more than one necklace, more than one finger ring, more than one golden cup in reserve. A hairpin of triangular shape was found near her body and three golden pins on her shoulder. Another diadem of lapis beads and gold ornaments was folded by her side. Wreaths of golden leaves and wreaths of gold rings are found in many ladies’ graves and may have been worn in pairs or single above the golden ribbons. One wreath in a child’s grave was made of three strings of gold, lapis and carnelian beads, two gold roundels of wire filigree, and one large gold roundel of cloisonné.

Sumerian Lady of Ur. About 2400 B.C. Black diorite head in the British Museum. U.6444.

Instead of a wreath, gold and silver plates and bands were sometimes worn on the forehead, attached with gold wire. They were of plain metal, or decorated with engraved or repoussé work, with a star rosette in relief, or with rows of human and animal figures in intaglio. The thin elliptical gold plates were not used as they were in Egypt to seal the lips of the dead. Six golden frontlets were found round one head, and a golden band was still adhering to a broken skull.

The diadem of Queen Shubad is a marvel of delicate work. It consists of a thousand minute lapis beads, which were probably mounted on white leather, and of a profusion of gold ornaments attached by silver wires to the blue background. Among them are four pairs of animals couchant: two rams, two antlered stags, two gazelles, two bearded bulls, disposed amidst ears of corn in gold bunches of pomegranates with three fruits tipped with carnelian and three golden leaves shrubs made of gnarled stems of gold plated with silver and having fruits of gold, lapis, and carnelian finally, palmettes of gold wire. Two other diadems made of golden figures over a bitumen core, pomegranates and animals, gold rosettes and leaves, and palmettes of silver wires, belonged to ladies of quality, perhaps to high priestesses.

Below her dog-collar of gold and lapis triangles, Queen Shubad wore another collar of small gold and lapis beads with a pendant, and a rosette of gold in the form of a wheel in which the open work is filled with lapis—not with carnelian. Strings of beads of gold, silver, lapis, carnelian, agate, later of jasper, chalcedony, sard, of copper gilt, beads large and very small, solid, or hollow and filled with bitumen, round, long, lentoid and conoid beads of every shape, form, and colour, have been found in every grave, and were apparently worn by both sexes. But where high officials were satisfied with three large lentoid beads of gold and lapis hung about the neck on gold chains, or worn as bracelets, sometimes with carnelian spacers between the stones, the queen and the ladies of the court were never tired of new styles, new colours, and new forms, and carried their treasury of beads with them into the grave. Beads furnish rich and attractive matter for a more complete survey of ladies’ adornment in the past. The upper part of the queen’s body was found covered with a mass of beads, of course all loose and much disordered but in spite of the breaking of the copper wires they lay in tolerably good order, and the arrangement was noted for restoration. They were mostly beads of gold—some adorned with applied filigree—but also of beautiful choice carnelian and banded agate, of lapis, and of silver.

It was at first thought that this mass of material should be constructed as a beaded cloak composed of vertical strings of mixed beads arbitrarily arranged between a fringe at the bottom and an open-work collar above. The cloak was thought to open on the right, and the solid edge to be embroidered with small carnelian beads. Three gold pins and three cylinder seals fastened the heavy mass on the right shoulder, besides a number of amulets and pendants.

Sumerian votary. Head of a gold pin found in the treasture house of the Temple of Ur. CBS. 15241.
Museum Object Number: B15241
Image Number: 8849a

If, however, instead of a cloak, the body of the queen was covered with a mass of disrupted necklaces, it is easier to understand the reason for the use of selected and graded beads of one type of banded agate, of others of a specially beautiful red carnelian, and of four strings of long gold filigree beads, which clash when lined up, with heavy gold or lapis conoids. Also the good taste of other jewels, rings, wreaths and combs, seems to protest against the disposition of mixed beads arbitrarily arranged in vertical strings. Necklaces hang in natural curves round the neck. Like the gold ribbons, they would have been deformed by the collapsing of the body in the grave.

It now seems wise to believe that the fringe referred to above was in fact a belt: ten rows of bugle beads of gold, lapis, and carnelian, and a row of twenty-nine gold rings below, sewn on some material which has disintegrated, and continued round the body by strings of small lapis beads and that the collar was a separate unit made of lapis and gold triangles—the usual elements of the tightly fitting dog-collar, but here separated by gold beads, with small bugles sewn on horizontally below.

Precious amulets have been found in other graves, a gold bull with a false beard, a bird of gold with a lapis tail, a golden bird on a fruit. In the tomb of King Meskalamdug a lapis frog and a lapis ram in a Sargonid grave, a goat rampant of gold hanging on a string of beads. Queen Shubad had the largest collection of all: two fishes of gold and one of lapis, a group of gazelles, seated back to back, found by her elbow, and by her shoulders a reclining calf and a bearded bull of lapis with a false beard attached by a string over the nose. Each of these last figures is hung on a short string of large agate, lapis, and carnelian beads.

Pendants were made of cloisonné work of gold, inlaid with stones and with filigree of gold in the form of large roundels. Big round buckles of silver filigree were used to secure a cloak. The finger rings of gold, silver or copper were generally a spiral coil of fairly thick wire. Out of ten gold rings of Queen Shubad seven are made of a square wire twisted and coiled in spiral with cable effect between two ends of plain wire one has a border inlaid with lapis and two are of cloisonné work inlaid with lapis. Larger coil rings of silver and gold are probably toe rings. Metal bracelets are plain bangles of gold, silver, and copper. The queen may have toyed with the sceptre beautifully decorated with gold bands in relief and inlaid mosaic, and with the fly-whisk handle checkered in black stone and white shell. We like to imagine her twisting in her fingers the silver spindle with the slightly convex lapis head—the silver shaft is still 16 cm. long—or the mother-of-pearl handle, decorated with a little lion in the round, which was probably fixed by three rivets to a palm leaf fan. She may have used the gold chisels, like the gold saw, for some ritual action, breaking a seal or tracing the first lines of a relief or of an inscription. She probably trimmed the large silver lamps which continued to light her grave as they had lighted her nights. Her little silver lamp, copied on a cockleshell cut in half, was close to her hand. The king had his gold lamp with his name engraved on it. Fair ladies preferred a lamp of translucent alabaster with a beautiful relief : a man-headed bearded bull, couchant. Many a time the queen moved the pieces on the magnificent gaming boards of silver, lapis, and shell, admiring the animal figures so cleverly designed by the court engraver, while her servants played on the harp and recited the heroic deeds of Gilgamesh, or the love affairs of the Queen of Heaven. Out of her wardrobe, the keeper of the wardrobe would bring pure pleated linen tunics, white or purple shawls with fringes or embroideries, or the supple and warm kaunakes with its fleecy face. But the fine garments have long perished. Even the wooden chest in which they were preserved, probably of cedar wood, has turned to dust, leaving in the ground its mosaic border and its decoration of shell figures on a mosaic background.

But out of the dust archæology has brought forth a treasury of knowledge, beauty, and human interest, of which the Director of the Expedition, Mr. Woolley, and the two Museums supporting it feel very proud. Henceforth we shall have a new by-word of ancient history: In the days of Queen Shubad.

Cite This Article

Legrain, L.. "The Boudoir of Queen Shubad." The Museum Journal XX, no. 3-4 (September, 1929): 210-245. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://www.penn.museum/sites/journal/9246/

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.


Early history Edit

The construction of this severe and forbidding [3] building was commissioned in 1458 by the Florentine banker Luca Pitti (1398–1472), a principal supporter and friend of Cosimo de' Medici. The early history of the Palazzo Pitti is a mixture of fact and myth. Pitti is alleged to have instructed that the windows be larger than the entrance of the Palazzo Medici. The 16th-century art historian Giorgio Vasari proposed that Brunelleschi was the palazzo's architect, and that his pupil Luca Fancelli was merely his assistant in the task, but today it is Fancelli who is generally credited. [4] Besides obvious differences from the elder architect's style, Brunelleschi died 12 years before construction of the palazzo began. The design and fenestration suggest that the unknown architect was more experienced in utilitarian domestic architecture than in the humanist rules defined by Alberti in his book De Re Aedificatoria. [5]

Though impressive, the original palazzo would have been no rival to the Florentine Medici residences in terms of either size or content. Whoever the architect of the Palazzo Pitti was, he was moving against the contemporary flow of fashion. The rusticated stonework gives the palazzo a severe and powerful atmosphere, reinforced by the three-times-repeated series of seven arch-headed apertures, reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct. The Roman-style architecture appealed to the Florentine love of the new style all'antica. This original design has withstood the test of time: the repetitive formula of the façade was continued during the subsequent additions to the palazzo, and its influence can be seen in numerous 16th-century imitations and 19th-century revivals. [5] Work stopped after Pitti suffered financial losses following the death of Cosimo de' Medici in 1464. Luca Pitti died in 1472 with the building unfinished. [6]

The Medici Edit

The building was sold in 1549 to Eleonora di Toledo. Raised at the luxurious court of Naples, Eleonora was the wife of Cosimo I de' Medici of Tuscany, later the Grand Duke. [4] On moving into the palace, Cosimo had Vasari enlarge the structure to fit his tastes the palace was more than doubled by the addition of a new block along the rear. Vasari also built the Vasari Corridor, an above-ground walkway from Cosimo's old palace and the seat of government, the Palazzo Vecchio, through the Uffizi, above the Ponte Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. [7] This enabled the Grand Duke and his family to move easily and safely from their official residence to the Palazzo Pitti. Initially the Palazzo Pitti was used mostly for lodging official guests and for occasional functions of the court, while the Medicis' principal residence remained the Palazzo Vecchio. It was not until the reign of Eleonora's son Francesco I and his wife Johanna of Austria that the palazzo was occupied on a permanent basis and became home to the Medicis' art collection. [8]

Land on the Boboli hill at the rear of the palazzo was acquired in order to create a large formal park and gardens, today known as the Boboli Gardens. [4] The landscape architect employed for this was the Medici court artist Niccolò Tribolo, who died the following year he was quickly succeeded by Bartolommeo Ammanati. The original design of the gardens centred on an amphitheatre, behind the corps de logis of the palazzo. [5] The first play recorded as performed there was Andria by Terence in 1476. It was followed by many classically inspired plays of Florentine playwrights such as Giovan Battista Cini. Performed for the amusement of the cultivated Medici court, they featured elaborate sets designed by the court architect Baldassarre Lanci. [9]

With the garden project well in hand, Ammanati turned his attentions to creating a large courtyard immediately behind the principal façade, to link the palazzo to its new garden. This courtyard has heavy-banded channelled rustication that has been widely copied, notably for the Parisian palais of Maria de' Medici, the Luxembourg. In the principal façade Ammanati also created the finestre inginocchiate ("kneeling" windows, in reference to their imagined resemblance to a prie-dieu, a device of Michelangelo's), replacing the entrance bays at each end. During the years 1558–70, Ammanati created a monumental staircase to lead with more pomp to the piano nobile, and he extended the wings on the garden front that embraced a courtyard excavated into the steeply sloping hillside at the same level as the piazza in front, from which it was visible through the central arch of the basement. On the garden side of the courtyard Amannati constructed a grotto, called the "grotto of Moses" on account of the porphyry statue that inhabits it. On the terrace above it, level with the piano nobile windows, Ammanati constructed a fountain centered on the axis it was later replaced by the Fontana del Carciofo ("Fountain of the Artichoke"), designed by Giambologna's former assistant, Francesco Susini, and completed in 1641. [10]

In 1616, a competition was held to design extensions to the principal urban façade by three bays at either end. Giulio Parigi won the commission work on the north side began in 1618, and on the south side in 1631 by Alfonso Parigi. During the 18th century, two perpendicular wings were constructed by the architect Giuseppe Ruggeri to enhance and stress the widening of via Romana, which creates a piazza centered on the façade, the prototype of the cour d'honneur that was copied in France. Sporadic lesser additions and alterations were made for many years thereafter under other rulers and architects. [11]

To one side of the Gardens is the bizarre grotto designed by Bernardo Buontalenti. The lower façade was begun by Vasari but the architecture of the upper storey is subverted by "dripping" pumice stalactites with the Medici coat of arms at the centre. The interior is similarly poised between architecture and nature the first chamber has copies of Michelangelo's four unfinished slaves emerging from the corners which seem to carry the vault with an open oculus at its centre and painted as a rustic bower with animals, figures and vegetation. Figures, animals and trees made of stucco and rough pumice adorn the lower walls. A short passage leads to a small second chamber and to a third which has a central fountain with Giambologna's Venus in the centre of the basin, peering fearfully over her shoulder at the four satyrs spitting jets of water at her from the edge. [12]

Houses of Lorraine and Savoy Edit

The palazzo remained the principal Medici residence until the last male Medici heir died in 1737. It was then occupied briefly by his sister, the elderly Electress Palatine on her death, the Medici dynasty became extinct and the palazzo passed to the new Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Austrian House of Lorraine, in the person of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. [13] The Austrian tenancy was briefly interrupted by Napoleon, who used the palazzo during his period of control over Italy. [14]

When Tuscany passed from the House of Lorraine to the House of Savoy in 1860, the Palazzo Pitti was included. After the Risorgimento, when Florence was briefly the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II resided in the palazzo until 1871. His grandson, Victor Emmanuel III, presented the palazzo to the nation in 1919. [4] The palazzo and other buildings in the Boboli Gardens were then divided into five separate art galleries and a museum, housing not only many of its original contents, but priceless artefacts from many other collections acquired by the state. The 140 rooms open to the public are part of an interior, which is in large part a later product than the original portion of the structure, mostly created in two phases, one in the 17th century and the other in the early 18th century. Some earlier interiors remain, and there are still later additions such as the Throne Room. In 2005 the surprise discovery of forgotten 18th-century bathrooms in the palazzo revealed remarkable examples of contemporary plumbing very similar in style to the bathrooms of the 21st century. [15]

The Palatine Gallery, the main gallery of Palazzo Pitti, contains a large ensemble of over 500 principally Renaissance paintings, which were once part of the Medicis' and their successors' private art collection. The gallery, which overflows into the royal apartments, contains works by Raphael, Titian, Perugino (Lamentation over the Dead Christ), Correggio, Peter Paul Rubens, and Pietro da Cortona. [16] The character of the gallery is still that of a private collection, and the works of art are displayed and hung much as they would have been in the grand rooms for which they were intended rather than following a chronological sequence, or arranged according to school of art.

The finest rooms were decorated by Pietro da Cortona in the high baroque style. Initially Cortona frescoed a small room on the piano nobile called the Sala della Stufa with a series depicting the Four Ages of Man which were very well received the Age of Gold and Age of Silver were painted in 1637, followed in 1641 by the Age of Bronze and Age of Iron. They are regarded among his masterpieces. The artist was subsequently asked to fresco the grand ducal reception rooms a suite of five rooms at the front of the palazzo. In these five Planetary Rooms, the hierarchical sequence of the deities is based on Ptolomeic cosmology Venus, Apollo, Mars, Jupiter (the Medici Throne room) and Saturn, but minus Mercury and the Moon which should have come before Venus. These highly ornate ceilings with frescoes and elaborate stucco work essentially celebrate the Medici lineage and the bestowal of virtuous leadership. [17] Cortona left Florence in 1647, and his pupil and collaborator, Ciro Ferri, completed the cycle by the 1660s. They were to inspire the later Planet Rooms at Louis XIV's Versailles, designed by Le Brun.

The collection was first opened to the public in the late 18th century, albeit rather reluctantly, by Grand Duke Leopold, Tuscany's first enlightened ruler, keen to obtain popularity after the demise of the Medici. [10]

Enthroned Figure Furniture Inlay, Samaria - History

  • Provenance
    Private UK Collection.

Gujarat is first mentioned as the centre of mother-of-pearl work in 1502, when the King of Melinde, on the East Coast of Africa, presented Vasco de Gama with a 'bedstead of Cambay, wrought with gold and mother of pearl, a very beautiful thing' ( The Three Voyages of Vasco da Gama , London, 1869, quoted in Simon Digby, 'The mother-of-pearl overlaid furniture of Gujarat: the holdings of the Victoria and Albert Museum', in Robert Skelton et al (ed.), Facets of Indian Art , London 1986, p. 215). Gujarati mother-of-pearl work comprises two types of work: items either made of or covered in mother-of-pearl, and items consisting of a wooden article covered in a dark mastic and inset with pieces of mother-of-pearl, of which this tray is an example.

The production of this second group is generally thought of as the speciality of Northern Gujarat, particularly around Ahmedabad, Cambay, Surat and further west in Thattha. This attribution is largely due both to European travellers' accounts and to Abu'l Fazl's Ain-i Akbari (1595), the celebrated historical work on the Akbar period written around 1595. That work refers to the province of Ahmedabad as a centre for exports including articles worked with mother-of-pearl. This geographical attribution is further evidenced by the survival of mastic-inset and mother-of-pearl decorated domed cenotaph canopies which survive in the tombs of revered Sufi Shaykhs including Shah 'Alam at Rasulabad and Shaykh Ahmad Khattu at Sarkhej, both close to Ahmedabad and erected between 1605 and 1608 (Amin Jaffer, Luxury Goods from India: The Art of the Indian Cabinet-Maker , London 2002, p. 24).

The decoration of the second group most frequently takes the form of vegetal or geometric designs. Figural decoration, as seen on our tray, is rarer. One example is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (I.S.24-1966, published in Digby, op. cit. , figs. 9-10, pp. 219-20). Another figural example is a panel formerly in the Jules Boilly collection (Digby, op. cit. , p.221). A chessboard in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich (Inv. no. R 1099) features hunting scenes with riders on horseback, tigers, elephants and a rhinoceros. Mother-of-pearl trays are specifically mentioned as being delivered to the ladies at Kabul, listed among the spoils of the Lodi Sultans of Delhi catured by the Emperor Babur in 1526 (G. Begam, Humayun-nama , ed., London, 1902, p. 13, translated. p. 95 cited in Digby, op. cit. , 1986, p. 215).

Two shields both attributed to the 16th century - one in the Armoury of the Topkapi Museum and another in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello - have figural designs closest to our tray. The Topkapi shield ( Les Tresors de Turquie , Skira, Geneva, 1966, p. 235) dated to circa AD 1525 features very Persian-looking figures wearing turbans engaged in hunting scenes and figures paying homage to an enthroned ruler, leading scholars to attribute this shield initially to Iran. The Florence shield, attributed to the mid-16th century, shows courtly scenes, such as figures feasting and hunting as well as isolated figures (Bg M 787, published in Islam: specchio d'Oriente , Florence 2002, no. 12, pp.54-55). All of these share similar vegetal ornament in the background, with dense comma-shaped leaves springing from curling stems.

The most striking feature of our tray is the presence of a series of angels or winged figures carrying birds or vessels, which do not appear on any other recorded example of mother-of-pearl inlaid works. These angels show Safavid, Indian and European influence. Parallels for these figures may be found in both Indian and Safavid manuscripts and miniatures and on architecture of the 16th and 17th century such as the Kala Burj in Lahore. A series of angels adorns the corner shields of the painted pavilions of Nur Jahan in the Ram Bagh at Agra dated variously to the mid-16th to early 17th century (see E. Koch, 'Notes on the painted and sculptured decoration of Nur Jahan's pavilions in the Ram Bagh at Agra', in Facets of Indian Art , London, 1986, pp. 51-65). These angels wear costumes varying from a Safavid short sleeved overcoat worn over a long undergarment - the typical outfit of a Safavid peri - and the local costume of the choli , ghaghra and dopatta , very similar to the range of costumes worn by our angels. A winged figure at Agra is shown holding a peacock, almost identical to three of our winged figures who are shown in Safavid dress holding peacocks. The pavilion also features cherubs with a mixture of European and Mughal features. This painted decoration provides the most striking parallel for the decoration on our tray and provides a general date. It also indicates the decorative scheme of our tray may have been intended for an Indian patron rather than for export to royal patrons in Europe, the Near East and Turkey as most of the mother-of-pearl inlaid items seem to have been.

The painted reverse of our tray is characteristic of a group of mother-of-pearl inlaid caskets of the 16th and 17th centuries all of which have their interiors and bottoms painted red (Jaffer, op. cit , 2002, p. 24). The cartouche and shamsa decoration is related to manuscript illumination and bookbinding techniques of the Mughal and Safavid periods.

The inspiration for Gujarati mother-of-pearl production remains unclear. A suggestion is that East Asian examples, such as Korean sutra boxes (caskets with bevelled lids, some attributed to the 12th-13th century), were imported to Western India, where the technique was emulated by local craftsmen.

The Public Rooms

Although somewhat smaller in tonnage than the Olympic, the Homeric on first view, and even on closer inspection, appears to be quite as large as the famous White Star flyer with which she is associated in service. This is due chiefly to the size of her public rooms, which in some cases are larger than similar rooms on the Olympic, and also to the imposing arrangement of these rooms, in one regal suite, on the upper deck. The largest of these apartments is the lounge, which is considerably larger than the lounge on the Olympic.

In their architectural ensemble, the Homeric's public rooms, occupying a continuous steel house that in size and loftiness would do honor to a knight's castle, are exceedingly impressive. Each room in the group has a style and story of its own, and all are superbly and quietly elegant, reflecting the essence of Europe’s modern arts in design and decoration, adapted to the requirements of modern sea travel.

At the forward end of the deck, under the navigating bridge, is a drawing room, with large plate glass observation windows. Next comes a reading and writing room, and next the lounge. Beyond this is a music-room, and still further on, the smoking-room, with a glass enclosed sun verandah completing the group. The view down the full length of the rooms, at the sides, from drawing room to sun verandah, presents an unbroken vista of 340 feet.

AP Art History Early European Art

Typical of early medieval art:
- small and portable -> many Germanic tribes were semi-nomadic
- status symbol buried with owner -> probably a chieftain's gift to a soldier
- Combines pagan, Roman, and Christian elements (EX: zoomorphic eagle)

- it is 20" tall and 230' long
- main register tells story of Norman conquest of England by William I in 1066 (Conqueror)
- Style: figures simple w/ bold outlines, space flat
- fantastic creatures in margin
- latin text
- designed by a man but likely woven by women
- Tapestries often adorned churches and rich homes but original setting unknown

First Meal
- Text says: "Here they hold a feast. And here Bishop Odo blesses the meal"
- one of several scenes praising Odo
- As Odo represented an official of the Church, and theChurch supported Williams claim, the scene suggests God favored the Normans over the English

- composed of a series of repeating bays
>>1st floor = arch
>>2nd floor = triforium w/smaller arches
>>3rd floor = clerestory (Sainte-Foy does not have a clerestory)
- Plain decor inside and out
- Massive stone walls
- Stone roofs (vs. wood that could be destroyed faster/easier)
- Barrel vaulted nave
- transverse arches to support heavy ceiling
- thick piers (vs. columns) to provide more support
- rounded arches

- Tympanum = semicircular space above entryway decorated w/relief sculpture

- Latin inscribed on lintel: "O sinners, change your morals before you might face a cruel judgement" reminds pilgrims of why they've come

- originally Romanesque (rebuilt after fire in 1194)
- Dedicated to Mary. Main relic = tunic she wore at Christ's birth. Survival inspired reconstruction
- Like Most Cathedrals, its construction took decades and was funded by local taxes, noble patrons, the Church, and pilgrims

- called 'Royal Portal because jamb sculptures depict OT kings and Queens -> connection b/w rulers of Israel and France's royalty
>>medieval king's convert to Christianity b/c they believe they are God's chosen ruler
- Tympanum depicts, from left to right:
>>Christs Ascension
>>Last j/udgement
>>>>Lintel = apostles
>>>>Voissors = 24 elders
>>Mary enthroned w.baby Jesus
>>>>other scenes = Jesus' presentation

- aka 'The Lady of the Beautiful Window'
- early and surviving example of stained glass painting

How made
- Craftsman made glass
- glaziers cut and shaped the panels
- Masons framed glass panels with stone tracery
- artists painted the scenes

- a devotional image or Andachstbild common in Germany during the troubled 14th century (plague, wars, etc.)
- Also called vesper build because works like this often meditated upon during evening prayers called vespers
- Purpose = help overcome believers' own suffering by contemplating the redemptive power of Christ

Moralizing Bible
- Purpose = often to convey moral lessons
- Compares people and events from the biblical and contemporary worlds
- work is complex, time-consuming, and expensive
- Primarily made in late medieval France and Spain for Royal patrons

Top of Dedication Page: Queen Blanche and her son, King Louis the IX
- she gestures towards him offering the bible as a gift to help him rule
- He dons French regalia that signify his right to rule. Examples: Brooch connecting cape, dressed extravagantly, French royalty crest, gold coin
- their presentation relates to early depictions of Mary and Jesus in tympana. Message = rule by divine right

Bottom of the Dedication Page: Priest (left) dictates bible to a scribe or illustrator (right)
- Building frame figures and suggests an urban setting, probably the capital, Paris
- Paris is also the center of late medieval manuscript production where this work was illustrated by professional artists and dictated by scholars from the University of Paris


1. Sources. The primary source for the history of ancient Israel is, of course, the Bible. The Bible gives more relative space to history than any other sacred book. The Biblical historians and biographers were more concerned with the moral and theological implications of events than in the mere recital of facts. Archeological excavations in the Near E have illuminated and supplemented Biblical history, which is largely Israelite history. The records and inscrs. of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans give a background for and sometimes deal directly with the history of Israel. Some Gr. and Rom. historians record events involving the people of Israel. The histories of the Jewish general and writer Josephus (c. a.d. 37-103), The Jewish War and The Jewish Antiquities, are important sources esp. for the last two centuries of the history of ancient Israel.

The dates below usually follow The Westminster Historical Atlas of the Bible, revised ed., (1956), edited by G. E. Wright and F. V. Filson. Unless otherwise indicated, the dates are b.c.

2. The Exodus(c. 1280) [A disputed date. Some scholars place the Exodus earlier, c. 1450. Ed.] The Exodus, “the going out” (from Egypt), was regarded by the Israelites themselves as the beginning of their national history. The Book of Genesis traces Israelite origins back to Abraham, and particularly to his grandson Jacob, also called Israel, and the latter’s twelve sons, the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. These accounts in Genesis, however, are not histories but biographies, dealing with persons and families, not with the nation. The Book of Exodus opens with the Hebrews as unorganized slaves in Egypt. With the Exodus, the deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites became a nation and entered on the course of national development which is recorded in the historical books of the Bible.

Some of the data which are significant for fitting the Exodus into the framework of history are as follows: (1) The name Moses is prob. Egyp. meaning “son of,” an element of royal names in the 18th dynasty (1570-1305), e.g. Thutmose, and in the 19th dynasty (1305-1208), e.g. Ramses. (2) The Apiru are mentioned in Egyp. records as Asiatic slaves who worked as builders, as did the Hebrews, for Pharaohs in the 18th dynasty, e.g. Amen-hotep II, and in the 19th dynasty, e.g. Ramses II. The word Apiru may be related to עִבְרִי֒ , H6303 , “Hebrew,” and some of these Apiru may have been the Hebrews of the Bible. (3) Some have equated the Habiru of the Amarna Letters of the 14th cent. with the Biblical Hebrews and therefore have argued for an Exodus in the 15th cent. The name Habiru is prob. related to Apiru and to Hebrew, and the three names may denote the same class of semi-nomads. The Habiru of the Amarna Letters, however, were attacking different cities in Canaan from those which the Hebrews attacked, and elsewhere Habiru are mentioned in Syria and Mesopotamia and therefore cannot be identified with the Biblical Hebrews. (4) 1 Kings 6:1 places the building of the Temple (c. 958) 480 years after the Exodus, which would then have happened about 1438. Since forty years means a generation, many scholars think that 480 years means twelve generations, which is the actual number of high priests from Aaron to Zadok in Solomon’s time. Since the number of years in a generation is often less than forty, the actual time was prob. less than 480 years. (5) Another date is given in Judges 11:26, which places the coming of the Israelites “three hundred years” before Jephthah and seems to favor an Exodus in the 15th cent. But this number may be simply the addition of the periods of the preceding judges and servitudes, some of which were prob. contemporaneous and so the actual ti me involved was doubtless less than 300 years. (6) A key passage for the historical setting of the Exodus is Exodus 1:11, which states that the Israelites built Pithom and Raamses for Pharaoh. Since Ramses II (c. 1290-1224) built both these cities, many scholars put the Exodus early in the 13th cent. (7) The narratives of Moses’ meetings with Pharaoh imply that the royal residence was in northern Egypt, prob. in Raamses, also called Tanis, not far from the Heb. settlement in Goshen. Tanis was the capital in the time of the 19th dynasty, which would include a 13th cent. Exodus, whereas Thebes in southern Egypt, about 500 m. up the Nile, was the capital during the 18th dynasty which would include a 15th cent. Exodus. (8) Finally, the destruction of Lachish, Eglon, Bethel, Debir, and Hazor (all of which the Israelites captured) is dated by archeological evidence in the latter part of the 13th cent., and therefore the Exodus would fall early in that cent., about 1280. Some scholars have tried to account for the ambiguity of the evidence regarding the date of the Exodus by proposing that some tribes never went to Egypt and entered Canaan before the tribes which sojourned in Egypt. But this theory contradicts the evidence that the twelve tribes acted together in the wilderness and in the conquest of Canaan.

Connected with the Exodus were certain mighty acts of God. The plagues, showing Yahweh’s control over the forces of nature, finally persuaded Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt. The opening of the Red Sea by a strong E wind to let the Israelites cross and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptians by the returning waters were further evidences of God’s hand in the deliverance of Israel.

The Red Sea which the Israelites crossed is literally the Reed Sea, and the equivalent of this name was given by the Egyptians to one of the lakes or marshes on the NE border of Egypt. This lake, which has not yet been finally identified, was prob. the site of the Israelites’ crossing, rather than any portion of what is now called the Red Sea.

For the Israelites the important thing about the Exodus was not the date or the place, but the fact that God had delivered them from bondage and had called them to be His special people with a unique role in history. This great event was commemorated each spring in the Passover festival.

Moses was the leader of the Israelites both in the Exodus and in the wandering in the wilderness. As an Israelite of the tribe of Levi, he was naturally able to sympathize with the sufferings of his own people. As the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter brought up in the royal court, he was fitted to speak to the king on behalf of the Hebrews. Moses would know Egyp. art, lit., law, and methods of administration. He would also know the many gods of Egypt, and he must have heard of the Aten monotheism, which had been introduced a few generations before by Akhenaton, but which had died with the latter’s death because it had not reached the common people. Furthermore Moses’ years with the Midianites in Sinai gave him a knowledge of the topography of the wilderness and of the Arab tribes there which was valuable as he led the Israelites through that same wilderness.

3. Wandering in the wilderness(c. 1280-1240?). The route of the wandering is connected with the location of Mt. Sinai, also called Horeb. Some have located Mt. Sinai E of Kadesh, but this conflicts with the tradition that the Israelites went to Sinai before Kadesh. Others have located Mt. Sinai in NW Arabia because Midianites lived there and because the phenomena at the giving of the law (fire, cloud, rumbling) are thought to indicate a volcanic eruption, which has taken place in that area. But the Midianites were nomadic, and the fire, cloud, and rumbling could betoken a thunderstorm. The above two locations of Mt. Sinai would imply that the Israelites crossed the Peninsula of Sinai along a northern route.

The traditional identification of Mt. Sinai with Jebel Musa in the southern part of the Peninsula of Sinai agrees with suggested identifications of Marah, Elim, Dophkah, and Rephidim on the way to Mt. Sinai, and with a possible identification of Hazeroth on the way N from Mt. Sinai. Also the time recorded for the journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai and from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh agrees with this location of the mount. If this traditional location of Mt. Sinai is accepted, the Israelites made their way by stages southeastward near the shore of the Peninsula of Sinai and then turned inland to Dophkah, Rephidim, and Mt. Sinai.

One problem with the wandering in the wilderness is the large number of Israelites thought to be involved. The usual tr. of Exodus 12:37, “about six hundred thousand men on foot,” implies a total population of two and a half million. In addition to “thousand,” אֶ֫לֶפ֮ , H547 , can also mean “clan” or “family.” The latter meaning would reduce the total to a reasonable and manageable number. Others consider the number a mere exaggeration or the number of a much later census.

Several of the miraculous provisions for the food and water of the Israelites in the wilderness are related to actual conditions in the Peninsula of Sinai. The manna agrees in many respects with the sweet, white exudations of scale insects on the tamarisk bushes which abound in parts of Sinai. When migrating quail reach land after crossing the Mediterranean in the fall or the Red Sea in the spring, they often fall exhausted and are easily captured as they were by the Israelites. Under the soil and rocks of the wilderness there is sometimes water waiting to be tapped (cf. Exod 17:3-6 Num 20:11).

The Israelites had hostile contacts with some of the nomadic inhabitants of the wilderness and friendly relations with others. At Rephidim they struggled successfully with Amalekites over the use of the spring there. On the other hand, Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, came to visit Moses and joined with him in worship of Yahweh. He also gave the good advice to appoint elders to adjudicate lesser cases, while Moses retained jurisdiction over the most serious cases. Later Hobab the Midianite agreed to guide the Israelites through the wilderness as they proceeded from Mt. Sinai.

The first goal of the Israelites was Mt. Sinai, the mountain of God, where Moses had received God’s call to liberate the children of Israel. There Moses now received moral, civil, and religious laws and directions for the Tabernacle, a portable tent-shrine. The basic Ten Commandments, written on stone tablets, were placed in the Ark, a sacred box, which was similar to the palladium carried by Arab tribes in ancient and modern times. At Mt. Sinai also the Israelites made a covenant with Yahweh to worship him alone and to keep his laws.

The second focus of the wandering, Kadesh, was also a holy place which is the meaning of its name. Near this site in northeastern Sinai there are three springs, and this area was Israel’s center for many years. From Kadesh spies were sent N into Canaan, and then an expedition entered Canaan, but was defeated at Hormah. At Kadesh Moses and his brother Aaron the priest had to deal with various revolts against their civil and religious authority. After most of the generation which left Egypt had died, and when the new generation had been united and hardened by the wandering life in the desert, the Israelites finally set out from Kadesh to enter the land which they believed God had promised to their ancestor Abraham and to them.

4. The conquest of Canaan (c. 1240-1200). The Israelites approached Canaan from the SE and therefore conquered and settled territory E of the Jordan first. They did not attack the Edomites or the Moabites, because of ancestral relationship to these peoples. Sihon, the Amorite king whose capital was Heshbon, refused to let the Israelites pass and was defeated by them at Jahaz near Medeba. As a result the Israelites occupied much of the land between the Arnon and Jabbok Rivers. They did not attack the Ammonites to the E who were related to them. As they pressed northward, Og, the giant Amorite king of Bashan, opposed them at Edrei, but was defeated. Thereupon the Israelites occupied his kingdom from the Jabbok River northward to Mt. Hermon. This conquered territory E of the Jordan was settled by the Reubenites in the S, E of the Dead Sea and N of the Arnon River, by the Gadites in the center, S and N of the Jabbok River, and by a branch of the Manassites in the N, E of the Sea of Galilee. The soldiers of these two and a half tribes agreed to help in the winning of the W.

Moses continued to be the leader of the Israelites during the conquest of Trans-Jordan, but Joshua was the commander of the army in battle. Finally Moses died on Mt. Nebo, after viewing, but not entering, the land to the W of the Jordan. As liberator, leader, lawgiver, and prophet, he was the founder and former, under God, of the nation of Israel.

The leadership of the people during the conquest and settlement of the West devolved upon Joshua, who had long been assistant to Moses. Joshua and Caleb were the only spies who encouraged the people to enter Canaan years before when they were at Kadesh. Now he and Caleb were the only ones who came out of Egypt who also entered western Canaan.

In order to enter western Canaan the people had to cross the River Jordan. The waters of the river stopped at a town named Adam so that the people could walk across the river bed. It is recorded that in the years a.d. 1215, 1906, and 1927 the high bank opposite Adam fell into the Jordan, temporarily damming the water. So some have suggested that, as in the crossing of the Red Sea, God used natural means with wonderful timing to help the Israelites to go forward.

West of the Jordan, the Israelites first attacked Jericho, which guarded the valleys leading up into central Canaan. The city was defended by walls which fell, as the Israelites marched around them. The Israelites spared only Rahab and her family, because she had sheltered Israelite spies who had visited the city.

The Israelites then made their way up a valley and on the central ridge attacked Ai. They were repulsed in their first attempt, but in their second attack they lured the inhabitants out of the city and were victorious. By these initial victories in central Canaan, Joshua prevented the northern Canaanites from joining those in the S.

Joshua then called the people to sacrifice to Yahweh on Mt. Ebal in the center of Canaan. Since there is no reference to a capture of Shechem at the foot of Mt. Ebal, some have deduced that Israelites were already living there before Joshua came, but there is no direct evidence for this.

To the S the Gibeonite confederacy, including the cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim, made a peace treaty with the invaders. The Gibeonite ambassadors pretended to come from afar and so not to be of the inhabitants of Canaan, whom the Israelites considered under the ban of destruction.

The kings of five cities in the S: Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, now joined to attack the Gibeonites because they had allied themselves with the invaders. Joshua drove the southern coalition from Gibeon and down the valley of Aijalon on the famous long day of battle. The Israelites were then able to capture many cities in the S one by one. Excavations at Lachish, Eglon, and Debir show that these cities were destroyed in the later 13th cent.

Having taken cities in central and southern Canaan, Joshua was free for a campaign in Galilee in the N. There he captured the city of Hazor, which excavations have shown was destroyed in the 13th cent.

Then representatives of the tribes were gathered at the central city of Shechem, and portions of the land were assigned to the twelve tribes. Reuben, Gad, and part of the tribe of Manasseh had already been settled E of the Jordan. In western Canaan, Simeon was located in the extreme S, and then going northward were the portions of Judah, Dan, Benjamin, Ephraim, part of Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulon, Asher, and Naphtali. To the Levites (assistant priests) were assigned cities W and E of the Jordan, and to the priests (descendants of Aaron) were given cities in Simeon, Judah, and Benjamin. This assignment of territory illustrates the tribal organization of the Israelites.

By the latter part of the 13th cent. the Israelites were settled in many parts of Canaan. That Israel was in Canaan by this time is confirmed by Pharaoh Merneptah’s stela of about 1230 listing Israel among the nations he overcame in Canaan. This boast of Merneptah’s, which is not mentioned in the Bible, may be based on an Egyp. campaign which had no lasting effects. The lists of captured cities in Israelite hands show that important cities, esp. in the plains and lowlands, were still under Canaanite control. In western Canaan Israel was largely limited to the central mountains.

5. The period of the Judges (c. 1200-1020). The “judges” of Israel were not so much deciders of judicial cases as special leaders who saved their people in times of danger from surrounding nations. The judges were of different tribes and were active in different areas, and some of them must have been contemporaneous. Also some of the oppressions by other nations in different areas may have been contemporaneous. Therefore, if the years of the judgeships and of the oppressions are added, the sum is much longer than the actual time involved between Joshua and Samuel.

The Canaanites in the N under Jabin of Hazor and his general Sisera tried to subdue the Israelites. A judge and prophetess, Deborah, summoned the Israelite tribes to send soldiers to throw off the Canaanite yoke. Six of the northern tribes responded, and the Israelite forces were led by Barak. Sisera deployed his iron chariots, said to be 900 in number, on the plain of Esdraelon near the River Kishon. A torrential rain caused the Kishon to overflow, and the Canaanite chariots were mired or swept away. The Israelites, who had no chariots, came down from Mt. Tabor and defeated the Canaanites. This victory was celebrated in the Song of Deborah (Judg 5), which most scholars think was composed shortly after the event.

Another serious threat came from the Midianites who made raids, riding on camels from the eastern desert, and seized the crops and the lands of the Israelites. This is the first known example of the use of the camel in warfare. In response to God’s call, Gideon, who was known for his opposition to Baal worship, summoned men from his own tribe of western Manasseh and other northern tribes. By the use of torches and trumpets at night the Israelites terrified the Midianites and drove them eastward across the Jordan.

The most persistent danger to Israelite independence came from the Philistines. Like the Israelites they were recent invaders soon after the Israelites came from the desert to the SE, the Philistines came by sea from the NW, particularly from Crete. They belonged to a group of Aegeans, whom the Egyptians called the Sea Peoples, who attacked the shores of Egypt at the same time and are depicted on the walls of Ramses III’s (c. 1175-1144) temple at Madinat Habu in western Thebes. The Philistines established themselves in cities near the coast of Canaan, particularly in Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and also S of Gerar and in Dor. The Philistines brought with them the secret of smelting iron, which gave them a superiority over the Israelites who had weapons and tools of copper and bronze. The Philistines forced the tribe of Dan to move from its original location between Judah and Ephraim northward into Galilee near one of the sources of the Jordan. The influence of the Philistines is indicated by the fact that after their coming Canaan was often called Pal., the land of the Philistines.

Several Israelite leaders tried to resist the Philistines. The exploits of Shamgar and the herculean feats of Samson in killing Philistines or burning their fields were on an individual basis and did not remove the Philistine dominance. Finally the Israelites attempted a pitched battle with the Philistines at Eben-ezer. They summoned Hophni and Phineas, the corrupt sons of Eli, the priest of the central Israelite sanctuary at Shiloh, to bring the sacred Ark to insure an Israelite victory. Nevertheless, the Philistines were victorious, killed Hophni and Phineas, seized the Ark (which they later returned), and destroyed Shiloh, as evidenced by excavations there. The Philistines established garrisons to control the Israelites who became their vassals. Samuel, a judge and priest who had been trained by Eli at Shiloh, called the people back to God and led them to a victory over the Philistines at Mizpah, which restored a measure of independence to Israel.

The period of the judges was one of alternate idolatry and return to the Lord, of periodic dominance by surrounding nations, and of tribal disunity as evidenced by the war between Benjamin and the rest of the tribes. There was need for a strong, centralized government if Israel and its faith were to survive. Abimelech, the son of Gibeon, tried to establish a monarchy, but he lacked prophetic and popular support, and his attempt died with his death.

6. The united monarchy (c. 1090-922)

a. Saul (c. 1020-1000). When Samuel grew old, the elders of Israel asked him to appoint a king to give them political unity and military leadership against their enemies. Samuel saw the wish for a king as a rejection of God’s and his authority, and warned that a king would curtail their liberties. Finally Samuel consented, and Saul of the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot as king. Samuel drew up a constitution stating the rights and duties of the king.

Saul showed his military ability by victories over the Ammonites E of the Jordan, the Philistines in central Pal., and the Amalekites who had invaded the S. Saul also built a fortified palace at Gibeah, which has been excavated, the most impressive structure built by Israelites up to that date.

Saul’s later years were embittered by disagreements with Samuel and other priests, and by his jealousy of the young officer David. The latter gained fame by killing the Philistine giant, Goliath, and was a close friend of Saul’s son, Jonathan. Saul’s attempts to kill David forced the latter to become a wandering outlaw with a band of followers in Judah and eventually to take temporary service in the army of the Philistine ruler of Gath.

The Philistines, whom Saul had driven from the highlands, extended their control along the Valley of Jezreel as far as Bethshan, which oversees the route from the Jordan to the W. This movement of the Philistines cut off the northern tribes from contact with the rest of Israel. Saul led his army to Mt. Gilboa, where the Philistines were victorious and killed Saul and Jonathan. The bodies of the Israelite king and his son were displayed by the Philistines on the wall of Beth-shan, and Saul’s armor was placed there in the temple of the goddess Ashtaroth, which has been excavated.

b. David (king of Judah c. 1000-994, king of all Israel c. 994-961). It was David who completed the work that Saul had begun in uniting the Israelites and in defeating their enemies, and David went on to found a little empire which controlled the surrounding nations. After the defeat and death of Saul, his son Ish-bosheth was made king in Gilead E of the Jordan, and David was recognized as king in Judah, making his capital at Hebron. After the assasination of Ish-bosheth, the elders of northern Israel invited David to become the king of all the tribes, as Saul had been.

David’s first move as king of all Israel was to capture Jerusalem from the Jebusites and to make it his capital. This action helped to allay tribal and sectional jealousies, because Jerusalem had not belonged to any Israelite tribe and lay on the border between Judah and the N. Furthermore David had the sacred Ark transported to Jerusalem, a move which made that city the religious as well as the political center of the nation.

David’s genius as a leader was illustrated in Israelite victories over the surrounding nations. In a reversal of fortune, the Philistines were forced back to their original cities and became vassals of Israel. Moab and Ammon to the E, the Aramean kingdoms of Zobah and Damascus to the N, and Edom to the SE were also subdued and included in David’s empire. With Tyre David was on friendly terms.

Within Israel David had to cope with various rebellions, one of them led by one of his own sons, Absalom. The rebellion of Sheba revealed a sectional jealousy between N and S which boded ill for the continuing unity of Israel.

David’s cultural activities included building a palace in Jerusalem and gathering material for the Temple to be built by his son. He composed many psalms and is said to have organized the Levitical liturgical singers and musicians for worship. Excavations show that in his time iron became plentiful in Israelite cities, since the Philistine monopoly on the use of this metal had been broken.

c. Solomon (c. 961-922). Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, David’s favorite wife, acceded to the throne, although he was a younger son. After his coronation Solomon killed his older brother Adonijah, who had aspired to the crown, and also killed or exiled Adonijah’s supporters. In spite of this bloody beginning, Solomon’s reign was noteworthy, not for military, but for cultural and economic developments.

Solomon’s building enterprises were amazing in view of the limited resources of Israel. The most famous building by Solomon was, of course, the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. Solomon employed Phoen. craftsmen to make it, its furniture and utensils, the bronze pillars which stood before it, and the great bronze basin for water. The Temple itself was built of great stones, and the interior walls were lined with cedar and covered with gold leaf. In the Holy of Holies was the Ark, protected by gold-plated statues of cherubim, above which the invisible Yahweh was thought to be enthroned. The construction of the Temple took seven years, and Solomon took thirteen years to construct his own palace. Solomon also constructed administrative buildings and palaces for his many wives. By this building he extended the city of Jerusalem northward. Outside of Jerusalem Solomon’s building activity is known from excavations in Megiddo, Gezer, Eglon, and Ezion-geber. At Megiddo new walls, gates and forts were constructed. At Ezion-geber the Solomonic structures formerly thought to be smelteries are now recognized as storehouses, doubtless connected with Solomon’s commerce through that port.

The wealth to support Solomon’s building enterprises came more from international commerce than from rocky Pal. With the cooperation of Hiram, king of Tyre, Solomon built a merchant fleet at Ezion-geber, which brought back gold, silver, ivory, apes, peacocks, almug wood, and precious stones from the E. Among the products sent out from this port was prob. copper which was mined and smelted in the Arabah Valley S of the Dead Sea. Solomon also traded in Egyp. and Cilician horses and Egyp. chariots. The purpose of the visit of the queen of Sheba to Solomon was not only to hear his proverbial wisdom, but also to trade. Solomon imported cedar wood for his buildings from Tyre, and he repaid with olive oil, grain, and some cities in northern Israel. One reason that Solomon was able to control and profit from the commerce between E and W was that neither Egypt nor Assyria was trying to dominate Pal. at that time.

Solomon’s building and luxury were also supported by tribute from the subject nations which his father had conquered, from heavy taxes on the Israelites, and from levies of forced Israelite laborers. To secure these taxes and levies of workers and to organize the government Solomon divided the country into twelve districts, each of which had a governor. These districts did not coincide with the territory of the twelve tribes, a break with the tribal traditions.

Solomon’s activities brought magnificence to Jerusalem, but roused discontent in many quarters. Leaders in Edom and Syria revolted. Furthermore, Israelites themselves, particularly in the N, resented the heavy taxes, the forced levies of workers, and the favored position of Judah. The prophets objected to the introduction of the worship of foreign gods which came to Jerusalem with Solomon’s foreign wives. Solomon had a reputation for wisdom, and he composed many proverbs, but his later policies were not wise, for they harmed his people, his religion, and his dynasty.

7. The separate kingdoms of Israel and Judah (922-722). Rehoboam, Solomon’s son and successor, by trying to carry on the oppressive policies of his father, precipitated the secession of northern Israel. Jeroboam, the spokesman of the northern tribes, had been superintendent of workers under Solomon, had been encouraged to lead a revolt of the northern tribes by the prophet Ahijah, and had fled to Egypt in fear of Solomon. When Rehoboam arrogantly refused to mitigate the taxes and forced labor, the northern Israelites seceded and chose Jeroboam as their king.

After this break (c. 922), the two kingdoms continued a separate but interrelated existence for 200 years till the fall of Samaria in 722. The northern kingdom, including the territories of Ephraim, western Manasseh, Asher, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, and Naphtali W of the Jordan, and of eastern Manasseh, Gad and Reuben E of the Jordan, was larger than the southern kingdom which included only Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. The northern kingdom was also richer both agriculturally, because of its plains, and commercially, because of the international trade routes running through it. The southern kingdom was more mountainous and more isolated. For the above reasons, the northern kingdom was more open to foreign cultural and religious influences as well as to foreign conquest. The southern kingdom was more provincial, more faithful in maintaining the religion of Yahweh, and it continued an independent existence for a cent. and a half after the fall of the northern kingdom. Stabilizing factors in the S were the one Davidic dynasty, the one capital, Jerusalem, and its Temple, housing the Ark, which symbolized Israel’s original covenant with Yahweh. In the N there were nine dynasties, violently replacing each other, three different capitals, and two shrines at Bethel and Dan, which lacked symbolic connection with Israel’s religious traditions.

Jeroboam I (c. 922-901) made his political capital at Shechem, which had been a national center in the time of Joshua. He felt the need of religious centers to keep his people from making pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the S. Therefore he set up golden calves in Bethel and Dan, perhaps under the influence of the animal gods he had seen in Egypt during his exile there in Solomon’s time. Since Yahweh was worshiped at these shrines, some have suggested that the calves were considered as pedestals for the invisible God. The prophetic writers condemned these images.

During the reigns of Jeroboam in Israel and Rehoboam (c. 922-915) in Judah, Pharaoh Shishak invaded Pal. The Biblical account of his plundering of Jerusalem is illustrated and amplified by Shishak’s own list on a wall of the temple at Karnak giving towns he captured both in Judah and in Israel.

Baasha (c. 900-877) founded a new dynasty in Israel and moved the capital to Tirzah. He fought with Asa of Judah (c. 913-873) over the border between them. Asa’s fortification of the border town of Mizpah is illustrated by the thick walls discovered there. Zerah, the Ethiopian, who was repulsed by Asa, was prob. a leader in the Egyp. army.

Omri (c. 876-869) does not receive much space in the book of Kings, perhaps because he was not regarded as religiously important, but his political importance is indicated by the fact that a cent. later the Assyrians were still calling Israel “the land of Omri.” Omri moved the capital of Israel to a new site, Samaria, which soon vied with Jerusalem in the beauty of its buildings. Omri cemented an alliance with Tyre by marrying his son Ahab to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and Sidon. To the SE, Omri conquered Moab, as recorded on the Moabite Stone.

Ahab (c. 869-850) continued the beautification of Samaria, building there an “ivory house.” This means that his palace’s walls and its furniture were embellished with carved ivory inlaid panels, such as have been found in excavations there. In Megiddo Ahab built tremendous stables with stalls for about 450 horses. Jezebel, Ahab’s Phoen. wife, brought with her and encouraged the worship of Baal and of the goddess Asherah. Such idolatry as well as Ahab’s seizure of a private citizen’s vineyard were condemned by the prophet Elijah.

Ahab was one of the leaders of a Syrian coalition which checked the advance of Shalmaneser III of Assyria in the battle of Qarqar in 853. According to Assyrian records, Ahab brought to this battle 2,000 chariots (more than any other Syrian contingent) and 10,000 foot soldiers. When they were not menaced by a common foe, Ahab and the king of Damascus fought over the control of Gilead. Finally the Syrians defeated and killed Ahab at Ramoth-gilead, though he was supported by Jehoshaphat of Judah.

Jehoram (c. 849-842), Ahab’s son, tried with Jehoshaphat’s help to quell a rebellion of Moab led by Mesha. The combined forces of Israel and Judah failed to capture Kirhareseth, the Moabite capital. Mesha later commemorated the independence of Moab on the stela called the Moabite Stone.

In Judah Jehoshaphat’s reign (c. 873-849) was marked by cooperation with Israel, as indicated above, and by internal religious reforms. He appointed judges in the cities and arranged for appeals to a supreme court in Jerusalem. He destroyed idols and pagan sanctuaries and sent out teachers of the law of the Lord. By defeating a coalition of Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites he reestablished Judah’s control over Edom.

An Israelite general, Jehu (c. 842-815), supported by prophets, led a revolt against Jehoram. Jehu killed not only Jehoram, but also the latter’s nephew Ahaziah king of Judah (c. 842), who was a grandson of Ahab. In executing judgment on Ahab’s house, Jehu ordered the death of Jezebel, Ahab’s widow, and of the brothers of Jehoram and of Ahaziah. He also killed the worshipers of Baal. Shalmaneser III of Assyria’s Black Obelisk shows Jehu bowing down before Shalmaneser, and the inscr. states that Jehu presented tribute. In Jehu’s later years Hazael of Damascus took away from Israel the control of Trans-Jordan.

Meanwhile in Judah a daughter of Ahab, Athaliah (c. 842-837), was trying to wipe out the Davidic dynasty and to encourage Baal worship. After hearing that Jehu had killed her son Ahaziah, she seized power herself and killed her own grandchildren, except for a baby boy, Joash, who was hidden in the Temple. After six years the high priest Jehoiada had Joash (c. 837-800) crowned as king. Athaliah and the priest of Baal were killed, and the temple of Baal was destroyed. Jehoiada gave Joash wise guidance while he was young. In his later years Joash turned to idolatry. The prophets saw it as God’s judgment when the Syrians attacked Judah and plundered Jerusalem.

Both Jehoahaz (c. 815-801) and Joash (c. 801-786) of Israel continued to resist Syrian raids, which reached as far as an unsuccessful siege of Samaria itself. In their resistance to Syria the kings of Israel were encouraged by the prophet Elisha.

Jeroboam II (c. 786-746), the son of Joash, brought the kingdom of Israel to its greatest extent and prosperity. He not only recovered Trans-Jordan from Syria, but also conquered Damascus itself. The material prosperity of Israel is illustrated by large buildings which have been discovered in Samaria, Megiddo, and Tirzah. But beside the great buildings in Tirzah, for example, are the remains of hovels, evidencing the injustice to the poor which the prophet Amos condemned. In Samaria from Jeroboam’s time there have been found many tax receipts written on potsherds. These receipts indicate prosperity, and the names on the receipts are compounded not only with Yahweh, like Jedaiah, but also with Baal, like Elibaal, evidences of the combination of Yahwism and idolatry denounced by Hosea and Amos. One reason for the prosperity and expansion of Israel under Jeroboam was the absence of aggression from the great powers of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Judah also prospered at this time during the long reign of Uzziah, also called Azariah (c. 783-742). He defeated the Philistines on the W and the Arabs on the E, and he carried on his father Amaziah’s work of subjugating Edom by rebuilding the port city of Elath on the Gulf of Aqabah. Some scholars think he is the “Azriau of Yaudi” who, according to Assyrian records, headed a Syrian coalition opposing Assyria.

In the latter 8th cent. Judah came under Assyrian dominance, but was not wiped out. Ahaz of Judah (c. 735-715) refused to join Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Damascus in an alliance against Assyria. When the latter two kings attacked Jerusalem, the prophet Isaiah urged Ahaz to trust in God for deliverance. Ahaz sent gifts to Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and asked his help. The Assyrians subdued both Syria and Israel and exacted tribute from Ahaz also. Ahaz forsook the worship of Yahweh and adopted an Assyrian type of altar.

Since the Assyrians came from the N, Israel more keenly than Judah felt the force of their expansion under Tiglath-pileser III (c. 745-727). This king forced Menahem (c. 745-738) of Israel to pay tribute in 738. Pekah (c. 737-732) of Israel and Rezin of Damascus made an alliance to resist Assyria. Nevertheless in 732 Tiglath-pileser captured Damascus and took away from Israel the Mediterranean coast to the W, Galilee in the N, and Gilead to the E, carrying many Israelites into exile. When Hoshea (c. 732-724), the king of the remnant of Israel, refused to pay tribute to Assyria and turned for help to Egypt, Shalmaneser V of Assyria began the siege of Samaria.

8. The fall of Samaria (722). Samaria withstood the Assyrian siege for three years, but the city finally fell in 722, shortly before the death of Shalmaneser. His son Sargon doubtless assisted in the siege and claims credit for the capture of the city. Sargon states that he carried away captive 27,290 Israelites, and the Bible indicates that they were taken to northwestern Mesopotamia and to Media. Hebrew names have been found in records at Nineveh and Nimrud (Calah). The story of Tobit deals with Israelites who were settled in Nineveh and Media. In place of the deported Israelites the Assyrians introduced settlers from Babylonia and Syria, who brought their idols with them. In time these pagan settlers were assimilated to the remaining Israelites and to Yahwism. So the later Samaritans were a mixture of Israelite and foreign elements and were therefore despised by the Judeans.

9. The kingdom of Judah alone (722-587). In Judah Ahaz was followed by Hezekiah (c. 715-687), who tried to throw off Assyrian control and tribute. He prob. took part in the revolt against Assyria led by the Philistine city of Ashdod c. 711, for Sargon in his account of the suppression of this revolt states that he subdued the land of Judah. Hezekiah welcomed ambassadors of Merodach-baladan of Babylon, who was also scheming to rebel against Assyria. Hezekiah strengthened Jerusalem’s walls and dug a tunnel 1,777 ft. through solid rock to carry water from the spring Gihon to the Pool of Siloam within the city walls, to insure a water supply during a siege. Then Hezekiah led other Palestinian states in another rebellion against Assyria. In 701 Sennacherib of Assyria crushed this revolt, destroying forty-six cities in Judah, including Lachish, whose siege is depicted in reliefs from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh. Sennacherib’s records claim that he besieged, but did not take Jerusalem and imposed on Hezekiah tribute including the exact amount of gold mentioned in the parallel account in the Bible. Isaiah assured the pious Hezekiah that Jerusalem would not be captured, and the Biblical record states that “the angel of the Lord” slew many of the besieging Assyrians in the night. An Egyp. story preserved by Herodotus (II.141), telling that at this time the Assyrian army was infested with mice, may indicate that bubonic plague was the means used by God to remove the Assyrian army from Jerusalem. Because of the mention of Tirhakah (born 710) as leader of the Egyp. army which tried to repulse the Assyrians, some scholars suggest that there may have been a second invasion by Sennacherib in Pal. about 688, but this is not clearly stated in the Bible or in Assyrian records. Within Judah, Hezekiah was known for his religious reforms and his return to the law of the Lord.

Manasseh’s (c. 687-642) tribute is mentioned in Assyrian records. He must have tried to revolt, because the Assyrians carried him a prisoner to Babylon, which they controlled. The Chronicler sees this as a punishment for Manasseh’s idolatry. After Manasseh repented and returned to the Lord, the Assyrians allowed him to return to his throne in Jerusalem.

Josiah (c. 640-609) introduced religious reforms, like Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah before him, but he was more thorough than they in removing local shrines and idols. These reforms were based on a book of the law found in the Temple. Since Josiah centralized public worship and the observance of passover in Jerusalem, and since the Book of Deuteronomy stresses the one central sanctuary for sacrifice, many scholars have deduced that the book which was found was some form of Deuteronomy. Because Assyrian power was waning, Josiah was able to extend his control and the elimination of idolatry northward as far as Naphtali.

In 609 Pharaoh Neco went through Pal. to aid the Assyrians, who were hard pressed by the Babylonians. Josiah saw this move as a danger to his kingdom, and he opposed Neco’s army at the pass of Megiddo in northern Israel. Josiah was defeated and killed, and the prophet Jeremiah composed a lamentation for him. Neco was delayed by this battle, and the last Assyrian effort to repulse the Babylonians was defeated.

With the extinguishing of Assyrian power, Neco took over control of Syria-Palestine. Jehoahaz (609), who succeeded Josiah, prob. tried to follow an independent policy Neco deposed him and took him captive to Egypt. Neco put his brother Eliakim in his place and gave him the throne name Jehoiakim (609-598).

After Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Neco at Carchemish in northern Syria in 605, Jehoiakim became a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar, and some of the Judean nobility, including Daniel, were taken to Babylon. After the Egyp. army repulsed the Babylonians in 601, Jehoiakim revolted against Babylon, contrary to the advice of Jeremiah. The Babylonians besieged Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim was taken captive and died.

Jehoiachin (598-597) succeded to the throne of Judah during the siege of Jerusalem. In 597 the Babylonians finally took the city and siezed treasures from the palace and Temple. Jehoiachin was carried captive to Babylon with thousands of Jewish leaders, soldiers, and artisans. Records discovered in Babylon show that Jehoiachin and his family received regular rations from the Babylonian government.

Nebuchadnezzar placed Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah on the throne of Judah, giving him the throne name Zedekiah (597-587). After some years Zedekiah, disregarding the warnings of Jeremiah, revolted against Babylonia, relying on possible Egyp. help.

10. The fall of Jerusalem (587). Again Nebuchadnezzar invaded rebellious Judah. Letters on potsherds sent to the Jewish commander at Lachish illustrate the advance of the Babylonians as they captured town after town. Lachish itself was taken and burned. Jerusalem withstood the Babylonian siege for eighteen months. An Egyp. expedition to relieve Jerusalem was turned back. In July, 587, the Babylonians broke through the walls. Zedekiah tried to escape, but he was captured, blinded, and taken to Babylon. In August the Babylonians burned the city, including the Temple, and broke down the walls. Some of the Jewish leaders were executed, and in 852 others were taken to Babylonia. Only the poor were left to till the soil.

The Babylonians appointed a Jew, Gedaliah, to govern Judah. At the instigation of the king of Ammon, Gedaliah was murdered together with some Babylonian soldiers. Fearing a reprisal, a group of Jews fled to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them, though he objected to the move. In 582 the Babylonian reprisal was forthcoming in taking 745 more Jews as exiles to Babylonia.

11. The Exile (587-538). Though the Exile is usually thought of as beginning in 587 with the fall of Jerusalem, it must be remembered that thousands had gone into exile from Israel in 735 and in 722 and from Judah in 597 and in 582. Furthermore, though the main body of exiles from Judah were in Babylonia, there were also exiles from Israel in northern Mesopotamia and in Media and exiles from Judah in Egypt.

In Babylonia the prophet Ezekiel and other Jewish exiles lived at Tel-abib on the River Chebar, a canal near the city of Nippur. Other places in Babylonia where Jewish exiles lived were Tel-harsha, Tel-melah, and Casiphia.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote to the exiles in Babylonia urging them to build houses, plant gardens, and live normal lives. The exiles were allowed to maintain some community organization headed by their own elders. Some Jews went into business and prospered. Daniel is said to have risen to the position of counselor to the king. Evil-merodach (562-560), Nebuchadnezzar’s son and successor, removed the exiled Jewish king Jehoiachin from prison and gave him residence in the royal palace in Babylon.

Jeremiah in writing and Ezekiel in person taught the exiles that the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile were Yahweh’s punishments for their sins. They urged the exiles to keep faith in Yahweh in the midst of idolatry and held out the hope of return to Judah. The prophecies of the second part of Isaiah comforted the exiles with the assurance that God, the controller of history, would lead them out of Babylonia in a new exodus back to Zion, from which the faith in the one true God would spread to all nations.

12. The Persian period (538-333). Cyrus the Pers. (c. 559-530) was regarded in the second part of Isaiah as an instrument appointed by God to deliver the Israelite exiles. In 539 the army of Cyrus took Babylon, and Babylonia and its dependencies were incorporated into the Pers. empire. Cyrus followed a more tolerant policy toward subject peoples and their religions than that of Assyria or Babylonia. Throughout his empire Cyrus favored local cultural autonomy and respected local gods and their temples. The Jews also benefited from this policy, for Cyrus decreed that the Temple of Yahweh, God of heaven, should be rebuilt in Jerusalem and that Jews wishing to return to Judah could do so.

Shesh-bazzar, a prince of Judah and perhaps a son of Jehoiachin, was appointed governor of Judah. He led the first group of returnees. With them they carried, with Cyrus’s permission, vessels of gold and silver which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. On their arrival in Jerusalem the returnees set up an altar and began the foundations of a new Temple. They were suspicious of the racial purity and religious orthodoxy of the Israelites who had not gone into exile and refused to let them help in rebuilding the Temple. These “people of the land” retaliated by urging the Pers. authorities to halt the construction of the Temple and the walls.

Another much larger group of Jewish exiles returned with Zerubbabel, who was a nephew of Shesh-bazzar, and followed him as governor of Judah. With Zerubbabel came many priests and Levites led by the high priest Joshua. In 520 work was begun again on the Temple with the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, and the permission of King Darius I (522-486). Finally in 515 this second Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem was completed.

The Book of Esther indicates that there were Jews in many parts of the Pers. empire during the reign of Ahasuerus, usually identified with Xerxes I (486-465). The assembling of his military commanders and satraps in his third year (Esth 1:3) may have been in preparation for his expedition against Greece. A Pers. record mentions an official in Xerxes’ court at Susa (Shushan) named Marduka, who may be Mordecai, the cousin and guardian of Esther. The Jewish feast of Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies as described in this book.

The prosperity of some of the Jews who continued in exile is illustrated by the business records of the Jewish bankers and traders, Murashu and his sons. These records come from Nippur and cover the second half of the 5th cent. This family traded in many commodities and services with Persians, Medes, Babylonians, Arameans, and fellow-Jews.

Ezra, a priest and scribe and perhaps the adviser for Jewish affairs at the Pers. court, led several hundred more exiles back to Judah in the seventh year of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:7). Ezra was armed with a royal decree permitting Jews to return with him, commissioning him to reform religious life in Judah according to the law of God, and granting him money and vessels for the sacrificial worship in the Temple at Jerusalem.

According to the traditional view that Ezra returned under Artaxerxes I (465-424), the date of his return would be 458. Some suggest that the king was Artaxerxes II (404-358), in which case Ezra’s return would be in 398, but this dating contradicts several passages which make Ezra and Nehemiah collaborators (e.g. Neh 8:1, 2, 5, 6, 9 12:36). Others conjecturally emend “seventh” in Ezra 7:7 to “twenty-seventh” or to “thirty-seventh,” keeping the identification of the king as Artaxerxes I, which would yield as dates for Ezra’s return 438 or 428. One of the arguments for placing Nehemiah before Ezra is that the “wall” (KJV) of Ezra 9:9 seems to imply that Nehemiah’s rebuilding preceded Ezra’s arrival. On the other hand, “wall” (KJV) may refer to a structure which was pulled down shortly before Nehemiah arrived, or more prob. to “protection” (RSV) by the Persians, since the Heb. word is not the usual one for a physical wall, and the whole district of Judah is protected. The difficulties of the traditional order, Ezra then Nehemiah, are less, in my opinion, than the problems arising from the assumption that Jews, writing a few generations after the events, confused the order of the two most outstanding figures of their recent history.

Nehemiah, cupbearer to the Pers. king, first came to Jerusalem as governor in 445, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes I. He had a commission from Artaxerxes I to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem with help and supplies from the Pers. officials in the province of Beyond the River (i.e. Syria-Palestine beyond the Euphrates). This move to strengthen Judah was opposed by the Samaritans, led by their governor Sanballat, by Tobiah, the Israelite governor of Ammon, and by Geshem, identified in inscrs. as the king of the Kedarite Arabs in NW Arabia. Because of this opposition the Jews had to work on the walls under pressure and with weapons near at hand. Thanks to Nehemiah’s planning and encouragement the walls were completed in fifty-two days. At the celebration of the feast of trumpets (Lev 23:24, 25) (first day of the seventh Jewish month) Ezra with assisting Levites read to the people from the Heb. law and interpreted, prob. in Aram., the lingua franca of the time which the Jews had learned in exile. Nehemiah was the first signer of a national covenant with God to obey the law, to avoid marriage with Samaritans and heterodox Jews, to observe the sabbath and the sabbatical year, and to give tithes for the Temple and the priests.

Nehemiah returned to the Pers. court in 433, but soon afterward he was sent back to Judah for a second term as governor. This time Nehemiah busied himself with religious reforms: providing for the Levites, enforcing the sabbath, and condemning marriages with pagans. Ezra and Nehemiah, with their emphasis on racial exclusiveness, and on the ceremonial law strongly influenced later Judaism.

The clash between Nehemiah and Sanballat widened the political and religious breach between the Judeans and the Samaritans. Nehemiah chased out of the Temple a son of the high priest who had married a daughter of Sanballat. Some think that this incident is the same as that described by Josephus (Antiq. XI. vii. 2, XI. viii. 2) but placed, perhaps by error, a cent. later in the time of Alexander. Josephus says that the expelled priest’s name was Manasseh and that he officiated in a rival temple which Sanballat constructed on Mt. Gerizim for the Samaritans.

Fifth-cent. Aram. records from Elephantine, an island in the Nile near Aswan in southern Egypt, show many aspects of the life of a Jewish garrison there employed by the Persians. In 419 the Jews there received a decree from Darius I, communicated through Hananiah of Jerusalem (perhaps Nehemiah’s brother) and Arsames the Pers. satrap of Egypt, about the observance of Passover. Later they wrote to Johanan, high priest in Jerusalem, to the sons of Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, and to Bagoas, the Pers. governor in Judah, about the rebuilding of their temple in Elephantine. They agreed not to sacrifice animals in their new temple, because of Pers. and Egyp. opposition to such sacrifice and because of the Jewish law limiting sacrifice to the central national sanctuary, the Temple in Jerusalem.

Artaxerxes III (358-338) had to face serious revolts in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. In 345 his armies destroyed Sidon and took captives from Judah to Hyrcania, SE of the Caspian Sea. See map XI in Vol. 5 for area of Persian Empire.

13. The Greek period (333-167). In 333 Alexander the Great (336-323) defeated Darius III (336-331) of Persia at Issus, near the border between Asia Minor and Syria. Then he made his victorious way conquering and receiving submission through Syria and Palestine. While he was besieging Tyre, Alexander sent to Jaddua, the high priest in Jerusalem, according to Josephus, asking auxiliary troops and provisions. Jaddua refused, saying that he had promised loyalty to King Darius. After Alexander had taken Tyre and Gaza, he headed for Jerusalem. Warned in a dream to submit, Jaddua went out peacefully to meet Alexander, who entered Jerusalem and offered sacrifices in the Temple. Alexander granted the high priest’s request that the Jews should be allowed to follow their own religious laws and that the Jews of Judea should be exempt from taxation on the seventh, or sabbatical, year when they took no harvests. Some have questioned Josephus’ story of Alexander’s visit to Jerusalem, but elsewhere also Alexander visited local sanctuaries and respected local religious customs.

In the division of Alexander’s empire among his generals, Pal. was assigned to Ptolemy I (323-283) of Egypt, though Seleucus also wanted it. To establish his control of Pal., Ptolemy had to conduct several campaigns there. He first took control of Jerusalem in 320, entering the city on the sabbath, when the Jews made no resistance. He took many Jewish captives and settled them, some in Alexandria, some in Cyrene, and some he made garrisons in various cities of Egypt. In the Hel. period which followed Jews scattered to many places, esp. in the eastern Mediterranean countries. These settlements of Jews often became the seed plots for the early Christian Church.

In the time of Ptolemy I the high priest in Jerusalem was Onias I. That the high priest was the political as well as the religious leader in Judea is shown by the fact that Onias made a treaty of friendship with the king of Sparta.

Ptolemy II (285-246) rebuilt and hellenized cities in Pal., including Rabbah (now Amman) in Trans-Jordan, which he renamed Philadelphia, and Acre (Biblical Acco) on the northern coast, which he renamed Ptolemais. The correspondence of Zeno, the steward of Ptolemy II’s minister of finance, Apollonius, shows that the family of Tobiah, an enemy of Nehemiah, was in charge of collecting taxes for the Ptolemies in Trans-Jordan as it had been for the Persians. In Egypt Ptolemy II freed the Jewish slaves who had been taken captive in his father’s time.

A letter falsely attributed to Aristeas, an officer in Ptolemy II’s court, gives a legendary story that Ptolemy sent rich gifts to the Temple in Jerusalem and invited the high priest, Eleazar, to send six men from each of the twelve tribes to Alexandria. These seventy-two men are said to have produced a tr. of the OT into Gr., called the Septuagint (LXX “seventy”) in their honor. It is prob. true that Ptolemy sent gifts to the Temple in Jerusalem and that at least the Pentateuch was tr. into Gr. in Alexandria in his time. But the tr. was prob. produced by Alexandrian rather than by Palestinian Jews for the use of the numerous Gr.-speaking Jews.

After Ptolemy III (246-221) lost a battle with Seleucus II of Syria, the high priest in Jerusalem, Onias II, who favored the Seleucids, withheld the payment of tribute to Ptolemy. Ptolemy threatened to send soldiers to dispossess the Judeans of their lands. Joseph of the Tobiah family arranged with Ptolemy to take over the collection of taxes and the payment of tribute for Judea.

Ptolemy IV (221-203) was able to keep control of Pal. by defeating Antiochus III (223-187) of Syria at Raphia on the border of Egypt in 217. After the battle Ptolemy tried to enter the Temple in Jerusalem, but the high priest, Simon II, prevented him. This Simon is given fulsome praise in Ecclesiasticus 50:21.

Finally in 198 in the battle of Paneas in northern Pal. Antiochus III defeated the army of young Ptolemy V, and Pal. became a part of the Seleucid empire. The people of Jerusalem welcomed Antiochus, who promised the return of Jewish war refugees to their homes, reduction of taxes, the right to follow their religious laws, help in the repair of the Temple, and regular contributions to the expenses of the Temple worship.

The successors of Antiochus did not follow his benevolent policy toward Judea. For example, Seleucus IV (187-175), under the pressure of paying heavy tribute to Rome, tried, though without success, to get money from the Temple in Jerusalem. His emissary Heliodorus entered the Temple, but was beaten and frightened away.

Antiochus IV (175-162), in addition to encouraging Gr. culture and customs in Judea, also tried to force Gr. religion on the Jews. The high priest, Onias III, was murdered, and Antiochus sold the high priesthood to Jason and then to Menelaus. In need of money for his wars, Antiochus robbed the Temple in Jerusalem. Because of ensuing riots he sent an army which killed, plundered, and destroyed in Jerusalem. Jewish sacrifices and feasts were halted, copies of the Law were destroyed, and circumcision was forbidden. Finally the worship of Zeus Olympios was introduced in the Temple, perhaps with the assumption that the supreme Gr. god could be identified with Yahweh. Jews who refused to comply with these measures were tortured and killed. The nation of Israel and the monotheistic religion of Israel were in danger of extinction.

14. The Maccabean, or Hasmonean, period (167-163). The standard of Jewish revolt was raised by Mattathias, a priest who lived in Modein, near Lydda, with his five sons: John, Simon, Judas, Eleazar, and Jonathan. Mattathias was the descendant of a priest named Hashmon, and therefore the members of his family were sometimes called Hasmoneans. Mattathias refused to offer sacrifice to a pagan god and killed the Syrian officer who ordered the sacrifice and also a Jew who was willing to participate. Then Mattathias and his sons fled to the hills and were joined by some of the Hasidim (pious Jews).

After the death of the aged Mattathias, his son Judas (166-160) took the leadership of the revolt. Because of his skill in leading guerilla attacks he was called Maccabeus, prob. meaning “the Hammerer.” While Antiochus was away with the main Syrian army fighting the Parthians, Judas defeated several Syrian detachments. Finally Lysias, the regent of Antiochus, rescinded the orders proscribing Jewish religious practices. In Jerusalem Judas removed pagan elements from the Temple, rebuilt the altar of Yahweh, and rededicated the Temple in December, 164. This event is memorialized in the Jewish feast of Hanukkah (“Dedication”).

Antiochus died in 163, and his successor, Demetrius I, appointed Alcimus high priest in Jerusalem. Perhaps in disappointment at not being chosen high priest or in fear, Onias, son of the murdered Onias III, fled to Egypt. There he established a Jewish temple at Leontopolis, ten m. N of Heliopolis.

In Judea, since religious freedom had been attained, some Jews stopped fighting but Judas carried on the war to achieve political independence from Syria also. To secure foreign support, he made a treaty of friendship with the Romans, who were interested in weakening the Seleucid power. After some victories over the Syrians, he was finally defeated and killed at Elasa in 160.

Judas’s brother, Jonathan (160-142), carried on the fight for independence. Because of internal struggles for power in Syria many Syrian garrisons were withdrawn from Judea. One of the claimants for the Seleucid throne, Alexander Balas, appointed Jonathan high priest and then civil governor in Judea. Jonathan took control of several cities on the coast: Joppa, Azotus (Ashdod), and Ekron. A Syrian general, Trypho, offered to parley with Jonathan, but instead imprisoned and killed him.

Simon, the last surviving son of Mattathias, took over the rule and high priesthood of Judea (142-134). Demetrius II, in return for Simon’s aid against Trypho, who had usurped the Syrian throne, granted to Judea freedom from taxation, which meant practical independence. Simon renewed treaties with Sparta and Rome, and Rome warned the Ptolemies and the Seleucids to respect the independence of Judea. Simon drove out the last Seleucid garrisons in Judea, those in Gazara (Gezer) and the Acra fortress beside the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish people in 140 declared Simon their ethnarch, or national ruler, with the right of succession for his descendants. Antiochus VI sent an army into Judea, trying to reestablish some Syrian control. Simon’s sons, Judas and John Hyrcanus, led a Jewish force which defeated the Syrians and forced them to retreat. Except for this incident, Simon’s rule was marked by peace and prosperity.

Early in the rule of John Hyrcanus (134-104), Simon’s son and successor, Jerusalem was besieged by a Syrian army of Antiochus VII. Finally John Hyrcanus had to surrender and pay tribute. After Antiochus was killed fighting the Parthians, John was able to reassert Judean independence. He proceeded to expand his rule beyond the borders of Judea. East of the Dead Sea he captured Medeba. Then he subjugated the Samaritans, taking both Shechem and Samaria and destroying the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim. His northward conquests went as far as Scythopolis (Beth-shan). To the S he subdued the Idumeans (Edomites), who had moved into the Negeb S of Judea after the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The Idumeans were compelled to be circumcised and to observe the Jewish religious laws.

John Hyrcanus ceased to support the Pharisee party, because they said he should relinquish the high priesthood. The Pharisees carried on the tradition of the pious Hasidim, who had originally supported the Maccabean revolt. The Pharisees emphasized personal piety, study of the law, and observance of the details of traditional ceremonial requirements.

John Hyrcanus came to favor the Sadducean party, because they supported him in his priestly as well as in his civil office. The Sadducees were the aristocratic priests who were concerned about the Temple, its ritual, and its income.

Some coins of John Hyrcanus have been found at Qumran, indicating that the Essene community was there in his time or soon thereafter. This monastic group withdrew from the world to copy and study the Scriptures and to perform religious rituals, including frequent ablutions. They considered themselves as preparing for the soon coming of the Messianic prophet, king, and priest.

Aristobulus I (104-103) is said by Josephus to have taken the title of king. He conquered Galilee and forced the Gentile inhabitants to become Jews.

Under Alexander Janneus (103-76) the power of the Maccabees reached its greatest extent, but their original religious purpose for the national good was replaced by personal ambition and cruel oppression. Alexander won territory E of the Jordan and cities on the SW coast of Pal., but he had to fight almost continually with the Egyptians, the Syrians, or the Nabateans. The Pharisee party rebelled against him because of his lax performance of his high priestly duties. Josephus says that Alexander’ troops killed 6,000 rioting worshipers in Jerusalem and that Alexander crucified 800 of the Pharisees who had opposed him.

Alexandra (76-67), the widow of Alexander Janneus, succeeded him as civil ruler, She appointed her son Hyrcanus high priest and another son, Aristobulus, the commander of the army. Alexandra was known for her piety, and she favored the Pharisees, who sought revenge on those who had wronged them in the time of Alexander Janneus.

On the death of Alexandra, the ambitious Aristobulus II, with the help of the Sadducees, seized the throne (67-63). Hyrcanus, a mild and retiring person, conceded the high priesthood also to his brother Aristobulus. Antipater, an Idumean, persuaded Hyrcanus to seek help from the Nabatean king, Aretas III. Hyrcanus and Aretas besieged Aristobulus in Jerusalem. The Rom. general Scaurus, a lieutenant of Pompey, forced Aretas to withdraw from Jerusalem. Aristobulus, Hyrcanus, and a delegation of Pharisees all appealed to Pompey, who was in the process of making Syria a Rom. province. Pompey came to Jerusalem and captured the Temple after a siege of three months. Aristobulus was sent to Rome to appear in Pompey’s triumph. Judea came under the control of the Rom. proconsul of Syria. The independence which the Maccabees so bravely won lasted only eighty years.

15. The Roman period (63 b.c.-a.d. 66). Pompey took away from Jewish control the Gr. cities E of the Jordan and Scythopolis who formed a league called Decapolis (“Ten Cities”), the cities of the coastal plain, and Samaria. Hyrcanus II was confirmed as high priest and leader of the Jewish nation with administration over Judea, Idumea, Perea beyond the Jordan, and Galilee. The real direction in the administration of these Jewish areas came from Hyrcanus’ adviser, Antipater the Idumean. All of Pal. was under the oversight of the Rom. governor of Syria, and the Jewish administrators of Judea had to come to terms with whatever Rom. happened to be in power. The confusion in Pal. in the mid-1st cent. was due partly to internal factions and partly to changes in Rome and on the international scene.

When Pompey was defeated and killed, Antipater and Hyrcanus gave their allegiance to the victorious Julius Caesar, who named Antipater procurator and Hyrcanus ethnarch. Antipater gave the administration of Judea to his son Phasael, and of Galilee to another son, Herod. Herod distinguished himself by the suppression of brigands in Galilee. Aristobulus II and his sons Alexander and Antigonus made various attempts to regain power in Judea. After Antipater was poisoned in 41, his sons Phasael and Herod were appointed joint tetrarchs of Judea by Antony, who then controlled the eastern Rom. provinces. In 40 the Parthians aided Antigonus the son of Aristobulus II to seize power in Judea. He forced Hyrcanus out of the high priesthood and ruled as the last Maccabean king and high priest 40-37, facing the growing challenge of Herod.

The Romans did not want an ally of Parthia in control of Judea and appointed Herod king of Judea in 40. With Rom. help Herod finally overcame Antigonus and took Jerusalem in 37. Octavian, when he had defeated Antony and Cleopatra, gave to Herod cities on the coast, Samaria, Jericho, and cities E of the Jordan. When Octavian had become emperor with the title Augustus, he gave Herod other territories E and N of the Sea of Galilee. So Herod finally controlled all of Pal., except for the independent cities of the Decapolis and Ascalon.

Herod’s building accomplishments, like those of Solomon, were truly remarkable, esp. when the small size of Pal. is considered. He rebuilt much of the city of Jerusalem and its walls. He also rebuilt Samaria, giving it the name Sebaste (corresponding in meaning to Lat. Augustus), and Strato’s Tower, calling it Caesarea, also in honor of Caesar Augustus. In Jericho he constructed a winter palace, which has recently been excavated. For defense he built fortresses such as Herodium, Masada, and Machaerus. He also donated money for buildings, including pagan temples, in Tyre, Sidon, and even in Rhodes and Athens. His most famous building project was the new Temple which he began in Jerusalem c. 20 b.c. He used tremendous stones for the wall of the court, which can still be seen, marble for the Temple itself, and gold on the domes. This was the Temple which was often visited by Jesus and which He warned would soon be destroyed.

Herod sponsored not only Hel. architecture but also Gr. lit. His court chronicler, Nicolas of Damascus, wrote a Universal History, on which Josephus drew for his histories.

In his relations to his family Herod showed jealousy, fear, and cruelty. Out of ill-founded jealousy he killed his favorite wife, Mariamne, the granddaughter of Aristobulus II. Out of fear he killed three of his own sons. These characteristics are also shown in Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus after the latter was born in Bethlehem toward the end of Herod’s reign. Herod’s physical accomplishments were great, but he was not loved.

Herod left Judea, Samaria, and Idumea to his son Archelaus, who ruled 4 b.c. to a.d. 6. During his rule Joseph and Mary brought the young Jesus back from Egypt to live in Nazareth. After Augustus deposed Archelaus, this area was ruled by Rom. procurators a.d. 6-41. The procurator during Jesus’ ministry was Pontius Pilate ( a.d. 26-36), who was finally removed for his cruelty to the Jews and the Samaritans.

Another son of Herod, Herod Antipas, was given Galilee and Perea, which he ruled as tetrarch 4 b.c.-a.d. 39. His marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias, brought the rebuke of John the Baptist, whom Herod executed in the fortress-palace of Machaerus, according to Josephus. To marry Herodias he cast off his former wife, whose father the Nabatean king, Aretas IV, waged war against him and took some cities in Perea. It was this Herod who examined Jesus in Jerusalem before the crucifixion.

A third son of Herod, Philip, was tetrarch of the territory N and E of the Sea of Galilee 4 b.c.-a.d. 34. He made Bethsaida, the home of some of Jesus’ disciples, his capital and gave it the added name Julias in honor of the daughter of Augustus. He rebuilt Paneas at a source of the Jordan and called it Caesarea Philippi, in honor of the Emperor Tiberius Caesar and of himself. Here Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.

At the crucifixion of Jesus near Jerusalem most of the elements of Israel’s history are represented: the Romans in Pontius Pilate who sentenced Him, the Sadducean priests who resented His interference with moneymaking in the Temple, the Pharisees who resented His teaching that ceremonial details were unimportant, the Jews of the dispersion in Simon of Cyrene, the family of Herod in Herod Antipas who examined Him, and finally the promises of Moses and the prophets which Jesus claimed to fulfill.

The Emperor Caligula made Herod Agrippa I ( a.d. 37-44) king over the territory which had been ruled by Philip and over Abilene W of Damascus. Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great and the Maccabean princess Mariamne. The fact that he had Maccabean blood made him popular with the Jews. Agrippa’s visit to Alexandria, through no fault of his, touched off a violent anti-Jewish riot there. The Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo, who interpreted the Bible in the light of Plato, headed an Alexandrian Jewish delegation to complain to Caligula about this riot. While Agrippa was in Rome, he persuaded Caligula to withdraw an order to set up the emperor’s statue in Jerusalem, an action which would have precipitated a revolution. In a.d. 39 after the deposition of Herod Antipas, Caligula gave Galilee and Perea to Agrippa also. Finally in a.d. 41 the Emperor Claudius added Judea and Samaria to Agrippa’s kingdom. The Book of Acts, calling him only Herod, indicates that he wanted to please the Jews and therefore executed the Christian Apostle James and imprisoned the Apostle Peter. Josephus confirms the Biblical account of Agrippa’s sudden and painful death at a celebration in Caesarea.

In the mid-1st cent. after Christ Judaism prospered in Mesopotamia. A Jew, Asinaeus, rose to be governor of Babylonia under the Parthians. In Seleucia (near modern Baghdad) the thousands of Jews gained such power that there was a violent riot against them. In the little kingdom of Adiabene in northeastern Mesopotamia the royal house was converted to Judaism. Queen Hellena of Adiabene sent supplies to Judea in time of famine as did the Christians of Antioch through Barnabas and Saul. Helena’s tomb can be seen in Jerusalem near St. George’s Cathedral.

In a.d. 48 the right to appoint the high priest in Jerusalem was given to a son of Herod Agrippa I, Herod Agrippa II. The Romans made him king of Chalcis in Syria c. a.d. 50, and c. a.d. 53 they gave him in exchange the territory N and E of the Sea of Galilee which his father had ruled. In a.d. 56 the Emperor Nero added Galilee and Perea to his kingdom. This Agrippa took part in the examination of Paul, who paid tribute to his concern for Jewish affairs. Agrippa tried to prevent the Jews from revolting, and when the revolt came, he remained loyal to Rome who had given him his kingdom. He ruled these northern and eastern sections of Pal. until c. a.d. 93.

After Herod Agrippa I’s death Judea was again ruled by Rom. procurators ( a.d. 44-66). Two of the procurators are mentioned in the Book of Acts, Felix ( a.d. 52-60), who tried Paul when the latter was accused by Jewish leaders, and Festus (60-62), who sent Paul to Rome for trial before Nero. Some of the procurators had little understanding of the Jewish religion and roused opposition by dishonoring Jewish customs and sacred places. Others like Gessius Florus ( a.d. 65-66) openly plundered towns and released brigands in return for bribes. There were repeated demonstrations and rebellions led by such persons as an Egyp. Jew (Acts 21:38) who promised his followers that the walls of Jerusalem would fall before them. The Romans crushed such rebellions with severity.

16. Revolts and destructions of Jerusalem (a.d. 66-135). Finally in a.d. 66, after the procurator Florus had seized money from the Temple treasury, widespread revolt broke out. The rebels killed the Rom. soldiers in Jerusalem and defeated the forces of the Rom. legate of Syria at Beth-horon, where Joshua and Judas Maccabeus had won victories. In a.d. 67 Nero sent one of his best generals, Vespasian, with three legions to quell the revolt. Vespasian first defeated the Jewish forces in Galilee. He spared the life of the Jewish commander there, Josephus, who joined the Romans and vainly urged his countrymen to surrender. It was this Josephus who later wrote histories of his people including this very war. In a.d. 69 Vespasian was declared emperor, and he departed for Rome, leaving his son Titus to complete the subjugation of Judea. In April, a.d. 70, Titus began the siege of Jerusalem. Finally the Temple was burned on August 27, according to Josephus, the anniversary of its burning by the Babylonians in 587 b.c. Thousands of Jews were killed or sold into slavery. Rather than surrender, the garrison of Masada, the last Jewish fort to fall, committed mass suicide.

After a Jewish revolt in Cyrenaica in a.d. 115, a fresh revolt broke out in Judea in a.d. 132 over a decree forbidding circumcision. Bar Cochba, who was regarded as a messianic figure, was the leader of the Jews. This name, “son of the star,” may have been an epithet, for some of his letters, recently discovered, give his name as Simon ben Kosebah. In a.d. 135 the Romans captured and destroyed Jerusalem, as they had in a.d. 70. This time the Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city, naming it Aelia Capitolina, and decreed that no Jew should enter it. The political history of ancient Israel was at an end. The religious fruits of that history, during which monotheism was preserved, continue in scattered Jewish communities including modern Israel and in the world-wide Christian Church, which has sometimes called itself the new Israel.

Bibliography R. Kittel, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, I, 6th ed. (1923), II, 6th ed. (1935), III. 1 (1927), III. 2 (1929) W. O. E. Oesterley and T. H. Robinson, A History of Israel, 2 vols (1932) H. M. Orlinsky, Ancient Israel (1954) J. B. Pritchard ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (1955) G. Ricciotti, The History of Israel, tr. C. della Penta and R. T. A. Murphy, 2 vols. (1955) J. Bright, Early Israel in Recent History Writing (1956) L. H. Grollenberg, Atlas of the Bible, tr. J. M. H. Reid (1956) G. E. Wright and F. V. Filson, The Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible, rev. ed. (1956) W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, 2nd ed. (1957) J. Bright, A History of Israel (1959) M. Noth, The History of Israel, 2nd ed. (1960) J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archaeology (1962) G. E. Wright, Biblical Archaeology, rev. ed. (1962) W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra (1963) F. F. Bruce, Israel and the Nations (1963) H. J. Flanders, R. W. Crapps, D. A. Smith, People of the Covenant (1963) R. K. Harrison, Old Testament Times (1970).

New Testament history.

This Herodian city was the Samaria of the NT. It is not specifically mentioned in the gospels. In Acts the city of Samaria is mentioned as the center for the work of Simon the magician ( Acts 8:9 ). In v. 5 of the same chapter the variant readings are “the city of Samaria” and “a city of Samaria.” In v. 14 , however, “the city” seems more likely, as the apostles did their crucial doctrinal work in cities. There is a strong tradition that John the Baptist was buried at Samaria, but there is no proof. Two early churches here honor him.

When the Jews revolted against Rome, Samaria was one of the first cities to suffer. The Jews captured and sacked it in a.d. 66 in the first months of the revolt. The city, however, must have made a good comeback, for there is a fragmentary inscr. of Vespasian which would favor such a view. Neither written records nor archeological data throw much light on Samaria in the closing days of the NT.

The peak period of Samaria’s greatness was from c. a.d. 180-230. Most of the city’s Rom. ruins visible today belong to that period.

For the territory of Samaria, see Territory of Samaria. For the Samaritan people, see Samaritans.

Enthroned Figure Furniture Inlay, Samaria - History

Goddess, Whore, or Both? Kilili, the "Woman at the Window"

Was the beautiful, enigmatic "Woman at the Window" a goddess, a prostitute, or both? Many ivory carvings of her have been found in the Near East, and they date to the first millennium B.C.E. Scholarly interpreters have been quite clear about her: she was a prostitute displaying her wares at an inn. Further, they have often identified her with the Sumerian great goddess Inanna, the Babylonian Ishtar, whom they see as, among other things, patron deity of prostitutes and herself a prostitute.

Feminist scholar Julia Assante questions this generally accepted scholarly position. From her meticulous research, she argues that earlier scholars misunderstood certain documents in which the names of several types of priestess were regularly listed along with the word usually translated as "prostitute." [1] Rather than assuming, as most scholars have done, that the priestesses were prostitutes, albeit sacred ones, Assante makes a strong case that these lists describe a category of woman to which both certain priestesses and "prostitutes" belonged, that is, women who were not dependent on men. Fiercely independent and dangerous Inanna/Ishtar was no exception but, Assante suggests, she might have been patron not of prostitutes alone, but of self-supporting women, to which category many prostitutes must have belonged. [2]

Certainly the "Woman at the Window" was an aspect of Inanna/Ishtar, whatever else she might have been. Her name was Kilili, and she was a minor Babylonian goddess. [3] "Kilili" probably meant "Garlanded One." [4] The Sumerians called her Aba-shushu "(One) Who Leans in (or Looks out of) the Window." Abta-gigi, another of her names, has been translated as "(One) Who Answers (or Commands) from the Window." [5] Kilili was considered wise in the sense of "skilled" or "knowing": "You are Kilili, the wisest of the wise, who concerns herself in the matters of people." In this wisdom and also window-posing, she and Ishtar were alike: "… at a window of the house sits wise Ishtar" (Quoted by Lapinkivi 2004: 234) . Kilili was often invoked in incantations and litanies, where she was addressed as, for instance, "Kilili, the queen of the windows, Kilili, who leans into/from the windows" (Quoted by Lapinkivi 2004: 233 note 1147) . She might also have been associated with the kililu, "the mural crown" worn by Assyrian queens and often by goddesses. [6]

Kilili is best known from many beautiful ivory images of the "Woman at the Window," the most famous of which has been dubbed the "Mona Lisa of Nimrud." The pieces were carved mostly in Phoenicia and were probably furniture inlays, especially for beds. They have been found in three Mesopotamian sites and also in the Levant, for instance, at Samaria in Israel. In the ninth century B.C.E., Samaria was the capital of the northern realm of the Israelite divided monarchy. [7] Its most famous or infamous ruler was Ahab, husband of the Phoenician (Canaanite) princess Jezebel (I Kings 16: 31).

Usually, Kilili stood full face in a window or balcony, which seemed situated somewhat above the ground. At a temple she would probably have been embodied by a priestess ritually showing herself to devotees in full ceremonial regalia, as in a possible "Window of Appearances" in a wall of the building. [8] Her hair was usually dressed in heavy, ornate ringlets, and she sometimes wore a necklace. Her prominent eyes looked directly out at the observer the eyes of deities were large to indicate that they saw everything and their large ears heard everything.

However, at least one ivory shows a goddess, probably Kilili, in profile. In it, she was seated on throne, accompanied by lily plants, and facing a god enthroned opposite her. [9]

Though Phoenician artists were carving images of Kilili primarily for the Mesopotamian market, the goddess might have had a counterpart in the Levant, perhaps Asherah or Astarte, [10] for the palace of Ahab and Jezebel in Samaria was the source of at least one such carving. It might indeed have been an inlay in the royal bed of Ahab and Jezebel. From a distinguished family, Jezebel was daughter of Eth-Baal, king of Sidon, and her great-niece was Elissa (Dido in Vergil's Aeneid), legendary founder of Carthage (royal family tree).

From the Hebrew Bible, we know that Jezebel was a devotee of the Canaanite deities, especially the goddess Asherah, the main female deity of her Phoenician home state. [11] Like most royalty of the area, she would have been a high religious functionary of Sidon's city deities, particularly Asherah. After her marriage, according to the Hebrew Bible, Jezebel influenced Ahab to become a worshiper of Baal (I Kings 17: 32). As queen of the northern kingdom of Israel, she supported functionaries of Canaanite polytheistic religions and fed four hundred prophets of Asherah at her table, as well as a large number of priests and, according to the Bible, "prophets" of Baal (I Kings 18: 19). The Bible also reports that she persecuted the prophets of the Israelite deity (I Kings 18: 4).

Opposition to Canaanite religion and to Jezebel was led by the prophet Elijah (I Kings 18: 17). On Mount Carmel, Elijah defeated the Baal prophets in a contest between their deity and his, and all the Baal prophets were killed (I Kings 18: 20-40). Jezebel then threatened Elijah with death, and he had to flee (I Kings 19: 1-2). Eventually Ahab was killed in battle (I Kings 22: 35), and later his son and successor, Joram, was treacherously slain by his ambitious general Jehu (II Kings 9: 22-24). Thus, Jezebel was left alone and vulnerable in Samaria, at the mercy of Jehu, now king of Israel (II Kings 9: 1-14), and a man who blamed her "countless harlotries and sorceries" for most of the problems of the land (II Kings 9: 22).

When Jehu arrived in the city, Jezebel must have known that she was close to death. So the Phoenician queen painted her eyes, dressed her hair, and stood at a window in the palace (II Kings 9: 30). Were the writers of the tale deliberately invoking the well-known motif of the "Woman in the Window"? Or is it possible that Jezebel was greeting her death proudly and defiantly, not only as a queen but also as a priestess of her goddess? It seems very likely.

Thus, the last Biblical picture of Jezebel, defiantly and bravely confronting her enemy from a window, might over time have added to negative interpretations of the "Woman at the Window" or vice versa. As Jezebel's name later came to signify the worst kind of female depravity, so the goddess Kilili became a prostitute offering herself from a window.

    Assante also questions whether the word normally translated "prostitute" actually meant that. See her important discussion of prostitutes in the ancient Near East (Assante 2003: 33 1998: 55, 57, 73-82). Or a priestess of the goddess, who would, for ceremonial occasions, would have incarnated her deity. My thanks to Professor Douglas Frayne of the University of Toronto for these translations and for giving me access to the results of his research on Kilili. Kilili was also a female demon who could cause diseases, as well as cure them. The mural crown represented city battlements on top of a wall and was the normal headdress of tutelary or protector goddesses of cities. Of course it was the model for the modern royal crown. The southern kingdom was Judah, where, after the fall of Israel, the Hebrew Bible took its final shape. This fact in part explains the Bible's negativity towards the northern kingdom. "Windows of Appearances" were preserved in the excavated remains of Akrotiri on the Aegean island of Thera/Santorini (Marinatos [1984]: 12, plate 3). Probably Dumu-zi, Inanna/Ishtar's lover, or an aspect of him. My thanks to Professor Douglas Frayne of the University of Toronto for information on this material. One of the epithets of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who was identified with Astarte, was Parakyptousa, "Peeping Out (of a Window/Door)." Her name is theophoric or "god-bearing," with the bel part referring to the storm god Baal.
  • Assante, Julia. 1998. "The kar.kid/[k]harimtu, Prostitute or Single Woman? A Reconsideration of the Evidence." Ugarit-Forschungen 30: 5-96
  • Assante, Julia. 2003. "From Whores to Hierodules: The Historiographic Invention of Mesopotamian Female Sex Professionals." Pp.13-47 in Ancient Art and Its Historiography. Edited by A.A. Donahue and M.D. Fullerton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Boardman, John. 2006. The World of Ancient Art. London: Thames & Hudson
  • Hardin, Donald. 1963. The Phoenicians. Second edition. New York: Praeger
  • Lapinkivi, Pirjo. 2004. The Sumerian Sacred Marriage in the Light of Comparative Evidence. Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press. State Archives of Assyria XV
  • Lipinski, Édouard, editor. 1992. Dictionnaire de la civilization phénicienne et punique. [Turnhout, Belgium]: Brepols
  • Mallowan, (Sir) Max E.L. and Georgina Herrmann. [1974]. Furniture from SW.7 Fort Shalmaneser: Commentary, Catalogue, and Plates. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq
  • Marinatos, Nanno. [1984]. Art and Religion in Thera: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Society. Athens: Mathioulakis
  • Moscati, Sabatino.1999 (1965). The World of the Phoenicians. London: Phoenix
  • Seibert, Ilse. 1974. Women in the Ancient Near East. New York: Schram
  • van der Toorn, Karel, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, editors. 1999. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible: Second Extensively Revised Edition. Leiden: Brill and Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans
  • Winter, Irene. 1987. "Women in Public: the Disk of Enheduanna, the Beginning of the Office of EN-Priestess, & the Weight of Visual Evidence," 189-201 in Durand, J.-M., editor. La femme dans le Proche-Orient antique: Compte rendu de la XXXIIIe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Paris, 7-10 Juillet, 1986). Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations

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