Ritual Power and Politics in Mesopotamia

Author(s): Julye Bidmead

Year: 2017


In times of political and societal instability public ritual acts as a stabilizing force. During the first millennium B.C.E with the rise and collapse of several powerful empires, ancient Babylonia witnessed much of this political turmoil and instability. Kings of each succeeding empire, appropriated long-established Mesopotamian religious ideology to cast themselves as divinely selected rulers. They manipulated the celebration of the akitu, a twelve-day religious New Year’s festival, to legitimate and gain popular support for their rule and to stabilize a declining society. Despite the social and economic problems facing a collapsing empire, political power expressed via the religious rituals of the akitu festival, displayed the new ruler’s ideology as divinely sanctioned, and therefore normative to Mesopotamian society.

Cite this Record

Ritual Power and Politics in Mesopotamia. Julye Bidmead. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429654)



Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 12153