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Document Details :
Title: Breaking the Cup of Kingship
Subtitle: An Elamite Coup in Nineveh?
Author(s): NYLANDER, Carl
Journal: Iranica Antiqua
Volume: 34 Date: 1999
The scene depicted in Assurbanipal's Palace at Niniveh showing him reclining on a bed in a leafy arbour in the presence of his queen, is certainly one of the most remarkable, but also one of the most enigmatic subjects in Ancient Near Eastern art. Whatever the precise message of the scene was, it was apt seriously to provoke the conquerors of Niniveh and to inspire some amongst them to mutilate the scene. Assurbanipal's harsh dealings with Elam and his mutilation of Elamite royal images, the multi-levelled pretension and the Elamite provocation of the banquet scene in the vine arbour, and the particularly Elamite dimension of other cases of Ninivite iconoclasm tend to strengthen the suggestion that the banquet scene was, at least in part, inspired and appropriated from Elam. It is a reasonable guess that, on the day of their wrath, the Elamites then took their revenge by destroying the king's face, by demeaningly mutilating the queen and by triumphantly breaking the Assyrian Cup of Kingship.