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Document Details :
Title: Banquets Scenes from Hatra
Author(s): DIRVEN, Lucinda
Journal: ARAM Periodical
Volume: 17 Date: 2005
This article discusses several representations of human and divine banqueting figures from Hatra, a pre-Islamic city located in the North-Mesopotamian steppe. Images of male figures who recline on their left side and hold a drinking cup in their hand are very common in the Syrian-Mesopotamian region during the first three centuries of the Common Era. Best known are numerous representations of this kind from Palmyra. Compared to Palmyra, reclining figures are rare in Hatra. However, the Hatrene specimens are extraordinary in spite of their small number and common appearance. Contrary to the majority of contemporary images, the Hatrene monuments are found in a cultic instead of a funerary context. The present contribution seeks to demonstrate that they relate to one of the activities that took place in Hatrene sanctuaries, the cel ebration of ritual meals. Subsequently, it will be argued that some of these meals were celebrated in memory of the ancestors of the participants. It will be shown that funerary meals celebrated in temples or private homes are a well known feature in West Semitic, Israelite and Mesopotamian family religion. An in-depth analysis of the monuments shows that these millenia-old traditions still prevailed in Parthian Hatra.