Como os povos do Antigo Oriente Médio lidavam com a derrota?

Culture of defeat: the submission in written sources and the Archaeological record of the Ancient Near East

Cultura da derrota: a submissão segundo fontes escritas e registros arqueológicos do Antigo Oriente Médio

Seminário da Universidade Hebraica de Jerusalém e da Universidade de Viena: dias 22 e 23 de outubro de 2017. Na Universidade Hebraica de Jerusalém.

War and conquest figures prominently in all disciplines of ancient Near Eastern studies. They are usually reflected in textual sources as military campaigns and/or narratives of victory, and preserved in the archaeological record most commonly as destruction layers. In general, the successful agent in a conflict, his motivations, strategies and method is often the focus of the analysis.

To date, little attention has been given to the defeated party in conflicts. This can be ascribed both to a bias or ambivalence of both historical and archaeological records, where the response to defeat rarely constitutes the focus of the respective source, as well as to an intrinsically human preference to focus on ‘successful’ events, such as conquest, innovation, growth and expansion, thus reinforcing, or even skewing the historical account towards the successful party. However, the defeated entity often experiences a much more significant, often traumatic, and enduring impact. Different response mechanisms emerge, depending on the magnitude and type of defeat, and the cultural context in which this event is in embedded.

This workshop aims to focus on conflicts from the Late Bronze, the Iron Age Near East up to the Babylonian period, exploring (cultural) responses of defeated parties. Participants are asked to examine major sources of their field of expertise, such as the Biblical narrative, Assyrian administrative records, royal inscriptions and iconographic representations, as well as the archaeological record in light of accounts on conflict, focusing on the responses of the defeated party. This seminar intends shedding new light on the consequences and reactions to defeat and gaining a more nuanced and complete picture of conflicts. It further aims to initiate a more in-depth dialogue between interconnected disciplines, from Archaeology, Assyriology and Bible Studies, which far too often remain isolated.

Sargão II, rei da Assíria

Um artigo:

Sargon II, “King of the World”

By Josette Elayi – The Bible and Interpretation – September 2017

He believed he had been endowed by the gods with an exceptional intelligence, superior to that of the previous kings, including the famous Sargon of Akkad himself. He was convinced that his gods approved his policies. He was a king of justice and, therefore, his wars were just. He was a warlord, who personally led numerous military campaigns, but sometimes delegated the command of an expedition to one of his generals, contrary to what is written. It was natural decorum for him to describe the atrocities as normal episodes in battle descriptions. He used intimidation tactics, a kind of “psychological” warfare in the modern sense of the term: for example, to demoralize the inhabitants of the city that he wanted to conquer, he would display decapitated or flayed victims. He was highly effective in terms of military intelligence and strategy in his quest for victory.

O livro:

ELAYI, J. Sargon II, King of Assyria. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017, 298 p. – ISBN 9781628371772.

ELAYI, J. Sargon II, King of Assyria. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017, 298 p.


Among the most important questions addressed in the book are the following: what was his precise role in the disappearance of the kingdom of Israel? How did he succeed in enlarging the borders of the Assyrian Empire by several successful campaigns? How did he organize his empire (administration, trade, agriculture, libraries)?

Josette Elayi

Josette Elayi est une historienne de l’Antiquité, auteur de nombreux ouvrages dont une remarquable Histoire de la Phénicie (Perrin, 2013). Chercheuse et enseignante, elle a vécu de nombreuses années au Proche Orient.

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Sargon II