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Allie Eby

As many students have already clarified, within all of the different Mesopotamian cultures we’ve looked at, there was a persistent theme of power and its relation to the divine. Kings and rulers frequently used a mixture of symbolism to define themselves as rightful rulers with significant power. Many portrayed themselves as interacting with or blessed by the gods directly (The three suns representing the gods in the Stele of Naram Sin, the rivers flowing from the vase in the https://art261.community.uaf.edu/votive-statue-of-gudea, and the sun god Shamash dictating laws to Hammurabi). The aforementioned examples also used the symbolism of heirarchic scale, and many figures such as the Stele of Naram Sin and the alabaster carving of Assurnasirpal killing lions also depicted acts of victory or strength, as though to reinforce the rulers’ status as powerful and blessed titans among ordinary men. Many rulers throughout Mesopotamian history also used grand sculptures of mystical or divine significance around their palaces and cities, such as the Ishtar Gate and the Lamassu Figures, as though signifying an entry into the realm of gods. As also previously stated by many students, Saddam Hussein attempted a recreation of the Nanna Ziggurat, a powerful structure meant to link mankind to the gods, likely to reinforce the cultural and religious significance and divinity of his own rulership by tapping into the cultural history of the region.