Channels and Methods of Diffusion of Administrative Models and Imperial Ideology in the Neo-Assyrian Empire

Recorded: February 18, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium

by Simonetta Ponchia (University of Verona)

Channels and Methods of Diffusion of Administrative Models and Imperial Ideology in the Neo-Assyrian Empire

The Assyrian empire is of great renown as a machine of conquest, but its most innovative feature was the implementation of an efficacious administrative system that transformed subjected kingdoms into provinces, an innovation that was replicated by later empires. Although it is hard to assess the degree of cohesion in this complex structure, it is worthwhile to examine the extant traces of a policy that was responsible for the dissemination, inclusion, and standardization of principles and procedures that shaped the attitudes of both administrators and subjects. Temples and offices in peripheral towns, as well as cults, ceremonies, and legal practices, were the main vehicles in imposing an Assyrian imperial culture. This paper examines a number of case studies that are relevant to our assessment of this administrative system, its development through time, and its impact on later empires.