Recorded: February 19, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium
Citation: Garrison, Mark. "Some Observations on the Representation of the Divine and Numinous in Persepolitan Glyptic," Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium. February 19, 2020.
by Mark Garrison (Trinity University) and Emma Petersen (University of California, Los Angeles)
Some Observations on the Representation of the Divine and Numinous in Persepolitan Glyptic
The texts and seals (preserved as impressions) from the Persepolis Fortification Archive, 509–493 BCE, have revealed new perspectives on various issues surrounding the much-debated questions of religion and the representation of the divine in the early Achaemenid Persian period. This paper will highlight two topics. The first concerns a long-standing interest of scholarship in the study of the religions of ancient western Asia, namely, the nature of the relationship between the king and the divine. The second explores a millennium-old tradition of the representation of the divine and numinous on the backs of animals and fantastical creatures, what we term, within the context of Persepolitan glyptic, “pedestal creatures.” A commonality that emerges in both topics is the critical role played by the visual heritage of the Neo-Assyrian period in the representation of kingship and the divine in the early Achaemenid period.
About the Speaker
Mark B. Garrison holds the Alice Pratt Brown Distinguished Professorship in Art History in the Department of Art and Art History at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, USA. His primary research interests are the glyptic arts of ancient Iran and Iraq in the first half of the first millennium BC. He specializes in the glyptic preserved on two large archives from Persepolis, the Persepolis Fortification archive and the Persepolis Treasury archive. With Margaret Cool Root, he is author of Seals on the Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Volume I: Images of Heroic Encounter, Oriental Institute Publications 117 (The Oriental Institute: Chicago, 2001). In addition to the documentary work represented in that publication, his research has focused upon social aspects of glyptic production in workshops in Persepolis, especially the issues surrounding the impact of individuals of high status and/or administrative rank on the development of glyptic style and iconography in the early Achaemenid period. His publications have also addressed the emergence and development of royal ideology in glyptic at Persepolis, religious imagery in Achaemenid art, and the relationship of glyptic of the Achaemenid period with earlier glyptic traditions in Assyria, Babylonia, and Elam. His most recent books are: The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis: Glyptic Imagery from the Persepolis Fortification and Treasury Archives (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 72, Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2017), which won the 2018 Ehsan Yarshater Book Award; Communication, Language and Power in the Achaemenid Empire: Volume 2: The Seals and Bullae of the Satrap Aršāma (Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press, co-author with W.F.M. Henkelman); The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia: Festschrift in Honor of Margaret Cool Root (Achaemenid History. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, in press, co-editor with E.R.M. Dusinberre and W.F.M. Henkelman).