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"Crime and Testament: Enemy Direct Speech in Inscriptions of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal"

Miller, ER; (2020) "Crime and Testament: Enemy Direct Speech in Inscriptions of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal". Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History , 6 (2) pp. 117-151. 10.1515/janeh-2018-0015. Green open access

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Abstract

Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions are always narrated in the first-person voice of the king. Within this framing narrative, the device that we would call ‘direct speech’ is used only rarely, and judiciously. The texts that make the greatest use of this literary device both come from a period of particular innovation and experimentation in royal text forms: Esarhaddon’s Nineveh A and Ashurbanipal’s narratives about his campaign against Elamite king Teumman. In these examples, and in other texts of the time including Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty, the words of enemies stand out as particularly threatening—and yet also particularly useful, as a literary device employed to further Assyrian agendas. Royal narratives use enemy speech for one of two purposes: either to document criminality, or to show enemies, in defeat and despair, testifying to the might and rightness of their Assyrian conquerors. Looking at all examples of speech—from enemies, gods, and the Assyrian king—I distinguish between ‘direct speech’ (as a literary device) and ‘quotation’ (as a practice). Most, though not all, direct speech in the sources considered here is also quotation, in that it seeks to document and preserve speech made in some other prior form (a verbal statement, a letter, an omen on an animal’s liver). Quotations demonstrate royal legitimacy and enemy culpability, while literary invention allows enemy voices to be turned to new purposes, as forced testament to Assyrian supremacy.

Type: Article
Title: "Crime and Testament: Enemy Direct Speech in Inscriptions of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal"
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/janeh-2018-0015
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1515/janeh-2018-0015
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 Walter de Gruyter Inc., Boston/Berlin. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BY-NC-ND 3.0
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088342
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