Karkamıs in the first millennium BC : sculpture and propaganda
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This thesis examines how the monumental art of Karkamiš, which consists of architectural reliefs and free-standing colossal statues, was used by its rulers for their propaganda advantages. The basic geo-politic and ethnic factors related to Karkamiš and other “Syro-Hittite” city-states of the Iron Age are investigated in order to obtain insights about the meanings assigned to the monumental sculpture of Karkamiš. Architectural remains of the city and their sculptural decoration are studied and reviewed to provide a basis for subsequent discussions and statements. Monumental portal-lions, inscribed door-jambs and other reliefs placed on principal gate-ways, bearers of symbolic and functional meaning, demonstrate the essential role of these monumental gates for the city and its rulers to announce their ideologies. A close analysis of local monumental inscriptions provides us the link between the content of texts inscribed on large stone blocks and the themes represented on orthostat reliefs. Royal titles inscribed on monuments as well as a group of reliefs and statues associated with ancestral cult were used deliberately by the dynasties and rulers of the 1st millennium B.C. Karkamiš to show their own and their state’s connection to the past heritage, a key element in the search of identity. This case study on the Iron Age city of Karkamiš reveals the importance of socio-political factors in forming the basic characteristics of monumental art and in creating its special meanings and functions.