This study seeks to contextualise the king’s “negative confession,” which took place in the spring Akītu Festival of Babylon, within the established norms of Mesopotamian ritual practice. The king’s humiliation is situated within the contexts of status reversal, lament and ritual weeping. The study includes a comparative almanac of the Akkadian prayer and/or exclamation known as šigû.
Understanding how the numerous temples in the Neo-Assyrian Empire situated themselves within the imperial network is challenging, largely because of a bias in the official sources towards a few temples, especially that of Aššur. Revealing the relationships between the less-attested temples necessitates not only moving beyond the top of the hierarchy but also doing away with hierarchies almost entirely, as they both limit the possible connections and are impossible to build for the majority of known temples. Because there are myriad ways of organizing temples relative to one another, this paper proposes heterarchies as a more effective framework for understanding the changing dynamics of cultic landscapes. This study uses royal patronage (or its absence) as its barometer, establishing a typology that ranges from temples operating entirely independently of imperial support to those that actively seek it, and demonstrating how heterarchies can expose different perspectives of power, status, and affinities amongst institutions. Ultimately, a heterarchical approach shows that the relationships established by royal patronage were not straightforward, homogenous, or stable, and that the ways in which temple and state interacted with one another affected both “vertical” and “horizontal” positioning of temples within the cultic landscape of the empire.
This article examines the Bengal–China connections between the Ilyās Shāhī and Ming dynasties in the early fifteenth century across the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea. It traces how law played a central role in the cultural geography and diplomatic vocabulary between individuals and communities in foreign lands, with their shared understanding of two nodal points of law. Diplomatic missions explicate how customary, regional and transregional laws were entangled in inter-imperial etiquette. Then there were the religious orders of Islam that constituted an inner circle of imperial exchanges. Between the Ilyās Shāhī rule in Bengal and the Ming Empire in China, certain dimensions of Islamic law provided a common language for the circulation of people and ideas. Stretching between cities and across oceans the interpolity legal exchanges expose interesting aspects of the histories of China and Bengal.