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Rendering the Political Aesthetic: Political Legitimacy in Urartian Representations of the Built Environment

Abstract Anthropological investigations of legitimacy in ancient polities have generally appealed to self-interested assessments of costs and benefits to explain the commitments of subjects to a political apparatus. But ideological programs also strive to create affective ties between regimes and those they rule by rendering the political aesthetic. From the mid-ninth to the late seventh century B.C. the Urartian Empire controlled the highlands of eastern Anatolia and southern Transcaucasia from the headwaters of the Euphrates to the Lake Urmia basin, forwarding claims to legitimacy that redescribed the political apparatus. This study investigates Urartian representations of the built environment in pictorial and epigraphic media in order to broaden anthropological understandings of legitimacy, pluralize our understanding of ideological production in ancient polities, and politicize the relationship between artistic renaissance and state formation. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

Author(s):  Smith, Adam T.
Format:  Article
Date:  2000
Source:  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume Info:  June 2000
Volume:  19
Number:  2
ISSN:  0278-4165