Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

“Losing One’s Head” in the Ancient Near East: Interpretation and Meaning of Decapitation
Dolce, Rita

London: Routledge, 2018 pp. xii + 91. $140.00

Series Information
Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East


Description: In the Ancient Near East, cutting off someone’s head was a unique act, not comparable to other types of mutilation, and therefore charged with a special symbolic and communicative significance. This book examines representations of decapitation in both images and texts, particularly in the context of war, from a trans-chronological perspective that aims to shed light on some of the conditions, relationships and meanings of this specific act. The severed head is a “coveted object” for the many individuals who interact with it and determine its fate, and the act itself appears to take on the hallmarks of a ritual. Drawing mainly on the evidence from Anatolia, Syria and Mesopotamia between the third and first millennia BC, and with reference to examples from prehistory to the Neo-Assyrian Period, this fascinating study will be of interest not only to art historians, but to anyone interested in the dynamics of war in the ancient world.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, Social-Scientific Approaches

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). Enter your SBL Member ID and click the "Log in" button. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

I don’t remember my SBL Member ID.

Join SBL or renew your membership to read the review(s).



SBL Membership Id:  


Review by Nathan Shedd
Published 5/9/2019
Citation: Nathan Shedd, review of Rita Dolce, “Losing One’s Head” in the Ancient Near East: Interpretation and Meaning of Decapitation, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us