Journal Title: Mäetagused. Hüperajakiri
ISSN: 1406-992X (Print); 1406-9938 (Online)
Publisher: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum and Eesti Folkloori Instituut
LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Anthropology: Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
Country of publisher: Estonia
Abstract | Full Text
In this article, the author has raised a few questions concerned with the relations of rulers and temples: temple politics of the rulers of the Late Presargonic period (the Early Dynastic III, ca. 2500–2335 BCE) and the Sargonic period (2334–2154 BCE) in Sumer and Akkad. The first written records of the subdual of the main temples and sanctuaries by Sumer rulers date back to not earlier than ca 2500–2400 BCE, but this politics of subjection still remained irregular until the end of the Early Dynastic Period and it was not yet a strong ruling instrument used by kings. It seems that during this period these politics were not yet regularly applied by rulers and only some Early Dynastic kings sometimes used them. However, the situation changed dramatically when Sargon of Agade established the Akkadian Empire in the late 24th century BCE. The Akkadian kings (Sargonids) were the first rulers in the Mesopotamian region who had established a large territorially centralised state with its own administrative system and a relatively complex bureaucracy. On the hierarchical top of the state administration was a strong and powerful king with unlimited power, who was sometimes even deified (e.g. the case of Narām-Su’en of Akkad). The unifying politics of the Akkadian kings were carried out in all spheres of statehood, ideology, and, of course, cult. For that reason, the Sargonic kings tried to unify the calendar systems and rituals. They also tried to create a unified Sumero-Akkadian pantheon that was meant to be universal for all the inhabitants of the empire. Undoubtedly, the Akkadian kings wished to control the peripheral regions of their kingdom. This was the time when the unification of the measurement system also took place. Certainly some important changes occurred in the state’s religious politics – the subjection of priesthood and the most influential temples of the Akkadian state. Sargon and his successors – kings of Akkad – systematically assigned their daughters and sons or other relatives to key positions in temple hierarchies as top administrators, or high priests or priestesses. They wanted to keep the main cults of their state entirely under control, but also to control temples economically, because some temples were quite rich and owned treasuries, slaves, cattle, and land. This became part of the new centralised political course or, to be more exact, the political programme of the Sargonic kings.