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Title: Time at Emar: The Cultic Calendar and the Rituals from the Diviners House
Author: Fleming, Daniel E
Publisher: Eisenbrauns; Publication Date: 2000
Hardcover; ISBN: 9781575060446
Volumes: 1; Pages: xvi, 352
List Price in Hardcover: $65.00 Our price: $54.99
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The recent large-scale watershed projects in northern Syria, where the ancient city of Emar was located, have brought this area to light, thanks to salvage operation excavations before the area was submerged. Excavations at Meskeneh-Qadimeh on the great bend of the Euphrates River revealed this large town, which had been built in the late 14th century and then destroyed violently at the beginning of the 12th, at the end of the Bronze Age. In the town of Emar, ritual tablets were discovered in a temple that are demonstrated to have been recorded by the supervisor of the local cult, who was called the "diviner." This religious leader also operated a significant writing center, which focused on both administering local ritual and fostering competence in Mesopotamian lore. An archaic local calendar can be distinguished from other calendars in use at Emar, both foreign and local. A second, overlapping calendar emanated from the palace and represented a rising political force in some tension with rooted local institutions. The archaic local calendar can be partially reconstructed from one ritual text that outlines the rites performed during a period of six months.
The main public rite of Emar's religious calendar was the zukru festival. This event was celebrated in a simplified annual ritual and in a more elaborate version of the ritual for seven days during every seventh year, probably serving as a pledge of loyalty to the chief god, Dagan. The Emar ritual calendar was native, in spite of various levels of outside influence, and thus offers important evidence for ancient Syrian culture. These texts are thus important for ancient Near Eastern cultic and ritual studies. Fleming's comprehensive study lays the basic groundwork for all future study of the ritual and makes a major contribution to the study of ancient Syria.