Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Frederick Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Hilton

Third Advisor

Dr. Mustafa Mughazy


The purpose of this thesis is to propose that the imagery depicted on the palace wall reliefs of palaces in Nimroud, Nineveh (Kouyunjik), and Khorsabad of Assyria in around the first millennium BC, aides in the domination of Assyrian people by the rulers. This domination is ideological in nature, but also relies heavily on the periodic use of force to maintain that ideology. The images serve as a type of threat and reminder of consequence to keep people under control and give them the idea that there is no other option than to yield under the control of the king.

This study is part of a larger research project conducted by Dr. Allen Zagarell of the Department of Anthropology at Western Michigan University on the ideological domination of Assyria. For the larger project, the physical control inflicted on Assyrian people by the ruler as well as the relation of ideological domination to Stockholm Syndrome was also researched. The palace wall reliefs are one portion of the argument for the ideological domination theory.

Through many different approaches to the imagery, the ideological domination may be assessed. The orientation of the palaces themselves suggests a means of control as does the location of the reliefs. In conjunction with the latter, locations where the ideologically manipulative reliefs are not found is also an important factor. The select images depicted upon the reliefs and the symbolism of those images is crucial to the understanding of the nature of control in the Assyrian period. These reliefs at Nimroud, Nineveh, and Khorsabad help to further the idea of ideological domination through the imagery and placement of those reliefs in the palaces. -

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only