KINGSHIP
   According to Mesopotamian belief, “kingship came down from heaven” and was therefore a divinely decreed institution. The notion that kings were chosen for their office by the gods of the land is expressed in the royal inscriptions of all historical periods. There were special rituals of coronation that confirmed the ruler’s responsibility toward the deities and his subjects whose “shepherd” he was meant to be. Kingship was hereditary in the male line, thus forming dynasties, but persons could also accede to the throne by violent means or usurpation of the throne.
   Some kings of the Early Dynastic period and those of the Third Dynasty of Ur also fulfilled important religious offices, as did the Assyrian kings, but they did not hold a supreme priestly office. The Akkadian kings (e.g., Naram-Sin) and those of Urassumed the status of a deity; at least, their names were written with the determinative sign that was usually reserved for divine names. In the third millennium B.C., there was also a cult for the statues of living and deceased kings.
   Babylonian kings during the second millennium B.C. saw themselves as arbiters of justice. The Amorite rulers in particular were keen to show an interest in the affairs of all their subjects, while the Kassite and Neo-Babylonian rulers were more remote. During the annual New Year festival, the Babylonian king had his ears pulled and his face slapped by a priest to remind him that he, too, was a subject of the gods. Assyrian monarchs saw the defense and enlargement of their country by military means as their primary duty. Babylonian divinatoryscience was primarily dedicated to safeguard the country and its king. Especially the Assyrian kings surrounded themselves with learned advisers skilled in the arts of interpreting the “signs,” and the king had to undergo a lengthy ritual of purification to avert evil portents (see ASTROLOGY/ASTRONOMY). In some cases, a “substitute king” could be officially appointed for a limited period of time so that any misfortune might befall him rather than the real king (see ISIN).

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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  • Kingship — King ship, n. The state, office, or dignity of a king; royalty. Landor …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • kingship — (n.) early 14c., from KING (Cf. king) + SHIP (Cf. ship) …   Etymology dictionary

  • kingship — [kiŋ′ship΄] n. 1. the position, rank, dignity, or dominion of a king 2. the rule of a king 3. [K ] majesty: a title sometimes used (with his) in referring to a king …   English World dictionary

  • kingship —    All of the city states, kingdoms, and empires of ancient Mesopotamia were ruled by kings. Even when the Greeks, who had much experience with democracy, took over the region following the fall of the Persian Empire, they continued the local… …   Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary

  • kingship — [[t]kɪ̱ŋʃɪp[/t]] N UNCOUNT Kingship is the fact or position of being a king. He was unfitted by temperament and education for the duties of kingship …   English dictionary

  • kingship — king|ship [ˈkıŋʃıp] n [U] the official position or condition of being a king ▪ the responsibilities of kingship …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • kingship — noun (U) the official position or condition of being a king: the responsibilities of kingship …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • kingship — /ˈkɪŋʃɪp/ (say kingship) noun 1. kingly state, office, or dignity. 2. kingly rule. 3. aptitude for kingly duties. 4. Rare (preceded by his, your, etc.) (a title used in referring to a king.) …   Australian English dictionary

  • kingship — king ► NOUN 1) the male ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by birth. 2) the best or most important person or thing in a sphere or group. 3) a playing card bearing a representation of a king, ranking next below …   English terms dictionary

  • kingship — noun Date: 14th century 1. the position, office, or dignity of a king 2. the personality of a king 3. government by a king …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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