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Emar: A Hittite Vassal in Late Bronze Age Syria Thompson, Shane M.


Emar was a city-state in the Late Bronze Age from c. 1450 - 1200 BCE. Emar's religion provides an interesting scenario as we have a small corpus of unique rituals from the site. While there is little additional evidence concerning religion at Emar, the ritual corpus combined with a unique political situation warrants examination, even if such examination is brief due to a lack of evidence. Emar served as a Hittite vassal for at least the latter portion of its existence. The Hittites seem to have introduced a figure known as "the diviner" to oversee ritual and administrative tasks in the city. The vast majority of texts from Emar come from building M1, the so-called "house of the diviner," so the data is skewed. In addition, the political situation at Emar is unique to the ancient Near East in that the city elders appear to have been the primary ruling body of the city, even ahead of the king. Emar falls at the end of the Late Bronze Age along with many other civilizations in the region. The evidence we have today was recovered in a series of salvage excavations before the site was primarily covered by the waters of Lake Assad.

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