Ancient Kingship and Rulers Essay

1475 Words 6 Pages
Kings and rulers started to emerge as soon as people moved away from living in tribes. This was the case with the Jews when they have decided to unite under one ruler. However, long before them the first empire was established in Mesopotamia by Sargon of Akkad in 2334 BCE (Kelly, 2011). The essay will compare kingship in three geographically and chronologically different societies. They are the following: Babylonians during Hammurabi’s reign (1792-1750 BCE), Neo-Assyrians (934-610 BCE), and the Jews (1000 BCE). In order to avoid historical distortions, primary sources from those time periods will be used. These three communities have influenced each other in different fields. Therefore, we can see similarities in their ruling systems. …show more content…
According to the Advice to a Prince, gods only could judge and punish the ruler, for example, “if he (ruler) takes silver… Marduk, lord of Heaven and Earth, will set his foes upon him…” (Sanders, p.70). Consequently, we can assume that ruler’s power have increased enormously, since no matter what he does (even despotism) is supposed to be controlled by gods. Finally, the kingship in Israel has some differences as Jews are monotheistic. Nonetheless, the Jews believed in god’s involvement in daily life as well. More importantly, god (Yahweh) was believed to decide who the king is and whether he must be changed (Sanders, p.72). This shows some parallels with Assyrians where gods only could judge the ruler. As a result, it is seen that regardless of regions and number of gods (monotheism or polytheism) rulers in ancient times were connected with divine power. In fact, at ancient times rulers often represented the choice of god(s), whereas presently they represent the choice of people. This, I think, led to more fearful and respectful attitude towards rulers due to their divine support.
In addition to the connection with the divine power, rulers in ancient world had one very distinct feature. Almost always rulers were men, with very few exceptions. Thus it is clearly seen that people at that time lived in patriarchal society. Moreover, rulers promoted patriarchy implicitly or sometimes even explicitly through their rules. For example, according to
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