Beth Jewell

Profile: Beth Jewell received her PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She has conducted archaeological research in Pennsylvania, England, Cyprus, Turkey and Iran. Dr. Jewell is currently part of a team exploring possible Navajo solstice ceremonies in the eastern end of Chaco Canyon. She has taught at the University of Bosphorus, Turkey, Yale, Penn, and Villanova. Currently she teaches history at the University of Phoenix. Among her many “careers” she counts museum curating, travel publishing, and cruise lecturing.

Presentation: “The Moon in Neo-Assyrian Politics”

Abstract: Between the accession of Shalmanesser III in 895 BCE and the final fall of Nineveh in 612 BCE, the history of the Near East revolved around the Assyrian Empire centered in modern northern Iraq. These kings relied heavily on the observation and interpretation of astronomical events. Under their rule astronomical observations became systematic, and significant astral events were reported to the king from observation sites throughout Assyria and Babylonia. Some reporters offered interpretations based on the omen series, Enuma ana Enlil, written in cuneiform and recovered in the ruins of Nineveh, but others simply reported their observations. The “behavior” of the moon was often central to the reports and affected the resulting actions of the king. About half of the surviving reports deal with lunar phenomena – from changing colors to the dangerous eclipses. With the re-publication of the surviving correspondence between these observers and individual kings, it is now possible to analyze this relationship more fully.

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