profile: Natalie N. May is an Assyriologist and art historian of the Ancient Near East. She is a post-doctoral scholar of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, where she recently organized an international conference: Iconoclasm and Text Destruction in the Ancient Near East and Beyond. The proceedings will be published the Oriental Institute Seminar Series. Besides iconoclasm her interests include sacred places other than temples; the intended archaization in the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods; the Neo-Assyrian Feast (akitu) in connection with triumph celebrations and the theology of Kingship in Assyria. She is now preparing for publication a collection of articles on Urban Topography as a Reflection of Society, proceedings of a workshop she organized as a post-doctoral fellow of the TOPOI cluster of Excellence, Berlin and working on a book Sacral Functions of the Neo-Assyrian King, which will publish her dissertation.
presentation: “Calendar and Empire: The New Year Celebration at Nineveh”
abstract: This paper will give an overview of the various traditions of the New Year celebrations in Mesopotamia, but concentrate on the late Assyrian New Year festivities at Nineveh and the royal pilgrimages between the holy cities of Assyria held on this occasion. It will analyze how the maintenance of the Assyrian Empire was dependent on the calendar cycle, and show how the New Year celebrations were turned into a parade, and served the objectives of imperial propaganda.