Transoxiana Journal

Transoxiana 11 - Julio 2006

"Centering the World": Trees as Tribute in the Ancient Near East.

Janet Roberts

Die Garten im Vorderen Orient
After many years of being a war historian, Thomas Pakenham, author of Remarkable Trees of the World, turned to the study of trees. "Trees I have met" is the focus and the affirmation of that which is rooted, that which sustains the earth, that which persists, the continuity of a tree's bearing witness to history. I personally recall most intimately, The Battle tree in Princeton, which had stood since the Revolutionary War, was such a revered tree; in its roots and branches, were the pages of history, until 1999.

The Noble prize was awarded, this past year, to an African woman who has planted millions of trees all over Africa, to reclaim the land. Wangari Maathai said, "I think there is increasing recognition of how peace, democracy and the environment are all interlinked... We have to manage resources like water, forests, land and oil; if not we will lose the fight against poverty and then there will be no peace."

In my investigation of the Near East, trees were the most coveted booty of war, and trees and gardens, are where man turned, once his empire was sufficient and could turn to peace activities.

The Sacred Tree

It would seen natural to a civilization which worships the cosmological sacred tree, that such a reverence for the tree developed out of ritualized worship of votive trees. Representing regeneration and immortality, The Sacred Tree was a symbol of the means to ascend to heaven. The moon tree, the sap of which was regarded as an elixir, rested on a mountain. Associated with the god, Ashur, and with the concept of kingship, the moon god was considered the highest god in ancient Mesopotamia.

Enheduanna, the daughter of Sargon, composed and sang hymns to the moon god, Innana.

Representation of a tree with sacred or astral meanings begins in the fourth millennium in Ancient Mesopotamia. Rosette trees were associated with Innanna, and grain stalks with her bridegroom, Dumuzi, in the annual sacred marriage, ensuring the fertility of the land. Pomegrantes, symbol of fertility first appear in the image of a hybrid tree, with curling volates, having peripheral leaves, in the second Millennium or Middle Assyrian Period.

"Centering the world" was the topos or leitmotif for the Near Eastern Garden. (FN Liverani) Exotic trees and plant specimens employed in landscaping for parks and architecture, influenced by foreign styles, epitomizes this appropriation. The garden, as microcosm, incorporates whatever it could, from geographical peripheries.

The Tree as Tribute

The multivalent meanings of the tree in the ancient garden acts simultaneously as a symbol of empire and expansion. Trees are represented, not only as features in the landscape, but as commodities to be claimed, traded, and carried away by the Assyrian forces. (FN: Michelle Marcus, p. 78). A study of the iconography of the tree as a motif in relief sculpture, textile patterns and in glyptic seals reveals this iconography. Trees as tribute ranked with gold and silver and horses, symbolizing Imperialism and hegemony in geographical expansion, which, of course, ranked as one of the King's major accomplishments.

Musukkannu wood

Looking at the annals, records of the Assyrian kings taking tribute occur as early as Shalmaneser III. Musukkannu wood was considered tribute along with precious metals such as silver, gold, tin and bronze, as well as elephant tusks from Adini, after the Babylonian campaign of 850B.C.

Musukkannu trees, along with gold and silver, are recorded as tribute to Sennacherib from the Governor of Hararate, a Babylonian fortress. (OIP 2, 26, I: 55).

Parpola, Neo-Assyrian Toponyms (1970), 149, 154. 17-21) Ebony and boxwood were sent to Sennacherib when he lay siege to Jerusalem and forced Hezekkiah to surrender. (ANET 276 p. 288)

For the palace at Nineveh, Esarhadon looked to Syria and Cyprus for 22 princes to send him tribute of cypress and cedar:

"Great beams and tall trunks, logs (or planks) of cedar and cypress from Mt. Sirara (Hermon) and Mt. Lebanon... from out of the mountains I had them dragged to Ninevah with toil and pain... Long cedar beams I stretched over it (for its roof) door -leaves of cypress, whose scent is sweet, I covered with a sheathing of silver and copper, and hung (them) in its doors. ARAB 2. 697-8.

This textual evidence, in cataloguing, supports the use of wood as tribute in the reliefs.

When Tiglath Pileser III in 745 conquered and annexed Syria and Lebanon, the very existence of a landscaped garden in the first centuries of the first millennium B.C. in Assyria created interesting issues about cross cultural relations. (Oppenheim, JNES)

In the Annals of Tiglath Pileser III, (Luckenbill, 1989, p. 288) 804 "With the keen understanding and grasp of intellect with which the Master of the gods, the prince Nudimmut (Ea) endowed me, a palace of cedar... and a portico (bit hilanni) patternerd after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, for my enjoyment, I built in Kalal (Kahi)." Tiglath Pileser's innovative policy towards the West, was to differentiate the geographical topography in terms of its plants and trees and literally transport or transplant them into the domesticated home landscape.

Wooded forests furnish building materials for the architecture of the palaces. "Warriors Hewing Down Trees" (OF. DIII SWV Barnett and Falkner the Sculpture... slab la on Wall e) magnificently renders this harvest of the trees. Plantations of sisso trees were found growing in Babylon in Tiglath Pileser III's time.

Parks included cypress and sissoo (musukkannu) trees lay in the field (S.E.) of the city near the dam made to hold back the River Kosr in flood. Sufficient trees, saplings, and cuttings collected from diverse lands and mountain regions were contained in these gardens in order to be harvested for construction of the palaces.

In the late Assyrian period, musukkannu wood was used by carpenters, boat builders and craftsmen for furniture, buildings, bedsteads, ships, cabins, the construction of vehicles and the doors of palaces. (Hyslop, p. 70)

A few centuries later, boxwood inlaid with ivory, in beds, chairs and tables were included in booty from a Syrian campaign. (8) ANET 275 After defeating the Hittites, and assuming control of Syria, the power of Phoenician coastal cities was further reduced, and tribute was drawn in ebony and boxwood, along with gold, silver and ivory. (35) ANET 276 (FN: for full discussion, see Meigs)

A large-scale relief in the Louvre, taken from the palace at Khorsabad shows Phoenician vessels carrying or towing large timber beams on deck, while other empty boats are moving in the opposite direction, perhaps, to reload. These timbers were felled on the slopes of Lebanon and were being transported to a Syrian port. When cities in Cyprus surrendered to Sargon II, their gifts included objects of boxwood. (7 Ezekiel) (ANET 284)

The Assyrian Kings did not invent the garden. In the Sargonid period, the new fashion was to set a garden outside the royal palace. The garden in Mesopotamia was a sacred localized space, bound up with economics, poetry and religion. The garden once served as the place for the king to participate in rituals.

Sargon II records the beauty of palace gardens and of fertile trees during his campaign to Ulhu, the capital of Ursa in Urartu in 714 B.C. "The gardens were the pleasant feature of the city and the trees were loaded with fruits and bunches of grapes." (TCL 3 233)

The natural representation of the tree informs us about arboreal specimens and acts as a symbolic pointer to geographical location. Artistically, the tree motif is employed as a perspectival element, and as a spatial arrangement in the stacking of registers.

Military Conquest

The representation of trees transcends the subject matter of military conquests which, as the war scribes attest, display imperialism, and dominate the art production. The trees stand in apposition to the predominance of sieges and victory, the taking of captives and booty, in depiction on the reliefs. Trees represent the conversion of goals of empire into the goals of cultivation and civilization.

Trees are employed iconographically as a sign of military victory. Under the "scorch and burn" policy, trees are felled during the warriors' conquest. The desertification assured that renewal of strength and prosperity among the inhabitants would be suppressed in the land for many years. Restoring fertility involves reforestation policies, issues still a major concern of the world community today, most recently manifested in the Noble Prize granted for tree planting over the past 30 years in Kenya and of 20-30m trees. The removal of trees was manifestation of total imperial Supremacy and domination as represented in Tiglath Pileser III's reliefs. (Relief 9 and 10 British Museum, 118882, (plates IV, VI) of the Central Palace)

The Annals, official royal texts written by the Assyrian kings, document his achievement and enhance his image and prestige. Such hierarchically ranked events include victories in campaign battles, building activities, his list of attributes, and the trees. A king's personal virtue and courage, exhibited in a difficult battle, can often be referenced by the appearance of the fruit of a tree. In a portrait of Tiglath Pileser III, the sun shade is decorated with fruit-like ornaments along the rim, and with a pomegranate from the pomegrante tree, on its top.

Illustration. (FN: Relief 36. (pl. LXIX); cf. also Central Palace XII (pl VIII). (Layard, p. 35)

The Tree as Symbolic Geograpy and Landscape

Date palms served an economic role in gardens. (FN: AL Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, 1964, p. 312) A stylized date palm is an early motive (FN, Roof, p. 189) A single palm tree is often found "floating" on the landscape in a relief. Artists in the period of Tiglath Pileser, added such legible indices as the single upright date palm, to represent many date palms, and to stand for Babylonia. In Slab 2 Pls.

XXXIV, XXXVIII,(FN. P. 8 Layard), "Seige of a City", date palms are visible on the bank of the fortified city, which the Assyrians are attacking, signaling that it is Babylonia. However, when an uprooted palm tree is depicted lying on its side, it mirrors the dislocated defeated individuals in limbo as well as the exile's homelessness. (FN: Auerbach, p. 82) (llustration: Plate VIIIa, known only through Layard's drawings)

The treatment of trees in spatial relief is more or less legible. The degree of accuracy in representing naturalistic topographical detail, can be decoded, such as in curls representing a river. Typically,trees are positioned on top of a hill or mountain, represented by scales. Soldiers may be depicted traversing such a slope, on a military campaign, or in another instance, the king and his attendants may be on a hunt for animals. Layered, one above the other, the figures give the appearance of suspension in mid-air.

The way in which trees are visually represented charts the development in perspectival sophistication. In slabs 8-9 (Illustration) Sennacherib's palace (FN: Grindhart), inverted trees represent a valley on the other side of the landscape. (FH: Russell, p. 210). Such trees are emblematic of empire. Stacking the trees in registers is common, with variants. We find trees represented in the stele of Narim Sin, as in the Rassam cylinder. Leaves are also represented on a Lachish room relief, in the SW Palace.

Trees as Arboreal Horticulture

The formal ornamental garden develops progressively. Plants are collected both for pleasure and for display in the landscaped garden, which will be accompanied by a hunting park. Sennacherib's hunting park and botanical garden demonstrate a cultic correspondence to a god's activities. (FN: ABL 366)

Collecting plants as botanical or horticultural specimens for gardens dates from Tiglath Pileser I. (...) This Assyrian king wanted orchards in his country. (AKA 91 vii 23, 26). Trees were collected, not only for their utilitarian value, but for their botanical interest and for their display value, which would enhance the pride of a city or garden. (FN: F. Kocher. Keilschrifttexte zur assyrisch-babylonischen Drogen-und Pflanzenkunde (1955).

47 (vii 17 ) I took cedar, box-tree, Kanish oak from the lands over which I had gained dominion - such trees which none among previous kings, my forefathers, had Ever planted - and I planted (them_ in the orchards of my land. I took rare orchard fruit which is not found in my land. I took rare orchard fruit which is not found in my land (and herewith) filled the orchards of Assyria. (Grayson, 1976, p. 17) The Annals of Tiglath Pileser.

The Cedar Tree

The cedar tree is, in effect, a symbol of the imperial conquest of other lands, representing travel outside the perimeters. Although cypress and Junipers were also attractive trees, they did not compare in height and beauty to the cedar. Patrician in character, the cedar's attractive aromatic scent and its durable wood resisted rot and insects. The wood would take a good polish, and had a fine close straight grain which made it easy to work with, and thereby, appealing to the carpenters.

Kings took pride in the fragrance of the woods as well as in the length of the timbers, as Tigleth Pileser speaks of Nimrud:

"With long cedar beams, no fragrance is as good as that of the cypress tree, products of Ananus, Leganon an Ammannama (Hermon) I roofed them (the palaces) and brought them to fautless completion." ARAB 2. 804)

A variety of woods were chosen for furniture and paneling in different wings or rooms of the palace. One record translates:

"a palace of cedar, a palace of cypress, a palace of juniper, a palace of boxwood, a palace of mulberry, a palace of pistachio, a palace of tamarick." (A.K. Grayson, Assyrian Royal Inscriptions. 1972. I. 166 (653). Discussed by D.J. Wiseman, IRAQ 14 (1952) 28.

The records show that Assurnasirpal II appreciated the wood so much that he cut down the grove of "musukkannu trees" adjacent to the city wall of Sapia, the chief city of the Amukkanu tree, and "left not a single tree" on his campaign in Babylonia in 731 B.C. (Rost, TPIII, Leipzig, 1893 p. 60: 24) 7

Many kinds of trees were employed for use in Architecture and the wood was praised for the "unbounded joy" and for a fragrance "which penetrates to the heart".

Recorded in Tiglath Pileser III's ANNALS:

"a palace of cedar "Their (the palaces) doorways, of ivory, maple box-wood, mulberry, cedar... juniper, tribute of the Hittitte Kings of the princes of the Aramaeans and of Chaldea. Whicih I brought in submission to my feet through my valorous heroism (I made and I richly adorned them. "With tall cedar beams, whose fragrance is as good as that of the cypress tree, products of Amanus, Lebanon and Ammanana (Anti - Lebanon) ... The doorleaves of cedar and cypress, which give unbounded joy to the one entering them (and) shoe odour penetrates to the heart, I bound with a sheathing of shining zahalu and (sariru) and hung (them) in the door-(ways) xxvi Layard.

Scent is also praised in this passage in which Esarhaddon, as an act of reconciliation, builds a great temple of Babylonian gods: "with mighty beams (of cedar), products of Mr. Amanus. I spanned its roof. Door leaves of "cypress") whose odour is pleasant, I boun with a band of gold and silver and hung them in their doors." ARAB 2, 653.

Assurbanipal records appreciation of the fragrant quality of the timbers:

"Great cedars which had grown exceedingly tall on Mt. Lebanon, cypresss logs whose odour is pleasant, which Adad had made beautiful on Mt. Sirara (Hermon), which the kings of the sea coast my vassels had felled... with these I roofed Ehulhul the abode of gladness (the temple of Sinat Harram)"

Sennacherib's palace was constructed with musukkannu wood. Documenting his harvest of trees in the mountain:

"With my countless chariots, I have gone up
High in the mountains, into the recesses of Lebanon.
I have cut down the tallest cedars, the best of its (junipers),
I have reached its highest limit of Forest and meadow."
(Isaiah, Verse 37. 24)

Sennacherib's scribe discusses the use of these desirable tall cedar timbers in the construction of his palace.

"That I may accomplish the construction of my palace... Ashur and Ishtar, who love my priesthood, and have called me by name, showed me how to bring out the mighty cedar logs which had grown large in the days gone by and had become enormously tall as they stood concealed in the mountains of Sirara (Hermon). " ARAB 2. 411.

The Sisso tree as a building material was and still is valued for its excellent working qualities, for its lightness, hardness and durability. Defined as a "large precious tree, bark Frey, heartwood brown with darker veins, leaflets, 3-5. broadly elliptical or ovate" (Brandis, Pl. 13. ) A specimen from Nepal was given to Sir Max Mallowan 1973. In this century, recalling Thomas Pakenham, and his love of trees, his latest passion is building a Himalayan garden in England.

Sennarcherib (704-681) further demonstrated a great love of gardens and parks where he took pleasure in growing many herbs and fruit trees. He created great canals and waterwork systems to water his parks and gardens. He imported olive trees and foreign spice plants (FN: OIP 113, viii, 17ff, p. 80: 20ff). Sennacherib echoes Tiglath Pileser:

"A great park, like unto Mount Amanus, wherein were set out all kinds of herbs and fruit trees, -- trees, such as grow on the mountains and in Chaldea, I planted by its (the palace's) side. That (they might) plant orchards, I sub-divided some land in the plain above the city, into plots of 3 PI each, for the citizens for Ninevah, and gave it to them. (FN: Luckenbill, 1989, p. 162)

Public gardens and plotted gardens for citizens, once established in Assyria, were nurtured and cultivated with cuttings and seeds. 1200 saplings of fruit trees, including 350 pomegrante, 400 fig, and 450 medlar, were provided at one time. FN:

Postgate p cit. pp. 157-8, Nos. 139-40; dr. pl. 198 size and age given) Fruit orchards and gardens were often walled with a locked gateway to protect them against intrusion by thieves, animals, wind and sand.

Other trees were planted to support the perfume industry. (IBID, Postgate, pp. 210-22, No. 215; E. Ebeling, Parfumrezepte and kultische Texte aus Asia (1950), pp. 2-13.

Trees bearing fruit are a commonly acknowledged icon of fertility and of prosperity. All trees are life supporting, in that they provide shade and restfulness from the heat. Trees also provide support for the vines planted beneath their roots, and because of their own rootedness, protect slopes from erosion.

In a six-columned slab inscribed with the chapter, "Innana and Shukallitua: The Gardener's Mortal Sin", Kramer illustrates that the practice of planting shade trees to protect the plants from wind and sun was practiced thousands of years ago."

Assurnsairapli II established a royal garden at Kalhu c. 876 B.C. He planted all varieties of fruits and vines near the citadel and by the R. Tigris, which is watered by the Pai-Nhusi canal leading from the R Zab. (Illustr. Plate V. Wiseman)

Assurnasirapli lists 41 species including trees, saplings, cuttings and seeds collected during his travels.

From lands I traveled and hills I traversed the trees and seeds I noticed (and collected): cedar, cypress, box, Juniperus oxycedrus, myrtle, Juniperus dupracea, almond, date palm, ebony, sissoo, olive, tamarind, oak, terebinth, dukdu-nut tree, Pistacia terebinthus, myrrh-type (ash), mehur -fir, Dead Sea fruit(?), tiatu, Kanis-oak, willow, sadanu, pomegranate, plu, fir, ingirasu, pear, quince, fig, grapevine, angasu-pear, sunlalu, titip(aromatic, sarbutu, zanzaliqu (acacia),
swamp apple" - tree, ricinus, nuhurtu, tazzinu, kanaktu(frankincense).
Iraq XIV (1952), 33 11 38-48).

Another entry in the Annals describes these gardens as "gardens of delight" which provide pleasure for the king. Such gardens are irrigated by canals.

The canal - water came flowing down from above to the gardens: the paths (are full) of scent; the waterfalls (glisten) like the stars of heaven in the garden of pleaure. The pomegranate trees, which are clothed with clusters of fruit like vines, enrich the breezes in the garden of delights. Annurnsirapli gathers fruit continuously in the garden of joys like a squirrel (?)" J.N. Postgate, The Governor's Palace Archive (CTN II, 1973) pp. 239-40, 11. 48-52)FN: see also, IRAQ XIV(1952

Trees can also be structured into ritual groves which create a social space. A The bitanu is restricted to royalty, for purposes of prestige. The gardens in ancient Mesopotamia were cherished as sources of pleasure as well as fertility by the king, the Nobles, the priests, and the people. FN, p. 144 Wiseman.

Although only a few undisputed representations of trees in gardens occur on the Assyrian sculptures in the palace at Ninevah (Barnett, Sculptures from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Ninevah (1976), p. 14 pl. xxiii), this paper treats the significance of such appearance. The garden on the Ashurbanipal relief, for instance is planned around a hill, on top of which is a garden house. A tree-lined aqueduct and a colonnaded structure are in the upper register. A park like garden with many trees, a small watercourse, and a path extend into the foreground, revealing a gazebo overlooking a park (R.D. Barnett and W. Forman, Assyrian Palace Reliefs, London No. 135.)


Paradise as a garden, (Elizabeth Moynihan, PARADISE AS A GARDEN In PERSIA AND MUGHAL INDIA) is a place in which man transcends his vulnerable mortal condition, and his frailties. She argues, that the garden is an integral part of civilization. The garden is imagined as a place of respite from the world's cares, and a landscape in which the perfection of a heaven might be realized. Among the oldest Sumerian cuneiform tablets wedged into stone, is a poem advancing the Paradise myth.

Dilmun was "pure clear and bright", and its residents knew no pain, or disease, or aging, but it lacked water. Enki, the god of Water, demanded of Utu, the sun god, that a divine garden with fruit trees, green fields and meadows be created, by providing fresh underground water. Erech (Warka, Iraq,27th century, B.C.), the dominant Sumerian city, was ruled by Gilgamesh, who became a hero to the Akkadians and Babylonians.

In fragments of the Epic of Gilgamesh, found on the Babylonian tablets, the paradise myth is revealed.

And lo! The gesdin (tree) shining stands
With crystal branches in the golden sands,
In this immortal garden stands the Tree,
With trunk of gold, and beautiful to see.
Beside a sacred fount the tree is placed,
With emeralds and unknown gems is graced.(FN, Moynihan, Elizabeth, p. 3)

The textual evidence in the great Near Eastern legend of GILGAMESH provides us accounts of trees, our focus. Gilgamesh and Enkidu visit the forest to destroy the guardian monster and to cut down trees.

"They stood still and gazed at the forest,
They looked at the height of the cedars,
They looked at the entrance to the forest,
Where Humbaba was wont to walk was a path;
Straight were the tracks and good was the going.
They beheld the cedar mountain, abode of the god,
Throne seat of Irnini.
From the face of the mountain
The cedars raise aloft their luxuriance.
Good is their shade, full of delight.

(J.B. Pritchard, ed. Ancient Near Eastern texts relating to the Old Testament 1969 82 tablet)

The ERIN tree, a variety of cedar species, is singled out in GILGAMESH.

Upon crossing the seventh mountain
...he did not wander about
The lord Gilgamesh fells the ERIN-tree"
Gilgamesh fells trees on his path, clearing the way, and cuts down six trees in succession.
"The sons of his city who accompanied him,
Cut down the branches, bundle them up,
Lay them at the foot of the mountain. L.

Cutting Lebanon Cedar - Egyptian relief
When the monster, Huwawa, or Humban, the chief god of Elam, pleads for mercy, he offers to cut down trees and build houses for Gilgamesh. It can be conjectured that Gilgamesh has undertaken this journey to the Land of the Living, to the kingdom of the sun god, Utu, in order to find timber, in the form of the ERIN tree, probably Juniperus excelsa, for the construction of houses at Uruk.

By the time of the period of Sargon of Akkad (---), ERIN trees had been so harvested and the forests so depleted, that new sources had to be sought in the West. The ERIN tree may have been identified by different names, in the widely separated regions of the Ancient Near East, or may have been found in diverse locations on a variety of mountains, in different time periods.

According to evidence found in inscriptions, later rulers of Assyrian, Babylonia and Persia brought Gis ERIN from the following regions:

Shalmaneser III (858-824 B.C.) and Sargon II (721-705 B.C.) from Mt. Amanus,

Sennacherib (704-681 B.C.), Mt. Amanus and Mt. Hermon (in E. Lebanon).

Assurbanipal (668-631 B.C.) from Mt. Lebanon and Mt. Hermon. FN. J Hansman, p. 32) Narim - Sin, Sargon of Akkad, and then of Gudea, attest to their control of the mountain where ERIN trees had been found and stripped.

In Gilgamesh, Enkidu says,

"Inform Utu, the valiant Utu,
The "land" it is Utu's chage,
The Land of the felled ERIN -Trees
It is the valiant Utu's charge". L. i

Gilgamesh answers:

"Utu, I would enter the ‘land',
Be my ally. I would enter the land of the
Felled ERIN - trees, be my ally".

(Kramer, transl. GILGAMESH.)

ERIN, or Juniper Excelsa, with wood of a light color, grows in Elam. A fragrant wood, of good quality, J. Excelsa was used for timber. This lumber, which has a scent similar to cedar, was employed in door casements, as well as in building furniture.

When Gilgamesh wanders into the garden of the gods, he provides us this speech:

"And low! The gesdin (tree) shining stands
With crystal branches in the golden sans
In this immortal garden stands the Tree,
With trunk of gold, and beautiful to see,
Beside a sacred fount, the tree is placed,
With emeralds and unknown gems is graced." (L.)

This land is geographically situated in the Zagros Mountains of South-Central Iran, and /or sited in the Amanus mountains, found in Lebanon, as attested to, in several Assyrian texts. J. Hansmann (FN. P 26, Gelb, 1935) suggested that the ERIN mountains are rather the Amanus Mountains of Northern Syria, and not those mountains in Lebanon.


The garden serves as a harbinger of change in the ancient world.

Once man stops pillaging, scorching and burning, he realizes the value of claiming tribute. Civilized exchange based on reciprocity in trade develops. A new order and communication is opened to ambassadors who come and are entertained in these gardens and paneled reception rooms.

By following the motive of the tree in Near Eastern art, and by reading the text of Gilgamesh, and the Kings' Annals, we find the sacred transforming into a more social symbol, the numinous becoming human, and the tree, becoming an object for displaying power and authority, as well as prosperity.

Moving through stages of utilitarian function with the date palm, to one of display of empire, in the cedars, the garden represents a natural historical integration of geographical expansion. As a visual, perspectival and spatial element in the relief's composition, and as a landscape element, or as tribute, the garden becomes a social and psychological space for the Sumerian and Assyrian warrior kings, who now, because they have achieved sufficient empire, have some leisure and time for celebrating abundance.

In the verses of Ezekiel 31: 3-7.

Look at Assyria: it was a cedar in Lebanon,
Whose fair branches overshadowed the forest,
Towering high with its crown finding a way through the foliage.
Springs nourished it, underground waters gave it height,
Their streams washed the soil all around it
And sent forth their rills to every tree in the country.
So it grew taller than every other tree.
Its boughs were many, its branches spread far;
For water was abundant in the channels.
In its boughs all the birds of the air had their nests,
And in its shadow all great nations made their home.
A splendid great tree it was, with its long spreading boughs,
For its roots were beside abundant waters.


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Randhawa, Mohinder Singh. GARDENS THROUGH THE AGES. The Macmillan Company of India Limited. 1976.

Rost, TIGLATH PILESER III Leipzig, 1893. Vol 60: 24.

Stein, Achva Benzinberg. "Thoughts on the Meaning of Gardens Occasioned by the Old Testament", pp. 350-355. MEANINGS OF THE GARDEN. Proceedings of a Working Conference to Explore the Social Psychological and Cultural Dimensions of Gardens, University of California, Davis. May 14-17, 1987. Editors: Mark Francis, Randolph T. Hester, Jr. Center for Design Research, Dept of Environmental Design, University of California, Davis.

Wiseman, Donald J. "Mesopotamian Gardens", ANATOLIAN STUDIES, pp. 137-144.

Wiseman, Donald J. "Palaces and Temple Gardens in the Near East". MONARCHIES AND SOCIO-RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS IN THE NEAR EAST. Ed. H.I.H. Prince Takahito Mikasa. Otto Harrassowitz Wiesbaden. 1984.

Woodbridge, Micaelea. Chart of illustrations.


British Museum 118900. Relief 26 King Tiglath-Pileser III Central Palace (Layard)

Maps: Development of the Assyrian Empire. 2, 3. Olmstead.

"Priest Offering Flowers" Tiglath Pileser. Or. Dr. III: S.W. XIV Slab 10.

Pal upright, in Dr. III. Central II. "Idols and captives from a conquered nation". Layard Drawing. (original lost) CENTRAL PALACE. Plate VII. : Series A. Upper Register: Slab 6a; Babylonian campaign. Central Palace. Plate VI. Barnet and Falkner. The Sculptures of Assurnasirapli II, Tiglath -pileser III, Esarhaddon from the central and south-west palaces at Nimrud.

Or. Dr. III. Central VIII. "Assyrian chariot with spearmen advancing and seige" Central Palace. Series A. Upper Register: Slab 4a; Babylonian Campaign. Plate IX. Barnet and Falkner.

Or. Dr. III: S.W.V. "Warriors hewing down trees" Wall e: Slab 1a Barent and Falkner

Royal Gardens depicted on bas-relief from the Palace of Ashurbanipal at Ninevah. (British Museum 1/24730) IV b: Wiseman.

Description of the Royal Garden on the stela of Assurnasirapli II at Kalhu (Nimrud, 876 B.C.) V: Wiseman.

Meigs. Cedrus Libani; Cedrus libani with Juniperus foetissima. The Cedar Tree.

Cutting Lebanon Cedar - Egyptian relief
2. Cutting Lebanon Trees for the Egyptians

(Hunting scene) Sargon's Palace at Khorsabad. Room 7 slabs 1-2.

46 J. Reade.Hunting Scene, carved in dark stone from the palace of Sargon, Khorsabad. 710 B.C

3A Phoenician transport of Lebanon timber for the Assyrians. J. Reade?

6 Men of Nin I 6 and 7 (Trees Being Hewn Down). Palace of Sennacherib. (Paterson 80)

Carrying Home Tribute through the forests on the mountain.

Deer in Sennacherib's Nature Reserve at Ninevah. (British Museum 124824)

Fig. 121. Fighting in the Babylonian Marshes. Olmstead. Fig 121.

Tree and Plough in Glazed Bricks. Palace of Sargon. Olmstead Fig. 120

The Festhaus or "bitanu".

Die Garten im Vorderen Orient
The Sacred Tree and numinous guardian figures.

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