Assembling King and State: The Statues of Manishtushu and the Consolidation of Akkadian Kingship

Manishtushu standing statue from Susa.
Manishtushu standing statue from Susa.

Compared with the stelae of the Akkadian period, Akkadian royal statues have received little scrutiny beyond the question of style. This article brings together the numerous visual and verbal fragments from the statues of Manishtushu to reconstruct their forms and textual components and to assess their role in the practice of Akkadian kingship. The king's multiple, nearly identical statues participated in his effort to maintain authority over cities incorporated into the nascent Akkadian state. Through the standardization and replication of statues erected in the temple precincts of various cities, Manishtushu displayed an equitable allegiance to the gods of the cities now under his rule. As an expression of the relationship between the king and the gods, this evenhanded treatment represents an intermediate stage in a transformation of kingship that would culminate in the deification of Naram-Sin, Manishtushu's successor.


DOI: 10.3764/aja.114.3.365