Alessandra Gilibert, Syro-Hittite Monumental Art and the Archaeology of Performance, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2011


The ceremonial centers of the Syro-Hittite city-states (1200–700 BC) were lavishly decorated with large-scale, open-air figurative reliefs – an original and greatly influential artistic tradition that has captivated the imagination of its contemporaries as well as that of modern scholars. This volume explores how Syro-Hittite monumental art was used as a powerful backdrop to important ritual events, and it opens up a new perspective by situating the monumental heritage in the context of large public performances and civic spectacles of great emotional impact. The first part of the volume focuses on the sites of Carchemish and Zincirli, offering a close reading of the relevant archaeological contexts. The second part of the volume discusses the embedment of monumental art in ritual performance and examines how change in art relates to change in ceremonial behavior, and how the latter relates in turn to change in power structures and models of rulership.

View book review by Nicola Laneri (University of Catania) in Bryn Mawr Classical Review.