n Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages - There is nothing better than more! Text and images on Amulet 1 from Arslan Tash

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-0131


Based on the methodological approach of semiotic and constructivist theories, a detailed interpretation of the images and texts of the Amulet 1 from Arslan Tash is proposed. אלה is understood as a key word for the whole text being a patron-client contract between humans and deities. In general the texts and images of the obverse and reverse have to be interpreted separately, while it seems plausible that the images support the message of the texts and vice versa. Amulet 1 from Arslan Tash (AT1) is a good example for the basic rule of amulets : there is nothing better than more. The combination of different types of signs, iconic and epigraphical elements, the accumulation of different defence charms and magical formula of several patron-client contracts and patron deities, in the text as well as the hierarchical way of depicting humans, demons and the superior benevolent god were meant to intensify the anti-demonic efficacy of the amulet. At the same time this plaque reflected, communicated and transmitted the symbolic universe of the Ancient Near East, participated in its construction and stabilisation, and motivated the viewers to act in harmony within the socially accepted religious system.

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