Nicole Brisch, "Of Gods and Kings. Divine Kingship in Ancient Mesopotamia", in: Religion Compass, Volume 7 (2) (2013), 37–46


The idea that any living human being could be worshipped like a god may appear to some people unfathomable or sacrilegious. This is related to how the distinction between humans and god(s) is perceived in a given cultural context; divinity is a concept that has been understood very differently throughout history. This is not a new point but remains all too often underappreciated when discussing the blurring of lines between human and god as evidenced in the deification of kings. In ancient Mesopotamia, one of the oldest high civilizations in the world, it was a short-lived but nevertheless interesting phenomenon. The first instances of royal deification occur in the third millennium bce during times of political expansion and centralization. Whether this worship continued into the second millennium BCE is still a matter of contention, yet Mesopotamian kings always maintained a close proximity to the divine to legitimize and bolster their power.

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