Royal Decision-Making: Kings, Magnates, and Scholars

Karen Radner

in The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199557301
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Royal Decision-Making: Kings, Magnates, and Scholars

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  • Classical Studies
  • Historical Archaeology



This article investigates the role of two distinct groups of advisors to the Assyrian king and their impact on royal decision-making: the highest state officials or magnates and scholarly experts in the royal entourage. The magnates comprised a set of about 100–120 men who formed the backbone of the Assyrian Empire, instrumental in its creation and indispensable to its maintenance. The scholars served to monitor and interpret divine messages and to perform the rituals necessary to keep the precious relationship with the divine powers in balance.

Keywords: advisors; Assyrian king; royal decision-making; magnates; scholarly experts; Assyrian Empire; divine messages

Article.  9150 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Historical Archaeology

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