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Assyrian military camp scene showing soldiers playing catch with decapitated heads and a victory celebration, or "mummery," Panel7a, Rooll1 B, Northwest Palace ofAshurnasirpalli at Nirnrud. London, British Museum, ANE 124548. Photo: author. 'lGURE 35. Detail of Fig. ~howing two men wearing lion skim perf-orming a "mummery. Photo: author. We have already dr;Iwn anentian to the fact that on the throne-room rdids of Ashurnasirpal II, the prostrate enelllY figure is set in analogy to the humed animal figures, as are the hunt scenes in a temporary Iiminality within the context of the ritual, perhaps of exorcism, in which they to the banlc scene.

As Marcus has stressed, tile Assyriall palace reliefs primarily present a world the created Illall in all almost biological sense of the word, and his initial closelless [0 animals, of men meant ftlf contemplation by a primarily male audiellce. However, cOlHrary to Marcus's his sexual relations with the harlot, and his companionship with Cilgamesh may alt again be argument, this overriding concern widl the male sex in (he relids can hardly be confined to thought of as clements [hat play into the said philosophical discourse on masculinity among royal pOWtr and "heterosexual anxieties.

Uon Combat," Panel 13, Room 5, North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh. London, British Museum, ANE [24H75. Photo: author. ANIMALS AND GENDER A philosophical discourse on the nature and meaning of masculinity is very much part of A number of ideas concerning the male audience of the Nco-Assyrian palace rdiefs as well Assyrian culture, as manifest in both the royal inscriptions and the Epic o/Gilgrlmesh. In their as the correspondence between human and animal figures from the perspective of virility have royal inscriptions, Assyrian kings often lise epithets that emphasize the king's maleness and already been nmed in this visual survey.

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