Wings, Weapons, and the Horned Tiara Iconographic Representation of the Deity of the Mediterranean Sea in the Bronze Age

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Joanna Töyräänvuori


This article discusses the iconography of the deified Mediterranean Sea in Syrian glyptic from the Middle and Late Bronze Ages in light of textual evidence from the city of Ugarit (Ras Shamra). Building on the work of Paolo Matthiae in recognizing the visual vocabulary of the representation of the deity, the article argues that the reason for the depiction of the sea god as a winged deity was due to its role as a mediator between the celestial and terrestial oceans in ancient semitic conception. The article also provides a heuristic for separating depictions of the winged sea god from the representations of the winged goddess in the presence of water birds and fish in its visual vocabulary.

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