On the nature of gištallu in Mesopotamian cultic architecture

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Some elements of Babylonian cultic infrastructure were purposefully mobile. This was due to the nature of ritual performance, which required not only the mobility of divine statues but also their accompanying paraphernalia, that was frequently decorated with precious materials like metal plating and precious stones. This article reviews the nature and function of one such architectural element, gištallu (gišdal) ‘support beam', that depending on its context could be either mobile, or fixed as part of the temple structure. The term is studied in light of newly published administrative texts from the Eanna archive of the 6th century BC. The article further draws on lexical evidence, ritual texts and monumental art from the first millennium BC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Babylonian cultic architecture
  • Eanna archive
  • Uruk
  • administrative texts
  • tallu


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