Royal Palace of Mari
|Royal Palace of Mari|
The remains of the royal palace of Mari
|Location||Mari, Eastern Syria|
|Area||2.5 hectares (6.2 acres)|
|Founded||c. 1800 BCE|
|Associated with||Yasmah-Adad, Zimrilim|
The Royal Palace of Mari was the royal residence of the rulers of the ancient kingdom of Mari in eastern Syria. The royal palace was excavated with the rest of the city in the 1930s and is considered one of the most important finds made at Mari.
Euphrates • Terqa • Tuttul
|Yaggid-Lim • Yahdun-Lim
Zimri-Lim (Queen Shibtu)
|Investiture of Zimri-Lim
Statue of Ebih-Il
Statue of Iddi-Ilum
The large palace, which spanned an area of almost 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) and dates back to the 18th-century BC, has a rather elaborate structure. The rooms were clustered around a number of courtyards, with some places indicating a second floor with walls up to 4 metres (13 ft) thick and 8 metres (26 ft) high. More than 260 chambers, courtyards, and corridors have been excavated so far. The exact layout of the palace is still being clarified by French excavation teams.
The palace was formally divided into royal space, public space (including the throne room and reception halls), sacred space with two chapels, private dwellings for the women of the court, and service quarters (including kitchens, offices, and storage facilities).
More than 20,000 tablets were found in the palace. Most of these tablets date back to the reign of Yasmah-Adad, Shamshi-Adad I' son, and Zimrilim (c. 1785-1760 BC). They were left in situ when the city was plundered by the Babylonian king Hammurabi in 1759 BC. The letters shed a fascinating light on the day to day management of the palace, the administration of the kingdom, and the politics of the ancient Near East. The tablets, according to André Parrot, "brought about a complete revision of the historical dating of the ancient Near East and provided more than 500 new place names, enough to redraw or even draw up the geographical map of the ancient world". One of the letters is from the king of Yamhad forwarding a request from the king of Ugarit, who had heard of the wonders of the royal palace at Mari and wished to visit it himself.
The discovery of brilliantly colored frescoes was a great surprise, given the normally unfavorable conditions of the preservation of painted decorations. One fresco shows a rather complex composition depicting in the center the "Investiture of Zimrilim" by a warrior-goddess, most probably Ishtar.
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