"If you hear any improper, unsuitable or unseemly word concerning the exercise of kingship": Public responses to the royal call for vigilance in the Assyrian Empire
The Assyrian Empire is generally accepted to have been the first state to employ the template of dominion later used by the Achaemenid Persians and the Romans. By imposing an extensive loyalty oath on his people in 672 BC, king Esarhaddon attempted to ensure political stability and a smooth succession upon his death. Subjects throughout the empire were required not only to moderate their own behaviour, but also to monitor and report on that of others. The present project investigates the means and attitudes by which this early and intensive form of political vigilance was realised, as well as how it expanded on previous expectations concerning the safeguarding of state interests. The project further analyses the variety of ways in which the Assyrian state conceived of the role of its subjects throughout the empire (at court, in the heartland, in the provinces, in the client states) in the public duty of vigilance, as well as the manner in which these subjects responded to this call to duty.