Skip to Content

Virtual Soleiman Lecture: From Palace to Cosmos—Assyrian Reliefs and the Construction of Empire



Admission actions

  • Free, registration required


Join Michael Seymour, associate curator in the department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as he discusses Assyrian reliefs and the construction of empire.

From the ninth through seventh centuries BCE, Assyria, centered in today’s northern Iraq, was the dominant imperial power in the Middle East. The empire’s rulers lined the walls of their palaces with carved stone reliefs depicting the king, supernatural figures, royal hunting scenes, and Assyrian military campaigns across an area stretching from Egypt to Iran. The last form a particularly striking category, showing the violence of empire but also employing landscape and narrative in new ways to represent and participate in the construction of a particular image of Assyria and its wider world. This lecture will focus on the dynamic between palace, empire, and imperial vision, and explore some of the ways in which the sculptures can contribute to more complex readings of all three.

Generously supported by the Mary Soleiman Lecture Fund.

About the Speaker

Michael Seymour 2019 Portrait

Michael Seymour is associate curator in the department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He completed his PhD at University College London before joining the British Museum in the department of the Middle East, where he was co-curator of the exhibition Babylon: Myth and Reality (2008–9). He joined the Met in 2011, assisting on the exhibition Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age (2014–15) and co-editing its symposium volume (2016). In 2014 he published Babylon: Legend, History, and the Ancient City, a history of Babylon’s cultural reception from antiquity to the present. Most recently, he co-curated The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East (2019), on visual culture and religious and civic identity in the Roman and Parthian period. His research focuses on the reception and representation of the ancient Near East and on Mesopotamian art of the first millennium BCE and early centuries CE.

Please note that all event times listed are in central time.

We recommend using a laptop or desktop computer and downloading the latest version of Zoom to enjoy this program. You can submit questions for the speakers in advance or during the program using the Google Form below.

If you have any questions about virtual programming, please reach out to

Closed captioning will be available for this program. For questions related to accessibility accommodations, please email


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions