IF KING SAUL HAD EMPLOYED A COURT ARTIST…

Sadly, of all the Near-Eastern kingdoms of the late 11th early 10th centuries BCE, one of the few to shun the services of visual artists were those of Israel and Judah. Even during their later years, when they had established dynasties under the likes of Omri, and Ahab, so far as we know, they never went in for recording themselves and their deeds other than by the written word.

So, when I came to illustrate my book on King Saul – the very first king of All-Israel (Israel and Judah), the only thing I had to go on for authentic pictorial reference was from the neighbouring contemporary empires and kingdoms from around 1020 BCE. The closest geographically and in time were the friezes of the Egyptian Pharaohs of the 21st Dynasty and the Kings of the early, Neo-Assyrian empire.Then, I tried to imagine myself as King Saul’s court artist, working in their style and with their kind of materials.

I ended up with the ten plates you see here, in their original “mosaic” form. I thought the mosaic effect added somehow to their feeling of authenticity however, my editor at Lutterworth did not agree, and went with the “smooth” versions. See what you think…

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