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Mariam by suburbanbeatnik Mariam by suburbanbeatnik
Mariam (aka Judith) is the main character from a novel of mine, a retelling of the Judith and Holofernes legend. I took a lot of liberties with the original story (which, in my defense, is pretty ahistorical to begin with)- I reset it in the Beqaa valley, in a fictionalized Baalbek. Here, Mariam is dressed in clothes and jewelry borrowed from one of her Canaanite friends. The triple plait hairstyle (two thin plaits over the shoulders, and one thick plait in back) is a style I'd seen on a lot of Canaanite and Aramaean statues from the neo-Assyrian period.
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:icondemetria656:
demetria656 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2008
Same what Mint said.
I love you drawing its really pretty.
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:iconcwylldren:
Cwylldren Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, this is absolutely not my area of expertise, but she looks good! Is her headdress based on a specific depiction? it reminds me a bit of the "Helen of Troy" headdress Schliemann found at Troy, and some later Byzantine things...
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
The diadem is modelled on a Phoenician diadem from an archaeology book, but I added the hanging jewels on the side. I was a bit inspired by Elizabeth Hurley in "Samson and Delilah"... [link] That movie is hard to find, but it's got some of the best biblical era costumes I've ever seen.
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:iconcwylldren:
Cwylldren Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oooo, pretty. If I ever run across it, I'll be sure to add it to my collection.
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:iconmintyfreak:
MintyFreak Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice.

I should start reading on my cultures history..>__<..
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh, are you Lebanese? :)
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:iconmintyfreak:
MintyFreak Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
no, Assyrian.
however, two of my sisters were born in Lebanon
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2008  Professional General Artist
She's beautiful! I would love to see some of your documentation for this, I haven't done much research for that period. I take it she's a Hebraic character. Why the Beqaa and Baalbek, of all places? Not that I object, I was just really startled someone would set their story there :D You need to come over for some field research ;)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, I wish I kept notes of all my documentation. But the Los Angeles public library has a lot of books about Phoenicia, and I pulled most of my info from those books. The diadem she's wearing is period, and her dress is based partially on the wrapped robes seen worn by Canaanites on Bronze Age Egyptian murals. Of course, by the 7th cent. BCE such robes were always worn with pleated undertunics, but since Mariam is dressed as a courtesan she's left out the undertunic. ;P

I don't know if you've ever read the Book of Judith, but it's just about the most ahistorical thing in the OT. The Babylonian-named King of Assyria sends his Greco-Persian general to conquer a fictitious town in the kingdom of Judah, and there encounters a beautiful Jewish widow (the book itself is a queasy combination of Hellenistic romance and Maccabeean kill-them-all zealotry). I figured there was no sense in trying to make this all historically accurate, and decided to go out on a limb. Why not take the Judith character out of Judah, and put her in a mixed Canaanite/Jewish city in the Beqaa, after the destruction of Israel and the defeat of Judah? Judah was never that wealthy a place even before its defeat by the Assyrians; I figured a wealthy city-state (based on Baalbek) would make for a more interesting and colorful setting, and give a better idea of the mixed nature of the Levant at the time. I hope my decision-making process doesn't sound too stupid. :P

Wow, I would so love to come to Lebanon! But I'm so broke right now... *looks sad* But maybe someday (hopefully soon), when I'm making more money! :)
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Professional General Artist
Yay, finally responding! ;)
Man, I wish I could take a trip to that library. It's so hard to research from here – I'm actually thinking of traveling to London specifically to bury myself in the British Library for a few days. But I'll have to wait for low season on the plane tickets, lol.
I don't think I read that book, not in its integrity anyway – I never could go very far in the OT :bleh: Your creative reasoning sounds good to me, and it's probably the first time anyone sets a story in that Baalbek, so it's rather exciting. The city hasn't been excavated beyond the temples, so we can only imagine the archaeological treasures hidden underground. If you're able to recreate the place in your illustrations, you'll be doing pioneering work! We have a book on Baalbek planned for later down the line, but I don't have to delve into that just yet...
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, you live in Beirut and you're jealous of our libraries in Los Angeles? :blush: Granted, we do have four library systems (LA city, LA county, Burbank and Glendale/Pasadena, and a ton of others not immediately local). Is this untypical for other parts of the world? All I can say for sure is that the Belfast, NI or New York library system is not up to LA or Seattle standards. But maybe I'm biased.

The OT is pretty tough reading- I really like bits of it, but I think of it mainly as mythology/literature. Re: my story, I'm glad you approve of my reasoning! I was afraid I might have sounded incoherent or silly in explaining why I did what I did. Perhaps you would be interested in reading it eventually?

I'm afraid I haven't planned to do any illustrations for it. (Although I do have a picture of my version of Holofernes I will be uploading soon to dA!) By the way, I am convinced Baalbek has been an important shrine for millenia, long before the Romans and way before even the Assyrians. Several archaeologists who've written about Baalbek say that there's no mention of the city in Assyrian sources, and try to prove its lack of importance because of that. What do you think of that?
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Professional General Artist
I don't know what's typical for library systems, our national library was closed for so long I've never been there and am not even sure where it is – I've only ever been able to use my university library and that of the French Cultural Center. They have good stuff but their collections are limited.
Sure, I'd love to! It's too bad you're not planning on illustrating it though!
Well, Baalbek wasn't built by the Romans at all, but like nearly all temples in Lebanon was an "upgrade", in modern style (usually Hellenistic, this time Roman-ish) of an older site of worship. There had been a tell there since the 3rd millenium BC and sometime during the 1st, a Phoenician worshipping altar was constructed there. In terms of importance though, it looks like it only gained it starting from the hellenistic period. The older Phoenician history never mentions Baalbek, it's completely focused on the coastal cities, so it may have been a very local site like Yanouh. But when the Romans started making inland roads, I'm guessing it found itself an important stop all of a sudden, and that's when it was upgraded – and the size at that point is testimony to its importance.
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