Uniting Cultures-The Golden Stool And Victory Stele Of Naram-Sin

Uniting Cultures-The Golden Stool And Victory Stele Of Naram-Sin

How the Golden Stool united the Asante, and how the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin united the Akkadians years before.


The Golden Stool stands as a symbol of the Asante people’s strength and independence. In 1900, a war was fought between the Asante and the British over the Golden Stool. The British people’s Colonial Governor, Frederick Hodgson, demanded to attain the stool and to also sit on it, even though the stool itself was so sacred to the Asante that no one sat on it. In fact, it had its own stool. Asantehene (king) Otumfuo Nana Prempeh I, had fought a previous war against the British, but he was exiled to Sierra Leone and then Seychelles. Hodgson called a meeting in which he disrespected Asante chiefs, but a woman named Yaa Asantewaa encouraged them to fight for the stool and its cultural value. Under Asantewaa’s leadership, the Asante mobilized troops. Even though the British eventually overcame the Asante and Yaa Asantewaa was banished to Seychelles, the British never got their hands on the Golden Stool.

Similarly to the Golden Stool, the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin served as a symbol of cultural power. Made to demonstrate the imperial power of the Akkadian King, Naram-Sin, this stele celebrates one of Naram-Sin’s victories over the Lullubi people. In the Victory Stele, Naram-Sin is shown leading his troops over the slopes of enemy territory as they crush the Lullubi people depicted at their feet. King Naram-Sin is shown standing above his troops and is depicted as much larger than everyone else in a hierarchic scale. The radiating sun above him aims to show the divine protection over him. Also, the horned helmet he wears alludes to him being similar to a god, as only the divine were privileged in wearing such symbols.

The Golden Stool stood to represent the wealth of the Asante region, rich with gold. But most importantly, it symbolized a cultural tradition, one that said that the first Asante King, Osei-tutu, gained the stool when it fell out of the sky into his lap. In the 17th century, Osei-tutu was able to unify the Asante people and the chief priest declared that the soul of the nation resided in the stool. It is to no surprise then, that the Asante were willing to go to war over a symbol that had previously unified their ancestors. Similarly, the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin represented the warrior culture of the Akkadians. It radiated a message of authority, one that warned others of the Akkadian King’s power and divinity.

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