Never underestimate the power of art to intimidate. These Neo-Assyrian big boys\dominating the palace rooms of Nimrud stamped the gold standard in the arts of religion and power. Guarded by gigantic winged bull-men, King Ashurnasirpal II wears the crown, accompanied by eunuchs, griffins (?), and winged cosmic muscle men who fertilize the cosmic tree with water sprinkled from pinecones. Which is more muscular, the arms or the face?
Combining image and text, to make things perfectly clear, across the figures runs “the Standard Inscription” which reads (in whole or in part??):
“Palace of Assurnasirpal, vice-regent of Aššur, chosen one of the gods Enlil PGP and Ninurta, beloved of the gods Anu PGP and Dagan PGP , destructive weapon of the great gods, strong king, king of the universe, king of Assyria, son of Tukulti-Ninurta PGP , great king, strong king, king of the universe, king of Assyria, son of Adad-nerari PGP , great king, strong king, king of the universe, king of Assyria; valiant man who acts with the support of Aššur, his lord, and has no rival among the princes of the four quarters, marvelous shepherd, fearless in battle, unopposable mighty floodtide, king who subdues those insubordinate to him, he who rules all peoples, strong male who treads upon the necks of his foes, trampler of all enemies, he who smashes the forces of the rebellious, king who acts with the support of the great gods, his lords, and has conquered all lands, gained dominion over all the highlands and received their tribute TT , capturer of hostages, he who is victorious over all countries….”
No, there’s nothing gentle about ancient Near Eastern fertility. For an expert guide to the figures, you can see here this Youtube clip with Monique Seefried.