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The Rise of Civlilzations in Mesopotamia Coincided with the Neolithic Revolution Was characterized by a succession of civilizations Summerian, Akkadian, Babylonian Each of these civilizations were Agrarian Polytheistic theocracies with strong kings skilled in urban organization skilled in crafts, pottery, metal working, bronze casting dependent on writing impacted by the irregular flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates vulnerable to attack Student’s Friend website Lecture River Civilizations southern Iraq marsh Environmental devastation of Marshes in Iraq Dawn of the World Marsh reed house Sumerian Period 3000-2350 BCE King was steward of the people, not identified as god. Political structure was very modest, semi-democratic with a council of men, sometimes led by city rulers, sometimes by kings. Writing was on clay tablets in cuneiform with the primary purpose being record keeping. Beginning Art – religious, cylinder seals for economic purposes, personal items. Only later did it become commemorative or a way of recording historical accomplishments. Gudea Sumerian King Diorite, appr. 19 inches Ca. 2090 BCE Humility Faithfulness to people Carved in the round With low relief of cuneiform Adherence to form of stone Geometric solids are the basis of most early Mesopotamia sculpture Gudea shown here with map of city walls on tablet Sumerian Religion Nature deities, unpredictable, spiteful Sumerians did not have a definite view of afterlife Rituals were performed by the priestly class who nearly equaled the king in power The temple complex was the site of warehousing and controlling agricultural production ancient civilizations Imdugud, lion headed eagle whose wings covered the heavens and brought rain, ending droughts brought on by the bull of heaven. Copper relief with wooden core from the temple of Ninhursag. 25th c. BCE City of Ur with Ziggurat ca. 2100 BCE Ziggurat at Ur, Mesopotamia (Iraq), ca. 2100 B.C.E.smarthistory Kings and priests were the only ones allowed into the temple at the top of the ziggurat. Ziggurat of the moon-god Nanna –UR 2100-2050 B.C.E.ancient mesopotamia film Economic role of temple: employed priests, scribes, artisans stimulated trade attracted visitors to urban center Temple Votive Statues, Tell Asmar, Iraq, ca. 2900-2600 B.C.E. Tallest figure ca. 30 in. Hierarchical scaling. Stand ins for worshipers. Votive detail I have found the greatest death-pit of all yet discovered... Inform Philadelphia. – C. Leonard Woolley, Telegram to British Museum, December 22, 1928 In 1922—the same year that Howard Carter shocked the world with his discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt—a little-known British archaeologist, Charles Leonard Woolley, began excavations near the town of Nasiriyah at the site of Ur—one of ancient Mesopotamia’s most important cities. His most remarkable discovery was a massive cemetery with thousands of burials, including a small number of rich tombs belonging to the kings and queens of Ur from around 2500 BCE. U Penn Ruins of Ur, partially restored, with Ziggurat in backgound Ram in Thicket Gold, Lapis, Inlaid shell Royal tomb of Ur 2600 BCE British Museum field photograph of “Ram in Thicket” Headdress Gold, Lapis, Carnelian Royal tomb of Ur 2600 BCE Harp (reconstructed) from Ur, ca. 2600 B.C.E. Wood and inlays of gold, lapis lazuli, and shell, height 3 ft. 6 in A harp like this might be played as the story of King Gilgamesh was sung. Wealth, organization, trade. Abstracted, narrative. Standard of Ur 2550-2400 BCE “Peace side” shell, lapis lazuli, and red limestone over a wooden structure, decayed and restored 20 x 47 in Royal Tombs at Ur, Iraq Peace side, Standard of Ur A History of the World in 100 Objects BBC Radio Royal Standard of Ur Detail of War Side 2550-2400 BCE wooden panels, inlaid with shell, red limestone, and lapis lazuli in bitumen Cuneiform- “wedge shaped” Administrative tablet with cylinder seal impression CUNEIFORM Uruk 3100-2900 B.C. Cylinder seal 2350-2150 B.C. 3.4 cm 2.3 cmsmarthistory Cylinder seal: Hero grappling with buffalo, two lions attacking rearing bulls 1894 B.C. - 1595 B.C. Old Babylonian Period Gilgamesh 1960 Prose Translation Verse form of Epic of Gilgamesh Mythical/literal king Ruled Uruk, 2600 B.C.E. Earliest tablets discovered in Assyrian library of King Ashurbanipal (669-627 B.C.E.) Neo-Babylonian Gilgamesh fighting a bull, with shepherd and mountain goats 612-539 BCE carnelian, cylinder seal and imprint Measurements 3.4 cm (height) Musée du Louve Annenberg Foundation Film Gilgamesh Cuneiform tablet Epic of Gilgamesh, 14th-13th centuries BCE, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Germany) Akkadian (?) 2300-2000 B.C.E. Strong kings like Sargon unified the city states Writing and the arts became more sophisticated Sargon extended the territories as far away as Crete and Lebanon Shift in the role of King- powerful, godlike Lost-wax method Burkino Faso Lost Wax Production Akkadian History Website This victory stella commemorates the victory of Naram-Sin’s army over the Lullaby people Hierarchical scaling Attention to composition, conforming to shape of stone Smarthistory Sumero-Akkadian Victory stele of Naram-Sin 2220 -2184 BC limestone 6 feet, 6 inches Akkadian kings, from Naram-Sin onward, were considered gods on earth in their lifetimes. Their portraits showed them of larger size than mere mortals and at some distance from their retainers. Babylon Akkadian rule lasted less than 200 years Constant unrest until the Amorites, nomads from Arabia, founded the royal city of Babylon. Hammurabi ruled in the 17th c. B.C.E. unifying the Sumerian and Akkadian city states Stela of Hammurabi , 1760 B.C.E. Basalt, 7.’ Louvre, Paris. Law code inscribed beneath image Shamash, the sun god, gives the code to Hammurabi. Assyria 1500 B.C.E.-612 B.C.E Greatest power after fall of Babylon. Guardian statue from Assyrian palace at Nimrud. 9th c. B.C.E. Ashurnasirpal II. Limestone. Assyrian Gate monsters, palace of Ashurnasirpal, Nimrud. 9th c. B.C.E. Nineveh Palace Reliefs - Southwest Palace of Sennacherib (701-681 B.C) Nebuchchadnezzar’s Babylon Neo-Babylon- not to be confused with Hammurabi’s Babylon Ishtar Gate, ca. 575 B.C.E. Fire glazed brick decorated with lions, dragons and bulls- emblematic of Ishtar’s power Ishtar was the Sumerian goddess of love and war Persian Empire Cyrus II entered Babylon and took over in 6th century. Originated in Elam in western Iran, dating back to 5000 B.C.E. Zoroaster, 600 B.C.E. Prophet who founded the dualistic religion of Zoroastrianism Universe divided between the opposing forces of light and darkness Influential to the later Christian concept of Satan, prince of darkness Relief sculpture on stairway at Persepolis 5th-6th c. B.C.E.