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Ancient mesopotamia

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Some features of Mesopotamia history: society ziggurats, cylinder seal, deities, palaces.

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Ancient mesopotamia

  1. 1. “Land between the two rivers”.
  2. 2.  Considered the cradle of civilization.  Urban societies are known from the 6th Millennium BC (before Christ).  They invented writing: cuneiform script.
  3. 3.  The Sumerians wrote on clay tablets.  They used punches to write on the tablets.  Then these tablets were baked to be stored in an archive.  Archaeologists have found thousands of these tablets in the archives.
  4. 4.  Around 3100 B.C. people began to record amounts of different crops. Barley was one of the most important crops in southern Mesopotamia and when it was first drawn it looked like this. 
  5. 5. 5 The governor receives 14 shekels of silver from 5 persons and 46 shekels remained unpaid by 13 other persons. The total amount of silver is 1 mina. 1 barley-fed ox, 6 grass-fed oxen, the god Shuruppak; 3 barley-fed oxen, 6 grass- fed oxen, the god Gibil; 3 from the god Ealil; 2 oxen, 6 grass-fed oxen, Kinnir; 7 oxen from the god Suen.2500 BC.
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7.  Gilgamesh was an historical figure, a king who reigned over the Sumerian city-state of Uruk around 2700 b.c. Long after his death, people worshipped Gilgamesh, renowned as a warrior and builder and widely celebrated for his wisdom.  The Epic of Gilgamesh is written on eleven tablets. It was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century in the ruins of the great library at Nineveh.
  8. 8.  He was an oppressive ruler, however, which caused his subjects to cry out to the "gods" to create a nemesis to cause Gilgamesh defeat.  After one fight, this nemesis, Enkidu, became best friends with Gilgamesh. The two went on many dangerous adventures in which Enkidu is killed.
  9. 9.  Gilgamesh then determines to find immortality since he now fears death. It is upon this search that he meets Utnapishtim.  Utnapishtim had become immortal after building a ship to weather the Great Flood that destroyed mankind. He brought all of his relatives and all species of creatures aboard the vessel. Utnapishtim released birds to find land, and the ship landed upon a mountain after the flood. The story then ends with tales of Enkidu's visit to the underworld.
  10. 10.  A cylinder seal is a small round cylinder engraved with written characters or figurative scenes or both, used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally wet clay.
  11. 11.  Cylinder seals were invented around 3500 BC  in southern Mesopotamia. They are linked to the invention of the latter’s cuneiform writing on clay tablets. They were used as an administrative tool, a form of signature, jewelry and as magical amulets
  12. 12.  The three main buildings were the palace, the temple and the ziggurat.  The temple was a religious center, economic and political. The temple had farmland and herds of sheep, as well as warehouses and workshops. 13 The palace was organized around an inner courtyard and was usually surrounded by a wall.
  13. 13.  The Assyrian kings Ashurnasirpal, Sennacherib Ashurbanipal  forced his subjects to build him an enormous palaces at Nimrud, Khorsabad and Nineveh. The rooms of the palace follow a thispattern: a big public courtyard, and on three sides it has government offices and storage. The fourth side is the throne room, and then there's a smaller, private courtyard. 14
  14. 14.  Ashurbanipal's famous library which held over 30,000 inscribed clay tablets, the books of that time.   15 In ancient Assyria, lion-hunting was considered the sport of kings, symbolic of the ruling monarch’s duty to protect and fight for his people
  15. 15.  Huge sculptures of human-headed winged bulls (lamassu) that weigh up to 30 tons were intended for the main entrances to the palace. 16
  16. 16.  The ziggurat is a temple-shaped tower.  It is built on sun-dried brick (ladrillos de adobe).  The ziggurat were considered the houses of the gods. Ceremonies were held outside the building.  To access the ziggurat there was a series of steps up to the chapel at the top of the ziggurat.
  17. 17.  The ziggurat may be a symbolic representation of the union of heaven and earth.  In total 32 ziggurat are known, most of whom are in Iraq and Iran.
  18. 18.  The best known is the ziggurat of Ur, rebuilt in the 80s by Saddam Hussein. In rebuilding one of 200 bricks contains the name of the dictator.
  19. 19.  It is one of eight large doors that had the city walls of Babylon.  This gate was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar.  It was built in 575 AD by king Nabucodonosor II.
  20. 20.  It is made of brick, most of them blue and includes images of dragons, bulls, lions and mythological beings.  The archaeological remains were discovered by German archaeologists between 1902 and 1914.
  21. 21.  Most of the archaeological remains were taken to Germany, where they were reconstructed in the Pergamo Museum.  During the time of Saddam Hussein's rule, the government rebuilt a replica of the gate at the original site.
  22. 22. • One of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. • They were built by the king Nabucodonosor II around 600 B.C. • The gardens were constructed to please Queen Amytis who longed for the trees and fragant plants of her homeland.
  23. 23. • It created a series of stone terraces in which trees were planted and various plants for the Queen could remember where she grew up.
  24. 24. • Mesopotamian society was divided between free men and slaves. • The society was organized in a pyramid with the king at the very top and slaves at the very bottom.
  25. 25. • The king was the representative of the gods. • The king was the military commander and participated in religious ceremonies. • In this photo, the King Naram- Sim of Akad.
  26. 26. • Within the pyramid below the king, we find the priests, government officials, soldiers and traders. • Further down the pyramid, we find farmers. Their land was owned by the nobility or the church and the farmers had to deliver part of the harvest to the temple and the palace. • Finally we find the slaves at the bottom. They were mostly prisoners of war.
  27. 27. • It was created by the King Hammurabi in 1760 B.C. • It is one of the oldest law codes known. The articles of the law are written in the stone. At the top the king is receiving the law from the hands of the god.
  28. 28. • The stone measured 2.25 metres and contains 282 laws delivered by the god of justice, Shamash.
  29. 29. The religion was polytheistic. Every city had, as its center, the temple of the patron. The patron god or goddess of a city had the largest temple in the city, but there were smaller temples and shrines to other gods.
  30. 30. According to the Mesopotamian creation myth, life began after an epic struggle between the elder gods and the younger. In the beginning there was only water swirling in chaos and undifferentiated between fresh and bitter. These waters separated into two distinct principles: the male principle, Apsu, which was fresh water and the female principle, Tiamat, salt water. From the union of these two principles all the other gods came into being.
  31. 31. Apsu on the advice of his Vizier, he decided to kill them. Tiamat, however, was shocked at Apsu's plot and warned one of her sons, Ea, the god of wisdom and intelligence. With the help of his brothers and sisters, Ea put Apsu to sleep and then killed him. Out of the corpse of Apsu, Ea created the earth and built his home. Tiamat, upset now over Apsu's death, raised the forces of chaos to destroy her children. Ea and his siblings fought against, without success until, from among them, rose the great storm god Marduk. Marduk swore he would defeat Tiamat if the gods would proclaim him their king. This agreed to, he entered into battle with Tiamat, killed her and, from her body, created the sky. He then continued on with the act of creation to make human beings from the remains of Quingu as help-mates to the gods.
  32. 32. Some of the most important deities of ancient Mesopotamia were: An (Anu):Sky god, as well as father of the gods, An was the king of all the gods.
  33. 33. Enki (Ea): God of fresh water, known for his wisdom. He was depicted as a bearded man with water flowing around him.
  34. 34. Nanna (Sin) – God of the moon and the son of Enlil and Ninlil. He travels across the sky in his small boat of woven twigs, surrounded by the planets and stars. The seated figure is probably king Ur-Nammu. Sin/Nanna himself is indicated in the form of a crescent. Stele of Ur-Nammu (2200 BC), detail showing the crescent moon, the moon god's symbol.
  35. 35. Inanna (Ishtar) – Goddess of love, fertility, and war. She was the most important of the female deities. Ishtar Kudurru. Kudurru was a type of stone document used as boundary stones and as records of land grants to vassals.  Goddess is depicted as a winged, nude, goddess-like figure with bird's talons, flanked by owls.
  36. 36. Utu (Shamash) - God of the sun and of justice. Between the time when the sun sets in the west and rises in the east he is in the underworld, where he decrees the fate of the dead.. King Melishipak I (1186–1172 B.C.) presents his daughter to Shamash, the sun, represented at the right, next to Nanna and Ishtar. Dates from the 9th century BC and shows the sun god Shamash on the throne, in front of the Babylonian king Nabu-apla-iddina (888-855 BC) between two interceding deities. The text tells how the king made a new statue for the god and gave privileges to his temple.
  37. 37.  Marduk was the patron deity of the city of Babylon. When Babylon became the political center of Mesopotamia in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), he started to rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon. deity.   He presided over justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, and fairness, although he is also sometimes referenced as a storm god and agricultural deity.