2011 survey mesopotamia_2

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  • King Sargon – ruled the entire area of MesopotamiaTrade had been established and could be controlled by a single authority – the kingThe idea of kingship is very closely attached to the KingshipRoyal authority and religious authority
  • Slide 3 – Head of an Akkadian ruler, showing authorityIs this a portrait? Physical features that can be identified with a specific individualSome aspects about this are not individualistic: the stylized beard and eyesAt the same time, the cheeks, shape of the nose suggests some kind of relationship to an individual personYouthful image, but it is unclear if it is a youthful manShows an unidentified emotion – placid expressionCombination of attributes that were representative of a real person, but with abstract qualitiesIdea of regularizing a human being into stylized qualities, associated with the rulers – in this case: the beardIdentifies rulers of broad areas: one of the early instances 
  • Stele of Naram-Sin, found in Susa, Iran. 2254-2218 BCE (slide 4)Role of the ruler with the religiousStele: carved with images containing monumental eventsShows the grandson of Sargon – clearly identified due to his placement above the other figures and being larger (hierarchy of scale)
  • Differences in the scene taking place: shows a battle scene, troops of the ruler heading up a mountain in a regulated wayAlso shows a less organized group of vanquished people.On the mountain, a figure that has been stabbed in the throat – could be a sacrificesOn the ruler – there is a helmet with bull horns: relates to Neolithic where large animals plays a significant role in the religious aspects of society 
  • Also in Akkad – ziggurats and temples were much grander than the earlier temples at SumerShow the ability to consolidate power over a large region and to garner people to build such a large landscape of a buildingVisual landscape becomes much more emphasized Major changes happen in sculpture: Seated statue of Gudea,Iraq, ca. 2100 BC (slide 7)All sculptures are large and monumental, made from large, volcanic stones that are extremely heavy, but because of their largeness they are harder to manipulateThis type of stone lends a type of permanence to the piecesThey were set up inside palaces, but particularly temples
  • Connected with sculpture is the idea of writing – their language is different than the SumeriansFind a different way to depict writingThe writing becomes incorporated in the figures and on the figures themselvesGudea was the king of the region: offers prayers that the life of the king should be preserved because of the service he provides to the godsLends to creating an image, and the purpose is described in the imageIn this case: protectionThis sculpture exhibits many of the Akkadian characteristicsIdealized form, figure itself has certain qualities exhibiting a strength, strong arms, hands claspedDepicts the way a king is supposed to act in the presence of a godThis image was placed in a templeThe holds in his lap a building plan of the temple the sculpture was actually set up inConnection between the ruler and the architecture is vitalThe king would spend a lot of time to erect monumental buildings to honor the godsThe importance of architecture between ruler ship and deity
  • Connection of text and ruler imagery: slide 8, law code of HammurabiMade law applicable for the entire realmA standardized system of law was established and to make the law known throughout the realm where the ruler is livingNeeded to find a method to make people obey this lawSculptures with inscriptions were set up to show that people needed to obey the law, always depicted a picture of the ruler himself to enforce the lawSlide 8 – Shamashgod of the sun with the ruler – his representative on earthHe is handing him a staff – a type of measuring device, and a ringCombination of text and images suggests there is a sacred and religious significance – meaning that is has to be obeyedRuler is the one who enforced the law: technique of solidifying the power of the rulerThe devices that are handed to him by the godRing symbolized a coiled rope – all items used by architectsWhat is being referenced is the fact that temples are built to serve the godRuler is a god on earth – there is a very specific religious atmosphere
  • A lot of the objects from Akkad were preserved because they were captured by another group of people living in the east – today’s Iran, known as ElamSucceeded in capturing the objects because they too had similar ideas of ruler-god ideology Elamites had the same religious concept and the idea of a ruler presiding over a larger area, and the need to make these images as permanent as possibleThey also built temples to the gods
  • Statue of Queen Napir-Asu from Elamite Susa (Iran), ca. 1300 BC (slide 10) – made of cast metalIs a hollow shellCopper and bronze become an important medium in this time periodMetal provides value to the images being presentedQueen Napir had her life size statue filled with bronze – only example of using a solid metal core – makes it very heavy (idea of permanence) Inscription on the sculpture contains a warning and a threat for anyone who tries to remove the sculpture from it’s positionThey would “fall from grace” from godTo ensure that it wasn’t moved, it was filled in it’s core – making it over 3000 poundsShowing how important it was to maintain ruler images in the templesAbstract and stylized formThe rulers wanted to make their presence permanent within
  • Their were invaders that came into Akkadian – very little is known about themThey adopt cultural practices – buildings of temples, etc.Images of power of animals
  • Lion Gate at Hattusa (in modern-day Turkey), ca. 1400 BC (slide 12)They were not as cultivated, but used animals at the front of cities to symbolize power and ward off enemies There is a great deal of movement in this periodContinuation of ideas that extend beyond other regions 


  • 1. Mesopotamia: Akkad
  • 2. The ancient Near East: Mesopotamia
  • 3. Head of an Akkadian ruler, from Nineveh, 2200 BCE
  • 4. Stele of Naram-Sin, found in Susa, Iran. 2254-2218 BCE
  • 5. “Standard of Ur” from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, 2600 BC
    Stele of Naram-Sin, found in Susa, Iran. 2254-2218 BCE
  • 6. Reconstruction drawing of White Temple and ziggurat, Uruk, 3100 B.C.
    Ziggurat, Ur, 2100 B.C.
  • 7. Seated statue of Gudea,
    Iraq, ca. 2100 BC
  • 8. Stele with law code of Hammurabi, found at Susa. 1780 BCE.
  • 9. ELAM
    The ancient Near East
  • 10. Statue of Queen Napir-Asu from Elamite Susa (Iran), ca. 1300 BC
  • 11. ELAM
    The ancient Near East
  • 12. Lion Gate at Hattusa (in modern-day Turkey), ca. 1400 BC