qahtan-art

richard-miles-archaeologist:

Ancient Worlds - BBC Two

Episode 1 “Come Together”

Uruk was one of the most important cities (at one time the mot important city) in ancient Mesopotamia.

Uruk is considered the first true city in the world, the origin of writing, the first example of architectural work in stone and the building of great stone structures, the origin of the ziggurat, and the first city to develop the cylinder seal which the ancient Mesopotamians used to designate personal property or as a signature on documents. Considering the importance the cylinder seal had for the people of the time, and that it stood for one’s personal identity and reputation, Uruk could also be credited as the city which first recognized the importance of the individual in the collective community.

Starting just under 6.000 years ago, the archaeological record of Uruk reveals a period of intensive building and rebuilding, which went on for four or five centuries. In that period, a dozen or more large public buildings were built; temples, palaces, assembly halls. They used novel building techniques, like -colored stone- cone mosaics (pictures 3-4-5).

PART II

Uruk, Iraq

richard-miles-archaeologist

richard-miles-archaeologist:

Ancient Worlds - BBC Two
Episode 1 “Come Together”

Uruk - “the mother of all cities”.

Uruk was one of the most important cities in ancient Mesopotamia; an ancient city of Sumer -and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river.  According to the Sumerian King List, it was founded by King Enmerkar sometime around 4500 BCE.

Uruk is considered the first true city in the world. It was home to 40.000 or perhaps 50.000 people, a population density unprecedented in human history.

In myth and literature, Uruk was famous as the capital city of Gilgamesh. The great epic poem The Legend of Gilgamesh contains a proud description of his city:

Go up, pace out the walls of Uruk.
Study the foundation terrace and examine the brickwork.
Is not its masonry of kiln - fired brick?
And did not seven masters lay its foundations?
One square mile of city, one square mile of gardens,
One square mile of clay pits, a half square mile of Ishtar’s dwelling,
Three and a half square miles is the measure of Uruk

PART I

Uruk, Iraq

massarrah

massarrah:

Akkadian Word of the Week

ekallum "royal palace (as building and as authority), temple"

The Akkadian word for palace, ekallum, comes from the Sumerian compound logogram É.GAL, which are the first two signs in the cuneiform brick inscription in the top photo (cropped and zoomed in the bottom photo). The É represents the Sumerian word for “house”, and the GAL represents the Sumerian “great” or “large”. As is clear from the sound of the word, the Sumerian É.GAL was loaned into Akkadian as ekallum. Now housed in the British Museum, the clay brick pictured above bears an inscription of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (r. 680-669 BCE) and lists his patronymic.

Sources: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary E, British Museum.

massarrah
massarrah:

Akkadian Word of the Week
ṭuppum “(inscribed) tablet”
Usually, the word refers to an inscribed tablet made of clay or, more rarely, other materials. Most of the written sources for the study of ancient Mesopotamia take the form of clay tablets inscribed with the cuneiform (from the Latin “wedge”) script, like the one pictured above, which is an administrative text from the Ur III period that records barley accounts.
Sources: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Ṭ, British Museum)

massarrah:

Akkadian Word of the Week

ṭuppum “(inscribed) tablet”

Usually, the word refers to an inscribed tablet made of clay or, more rarely, other materials. Most of the written sources for the study of ancient Mesopotamia take the form of clay tablets inscribed with the cuneiform (from the Latin “wedge”) script, like the one pictured above, which is an administrative text from the Ur III period that records barley accounts.

Sources: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Ṭ, British Museum)

The Oldest Known Tablet Containing a Legal Code
“The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known tablet containing a law code surviving today. It was written in the Sumerian language ca. 2100-2050 BC. Although the preface directly credits the laws to  king Ur-Nammu of Ur (2112-2095 BC), some historians think they should  rather be ascribed to his son Shulgi.
"The first copy of the code, in two fragments found at Nippur, was translated by Samuel Kramer in 1952; owing to its partial preservation, only the prologue and 5 of  the laws were discernible. Further tablets were found in Ur and  translated in 1965, allowing some 40 of the 57 laws to be reconstructed.  Another copy found in Sippar contains slight variants.
"Although it is known that earlier law-codes existed, such as the Code of Urukagina, this represents the earliest legal text that is extant. It predated the Code of Hammurabi by some three centuries.
"The laws are arranged in casuistic form of if-(crime),  then-(punishment) — a pattern to be followed in nearly all subsequent  codes. For the oldest extant law-code known to history, it is considered  remarkably advanced, because it institutes fines of monetary  compensation for bodily damage, as opposed to the later lex talionis (‘eye for an eye’) principle of Babylonian law; however, the capital  crimes of murder, robbery, adultery and rape are punished with death.
"The code reveals a glimpse at societal structure during the ‘Sumerian Renaissance’.  Beneath the lu-gal (‘great man’ or king), all members of society  belonged to one of two basic strata: The ‘lu’ or free person, and the  slave (male, arad; female geme). The son of a lu was called a dumu-nita  until he married, becoming a ‘young man’ (gurus). A woman (munus) went  from being a daughter (dumu-mi), to a wife (dam), then if she outlived  her husband, a widow (nu-ma-su) who could remarry” (Wikipedia article on  Code of Ur-Nammu, accessed 02-04-2009).

The Oldest Known Tablet Containing a Legal Code

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known tablet containing a law code surviving today. It was written in the Sumerian language ca. 2100-2050 BC. Although the preface directly credits the laws to king Ur-Nammu of Ur (2112-2095 BC), some historians think they should rather be ascribed to his son Shulgi.

"The first copy of the code, in two fragments found at Nippur, was translated by Samuel Kramer in 1952; owing to its partial preservation, only the prologue and 5 of the laws were discernible. Further tablets were found in Ur and translated in 1965, allowing some 40 of the 57 laws to be reconstructed. Another copy found in Sippar contains slight variants.

"Although it is known that earlier law-codes existed, such as the Code of Urukagina, this represents the earliest legal text that is extant. It predated the Code of Hammurabi by some three centuries.

"The laws are arranged in casuistic form of if-(crime), then-(punishment) — a pattern to be followed in nearly all subsequent codes. For the oldest extant law-code known to history, it is considered remarkably advanced, because it institutes fines of monetary compensation for bodily damage, as opposed to the later lex talionis (‘eye for an eye’) principle of Babylonian law; however, the capital crimes of murder, robbery, adultery and rape are punished with death.

"The code reveals a glimpse at societal structure during the ‘Sumerian Renaissance’. Beneath the lu-gal (‘great man’ or king), all members of society belonged to one of two basic strata: The ‘lu’ or free person, and the slave (male, arad; female geme). The son of a lu was called a dumu-nita until he married, becoming a ‘young man’ (gurus). A woman (munus) went from being a daughter (dumu-mi), to a wife (dam), then if she outlived her husband, a widow (nu-ma-su) who could remarry” (Wikipedia article on Code of Ur-Nammu, accessed 02-04-2009).