A statue of Gudea, Prince of Lagash. Having read about him in Sumerian history, it was a “little shiver down my spine” moment to see him face-to-face! The epic of Gilgamesh is probably the oldest epic/fable/legend known to us. It’s unclear if Gilgamesh was an historical figure or not, though the current thought is that … Continue reading
Lamassu from the palace of Sargon II near modern-day Khorsabad. These mythical creatures with the body of a winged bull or lion and the head of a human were considered as guardian deities, and seals depicting these magical creatures were buried under the threshold of Assyrian homes in the 1st millennium BCE. Of course, the … Continue reading
Cuneiform writing has always fascinated me. The first known script, I still wonder at the genius of the humans who came up with it. From simple scribbles for counting to a complex set of symbols for recording their history, literature, mythology, and more, this was one of the most remarkable inventions of all time. More … Continue reading
Some more examples of foundation nails, these made of more perishable materials, pillar bases, and plaques from Sumerian temples. The king in the temple and relaxing at the palace. Visual representation was important even in the first society with a script. The king is depicted markedly bigger than the commoners, whether he is paying homage … Continue reading
The word “freedom” was first written down in Sumer. “Amagi” was the first known word that signified what has come to be of foremost importance to every living human being. It’s first known use is in the reforms of UruKaGina, a king of Lagash in the 24th century BCE. He reformed the priesthood and bureaucracy … Continue reading
Lamentations are well-recorded in Sumerian archives. Essays and poems bemoaning the looting of a city and the temple of its patron deity were etched onto tablets and kept for posterity. Many of them have survived (in most cases because the clay tablets got baked and hardened when the palace library went up in flames). Reading … Continue reading
Foundation nails were placed at the corners and other important marking spots when laying the foundations of Sumerian temples. These were either depictions of deities, asking them to protect their home (the temple), or of the prince/king paying for the temple, telling the gods to remember his name. Later versions carried inscriptions, giving the name … Continue reading
Sumerian seals were typically cylindrical, although simple square and cubical seals are also known. All a trader had to do was to run the seal across the clay sealing the merchandise while it was still wet and everyone would know its owner.
If anything at all deserves the appellation “antique”, it is a relic from Sumer. The following pictures are from some of the most magical rooms at the Louvre, and that’s saying something. Sumer and its cities have always fascinated me and it was with something bordering on the reverence for the divine that I took … Continue reading
Such intricately carved examples of drinking horns, it is hard to believe that these are over a millennium old!