jan 1, 2500 BC - Standard of Ur
Shell, lapis lazuli, red limestone
Sumerian; Mesopotamia (Iraq)
The standard is a trapezoidal box that is covered with inlaid geometric designs and figures. Probably carried on a stick. The two slides depicted war and peace. The images are shown in registers and king is evident by use of hierarchical scale. Shows the king as a ruler/warrior but also as in intermediary between people and gods.
Shows defeat of some enemy. Soldiers are seen marching, carts pulled by donkeys are racing away, ruler shown large in top register. Prisoners are being lead away by soldiers.
During this time, Mesopotamia was made up of about 20-30 city/states, each having its own guardian deity. The ruler was the “go between” of the deity and would act on the deity’s behalf. Most disputes were over borders.
Shows the bounty of the land and animals in the lower registers and a royal banquet in the top register. Attendees are shown raising a cup to the ruler in celebration.
The ruler, being the intermediary between god and people, was to build and maintain temples to the gods thus ensuring fertility, good harvest and peace.
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