Ancient Mesopotamia

Collection by Chad Mercree

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The Sumerian language, an isolate written in cuneiform. The most banal things (accounting records for example) give us an extraordinary glimpse into the everyday life in ancient Sumer.

Sumerian cuneiform script and Sumerian language

Details of the Sumerian cuneiform script, the world's oldest writing system, which was used to write Sumerian, a semitic language spoken in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq and Syria) until about 500 AD.

The 4000 year old clay tablet containing the story of the Ark and the flood stands on display at the British Museum in London...

A 4000-year-old tablet from ancient Mesopotamia contains the specifications for an ark pre-dating the story of Noah

The 4000 year old clay tablet containing the story of the Ark and the flood stands on display at the British Museum in London...

Sumerian ("native tongue") is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) from at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism.

Sumerian cuneiform script and Sumerian language

Details of the Sumerian cuneiform script, the world's oldest writing system, which was used to write Sumerian, a semitic language spoken in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq and Syria) until about 500 AD.

Ugaritic cuneiform was named after Ugarit, the city state where it was used in what is now Syria. It was probably created sometime during the 14th century BC. Ugaritic cuneiform outwardly resembles other cuneiform scripts and has a sound system based on consonant alphabets such as Phoenician/Canaanite. Ugarit flourished from the 14th century BC until 1180/70 BC, when it was destroyed.

Ugaritic cuneiform was named after Ugarit, the city state where it was used in what is now Syria. It was probably created sometime during the 14th century BC. Ugaritic cuneiform outwardly resembles other cuneiform scripts and has a sound system based on consonant alphabets such as Phoenician/Canaanite. Ugarit flourished from the 14th century BC until 1180/70 BC, when it was destroyed.

Erbil, Kurdistan is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in history. The first mention of Erbil in literary sources comes from the archives of Ebla, recording two journeys to Erbil (Irbilum) by a messenger from Ebla around 2300 BC. Later, Erridupizir, king of Gutium, captured the city in 2200 BC. It was an integral part of Assyria from around 2500 BC until 605 BC, and it remained part of Assyria under Persian, Greek, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid rule.

Erbil, Kurdistan is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in history. The first mention of Erbil in literary sources comes from the archives of Ebla, recording two journeys to Erbil (Irbilum) by a messenger from Ebla around 2300 BC. Later, Erridupizir, king of Gutium, captured the city in 2200 BC. It was an integral part of Assyria from around 2500 BC until 605 BC, and it remained part of Assyria under Persian, Greek, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid rule.

Ancient Scripts: Sumerian. Their words changed from linear to wedges. The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies excited in the world.

Sumerian

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Mushussu (also known as Mushhushshu or Sirrush) is the Dragon of Babylon and one of two animals depicted on the Ishtar Gate. It is depicted here on a kudurru (boundary stone) with divine symbols. This limestone kudurru dates back to the Second Dynasty of Isin, 1156-1025 BCE. Newly unearthed artifacts depicting the Mushussu or Mushhushshu that were kept in Babylon Museum in Iraq were stolen in mid October 2012. Photo by Babylon Chronicle

Babylon Chronicle

What's new in the old cradle of civilization!

Giant griffin guarding the city of Persepolis, Iran, c. 516-465 BC

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These Ubaidian figurines can be found in the Museum’s Stout Hall of Asian Peoples. The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC)[1] is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia.

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These Ubaidian figurines can be found in the Museum’s Stout Hall of Asian Peoples. Photo by Denis Division of Anthropology Catalog # M/435 and M/436

Mushussu (also known as Mushhushshu or Sirrush) is the Dragon of Babylon and one of two animals depicted on the Ishtar Gate. This kudurru dates back to the Second Dynasty of Isin, 1156-1025 BCE. Newly unearthed artifacts depicting the Mushussu or Mushhushshu that were kept in Babylon Museum in Iraq were stolen in mid October 2012.

Mushussu (also known as Mushhushshu or Sirrush) is the Dragon of Babylon and one of two animals depicted on the Ishtar Gate. This kudurru dates back to the Second Dynasty of Isin, 1156-1025 BCE. Newly unearthed artifacts depicting the Mushussu or Mushhushshu that were kept in Babylon Museum in Iraq were stolen in mid October 2012.

Ur III Sumerian cuneiform for An (and determiner for deity DINGIR). In Sumerian mythology, An (also Anu) was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. He was one of the oldest gods in the Sumerian pantheon, and part of a triad including Enlil, god of the air and Enki, god of water.

Anu

Ur III Sumerian cuneiform for An (and determiner for deity DINGIR). In Sumerian mythology, An (also Anu) was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. He was one of the oldest gods in the Sumerian pantheon, and part of a triad including Enlil, god of the air and Enki, god of water.

SUMER SCULPTURE 5TH-2ND MILL.BCE Two wrestlers. Copper (20th-16th BC) Iraq Museum, Baghdad, Iraq

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