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A door pivot stone from Telloh (ancient Girsu), third millennium BC, Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
A Babylonian mušḫuššu dragon from the Ishtar gate, made of glazed tiles. The Ishtar Gate was constructed by Nebuchadnezzar II in about 575 BC. Displayed in the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Turkey.
The Akkadian/Sumerian poet Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is the world’s first author known by name and was the daugher of Sargon of Akkad (Sargon the Great). Whether Enheduanna was, in fact, a blood relative of Sargon’s or the title was figurative is not known. It is clear, however, that Sargon placed enormous trust in Enheduanna in elevating... [continue reading]
Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is the world’s first author and was the daughter (either literally or figuratively) of the great empire-builder Sargon of Akkad. Her name translates from the Akkadian as `high priestess of An’, the god of the sky or heaven, though the name `An’ could also refer to the moon god Nannar as in the translation, `en-priestess... [continue reading]
The Enuma Elish (also known as The Seven Tablets of Creation) is the Mesopotamian creation myth whose title is derived from the opening lines of the piece, `When on High'. All of the tablets containing the myth, found at Ashur, Kish, Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh, Sultantepe, and other excavated sites, date to c. 1100 BCE but their colophons... [continue reading]
Eridu (present day Abu Shahrein, Iraq) was considered the first city in the world by the ancient Sumerians and, certainly, is among the most ancient of ruins. Founded in circa 5400 BCE, Eridu was thought to have been created by the gods and was home to the great water god Enki (who, later, would develop from a local god to merge with deities... [continue reading]
Egyptian faience is a glassy substance manufactured most expertly by the ancient Egyptians (though the process was first developed in Mesopotamia, first at Ur and, later, Babylon). Some of the greatest faience-makers of antiquity were the Phoenicians of cities such as Tyre and Sidon who were so expert in making glass that it is thought they invented... [continue reading]
Gilgamesh is the semi-mythic King of Uruk best known from The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2000-1400 BCE) the great Sumerian/Babylonian poetic work which pre-dates Homer’s writing by 1500 years and, therefore, stands as the oldest piece of epic western literature. Gilgamesh’s father was the Priest-King Lugalbanda (who is featured in... [continue reading]
Godin Tepe is, today, an archaeological site in the Kangavar valley of Luristan, in western central Iran. The name means "hill of Godin" though what the settlement was called originally is unknown. The site was first discovered in 1961 during an archaeological survey conducted by the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and excavation... [continue reading]
Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin MD, MRCP(Ire), FCCP, FACP, FRCP(Glasg)
published on 24 January 2014
A pair of golden earrings with the shape of a half pumpkin. The overlying decorative cuneiform inscriptions mention that these earrings were a gift from King Shulgi. Mesopotamia, new Sumerian era, Ur III, reign of King Shulgi, 2029-1982 BCE. Sulaimaniya Museum, Iraq.
Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning 'between two rivers’) was an ancient region in the eastern Mediterranean bounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian Plateau, corresponding to today’s Iraq, mostly, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey. The 'two rivers' of the name referred... [continue reading]