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
Ben Whishaw in London Spy (Empire, September 2015)
“It’s an interesting geographical fluke,” [Tom Rob Smith] muses. “You have MI6 there, and the hub of gay clubbing on the other side of the river, so I thought, ‘Let’s take one person from that side, and one from the other, and have them collide.’ It’s an accidental love story.”
London Spy airs on BBC Two on Monday, 9 November 2015 at 9pm !!!
Naram-Sin was the grandson of king Sargon, founder of the Akkadian Dinasty and the first to unify the whole of Mesopotamia in the late 24th century BC. The Sumerian king list states that he reigned for 36 years, between 2254 and 2218 BC.
Naram-Sin was the “King of the Four Quarters”, a “living god”, the first Mesopotamian king known to have claimed divinity for himself.. This status was an innovation that is recorded in an inscription that says the deification was at the request of the citizens, possibly because of a series of military victories. Naram-Sin spent most of his years of reign fighting. He pushed back the frontiers of the empire farther than they had ever been, from Ebla in Syria to Susa in Elam, and led his army “where no other king had gone before him.” He also improved administration and increased the religious prominence of Akkad in Babylonian cities.
The large victory stele of Naram-Sin is carved in pink limestone. It celebrates the triumph of the king over a mountain people, the Lullubi. The Akkadian king led his troops over the steep slopes of the enemy territory, mercilessly crushing all resistance. The conqueror’s victory march is coupled with the personal ascension of a sovereign who could now claim equal footing with the gods. Alongside the existing inscription in primitive cuneiform, the king added another one dedicated to his own glory and in which he declares that the stele was carried off after the pillage of the city of Sippar.
The Akkadian sovereign wears a conical helmet with horns (a symbol traditionally the privilege of the gods) and is armed with a large bow and an axe.
Limestone Kudurru (boundary stone, 11th century BC) from the reign of Marduk-nadin-ahhe -Babylonian king, the sixth of the Second Dynasty of Isin. He was the brother of the famous NebuchadrezzarI and pursued his brother’s policy of extending Babylonian influence. The final years of the king were troubled by numerous incursions of enemies, severe famines and droughts. The circumstances of his death are not known; according to Assyrian sources, he “disappeared.”
The kudurru consists of a block of black limestone, rising to a point. It has been rubbed down on four sides to take inscriptions, and the upper portion, from the point where it begins to taper, is carved with symbols. Larger symbols are resting on the serpent’s body and on the ledge above the inscription, some animals like a sitting dog, a bird on perch, a horned dragon, a ram-headed crook upon shrine and a goat-fish and.
The cuneiform inscription contains a deed recording a grant of land by Marduk-nadin-ahhe to Adad-zer-ikisha in return for services rendered during a campaign against Assyria. An addition to the text records that the king subsequently confirmed the gift under his own seal.