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 !!!
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.
Mark your diary: this Saturday, 2 November at 9pm for a once-in-a-lifetime performance, 50 years on stage,broadcast live from the National Theatre to BBC Two.
From Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to The History Boys, from Antony and Cleopatra to Angels in America, from Guys and Dolls to London Road – join us for a thrilling evening of live performance and rare glimpses from the archive, featuring many of the most celebrated actors who have performed on our stages over the past five decades and directed by Nicholas Hytner.
A cast of 100 will perform live on stage, including Roger Allam, Simon Russell Beale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Frances de la Tour, Judi Dench, Christopher Eccleston, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Alex Jennings, Rory Kinnear, Adrian Lester, Anna Maxwell Martin, Helen Mirren, Andrew Scott, Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton and more to be announced.
Villa Adriana is a large complex of over 30 buildings, constructed at Tibur (modern-day Tivoli) as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD.
The complex combined the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the form of an ‘ideal city’. It included palaces, several thermae, theatre, temples, libraries, state rooms, and quarters for courtiers, praetorians, and slaves. Some areas are still unexcavated. One of the most spectacular and best preserved parts of the villa are a pool and an artificial grotto which were named Canopus and Serapeum. The villa was the greatest Roman example of an Alexandrian garden.
A large court lived there permanently. During the later years of his reign Hadrian actually governed the empire from the villa.
After Hadrian’s death in 138, his successors preferred Rome as their permanent residence but the villa continued to be enlarged and further embellished. The complex was sacked and plundered by successive barbarian invaders, fell into neglect and was partially ruined.
Many artefacts have been found and restored at the villa, such as marble statues and mosaics from the theatre and baths