Mesopotamia Essay

Mesopotamia Essay.

Mesopotamia, also known as the land between two rivers, became the grounds of many ancient civilizations that we know about today. Perhaps one of the most famous is Sumer. Sumer was a civilization that thrived off of the two river, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Using irrigation systems, the Sumerians used the floods of the rivers produced to grow crops and support the growing population. This civilization grew into an early form of a modern city, with things like business, jobs, currency, and social classes.

How were the Sumerians able to keep track of money and payments and when floods happened without a writing system?

Eventually, the Sumerians were able to create to world’s earliest writing system to keep record of all this. Later, that system evolved and became what we know as the Sumerians predominant style of writing, cuneiform. With all the money transactions and trading going on, people needed to know and keep record of how much the transaction was and keep record of what was being traded.

The Sumerians started very simply and began trying things like using pictures to be representations for different items and animals. This was what the earliest form of a writing system was.

Using that style hey could tell exactly what things were. Over some time, this system developed into using those same pictographs, but now having certain symbols for certain words. This was established by 3100 B. C. However, as more complex ideas than keeping track of trades arose, a demand for a more complex system of writing had also risen. As time progressed, s system of writing known as cuneiform or “wedged-shaped” began to develop. This system of writing developed by about 2900 B. C, used symbols to represent ideas, sounds, syllables and objects.

The symbols were pressed into tablets of wet clay which later, were dried in the sun preserving records and ideas and their history. This very long lasting style of writing became popular among the Babylonians and the Assyrians began using it for their own languages. The writing style cuneiform began to affect the lives of the Sumerian people. It created more specialized jobs and opened the door to education. Education expanded from learning to do manual tasks into learning how to be a scribe. Being a scribe was an important thing because teaching to write back then is not like it is now.

It took a lot of effort and was very time consuming. Being a scribe was what everyone wanted because it was the door to government positions, religious positions, and also got professional jobs. These jobs included architects, engineers, and scientists. What cuneiform really did for Sumer was establish a culture beyond agriculture. Citizens could now express ideas about the world and the deities who ruled it. Besides that, their realm of knowledge increased immensely because since there was now a writing system, the scribes who became scientists were able to study astronomy and record their findings.

They discovered the pattern of the earth and that allowed them to accurately predict when to expect flooding from the two rivers. They also developed mathematics for the use of dividing the lands among land owners and also with math were able to establish a time system. Writing also developed into a way to express things more than knowledge. People could now write down and share very intelligent ideas and also could now write stories such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. If not for writing, the ancient civilization of Sumer might now have turned into what it did.

Writing did more for them then allow them to keep records of money transactions and trade, it allowed them to turn into a more intelligent civilization and also a more expressive civilization. It created more education and jobs and showed them into a realm of knowledge which was once unreachable but thanks to writing was within their grasp. Writing allowed them to preserve the information that was passed down from generation to generation which allowed later civilization to expand on that knowledge. Their writing system not only changed their lives but also the lives of the people to come.

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Mesopotamia Essay

Egypt & Mesopotamia Comparison Essay

Egypt & Mesopotamia Comparison Essay.

In order to completely understand the relationship between two events, comparing and contrasting is necessary. Through comparing similarities and differences it is easier to analyze why things developed and occurred the way they did. For example, in comparing Egypt and Mesopotamia it will be easier to achieve understanding of major aspects of their culture, the way other cultures impacted them, and their influence on the future. In addition to the similarities between the two cultures, the differences are what make them unique.

Although Egypt and Mesopotamia both left stable heritage in their respective regions, due to geographic location their influences on politics, economy, and social relations differ. The root of the differences between the Mesopotamian cultures lies within the politics. The two cultures operated very differently as Mesopotamia was ruled regionally while Egypt used a more centralized government. Kings in the Mesopotamian region formed city states ruled by leaders of their armies while they just oversaw what was going on via these mediums.

On the other hand, Egyptian culture featured “god-kings” or pharaohs that controlled much larger expanses of land than Mesopotamian leaders did. Logically, it makes sense that this would occur because of the differences in influence for these two regions. For example, unification of Egypt was inspired by Sudan’s use of small kingdoms that governed the agriculture of the rulers. The Egyptians then faced competition which caused their small kingdoms to conquer neighboring kingdoms to the point where they controlled much larger territories.

The notion of kings and pharaohs leads into another difference. Mesopotamian societies featured monarchies as they were led by kings while Egyptians had a theocracy as pharaohs were divine rulers. In Mesopotamia it is figured that their monarchs evolved from men making decisions on behalf of their whole community. Lastly, due to the Mesopotamians being centered on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; they were frequently invaded. This frequent invasion led to the Mesopotamians having a strong army to defend their land.

Conversely, Egyptians did not develop a very strong army because of their isolated location invasions were rare. These armies also influenced other aspects of culture as their cost greatly affected the economy of these cultures, which leads into yet another difference: economy. The economies of Mesopotamia and Egypt differed mainly because the economy of Mesopotamia was much more extensive yet less stable than that of Egypt. Though both civilizations were known for supporting large amounts of people, the economy of Mesopotamia was more modern due to implementation of taxes, trade, and influence.

The cost of the Mesopotamian army had to be covered by citizen’s paying taxes, and because of the minor Egyptian army, heavy taxes did not need to be implemented. Another difference in economy was the lack of extensive trade routes from Egypt. Trade was a major part of culture in Mesopotamia, and they even started water-based trade with Great Britain where copper, dyes, and other metals were exported. With Egypt, they used trade routes in a different way; due to their lack of natural resources much was imported.

For example, due to Egypt’s lack of trees almost all wood had to be imported. Also, Egyptians traded with Nubians mainly; they did not have these routes of transportation to trade with farther away lands. Finally, the most obvious difference is the effect that Mesopotamians are still influential today. For example, bronze metallurgy began in Mesopotamia and spread metallurgy to the rest of the world including Egypt. However, the influences of Egypt basically ended following the fall of their civilizations.

Finally, the social structure of the cultures reflects them in a more relatable way in the sense that it is more interesting to understand their daily life. Mesopotamian and Egyptian social structures are similar because of the fact that they have a structure which divides their cultures into classes. In both cultures, the bottom of the social ladder was reserved for peasants and slaves who did the dirty work and hard labor that led to agricultural surplus and then the modernization of these cultures.

In contrast, people in Egypt that were born commoners had more of an opportunity to attain high positions than those in Mesopotamian society where nobles were born into their rankings. In addition to social classes, both civilizations also formed a patriarchal society. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, men dominated public affairs as well as household decisions, and they always held positions of power. In both societies, women were able to influence men and even some positions of power such as high priestesses in Mesopotamia who managed states owned by the temples whereas in Egypt women could serve as regents and ultimately hold positions of real power.

For example, Hatshepsut was a female ruler who filled the role of pharaoh for her stepson as he was too young. Despite their new found power in Egypt, they still where mainly responsible for family and still seen as inferior to men. In the end, both cultures had their positives and negatives and it is hard to truly tell which was more successful or influential. It is important to compare ancient cultures in order to properly understand one’s own culture and how it developed.

Egypt and Mesopotamia are similar cultures, but due to their geographic locations and the difference in cultures that influenced them, they served significant purposes for the world. Their foundations like politics and economy are different which set them off to develop in different ways and to succeed in different things. However, socially the societies were similar which provides that on a local level these cultures were more similar on their day to day than the rulers and government would suggest. Despite their differences and similarities, both cultures played important roles in the flow of history.

Egypt & Mesopotamia Comparison Essay

Formal Analysis: Director of Sacrifice Essay

Formal Analysis: Director of Sacrifice Essay.

Period of the domination of Shamshi-Adad. From the Royal Palace at Mari. Purpose: to decorate the palatial walls. 4. What did the work originally looked like? The original mural depicted most probably more registers with processional fgures and ornamental designs 5.

What is the size? 16x423crn. 6. If there is a figure, what is its gaze as it relates to the gaze of the artist or viewer? All figures are orientated to the left, probably heading towards the sacrificial area 7. What is the medium? tempera on a coating of plaster 8.

Where is it located? Today is in the Louvre Museum 9. What techniques did the artist use? Probably a combination of fresco and secco 10. What is the line, colour, texture, light, space and form (formal elements, see clarifications bellow)?

Positive space the scene, negative space white coloured, contour lines, mass, volume, weight, Wide lines crudely executed intend to be descriptive. Hues: white, black and red brown are the only colours being used for this composition.

A primary combined with white and black. Also brown for the bull. The local colours are indicate a degree of exaggeration or idealization. The warm colour ‘red’ is dominant. No cool colours. One would argue that this is a nearly monochromatic representation almost or one with a highly limited palette. Simulated texture, no lighting and this makes the representation unrealistic.

The figures stand on a ground line. Overlapping shows an attempt for 3D. not successful. Normal point of view. No foreshortening but hierarchical proportions 1 . Are there any connections with earlier art history – or history in general? When it comes to the mural art, it has a long tradition in the area of the Near East. any symbolism? Not based on this representation (personal opinion). 13. What is the artist’s philosophy? The palace as a centre of political power is connected to the religious beliefs of the Near Eastern society. 14.

Does the piece appear as it was originally constructed? There is distinct evidence of destruction. The mural is partially preserved. 15. Where is the main subject in relation to the foreground, background and middle ground? The preserved scene is divided into 2 registers with male fgures walking to the left. The leader is bigger in size, almost 3 times due to the hierarchical proportions. The dividing line of the registers is at the same time the ground line where the male fgures march. 16. What style does it represent (naturalistic, realistic, stylized etc. )?

Naturalistic: representational themes inspired by nature Stylized: use of similar formal values for the representation of the figures, e. g. red coloured male bodies, head and legs in profile, almond shaped eye and torso in frontal view. Linear: strong but flowing outlines and linear arrangement of the composition. B. Specific questions 8. 1 Painting 1 . If it is a still life, what does the artist focus on, technique, composition? It is a narrative scene, that means a representational scene that narrates an event, and specifically a cultural custom that probably used to take place on a regular basis. . In a landscape, is there any human interaction with the land? Whose view of the natural world might the artist have represented? The background is neutral. We have no direct indication of the setting. One might assume that the scene is located in or close to the palace area of Mari. 3. Does the picture convey depth, that is, recession in space? What kind of a perspective does it represent? The representation is 2D. 4. If it’s a portrait – does it portray an individual or a social type? What aspect of the sitter’s personality is expressed?

It portrays social groups of the southern Mesopotamian culture and specifically the palace of Mari that participate in a ceremonial event, a public animal sacrifice Stage Two: Putting the answers together in order to write an essay. Only the answers rom the notes are 437 words. After combining the information and organizing it into full sentences and paragraphs the size of the essay has reached 558 words. “Director of the Sacrifice”, 16 x 423 cm, today in the Louvre Museum was found at the palace of Mari, which is located in northern Syria.

This mural represents the Near Eastern civilization and specifically a city-state of the southern Mesopotamian. It is originates from the palatial decoration of the main reception room. The technique is tempera on a coating of plaster and the mural was probably painted by combining both the fresco and secco technique. The positive space portrays social groups of the Near Eastern society that participate in a ceremonial event, namely a public animal sacrifice. One bearded male, possibly a high official is bringing together with the rest male fgures that are orientated to the left, the brown coloured bull to the sacrificial area.

The negative space is white painted. The wide, flowing lines intend to be descriptive. The original mural must have depicted more registers with processional fgures and ornamental friezes according to the iconography of the Near Eastern tradition. A primary hue, red (or red-brown), has been combined with white and black surfaces. The colours are local with a degree of exaggeration or idealization. The warm colour red-brown has a dominant role in the composition. One could argue that this is a nearly monochromatic representation or a scene with a very limited palette.

The complete absence of light gives to the representation an unrealistic appearance. Although the overlapping, especially, in the area of the hand of the group leader/ director and the bull’s head over the bearded man, shows an attempt to represent depth, the composition is clearly two dimensional and has been captured from a normal point of view as seen from a standing viewer. The composition is partially preserved and has been divided into two registers with respective groups of male figures walking leftwards.

Their director, whose lower body part and right arm is visible, is almost 3 times bigger in size, a differentiation that indicates the use of hierarchical proportions. The dividing line between the registers serves at the same time as the ground line on which the upper male figures stride. This scene is naturalistic but that at the same time the representational subjects are rendered in a stylized manner. We can safely reach this conclusion due to the fact hat the artist had made use of similar formal values for the representation of the figures, e. . red coloured male bodies, head and legs in profile, almond shaped eye and torso in frontal view. Nevertheless the scene has also an evident linear character with the frequent use of wide but intentionally crudely executed outlines and the linear arrangement of the composition. The mural art has a long tradition in the area of the Near East. However, the preserved examples are limited compared to other civilizations, e. g. Egypt. The “Director of the Sacrifice” mural has clearly a narrative subject portraying a seasonal ultural festival or ceremony.

Formal Analysis: Director of Sacrifice Essay