City of Uruk
City of Uruk
"URUK. (Iraq) Situated 250 km south of Baghdad, on an ancient branch of the Euphrates River in Iraq, known in the Bible as Erech (now Warka, Iraq). Uruk, founded about 3500BC, became the first major city in Sumer. Gilgamesh built the walls of the city Uruk, and the Eanna (house of An) temple complex there, dedicated to Ishtar (goddess of love, procreation, and war). Excavations by German archaeologists from 1912 onwards have revealed a series of very important structures and deposits of the 4th millennium BC and the site has given its name to the period that suceeeded the UBAID and prceeded the JEMDET NASR period.
The Uruk period saw the emergence of urban life in MESOPOTAMIA and led to the full civilization of the EARLY DYNASTIC period. It is not always fully realized how unique the site of Uruk was at this time: it was by far the largest settlement, with the most impressive buildings and with the earliest evidence of writing. It would be true to say that Uruk was Meso- potamia's - and the world's - first city. It seems to have started as two separate settlements, Kullaba and Eanna, which coalesced in the Uruk period to form a town covering 80 hectares; at the height of its development in the Early Dynastic period, the city walls were 9.5 km long, enclosing a massive 450 hectares, and may have housed some 50,000 people. In the heart of the city are two large temple complexes: the Anu sanctuary, belonging originally to Kullaba, and the Eanna sanctuary, dedicated to Inanna. the goddess of love. Both these complexes have revealed several successive temple-structures of the Uruk period, including the White Temple in the Anu sanctuary and the Limestone and Pillar Temples in the Eanna sanctuary. A characteristic form of decoration involves the use of clay cones with painted tops pressed into the mud plaster facing the buildings - a tcchnique known as clay cone mosaic.
On the northwest side of the Eanna sanctuary is a ZIGGURAT (an ancient Mesopotamian temple tower consisting of a lofty pyramidal structure built in successive stages with outside staircases and a shrine at the top, where the priests ruled from) laid out by Ur-Nammu of UR in the Ur III period (late 3rd millennium BC). Evidence from the deep trench excavated in the Eanna sanctuary has cast much light on the developments of the Uruk period. The most important of these was undoubtedly the development of writing. The earliest CLAY TABLETS appear in late Uruk levels; they are simple labels and lists with pictographic symbols. Tablets from slightly later levels of the Jemdet Nasr phase, show further evelorpments towards the CUNEIFORM script of the Early Dynastic period.
The city remained important throughout the 3rd millennium BC, but declined in importance during the later part of that period . It remained in occupation throughout the following two millennia, down to the PARTHIAN period, but only as a minor centre. Uruk was the home of the epic hero GILGAMESH, now thought to be a real king of the city's first dynasty, and Uruk played an important role in the mythology of the Mesopotamian civilizations to the end. "
The Eridu Genesis
The following excerpt is taken from "The Harps That Once...: Sumerian Poetry in Translation" by Thorkild Jacobsen. Yale University Press, Publishers; Copyright 1987. It is related here for educational purposes only.
The Creation of the Gods
The "earth" in Genesis is not the globe. Rather, Genesis speaks of God using pillars (buckling of the land) to raise the earth or fruitful place up between the liquid waters and the waters in the atmosphere. This fruitful place or earth created a place where animal and plant life could exist. If man can evolve from matter, then the ancient mind would say that the gods can also evolve. And in the ancient literature they do, based upon the "survival of the fitest."
The Eridu Genesis is a Sumerian text. It covers the creation of the world, invention of cities and the flood. After the universe was created out of the chaos of the sea, the gods evolved and they in turn created mankind to farm, herd and worship them. Cities and kingship was created but the gods decided to destroy mankind with a flood. Ziusudra (Upnapishtim) from Eridu was instructed by Enki (Ea) to build a boat to survive the flood blown up by Enlil. After the flood he worshipped (prostrated) himself before An (Anu) and Enlil (Bel) and was given immortality for his godly life.
I chose the archeological site Eridu, now known as modern Abu Shah Rain. Eridu is 196 miles southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. It was the earliest known city of Sumer (Southern Mesopotamia).There are also an important group of temples in Eridu (Britannica, 1999)
Eridu is also known for the patron god Eriki (EA), "god of the sweet waters that flow under the earth" (Britannica). Eriki's waters were essential to the fishing and irrigation. Eridu's inhabitants had a agricultural based economy. Some claim that in ancient times the city may have been linked to the sea by waterways (McDonald, 98).
Eridu was located by the mound called Abu Shayhrayan. This was one of the most important prehistoric urban centers in southern Babylonia. It was built on sand dunes probably in the fifth millennium B.C. It completely showed the sequence of the pre-literate Ubaid civilization. Eridu had a long succession of super imposed temples portraying the growth and development of intricate mud brick architecture (Britannica, 1999).
The earliest village settlement (circa 5000 B.C.) had grown into a substantial mass of mud brick and reed houses by (circa) 2900 B.C., covering the city. Eighteen super imposed mud brick temples at the site underlie the unfinished Ziggurat of Amar-Sin (circa 2047-2039 B.C.) (McDonald, 1998).
The apparent continuity of occupation and religious observance at Eridu provide convincing evidence for the (indigenous origin of Sumerian civilization. The site was excavated between 1946 and 1949 by the Iraq Antiquities Department (McDonald The city continued to be occupied until 600 B.C. but was less important in historic periods.
Some links related to the notion that Iraq is significant because of its connecion with Annunaki, Eridu, etc.