Mesopotamia – Sumer 1
Ur – Art
Sumerian Lyre – Ur
Zigurat of Ur
Gudea of Lagash
The Ubaid period is divided into three principal phases:
- Ubaid 1, sometimes called Eridu (5300–4700 BC), a phase limited to the extreme south of Iraq, on what was then the shores of the Persian Gulf. This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq.
- Ubaid 2 (4800–4500 BC), after the type site of the same name, saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements. Irrigation agriculture, which seem to have developed first at Choga Mami (4700–4600 BC) and rapidly spread elsewhere, form the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour.
- Ubaid 3/4, sometimes called Ubaid I and Ubaid II – In the period from 4500–4000 BC saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia replacing (after a hiatus) the Halaf culture. Ubaid artifacts spread also all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman.
The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation. At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”. This might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron.
The Sumerian city states rose to power during the prehistorical Ubaid and Uruk periods. Sumerian written history reaches back to the 27th century BC and before, but the historical record remains obscure until the Early Dynastic III period, ca. the 23rd century BC, when a now deciphered syllabary writing system was developed, which has allowed archaeologists to read contemporary records and inscriptions.
Classical Sumer ends with the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 23rd century BC. The Akkadian period lasted ca. 2334–2218 BC. Following the fall of Sargon’s Empire to the Gutians, a brief “Dark Ages” ensued. This period lasted ca. 2147–2047 BC.
Following the Gutian period, there is a brief “Sumerian renaissance” in the 21st century BC, cut short in the 20th century BC by change of climate conditions and Semitic Amorite invasions. The Amorite “dynasty of Isin” persisted until ca. 1700 BC, when Mesopotamia was united under Babylonian rule. The Sumerians were eventually absorbed into the Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) population.
- Ubaid period: 5300 – 4100 BC (Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic)
- Uruk period: 4100 – 2900 BC (Late Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age I)
- Uruk XIV-V: 4100 – 3300 BC
- Uruk IV period: 3300 – 3000 BC
- Jemdet Nasr period (Uruk III): 3000 – 2900 BC
- Early Dynastic period (Early Bronze Age II-IV)
- Early Dynastic I period: 2900–2800 BC
- Early Dynastic II period: 2800–2600 BC (Gilgamesh)
- Early Dynastic IIIa period: 2600–2500 BC
- Early Dynastic IIIb period: ca. 2500–2334 BC
- Akkadian Empire period: ca. 2334–2218 BC (Sargon)
- Gutian period: ca. 2218–2047 BC (Early Bronze Age IV)
- Ur III period: ca. 2047–1940 BC
- Earliest city-states
- Pre-dynastic period
- Early Dynastic period
- First Dynasty of Kish
- First Dynasty of Uruk
- First Dynasty of Ur
- Dynasty of Awan
- Second Dynasty of Uruk
- Empire of Lugal-Ane-mundu of Adab
- Kug-Bau and the Third Dynasty of Kish
- Dynasty of Akshak
- First Dynasty of Lagash
- Empire of Lugal-zage-si of Uruk
- Akkadian Empire
- Gutian period
- Second Dynasty of Lagash
- Fifth Dynasty of Uruk
- Third Dynasty of Ur
Sumer, an ancient civilization
Sumerian language, their language
Cuneiform script – Sumerian script
Sumerian Records, an American record label based in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles
Jemdet Nasr period bull statue from limestone found in Uruk, Iraq
Jemdet Nasr period cylinder seal from glazed steatite found in Khafajah, Iraq, and modern seal impression
Tablet with pictographic inscription
Left to right: An unknown (high ranking) Babylonian god, probably Enlil, given the number of horns on the helmet. Ur-Ningirsu (Sumerian) the son of Gudea. Hammurabi (Babylonian) and Sargon the Great (Akkadian). The Babylonians, Akkadians, and Sumerians all used the same artistic conventions to portray gods and kings.
Ur – Art:
A ram caught in a thicket – Genesis 22, verse 13.
“These words from the Book of Genesis echoed in the mind of Leonard Woolley when he discovered the ‘Great Death Pit’ at Ur, the city where Abraham lived before he traveled to Canaan. In the pit he found a pair of statuettes, gold and lapis lazulae, dating from about 2600-2400 BC, or what looked like a goat or ram caught in the branches of a golden bush. Woolley thought there might be a connection between these objects and the story of Abraham and Isaac. Judging by the horns and coat of the animal in the statuette, it is more likely to have been a goat – an animal noted for its endurance and sexual potency.”
The Royal Game of Ur
Sumerian Lyre – Ur:
In the inlay panel above, the pleasures of peaceful life are sustained by a procession pf abundance; men bearing fish from the river, carrying bales of grain, tending wooly sheep, driving asses and oxen. Yet the Sumerians knew too, that abundance was a gift the Gods could snatch away, and in a sense that is what happened because by 2000 B.C. the yields had become meager.
Zigurat of Ur: