Unit 2: c. 3,500 BCE - 300 CE

Ancient Mediterranean

Images 12-47

Main Ideas:

  • As civilizations started to form, people appointed leaders to govern their civilizations, and they made artworks to showcase the power of their leaders, emphasizing a social hierarchy

  • As civilizations started to expand, they often had conflict with other civilizations, so people created works of art to showcase their own civilization as superior

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Ancient Near Eastern Art

 
  • Often use long beards and elaborate headdresses to showcase the power of the king

  • Show that the kings humbly accept God as their overlord in order to legitimize their own power
  • Use hierarchy of scale to emphasize the strict Mesopotamian social hierarchies and king's power

Image 12: White Temple and its Ziggurat

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Name

White Temple and its Ziggurat

Location

Uruk (Modern Warka, Iraq)

Culture

Sumerian

Date

c. 3500 - 3000 BCE

Material

Mud Brick

  • Ziggurat is the main temple in each state → Shows the idea that the emperor rules on behalf of God (theocracy)
    • Its large size emphasizes the power of the emperor and of God

  • White temple is high above the ziggurat → Implies that God is higher than humans
    • Dedicated to Goddess Anu

    • White limestone glaze of the temple symbolizes God's purity and prominence

    • The temple had some waiting rooms → Allow Anu to purify herself before seeing people

Image 14: Statues of Votive Figures

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Name

Statues of Votive Figures

Location

The Square Temple at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar, Iraq)

Culture

Sumerian

Date

c. 2700 BCE

Material

Gypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone

  • Buried under a temple to stand-in for an elite person to show that the person is always praying to God
    • Elite people (such as priests and rulers) are quite busy, so they cannot be praying to God all the time; hence, these figures replace them in temples and pray to God 24/7

    • Have trapezoidal torso, huge eyes, and a head pointing upward to show that these figures are always humbly praying to God

    • Long beard and long hair signify the high social status of the elite people for which these figures stand-in

Image 16: Standard of Ur

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Name

Standard of Ur

Location

Royal Tombs at Ur (modern Tell el-Muqayyar, Iraq)

Culture

Sumerian

Date

c. 2600 - 2400 BCE

Material

Wood inlaid with shell, lapis lazuli, and red limestone

  • Both images show a social hierarchy with the king & nobility at the top, and commoners & slaves at the bottom
    • Divided into 3 registers: Top has the king, middle has high-ranking commoners, and the bottom has commoners and slaves

    • Hierarchy of scale: The king is larger in size than the other figures due to his importance

  • Peace side: Depicts a typical scene at the king's court
    • In the bottom and the middle registers, commoners and priests give offerings of animals (such as rams) to the king

    • In the top register, seated nobles offer libations of wine to the king (on the left), and two musicians (on the right) play music for the king

  • War side: Depicts a war scene
    • In the bottom register, chariots are galloping & trampling opponents

    • In the middle register, soldiers are defeating opponents & taking them captive

    • In the top register, the king (in the middle) is offered prisoners of war

Image 19: The Code of Hammurabi

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Name

The Code of Hammurabi

Location

Babylon (modern Iran)

Culture

Susian

Date

c. 1792 - 1750 BCE