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Bob Hook

I found it interesting that the Mesopotamian cultures tied their leadership to the gods in numerous visual ways. In a landscape that is basically flat they built ziggurats from mud bricks that were several stories high and on top of these structures, they created temples for the worship of their deities. They were designed to symbolically function as bridges between the heavens and the earth. Anu Ziggurat was built to worship the Sumerian god Anu, the sky god. Another example would be the Nanna Ziggurat, dedicated to the moon god.
The materials they used to adorn these ziggurats and artifacts found within and around them also offer clues into the social hierarchy of their society. The temples were whitewashed and even adorned with glazed bricks to highlight their visual appeal. Rare materials such as gold, silver, and copper were utilized in jewelry and other religious adornments. While semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli were used to highlight both their buildings and adornments. I equate the use of these special materials indicate that the leaders controlled great wealth and power in a culture that was agrarian with few natural building materials.
They also visually showed their power in artifacts that were found from the era. The Stele of Naram-Sin depicts the leader Naram—Sin as larger and he is placed at the top of the stele, the very definition of a hierarchy. He is also wearing a headdress with horns symbolically stating that he is a god. His army is below him and grounded in the natural world. Great harm is being inflicted on the enemy. Soldiers are shot through the neck with the spear, one is being thrown off a cliff and the other has turned to run in terror. These all combined to verify that Naram-Sin was acting as a god or as an agent of the gods.