Home Forums Ruling Mesopotamia Ruling Mesopotamia Reply To: Ruling Mesopotamia

Maggie May

Rulers of Mesopotamia used art to communicate many things about social structure, power, and order. For example, the Votive Statue of Gudea demonstrates that Gudea was a divinely appointed ruler. Art was also significant in that it could represent power. The eyes on the Head of an Akkadian Ruler may have been removed by a later ruler to remove that ruler’s power. The Stele of Hammurabi included the laws and codes of the time, enforcing order and establishing rule among the people. The Stele of Naram-Sin also represents the social structure of the time, from a divinely appointed ruler who is larger (and higher in the hierarchy than others) to his defeated enemies. Art was a critical social tool of communication during these times, as well as a spiritually significant practice.
Many sites of these ancient artifacts are now politically turbulent areas, which has often led to the destruction, loss, or looting of artifacts when appropriate concern or care is not shown. I believe that is a political statement in and of itself. As stated in the section on the Carved Vessel from Uruk, appropriate caution was not provided by U.S. military forces which ultimately led to it’s disruption and looting. Artifacts have also been destoryed, such as that of Lamassu, by terrorist forces as a way to exert and demonstrate power and control.