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Laura – I agree that Schliemann committed atrocious errors! But you are right, both architects did bring attention to archaeology, which has helped bring understanding and attention to the need for development of ethical archaeology.
Laura – I agree with you about it seems to be a difference in where funds and time was dedicated! The Minoan culture seemed to focus more on luxury and beauty, while the Mycenaean culture focused on strength and advantage in battle. Great catch there – thank you!
Looking over both the Minoan and Mycenaean art, there seem to be subtle yet directing contrasts. For example the architecture – the Minoan architecture of the palace complex of Knossos seemed to be made to look more appealing, instead of being a strong hold. The defensive advantage that was chosen for the palace complex to have a confusing layout, making it hard for enemies to navigate and easier for the residents to escape or fight back. The Mycenaean architecture focuses on strength and taking advantage of the location for the purpose of battle. The lions on the Lion Gate are an example of displaying strength and intimidating visitors. The city of Mycenae is located in an area that is difficult for enemies to invade. Mycenaean architecture and art seemed to be more focused on strategic battle and defense. I found the Warrior Krater to be interesting, too. Similar to Egyptian art, the soldiers have little to no variance, as if they have no individual identity. The ceramics of the Minoan culture are not focused on soldiers or battle, they focus on nature instead or harvesting.
Looking at these examples, there seems to be a difference in focus of the artwork. The Minoan culture focuses more on nature and living with nature and interpersonal relationships, while the Mycenaean culture seemed to focus on strength, intimidation, and defensive strategies for battles.
Comparing the art of Egypt and Mesopotamia, there are certain similarities such as the importance and focus on wealthy people by making them larger and more prominent than common folks. There are also various animals and nature included in the artwork for symbolism of power, such as the image of Assurnasirpal II killing lions to show his strength as a hunter and the palette of king Narmer where he has attributes of a bull (the tail).
I would also think that Egyptian art seems to be more focused on the individual. Such as the various steles, as they look like a person’s storyboard of their life, or even the tombs with paintings to show the life that the individual had lived. Even the statues created in the likeness of people, such as the sitting scribe, that has such intricate facial and bodily details, that you can almost tell the kind of man this person once was. Or the statue of Akhenaten, that is so different from other pharaos – there is so much personality in these statues.
Egyptian art is also very focused on rituals and symbolism, and the significance these had to the people. This includes the importance and significance that the gods had in the Egyptians various aspects of life. There seemed to be a lot of time and spacial dedication to the gods.
I agree completely with you. Your examples display very good how the Egyptians focus on the afterlife and the significance this has in their life. Their art also focuses much on various rituals that Egyptians have that are dedicated to the gods.
Maggie May –
I completely agree with you that the Egyptians have more focus on the afterlife and death. A lot of their artwork and architecture focuses around this, as if their life is a constant preparation for having a good afterlife.
I agree that there were similarities in how Egyptian and Mesopotamian art portrayed social structures by making richer people larger and more significant than commoners. It is also very prominent how goddesses and gods are adorned in clothing and in artwork to show their representation in people’s lives. Thank you for this post!
<br>I agree that there seemed to be many various rituals, and it seems as if the Egyptians didn’t do anything without it having a spiritual purpose. Such an act as taking their sandals off while on holy ground is a good example of this. And even the hippopotamus hunt that you mention! I can only imagine the time and preparation that goes into this hunt.
You can tell from the art that the Egyptians were religious and ritualistic people, even with the architecture of the temples. For example, the funerary temple of Hatshepsut where the different courts and shrines are dedicated to various gods. Or even the temple of Amun at Karnak, where there was a statue of Amun that was washed and clothed every day and even received two meals. These rituals show how dedicated the Egyptians were to their gods and worshipping them. And the fact that there were shrines and courts, dedicated as holy places, for the purpose of worshiping the gods.
You can also see how the Egyptians believed that the gods guided them throughout life in various steles, or storyboards. Such as in the books of the dead, where the various gods are receiving the dead in the afterlife. Even the pharaoh, with the decorations that s/he used to symbolize the gods participation in their reign. For example, looking at the funerary mask of Tutankhamun, he has the vulture and cobra on his forehead that represents two gods. This symbolizes a unified Egypt, but I would think that it also symbolizes the guidance that he received as they are placed on his forehead.
What I find the most interesting and probably most divergent is Ramses II. While most other artifacts and architecture dedicated place and time to the gods, to honor them and ask for their guidance throughout life. Ramses II believed that he was one of the gods, equal to them. This temple that he built shows this, where his statues are larger than the gods.
<br>While there seems to be a balance between humans and gods, a separation where the gods are all powerful and humans need their guidance, Ramses II defied this balance with his ego. Overall, there seemed to be a delicate dedication of time from humans to worship the gods through rituals.
I think it is very interesting how pictures show rulers and nature all around them. For example the Ishtar gate, where there are lions, bulls, and dragons walking along the sides of the gates. As this gate served as the entrance to Babylon, it is almost as if it was claimed that these mighty creatures were guarding the gateway to the city. Even the panel of Assurnasirpal II killing lions, these picture is for showing his strength and that he is above might and strong creatures such as lions. The Great Lyre with the Bull’s head even seems to show a way that nature in a sense “worships” or serves the needs of humans with a high social stance. The images on the lyre shows various animals taking place in the burial ritual, as if they were honoring the deceased.
<br>It seems as if it were common for rulers to use animals as a way to show their significance, strength, and capabilities as leaders. And this is something that continues on today. Look at the United States, for example, where the eagle is used to represent the nation. The eagle is a bird with significance, strength, cunning, and beauty, and by using this as a representation is a way of saying that the US is equal to the eagle.
Jessi – I agree with you. The way that rulers would compare themselves to divine beings is interesting. Although there seemed to be many depictions of rulers among godly creatures, I don’t think they place themselves above the gods that often. For example where it is depicted that they are consulting the gods, this shows a little bit of humility towards the divine powers and that even the rulers need the gods.
Laura – great post! Rulers and kings definitely would compare themselves as either equal to Gods, or specifically appointed to blessing and ensuring the well-being of their kingdom. Religion and rituals seemed to be of great significance of the time, and rulers would utilize this for demonstrating their power over everything else.
I found the panel of alabaster showing Assurnasirpal II killing lions to be a very interesting demonstration of the strength and bravery. This was a ritualistic hunt for ruler’s to show their capabilities of killing worthy opponents. What is ironic is the guards and chariot that the ruler has for helping him kill the lions. It seemed to be a vague demonstration of strength.
<br>Another interesting example is the carved vessel of Inanna. The carvings on this vessel almost look similar to a food chain. At the bottom there are grains with rams and ewes above. Then we have naked men carrying food above the sheep. There is nothing significant about the men, it seems that their purpose is mainly to serve. At the top there is a priest-king, with more servants tending to him and Inanna. It seems as if there is a celebration of sorts. The “more important” individuals, the priest-king and Inanna, are being tended to and it seems as if all the attention is on them. They are also carved out larger than all the others on the vessel, as to show their significance in comparison. It seems as if the sole purpose of all things below the significant individuals are to serve them.
<br>I think that this demonstrates some of the social hierarchy in the importance of certain individuals in comparison to other people and even nature around them. They all exist for serving them.
Dean – what a great analogy of Gudea and Euphrates and Tigris! I didn’t think about that at all. It definitely claims to power, to claim that a human would be the reason for two natural occurrences. Or even claiming that all the good that the rivers produce is because of the ruler is a bold claim. Great perspective – thank you!
tmbergan – I agree with you completely. The way that the rulers would equal themselves or even just place them in a close relation to gods, made them seem more important than other people. The way they would display themselves as bigger, or even being catered to, showed a significant power over other people.