Friday, 5 April 2013

Mesopotamia Image Dump

 Im gonna be lazy but inspired by Mesopotaimia at the moment again.

This podcast to blame:
http://www.gmsmagazine.com/podcasts/the-gms-magazine-podcast-episode-89la-puerta-de-ishtar-how-much-is-too-much-detail-and-gygax-magazine

So here is a bunch of pix with a some notes on how to use

Assyrian image features a roman coloseum type scene - but kings were expected to hunt and kill lions. When Auroch about they were the target. Kings and Djinn wear increasing numbers of horns to indicate power with later kings having more. The details like the king and his men killing lions and the ornamental gates are all based on relief stone carvings from walls. In a fantasy or more mythic era kings will have to kill monsters too.

Assyrians had the most advanced city smashing siege weapons ever which let them rape the world. In early eras cities with walls were pretty much untouchable.

 Early eras had assemblies of elders with some basic democracy. When Marduk offers to kill Tiamat his price is absolute power. Possibly this is all why Enki made Marduk.
 Herodotus mentions auctioning of women for some ritual which Victorian scholars were very interested in but no Babylonian sources confirm it. Probably some confusion over a sacred marriage or other ritual. Ishtar cult had various orders some which were virgins. Older priestesses may have lovers and may retire and marry. Temples operated huge breweries and Siduri the beer/barmaid goddess is probably an aspect of Ishtar (and offers worldly advice). I had some temples blood thirsty maniac amazons with pet lions, others peace loving with doves. Cheap and nasty backwoods shrines might just be common prostitutes. A women in a window is pretty much a symbol of prostitute.
 Stelae and border stones depicting gods were posted on borders of kingdoms, farms and at other locations. These guys are very much Sumerian in style. Note the sickle swords and the snake staff (Ningizzida symbol). Middle managers carry rods and staffs - a measuring tool and a truncheon. Swords are a symbol of authority because they exist to dispense justice and decapitations. Some kilts sheep wool others cloth. One man holds a lion bird or the Anzu/zu bird who stole the tablets of destiny an was stopped by the god Ninurta.

A rollicking good Assyrian battle scene.

Im not sure but seems to be some Assyrians meeting Hittites judging by stone lion and and the hats. Every race wore a distinctive hat. On the stairs of persepololis you can see men of many lands with various hats carved in relief on stairway walls with goodies and tributes for the Persian king.

Chariots impressed people long past their use by date. The battle of Meddigo was the last big hurrah of Hittites and Egyptian chariots. Each might take a fortune and a hundred craftsmen to build. After chariots were just used for flashy nobles and moving personnel about more than be a feature of battles. Assyrians hauled them into mountains in parts and reassembled. It was like a cold war of who had the most was more scary in heyday. Brit Celts freaked Romans with their chariots as no body had used in civilized war for centuries. The next battle the Romans probably looked up their tactical history books and kicked arse. Military stockpiling has always been about conspicuous waste for status.
 Not much to see here except ceremonial processions would be pretty common on holy days, probably monthly. Commoners pretty much in loin cloths. Slaves under Hummarabi's code had far more rights than people expect. Except military prisoners who probably god the most horrible and fatal jobs. Many scribes and priests clean shaven, some eunuchs. In Herodotus he mentions an island where the everybody wants a eunuch from. The reason is they fight to the death to avoid being eunuchs so their scarcity mad them more desirable. My friend Diana played a priestess with a pet eunuch. I could be mean and joke about perspective and say it is a race of giants with miniature slave race but that would be silly.
 Rather idylic Assyrian palace temple district with parks and ceremonial barges

Some books would be made of wood other were clay or stone. Having a spell book weigh as much as you would suck, but those egyptian wizards books are so flamable. Some kings were amatuer archeologists and had museums with objects from a thousand years before, relics of ancient kings, and even a dinosaur bone. In Early Later times aramaic took over but Akkadian was the international trade language for a thousand years plus. Sumerian was like latin - good for holy texts and sorcery. People used to mine bricks from earlier epochs. Sometimes something evil might be disturbed.

A nice courtly drama scene
 A city under attack. Women and the old know their fate is probably not so good. The gods fix your destiny - scribing it in divine texts, Their is a celestial bureaucracy who work out the details like what demon to finish off someone. Gilgamesh is in the underworld, he is judge of the dead.
There is a better version of this on wikepedia in some file format i cant steal. These guys invented the basic 360 day calender and degrees we use still. 24 hours too. These changed a bit in some times with 18 and 9 star signs in use at different times. Astrology comes from all this. What happened to all the people born under the sign of the crafty hydra when they went back to only 12 signs. What a rip off. You can arange 360 grains of barley to make a mini calender. Wrist sun-dials help you calculate time and navigate. Kids always laugh when they see kings wearing "watches". Ever so often the priests needed to add a extra holy 13th month to correct the calenders and put them in sync with the solar year. Beats leap years.

 Assyrians doing what they do best
 Im not sure but it looks like some kind of court strangling contest
Assyrian prisoners off being inspected by king with a parasol. What a great job. Diferent slaves had rights depending if sold as debtors (a few extra kids can raise some cash), or captured or born slaves. Slaves generally could get married and own money. A free persons child with a slave parent was free. If your adopted kids sas you you can kill them.


 A depiction of Solomons temple. An amalgam of Mesopotamia and Egypt as were many of the songs in the old testament. When Isiah heard the Assyrians coming he exhorted the mass murder of those without circumcisions or had slept with them, who worshiped Ishtar and Adonis (Tammuz), who married foriegners and all kindsa stuff he said god didn't like. Killed half his own people. His gamble on one of 2 possible outcomes paid off and the Assyrian king and army got the plague in a swamp which destroyed the empire. If he'd been wrong they would have all been killed or enslaved anyhow so a cunning gamble.
 Im not sure about this but it seems to be a fortress or palace of some kind of near eastern origin. The buildings and urbanization impress me the most. I suspect it is actually Egyptian.
 Chariots may be not what they were a thousand years before but they still look good. Chariots were puuled bu ox with 4 wheels in oldest cases. Two weelers pulled by onagers (wild ass) were the rage for a while. Chariots actually came from central asia and kinda ravaged the world. Horses were easier to handle so eventually another wave of central asians discovered you could ride them. Dromadaries came from arabia after Akkad and bactrian camels came from asia later still. If you cross them you get an infertile camel which can handle hot or cold.
 Phonecians probably more famous sea-farers but river boats were pretty standard travel. Coracles made from streched skin identical to ancients were used till recently. Assyrian soldiers crossed rivers with air bladder floaties. Woven reed boats were a goer too. You can weave a house from reeds too - the same designs used from ancient Sumeria until the 90s by the so called marsh Arabs. Giant reed rafts with a reed house and animals let you cope with the floods. Wood is scarce. Stones and metal are scarce. Reeds and clay built Sumerian civilization - metal ages are over rated.
Babylonian king watching some workers. Assyrians today want to rebuild Nineveh and want their land back. They are being driven out by kurd settlers using dirty tricks to drive them off land they have had for thousands of years. People still bare grudges against Assyria. By blockading Saddam, he got to do lots of ethnic clensing and drained the swamps, chasing out marsh arabs who have been doing theit thing for 5000 years pretty much the same. Ethnic cleansing continues now. So many weird not quite christian or jewish sects that share myths with Jews-Christians-Arabs exist as do some of the oldest christian sects. If I ever move to Melbourne I'll do Assyriology.

Ill do this every now and then - I could do it for a while.
Then I can start scanning. I have dozens of city and ruin maps.
Possibly I got into this whei I was studying classics and I was in a relationship with no cash so national geographic and library and net was my game source 94-97.

I may well be a bit vague and inacurate but there is over 2000 years worth of goodies here. Sometimes my instincts fill in the gaps - if you hear Im wrong let me know




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