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Chapter 2, Mesopotamia and Chapter 3, Egypt
Transcript of Chapter 2, Mesopotamia and Chapter 3, Egypt
Chapter 2, Art of the Ancient Near East
Chapter 3, Art of Ancient Egypt
The Art of Mesopotamia and Egypt
During the18th dynasty, the geography of Ancient Egypt extended from the Euphrates River to the east and up to the Mediterranean in the north.
location of pyramids
Great river valleys nourished, united and sometimes divided people.
While water made agriculture possible, it was the use of the water for transportation that created not only AGRICULTURE but as equally important... CULTURE.
People not only met and traded goods but they EXCHANGED IDEAS.
In Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China civilizations emerged along rivers:
in Mesopotamia- the Tigris and the Euphrates,
the Nile River in Egypt,
the Indus River in India
& the Yellow and Blue rivers in China.
Ancient Mesopotamia’s civilization was based on city-states.
Here we see development of a code of laws as well as
a written language
Ancient Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent:
Around 3000 B.C., the Sumerians organized the first city-states.
A city-state was made up of a city and the areas it controlled.
Three major challenges influenced the development of city-states.
1. The threat of hostile invaders.To protect themselves, the Sumerians surrounded their cities with strong, high walls.
2. The lack of water. There was very little rainfall in the region so city-states built & maintained irrigation canals for local use.
3. Trade -The Sumerians lacked stones, metals, and timber for building so these materials were imported.
The Sumerians wanted to export grain, dates, and cloth but trade was risky.
Traders often had to cope with bandits, pirates, and wild animals so well-protected city-states helped traders feel more
confident about doing business.
Government by Priests and Kings
Mesopotamian city-states were centers of religious worship. The Sumerians believed in many gods. The most important gods controlled the rain and sun. Inanna, Goddess of Love and War, cured diseases and helped kings fight wars.
Each city-state built a temple to a specific god.
The people believed this god was the city’s special guardian.
This God/Goddess temple was built on a pyramid-shaped tower called a ziggurat.
From the winding terraces wrapped around the ziggurat, people watched celebrations honoring the god/goddesses.
Temple priests were the first governors of Mesopotamian city-states.
When the city-states began to argue about land and water rights, leaders were elected to defend their interests.
Later these rulers became kings.
Each king chose who would rule after his death.
From then on, the city-states were governed by two groups.
The priests who controlled religious and economic life, and the king who controlled political and military life.
Ziggurat "to build on a raised area"
Built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform.
Sun-baked bricks made up the core of the ziggurat with facings of fired bricks on the outside.
The facings were often glazed in different colors and may have had astrological significance.
The number of tiers ranged from two to seven with a shrine or temple at the summit.
Access to the shrine was provided by a series of ramps on one side of the ziggurat or by a spiral ramp from base to summit.
Only priests were permitted inside the ziggurat and it was their responsibility to care for the gods and attend to their needs. As a result the priests were very powerful members of Sumerian society.
There are 32 known ziggurats near Mesopotamia. Four of them are in Iran, and the rest are mostly in Iraq.
Nanna Ziggurat, Ur.c.2100-2050BCE modern day Iraq
The ziggurat was part of a temple complex that served as an administrative center for the city, and it was also thought to be the place on earth where the moon god dwelled.
Nanna, was depicted as a wise and unfathomable old man with a flowing beard and four horns
A small shrine—the bedchamber of the god—was placed upon the ziggurats summit.
The bedchamber was occupied each night by only one woman chosen by the priests from among all the women of the city to be the god's companion.
A kitchen, likely used to prepare food for the god, was located at the base of one of the ziggurat's side stairways.
Carved vase from Uruk c.3500-3000BCE. Alabaster, height 36"
One of the most important artifacts is a 5,000 year-old vessel made of alabaster and carved with images that speak to scholars about the dawn of civilization.
The images on the vase serve as an archaeological record—when we can first document the existence of kings, cities, complex economies, and administrative systems.
The sculpted vase, unearthed at Uruk (in southern Iraq) in the 1930s, pictures the state-sponsored religion and its hierarchy that made cities, hence civilization, possible.
The vase has three registers - or tiers - of carving.
These three levels of images in carved relief show how the Sumerians arranged their world.
Around the base of the vessel are images of water, crops, and livestock, the food and drink that gave life to complex urban societies. This register depicts the vegetation in the Tigris and Euphrates delta, such as the natural reeds and cultivated grain.
Above this vegetation is a procession of animals, oxen and sheep presented in a strict profile view.
On the middle tier, naked tribute bearers carry baskets of fruits and vegetables, and stone jars of what is likely barley beer which may have served as sacrifical elements. The goddess reigns from the vase’s top.
She is being offered a bowl of fruit and grain .
A figure in ceremonial clothing - presumably a chieftain/priest - stands nearby with the procession approaching him from behind. It is clear that the temples were mobilizing resources that would go to the deity and then to the community at large. . . . That is a kind and scale of resource mobilization we have not yet seen .
During a no-questions-asked amnesty in early June, the vase was returned to the National Museum—unceremoniously and in 14 pieces—in the trunk of a truck.
The Birth of Civilization- in a Vase
Lifestyle and society structure in the river civilizations were completely different from anything ever before.
Characteristics of river civilizations:
Strong political power- The King ruled everything from political power to religion. He passed laws to rule his country. He was in charge of the army which protected his possessions.
Society was hierarchical.
The population was divided into two different groups:
the privileged and the subjugated
few were privileged... the majority subjugated to a master
land ownership ... belonged to the privileged
**** the role of the artist was tradesmen***
Although Mesopotamia was located in an arid zone, development of irrigation canals has taken place so we see the development of an important economic area.
Canals became a very important for trade between Asia Minor, the Mediterranean and Syria.
Mesopotamia was historically divided into two regions inhabited by different peoples:
The Assyrians and the Akkadians or Semites lived in northern Mesopotamia or Assyria
The Sumerians lived in southern Mesopotamia.
The Sumerian civilization became quite advanced including many firsts...
schools with studies of history, pharmacology, cosmology, proverbs and sayings, literary debates, library catalogs
Schools taught language and writing, as well as the sciences of the day—botany, zoology, geography, mathematics, and theology.
Literary works were studied and copied, and created.
The language itself was a marvel, with its “precise grammar and rich vocabulary.”
Here we see the development of Cuneiform, the world’s first writing
law codes & social reforms
River Valley Civilizations
How to Build a Pyramid...start with a ziggurat
In the third millennium BC, the Sumerians dominated the Mesopotamian Empire.
They organized themselves into independent cities.
2330 BC, the Sumerian cities were conquered by King Sargon I and the Akkadian Empire was founded.
2200 BC the Akkadian Empire was defeated and a long period of division started.
1800 BC, the city of Babylon achieved
and founded a lasting empire... at least for awhile.
(leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others)
The last great dominance corresponded to the Assyrian Empire which lasted until the 6BC, when Mesopotamia was conquered by the Persians.
wHAT'S IN A WORD...or should I say...A PICToGRAPH?
Pictograph- stylized depictions serving as symbols for a person/people or objects
**We saw this in cave and rock shelter paintings.
The oldest full-fledged writing that archaeologist have discovered came from the Sumerians.
Why did writing need to be developed?
The Sumerians wrote for various reasons-
to keep accounting records for trade
expressively in poetry and as narrative - describing events
How did they write?
The Sumerians wrote by pressing picture representations into wet clay with a pen or stylus, and they dried the clay to form tablets.
Instead of developing their writing all at once they developed their writing across centuries. They streamlined their pictures into symbols called ideograms.
They added symbols for spoken sounds -- phonetic letters
Mesopotamian writing is known as cuneiform (Latin for wedge-shaped) after the shape of the marks made by the stylus.
The Egyptians developed 3 types of writing.
the earliest employed the use of symbols and is known as hieroglyphs
later scribes evolved to hieratic writing, a shorthand of hieroglyphs
this was used for record keeping, correspondence and
religious manuscripts written on papyrus. A special, cursive
form of hieroglyphic writing was used for the Book of the Dead.
demotic writing was the last to be developed and was a less formal means of communication used by people other than scribs and priests
detail hieroglyphic. Louve Paris
This detail scene, from the Papyrus of Hunefer (ca. 1375 B.C.), shows Hunefer's heart being weighed by the jackal-headed Anubis against the feather of truth. The Ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result.
If the heart is lighter than a feather, Hunefer is allowed to pass into the afterline. If not....he is eaten by a devouring creter partly crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus.
The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian text that gives instructions regarding the afterlife. There is no single definitive version of the Book of the Dead, but rather a number of texts that may be referred to by that name, often customized for a particular decedent. "The Book of the Dead" is not a translation of the text's Egyptian title, but an invention of German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius, who published translated portions of the book in 1842. The Egyptian name for the texts is The Book of Coming Forth By Day.
What was the Book of the Dead...not a must read!
Egyptian hieratic sample
Votive statues. Square Temple Eshunna. c. 2900-2600BCE. Limestone alabaster and gypsum. height, 30"
These votive statues were left in temples to represent Sumerian men and women who left prayers at the temple
Writing on the back or bottom stated who the statue represents and what they are praying for, although a common phrase found on them states "One who offers prayers".
Wide open eyes represent better contact with the god.
Large head and shoulders are an elaboration of where they believed the soul resides.
There would be thousands of these left in ziggurats.
Sumerian temple staff & merchants created
flat stamps and elaborate CYLINDER SEALS.
These were used for:
signing & identifying docs. and showing property ownership...
Size: less than 2 "
Material: made of semiprecious stones with designs that were INCISED (cut) into the
surface of the rock
The designs were unique and belonged to the
owner, like a coat of arms
Bull lyre from tomb of Ur
Artists became accomplished in a
variety of arts...music, oral storytelling,
stone sculpture and architecture. This
bull lyre of Ur is an example of this. A
lyre is a harp and his one is made for
a king. Using wood, gold, lapis lazuli and
The front panel of the lyre
tells the story of the Epic of
Gilgamesh, a 3000line literary
poem exploring the themes of
love and imortality. The study of
the understanding and significance of
these images is called ICONOGRAPHY.
A stele is a stone
slab placed vertically
and decorated with
inscriptions or reliefs
We may think of
a grave marker
This is a victory stele which celebrates the triumph of King Naram-Sin over a mountain people
Stele of Naramsin. c.2253-2218BCE.
This stele illustrates what
art historian call hieratic scale.
Hieratic scale is the use of
different sizes to indicate importance.
The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided into two types of land, the 'black land' and the 'red land'.
The 'black land' was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used this land for growing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that could be farmed because a layer of rich, black silt was deposited there every year after the Nile flooded.
The 'red land' was the barren desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt from neighbouring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.
Stele of Hammurabi, from Susa.c.1792-1750BCE
Basalt, height 7'5"
Hammurabi is best known for a new code of Babylonian law: the Code of Hammurabi. Who was Hammurabi? Hammurabi became ruler of Babylon (about the time Abraham left Ur for his journey to Canaan), during this time the people of the Fertile Crescent were not unified under a single government. The Tigris-Euphrates cities independently governed themselves.
Hammurabi systematically unified the entire region to create an empire. Today we call the territory ruled by Hammurabi "The Old Babylonian Empire."
Hammurabi's code...the code or law was written on a stele and placed in a public place so that all could see it, although it is thought that few were literate. The stele was later plundered by the Elamites and removed to their capital, Susa; it was rediscovered there in 1901 and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The code of Hammurabi contained 282 laws, written by scribes on 12 tablets. Unlike earlier laws, it was written in Akkadian, the daily language of Babylon, and could therefore be read by any literate person in the city
Palette of Narmer.c.3150-3125BCE.
slate, height 25". Egyptian Museum, Cairo
an ancient Egyptian mud-brick tomb with a rectangular base and sloping sides and flat roof
Cradles of Civilizations 1.6
To understand the mastaba and the construction of Egyptian burial tombs, it is important to consider the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. The greatest Egyptians lived much of their life preparing for the afterlife. This was reflected in their architecture and most prominently by the enormous amounts of time, money, and manpower involved in the building of their tombs
The word Mastaba comes from the Arabic word for "bench", because when seen from a distance it resembles a bench. Inside the mastaba, a deep chamber was dug into the ground and lined with stone or bricks. The exterior building materials were initially bricks made of sun dried mud which was readily available from the Nile River. Even as more durable materials of stone came into use, the cheaper and easily available mud bricks were used for all but the most important monumental structures.
The above-ground structure was about four times as long as it was wide, and rose to at least 30 feet in height. The mastaba was built with a north-south orientation. This above ground structure had space for a small offering chapel equipped with a false door to which priests and family members brought food and other offerings for the soul of the deceased. A second hidden chamber called a "serdab", from the Arabic word for “cellar,” housed a statue of the deceased that was hidden within the masonry for its protection. High up the walls of the serdab were small openings. These openings “were not meant for viewing the statue but rather for allowing the fragrance of burning incense, and possibly the spells spoken in rituals, to reach the statue.
Step-pyramid at Saqqara
The Step Pyramid of Djoser, in the Old Kingdom's 3rd Dynasty was the very first of any of the pyramids built in Egypt. The pyramid and its related buildings are located at Saqqara; the pyramid itself is 254 feet tall, with seven steps.
Djoser's tomb, as is the case with most other pyramids, is located deep beneath the pyramid, about 95 feet below the present day surface. Several vividly painted walls were inlaid with blue tiles.
Khafra, from Giza, 4th Dynasty, c.2500BCE.Diorite, height 5'61/8"
Twenty-three lifesize seated statues of Khafre were placed about the large pillared hall in the valley temple. While most were found in fragmentary condition, this statue is largely complete. The king sits on a backless throne with the sema-tawi, an emblem of unification that combines the hieroglyph sema ("union") with the symbols for the two lands of Egypt—papyrus for the north and a flower for the south.
4. The Pyramids at Giza
The Pyramids at Giza
are considered one of the 7 wonders
of the ancient world
History of Egypt
Ancient Egyptian History with Bob Brier,
Pt. 1. 9:95
Description of The Narmer Palette
statues and jewelry fit for a king...OR Queen
Living and working
tHE DEATH OF A RULER was bittersweet...
it was sad but at the same time...industry was booming
Archaeologists hailed one of the most important finds in Egyptian history on a broken tooth identified as the 3,500-year-old mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, the most powerful female pharaoh. Billed as the most significant find since the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
“The discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy is one of the most important finds in the history of Egypt,” the antiquities chief said.
“I’m sure that this mummy will help us to shed light on this mystery and on the mysterious nature of her death.”
Hatshepsut ruled for 21 years from 1479 to 1458 BC, declaring herself pharaoh after the death of her husband and half-brother.
The fabled queen, known for sporting a false beard and dressing like a man, was identified thanks to a broken tooth following examinations of four mummies from the New Kingdom using the latest forensic technology.
The mummy of Hatshepsut was described as “fat woman in her 50s who probably died of cancer.”
In 1903, archaeologist Howard Carter made history with his discovery of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
A team of archologists confirmed throught DNA testing that the mummy was Queen Hatshespsut.
Hatshepsut ruled from 1504-1484 BC before female pharaohs Nefertiti and Cleopatra.
Her rule is seen as a time of stability and prosperity for Egypt, associated more with commerce than conquest.
A TEMPLE FIT FOR A QUEEN
Funeary Stele of Amenemhat
2055-1985. painted limestone 11"x15"
"On his funeral stele, a table heaped with food is watched over by a young woman named Hapi. The family sits together on a lion-legged bench. Everyone wears green jewelry and white linen garments, produced by Amenenht's wife, Hapi and his son Antel. Antel links arms and clasp hands while Iji holds her son's arm and shoulder with a firm but tender gesture. Funeral offerings represented in statues and paintings would be available for the deceased's use throughtout eternity.
Archaic 3411 - 3100 Unification of all Egypt
Old Kingdom 3100 - 2181 Construction of the pyramids begins
First Intermediate 2181 - 2125 Political chaos
Middle Kingdom 2125 - 1650 Recovery and political stability
Second Intermediate 1650 - 1550 Hyksos "invasion"
New Kingdom 1550 - 1069 Creation of the Egyptian Empire
Ancient Eqyptian Periods
What's in a name???
Pectoral chest ornament with the name of Senusret II. 1895-1878BCE. Gold Semiprecious stones
The Temple of Karnak
Karnak Temple is located in a small ancient village in Egypt called al-Karnak.
The area of the temple is an enormous open-air museum, as well as the biggest ancient religious site. The Karnak Temple is probably Egypt’s second most visited site of historical value, next to the Pyramids of Giza.
The temple has 4 main parts, only one of them accessible to the general public and tourists.
The major difference between the Karnak Temple and many of the other sites in Egypt is how long the temple took to develop, as well as how long it was used. The construction of the temple started during the 16th century B.C. About 30 pharaohs gave a contribution to the buildings given it the diversity, complexity, and size that isn’t seen anywhere else in the world.
The hall is 340 feet wide and
170 feet long. The columns supporting the roof are 66 feet high and 12 feet in diameter with massive lotus flower capitals. On the side walls are a row of window openings called a clerestory.
The Tomb of Queen Nefertari
Queen Nefertari, best known as the wife of Rameses II is located in the Valley of the Queens necropolis. Many dieroglyphic inscriptions and wall paintings are found there.
The art of Egypt and Mesopotamia gave us a symbolic, visual language...an art which gave meaning to it's audiences.
What is so important....
The Mummification Process, The Getty Center 2:43
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oblong inclosure with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name ...
The fertile cresent
Before development of farming communities in Europe,
people in Asia Minor & the Near East domesticated grains.
Plant and animal domestication, irrigation, and new tools launched an agricultural revolution that transformed roaming hunter-gatherers into a socially complex and permanent society.
So, exactly where are we talking about...
What effect do you think this would have on art styles?
The Narmer Palette, also known as the Palette of Narmer, was a significant Egyptian archeological find, The palette contains some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever found. It is thought by some to depict the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the king Narmer. On one side the king is depicted with the White crown of Upper (southern) Egypt and the other side depicts the king wearing the Red Crown of Lower (northern) Egypt.
The Great Hypostyle Hall
is one of the most visited cites of
the ancient world
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
...the things we do for love....
Digital fly through..
Hypostyle Hall with Clerestory
5. The Great Sphinx
So here is where we are talking about...
Throughout Mesopotamian history there was an altering of power between the Assyrians and the Sumerians.
In the third millennium BC, the Sumerians dominated the Mesopotamian Empire and organized themselves into independent cities.