Uruk Discussions

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    • #7698
      Beric
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      Uruk :

      Was an ancient city in the region of Sumer, that later became Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the River Euphrates, now a dried up channel of the great river, 30km east of modern day Samawah, Al-Muthanna, in Iraq.

      Uruk is the type of site that established a leading role in urbanisation of the region of Sumer in the mid 4th century BCE, at its height in 2900BCE Uruk probably had 50,000 residents living within 6km, making it the largest city in the world at the time.

      The legendary king Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian kings list, starting from 27th century BCE, the city of Uruk  is of prime importance around 2000BCE, in the context of the struggle of Babylonia and Elam, but it remained inhabited throughout the Secleucid 312-63BCE and Parthian 227-224AD periods until it was finally abandoned shortly before, or after the Islamic conquest of 633AD.

      William Loftus visited the site of Uruk in 1849AD and led an excavations between the years of 1850-1854, William had identified it as ‘Erech’, known as the second city of Nimrod.

      The Arabic name of Babylonia, which eventually became the name of the present day country of Al-Iraq, the Arabic derived from the name of Uruk, via the Arabic Erech, the Persian Eraq, from the ancient Sumerian ‘uru’ meaning city or town district.

      Reference used : http://www.wikipedia.org

    • #7685
      Beric
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      Mesopotamian Mythology :

      Ereshkigal : Of The Underworld.

      The Babylonian goddess of death and the Underworld, the sister to Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, and the wife of Gugalanna, in some versions of the ancient Sumerian texts she started out like her father Anu as a deity of the sky, but was abducted by the earthly dragon Kur and taken into the Underworld.

      Nergal entered the Underworld in search of Ereshkigal, he killed the earthly dragon Kur after this heroic act, instead of Ereshkigal wishing to return to her lofty domain, persuaded Nergal to share power with her and rule the Underworld.

      A different version of this story is that Nergal left Heaven in search of his beloved Ereshkigal, who he found and slayed the dragon Kur, but Ereshkigal’s father recalled Nergal back to the Heavens, with this Ereshkigal threatened to raise the dead against her father Anu for reclaiming her consort Nergal. Nergal smoothed over the situation but telling Anu that it was his wish to remain with Ereshkigal in the Underworld.

      Gilgamesh :

      The giant demigod King of Uruk, his father Lugalbanda was regarded as an Underworld demon who became the King of Uruk, marrying into Sumerian aristocracy by taking the hand of Ninsuna, who some historians regard as an aspect of Nana, the Sumerian mother goddess.

      Gilgamesh being a mortal/deity hybrid was hidden after birth, some say raised by eagles in the nest, when the goddess Inanna’s favourite fruit tree was suddenly inhabited by a venomous serpent, the pet snake of Lilith, Gilgamesh killed the snake and drove Lilith away from Inanna’s garden.

      His heroics didn’t stop there, he killed the giant Huwawa sent in revenge by Lilith for pursuing her hotly from the green paradise favoured by the gods and goddesses, Inanna offered her hand to Gilgamesh, this hybrid mortal/deity who had suddenly appeared from nowhere, wishing to know his mysterious past, but Gilgamesh rejected her.

      Inanna, who had never been slighted in her life before, asked her father Anu to send the Bull of Heaven to ravage the lands belonging to Gilgamesh, this new upstart with graces above his station. Enkidu, the wild man and the friend of Gilgamesh stopped the Bull in its tracks, killing it and allowing their followers to feed upon its flesh.

      In came to Inanna’s attention that somehow Gilgamesh had obtained immortality, but she was powerless to do anything about it because of the domestic strife caused by the death of the Bull.

      Gilgamesh, advised by Siduri, the goddess of Sumerian brewing to search for Utnapishtim, another mortal mistakenly gifted with immortality, so, with many adventures, Gilgamesh travelled to the ends of the Earth, in search of Utnapishtim, overcoming the scorpion-men, the eleven mighty helpers of the Egyptian Tiamat, or a Sumerian enchantress who could transform herself into a salt-water monster, the scorpion-men were her demons.

      The jewelled trees and the enchantresses of the forests and finally crossing the Sea of Death with his companions Enkidu & Ursanapi, eventually finding Utnapishtim living as a hermit in a coastal cave who told Gilgamesh that immortality was a curse instead of a blessing most probably bestowed upon him by Inanna.

      Reference used : Jacob Field.

    • #7684
      Beric
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      Mesopotamia Mythology :

      Mesopotamian civilisation was essentially urban, with people living in walled cities, yet it had an agrarian focus too, countryside given over to agriculture, the Mesopotamian citizens cultivated plots of lands within the city walls and rural outposts with no defence.

      Livestock being highly valued would graze outside and would daily be herded within the safety of the walls at night fall, in such a close-knit society the fertility of humans and their animals also the husbandry of their pastures like the Egyptians would have great cultural significance.

      The Mesopotamians constructed many shrines dedicated to their fertility goddesses, sometimes decorated with clay figurines, many myths, including ‘The Descent of Inanna’, the Queen of Heaven and the goddess of war and fertility, shrines dedicated to Inanna reflected the changing of the seasons and her personal fertility.

      Inanna was a great Mesopotamian deity, representing the realities around which life then revolved, fertility, procreation, sensuality, love and also the inevitable conflict of war, the goddess Inanna is mentioned in the earliest texts from the 4th millennium BCE, when she was the patron of the important city of Uruk in Sumer, now Southern Iraq.

      Inanna was the subject of several ancient myths and a poem called, as mentioned above, ‘The Descant of Inanna’, which relates how she, as the Queen of Heaven, was determined to visit her widowed sister Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld.

      Inanna hoped to attend the funeral rites of her sister’s husband knowing that her actions had led to his death, for Inanna had offered her hand in marriage to the heroic demi-god Gilgamesh, only to be met with rejection and mockery.

      She asked her father Anu, the sky god, to send the deity Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, who was her sister’s husband to take revenge on Gilgamesh, Gugalanna is visible in the night sky as the constellation known to the Romans as Taurus.

      Gugalanna had the power the shake the earth, to consume crops and dry river beds, Anu agreed to his daughter’s request, but Gilgamesh being a demigod who possessed superhuman strength, killed and dismembered Gugalanna, making Inanna a very unwelcomed guest at Gugalanna funeral rites.

      Reference used : Philip Wilkinson & Nicholas Pumphrey.

       

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