A Closer Look at the Myths of Cities in Ancient West Asia

A Closer Look at the Myths of Cities in Ancient West Asia

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A Closer Look at the Myths of Cities in Ancient West Asia
The Mesopotamia cities of Uruk and Ur are cities of sacred and
monumental images. These cities of Mesopotamia have unique
characteristics, which go into the design of these two cities.
Monumental organization and planning was carried out only in the
centers and complexes of Mesopotamian cities. These centers were laid
out using axial planning (rectangular arrangements). These huge
centers contrast strikingly with the most important parts of the
cities, which were not planned at all. Housing areas grew from the
inside out, which made the house based on rooms around a central
courtyard.

Uruk culture (3200 to 2350 B.C.E) had two very important scores:
religion and science, which is confirmed by the thousands of clay
tablets, dug in it, which goes back to the beginning of the writing.
It was also the center of the worship of the goddess Inanna (goddess
of love and war). The Eanna precinct was dedicated to Inanna. A
ziqqurat was constructed under the command of King Ur Nammu (2112-2095
B.C.E). “To serve as an elevated platform for a temple to Inanna” (p.6
Primacy Source) Amid the rubble of temples in the Eanna precinct found
““Warka Vase,” an “ alabaster cult vessel 39 inches high with a scene
of priest- king making on offering to the goddess Inanna , which
symbolizes the religious roles that were produced in the Mesopotamian
city of Uruk. Uruk was renowned for its wall, which cuneiform texts
say were first built years ago by king Gilgamesh. The city in its
neighborhood is the ruins of a temple, which used for mural
ornamentation thousands if colored clay cones. Another temple in ruins
is one devoted to Anu.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the greatest pieces of literature from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia known to modern scholars. It was found among ruins in Ninevah in the form of twelve large tablets, dating from 2,000 B.

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C. This heroic poem is named for its hero, Gilgamesh, a tyrannical Babylonian king who ruled the city of Uruk. According to the myth, the gods responded to prayers and sent a wild brutish man, Enkidu, to challenge Gilgamesh to a wrestling match. When the contest ends, neither is victorious and the two become friends. They journey together and share many adventures. On an expedition to the west, they confront an evil monster, Humbaba. Enkidu slays Humbaba and in return, the gods take Enkidu’s life. Gilgamesh the mighty hero is then transformed into Gilgamesh the broken mortal. The pursuit of immortality leads Gilgamesh into further adventures. The most famous is his encounter with Utnapishtim, and ancient hero who had survived a tragic flood. His tale, recounted in the epic, bears many resemblances to the biblical story of the flood. Gilgamesh, following Utnapishim’s advice, finds a plant capable of rendering him immortal, only to have it stolen by a snake while he sleeps, exhausted from his quest. On this note, the epic ends. Gilgamesh’s search for immortality ends in vain, however his accounts were written on the walls of his great city.
               One of the other cities of Mesopotamia was Ur. The inner city had an irregularly shaped, surrounded by a huge mud-brick fort wall crowned by layers of fired bricks. The northern edge had a harbor linked to the river and the city gates where trading among, “Lebanon, India, Egypt, Afghanistan” (p.7 Primacy Source) occurred. The temple of Nanna, the moon God, the ziqqurat of Ur. The Sumerians built the Ziggurats, which has a form of a terraced pyramid of receding stories and shrine on the top, “ to serve as a vertical bond between heaven (god) and human (earth)” (Stockstad Bookp.72) and because of their similarity in appearance, they are often confused with Egyptian Pyramids.

The temples was originally approached by a triple stairway, the core
was said mud brick, the exterior of fired brick, and each with an
inscription: “Ur-Nammu, king of Ur, who built the temple of Nanna.”
King Ur Nammu had four levels each sitting on top of another created a
stepped pyramid,” (p.4) for the temple. On the top level was placed
the temple to Nanna. At the foot of the ziggurat was arrayed a vast
complex of sanctuaries, including a large courtyard temple (also
dedicated to Nanna) and various other cult buildings surrounding royal
palaces that housed the royal family and other nobles.
The most important structure to the city of Uruk had to be the temple
build for Inanna. A whole precinct dedicated t her, to show every0ne
the importance and holy temple. The ziqqurat build for Inanna shows
also the worshipping and dedication to Inanna. Another temple built in
ruins is the one devoted to Anu, god of the sky. Temples built to
honor such Gods shows importance and hierarchy towards the gods. The
most important city in Ur was the holy pyramid (Ziqqurat), which
contained all the major temples together with the magnificent 3- ;
eve; Ziqqurat built by Ur-Nammu, founder of the third Dynasty of Ur.
Another prominent building was the palace of the king Shulgi, son of
Ur-Nammu, located in the southern corner of the sacred area.
Mesopotamian cities, known as temple communities, performed both
political and religious roles, acting as mediators between the people
and the gods. The tale of West Asia is interesting because it
addresses many of humanity’s eternal questions, including the meaning
of friendship and the desire to be immortal. It also reflects ancient
history, religion, and culture.



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