Ancient World Artifacts The Ancient civilization of Mesopotamia is chosen for the purpose of this study. The choice of this civilization is made on account of the various significant discoveries made during this period i.e. during 2000 - 1000 B.C.E; and the range of artifacts available for analysis which offers a unique opportunity for this study…
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It was during this civilization that important inventions such as the wheel, the art of writing and communication, and the development and construction of cities were made (Pollock, 1999, Pp.3). The civilization flourished between 4000 – 1200 B.C., although the development and settlement of civilizations began as far back as in the 7000 B.C.E. during which the ancient Mesopotamians first learned to farm and herd cattle for livelihood (Armstrong, 2002, Pp.1). The artifacts studied for the purpose of this paper, include: The Sickle sword and the Cylinder seal with modern impression of a winged horse, both of which belong to the middle Assyrian period. The Assyrians were known for their cuneiform writings / inscriptions on clay as well as other instruments. The cruciform form of writing was a way developed during this period to record history and is found in several historiographic documents during this period (Thomason, 2005, Pp. 51). Overview of the Objects:? i) The Sickle Sword 13th Century B.C. Middle Assyrian Period Source: www.metmuseum.org This curved sword belonged to the Middle Assyrian period, during the 1307 - 1275 B.C. in Mesopotamia. It is made of bronze and contains cuneiform inscriptions on it which mentions the name of the then ruler and King of Assyraia, thus indicating the period and the owner to whom it belongs. The sword has inscriptions on three different places i.e. on both the sides of the blade as well as on the edge / handle. It is called a ‘sickle’ sword because of its unusual curved shape (Bromiley, 1995, Pp. 1037). In ancient Mesopotamia almost all the swords used were sickle shaped and in fact, straight edged swords came into use much later after the end of the first millennium B.C.E. The unique quality about these sickle shaped swords was that they were considered to be very effective for slashing, rather than stabbing during warfare and the shape made it easier to harm the enemy (Bertman, 2003, Pp. 264; Bromiley, 1995). Another quality of these swords was that it was made from one single piece of metal, thus eliminating the need to attach a handle separately, which made it sturdier than the other types of swords (Gabriel, 1990, Pp. 44). The sickle sword first appeared during the Middle Bronze Age II in various places throughout Mesopotamia. It was believed to be an improvement from the battle axe which was used during the previous years. It was used during the reign of the Assyrian king Adadnirari I (Shalev, 2004, Pp. 55). ii.) Cylinder seal, 13th century B.C. Middle Assyrian period Source: www.metmuseum.org, Somervill, 2009, Pp. 22 These seals or 'stamps' were used during the middle Assyrian period as a way of stamping / signing important documents. The cylindrical object i.e. the pipe shaped objects were used to identify individuals. These seals were carved from various materials such as wood, limestone, ivory, and other similar hard materials / stones. The carving on each of these seals / stamps was unique just like signatures. The seals were used for marking goods, letters and for signing official documents. These cylinders first appeared during the 3500 B.C.E and were used continuously throughout the Assyrian period (Somervill, 2009, Pp. 22). These seals were considered to be one of the finest artifacts as well as a significant achievement of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. The cylinder seals were first created by the Sumerians and were used in the
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