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Mesopotamia

The land between rivers, where the SUmerians lived ("cradle of civilization")

Ziggurats

Tall stepped platforms which rose up to the heavens (for deity worship); examples include the Tower of Babylon

Standard of Ur

A foursided rectangular box with 18-inch wide side panels depicting figures from all classes of Sumerican society. It is the first work of art to tell a narrative story and divide panels into registers. It also uses hierarchical scale.

Victory Stele of Naram-Sin

A stele commemorating Naram-Sin's military victories. Naram Sin wears a horned helmet symbolizing divinity, and the work uses hierarchical scale.

Registers

Horizontal bands which divide panels to organize a story (used, for example, in the Standard of Ur)

Hierarchical Scale

A technique which uses size to indicate a ruler's high status. (Most important figure is largest)

Stele

An upright stone slab or pillar (for example: Naram-Sin's)

Hammurabi's Code

An 8 foot stele containing more than 3500 lines of cuneiform characters which held the world's first code of law.

Bas

Low relief

Lamassu

Winged five-legged bulls with human heads. Considered divine guardians in Assyria.

Dying Lioness

A low-relief panel from Assyria depicting a wounded lion fierced by three arrows.

Ishtar Gate

A wonder at Babylon named for Ishtar, the goddess of love, fertility and war.

Apadama

An enormous audience hall (such as the one in the citadel at Persepolis)

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through Flickr.com. Click to see the original works with their full license.

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