بوابة عشتار

بوابة عشتار الموجودة حاليا في متحف برغامون ببرلين

هي البوابة الثامنة لمدينة بابل. بنيت هذه البوابة بأمر من الملك نبوخذنصر الثاني في سنة 575 ق.م. على الجانب الشمالي من المدينة. تم اكتشاف واستخراج هذه البوابة في اوائل القرن العشرين وأعيد تجميعها وبنائها كما هي معروضة اليوم في متحف برلين.

نبذة تاريخية:

الجدار الداخلي للبوابة أو جدار الإهداء – هذا  مابناه نبوخذ نصر ليدين له البشر

تم اهداء البوابة عند بنائها الى الآلهة عشتار، آلهة الحب والحرب والجنس لدى البابليين. بنيت البوابة باستخدام الطوب أو الآجر المزجج

 لتجسيد الحيوانان الخرافيان موشوشو (التنين) وأوروتس (الثور) في صفوف متوالية، وهما يمثلان أو يرمزان الى الإلهين مردوخ وأداد على الترتيب.

تم استخدام خشب الأرز المجلوب من غابات لبنان في صناعة سقف وابواب البوابة، كما هو مذكور في لوح الإهداء. وتم تغليف الجدران الخارجية للبوابة بحجر اللازورد ذو اللون الأزرق الغامق وهو من الأحجار ذات القدسية لدى البابليين. هذا اللون أعطى البوابة تألقا اضافيا وجعلها تتلألأ مثل الجوهرة تحت أشعة الشمس. أما شارع الموكب الذي يخترق البوابة والذي كانت تستعرض فيه المواكب العسكرية والدينية فقد بني جانبيه من الآجر المزجج ايضا لتجسيد 120 تمثالا للثور والتنين والأسد التي ترمز الى الآلهة مردوخ وأداد وعشتار على التوالي، مصفوفة بدقة متناهية على جانبي الشارع ومزينة بأزهار من الطوب المزجج بالأبيض والأصفر. كانت المواكب الدينية في أيام الأعياد تمر في هذا الشارع مخترقة البوابة وهي تحمل تماثيل تلك الالهة. كانت البوابة وهي جزء من سور المدينة تعد من عجائب الدنيا السبعة.

اكتشاف البوابة واعادة بنائها

تم اعادة بناء الجزء الخارجي من البوابة في متحف برغامون ببرلين في نهاية ثلاثينات القرن الماضي باستخدام ما استخرجه الباحث الألماني Robert Koldewey في تنقيباته في بابل. وهذا الجزء المعروض حاليا ببرلين يتضمن لوح الإهداء.

يبلغ ارتفاع البوابة 14 مترا وهي بعرض 30 مترا، تم استخراج معظمها بين 1902 – 1914.

أما الفضل الرئيسي لاكتشاف البوابة فيعود الى الباحث Claudius James Rich وهو بريطاني استقر في بغداد في بداية القرن التاسع عشر وكان مولعا بالتاريخ القديم وباستكشاف عجائب الدنيا السبعة، عمل جاهدا على تجميع كافة المعلومات التي تخص مدينة بابل ونشرها سنة 1915 في كتابه  topographical records of the ruins in Babylon الذي اعيد طبعه في بريطانيا ثلاثة مرات على الأقل.

معظم الباحثون الذين زاروا بابل في القرن التاسع عشر كانوا يعتقدون بأن الموقع هو قصر ملكي أثري وهذا ما أكدته بالفعل تنقيبات Koldewey الذي اكتشف قصري الملك نبوخذنصر الثاني والبوابة. كان Robert Koldewey آثاريا ناجحا يعمل لدى متحف برلين، وعمل على اكتشاف سرغول وتل هبا في لكش جنوب العراق سنة 1887 قبل أن ينتقل للعمل في بابل في 1899.

أعتمدت الأستكشافات البريطانية على حفر الأنفاق والخنادق لاستخراج اكثرما يمكن استخراجه من المقتنيات الاثرية على الرغم مما يصاحب هذه العملية من تدمير مباشر للمواقع الاثارية، في حين ركزت التنقيبات التي اجراها الالماني Koldewey وفريقه على جمع الالواح المسمارية والآجر المزجج بدلا من التنقيب في المباني الأثرية المعرضة للإنهيار. وبالرغم من الطبيعة التدميرية للتنقيبات الآثارية التي كانت سائدة في وقتها فقد عمل الفريق الباحث على توثيق المعلومات الاستكشافية بحرفية عالية ودقة متناهية لم تشهدها التنقيبات الآثارية التي سبقتها.

عمل Walter Andre وهو أحد مساعدي Koldewey الكثيرين، على توثيق الموقع واعادة بنائه على الخرائط من خلال عمله كرساما ومهندسا معماريا في فريق التنقيب، وتمكن بمساعدة Koldewey من تأسيس متحفا في بابل واصبح أول مديرا له.

واحدة من أعقد عمليات اعادة البناء التي تمت على مر العصور وأكثرها اثارة على الاطلاق هي عملية إعادة بناء بوابة عشتار وشارع الموكب في برلين. مئات من قطع الآجر المزجج الغير متكاملة تم رصفها بعناية ودقة مع مئات من القطع المفخورة الأخرى التي صنعت في برلين من خلال انشاء فرن خاص لهذا الغرض لتشكيل البوابة. كانت البوابة الاصيلة مكونة من بوابتين واحدة خلف الاخرى، لكن ما نراه معروضا اليوم هو الجزء الأمامي منها فقط.

تنتشر أجزاء عديدة من بوابة عشتار وتماثيل من الآجر المزجج لأسود شارع الموكب في العديد من متاحف العالم، فيما تملك أربعة منها فقط تمثالا للتنين موشوشو.  وهي موزعة بمجموعها على النحو التالي:

– متحف اسطنبول للآثار Istanbul Archaeology Museum يملك العديد من الأسود والثيران والتنانين

– متحف كوبنهاغن Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek في الدنمارك يملك تنينا واحدا وثورا واحدا وأسدا واحدا

– معهد ديترويت للفنون Detroit Institute of Arts في ولاية شيكاغو يملك تنينا واحدا

– متحف روشكا Röhsska Museum في مدينة جوتنبرج في السويد يملك تنينا واحدا واسدا واحدا

– أما باقي الأسود فهي موزعة على متحف اللوفرLouvre، متحف الفنون المصرية Museum of Egyptian Art  في ميونيخ، متحف الفنون التاريخية Kunsthistorisches Museum في فيينا، متحف اونتاريو الملكي Royal Ontario Museum في تورنتو، متحف المتروبولتان Metropolitan Museum of Art في نيويورك، متحف الشرق Oriental Institute في شيكاغو، متحف Rhode Island School of Design Museum جزيرة رود ايلاند، متحف الفنون الجميلة Museum of Fine Arts  في بوسطن ومتحف جامعة ييل Yale University Art Gallery في ولاية كناتكت كما أن هناك أسدا واحدا في حالة إعارة من متحف برلين الى المتحف البريطاني.

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An Introduction To Sumerian History

During the 5th millennium BC a people known as the Ubaidians established settlements in the region known later as Sumer; these settlements gradually developed into the chief Sumerian cities, namely Adab, Eridu, Isin, Kish, Kullab, Lagash, Larsa, Nippur, and Ur. Several centuries later, as the Ubaidian settlers prospered, Semites from Syrian and Arabian deserts began to infiltrate, both as peaceful immigrants and as raiders in quest of booty. After about 3250 BC, another people migrated from its homeland, located probably northeast of Mesopotamia, and began to intermarry with the native population. The newcomers, who became known as Sumerians, spoke an agglutinative language unrelated apparently to any other known language.

In the centuries that followed the immigration of the Sumerians, the country grew rich and powerful. Art and architecture, crafts, and religious and ethical thought flourished. The Sumerian language became the prevailing speech of the land, and the people here developed the cuneiform script, a system of writing on clay. This script was to become the basic means of written communication throughout the Middle East for about 2000 years.

The first Sumerian ruler of historical record, Etana, king of Kish (flourished about 2800 BC), was described in a document written centuries later as the “man who stabilized all the lands.” Shortly after his reign ended, a king named Meskiaggasher founded a rival dynasty at Erech (Uruk), far to the south of Kish. Meskiaggasher, who won control of the region extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Zagros Mountains, was succeeded by his son Enmerkar (flourished about 2750 BC). The latter’s reign was notable for an expedition against Aratta, a city-state far to the northeast of Mesopotamia. Enmerkar was succeeded by Lugalbanda, one of his military leaders. The exploits and conquests of Enmerkar and Lugalbanda form the subject of a cycle of epic tales constituting the most important source of information on early Sumerian history.

At the end of Lugalbanda’s reign, Enmebaragesi (flourished about 2700 BC), a king of the Etana dynasty at Kish, became the leading ruler of Sumer. His outstanding achievements included a victory over the country of Elam and the construction at Nippur of the Temple of Enlil, the leading deity of the Sumerian pantheon. Nippur gradually became the spiritual and cultural center of Sumer.

Enmebaragesi’s son Agga (probably died before 2650 BC), the last ruler of the Etana dynasty, was defeated by Mesanepada, king of Ur (fl. about 2670 BC), who founded the so-called 1st Dynasty of Ur and made Ur the capital of Sumer. Soon after the death of Mesanepada, the city of Erech achieved a position of political prominence under the leadership of Gilgamesh (flourished about 2700-2650 BC), whose deeds are celebrated in stories and legends.

Painting of Sumerian people bringing a gilded statue to their temple.

Sometime before the 25th century bc the Sumerian Empire, under the leadership of Lugalanemundu of Adab (flourished about 2525-2500 BC), was extended from the Zagros to the Taurus mountains and from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. Subsequently the empire was ruled by Mesilim (fl. about 2500 BC), king of Kish. By the end of his reign, Sumer had begun to decline. The Sumerian city-states engaged in constant internecine struggle, exhausting their military resources. Eannatum (fl. about 2425 BC), one of the rulers of Lagash, succeeded in extending his rule throughout Sumer and some of the neighboring lands. His success, however, was short-lived. The last of his successors, Uruinimgina (fl. about 2365 BC), who was noteworthy for instituting many social reforms, was defeated by Lugalzagesi (reigned about 2370-2347 BC), the governor of the neighboring city-state of Umma. Thereafter, for about 20 years, Lugalzagesi was the most powerful ruler in the Middle East.

By the 23rd century bc the power of the Sumerians had declined to such an extent that they could no longer defend themselves against foreign invasion. The Semitic ruler Sargon I (reigned about 2335-2279 BC), called The Great, succeeded in conquering the entire country. Sargon founded a new capital, called Agade, in the far north of Sumer and made it the richest and most powerful city in the world. The people of northern Sumer and the conquering invaders, fusing gradually, became known ethnically and linguistically as Akkadians. The land of Sumer acquired the composite name Sumer and Akkad.

The Akkadian dynasty lasted about a century. During the reign of Sargon’s grandson, Naram-Sin (r. about 2255-2218 BC), the Gutians, a belligerent people from the Zagros Mountains, sacked and destroyed the city of Agade. They then subjugated and laid waste the whole of Sumer. After several generations the Sumerians threw off the Gutian yoke. The city of Lagash again achieved prominence, particularly during the reign of Gudea (circa 2144-2124 BC), an extraordinarily pious and capable governor. Because numerous statues of Gudea have been recovered, he has become the Sumerian best known to the modern world. The Sumerians achieved complete independence from the Gutians when Utuhegal, king of Erech (reigned about 2120-2112 BC), won a decisive victory later celebrated in Sumerian literature.

One of Utuhegal’s generals, Ur-Nammu (r. 2113-2095 BC), founded the 3rd Dynasty of Ur. In addition to being a successful military leader, he was also a social reformer and the originator of a law code that antedates that of the Babylonian king Hammurabi by about three centuries (see Hammurabi, Code of). Ur-Nammu’s son Shulgi (r. 2095-2047 BC) was a successful soldier, a skillful diplomat, and a patron of literature. During his reign the schools and academies of the kingdom flourished.

Before the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC the Amorites, Semitic nomads from the desert to the west of Sumer and Akkad, invaded the kingdom. They gradually became masters of such important cities as Isin and Larsa. The resultant widespread political disorder and confusion encouraged the Elamites to attack (circa 2004 BC) Ur and to take into captivity its last ruler, Ibbi-Sin (r. 2029-2004 BC).

During the centuries following the fall of Ur bitter intercity struggle for the control of Sumer and Akkad occurred, first between Isin and Larsa and later between Larsa and Babylon. Hammurabi of Babylon defeated Rim-Sin of Larsa (r. about 1823-1763 BC) and became the sole ruler of Sumer and Akkad. This date probably marks the end of the Sumerian state. Sumerian civilization, however, was adopted almost in its entirety by Babylonia.

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Ningirsu Son of Gudea

Ur-Ningirsuensi of Lagash, circa 2120 – 2113 B.C.

Ur-Ningirsu was the son of Gudea, the ensi (ruler, governor) of Lagash. Gudea reigned during difficult and dangerous times. The Akkadian Empire, which had ruled Sumer for 200 years, had been overrun by the Gutians, nomadic tribesman from the north. The Gutians also conquered parts of Sumer. Despite the political instability of the region, Gudea managed to give his citizens twenty years of peace and prosperity. The people of Lagash also enjoyed an artistic renaissance during his reign.

In 1924, the Louvre Museum acquired the body of this statuette from clandestine excavations in Telloh; the head, which entered into a private American collection, was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1947. Since 1974, an agreement between the two museums allows the sculpture to be displayed in its entirety in Paris then in New York alternately, for a period of five years.
 The base of this statue of the Prince of Lagash is engraved with kneeling tribute bearers.
It illustrates these words of the psalmist that the Apostle Paul was to apply to Jesus Christ: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is:“Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” – Psalm 110:1

 

The “years names” of Ur-Ningirsu’s reign:

The Sumerians did not have a single comprehensive calendar for the entire nation. Instead, each city-state had its own individual calendar based on the reign of its monarch. The years were not numbered (e.g., 2013). Rather, each year was named for an important event that occurred within it.

The year Ur-Ningirsu became governor

The year after Ur-Ningirsu became governor

Year in which the šita-abba priest was chosen by means of the omens

Year in which the lumah priest of Baba was chosen by means of the omens

Year in which the high priestess of Iškur was chosen by means of the omens

Year the throne bearer of the god Ningirsu was chosen

Year in which the city of Uruk was destroyed

The first thing noticeable about this list is the second year of Ur-Ningirsu’s reign, “the year after Ur-Ningirsu became governor”. Although it wasn’t unusual for a Sumerian year name to be titled “the year after” an important event, this suggests there were no accomplishments in Ur-Ningirsu’s second year that were worthy of mention. By contrast, Gudea’s second year was named “the year in which the canal Ningirsu-ushumgal (‘Ningirsu is a dragon’) was dug.” Ur-Namma’s second year was “the year in which Ur-Namma the king put in order the ways (of the people in the country) from below to above.” The lack of any major accomplishments in Ur-Ningirsu’s second year may be due to his youth and inexperience. He was quite young when he became a king.

The second thing noticeable about the year names is the preponderance of religious themes. Although Sumerian year names frequently mention religion, in Ur-Ningirsu’s reign there is little mention of anything else. There is no political agenda, such as “the year Ur-Namma made justice in the land” or the year that he built a defensive wall around the city of Ur. Notably absent from the year names of Ur-Ningirsu is a reference to major building projects, like the digging of a canal, the construction of a new temple, or the completion of a city wall. Also missing is any reference to war. He was named for the god of war (Ningirsu), and his statue shows humble emissaries at his feet offering him tribute, but there is no record of him being involved in wars of foreign conquest or civil wars against other Sumerian city-states. Although the year names indicate that Ur-Ningirsu was deeply religious like his father, it seems likely that Ur-Ningirsu would have added other non-religious year names (that dealt with war, politics, and justice) had he lived longer.

This leads to the third thing noticeable about the list. It is a very short list. Ur-Ningirsu reigned for only seven years. He was quite young when he died.

There is some debate about the final year name, “the year in which the city of Uruk was destroyed” (by the Gutians). Some scholars think it occurred during the reign of Gudea rather than Ur-Ningirsu. In either case, it is a significant event. Uruk was the city of Utu-hengal. His seven year reign is roughly contemporaneous with that of Ur-Ningirsu. Along with his young military governor, Ur-Namma, Utu-hengal won a major victory over the Gutians, capturing
their king Tirigan and two of his generals. This was the beginning of Sumerian independence
after two centuries of foreign domination. Even so, the Gutians continued to be a threat.
Ur-Namma fought them again after he became the king of Ur; one of his year names was
called, “the year Gutium was destroyed”. He would later die in combat in yet another battle
with the Gutians.

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