Uruk – The world’s first city (6)

Posted: August 17, 2015 in Ancient Near Eastern History, History
Tags: ,
"Uruk3000BCE" by PHGCOM (2007). Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg#/media/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg

“Uruk3000BCE” by PHGCOM (2007). Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg#/media/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg

Uruk continued to be a prominent and influential city throughout the third millennia. When King Eannutum established the first proto- Empire in the region, he chose Uruk to be his capital and it remained the capital of the Lagash Empire for over 200 years until Sargon of Akkad brought it under the control of the Akkadian Empire in 2334 BCE. Sargon also seems to have revered the city and there is evidence during these early years of the Akkadian Empire the sacred districts continued in use and there is evidence of renovation within them from this time. This suggests that Uruk flourished under the rule of the Akkadians. The start of the city’s decline came about 1750 BCE with the invasion of the Elamites and the Amorites, although the city seems still to have maintained a significant role in the area and did not fare nearly as badly as many of its neighbours. In around 850 BCE, it became a provincial capital under the Assyrians and later the Babylonians, and this period marked a new revival of the city. A new Temple complex was added to the Anu district and we know from Babylonian records that this was one of the main centres for the study of astronomy. In addition to this new Temple site, the existing temples and canal system were restored. In 200 BC, a further Temple district was added to the city situated between the existing Anu and Ianna districts and was known as the great sanctuary of Ishtar. Ishtar being the Babylonian equivalent of Ianna. The invasion of the Parthians around 140 BCE, signalled the beginning of a second period of decline, one from which it would not recover.

Statue bearing an inscription on the back: "Satam, son of Lu-Barab, son of Lugal-kisal-si, king of Uruk, servant of Girim-si, prince of Uruk". Limestone, Early Dynastic III, ca. 2400 BC.by Unknown - Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg#/media/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg

Statue bearing an inscription on the back: “Satam, son of Lu-Barab, son of Lugal-kisal-si, king of Uruk, servant of Girim-si, prince of Uruk”. Limestone, Early Dynastic III, ca. 2400 BC.by Unknown – Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg#/media/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg

Use of the temples and settlement within the city does seems to have continued until the seventh century A.D, long after many of its neighbours been abandoned. Uruk was not finally abandoned as a settlement until after the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia around the year 630. It lay undisturbed until the site was discovered again in 1849 by William Kennet Loftus, who cvexcavated from 1850 to 1854. Further excavavtions on the site took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After that there have been sporadic one off digs mostly by German archaeologists. Most recently, from 2001 to 2002, the German Archaeological Institute team carried out a geo-physical survey using both ground techniques and satellite imagery, which have reveled new information about the layout of the city

Uruk (taken from www.pandorando.it)

Uruk (taken from http://www.pandorando.it)

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