Tag: spring 2015

A Glimpse into the Mysterious Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Hanging Garden of BabylonLong ago in ancient times many cities were developed in the desert despite the inhospitable environment it provided. During this time mankind not only prevailed in this harsh environment, they thrived in it, building the most miraculous cities known to this day. Some of these cities were so spectacular that they are renowned as part of the ancient wonders of the world. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are one of the seven marvelous spectacles that existed in this time period with exotic flowers and other greenery cascading from the heavens. This city demanded attention and has been documented by many with its towering walls and beautiful landscape overlooking a vast, dry desert,  although its existence is still questionable today.

As the story tales by ancient sources the nature and idea of building this unbelievable feat came about through the King Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BC. The city was constructed for his wife Amytis because she was homesick from her verdant and mountainous homeland Media. She was depressed from the flat and arid landscape of Babylon, thus the elaborate garden was constructed to replicate her lush homeland (Ancient History).

New evidence provided by an 18 year study by Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University has concluded that the gardens were not built by the Babylonians but instead by the Assyrians in the north Mesopotamia. She believes that this unbelievable feature was achieved by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. Sennacherib describes his city as an “unrivaled palace” and a “wonder for all peoples.” He goes on to describe the water – raising screw made using the new method of casting bronze. “Dalley said this was part of a complex system of canals, dams and aqueducts to bring mountain water from streams 50 miles away to the citadel of Nineveh and the hanging garden. The script records water being drawn up “all day” (The Guardian).

“A vast labour force was put to work producing mud bricks in uncountable numbers which, under the supervision of the royal architects, became palaces, temples, gates and magnificent city walls, on a scale that must have overawed visiting dignitaries and subject people alike. A particular hallmark of this architecture was the use of blue glazed bricks to face the most imposing monumnets, while similar bricks with moulded reliefs of lions, bulls and dragons were added to reinforce the splendour and power of the king’s city (Clayton and Price).”

Herodotus, a greek historian, wrote “ In addition to its size Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.” “Herodotus claimed the outer walls were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. Wide enough, he said, to allow two four-horse chariots to pass each other. The city also had inner walls which were “not so thick as the first, but harshly less strong.” Inside these doubled walls were fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold. Rising above the city was the famous  Tower of Babel, a temple to the god Marduk, that seemed to reach to the heavens.” Although, archaeological excavations have disputed many of his claims (unmuseums). Berossus is the only writer to credit the king Nebuchadnezzar II with the construction of the Hanging Gardens by saying “In this palace he erected very high walks, supported by stone pillars; and by planting what was called a pensile paradise, and replenishing it with all sorts of trees, he rendered the prospect an exact resemblance of a mountainous country. This he did to gratify his queen, because she had been brought up in Media, and was fond of a mountainous situation.”

Diodorus Siculus, a writer from 60-30 BC, describes the city, “The park extended fourplethra on each side, and since the approach to the garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier, the appearance of the whole resembled that of a theatre. When the ascending terraces had been built, there had been constructed beneath them galleries which carried the entire weight of the planted garden and rose little by little one above the other along the approach; and the uppermost gallery, which was fifty cubits high, bore the highest surface of the park, which was made level with the circuit wall of the battlements of the city. Furthermore, the walls, which had been constructed at great expense, were twenty-two feet thick, while the passage-way between each two walls was ten feet wide. The roof above these beams had first a layer of reedslaid in great quantities of bitumen, over this two courses of baked brick bonded bycement, and as a third layer of covering of lead, to the end that the moisture from the soil might not penetrate beneath. On all this again earth had been piled to a depth sufficient for the roots of the largest trees; and the ground, when levelled off, was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great size or other charm, could give pleasure to the beholder. And since the galleries, each projecting beyond another, all received the light, they contained many royal lodgings of every description; and there was one gallery which contained openings leading from the topmost surface and machines for supplying the gardens with water, the machines raising the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it being done. Now this park, as I have said, was a later construction.” 

Quintus Curtius Rufus, active in the 1st century AD, referred to the writings of Cleitharchus when writing his own documentation about the Hanging Gardens describing it, “The Babylonians also have a citadel twenty stades in circumference. The foundations of its turrets are sunk thirty feet into the ground and the fortifications rise eighty feet above it at the highest point. On its summit are the hanging gardens, a wonder celebrated by the fables of the Greeks. They are as high as the top of the walls and owe their charm to the shade of many tall trees. The columns supporting the whole edifice are built of rock, and on top of them is a flat surface of squared stones strong enough to bear the deep layer of earth placed upon it and the water used for irrigating it. So stout are the trees the structure supports that their trunks are eight cubits thick and their height as much as fifty feet; they bear fruit as abundantly as if they were growing in their natural environment. And although time with its gradual decaying processes is as destructive to nature’s works as to man’s, even so this edifice survives undamaged, despite being subjected to the pressure of so many tree-roots and the strain of bearing the weight of such a huge forest. It has a substructure of walls twenty feet thick at eleven foot intervals, so that from a distance one has the impression of woods overhanging their native mountains. Tradition has it that it is the work of a Syrian king who ruled from Babylon. He built it out of love for his wife who missed the woods and forests in this flat country and persuaded her husband to imitate nature’s beauty with a structure of this kind.”

Based of the lost account of Onesicritus Strabo from 64 BC – 21 AD describes the gardens, “Babylon, too, lies in a plain; and the circuit of its wall is three hundred and eighty-five stadia. The thickness of its wall is thirty-two feet; the height thereof between the towers is fifty cubits; that of the towers is sixty cubits; and the passage on top of the wall is such that four-horse chariots can easily pass one another; and it is on this account that this and the hanging garden are called one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The garden is quadrangular in shape, and each side is four plethra in length. It consists of arched vaults, which are situated, one after another, on checkered, cube-like foundations. The checkered foundations, which are hollowed out, are covered so deep with earth that they admit of the largest of trees, having been constructed of baked brick and asphalt – the foundations themselves and the vaults and the arches. The ascent to the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway; and alongside these stairs there were screws, through which the water was continually conducted up into the garden from the Euphrates by those appointed for this purpose, for the river, a stadium in width, flows through the middle of the city; and the garden is on the bank of the river (World Public Library).”

To date there is no archeological evidence proving the existence of the Hanging Gardens in Babylon, even with Dallas’ research concluding a huge garden was built by the Assyrians the true identity and whereabouts of this remarkable city are still unknown. However, there are accounts documenting this marvelous city and therefore allow it to remain as one of the ancient wonders of the world.






Final Research Project: Every Empire Needs an Emperor

Shelby Watford

ARH 351

Final Research Paper

21 April 2015

Every Empire Needs an Emperor

Throughout the class we have learned about many different cultures and early civilizations. In essentially every one there was a period when a strong ruler came into power and created an empire, or at least stabilized the culture for an extended period under their rule. Specifically I will analyze the similarities and differences between the Greek empire that rose and fell under the rule of Alexander the Great, and the Roman Empire that emerged under the rule of Augustus Caesar. The Romans most definitely learned and adopted many traditions, styles and culture from the Greeks, but always changing them to give it a Roman twist. The building of an empire is no different. Augustus had to have been thinking of Alexander and how his empire fell after his death, so his Roman twist was building an empire that would last past his death. A few of the works that will be examined are: the Portrait of Alexander the Great, Portrait Bust of Cato the Elder and the Augustus Primaporta.


One major thing that Alexander and Augustus had in common was their influential fathers and the foundation each of them laid for their sons to take charge. Augustus’s father Julius was actually his great uncle who adopted him when his name was Octavius, it became Octavian after adoption and in 26 BCE the senate granted him the name Augustus meaning “the exalted.” Alexander, however, was raised by his birth father King Philip II to be a great leader. Aristotle tutored Alexander from an extremely early age, and at eighteen he took over as leader of the Companion Cavalry to assist his father in defeating the Athenians and the Thebans at the battle of Chaeronea. Leading up to this point King Philip had came to power in 360 BCE and in less than a decade defeated most of Macedonia’s neighboring enemies. Philip put lots of interest on innovations in military technology such as catapults and siege machines, innovations such as these laid the ground work for what Alexander would go on to do. The battle of Chaeronea was the last phase of Philip’s plan to become the sole ruler of Greece, and with the help of Alexander he accomplished it. Shortly thereafter in 336 BCE Philip was assassinated. It was now time for Alexander to take charge, and he had his father to thank for the prime foundation to expand and conquer. (Hemingway)


Augustus was not brought up the same way as Alexander. His great uncle Julius Caesar, the last ruler of the Roman Republic, adopted Augustus. Julius had laid the groundwork in similar fashion the way Philip did for Alexander, and was also assassinated before his own rule could actually begin. It wasn’t until the death of Julius that Augustus learned he was being adopted and named chief personal heir, Augustus was eighteen at the time. Augustus was involved in celebrating public games, which had been instituted by Julius, to incorporate himself into the city populous. He succeeded in winning over a substantial number of Julius’s troops to join his alliance. Essentially the main thing Julius did for Augustus was adopt him; from there Augustus made the calls. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Soon after Augustus had won over the troops the Senate called on him for help against Antony, who was then forced to head Gaul. Augustus then made an agreement with Antony and Marcus Ledipus in which each of them got a five-year doctoral appointment to see over the reconstruction of the state. They came up with a list of political enemies and proceeded to take them out. They executed 300 senators and 2,000 knights who ranked just below the senators. Augustus continued his progression towards becoming emperor by becoming such a successful military leader, though he had some low points along the way such as his first operations against Sextus Sicilian. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Augustus finally assumed full control of Rome after he defeated Antony’s ships at the battle of Actium in 31 BCE. As a result of the battle Antony fled with his lover Queen Cleopatra of Egypt who had come to his aid but failed miserably. The couple escaped to Egypt where they then committed suicide. With his opponents now dead, Augustus was the undisputed ruler of Rome. (Fagan)


Now that the foundation has been laid, it’s time to examine the reign of each ruler once they took power. As mentioned earlier Alexander had already become a commander at eighteen; by the age twenty he was king, and by twenty-six he had conquered the Persian Empire. Alexander died at the age of thirty-two, so the fact that he was able to expand the empire so vastly in such a short amount of time speaks volumes to his brilliance as a military leader. However, Alexander was lacking in some other areas like politics and regulation as his main interest, really his only interest was conquest. Alexander’s ambition was unmatched, but his popularity was not so great during his rule. Alexander was actually quite hated among many of the Greeks, one Athenian orator had this to see when he learned of Alexander’s death, “What? Alexander dead? Impossible! The world would reek of his corpse!” Essentially Alexander was simply interested in expanding the empire just because he could, and he has his father to thank for that because without the foundation he laid for Alexander, none of it would have been possible. (Foner)


Augustus was much more politically driven than Alexander. After he defeated Antony in 31 BCE he spent the next four years securing his rule on almost every front, he seized Cleopatra’s treasure, which allowed him to pay his soldiers handsomely to insure their loyalty. To ease the minds of the senate and other powerful classes Augustus passed laws that seemed to stretch back to the Roman Republic. He also put a significant amount of effort into the improvement and beautification of the city of Rome in order to win over the general public. Augustus reigned for forty years, basically doubled the size of the empire by adding new territories in both Europe and Asia and locking down alliances to secure his territory from Britain to India. Much of his time was spent on the move as he was strengthening his power in the provinces by establishing a census and tax system that would span the whole empire. This system led to the expansion of road networks throughout the empire, the foundation of the Praetorian Guard and the Roman Postal Service. He also built a new forum and added more practical services such as a police force and fire departments. Augustus knew he had to have the military might to first become emperor, but it was his political genius that made him such an effective ruler. (History.com Staff)


When looking at the Portrait of Alexander the Great by Lysippos the first thing that one should notice is Alexander is depicted clean-shaven. This was a huge statement because all portraits done before depicting Greek statesmen or rulers had beards. This marked a shift in royal fashion in art that stood for nearly five hundred years. That being true it highly impacted depictions of Augustus because it spanned well into the Roman Empire. The portrait discussed is one of just a few, mainly due to Alexander only choosing a small number of artist to depict his image, the biggest name being Lysippos. No paintings of Alexander survive, only sculptures and coins. The early depictions of Alexander make him appear more god-like due to his young appearance, long hair, but it does resemble his description in literary sources. Also, Alexander was young throughout his rule dying at thirty-two as mentioned earlier, so the depictions of a young Alexander would make sense because much of conquering was done early on when he was in his twenties. Later on, after his death, depictions began to show him as older and more mature; the sculptures of his younger self were done while he was alive. (British Museum Staff)


Another work that was influenced by the style change under Alexander is the Portrait Bust of Cato the Elder from the Roman Republic; the influence spans into the Roman Empire extensively, but the work analyzed in class is the Augustus Primaporta. The sculpture of Augustus reflects the more individualized and detailed depiction of the face shown in the bust of Cato. The Augustus Primaporta was most likely commissioned by Augustus’s adopted son Tiberius. It is definitely more individualized than the Portrait of Alexander the Great, but the influence is still extremely obvious. One difference besides the facial features being more detailed is Augustus is shown with shorter hair when compared to depictions of Alexander. (Museos Vaticanos)


Everything considered Alexander the Great’s success can credited in part to his father for laying the foundation needed with numerous innovations and advances in military, then the young ambitious ruler set out to conquer with all his resources and never looked back. Similarly Augustus owes partial credit to Julius Caesar for doing him the tremendous favor of adopting him and naming him heir; Augustus took advantage of the opportunity, but was genius in the way he maneuvered to gain complete control of Roman and began a lasting empire. The influence of art from Alexander the Great can be seen in the art of both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Overall the Roman Empire under Augustus has many similarities with Greece under Alexander the Great ranging from origins of the respective empires to the art depicting the rulers.


Works Cited

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Augustus”, accessed April 20, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/43047/Augustus.

Hemingway, Colette and Seán Hemingway. “The Rise of Macedonia and the

Conquests of Alexander the Great”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.

New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/alex/hd_alex.htm (October 2004)

Fagan, Garrett G. “Augustus (31 B.C. – 14 A.D.)”


Foner, Eric and Garraty, John A. “Alexander the Great.” Houghton Mifflin

Harcourt Publishing Company, 1991.


History.com Staff, “Augustus” 2009. A&E Networks, 2009.


British Museum Staff, “Portrait of Alexander the Great.”


Museos Vaticanos, “Augustus of Prima Porta.”


Egyptian Mortuary Temple reconstruction


imageedit_10_6457030866Reconstruction of a Mastaba

           By Connor Carraway

The ancient Egyptians were one of the most architecturally gifted people of the ancient world. Their most noticeable contributions being the care they put into building their tombs. From the greatest of pyramids in Giza, to the humble mastaba were worked on by expert builders so they could serve one purpose, to withstand the harsh ravages of the sands of time. The Egyptians believed that the body must be intact for the deceased’s soul may live in the afterlife, and these tombs in addition to being created in the memory of the deceased, also serves as a protection for the deceased’s body. imageedit_3_8726632542

The exterior to this tomb is guarded by two statues depicting the ancient Egyptian god of embalming, Anubis. Behind the statues is a row of Obelisks that lead up into the doorway, and into the dark halls of the tomb.


The inside of the tomb is nearly pitch black, and that darkness is amplified upon entering from the sunlit outside, emulating a portal from the world of the living, and into the world of the dead. It is through here that the family and friends of the deceased would traverse in order to pay respects, and tributes for the ka.


The dark halls open up to a small mortuary chapel, where a totem, or serdab is placed. A serdab is a statue or totem that depicts the image of the deceased which is meant to house the ka, the deceased’s link to the world of the living. The ka needs to be able to live in the world of the living so the spirit can exist in the afterlife, and it serves as an image for the family so they can feel like the deceased is there and accepting their tributes.


It is believed that there were treasure chambers full of equipment that had would’ve been used by the spirit in the afterlife. These treasures could range anywhere from the practical including foods and incense, and the ornate including statues, and benches. Unfortunately many treasures have been lost to the likes of grave robbers over the millennia, creating the need to come up with plans to prevent robbing, and most importantly, a way to protect the body.


The tomb architects decided not to place the sarcophagus under the main chamber, as that would prove an easy target for the grave robbers. Instead they would place the burial chamber in a different section of the mastaba, and to confuse the would be thieves even further, they would build false chambers that would lead into a dead end.


Meanwhile the sarcophagus would rest in an isolated chamber, and there it was there that the earthly remains of the deceased could rest in and their spirit could proceed into the afterlife and live there in peace for all of eternity.





1. ” The Mastaba (Tomb) of Idu At Giza in Egypt” Accessed April 21 2015. http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/idut.htm

2. “Serdab” Accessed April 21 2015. http://www.saqqara.nl/context/glossary/serdab

3. “Mastaba” Last modified July 15 2014. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/368650/mastaba

4. ” Anubis” Last modified April 16 2014 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/29015/Anubis

Reconstruction of the White Temple

Busy Hopper

The White Temple is one of the few ziggurat structures that left enough remains to give a hint to what it could have looked like when it was first built. This famous temple was built for the Mesopotamian god, Anu, around mid 3000 BCE (Gates). These ziggurats were unique because of the trend of this period to place a deity as the owner of a city (Mark). Therefore, the temple of these gods would be the center of town, the largest structure, and could have been seen from beyond the city’s fortress to foreigners (Ruins). Reconstruction of the White Temple exhibits all of these Mesopotamia characteristics, which helps us better understand the importance of religion to this society.

Reconstruction of the White Temple on the Anu Ziggurat
A virtual representation of the reconstructed White Temple.http://www.artefacts-berlin.de/en/uruk-visualisation-project-the-white-temple/

For this reconstruction, the rebuilding of what the White Temple should have resembled could better help with the understanding of the Sumerian religion. Ziggurats were made of mud-brick during this time and often would be high enough to be the tallest structure in the city. The Anu Ziggurat (the base of the White Temple) is a polygonal shape, which is different because of the complicated staircase that was created to reach the terrace around the White Temple (Uruk). The staircase and walkway were built in a way so that the entire city would have been able to see the people walking up to the terrace. This is important because it would have been imperative to the city people to broadcast to the town that they were visiting Anu, the sky god. However, only a few were allowed into the White Temple to be a part of the sacrifices and religious ceremonies, most likely the priest and important leaders (Ruins). The White Temple stood forty feet above the city level oriented by the corners to the cardinal points of a compass (Gardner 34). It would have been made of mud-brick as well, but since this is not attractive to the eye, the temple was covered in white plaster. The interior of the temple would have had a central hall leading to an altar (Gardner 33). These temples were often seen as the gateway between the gods and earth, so Anu would have descended to the altar in this divine hall. These are the key elements that make up the layout of the reconstruction of the White Temple. Though we cannot be certain this is the exact layout of the White Temple, it does fit in with the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. There were enough remains to also suggest to this kind of setup, as well as a small temple model that was found in the White Temple during excavation (Uruk).

This reconstruction aids historians in understanding why the layout of the White Temple can White Temple Reconstructed
describe so much about the culture of this society in relation to religion. Religion was the most important aspect of life for Sumerians, so it makes sense that the temple to their deity would have been the largest structure. Also, mountains and high structures such as this temple would have been seen as a sacred high place between heaven and earth. But, not only were there religious ceremonies held in the temple, but also this would have been where the leaders met for executive and economic meetings (Gardner 33). The terrace had a surface area of about 45 x 50 m, which alludes to the encouragement for the townspeople to come up to this area and praise Anu (Uruk). Even though most people did not go into the actual temple, they were definitely encouraged to visit the temple and observe rituals. The layout of the temple suggest to many offerings to the altar where Anu would have descended down to before the priest (Gates). The layout of the White Temple exhibits that there was a necessity for the people to be seen by the city and by the gods visiting their deity. The governmental backbone was even focused around religion, and it is clear from the layout of the White temple that administrative meetings would have also been held in this sacred temple. The height and large-scale of the White temple being above the fortress wall is the prime explanation to the importance of religion. The Sumerians would have wanted anyone passing outside their city to see the White Temple and know this town belonged to the deity, Anu.

Reconstructions like this can help historians today better understand the Sumerians based on these specific structures. Each choice made in building the White Temple suggested to a religious motive driving that architectural decision. By looking at other Mesopotamian structures and the remains, we can come close to an accurate setup to help us understand these decisions. The White Temple is a perfect example of rebuilding a structure from history, so that we can learn more about the history from that time period.

Works Cited:

1. Gardner, Helen, and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.

2. Gates, Charles, and Neslihan Yılmaz. Ancient Cities: The Archaeology of Urban Life in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011. Print.

3. Mark, Joshua J. “Uruk.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 28 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. 4. “Ruins of the White Temple and Ziggurat.” Art Through Time: A Global View. Annenberg Learner, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

5. “Uruk Visualisation Project: The White Temple.” Artefacts – Scientific Illustration & Archaeological Reconstruction. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

The Elgin Marbles debate



Those Marbles Should Stay at The British Museum


Although many people in the world hold the opinion that those marbles should go to Athens, I’d like to defence my position that those marbles should be preserved in the British museum.

First, the beautiful Acropolis Museum should not be considered as the primary factor for those marbles return to Athens. No one can doubt that this museum is designed for those marbles. And this museum is perfectly matched with Parthenon. we can sure that this place will make British museum jealousy. However, there are some factors, which are more importance than constructions.Let us make an example, I was adopted by an American family for thirteen years, Now my biological parents build a fancy house for this my coming. Do you think that I should come back to china? I would stay at Unite State because I will not gamble my further for a beautiful house. So my point is finding a good place for those marble is not finding a place to store them, it relates to many factors like economic factors, the stability of the government and people’s education. We all know that The economic situation of Greece is very bad. No one could predict what will happen in the further.we must keep in mind that those are not just marbles, it is something about cultural .it recorded the history of our ancestors. No one have the rights put them into the “uncertain further.”
Maybe history can give us some clue to our decision: the Parthenon was a Gunpowder magazine. And it was almost destroyed. On the other hand, the British museum has the great reputation for those marbles safety. Even during the WWII, those marbles remains intact

Second, British is a great place to spread ideas behind those marbles. We know that Brith museum is famous for its large collections. We know that to finish a research, scholars have to reference many others art pieces, it is a good experience surround by thousands great art works.what’s more , British have gathered hundreds of scholars who are specialized in those marbles. BBC is one of the powerful media which have documented those marbles and spread them around the world.

Wha’s more, it is very hard to define the “right of attribution” of those marbles. We know that Elgin have brought them from Athens . just like American bought Alaska from Russian at a very low price. Is that make sense to return back Alaska to Russian?


Ma Lijun

Works Cited

 Kimmelman, Michael. “Elgin Marble Argument in a New Light.” The New York Times, June 2009.

McGuigan, Cathleen. “Romancing the Stones.” Newsweek, June  2009.

“The Parthenon Sculptures.” The British Museum. http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_ua/news_and_press/statements/parthenon_sculpture. s.aspx.

The Elgin Marbles

Connor Carraway


2 April, 2015

ARH 351

Lord Elgin’s decision to take historic antiquities from the Parthenon back to England has been a source for controversy ever since the 19th century. Today Greece is still requesting for the U.K. to return the pieces of their cultural history, but the U.K. still refuses to send the Elgin Marbles back to their homeland. The U.K. has claimed that they can’t send the marbles back to Greece, because they don’t have a proper place to store them, but that has since been rectified by Greece after the construction of the Acropolis Museum, however the U.K. still claims that the marbles still belong to them.

I believe that the courts do have the power to make a ruling on this issue, and that the Greece does have claim over the marbles. If Greece was able to make a claim that the Elgin Marbles have a proper storage place, and that they are able to safely travel from the U.K. to Greece, then there shouldn’t be much of a problem by returning the marbles to their place of creation. Greece has the greater claim in this situation, for the marbles are relics of their culture’s history.

In the debate over moral rights vs. legal rights ownership, I believe that a legal right of ownership is the more poignant approach. The difference is that a court will be more likely to honor a legal right of ownership, however if a person has bought a stolen object from a thief, then even though they didn’t actually commit the crime, they will still have to return the stolen

property, and if the courts go with this, then moral law will have the upper hand. I don’t really think that a court should limit themselves to only one of these choices, but should consider both claims to the marbles, and then come up with their decision.

Modern courts do have the power to overturn past decisions that may not have accounted for modern beliefs at the time of their inception. A culture is always changing, and if the law isn’t updated to stay relevant to the society, then it can cause some serious problems by not considering new problems that didn’t exist at the creation of the laws.

Will the Elgin Marbles ever return to Greece? I believe that they will someday, but I also doubt that the U.K. will just gladly give them up either. Greece has a battle ahead of them, but one day the marbles will sit in the Acropolis museum.











“Romancing the Stones”, Newsweek, accessed April 2 2015. http://www.newsweek.com/who-owns-elgin-marbles-80661

Inanna: Patron Deity of Uruk

The Ancient Near East was a region that could easily have been considered as the cradle of civilization. This was the place of the earliest forms of civilization, which could be seen in places such as Mesopotamia and Sumeria. The goddess Inanna/Ishtar was the foremost deity of Uruk, a city-state of Sumeria, and therefore critical to the Ancient Near East’s culture. Key elements that made this region drastically different than previous civilizations could be the clear utilization of agriculturally-viable environments, and possibly most important, this region was the first to be urbanized. Inanna, the patron deity of the city of Uruk in Sumeria, encompassed the agrarian and environmental aspects of this urbanized society, which can be ascertained from this ceramic head of a ram within this exhibition.

The Sumerian goddess Inanna/Ishtar was the patron deity of Uruk and the goddess who held sway over warfare and politics. Uruk was divided into two regions: one region was dedicated to the deity Anu, and the second region was dedicated to Inanna. Her name was written with a sign that represents a reed stalk tied in a loop at the top, which appears in even the very early texts from the mid-fourth millennium BCE (Inanna Mark Paragraph 1). In the article pertaining to Inanna by Joshua J. Mark, he referenced historian Gwendolyn Leick and her analyses of Mesopotamian culture. She said that from royal inscriptions of the early Dynastic Period, Inanna was frequently cited as a protectress of sorts for the kings, with Sargon of Akkad attributing his success in battles and politics to her (Inanna Mark Paragraph 2). While the deity was known as Inanna initially, as time went by and civilizations fell and rose, she became identified with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, a Semitic deity associated with fertility. This is in part due to the Akkadian poet Enheduanna, Sargon of Akkad’s daughter, linking the two, and therein bringing Inanna from a local vegetative deity to the Queen of Heaven and ultimately the most popular goddess in Mesopotamia (Inanna Mark Paragraph 1). In this later form, she was a figure of political and military power, but also sexuality, eventually culminating in her surpassing Anu in popularity within Mesopotamia.

To further understand Inanna in Mesopotamian culture, one must look to mythological history and written texts of the time. Some particular sources that Mark addresses are Inanna and the Huluppu-Tree, which was an early creation myth, Inanna and the God of Wisdom, in which she brings knowledge and culture to Uruk, The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, a tale of Inanna’s marriage to a vegetation god, and a poem entitled The Descent of Inanna in which the Queen of Heaven journeys to the underworld (Inanna Mark Paragraph 3). Within this vast mythological record of Uruk, Inanna was often said to have stolen the sacred meh from her father-god Enki at the sacred city of Eridu and brought them with her to Uruk. The meh were described as “divine decrees which are the basis of the culture pattern of Sumerian civilization.” Eridu was considered by the Sumerians to be the first city created by gods and therefore a place holy to them. By Inanna removing these decrees, she signified a transference of power from one city to another. In the aforementioned Inanna and the God of Wisdom, Enki makes an attempt to retrieve the decrees and return them to Eridu; however this is all in vain. Inanna successfully tricked her father and made Uruk, not Eridu, the seat of power in Sumeria. The moral to this story, particularly in relation to how Sumerians viewed the goddess Inanna, would be that Eridu was associated with rural life, whereas Uruk was the embodiment of the new way of life which was the city. This story would have given ancient Mesopotamians a reason as to why Eridu declined in importance as Uruk rose in size: it was the work of the gods (Uruk Mark Paragraph 5).


Metropolitan Museum of Art. Copyright and Proprietary Rights. The text, images, trademarks, data, audio files, video files and clips, software, documentation or other information contained in these files, and other content on the Websites (collectively, the "Materials") are proprietary to the Museum or its licensors. The Museum retains all rights, including copyright, in the Materials. Copyright and other proprietary rights may be held by individuals or entities other than, or in addition to, the Museum.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Copyright and Proprietary Rights. The text, images, trademarks, data, audio files, video files and clips, software, documentation or other information contained in these files, and other content on the Websites (collectively, the “Materials”) are proprietary to the Museum or its licensors. The Museum retains all rights, including copyright, in the Materials. Copyright and other proprietary rights may be held by individuals or entities other than, or in addition to, the Museum.

Keeping all of that information regarding Inanna in mind, this specific image depicts the head of a ram, made from clay. It may not immediately be clear how this artifact would pertain to Inanna, as she was said to ultimately be the goddess of war, politics, and later, sexuality; however, prior to her association with the Akkadian deity Ishtar, Inanna was a local vegetative god, with far less power than she had later. On the Metropolitan Museum’s website containing this image, it further explains this line of thinking, saying, “Indeed, it seems that images of sheep were common in the city at this time, especially within buildings associated with the cult of Inanna, goddess of Uruk. This might indicate that animal sculptures, such as this example, played a role in religious practice” (Metmuseum.org). Therefore, in this state, Inanna would have been represented in art as an animal, to encompass the importance of agriculture and the environment. It also would have represented Inanna’s ability to better society through the citizen’s continual devotion to her.

– Allison Lee

Works Cited

Mark, Joshua J. “Inanna,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 15, 2010. http://www.ancient.eu/Inanna/.

Mark, Joshua J. “Uruk,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified April 28, 2011. http://www.ancient.eu/uruk/.

“Head of a Ram.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed March 10, 2015. http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/326655?rpp=30&pg=1&ft=inanna&pos=1.

Anubis: God of the Dead


Stela of Siamun and Taruy worshipping Anubis

Anubis is one of the most well known and iconic gods of ancient Egypt. Anubis is actually the Greek version of his name. Inpu or Anpu is what the ancient Egyptians would have called him. He was the god of the dead and the god of embalming. The Egyptians saw that there were often jackals hanging around the graveyards, so they took that as a sign that Anubis was the jackal watching over the dead. After Osiris was murdered by Seth, Anubis was the god who helped embalm him. He was also the part of the mummification process and priests often wore masks that looked like the head of Anubis during that process. Anubis is extremely old for he has been found in the oldest mastabas of the Old Kingdom and the pyramid texts. Originally he was the god of the underworld but later became particularly associated with the embalming and funerary process.

His Egyptian name comes from the root word for a royal child, “inpu”. In the Early Dynastic period and the Old Kingdom, he enjoyed a preeminent (though not exclusive) position as lord of the dead, but he was later overshadowed by Osiris (Encyclopedia Britannica online/ Anubis). His role is reflected in such epithets as “He Who Is upon His Mountain” (i.e., the necropolis), “Lord of the Sacred Land,” “Foremost of the Westerners,” and “He Who Is in the Place of Embalming” (Anubis| Egyptian God, Encyclopedia Britannica ). He was actually known as the inventor of embalming. In the book of the dead we find that in the representations of the judgement of the dead, besides Osiris we have Anubis, both responsible for the weighing of the soul (Lockyer 28).

In the image of the carved stele, Saimun and Taruy are worshipping Anubis. The image is carved into sandstone and was painted although most of the pigment from the paint has worn away. It is an ancient artifact dating back to around 1550 – 1295 B.C. Above the figures on the stele are hieroglyphics that express the event depicted below. It comes from the 18th dynasty during the reign of Thutmose IV and the New Kingdom period. The figure closest to Anubis has his hands up to depict that he is worshipping Anubis. Also, in between Anubis and the closest figure is an accumulation of items possibly brought as an offering to Anubis.  In conclusion, Anubis is an important and iconic figure in Egyptian history and there are still certain groups of people in Egypt that worship him, so obviously this god is not going away anytime soon.

By Josh Ford


 Lockyer, Norman. The Dawn of astronomy: a study of the temple worship        and  mythology  of the ancient Egyptians. Macmillan and Company, 1893.

“Anubis | Egyptian God.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Accessed March 12, 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/29015/Anubis.

Image Citation : http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/554784?rpp=30&pg=1&ft=anubis&pos=17

Repatriation and the Ownership of Antiquity

Some countries believe that artifacts and major discoveries that originated in their own country belong to them regardless of who discovered it. These countries claim that the artifacts belong to them even though the artifacts are from ancient times and were not produced by the cultures within the countries today. Many of these countries want these artifacts to return to their original region as opposed to sitting in a museum in London or Paris. These museums, such as The British Museum and The Louvre, have a different opinion. Museums like these are called encyclopedic museums, and they hold many artifacts that came from all over the world, including Egypt. By having so many artifacts from so many different cultures in one place it makes it interesting to see how the cultures were similar, different, and how trading influenced the ancient world.

As mentioned earlier, the countries want the artifacts back because they believe they own them because it was produced in their region and is a part of their national history. These countries are essentially ignoring the fact that cultures are in a constant state of change, mainly due to trading and cultural exchange. Also, they are contradicting the idea behind encyclopedic museums by demanding they send back all of the artifacts. Encyclopedic museums are meant to show artifacts and objects from many cultures around the world in one place to ignite curiosity about the world, the way cultures connected, and the people who were involved. I believe that the museums should remain the protectors of the disputed artifacts because they have the means to maintain these artifacts, and above all keep them safe.

The issue of ownership in regards to antiquity is clear to me, it belongs to the people of the world, not just a specific country. These encyclopedic museums, such as The British Museum and The Louvre, are perfect examples of this idea. Anyone can go into The British Museum and see some of the most amazing artifacts from antiquity for free. To me that is simply amazing, when I was there last July I was at a loss for words due to the overwhelming amount of artifacts from all over the world that were suddenly before my eyes. “By presenting the artifacts of one time and one culture next to those of other times and culture, encyclopedic museums encourage curiosity about the world and its many peoples.” (Cuno, 120). The previous statement hit the nail on the head because that’s essentially the sensation I had while inside The British Museum, and again when I was in The Louvre only 2 days later.

Some countries would have their artifacts sent back for the sake of nationalism and sectarianism, which have nothing to do with antiquities but they would use them to persuade such ideals. These countries are basically claiming that the culture only existed there, and there it should stay. “Instead, they should express the guiding principles of the world’s great museums: pluralism, diversity, and the idea that culture shouldn’t stop at borders – and nor, for that matter, should the cosmopolitan ideals represented by encyclopedic museums.” (Cuno, 120).

The exchanging of artifacts between museums is one idea I can get behind. Instead of trying to take back artifacts countries should be working with museums to get artifacts not only from their past cultures but from all over the world. If more and more museums did this then more and more people could be exposed to multiple cultures from different regions of the world. Not everyone has the means to travel to museums like The Louvre, so if artifact exchanging became a common practice then it could spur a new interest in cultures people might not have even knew existed. Again this goes back to the idea of a cosmopolitan world, and that culture doesn’t have borders.

Dispute over ownership of antiquity artifacts is not something that is going to go away over night. Countries will keep pushing to have certain artifacts returned, but the museums will do their duty and stand their ground. The artifacts from antiquity cannot be replaced, so maintaining their condition and keeping them safe is a major concern which the museums handle magnificently in addition to allowing the world to experience a jump back in time when you walk through the doors.

By: Shelby Watford