comparative study of Harappa

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    comparative study of the harappan and mesopotamian civilisation  At the dawn of civilization two distinct civilizations appeared in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley: theSumerians and the Harappans. The Sumerians settled in the valleys between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, aland known as Mesopotamia, the area known today as Kuwait and Iraq. One of the most important cities of thiscivilization was Ur. Ur is the city from which God called Abram a s mentioned in Genesis 11:31(“Abram…setout from Ur”) and Nehemiah 9:7, “You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of theChaldeans and named him Abraham”.  Concurrently, in the area that is now Pakistan, part of Afghanistan and Northern India the Harappan civilization appeared in the flood plain of the Indus and Hakra rivers. Its two mostimportant cities were Mojeno-doro and Harappa. The Sumerian and Harappan economies developed alongsimilar lines, and have comparable religious and social structures. Nevertheless their politics, art, treatment of women and intellectual advancements stand in sharp contrast to one another. The Harappans and Sumerians are distinctly different politically. While the Sumerians developed the world’s  first monarchy, the Harappans may have developed the first democracy. Very little evidence has been found of a king in the Indus Valley, only one white priest-king idol and a silver crown; not enough to establish that the “royalty” were the rulers. Instead the empire  was divided into regions with half a dozen cities functioning ascapitals and was governed by a group of people. Archeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyed has speculated that theHarappan rulers were merchants, ritual specialists and individuals controlling important resources, instead of just one social group controlling the rest. From the construction of the cities however it does appear there weresome social classes, as the citadel is usually 20 feet higher than the middle and lower town. The Sumerians, onthe other hand, developed into city-states ruled by a priest-king. The king led the military, administered trade, judged disputes and performed certain important religious ceremonies. The king also had a bureaucracy, whichconsisted mostly of priests, who assisted him in governing. To justify the authority of the priest-kings theSumerians declared that the king was divinely selected, but later this changed and eventually they asserted thatthe king himself was divine and worthy of worship. So while the Sumerians worshiped their king the Harappanschose not to glorify any particular person and were instead ruled by ordinary people. The economies of the Harappan and Sumerian civilizations were very similar. Both civilizations relied heavilyon trade; in fact they appear to have traded extensively  with one another. In records found in Mesopotamia thereis mentioned a civilization they traded with in the area of the Indus valley and many Indus seals, for which theyare well known, have been found in Mesopotamia. The Sumerians exported mostly textiles and crops, while theHarappans traded in lumber, copper, gold and ivory, which were bought by the Sumerian royalty. Bothcivilizations made great advances in transportation in order to carry their merchandise with greater ease. TheSumerians appear to have developed the wheel and possibly the sailboat and the Harappans developed ox-cartsand small flat-bottomed boats all of which were used commercially. Perhaps it is because of the extensive tradebetween the two civilizations that they developed similarly in many areas. In terms of religion, we know little about the Sumerian religion and even less about the Harappan religion. Wedo know that both civilizations were polytheistic. The Sumerians believed in many gods that were humanlikewith human emotions. They believed that the sun, moon and stars were gods and everything that happened wascontrolled by one of the gods. According to the Sumerian religion, humans were created to serve the gods, andthe gods controlled their destinies. Because they believed the gods controlled them, they sought ways todiscover what the gods held in store for them. By doing this they invented astrology that eventually led to theinvention of the lunar calendar. They also studied the inner organs of sacrificed animals to predict the future. Toworship their gods the Sumerians built the ziggurats, large temples, which are architectural wonders. One suchtemple is found in the ancient city of Ur where the moon god, Nanna, was said to have lived in a little house atthe top of the ziggurat. The lesser gods, who did not have enormous temples built for them, were idols andstatues, which were worshiped in homes. Since the Indus script has not been deciphered and apart from thebathhouse in Mohenjo-doro there are no religious structures there is very little evidence for the beliefs andpractices of the Harappans. What we know is from figurines and seals, many of which depict a horned goddesswith the sacred pipal tree. This probably indicates the worship of a mother goddess who presided over fertility, Mesotopanian urban planning: Urban planning [edit]   Main article: Urban history   The Sumerians were the first society to construct the city itself as a built form. They were proud of this achievement as attested in the Epic of Gilgamesh which opens with a description of  Uruk its walls, streets, markets, temples, and gardens. Uruk itself is significant as the center of an urban culture which both colonized and urbanized western Asia. The construction of cities was the end product of trends which began in the Neolithic Revolution. The growth of the city was partly planned and partly organic. Planning is evident in the walls, high temple district, main canal with harbor, and main street. The finer structure of residential and commercial  spaces is the reaction of economic forces to the spatial limits imposed by the planned areas resulting in an irregular design with regular features. Because the Sumerians recorded real estate transactions it is possible to reconstruct much of the urban growth pattern, density, property value, and other metrics from cuneiform text sources. The typical city divided space into residential, mixed use, commercial, and civic spaces. The residential areas were grouped by profession. [4]   At the core of the city was a high temple complex always sited slightly off of the geographical center. This high temple usually predated the founding of the city and was the nucleus around which the urban form grew. The districts adjacent to gates had a special religious and economic function. The city always included a belt of irrigated agricultural land including small hamlets. A network of roads and canals connected the city to this land. The transportation network was organized in three tiers: wide processional streets (Akkadian: sūqu ilāni u šarri  ), public through streets (Akkadian: sūqu nišī  ), and private blind alleys (Akkadian: mūṣû ). The public streets that defined a block varied little over time while the blind-alleys were much more fluid. The current estimate is 10% of the city area was streets and 90% buildings. [5]  The canals; however, were more important than roads for transportation.  Art of Mesopotamia From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia One of 18 Statues of Gudea, a ruler around 2090 BC The art of Mesopotamia  has survived in the archaeological record from early hunter-gatherer  societies (10th millennium BC) on to the Bronze Age cultures of the Sumerian,  Akkadian, Babylonian and  Assyrian empires. These empires were later replaced in the Iron Age by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia brought significant cultural developments, including the oldest examples of writing. The art of Mesopotamia rivalled that of Ancient Egypt as the most grand, sophisticated and elaborate in western Eurasia from the 4th millennium BC until the Persian  Achaemenid Empire conquered the region in the 6th century BC. The main emphasis was on various, very durable, forms of sculpture in stone and clay; little painting has survived, but what has suggests that, with some exceptions, [1]  painting was mainly used for geometrical and plant-based decorative schemes, though most sculptures were also painted. Cylinder seals have survived in large numbers, many including complex and detailed scenes despite their small size.    Statue of Ebih-Il  , superintendent of  Mari, c. 2400 BC, wearing a kaunakes  Mesopotamian art survives in a number of forms: cylinder seals, relatively small figures in the round, and reliefs of various sizes, including cheap plaques of moulded pottery for the home, some religious and some apparently not. [2]  Favourite subjects include deities, alone or with worshippers, and animals in several types of scenes: repeated in rows, single, fighting each other or a human, confronted animals by themselves or flanking a human or god in the Master of  Animals motif, or a Tree of Life. [3]  Stone stelae, votive offerings, or ones probably commemorating victories and showing feasts, are also found from temples, which unlike more official ones lack inscriptions that would explain them; [4]  the fragmentary Stele of the Vultures is an early example of the inscribed type, [5]  and the  Assyrian Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III a large and well preserved late one. [6]   Uruk period [edit]     Cylinder seal with serpopards, c. 3000 BC, Uruk  The Protoliterate or  Uruk period, named after the city of  Uruk in southern Mesopotamia, (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC) existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period generally dated to 3100  – 2900 BC. [7]  It saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia, and the beginnings of  Sumerian civilization, [8]  and also the first great creative age of Mesopotamian art. [9]  Slightly earlier, the northern city of  Tell Brak, today in Syria, also saw urbanization, and the development of a temple with regional significance. This is called the Eye Temple after the many eye idols , in fact votive offerings, found there, a type distinctive to this site. The stone Tell Brak Head, 7 inches high, shows a simplified face; similar heads are in gypsum. These were evidently fitted to bodies that have not survived, probably of wood. [10]  Like temples further south, the Eye Temple was decorated with cone mosaics made up of clay cylinders some four inches long, differently coloured to create simple patterns. [11]  Significant works from the southern cities in Sumer proper are the Warka Vase and Uruk Trough,  with complex multi-figured scenes of humans and animals, and the Mask of Warka. This is a more realistic head than the Tell Brak examples, like them made to top a wooden body; what survives of this is only the basic framework, to which coloured inlays, gold leaf hair, paint and jewellery were added. [12]  The Guennol Lioness is an exceptionally powerful small figurine of a lion-headed monster , [13]  perhaps from the start of the next period.

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