The defensive armaments of the soldiers of Sumer and Mari

Juan-Luis Montero Fenollós - University of Coruña

[This paper is a study about the protection (helmet, shield and cape) used by soldiers in Sumer and Mari during the third millennium BC].


It is a commonplace to insist on the frequency of wars in the ancient world and in particular in the Syrian-Mesopotamian area. In fact, the history of this region was the result of a long succession of armed conflicts and conquests, of frequent battles between the plains and mountains, and even bitter struggles surrounding the geographical change. Not surprisingly, therefore, political history of the region was organized in the mid-third millennium BC, about the constant rivalry of only a dozen Sumerian cities: Ur, Uruk, Lagash, Umma, and so on. Of these continuing wars, of almost endemic existence, we only know that the rulers were those recorded in certain monuments to perpetuate the memory of their most glorious victories. An excellent example is found in an inscription of Eannatum of Lagash, in which the Sumerian monarch boasts of having conquered the neighbouring cities of Uruk, Ur, Kish, and even that of Mari, in the Middle Euphrates 1. Political fragmentation and intense rivalry developed between small Sumerian city-states was such that they only knew peace as an interruption of war or when one could impose their hegemony 2.

We have little reliable data on which to build to study military activity in Mesopotamia, especially for the most archaic periods in its history. The evidence of the military conflicts of the late fourth millennium BC are very rare in the Sumerian field, however in Uruk a series of seal impressions on clay has been conserved that illustrate, in a very schematic way, prisoners 3 captured and tortured. These images must correspond to local conflicts as military raids to foreign lands will not be rendered until the period of Akkad.

Perhaps it is the system of fortifications built by the Sumerian cities that provide the best evidence of the art of war in the region. A good example is the adobe walls of Uruk, about 10 km in length and defended by more than 900 soldiers 4. Despite the great difficulties to date with accuracy it is a great defensive construction, according to the cuneiform literature, built in the times of Gilgamesh 5. Uruk is an excellent example of the enormous efforts that were made to make the Sumerian city-state built for defense, its explanation must be sought, no doubt, in the frequent conflicts that remained between them for control of irrigation water and arable land.

Equally impressive was the inner wall of Mari, Syria, a construction of 1200m diameter raised in 2900 BC on a large stone base that supported an adobe wall of 8m high and 7.50 m wide 6.

These fortifications, besides having an obvious sense to guard the city, were the symbol of their political identity, just as the temple was the expression of their religious identity. The wall represented the capacity and organizational control exercised by the first urban elites. It seems clear that the Mesopotamian rulers celebrated the construction of a new wall, as a sign of urban civilization against the barbarism of the outside world. By contrast, a city beaten in war with the accompaniment of the demolition of its defensive walls such as did Rimush king of Akkad (2278-2270 BC) was a potent sign of its defeat, as made clear  in some of his commemorative inscriptions 7.

In the field of war the Sumerian rulers sought to send us documents which were clearly propagandistic in nature and therefore of little objectivity. What must not be forgotten is that most of the information available is unidirectional, which was generated by one party of the conflict, who is always the winner. The best proof is in the famous Stele of Vultures, an iconographic and epigraphic monument sent up by the monarch Eannatum of Lagash (2455-2424 BC) to commemorate his victory on the neighbouring city-state of Umma 8. However, it does seem to show us the documentation that, in general, the war in Mesopotamia, far from being presented as a calamity of which was necessary to preserve the city, but in fact becomes a duty to which monarchs could not escape.

The precise reasons which led to armed clashes we do not have from contemporary accounts. However, economic considerations would no doubt be prevailing in an area such as Mesopotamia, whose political prosperity was closely linked to the development of irrigated agriculture and foreign trade. The crises that had Sumerian cities faced, or rather the dominant cause in these, more often than not comprised economic privileges. Consequently, the defence of the interests of the community and its military equipment were issues that could not be left to the whims of chance. In this sense, the appearance of metal in the region plays a key role in introducing something new ie the concern of Syrian-Mesopotamian monarchs to secure control of the supply routes of copper and tin, as the most optimal way to improve technically the weapons in their arsenals, and thus ensure their power. In this context we must place the cities of Mari and Ur, two of the best examples of city-states of the early third millennium, an important place in the control of routes of metal. In this control resided the power, prosperity and prestige of their elite governors 9.

The emergence of metal in the field of war represented a revolution. The first weapons were of stone, as the spherical clubs and arrowheads of flint or obsidian, hardened clay as sling bullets, or even wood. With the use of copper and bronze alloy, the arms not only gained in quality and efficiency through the use of a better suited material, but its design evolved into more complex forms, following the rhythm of military innovation. Surprisingly, the cuneiform sources remain silent about the types of weapons, in which manufacture of metallurgical state must have been very busy, especially during periods of political instability 10. By contrast, the different models found in the metallic arms excavations and various figural representations (if stone reliefs panels scale) provide us with extensive information on the impact they had on the metal weapons in the mid-third millennium BC.

When classifying the individual Sumerian soldier weapons we have to resort to traditional division between offensive and defensive weapons. Within the first, we must distinguish between pod weapons (like daggers), those of shaft (like the spear) and powered (like the points of arrow or sling bullets). The defensive armament in the country of Sumer and the kingdom of Mari consisted of three essential elements, a sustained and active shield and two passive and taken about himself, the helmet and cape. The helmet, shield and coat used by Sumerian armies and Mariotas as a means of protection during the Early Dynastic III (c. 2550-2400 BC) are the subject of this paper.

For the study of these defensive weapons used by Syrian-Mesopotamian infantry, the modern historian has two types of documentary sources: the archaeological and iconographic. Unfortunately, the epigraphic documentation is silent about it.

The few archaeological remains we know about these weapons are marked by circumstances, all of which are the result of excavations, from the early twentieth century, and therefore, little rigorous methodology. This causes the information provided by these pioneering works to be not as detailed as we would like them to be, both in regard to the object itself and its archaeological context. However, this does not detract in any way form the usefulness of this documentation.



The land of Sumer

Tello, the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, gives us the first known example in Mesopotamia of the use of a military helmet 11. These are fragments of a specimen found by a French team in 1903 on the northern slopes of the Tell of the "Maison des Fruits" (fig. 4:3). The helmet had the following technical and formal features: made of copper or brass, slightly tapered design, covering in full the ears and neck of the individual, and topped by a small projection along a series of small holes along the entire length of the framing edges soldier's face. The function of these holes should be fixed to the helmet with a textile lining designed for a more comfortable fit with the metal 12. Nothing is said, however, about the size and precise dating of this finding, although it may date without difficulty in the Early Dynastic III.

Also in land of Sumer, specifically the PG/789 tomb of the famous Royal Cemetery of Ur (Early Dynastic IIIa) there are remains of several metal helmets. In the dromos access to this spectacular tomb, published as the "King's Grave", what was unearthed were the skeletons of six Sumerians soldiers wearing helmets and provided with lanzas 13 (Fig. 4:1). The helmets were found broken and crushed on the buried skull, which has made it difficult to reconstruct its exact form (Fig. 4:3). By drawings published by C.L. Woolley we have to distinguish between two types of helmets used by the Ur infantry 14. The first type was more or less semicircular, which had a small projection at the top. It was also equipped with protections for the ears (Fig. 4:2a and b). One of them had a curved silver bar, which could be used as a strap to hold the helmet to the chin (fig. 4:2b). The second model was conical in shape and protected both the neck and ears (Fig. 4:2a).

The helmets found in Ur, in all cases, were copper or bronze and presumably lined on the inside by some kind of padded cloth, of which there are no British archaeologists observed remains. However, a recent study of human skeletons found in the necropolis of Ur has brought new and interesting data 15. By skull radiography of helmet No. 46 in the soldier's grave PG/789 (Fig. 4:1) what has been revealed is that the edge was perforated with small holes (detail not shown in the drawings listed in Woolley fig.4:2). This type of piercing, the job of which was to establish a protective liner inside the helmet, it can easily be seen in the contemporary copy of Girsu (fig. 4:3). The study also shows this soldier was a teenage male who, despite his youth, had lost some teeth before death, but not from teeth decay. Although this may seem anecdotal, it is interesting to note that for the first time, we have reliable information on the physical features of a Sumerian soldier.

This lot of six metal helmets complete with another copy from the tomb PG/755, belonging to an individual wearing Meskalamdug 16 (Fig. 2: 2). Its dimensions are: 23 cm high by 26 cm wide (from front to back). Unlike earlier, this helmet was ornamental, was made entirely of gold and reproduced in minute detail a luxuriant hair, a ribbon or headband holding a sort of cogotera, as effective means of ensuring better protection for the neck. This is undoubtedly a commemorative helmet used by the Sumerian monarchy 17.

The helmet allowed only the visible face to be seen by the individual who used it, protecting both the occipital and temporal areas of his skull. To allow for hearing, the headdress had a hole at the height of the ears, which were also represented on the helmet. Another highlight, finally, is the presence of small holes along the entire perimeter of the helmet, whose function was to fasten a fabric lining and wool remains found at Adheridos 18.

Another valuable piece of information on helmet use by the military comes from the famous Sumerian Royal Standard of Ur PG/77919 found in the tomb. This monument was made of two panels elaborately inlaid with pearl and lapis lazuli. In one of them, represents a scene of organized warfare in three horizontal registers. The conquering king, before whom are his enemies naked which is exactly in the middle of the upper register. It is the centerpiece of the composition. After he marches, his army consisting of infantry and war chariots 20, despite being a very schematic representation, and even somewhat naive, offers us valuable details on the defensive armament of the Sumerians. Both the king and his soldiers are protected on the head by a pointed helmet, leaving only the face uncovered. By a narrow ribbon, the helmet is secured on the neck of the user (Fig. 1: 2). They recall, in short, to those found in the tomb PG/789 and found in Girsu. From this representation, it is impossible to know the material these helmets were manufactured from, but it seems logical, as evidenced by archaeology, that it should be metal.

Helmets with identical characteristics are represented in the Stele of Vultures-Girsu Tello, Eannatum erected by king of Lagash (2455-2454 BC), in the great temple of Ningirsu, to immortalize his victory over Umma 21. The stele, which is preserved in fragmentary form, combines a long cuneiform inscription in bas-relief  with iconographic representations of extraordinary artistic quality. In two of the records appears the king, in one case another on foot and chariot, in front of their tropas 22 (Fig. 1:1). The upper register contains a scene in which appears the infantry of the City of Lagash forming the famous Sumerian phalanx. The training, which appears to be led by King Eannatum, includes several soldiers protected by shields and spear in hand, walking idly on the defeated enemy. In the next record, there is another representation of the king leading an army made up of soldiers carrying spears, axes and helmets on their heads. In both cases, soldiers wear a helmet similar to the example of copper found in the excavations of Tello. For its part, the helmet exhibited by King Eannatum is similar to the gold standard from the Meskalamdug tomb of Ur.

Next to the helmet, the shield is another basic defensive weapon in the armory of the Sumerian soldier. However, the perishable nature of the material they were made from (wood and leather, no doubt) explains that no remains have reached us. Only the royal tomb of Ur PG/789 has provided some remains, attributable to a shield. Between two groups of spears, and surrounded by several skeletons of soldiers, appeared an object of copper, which originally had been attached to a surface Madera 23. The object, or what remains of it, consists of a copper strip (43 cm long) and decorated with a rosette on each side, two lions that walk on the prostrate figure of a man naked (Fig. 2: 1). Due to its characteristics and its location inside the tomb, this piece could be one of those typical metal reinforcement Sumerian shield, as we reported some época 24 illustrations.

The best known representation of the type of shield used by the Sumerian army comes from the aforementioned Stele of the Vultures (Fig. 1: 1). In the upper register of this monument appears cohort of soldiers advancing under the protection of four large shields covering the body of soldier from neck to ankles. These are rectangular and have their surface, which was made of wood and/or leather, reinforced with a series of metal studs. Behind each of these shields, are the hands of six soldiers holding as many spear 25.

There is another means of protection used by Sumerian infantry we find represented in the central register of the war scene of the royal standard of Ur (Fig. 1: 2). The soldiers, who appear equipped with spear and helmet, wear a long coat closed to the chest. This is probably heavy layers of leather, covering the Sumerian soldier's body to knee length, this clothing was also enhanced with detail that is clearly shown as circular pieces, no doubt metal 26 studs. In the Stele of the Vultures, however, some are foot soldiers, covering his chest, two bands of (leather?) protection triangularly arranged between the shoulders and the waist (Fig. 1: 3) 27.

The kingdom of Mari

In the ancient city of Mari, the capital of the most important kingdom in the Middle Euphrates, we have not found to date archaeological remains of defensive weapons for the third millennium BC. By contrast, the excavation works have recovered an interesting iconographic documentation about it. These are small figures in mother of pearl, belonging to the panels inlay, and an engraved stone plate. All these findings come from different contexts the city of Mari II (2550-2400 BC).

One of the most interesting objects in the room comes from XLVI of "Sacred Precinct" and is a small piece of white stone decorated incise 28. It shows a scene of war with three characters: a soldier equipped with a large shield and a spear, another soldier behind him with a composite bow and, finally, an enemy represented completely naked, as is standard art of time (Fig. 3:1). The large shield is just a screen equipped with a handle and made from bundles of reeds, which fully protects the soldier from head to toe. According to Yadin this seems to be a type of shield used by Mesopotamian armies in the art of siege. This hypothesis is based on the enormous similarity between the copy of Mari and shields used by Assyrian soldiers in the siege of cities, as seen in several reliefs of the first millennium BC 29 In fact, Dur-Sharrukin found a relief with a representation similar to that of Mari, in a scene referring to the siege of a fortified city 30.

Besides the shield, the Mariate soldier uses other elements to protect the body. It is a kind of rectangular shape layer, resting on one shoulder, covering both chest and back. In Mari were found several figurines carved from mother of pearl in which individuals represented make use of such a protective layer, which was narrow (not greater than 30 cm wide) and long (about 2 meters in length), so it came to rodilla 31 (fig. 3:1, 2 and 4). Although we cannot categorically be completely secure due to lack of data, it is logical think it was a thick leather protection reinforced with a series of small pieces of circular metal. In fact, this type of reinforcement is very similar to what we observed in the shields (Stele of Vultures) and Sumerian army layers (Standard of Ur). This layer was used exclusively by infantry (archers and spearmen) in Mariote army, as their use has not been witnessed in any other city in the Syrian-Mesopotamian area. Its function was to cover the vital organs when throwing weapons on the battlefield, that is, before a precedent of the use of metal armor and chainmail.

The third element of personal protection used by foot soldiers of Mari was the helmet. The most common model is one that has a slightly conical shape, covering the ears and part of neck, leaving the soldier's face visible. Some of them were provided with a tape to hold them to cuello 32 (Fig. 3: 1, 2 and 4). The material with which these helmets were manufactured is unknown, since no copy has been found in the archaeological excavations of Mari 33. This suggests that they must be manufactured most likely with a perishable product such as leather, but also could be metal as in Sumer.

From the temple of Ishtar at Mari comes a warrior carved in a shell plate, which according to Parrot must have belonged to the decoration of the hilt of a dagger or puñal 34 (Fig. 3:3). The warrior in question bears on his right hand a typical tube enmangue ax 35 and has left us with an enigmatic object with a curved profile, surely a curved sword blade. Today we know that this is a weapon with a strong symbolism 36, as evidenced by their frequent appearance in the hands of kings and gods in various reliefs and seals. A good example is the representation of the king Eannatum in the Wake of the Buitres 37. Likewise, in the royal tombs of Byblos and Tello have been found several examples of this type of sword clearly associated with royalty and a symbol of the divine origin of his authority 38.

The range of this individual Mari, called the "à l'Herminette Guerrier" by Parrot, are full with a helmet, something more complex than the model used by Mariote infantry. Again, the best parallel is found in the Stele of the Vultures, the helmet worn on the head of Eannatum of Lagash and gold in the hull of Meskalamdug Ur, in both cases, as in Mari are provided with a cogotera as a means to protect the neck. All this data point to an obvious conclusion: we have the representation of a member of the ruling elite of the II city of Mari (c.2550-2400 BC), in all probability the king.


After the previously mentioned, it is evident that both Sumer and Mari personal protection used by the army on foot made a significant improvement. This change is a response to two revolutionary innovations that transform the art of war in Mesopotamia in the mid-third millennium B.C. The first is related to the introduction in the region of metal, in general, and of the bronze alloy, in particular. The widespread use of metallurgical technology radically changed military tactics of the time, since the new raw material will be found in a main armament that develops. In fact, the repertoire of weapons made of metal is multiplied with the emergence of diverse, sophisticated and effective swords, daggers, axes, spears, javelins, arrows, etc.

In this process of improvement of weapons, the appearance of bronze will play a important role. The first reliable archaeological evidence on the use of copper-tin alloy in Mesopotamia belong to the early third millennium BCE epigraphic documentation supports AC 39 also archaeological data as an ancient text of Ur, dating from the Early Dynastic I, is observed with the first distinction between copper (urudu) and bronze (zabar) 40. However, the real distribution of Mesopotamian bronze in the country will not occur until the Early Dynastic III period in which the brassware findings are more general. Among these objects there is the presence of a high percentage of weapons.

The use of tin in the metal workshops allowed the physical qualities of copper to transform, giving it greater strength and toughness. Therefore, the use of bronze weapons, and also in tools, was very useful, since it represented a significant technological improvement compared to unalloyed copper. The generalization of the new alloy had an impact on the art of war, and it actively contributed to workshops dedicated to the manufacture of weapons. From the mid-third millennium BC, Sumerian panoply of the soldier is enhanced by the emergence of new and effective designs 41.

The use of tin, too,  has a remarkable economic change. This precious and scarce metal, which was lacking in Mesopotamia, required the monarchies of the region a huge commercial and diplomatic effort to gain access to the new raw material with which to improve and maintain their arsenals 42.

The introduction of bronze in the manufacture of weapons will be accompanied by another novelty in the field of arms. This is the appearance of the composite bow whose first use is traditionally attributed to Mesopotamian armies, and incorrectly, the Empire of Akkad 43.

From the information available, it appears that the composite bow was part of the (Sumerian?) Syrian army. However, we must be very cautious about the absence in the archaeological record of such weapons. In fact, in 1971, André Parrot published a representation, attributed to the Early Dynastic III, which shed new light on the use of the composite bow in Mari 44.

The invention of the composite bow will revolutionize military tactics and the means to protect against this weapon, which was used mainly in the art of siege. This arrows arc was very effective in conveying the huge energy stored in the time to stretch the rope. Contemporary experiments, made from replicas of Egyptian composite bows have revealed that the speed achieved by arrows was about 50 m per second 45. The pervasiveness of arrows shot from such bows was huge.

The archer used to carry more than one type of arrow in his quiver: first, a bronze arrows weight with which to pierce shields and other body armor at close range and on the other hand, lighter arrows with which to harass the enemy at long distance 46. We must not forget also the psychological effect that was had on the soldiers as the rain of arrows were poisoned. It is estimated that an archer could shoot about ten arrows a minute 47.

Another element to be incorporated into the field at archery when fired was using flaming arrows. In the aforementioned plate Mari (Fig. 3: 1) shows an archer ready to launch a shaft provided with a series of small strokes that appear to be a schematic representation of fire. It is estimated that the height of 30 m and 40 m distance reached by the composite bow shot was enough to penetrate into the houses of a besieged city. A bow with greater power would extinguish the flames 48.

The response to the emergence in the mid-third millennium BC of the composite bow and weapons of Bronze was the proliferation of new systems of personal and collective protection with which to counteract the effectiveness of these weapons. Many cities were provided with a double room walled with which to deal with the archers. This is the case of the city of Mari, which had two lines of wall. The first line was formed, at the time of establishment of the city c.2900 BC, of a rubble-mound breakwater, with a small wall that protected it from floods of the Euphrates. It was a real wall. By contrast, cities Mari II and III transformed the outer breakwater defensive 49 into an impressive wall. Between the two lines of defense was a distance of 350 m, sufficient to negate the effectiveness of the arrows. We see here in all probability the solution of the Mariotas provided by the leaders to address the threat posed by the use of the composite bow in war. However, the city of Mari will be destroyed twice: once for the king Naram-Sin of Akkad (c.2238 BC) and another Hammurapi of Babylon (c.1760 BC).

To counter new weapons, the Syrian-Mesopotamian army, whose backbone was the infantry, will be provided with better and stronger means of protection. The soldier had available, as we have seen previously, three basic types of defensive weapons: the helmet, shield and coat.

The helmet worn by Sumerian soldier was metal, as evidenced by the findings of Tello and Ur. These should be of bronze, since this alloy is much more resistant to the impacts of copper or leather. From the known documentation we can distinguish two types - one in a somewhat more pointed and one rounded and pointed at the top. Both were employed by the Sumerian army.

In Mari have not been found to date, the remains of any helmet. However, thanks to the known old iconography commonly used by the Mariotas was the model with a or pointed slightly conical design that covered the ears and neck of the user. In most cases, a metal or leather strap attachment to the neck secured the helmet on the soldier. However, the use of the rounded type is not attested among Mariotas soldiers.

By contrast, in the Syrian interior, in the city-state of Ebla we do have evidence of the use of the two helmet models documented in Sumer. Among the figures carved in marble, belonging to a large panel which decorated a room in the famous royal palace (c.2400 BC), soldiers are provided with both types of helmets 50. Additionally, this same panel wall, made to celebrate a great Eblaite military victory, there is another soldier with spear in hand and covered by a defensive layer, reinforced with circular studs. It Is a protective layer pattern very similar to those shown in the Royal Standard of Ur.

This similarity observed between the Syrian and Sumerian defensive weapons is surprising since the helmet was usually one of the emblems that best defined the geographical-cultural origin of Near Eastern armies. This practice is especially visible during the first millennium BC: Assyrians, Babylonians, neo-Hittite, Aramaic, etc.. used very different helmets as a sign of identity 51. We have further evidence of the strong influence, the result of active cultural contact exerted on Mesopotamian Semitic Ebla and Mari during the Early Dynastic III.

As shown in the performing arts studied, the metal helmet was used exclusively by infantry. There was, however, another type of helmet much more elaborate than the two, which was the most prominent feature of being equipped with a means to ensure the protection of the neck. This model was used only by the elites of both Sumer and Mari. We are, without doubt, to stop a helmet, a symbol or emblem displayed by the monarchy in parades and celebrations. The best example of this we have it in the Stele of the Vultures, Eannatum the king of Lagash leading a copy of this kind on his head, and the gold helmet Meskalamdug of Ur.

The other common element of protection is represented by the shield. Our knowledge is limited to the iconographic material available by the fact that they were made of wood, cane leather and has not allowed their preservation to this day. Exceptionally, we have come some metal parts, we could identify with the studs that reinforced shields.

The limited information allows only a brief comparison between Mari and Sumer. In both there are representations of large shields, which were used as a system of collective protection and not individually. Copies at Tello show that only the head and feet are exposed on soldiers, while Mari guarded with integrity who used it.

The last item for the protection of Syrian-Mesopotamian soldiers that we are aware of was as seen in panels inlaid studied, one layer, probably leather metal studs. In this case there does exist a significant difference between the Mariota and Sumerian armies. In Mari, we see that the foot soldier using a protective layer of rectangular shape, narrow and elongated so that, resting on one shoulder, came to the knee. This should be a part relatively light and easy to handle in the field of battle. On the contrary, we find at Ur a classic long coat, heavy-looking, covering both shoulders and closed to the chest. Also, the Sumerian soldier could use, as the Stele of the Vultures, another defensive garment: two bands, possibly leather, covering his v-shaped chest.

All these elements of personal protection are born as a reaction to the appearance in the army in the mid-third millennium BC of soldiers armed with bows and arrows made of bronze, well as other missiles of high penetration capability. These defense systems continue the process of development up to the complex metal flake reinforcement. This body armor, known as sari (y) am, does not appear in the cuneiform texts by century AC52 XV, a period in which the armor becomes a regular part of military equipment 53. Is the answer to another military innovation: the generalization of two-wheeled light chariot drawn by horses 54. This new means of transport will enable highly mobile efficient firing archers. 

Figure 1: 1.-Stele of Vultures, Tello (Parrot, 1961), 2. - Detail Royal Standard of Ur (Woolley,

1934), 3. - Detail of the Stele of the Vultures (Parrot, 1961).

Figure 2: 1. - Possible metallic element of a shield, Ur (Woolley, 1934), 2. - Helmet Meskalamdug,

Ur (Woolley, 1934), 3. - Skull and helmet PG/789 soldier's tomb, Ur (Woolley, 1934).

Figure 3: 1-4. - Stone plate and inlaid mother-of Mari (Parrot, 1956 and Yadin, 1971).

Figure 4: 1. - Detail PG/789 tomb, Ur (Woolley, 1934), 2. - Metal helmets PG/789 tomb,

Ur (Woolley, 1934); metal helmet Tello (Parrot, 1948).

1. E. Sollberger and J. R. Kupper, Inscriptions et akkadiennes sumeriennes royales, Paris 1971, p. 58 / IRSA.

2. This is the case, to cite one of the best known examples of Lugalzagesi king of Uruk (2340-2316 BC), so shows one of cuneiform inscriptions (cf. E. Sollberger and Kupper Jr., IRSA, p. 94).

3. M.A. Brandes, Siegelabrollungen archaischen aus den in Uruk-Warka Bauschichten, Wiesbaden 1979, fig.1-13, P. Collins, The Uruk Phenomenon, Oxford 2000, p. 97.

4. J.L. Huot et al., Naissance des cités, Paris 1990, p. 61.

5. Epic of Gilgamesh, I, 9.

6. J.C. Margueron, "Mari: derniers Développements des recherches sur le tell conduites Hariri" in P. Matthiae et al. (Eds.): Ist International Congress on the Archaeology of Ancient Near East, Rome 2000, p.916 / ICAANE.

7. E. Sollberger and J.R. Kupper, IRSA, p.102.

8. J.S. Cooper, Reconstructing History from Ancient Inscriptions. The Lagash-Umma Border Conflict. Malibu 1983.

9. J.L. Montero, "Mari, center international du commerce des Métaux" Eridu Monografies 1 (2001) 125-133.

10. This is not the case file paleobabilónico Mari Palace, which contains a valuable documentation cuneiform on the guidelines issued by different kings of the city to the urgent bronze weapons 10000 and 1000 arrows, spears and shields, bows, axes, etc.. (Cf. J.M. Durand, Documents du palais épistolaires Mari. Take II Paris 1998, p. 394-397 / DEPM).

11. A. Parrot, Tello. Vingt Campagnes of fouilles (1877-1933), Paris 1948, p. 106.

12. G. Cros, Nouvelles fouilles Tello, Paris 1910, p.44.

13. C.L. Woolley, Ur Excavations II. The Royal Cemetery. Text and Plates, London 1934, p.63 / EU.

14. C.L. Woolley, EU pl.218.

15. T. Molleson and D. Hodgson, "The Human Remains from Woolley's Excavations at Ur" Iraq 65 (2003) 107 and fig. 13.

16. C.L. Woolley, EU p.156.

17. The identity of the individual buried in the tomb PG/755 is still an open question. Among the furnishings appeared a glass of gold inscribed with the name of Meskalamdug and other Ninbanda the name of the queen (cf. CL Woolley, EU p.158). In another cuneiform inscription recorded in an account of lapis lazuli found in Mari reappears name Meskalamdug as king of Kish and Mesannepada brother. The latter was the first king of the First Dynasty of Ur, according to the List Sumerian king (cf. J. Boese, "Schatz von und der Mesannepada Mari" Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 68 (1978) 6-33).

18. C.L. Woolley, EU p.552.

19. C.L. Woolley, EU p.266.

20. It is generally agreed that the Standard of Ur is a military victory and that the set of the two panels like a narration of the different steps leading to victory and the subsequent conclusion (cf. A. Parrot, Sumer, Madrid 1961 p.146-150). However, J.C. Margueron (cf. "L'Etendard d'Ur: recit historique ou magique?", In H. Gasche and B. Hrouda (eds.): Collectanea Orientalia. Histoire, Arts de l'espace et industrie de la terre, Neuchâtel-Paris, p.169) considers Inappropriate see this monument commemorating a historical accurate. In his opinion, this is the eternal restatement of the theme of conquering king of all Mesopotamian ruler liked to surround himself.

21. E. Sollberger and J.R. Kupper, IRSA, p. 47.

22. A. Parrot, Sumer, p.135.

23. C.L. Woolley, EU p. 69.

24. However, there is no unanimity on the issue, as other researchers consider most appropriate interpretation as part of the front of a tank (cf. DP Hansen, "Art of the Tombs of Ur A Brief Interpretation", in RL Zettler and L. Horne (eds.): Tresaures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, Philadelphia, p.67).

25. A. Parrot, Sumer, p.135.

26. Y. Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands I, New York 1963, p.49 / AWBL.

27. A. Parrot, Sumer, p.134.

28. A. Parrot, "I fouilles of Mari. Dix-neuvième campagne (printemps 1971) " Syria XLVIII (1971) 269 / Syria.

29. Y. Yadin, "The Earliest Representation of a Siege Scene from Bow Scythian and to Mari" Israel Exploration Journal, 22 (1978) 92-93 / IEJ.

30. Y. Yadin, IEJ, fig.5.

31. A. Parrot, Mission archéologique of Mari. Take I. Le temple d'Ishtar, Pp.138-139 1956 Paris / MAM; A. Parrot, Syria, 269; R. Dolce, Dynastic dell'epoca intarsi mesopotamici Gli, Rome 1978, tav.XXXIII: M.452 and 351 / GIMEP; N. Stillman and N. Tallis, Armies of the Ancient Near East, 1984, p.124 / NEAA.

32. A. Parrot, MAM, fig. 79; R. Dolce, GIMEP, tav.XXXIII: M.454, A. Parrot, Syria, p.269.

33. Among more than a thousand graves published to date in the city of Mari (fifty of them dating from the Early Dynastic), there have been no soldier's helmet (cf. M. Jean-Marie, Tombes et necropoles of Mari, Beyruth 1999).

34. A. Parrot, MAM, fig.77 and p.136. However, according J.C. Margueron must have belonged to a composition (cf. L'Art de l'Antiquité. L'Egypte et le Proche-Orient, Paris 1997, p.195).

35. Copies of these axes are common along the Euphrates Basin in the mid-third millennium BC (Cf. J.L. Montero, "Imports and local production in the metallurgical industry of the Upper Syrian Euphrates during the Bronze Age" in From East to West. Tribute to Dr. Emilio Olávarri, Salamanca 1999, pp.276-277).

36. A copy of such swords found in the nearby city of Terqa, although in this case it is a copy of most recent dating, h.1600 B.C. (Cf. D. Bonatz et al., Rivers and Steppes. Cultural Heritage and Environment of the Syrian Jezireh, Damascus 1998, p.99).

37. G. Philip, Metal Weapons of the Early and Middle Bronze Ages in Syria-Palestine, Oxford 1989, pp.142-143.

38. R. Maxwell-Hyslop, "Daggers and Swords in Western Asia", Iraq 8 (1946) 42-43 and pl.IV.

39. J.L. Montero, Metallurgy in the Ancient Near East (third and second millennia BC) Sabadell 1998, p.126 / MPOA.

40. B. Burrows, Text archaic. Ur Excavations: Texts, II, London, 1935, 11: n.373.

41. The findings of weapons of copper / bronze Shuruppak Sumerian cities as Kish, Ur and Girsu prove it (cf.

E. Heinrich, Fara, Berlin 1931, Tafel 39-40; E. Mackay, A Sumerian Palace and the "A" Cemetery at Kish, Mesopotamia, II,

Chicago 1929, pl.LXII; C.L. Woolley, EU pl.223-224 and 227-228, and H. of Genouillac, Fouilles of Telloh, I, Paris 1934, p.89).

42. On the origin of tin used in Syria and Mesopotamia vine. J.L. Montero, MPOA, pp.36-42 and 52-54.

43. Is this the case, to cite some examples: J. Harmand, Ancient warfare. From Sumer to Rome Madrid 1976, pp.133-134 and R. Chapman, "Weapons and Warfare" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol.5, New York 1997, p.336. In fact, the composite bow has been identified in cylinder-seal of the late fourth millennium BC in South Iraq (see PRS Moorey, "The Emergence of the Light, Horse-drawn Chariot in the Near-East c.2000-1500 BC" World Archaeology 18 (1986) 209).

44. A. Parrot, Syria, 269.

45. R. Miller et al. "Experimental Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Archery" World Archaeology 18 (1986) 179 / WA.

46. In a text of the Amorites of Mari time talking about making bronze arrowheads of different weights: 40 g, 24 g, 16 g and 8 g (cf. J.M. Durand DEPM, p.395).

47. R. Miller et al., WA, p.188.

48. R. Miller et al., WA, p.191.

49. J.C. Margueron, ICAANE, fig.2. J.C. Margueron, I mésopotamiens, Paris 2003, fig. 227 and 228.

50. Syrie. Mémoire et civilization, Paris 1993, p.120 and M. Fortin, Syrie, earthquakes of civilizations, Québec 1999, p.103.

51. N. Stillman and N. Tallis, NEAA, pp.152-175.

52. A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, p.318, s.v. sari (y) am.

53. Bronze scales belonging to shells have been found in Ugarit (cf. JP Vita, The army of Ugarit, Madrid 1995, p.78).

54. N. Stillman and N. Tallis, NEAA, pp.139-141

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