Essay Example on Early Dynastic Period: 2900-2350 BCE - A Cultural & Political Transformation

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1302 Words
Date:  2023-08-08

Various cultural and political changes characterized the early dynastic period of between 2900 to 2350 BCE. During this period, the writing was fully developed. The period witnessed historical documents and extensive written narratives including the Stele of the Vultures as well as the king of Lagash. The Early Dynastic period also provides evidence for the dynastic kingship through modes of rule with a shared identity for the Sumerian, especially after the ancient language of the period. Although it is not clear how the manuscripts of the Sumerian differed from one another during this period of the Early Dynasty, they pertained to the religious aspect of the ruler. They give the clear distinction of the terms for rules with the reflection that offers an understanding of the modern scholarship, specifically the relationship between the temple and the ruler. The manuscript of Man carrying a box, possibly for offerings is one of the outstanding art on Sumerian temple architecture in early Mesopotamia.

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"Man carrying a box, possibly for offerings" entails a nude man that seems to carry a box on the head. It is one of the excellent examples of Sumerian temple architecture. In the Early Dynastic period, a few people such as priests, athletes as well as the prisoners of war were the one represented as nude. The manuscript is reminiscent of scenes that depict a person thought to be a priest with an offering cascade on the head. It seems to be an object for the temple foundation and is related to the temple building. In the Early Dynastic period, the most important institutions in society were temples. As a result, each city with a temple constituted of a patron as it was built on a large platform easily seen from a considerable distance distances. The temple was thought to be a house for the gods. It was also a place of ritual as well as an essential economic institution. It contained several fields that produced goods to be used in the temple. Temple building also included a series of rituals including grounds purification and the dedication of the foundation to god. The picture was captured in 1950 by Elias S. David in the Museum. It is the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a selection from the Ancient Near East Department collections. It is the art of the first cities in the Third Millennium with the founding figures found to be the Copper Sculpture from the Ancient Near East.

During the early dynastic period, the theory concerning political development was highly influential and debated. The use of Sumerian and Babylonian literary texts enabled the creation of this manuscript. It was based on various myths and misconceptions. They include features of a king or god discussing a dilemma with an assembly. The period entailed cities ruled by meetings of elders that were led by priests. The seal of impressions was found in the temple institutions and consisted of proto-cuneiform symbols that the scholar linked to specific ancient city names as well as the feelings of rosettes. Man carrying a box, possibly for offerings was a manuscript as well as a symbol associated with Sumerian temples and the goddess. The Early Dynastic period saw the tenure of the LUGAL increase, which supported the evidence of the appearance of the city walls. It indicated the period of continuous warfare. As the term of the LUGAL got longer and consistent, the period constituted of hereditary kingship, which resulted in one city that dominated over the others. The Sumerian King, through the artwork, revealed the version dating to the Old Babylonian period, which described the movement of kingship from one city to another. It expressed the ideology that supremacy could only be present in a town at a time. Therefore, this revealed the ancient reality, which was more involved with various contemporaneous city-states existing.

The Sumerian temples were considered the houses of the gods. These gods resided within their cult statues which required essential feeding as well as care since it was the centre of the ritual activity. It has been found that the Sumerian temples were not simply the places of worship. However, they were also active households that controlled various activities within the city. In the Early Dynastic period, it was clear that temples were the main administrative as well as the authoritative centres of the Sumerian city . The temples owned land and had a large amount of wealth, thus employed several dependents. Consequently, the leader of the temple was a compelling person. The most significant evidence preserved for temples come from sites not in the Sumerian city. The sites are not in the far South of Mesopotamia but the north and on the periphery. The temples provide the best archaeological record of the Sumerian temples, especially those form Diyala region and Mari. They have the most extended continuous archaeological sequence in the temples in all Mesopotamia.

Temples during the Early Dynastic period varied in size and shape, although they shared a lot of consistent architectural features. The features included the orientation of the temple corners with cardinal points and the rectangular room with a podium for the cult statue. The physical separation from the domestic sectors was caused by the repeated reconstruction with Oval as well as developed courtyards. Although the elevation of temples was a common feature across Mesopotamia during this period, the art sites contained a secondary feature of continuous reconstruction of the architecture structure. Through the slow and mundane process, the architecture in Sumerian temple grew out and acquired a more deep-rooted and religious significance. Besides, the conceptual evolution led to the increased isolation of the priesthood from the society. As a result, it increased the tension due to the new form of authority.


The excavation of the Sumerian temple contributed to the study of architectural changes through the Early Dynastic periods. Besides, the frequent rebuilding of the temples over time led to the preservation of the chronological development of the layouts. Review of the changes that significantly affected the temple architecture led to the tracing of minor changes resulting in an insight into the social processes in the Mesopotamia society. Since architecture is constructed of human, it is meant to serve as a constituent element in human relations. As a result, they are built to impact the surrounding as well as the experience of the human through the architecture. The changes in the work of art have therefore created new live experiences inside the temples, thus affecting the intentional and unintentional ways of inhabitants. The architecture in the Sumerian temple is dedicated to the gods of the moon. It is evident from the small crescent moons that seem to be excavated within the temple.


Emberling, Geoff. "Mesopotamian Cities and Urban Processes, 3500–1600BCE." In The Cambridge World History, 253–78. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Evans, Jean M. The Lives of Sumerian Sculpture: An Archaeology of the Early Dynastic Temple. The Lives of Sumerian Sculpture: An Archaeology of the Early Dynastic Temple, 2009.

Hansen, Donald P. "Royal Building Activity at Sumerian Lagash in the Early Dynastic Period." The Biblical Archaeologist 55, no. 4 (December 1992): 206–11.

Lawecka, Dorota. "Bent or Straight Axis? Temple Plans in Early Dynastic Southern Babylonia." Zeitschrift Für Assyriologie Und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 104, no. 2 (January 30, 2014).

Mackay, E J H. "A Sumerian Place and the 'A' Cemetery at Kish, Mesopotamia. Part II." In Archaeology Memoirs. Volume I. No. II. Field Museum - Oxford University Joint Expedition, 1929.

Okada, Akiko. "The Establishment of the Sumerian Kingship Considering from the Development of the Temple Architecture." Bulletin of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan 12, no. 1–2 (1969): 65-92,171.

Suter, Claudia E. "Kings and Queens: Representation and Reality." In The Sumerian World. Routledge, 2015.

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