Chariot in the War Scene of the Standard of Ur

Illustration

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
by
published on 14 April 2018

This is a detail of the so-called "War Scene" of the Standard of Ur. This detail is the left end of the top register. Here, on the left, a Sumerian soldier stands behind a four-wheeled chariot. He wears a flounced skirt and a leather head cap and holds the reins in his left hand while his right hand holds an axe. Similar head caps and axes were found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The wheels of the chariot are solid and not spoked; around 1800 BCE, spoked wheels were invented. The chariot is drawn by four equids but the equids are not yet connected to the reins. There are no bits (bits were introduced about 1000 years later). These animals were probably onagers or asses; during the second millennium BCE, horses came to Mesopotamia from Central Asia. The depictions, in mosaic, were made using lapis lazuli, red limestone, and shell set in place with bitumen. The Standard of Ur is a (reconstructed) hollow box and its precise purpose is unknown. Early Dynastic Period, circa 2500 BCE. From the Royal Cemetry of Ur, Ur, Sothern Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. (The British Museum, London).



About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

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