Detail of the War Scene of the Standard of Ur Showing a Galloping

Illustration

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
by
published on 06 April 2018

This is a detail of the so-called "War Scene" of the Standard of Ur from the right half of the bottom register. Here, a four-wheeled chariot is drawn by four galloping equids. The wheels of the chariot are solid and not spoked; around 1800 BCE, spoked wheels were invented. A charioteer drives the chariot and holds the reins. Behind him, another soldier accompanies him, holding an axe. At the front of the chariot, a container for spare spears appears. There are no bits (bits were introduced about 1000 years later). There is a rein post with rings on the back of the equids. These animals were probably onagers or asses; during the second millennium BCE, horses came to Mesopotamia from Central Asia. This example is a perfect one illustrating how Sumerians, 4500 years ago, harnessed equids without bits. There are two trampled and naked enemy soldiers; one below the hooves and one in front of the legs of the equids. 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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