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while many parts of europe were still in the stone age, the babylonian king hammurabi put in place a set of 300 laws for his people. hammurabi was way ahead of his time. not even the greeks had a law code until draco provided it for athens a thousand years later. thanks to the piece shown in image 2-17, hammurabi’s laws are known in great detail. the piece is a tall black basalt stele. the top of the stele shows king hammurabi and the sun god shamash. as seen in 2-17, hammurabi, the figure on the left, has his hand raised as a sign of respect to shamash. we also see shamash handing hammurabi a rod and ring, which symbolize authority. both the ring and the rod represent measuring rods and coiled rope, both of which are building tools. the rod and rope represent and grant the ruler the capacity to “build the social order and to measure peoples lives (pg 41).” in other words, the ruler is to enforce the laws that are spelled out on the stele. hammurabi’s laws are inscribed on the stele in akkadian in 3500 lines of cuneiform characters. king hammurabi’s laws governed all aspects of babylonian life.

the piece shown in 2-17 is an excellent example that displays the relationship that existed between the gods and rulers of the ancient kingdoms of the near east. it is clear from the stele outlining hammurabi’s laws that the rulers and gods had a mutual respect for one another. this is shown through hammurabi’s hand being raised in the presence of shamash. shamash shows respect to hammurabi by granting hammurabi the measuring rod and coiled rope that represented his ability to enforce his laws and to guide his people. i kind of see the relationship between the gods and leaders to be a student/mentor like relationship. it appears to me that the leaders would look to the gods for advice on how to rule and how to be the best that they could be for their people. while the gods were the ultimate rulers, it seems to me that they granted and passed on their authority and power to those they trusted to rule. a leader could not be a good ruler without the trust, support, and respect of the gods. overall, the gods were the ultimate rulers but they appointed certain individuals to lead the people for them. in a way, the leaders kind of represented the gods themselves since they did as the gods asked of them. while the leaders looked to the gods for guidance, the people looked to their leader.

the idea of the leaders’ respect for the gods is also seen in the image on page 47 of our text, image 2-21. the image shows a piece where ashumasirpal ii is paying respects and homage to the gods. the king is painted as being taller than his 2 attendants. this shows that leaders were closer to the gods whereas the people in the community looked to their leaders for guidance. all in all, the image shows a kings respect for their superiors, the gods just like hammurabi shows respect for shamash

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the remarkable statue of gudea was from the neo-sumerian age. this powerful ruler had two dozens portraits of him survive, this being one of his well known statues. gudea built and rebuilt temples to display his pieces . the statues portrayed his wealth and pride in granting the gods their dues.

the physical aspects of the statue show a man sitting with his hands clasped together with inscriptions drawn on his lap of a temple plan, which is dedicated to the ningrsu. their are also inscriptions with messages to the gods of sumer. his large chest suggests that the gods have given him the fullness of life. his muscular arms, which one is always shown bare in his portraits, reveals gods given strength. the stone in which these statues were carved was diorite, known as a rare costly dark stone. this powerful ruler went far beyond expectations in his existance to show his testimony to his piety.....................................................................................................................................write and discuss about this in a long paragraph:
the region of the ancient near east and mesopotamia saw a revolutionary change when early humans gave up hunting and gathering for the more stable occupations of farming and herding. civilization grew and prospered in the abundant land between the tigris and the euphrates rivers, often referred to as the “fertile crescent.” the region of mesopotamia is also the birthplace of three of the world’s great modern faiths: judaism, islam, and christianity (kleiner, 31). in the ancient near east, religious devotion and ritual played a central role in the lives of the sumerians, assyrians, and babylonians and impacted everything from the design of their cities to the decoration of everyday household items. for today’s discussion, choose one of the following pieces to examine the relationship between the gods and the rulers of the ancient kingdoms of the near east. read the inserts (the piety of gudea) and (hammurabi’s law code) as a starting point, and use the find additional examples of artworks, objects, sculpture or structures from other cultures of the era to support your claim.
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