Exhibitions/ Art of the First Cities

Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus

May 8 / 2003–August 17 / 2003
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Exhibition Overview

Art of the First Cities surveys the evolution of art and culture in the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates and their impact on the emerging cities of the ancient world—from the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean across Central Asia and along the Gulf to the Indus Valley—during one of the most seminal and creative periods in history. Some fifty museums from more than a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East have participated in this ambitious exhibition, lending national treasures that had rarely, if ever, been sent outside the walls of their art institutions.

The exhibition features about four hundred rare and outstanding works of art—including sculpture, jewelry, vessels, weapons, inlays, cylinder seals, and tablets—selected to demonstrate the quality of the art of Mesopotamia, its distinctive iconography and style, and the breadth of its influence during the thousand years in which the world's earliest cities were transformed into the world's first states and empires.

From the splendor of the Early Dynastic world, the exhibition explores the succeeding Akkadian period (2300–2100 B.C.), named after a dynasty of kings that united Mesopotamia in an empire, in which artistic achievement reached even greater levels of realism and quality. This is exemplified by beautifully modeled figural imagery such as that found on the extraordinary cylinder seal of the scribe of king Sharkalisharri, lent by the Musée du Louvre. The extent of the Akkadian empire is illustrated by the powerful image of the divine king Naram-Sin on a relief loaned by Eski Sark Museum, Istanbul. The exhibition also includes three uniquely important loans from the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of the Syrian Arab Republic—a powerfully recumbent, human-headed bull from Tell Brak (northern Syria); the well-known carved figure of Ishqi-Mari (a king of Mari), which combines daring iconography and powerful artistry; and an exquisite hammered gold and lapis lazuli image of the supernatural lion-headed eagle—an image that embodies aspects of the dust storm and torrential rains and is found throughout Mesopotamian art.

A unique aspect of the exhibition is the special emphasis it places on the interconnections between Mesopotamia and other contemporary cultures across the broad expanse of the ancient world. Luxury objects fashioned from gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian attest to the extensive diplomatic, trading, and military activities that brought Mesopotamia into contact—directly or indirectly—with other regions extending from the Aegean and Anatolia to Central Asia and the Indus Valley. Each of these regions—centers of civilization in their own right—produced astonishing and dynamic art, including elaborately carved chlorite and plain alabaster stone vessels and stone sculpture. The finest of these works, including the celebrated Priest-King from the city of Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley, are presented to highlight local artistic traditions. Other works of art demonstrate the cultural interaction that united regions over the vast expanse of western Asia.

After the fall of the Akkadian Empire around 2100 B.C., political power within Mesopotamia shifted once again to the south. Some of the finest art of this period comes from the city-state of Lagash, under the rule of Gudea. Magnificent images of this ruler, such as the renowned, seated figure of Gudea holding a plan of a temple, lent by the Musée du Louvre, reveal the extraordinary skill and imagery of the Mesopotamian world at the close of the third millennium B.C.

The exhibition is made possible by Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman.

Additional support has been provided by The Hagop Kevorkian Fund.

An indemnity has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The exhibition catalogue was made possible in part by The Hagop Kevorkian Fund and The Adelaide Milton de Groot Fund, in memory of the de Groot and Hawley families.

By Joan Aruz

This essay was derived from the exhibition catalogue, Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2003), available in The Met Store. For more information on the publication, see below.

Having crossed the threshold of a new millennium to stand, as we do, in the midst of perhaps the most intensely urban environment in the world, one often feels disassociated from the ancient past and the great civilizations to which it gave rise. However, in exploring the first instances in which early cultures coalesced first into cities and then into states, one becomes acutely aware of the ancient foundations upon which all succeeding societies were built. The rich and varied artistic traditions that were the focus of this exhibition highlight both a common element and a great diversity in the approach to basic questions regarding the nature of man and his vision of the world. Such issues have been at the heart of philosophies of history. As Karl Jaspers comments,

The unity of mankind is impressively evident in the fact that similar basic traits of religion, forms of thought, implements, and social forms recur all over the earth. The simplicity of man is great despite his diversity. . . . Precisely through observation of the common element, however, does that which is divergent become clear.1

In his exploration of the reasons for the study of history, Jaspers also speaks of great leaps forward that characterize humanity's advancement through time:

In history, that which is unrepeatable and irreplaceable comes to light in unique creations, break-throughs and realisations . . . these creative steps . . . are like revelations from some other source than the mere course of happenings . . . they lay the foundations of the humanity that comes after. From them man acquires his knowledge and volition, his prototypes and antitypes, his criteria, his thought-patterns and his symbols, his inner world.

Although remote in time and place, the urban revolution represented by the formation of the cities of southern Mesopotamia must be looked upon as one of humanity's defining moments. These complex centers of civilization, which arose toward the end of the fourth millennium B.C. in the fertile plains bordered by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, stimulated great inventions, such as writing, and witnessed a flowering of artistic expression. Much of this art demonstrated devotion to the gods and celebrated the power of kings. Political and economic mechanisms were elaborated to procure, manufacture, secure, and control the flow of materials and goods that sustained and embellished society. Partly as a result of these advances in Mesopotamia, other major civilizations developed along the great maritime and land routes that connected them to one another. Some of the more exotic cultures and places, such as Dilmun and Aratta, achieved mythical status.

This exhibition attempted to portray some of the extraordinary developments in the cities of the Near Eastern heartland as well as their impact on and stimuli deriving from the contemporary civilizations to the east and west. In such an endeavor, however, we can at best glimpse only those aspects of the third-millennium-B.C. world that have been largely reconstructed from the materials recovered by archaeologists in the temples, palaces, and tombs of its social elite. With our knowledge of the era enhanced by analyses of surviving cuneiform documents and using interpretations derived from the disciplines of art history, anthropology, political science, history, and economics, we hoped to gain some perspective about the major artistic and cultural achievements as well as the enduring legacy of this earliest urban environment.

The Setting 

The Greek historian Herodotos, writing in the sixth century B.C., marveled at the fertility of Babylonia, the richest grain-bearing country in the world, and its enormous crops of wheat, millet, and sesame that grew to unbelievable size.2 This land—known in the third millennium B.C. as Sumer and Akkad and later named after the city of Babylon—encompasses the southern part of a diverse landscape that is referred to in later Greek sources as Mesopotamia, or "the land between the rivers," the Tigris and the Euphrates. It comprises the eastern tip of the Fertile Crescent of popular literature. Mesopotamia's fertility, however, is not the natural state of this southern alluvial plain, where the first cities were founded. On the contrary, the bounty praised by Herodotos was the work of men, who invented irrigation agriculture to overcome an adverse climate characterized by unpredictable rainfall and damaging floods.3 This is a motif that is expressed throughout Sumerian literature.4

Although the term "Mesopotamia" is often used by scholars to indicate the area roughly covered by modern Iraq, the entire region that falls between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers may be referred to by this term or as "Greater Mesopotamia." It extends from the mountains and fertile plains of eastern Turkey and the barren plateau of the Jazira in eastern Syria and northern Iraq to the lowland alluvial plains that reach beyond the Tigris into Elam, in southwestern Iran. In the south, the plains give way to the vast marshlands in the delta at the head of the Gulf. Other areas under the cultural hegemony of Sumer or Akkad are also sometimes referred to as being part of Mesopotamia.

Geography was one of the determining factors that promoted technological and cultural advancement in the southern Mesopotamian alluvium. The flat plains and river channels promoted unification and communication. Approximately 1,800 miles east of the mouth of the Tigris, the Harappan civilization arose in another large alluvial plain, formed by the Indus River system. The Indus River is slightly longer than the Euphrates; it, too, traverses many lands, flowing from the northern mountains of Tibet to the marshy delta south of Karachi at its mouth on the Arabian Sea. Bringing fertility to the dry Punjab and Sindh plains, the Indus created an enormous agricultural area that supported cities such as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.5

Another great water system, comprising the Amu Darya (Oxus River) and Syr Darya (Jaxartes River), flows through Central Asia but provided no access to the maritime routes from the Gulf to the Arabian Sea. Rather, these rivers flow into inland basins and watered the oasis towns that arose along the precursors of the Silk Road. Mountain ranges in Central Asia as well as in eastern Iran appear to have acted as additional barriers to the intense communication that elsewhere encouraged the formation of unified centers of civilization.6

The Peoples 

During the third millennium B.C. diverse populations inhabited the vast areas stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indus River and from Central Asia to the Gulf. In attempting to identify them, we are guided by the survival of several distinct languages, writing systems, and references in texts associated with specific sites and cultural complexes. Perhaps the most intriguing of these peoples are those who dwelt in the cities and countryside of Sumer, concentrated in the lower part of southern Mesopotamia. They had probably inhabited the region long before the advent of cities, and there is little evidence to support either a major break in continuity of development or a great migration from areas to the north or east, as some scholars have argued. In their own language, Sumerian, they call themselves sag giga, or "black-headed ones." Sumerian and later Near Eastern tradition attributes the introduction of Sumerian civilization to the gods, who granted authority to kings: in the era before the Great Flood, seven sages, who were attendants of the god Enki and ministers to rulers, brought forth architecture, poetry, and the other arts and crafts of civilization.7

There were Semitic-speaking peoples in Greater Mesopotamia—to the north and northwest of Sumer—during the early third millennium B.C. With the foundation of the Akkadian dynasty by Sargon of Akkad (ca. 2300–2245 B.C.), they established a political center in southern Mesopotamia. The Akkadian kings created the world's first empire, which at the height of its power united an area that included not only the entirety of Mesopotamia but also parts of western Syria and Anatolia, Iran, the Caucasus, and Arabia.8 The still-undiscovered capital city of Agade is presumed to have been located near the confluence of the Tigris and Diyala Rivers, close to the modern city of Baghdad. Akkadian, perhaps the earliest attested Semitic language, was introduced into Sumer and written in the cuneiform writing system used originally for Sumerian.

Numerous other languages were spoken by the many peoples in the surrounding regions. Shulgi, king of Ur (ca. 2079–2032 B.C.), claimed to be able to give verdicts in five of the languages of his realm. Cuneiform inscriptions from the third millennium B.C. attest to the existence of additional Semitic languages, including Amorite and Eblaite, as well as lesser-known languages such as Hurrian and Elamite. Some languages, such as that of the Guti peoples, are unknown.

One undeciphered language that draws a great deal of attention is Harappan, named after the major Indus Valley city of Harappa. Unlike the cuneiform script adopted for Sumerian and Akkadian, which was largely written on clay, the Harappan, or Indus, script is composed of signs familiar from short inscriptions above animal representations on numerous Harappan stone seals. It has been suggested that this language may belong to the native Dravidian family. The script disappeared in the beginning of the second millennium B.C.9

The Time Frame 

Two primary systems are employed to establish a relative chronology for the third millennium B.C. in the Near East. Both are based largely on the interpretation of archaeological data and the development of a typology of artifacts. The first emphasizes human technological achievements in the mastery of materials, using terminology derived from ancient literary references to legendary ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. In this system, the term "Early Bronze Age" corresponds roughly to the third millennium B.C. As with many descriptions of ancient cultures, the period is subdivided into an early, middle, and late phase, designated as I, II, and III.

The second system utilizes terms that refer to developments in Mesopotamian history and government. Early Dynastic I, II, and III, for example, designate the period of Sumerian city-states. The Akkadian period that followed was a time of conquest and empire. Lagash II and Ur III—names of dominant city-states—indicate the succeeding phase, during which Mesopotamian cities were unified into a bureaucratic state. "Neo-Sumerian" describes this last era of the third millennium B.C., emphasizing that its art and culture reflect in some ways those of the period before Sargon, the first ruler of the Akkadian dynasty.

The sequences within both systems provide frameworks to which scholars have attempted to affix specific or "absolute" dates. This is a complicated task, fraught with uncertainty, and a universally accepted chronology remains to be established for the entire ancient Near East. The Royal Canon of Ptolemy, the second-century-A.D. Alexandrian astronomer, presents us with a chronology of Babylonian kings dating back to the era of Nabonassar in 747 B.C. Ptolemy based his Canon on the dates of Babylonian astronomical observations that had been converted into Egyptian 365-day calendrical years.10 Near Eastern royal annals and chronicles, along with lists of annually appointed state officials (limmu), allow us to extend the Ptolemaic chronology back to the accession of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari II in 911 B.C. For "absolute" dates prior to that time, however, surviving documents—including those providing synchronisms with Egypt—offer no certainty. Although scientific dating methods such as carbon 14, dendrochronology, thermoluminescence, and archaeoastronomy provide a narrower range of dates that helps to confirm the relative sequence, they lack the accuracy required to fix events of the third and second millennia B.C. absolutely to specific years with any certainty. The chronology adopted for the exhibition catalogue reflects his consideration of the most recent archaeological and scientific data.11

Art of the City and Its Institutions

The great civilizations of the third millennium B.C.—Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Harappan—shared many characteristic features of urban life. From their earliest beginnings, however, essential differences in art and culture set them apart. As Henri Frankfort, discussing Mesopotamia and Egypt, recognized long ago:

. . . the purpose of their writing, the contents of their representations, the functions of their monumental buildings and the structure of their new societies differed completely. What we observe is not merely the establishment of civilized life, but the emergence, concretely, of the distinctive "forms" of . . . civilization.12

The distinctly Mesopotamian form of civilization—which affected the development of the Near East from Anatolia and Syria to Iran, the Gulf, and, to some extent, even Central Asia—crystallized with the advent of the city-state. Consisting of a capital city and surrounded by villages, the city-state proliferated in the southern Mesopotamian plain during the third millennium B.C. According to the official ideology expounded by rulers and court poets, city-states were the property of the gods, who invested the king with the power to bring prosperity and harmony to the land. These earthly rulers, like shepherds, protected and nurtured their flock, the people.

The nature of Mesopotamian institutions is captured to some extent in texts describing the practical functions of the temple and palace, which controlled most of the economic and political life of the city. The distinctive style of Mesopotamian civilization, however, is further illuminated by the arts, which reveal the awesome majesty of the temple as the house of the god; the impressive wealth of the palace as the residence of the king; and the important role of the cemetery as the eternal dwelling place of the social elite.

The basic characteristics of the artistic style that came to define the art of the Near East were already established by the third millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia. An interest in reproducing the human form is manifest in numerous sculptures in the round that were created as supplicants in stone and placed in the inner sanctuaries of temples as sacred objects. These votive images were not replicas of individual donors, however. Already at this early stage in the history of art, we are introduced to the notion of combining naturalism with abstraction to yield idealized figures suggesting inner qualities as well as outward appearances. Their frontality, the combination of modeling and geometric forms to capture the essence of facial features and musculature, as well as their garments and hairstyles had a lasting impact on art in the following millennia.

Relief sculpture demonstrates the ability of early Near Eastern artists to master a variety of postures, including the body in profile. Artistic devices were developed both to represent figures in space and to project Mesopotamian ideals. A conceptual art evolved in which multiple views were combined in the rendering of single images, producing conventions that persisted in the Near East long after its encounter with the Classical Greek world. Human figures, for example, display frontal or profile heads combined with frontal torsos and profile legs; animals—with the exception of the frontally displayed bird of prey—were generally rendered in profile, often with frontal horns. Although some postures exhibit movement, adherence to a real or imaginary groundline generally restricts the depiction of motion and remains a point of contrast with the dynamic art that developed in Aegean and later Greek art.

One of the primary aims of Mesopotamian art was to capture the relationship between the terrestrial and divine realms. The major divinities are represented in human form but come to be distinguished from humans by their horned crowns, tufted fleecy or flounced garments, as well as specific attributes and animals that symbolize their presence. Combinations of human and animal features create images of supernatural creatures: four-legged ones, such as human-headed bisons (traditionally referred to as human-headed bulls) and lions, and two-legged ones, such as bison-men (bull-men), which can be found throughout ancient art.

Compositional schemes, such as registers, were introduced to indicate different levels, depths, and realities. Great size expresses the power of both god and the divine king, as exemplified in the monumental stele of the Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin. Wearing the divine horned crown, Naram-Sin not only ascends toward the stars, which are the symbols of the gods, but is also represented as larger than life.

As the earthly representatives of the gods, rulers are depicted in battle, hunt, and ritual ceremonies, including banqueting scenes and processions with divine offerings. These are predominant themes in ancient Near Eastern art, expressing a desire to control destructive forces and maintain order and prosperity. The narrative of military conquest is at first illustrated by orderly rows of figures; in later periods we get actual glimpses of battle, including specific visual references such as landscape, garments, and hairstyles. War in the divine realm is revealed through scenes of combating gods. Man's domination of the wild beasts that threaten his flocks is expressed in the hunt and the "contest scene," one of the most characteristic motifs engraved on cylinder seals from the Early Dynastic and Akkadian periods. Composed of interwoven or distinct antithetic groups of so-called masters of animals or pairs of combatants, including heroes and bull- or bison-men, the resulting imagery conveys more the universal theme of restoring the balance of nature rather than any ephemeral act of violence. From this tradition the lion and the bull emerge as the most potent animal symbols of power and fertility and are adopted throughout the ancient world.

Mesopotamian sculptural styles and iconography of divine and human rule were transmitted to diverse sites such as Mari and Ebla in northern Syria as well as to Iran and as far as Arabia. Local schools arose, each with distinctive regional interpretations of Sumerian art. Although circumstances allowed us to present only a few representative examples from southwestern Iran, we focused attention on perhaps the finest sculptural workshops, which furnished the temples at Mari with superb creations. Mari and Ebla also provide us with early palaces that appear to reflect a centralized political system, one perhaps more characteristic of northern than southern Mesopotamia during the mid-third millennium B.C. Divisions between north and south, as well as between temple and palace, were expressed visually in the arrangement of the exhibition.

In more distant regions, the Mesopotamian stylistic imprint is less in evidence, and depictions of contest and banquet scenes take on a peculiar local character. In the distinctive art of the Indus Valley region—characterized by small but very accomplished images that display a high degree of naturalism, particularly in the modeling of animal forms—the only hints of Near Eastern stimuli are evident in a few iconographic themes. The phenomenon of "intercultural" or "international" style is introduced on portable objects, such as vessels and seals, in which stylistic and iconographic elements from different traditions were synthesized, reflecting on a small scale the cross-fertilization of cultures.

The life of the royal court in the third millennium B.C. is difficult to evoke from the few sculptures and the more numerous shell and stone inlays found among the remains of palaces. Rather, texts, like those found in the extensive archive at Ebla, along with masses of precious materials, such as lapis lazuli from the courtyard of the Ebla palace, highlight the level of royal wealth, perhaps best illustrated in elite graves and hoards. This milieu—the highest levels of society—was thus necessarily our focus. The world of the common individual and family, although documented by cuneiform writings and architectural remains, cannot be properly displayed. Only a few rare finds indicating certain professions and creations in less "noble" materials, such as clay, provide us with hints about this elusive aspect of Mesopotamian society as revealed in the arts.

Art and Interconnections: Beyond Greater Mesopotamia

In contrast to the arts of Mesopotamia, those of Egypt glorified the pharaoh, who was the embodiment of divine power. Despite visible contacts with the Levant and the suggestion of allusions to Egyptian royal conquest imagery in Akkadian art, it remains difficult to assess the Nilotic contribution to Mesopotamian artistic style.13 Although we have clear evidence that Near Eastern elements were present in Predynastic Egypt, the Nile Valley appears to have developed independently and remained remote, largely removed from the cultural exchange that accompanied the flow of goods from east to west. Its brilliant flowering during the third millennium B.C. thus was beyond the scope of the exhibition.

The farther distant Indus Valley region, however, seems to have interacted more intimately with the Near East in the third millennium B.C., maintaining merchant enclaves in Central Asia and perhaps even in Mesopotamia itself. Yet the structures that define and reflect this civilization are quite different. There is no evidence of monumental temples and palaces or large-scale sculpture in the Harappan world. Rather, the focus seems to have been on private housing, public works, and urban infrastructure, with an emphasis on a sanitary and abundant water supply. Lacking a deciphered language, we can glimpse this enigmatic civilization only through a few small sculptures of important personages; large quantities of terracotta figurines; stone seals and impressed clay tablets depicting myth, ritual, and divine imagery; and hoards of impressive jewelry made of gold, silver, and carnelian and other semiprecious stones. Representative objects were selected for the exhibition to demonstrate both the unique nature of Harappan civilization and its interaction with the west.

The arts of the intervening regions of eastern Iran and western Central Asia reflect, in the words of Maurizio Tosi, "the vast and diversified tapestry of peoples and languages organized in independent polities but culturally unified by . . . an exchange economy."14 Many of the same factors present in these exotic lands of fabled wealth and access to resources—alluded to in Mesopotamian texts as sources of precious stone to adorn their temples and palaces—would later lead to the creation of the legendary Silk Road. The so-called trans-Elamite culture of Iran and the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex of the Oxus region in western Central Asia produced impressive metalwork with elaborate figural imagery, small sculptures of male and female figures, stamp and cylinder seals, as well as stone vessels, demonstrating the impact of Mesopotamia on locally developed artistic traditions.

At the other end of the exchange network were the cultures that emerged along the Mediterranean littoral. Finds in the residences and tombs of Early Bronze Age sites on the Greek mainland as well as on the islands of the Cyclades, the eastern Aegean, and Early Minoan Crete suggest contacts with both western Anatolia and Syria. Perhaps as expected, there are links with sites such as Troy, where the fabled "Treasure of Priam" was uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann—one of many hoards found in the Early Bronze Age city that he originally misdated to the era of the Trojan War. Such connections extended through central Anatolia and northern Syria, which shared distinctive pendant and bead forms. More astonishing, however, is the discovery in a hoard on the Aegean island of Aigina of an etched carnelian bead, an object type never before found west of the sites of Ur and Kish in Mesopotamia. Other beads in the tomb—particularly flat, disk-shaped examples, a widespread type—further illuminate this extensive network of interconnections. It encompassed much of Asia west from the Indus and extended into the Caucasus and the Aegean, consisting of many routes along which jewelry and other precious objects were traded, imitated, and adapted.

Evidence of cultural enrichment is manifest in the transfer of materials, object types, stylistic elements, and iconography. Indeed, our understanding of the ancient attitude to foreign contacts relies heavily on artistic representations and texts. The rulers and gods of Mesopotamia required riches that could only be supplied from abroad, necessitating encounters with exotic worlds. Yet the Mesopotamian view of the foreign is made quite evident in images of subjugated mountain peoples and in literary allusions.15 Beyond Sumer, "the great country with a culture of nobility," simply meant beyond civilization.16

The material in this section was derived from the exhibition catalogue, Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Edited by Joan Aruz with Ronald Wallenfels. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2003. The catalogue is available in the Museum's bookshops and online in the Met Store.

The exhibition catalogue was made possible in part by The Hagop Kevorkian Fund and The Adelaide Milton de Groot Fund, in memory of the de Groot and Hawley families.

Many thanks to the Museum's Editorial Department for making this essay from the exhibition catalogue available for online use.


  1. Jaspers 1953, pp. 247–67, cited in Meyerhoff 1959, pp. 335–36.
  2. Herodotus, The Histories, 1.193.
  3. Postgate 1992, pp. 3V.; Pollock 1999, pp. 29–34.
  4. Jacobsen 1987a, pp. 235V.
  5. Harappan culture also spread southward to sites near the Arabian Sea coast, such as Dholavira in the Rann of Kutch and Lothal near the Gulf of Cambay, as well as into the desert area of Rajasthan.
  6. Postgate 1992, p. 3.
  7. Hallo and Simpson 1971, pp. 28–29.
  8. Steinkeller 1998, p. 89.
  9. Kenoyer 1998, pp. 77–79.
  10. Depuydt 1995, pp. 97V.
  11. For a summary of recent debate over the relative merits of the High, Middle, and Low Chronologies, see Åström 1987. The "New Chronology" of Gasche et al. 1998, which dates Hammurabi from 1696 to 1654 B.C., has occasioned considerable controversy; see Just in Time 2000. For a reevaluation of the royal graves at Ur in light of the New Chronology, see Reade 2001. Malcolm Wiener (forthcoming) has recently reviewed issues of absolute chronology in connection with the dating of the eruption at Thera.
  12. Frankfort 1956, p. 50.
  13. See Hansen 2002, p. 109, n. 72.
  14. See "Pathways across Eurasia," by Maurizio Tosi and C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, in the exhibition catalogue.
  15. Hansen 2002, pp. 100–101.
  16. Alster 1973, p. 103; see also Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, King Shulgi on the future of Sumerian literature: "foreign lands where the sons of Sumer are not known, where people do not have the use of paved roads, where they have no access to the written word."

Works Cited

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"'More Valuable than All Gold': Ptolemy's Royal Canon and Babylonian Chronology." Journal of Cuneiform Studies 47, pp. 97–119.

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Dating the Fall of Babylon: A Reappraisal of Second-Millennium Chronology. Mesopotamian History and Environment, Series 2, Memoirs, vol. 4. Chicago.

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The Ancient Near East: A History. New York.

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Jaspers, Karl 1953
The Origin and Goal of History. Translated from German by Michael Bullock. New Haven.

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Kenoyer, Jonathan M. 1998
Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Karachi and Islamabad.

Meyerhoff, Hans, ed. 1959
The Philosophy of History in Our Time: An Anthology. Garden City, N.Y.

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Ancient Mesopotamia: The Eden That Never Was. Cambridge.

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Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. London and New York.

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"Assyrian King-Lists, the Royal Tombs of Ur, and Indus Origins." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 60, pp. 1–29.

Steinkeller, Piotr 1998
"The Historical Background of Urkesh and the Hurrian Beginnings in Northern Mesopotamia." In Mozen III, Urkesh and the Hurrians, edited by G. Buccellati and M. Kelly-Buccellati, 23, pp. 75–98. Malibu.