Illustrations of Ancient Mesopotamia

Yet another picture hunt prompted by Photobucket rodeo. Had parts of it saved since earlier. Given the strong ancient Mesopotamian basis for Chaos Dwarfs, this should be of interest to most folks around here.

Google Drive Folder
Mesopotamian Imgur Album
Urartu Imgur Album

Bronze age Mitanni pictures were included since parts of their territory encompassed northern Mesopotamia. Urartu (ancient Armenia) has been included as a bonus, the reason of which should be evident in the pictures displaying strong Mesopotamian influences, besides constant wars between the highland Urartians and the lowland Assyrians. Most Urartu art are by talented artist Rubik Kocharian (born 1940), a treasure hoard of fine illustrations for an age and culture usually skimmed over.

Since most etchings and drawings from the 19th century are well known and well-circulated, they were not included in this collection. It’s recent art shared across the Internet that’s in peril, plus some peripheral older pieces not widely known yet made accessible online nevertheless.

A few historical fantasy pieces made it into this collection. Likewise, the Biblical depiction of the prophet Jonah in Nineveh (a comic tale of a failed prophet) and the Biblical depiction of Nebuchadnezzar II have been included where artists have been reasonably accurate with dress or architecture. For flow, the Biblical illustrations were kept together, bar that of Abraham smashing idols. All Nebuchadnezzar II depictions have been included in the Biblical illustration section.

For the best experience, I recommend that you listen to HBO Rome Intro Music (1 hour loop) while looking through these images, or something similar, for that atmosphere. Or perhaps this one, for the whiplash sounds?

And speaking of videos:

Thorsteinn Gislason’s Images of the Ancient Near East, parts 1, 2 & 3.
The city of Ur
The city of Babylon

Enter the cradle of civilization.

Enter a realm of mysticism and sun-baked clay, of mud and sun, of irrigation canals and lush grain fields, of kings and slaves, of twin rivers and a maelstrom of tribes and cities vying for control of a rich land that was the envy of the world.

Enter a world of dazzling beauty and crudeness, of learning and labour, of family and cruelty, of gods and demons.

Enter a world of wars, endless wars, where cities are sacked and their charred ruins remain abandoned forever in the blowing desert sands.

Enter ancient Mesopotamia.

Sargon I av Akkad



Husplan 02
Sumerisk armé 02 Sumerisk armé 03 Sumerisk by 01 Sumerisk dränkning 01 Sumerisk handel 02 Sumerisk kung 01 Sumerisk procession 01 Sumerisk procession 02 Sumerisk spjutman 02 Sumeriskt bröllopp 01 ![Uruk 01|500x312]
Mari 01 (upload://bp6q1990oDNx6dbe7Bho2i8R0wM.jpeg) Ziggurat 03 Ziggurat 04
Abraham och avgudabilderna 01 Abraham reser med sin släkt från Mesopotamien 01



Skrivare 02 Skrivare 03 Skrivare 04 Skrivare 05 Skrivare 07


Akkadisk stridsvagn 01 Akkadiske Sargon I 04


Mitannisk armé 01 Mitannisk stridsvagn 01


Urartu 01 Urartu 02

Urartu 05 Urartu 11 Urartu 15 Urartu 16 Urartu 19 Urartu versus Cimmerians 01



Assyrier mot nubier 01 Assyrisk armé 01 Assyrisk armé 09 Assyrisk armé 10 Assyrisk armé 13 Assyrisk armé 14 Assyrisk armé 15 Assyrisk armé 18 Assyrisk belägring 03 Assyrisk belägring 05 Assyrisk belägring 11 Assyrisk belägring 12 Assyrisk belägring 13 Assyrisk belägring 14 Assyrisk grymhet 01 Assyrisk grymhet 02 Assyrisk grymhet 03 Assyrisk grymhet 04 Assyrisk kavallerist 01 Assyrisk kavallerist 03 Assyrisk kavallerist 04 Assyrisk lejonjakt 04 Assyrisk spjutman 02 Assyrisk strid 01 Assyrisk strid mot araber 02 Assyrisk stridsvagn 02 Assyrisk stridsvagn 06 Assyrisk stridsvagn 07 Assyrisk stridsvagn 08 Assyrisk stridsvagn 09 Assyrisk stridsvagn 10 Assyrisk tribut 01 Assyriskt harem 04 Assyriskt palats 02 Assyriskt palats 04 Assyriskt palats 07
Jonah i Nineveh 01 Jonah i Nineveh 02 Jonah i Nineveh 03 Jonah i Nineveh 04 Jonah i Nineveh 05 Jonah i Nineveh 06 Jonah i Nineveh 07 Jonah i Nineveh 09 Jonah i Nineveh 10 Jonah i Nineveh 11 Jonah i Nineveh 12 Jonah i Nineveh 13
Assyriskt palats 09 Assyriskt palats 10 Assyriskt palats 11 Assyriskt palats 12 Assyriskt palats 13 Assyriskt palats 15



Babylon 01 Babylon 02

Babylon 3D 03 Babylon 04 Babylon 07 Babylon 08 Babylon 11 Babylon 14 Babylonisk armé 02 Babylonisk armé Babylonisk fångenskap 01 Babylonisk fångenskap 02 Babylonisk fångenskap 03 Babylonisk fångenskap 04 Babylonisk fångenskap 05 Babylonisk fångenskap 06 Babylonisk fångenskap 07 Babylonisk fångenskap 11 Babylonisk procession 01 Babylonisk procession 02 Babylonisk äktenskapsmarknad 01 Babyloniske Hammurabi 01 Babyloniske Hammurabi 03 Nebuchadnezzar 01 Nebuchadnezzar 03 Nebuchadnezzar 04 Nebuchadnezzar 05 Nebuchadnezzar 06 Nebuchadnezzar 07 Nebuchadnezzar 09 Nebuchadnezzar 10 Nebuchadnezzar 12 Nebuchadnezzar 13 Jerusalems fall 01 Nebuchadnezzar 14 Nebuchadnezzar 15 Nebuchadnezzar 16 Nebuchadnezzar 17 Nebuchadnezzar 18 Nebuchadnezzar 19 Nebuchadnezzar 21 Nebuchadnezzar 22 Nebuchadnezzar 23
Babylons fall 02


Babylon scenes from Intolerance (1916)

The movie director D.W. Griffith’s strange and highly expensive film Intolerance from 1916 is to date the only movie featuring independent Babylon that I know of. Fantastical sets. There are elephant sculptures in there for some reason, but overall it looks rather brilliant in black-and-white, or perhaps aged sepia.

Check out its Babylon scenes sometime for the visuals! (The only Youtube videos with only-Babylon-scenes have atrocious video quality.)


So much inspiration :exploding_head: even for the style I’m doing now there’s so many things I just picked out to add :thinking:


Cheers, Ghrask!

Was Ancient Egypt a Nicer Place Than Ancient Mesopotamia

This essay by Luka Trkanjec grapples with the question why ancient Egypt remains so much more popular than ancient Mesopotamia, and homes in on a similar phenomenon existing in ancient Greece contemporary with Egypt and Mesopotamia, as well as cultural differences making ancient Egypt a more pleasing place to learn about compared to ancient Mesopotamia. This goes beyond stone monuments in Egypt having survived better than brick structures in Mesopotamia.

Some themes of Trkanjec’s nuanced drift is that of Egypt being a more serene and harmonious place suspicious of strict legal codification of people’s status. Egyptians often portrayed themselves as embracing families and couples, with Mesopotamian art traditions being lacking in this regard, but excelling in terms of depicting atrocities committed by one’s own side. Mesopotamia early on came to see domination, aggression and exploitation as something good, glorying in conquering warlords and developing strict legal codes with a famously draconic bent. While both were ancient monarchies, Ancient Egypt comes across as a culture who loved the good life, in contrast to the more pessimistic and misanthropic outlook of Mesopotamia. The latter also sported a constant phenomenon of impoverished robbers roving the fringes of the lands, without a similar thing being mentioned in any Egyptian sources outside of intermediary periods of collapse and disorder.

It may be added that Mesopotamian kings had themselves depicted with whips, and some even claimed the title King of the Universe. I cannot remember a single instance of Egyptian artists depicting people being flayed or impaled, in contrast to Mesopotamia. Trkanjec’s argument is not one of ancient Egyptians being bereft of evil or shy of e.g. depicting the killing of enemies, but it is one where the nuance difference between ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt is a noticable one, both in sources that have survived and in contemporary ancient Greek sources.

So, comparatively pleasant Egypt and grimdark Mesopotamia.

Whether one agrees or not, this rather long essay is worth checking out for anyone interested in the period (hint, Tomb Kings and Chaos Dwarfs, hint).

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