History of the World in 1,000 ObjectsDK, Smithsonian
With objects revealing how our ancestors lived, what they believed and valued, and how these items helped shape civilization, History of the World in 1,000 Objects contains a treasure trove of human creativity from earliest cultures to the present day. Objects are grouped chronologically, under key themes, from art to the history of technology, and together help paint a unique picture that provides detailed insight into each culture.
In addition to stunning specially-commissioned photographs, History of the World in 1,000 Objects is packed with timelines and maps that make it easy to compare how people lived at different times and in different parts of the world.
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HISTORY of the WORLD in 1,000 OBJECTS smithsonian HISTORY of the WORLD in 1,000 OBJECTS LONDON, NEW YORK, MELBOURNE, MUNICH, AND DELHI DK LONDON DK INDIA Senior Art Editors Anna Hall, Ina Stradins Managing Art Editors Sudakshina Basu, Govind Mittal Senior Editors Peter Frances, Janet Mohun Managing Editors Kingshuk Ghoshal, Rohan Sinha Project Art Editors Alison Gardner, Clare Joyce, Simon Murrell, Duncan Turner, Francis Wong Project Art Editor Amit Malhotra Project Editors Gill Pitts, Louise Tucker Editors Lili Bryant, Manisha Majithia, Steve Setford, Kaiya Shang, Debra Wolter Art Editors Sanjay Chauhan, Vikas Chauhan, Heena Sharma, Upasana Sharma, Shreya Anand Virmani US Editors Jill Hamilton, Margaret Parrish, Jane Perlmutter Assistant Art Editors Anjali Sachar, Riti Sodhi Senior Editors Neha Gupta, Vineetha Mokkil Editorial Assistant Henry Fry Project Editors Neha Pande, Priyaneet Singh Indexer Hilary Bird Editor Suefa Lee Picture Researcher Liz Moore Jacket Designer Suhita Dharamjit New Photography Angela Coppola, Dave King, Richard Leeney, Gary Ombler Managing Jacket Editor Saloni Singh Jacket Designer Laura Brim Assistant Editors Sneha Sunder Benjamin, Deeksha Saikia Jacket Editor Maud Whatley Production Manager Pankaj Sharma Jacket Design Development Manager Sophia MTT DTP Manager Balwant Singh Senior Preproduction Producer Luca Frassinetti DTP designers Rajesh Singh, Mohammad Usman, Dheeraj Singh Producer Mary Slater SMITHSONIAN ENTERPRISES Managing Art Editor Michelle Baxter President Christopher A. Liedel Managing Editor Angeles Gavira Guerrero Senior Vice President Carol LeBlanc Art Director Philip Ormerod Vice President Brigid Ferraro Publisher Sarah Larter Licensing Manager Ellen Nanney Associate Publishing Director Liz Wheeler Key Accounts Manager Cheryl Stepanek Publishing Director Jonathan Metcalf Product Development Manager Kealy Wilson First published in the United States in 2014 by DK Publishing 4th ﬂoor, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 14 15 16 17 18 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 001—192895—Oct/2014 Copyright © 2014 Dorling Kindersley Limited All rights reserved Without limiting the rights reserved under copyright reserved above, no part of this title may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-1-4654-2289-7 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK publishing Special Markets, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or SpecialSales@dk.com. Printed and bound in Hong Kong Discover more at www.dk.com CONTRIBUTORS EARLY SOCIETIES Jane McIntosh Senior Researcher for Civilizations in Contact, a Public Engagement Project in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, UK. ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS Peter Chrisp Author of more than 70 history books, including DK’s Atlas of Ancient Worlds, Ancient Greece (E Explore), Ancient Rome (E Explore), and the Shakespeare Eyewitness Guide. TRADE AND EMPIRE Philip Parker Historian and writer whose books include DK’s Eyewitness Companion Guide: World History, History Year by Year, Science Year by Year, History of Britain and Ireland, and Engineers. ENLIGHTENMENT AND IMPERIALISM Dr. Carrie Gibson Writer who has contributed to The Guardian and Observer newspapers and author of Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day; gained a doctorate in 18th- and 19th-century history from the University of Cambridge, UK. INDUSTRY AND INDEPENDENCE R. G. Grant History writer who has published more than 40 books, including Battle, Soldier, Flight, and Battle at Sea, and World War I for DK. A SHRINKING WORLD Sally Regan Contributor to several books for DK, including History, World War II, History Year by Year, and Science; award-winning documentary maker whose ﬁlms include Shell Shock and Bomber Command for Channel 4 in the UK. Additional writing by R. G. Grant and Jack Challoner CONSULTANTS Lauren Barnes Access Ofﬁcer, Durham University Oriental Museum, UK Dr. Roger Collins Honorary Fellow, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, UK Professor Richard Overy Professor of History, University of Exeter, UK Len Pole Former curator of Saffron Waldon Museum, UK SMITHSONIAN CONSULTANTS NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY J. Daniel Rogers Curator of Archaeology, Department of Anthropology • Salima Ikram Egyptology Unit Head, Department of Anthropology • Noel Broadbent Archaeologist, Department of Anthropology William Fitzhugh Curator of Archaeology and Director of Arctic Studies Center, Department of Anthropology James Harle Map curator volunteer • Bruce Smith Senior Archaeologist, Department of Anthropology Adrienne Kaeppler Anthropologist, Curator of Oceanic Ethnology, Department of Anthropolgy • Joshua Bell Anthropologist, Department of Anthropology Candace Greene Program Analyst, Collections and Archival Programs • Jeffrey Post Geologist, National Gem and Mineral Collection • Alexander Nagel Research Associate, Department of Anthropology FREER GALLERY OF ART AND ARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY J. Keith Wilson Curator of Ancient Chinese Art James T. Ulak Senior Curator of Japanese Art Debra Diamond Associate Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art • Massumeh Farhad Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art • Louise Cort Curator of Ceramics Stephen Allee Associate Curator for Chinese Painting and Calligraphy NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY Kenneth Slowik Curator, Division of Culture and the Arts Stacey Kluck Supervisory Curator, Division of Culture and the Arts • David Miller Curator, Division of Armed Forces History • Joan Boudreau Curator, Division of Culture and the Arts • Steve Velasquez Curator, Division of Home and Community Life • Jennifer Locke Jones Chair and Curator, Division of Armed Forces History • Harold Wallace Curator, Division of Work and Industry NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM Alex Spencer Curator, Division of Aeronautics F. Robert Van der Linden Chairman, Division of Aeronautics • Andrew Johnston Research Specialist, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies • Hunter Hollins Program Specialist, Department of Space History NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY Nik Apostolides Associate Director James Barber Historian COOPER-HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN MUSEUM Sarah Cofﬁn Curator • Cindy Trope Museum Specialist Susan Brown Museum Specialist NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN Ramiro Matos Associate Curator, Ofﬁce of Latin America EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS Colleen Batey Senior Lecturer, Archaeology, University of Glasgow • Wirt Wills Professor of Archaeology, University of New Mexico • Walter Turner Historian, North Carolina Transportation Museum CONTENTS EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS 700 BCE–600 CE TRADE AND EMPIRE 600–1450 012 Early Humans Shaping the World 058 The City-states of Ancient Greece 114 Europe’s Germanic Kingdoms 016 The Enigma of the Indus Civilization 066 Celtic Kingdoms 120 Viking Traders and Raiders 018 The Cradle of Civilization 071 The Great Persian Empire 130 The Glory of Byzantium 026 Egyptian Life and Afterlife 074 The Artistic Etruscans 134 Islamic Courts and Caliphates 040 Europe’s Bronze Age Warriors 080 The Splendor of Rome 135 Islamic Cultures of Spain and Africa 043 The Mighty Hittites 090 Foreign Rule in Egypt 136 Norman Crusaders and Conquerors 044 Palace Societies of the Aegean 098 India’s First Empires 146 The Rise of the Holy Roman Empire 047 The Intrepid Phoenicians 100 The Uniﬁed Kingdoms of China 151 Early Kingdoms of Eastern Europe 048 China’s First Celestial Empire 105 Yayoi and Kofun Japan 152 Empires of the Mongol Khans 054 The Awe-inspiring Gods of the Andes 106 The First Cities of Mesoamerica 154 Art and Devotion in Classical India 055 The Mystical Land of the Olmec 110 The Mysterious Nazca and Moche 160 The Dragon Throne of Imperial China 168 Buddhism in Medieval Japan 170 Korea’s Golden Kingdoms 172 Temple Cities of Cambodia 174 Seljuk and Early Ottoman Realms 176 Spirit of the Greater Southwest 178 The Myth-makers of Mesoamerica 188 Treasures of the Andes 192 The Sculptors of Easter Island ENLIGHTENMENT AND IMPERIALISM 1450–1750 INDUSTRY AND INDEPENDENCE 1750–1900 A SHRINKING WORLD 1900 TO PRESENT 196 Art and Science in Renaissance Europe 272 The Birth of the Industrial Age 340 A Century of Flight 210 Reformation, War, and Enlightenment 282 Revolution and Republic in France 344 Transportation for the Masses 222 The Height of Ottoman Power 286 The Decline the Austrian Empire 350 Entertaining the World 228 Poetry and Power in the Safavid Empire 288 Russia Under the Romanovs 354 Fighting the World Wars 232 Culture in Korea’s Last Dynasty 290 The Race for African Empires 360 Combating Disease 236 China’s Age of Prosperity 294 The Empire of the Sikhs 364 Life Under the Revolution 244 Last Days of the Samurai 298 Company Rule and the Raj in India 366 The Western Home 254 The Majesty of Mughal India 302 The Reopening of Japan 372 Fashion for the People 260 The Rise of the Maratha Empire 308 Unrest in Late Imperial China 376 The Space Age 262 The Merchant Empire of Benin 314 Colonial Struggle in Southeast Asia 380 The Technology of Modern War 266 Ethiopia and the Christian World 316 Paciﬁc Exploration and Expansion 382 Connecting the World 268 European Settlers in the New World 318 Settlers in Australia and New Zealand 320 Revolution in Latin America 322 Tradition and War in North America 328 The Birth of the United States TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY 386 Early Societies 394 Ancient Civilizations 410 Trade and Empire 427 Enlightenment and Imperialism 438 Industry and Independence 450 A Shrinking World 464 Index 478 Acknowledgments FOREWORD There is something magical about the survival of human-made objects from the past. A piece of jewelry, a cup, a sword, or a sandal that has, often arbitrarily, survived the general tide of oblivion seems in some degree to bridge the gulf of years that separates us from the world of our ancestors—whether inhabitants of ancient Egypt or the Roman Empire, the Aztecs of Mexico or Japanese samurai. A collection of such artifacts can vividly represent a longlost civilization, its daily life, its art and culture, its ways of making war and conducting trade, its rituals and its beliefs. Many objects have come to us from ancient times through the rituals surrounding death. Our knowledge of the ancient Egyptians, for example, would be much poorer but for their habit of burying personal possessions with the dead. The exquisite decoration and furnishing of palaces and places of worship has been another rich source of surviving artifacts. We are also beholden to the desire of people to record the great events of their own time, which has given us Trajan’s column in Rome and the Norman Bayeux Tapestry. Some objects were created to celebrate heroes or gods, like the statues of ancient Greece and Rome. Some are exquisite craft work, such as Japanese Samurai armor and the gold ﬁgurines of the West African Asante. Others are famous puzzles, such as the Rosetta Stone, which eventually allowed scholars to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. Objects are particularly important when evoking human societies that have left no written records, such as that of the hunters and farmers of the Neolithic era. But objects are also a rich source of information about the more recent past. Historical documents such as England’s Magna Carta and the United States Constitution have remained alive as a basis for current political practice, as well as existing as physical objects preserved for posterity. The Watt steam engine shows the mix of practical good sense, skill, and basic science that was to advance the Industrial Revolution, while the Ford Model T transports us back to the early days of modern motorized society. Collected together in this book, objects from all periods generate a striking impression of the overarching shape of human history and its development from stone tools to spaceﬂight. They also take us on a breathtaking journey through the ever-varying stages of the human adventure. R. G. GRANT Persian life This Persian illuminated manuscript is from a book of poems completed in 1548. Brightly colored pigments were used to produce works that show aspects of daily life including style of dress and architecture. After 12,500 BCE, as temperatures rose, vegetation changed and ice sheets melted, and people adopted new ways of living, including agriculture in some areas. As farming and settled life spread, populations increased, and new technologies such as metalworking and monumental construction began. Between 3000 and 1000 BCE, the ﬁrst civilizations, with cities and writing, emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica, and Andean South America. 20,000–700 BCE EARLY SOCIETIES 12 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE EARLY HUMANS SHAPING THE WORLD Humanity’s extraordinary success is due to our ingenuity in devising cultural means to overcome our physical limitations. Early stone tools seem crude, but they were the ﬁrst step on the road to computers, the Moon, and beyond. Along the way we developed language, allowing the sharing of knowledge, skills, and ideas. Settling down ▽ The huge Neolithic village of Catalhöyük in Turkey had closely packed houses entered through the roof via a ladder. The main room had a hearth, cabinets, benches, and platforms for sitting and sleeping. The walls often had paintings of bulls. Our early ancestors evolved in Africa and spread into Asia and Europe. Around 2.5 million years ago, they developed stone tools, initially to cut through tough hides to access meat. This began a period called the Stone Age, divided into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic. Paleolithic people tamed ﬁre for protection, warmth, and cooking. Several human species continued to evolve. One, the Neanderthals, began burying their dead and caring for their disabled. Around 200,000 BCE, Homo sapiens (modern humans) emerged in Africa. Outcompeting other human species, by 11,500 BCE they had spread across Asia, Europe, and the Americas and crossed open ocean to Australia. They had created art, sewn clothing, made shelters, and domesticated dogs. THE FIRST FARMERS Late Paleolithic people inhabited an ice age world. By around 9600 BCE, however, the world’s climate was similar to today’s. Communities began exploiting newly available resources, and in some areas settled permanently instead of traveling to Mysterious serpentine ball We don’t know why balls were carved from stone in northeast Scotland, but the skill required suggests they were highly valued. obtain seasonally available resources. For different reasons in different areas, some communities began cultivating plants, and in some parts of the world herding animals. As agriculture and a settled way of life brought population growth, Neolithic farmers expanded into new areas. To obtain useful materials from other places, sedentary communities developed exchange networks. They also sought luxuries with which they could demonstrate their superiority over others. These included ﬁne stone and eventually, in some areas, metals. EARLY HUMANS SHAPING THE WORLD 13 TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION AGRICULTURE point for digging and boring Early sickle The earliest known tools were of stone. Using their cutting edges, wood and other materials could also be made into tools. Over hundreds of thousands of years, tools became more specialized, designed for particular tasks, and the range of materials expanded to include clay, leather, ﬁbers, shell, and, later, metals. THE FIRST TOOLS Handax decorative deer’s head As grains became important in the diet, sickles were developed to harvest them, as well as to cut reeds used in matting, basketry, and construction. BLADE CORE UNMODIFIED BLADE sharp edge for cutting SNAPPED BLADE The ﬁrst stone tools, made around 2.5 million years ago, had one simple cutting edge. Handaxes, from around 1.65 million years ago, were comfortable carefully shaped digging, cutting, grip for holding and general-purpose tools. in hand twig wedge to prevent movement Obsidian core and blades Modern humans invented blades, which they used as cutting tools or reshaped for other purposes. Many small blades could be struck from a single core. ancient perforated pebble weight HUNTING ﬂuted base for attaching to haft modern replica stick row of inset ﬂint bladelets Clovis point bone haft Elegant points were made by the North American Clovis culture as tips for spears, which were used as projectiles to hunt bison and mammoths. This example was found in a mammoth skeleton. EARLY SAW barb tang for attaching to arrow shaft Digging stick Digging sticks were used to dig up tubers and to make holes to plant seeds and bulbs. A stone weight on the stick increased its power of penetration. barb Flint arrowheads Barbed harpoon Fishing, begun by early modern humans, became increasingly important after the last ice age. Fishing gear included wood, bone, and antler ﬁshhooks and harpoons, nets, and elaborate ﬁshtraps. Bows and arrows, to kill prey at a safe distance, were invented in the late Paleolithic. Later times saw many improvements in their efﬁciency, such as these arrowheads with barbs to embed them more securely in prey. horizontally mounted blade AXES edge chipped to form series of teeth strong cutting edge polished surface hole for attaching to haft replica handle leather thong binding Egyptian saw Although some multipurpose tools continued to be made, over time tools for speciﬁc purposes proliferated. This cast of an early Egyptian saw, made around 3000 BCE, is one such specialized tool. Mesolithic stone tool Neolithic diorite ax Stone shaft-hole ax In the later Stone Age after 10,000 BCE, people developed new techniques, grinding and polishing hard stone to make axes for felling trees and other purposes. As metal objects spread in 3rd-millennium BCE Europe, communities that did not use metal made ﬁne stone imitations of them, not as tools but as prestige fashion items. Heavy stone tools served various purposes, such as adzes to plane and trim wood, and picks perhaps to dig up plants or knock limpets off rocks. 14 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE spear support ART AND CULTURE In many parts of the world, the late Paleolithic saw the ﬂowering of art, including painting, engraving, and sculpture. Fired clay came into use at this time, providing a medium with huge scope for later artistic expression, as did textiles woven from plant ﬁbers. Stone monuments, often with a ritual purpose, were created from at least 9500 BCE (see, for example, Stonehenge, p.40). CAVE ART hand grip Mammoth spearthrower This ﬁne bone carving from France combined practical utility as a spearthrower with artistic sensitivity to the natural world. The most impressive Paleolithic artworks are the cave paintings found in France. Their purpose is unknown, although some cave art may have played a part in initiation or religious rites. It is unlikely animals were drawn to bring success in a hunt—the people who painted this horse and mammoth at Lascaux hunted reindeer almost exclusively. hard stone quern HOME LIFE People with a mobile lifestyle could only afford to carry a few small objects. Sedentary communities, however, could accumulate possessions, including fragile pottery and heavy querns (grindstones). After 11,500 BCE, such communities included some hunter-gatherers and most farmers. With the spread of farming across much of the world, objects proliferated. sandstone rubber decorated handle CLAY LOOM WEIGHT POTTERY WOODEN WEAVING COMB Bone cutlery from Catalhöyük Weaving equipment The shift to sedentary life and agriculture in many regions brought dietary changes and the associated development of new cooking and eating utensils. Weaving on simple looms began in Neolithic times, using cotton in India and South America, and ﬂax and other plant ﬁbers in western Asia and Europe. More complex looms, and silk and alpaca and sheep’s wool, came into use later. typical scalloped rim SPATULA incised designs and impressions made by cord SPOON FORK Grinding tools Cereal grains (also seeds and nuts) were ground into ﬂour, to cook as bread, porridge, or gruel. Grinding with a quern and rubber became an arduous daily task for many women. incised decoration typical zoned decoration bell-like beaker shape applied decoration Wagon-shaped pot Later Jomon pot Bell Beaker culture pot Pottery was independently invented many times, in different parts of the world. The earliest pots, including Jomon wares, come from late Paleolithic East Asia. The Bell Beaker culture made a distinctive style of pottery beaker with an upside-down bell shape, in parts of Europe after 2900 BCE. Invented in the 4th millennium BCE, wheeled transportation, using draft animals, revolutionized work by making it easier to transport heavy or bulky goods. This pot was found in Eastern Europe. ﬁxed axle solid wheel 15 schematic arms HUMAN FIGURINES BELIEFS AND RITUALS The religious beliefs of people who lived before writing was invented are unknown to us: we can only identify the results of their behavior, with more or less certainty, and speculate on their meaning. Past peoples’ richly varied ways of treating their dead, artistic representations, and places with offerings (and sometimes sacriﬁces) provide some clues. Late Neolithic ﬁgurine Stone ﬁgurines were made by cultures across the world. Some were for use in rituals; others were decorative, or made social statements, or were toys. slot for mounting ﬁgurine Venus ﬁgurines These female ﬁgures, from late Paleolithic Europe, are known as Venus ﬁgurines. Made from mammoth ivory, stone, and baked clay, they have strongly emphasized hips and breasts, and are generally faceless. They may have played some part in rituals. beaten sheet gold appliqué hole for attaching to clothing Rich grave goods As communities expanded, social differences developed within them. The treatment of the dead often reﬂected their status in life, with rich grave goods denoting important people. featureless head FIRED CLAY raised decoration small arm Burial art Some European late Neolithic megalithic tombs included stones bearing geometric designs. These designs may have held some religious signiﬁcance. They sometimes also appear on the associated grave goods, such as plaques, made from a hard stone called schist, found in southern Spain and Portugal. burial design visible only to dead person inside the tomb damaged area pronounced buttocks SCHIST PLAQUE CIST (STONE BOX) COVER features modeled in painted plaster cowrie shells for eyes hair, a feature rarely shown clay mask plant packing inside skull visible where plaster has fallen off Jericho plastered head Chinchorro mummy In some parts of early Neolithic West Asia, bodies were buried beneath house ﬂoors, but skulls were removed and modeled with lifelike features, probably for use in ancestor rituals. Some cultures preserved their dead by mummiﬁcation; the earliest were the South American Chinchorro, from 5000 BCE. They removed the ﬂesh, reassembled the bones, and replaced the skin. tiny arms resting on breasts small, tapering legs LIMESTONE MAMMOTH IVORY 16 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE THE ENIGMA OF THE INDUS CIVILIZATION Around 2500 BCE, the world’s ﬁrst planned towns and cities appeared throughout the Indus region (part of present-day India and Pakistan). Indus society was highly organized and produced many ﬁne artifacts, but some details of the culture remain obscure because their script has not yet been deciphered. Public buildings ▽ Mohenjo-daro, in present-day south Pakistan, was the largest Indus city, covering more than 620 acres (250 hectares) and with a population of perhaps 100,000 people. Many of its structures, which included more than 700 wells, were built of baked bricks of standardized size. Most Indus towns and cities had a massive raised sector, the citadel, with monumental public buildings. These included the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro, which was probably a place of ritual puriﬁcation. Indus political organization remains a mystery, partly because the writing invented by the Indus people deﬁes decipherment. However, society was organized and controlled, with a good standard of living and highly developed craft specialization. A warehouse and workshops at Lothal in southern Gujarat, as well as Harappa in the Punjab, exemplify the role of towns and cities in manufacturing, storing, and distributing goods for external trade and circulation within the Indus realm. Rivers provided transport networks, and goods were carried by herders moving between seasonal pastures. Hunter-gatherers brought in ivory and other materials from beyond the settled lands. GULF TRADERS The valleys, mountains, and coasts of the Indus state provided agricultural and pastoral abundance and many Lands of the unicorn A unicorn is the most common design found on Indus seals, often with a ritual brazier, as seen in this partial impression. raw materials. The Indus people also obtained metal ores and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. They shipped lapis lazuli to Mesopotamia, along with carnelian and other gemstones, ivory, timber, gold, copper, and other materials, probably in exchange for silver and woolen textiles. After 1800 BCE, unknown changes brought about the disintegration of the Indus realm. Towns and cities were abandoned, and writing ceased. However, farming communities continued to ﬂourish in many parts of the region. THE ENIGMA OF THE INDUS CIVILIZATION 17 BELIEFS AND RITUALS The symbols used on Indus objects (including some seals, see opposite) suggest that the Indus religion had some similarities to later Hinduism. These included deities resembling Shiva and Parvati, and reverence for aspects of the natural world, particularly powerful animals such as the bull and the tiger. Some copper tablets depicting a hairy man with horns suggest that a form of shamanism was part of Indus folk religion. pannier headdress pipal leaf trident headdress neck choker pendant necklace beaded belt unicorn head Indus script yogic position Votive offering Sacred tree “Proto-Shiva” Mythological scene Stains on ﬁgurines with large pannier headdresses suggest they may have been used as ritual lamps. The pipal tree was venerated by the Indus people, as it would be by Hindus, and the unicorn had an important role in Indus iconography. This three-faced deity is surrounded by a bull, rhino, tiger, and an elephant. It has been suggested that he is a precursor of the god Shiva. Some seals depict a deity wrestling two tigers, as here, while others feature a half-tiger, half-goddess composite ﬁgure. blob eyes ADORNMENT ART AND CULTURE The Indus people set great store by personal adornment, wearing necklaces, pendants, hair and ear ornaments, rings, anklets, and bead belts, made from materials such as metal, ivory, faience (glazed ceramic), terracotta, shell, and stone. Bangles were particularly important. Indus beadmakers were extremely skilled in working gemstones such as agate, carnelian, serpentine, and steatite. The uniformity of Indus culture suggests it was part of a well-organized, controlled society. Skilled artisans manufactured high-quality goods from materials such as ﬁne ﬂint quarried in Sindh, gemstones mined in Gujarat, and seashells. Indus art included a few bronze and stone sculptures, miniature images of animals carved on seals (see above), and vibrant terracotta ﬁgurines. gold rod bent to form circular bangle pinched nose neck choker Terracotta bull Naked lady “Priest-king” Indus ﬁgurines portrayed domestic and wild creatures, including pet dogs, rhinos, birds, and squirrels. Bulls were the most popular subject. Female ﬁgurines usually wear nothing apart from jewelry. Only rarely are they portrayed clothed and undertaking domestic tasks. This tiny stone sculpture, only 7 in (17.5 cm) high, is often said to represent an Indus ruler, but there is no evidence to support this. TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION Gold bangle Indus women generally wore bangles. Their materials give clues to social status: pottery or shell for the majority, silver or gold for the elite. Indus towns and cities were all set out in a well-deﬁned grid pattern, and the residents enjoyed a highly sophisticated water supply and drainage system. Specialized Indus craft products included ﬁne ﬂint and copper tools, and a wide range of pottery. Fine cotton textiles—dyed various colors including yellow, blue, and red—were made at home. Cubic stone weights Indus ofﬁcials used standardized weights, ranging from a base unit of 0.03 oz (0.9 g) up to 23.9 lb (10.9 kg) or 12,800 units. modern wooden replica yoke-pole Ear ornament This ornament has lost its inlay, perhaps of carnelian. The edge decoration is of gold wire, soldered onto the domed disk. spacer bead half-moon end cap Neck ornament Bullock cart The design of this gold neck choker, which has been broken in two, reveals a high level of skill on the part of the goldsmith who made it. This model shows that the Indus people had passenger carts as well as traditional bullock carts used to transport food and goods. solid disk wheel 18 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing made by pressing a reed stylus into soft clay The world’s ﬁrst civilization emerged in southern Mesopotamia, the birthplace of writing, around 3300 BCE. Early city-states were united around 2350 BCE, and Babylon became the capital of later empires in this region. In northern Mesopotamia (Assyria), linked culturally with the south, empires emerged from around 1800 BCE. Later, the Assyrians expanded to control all of western Asia. Strength and beauty ▷ Babylon grew into a magniﬁcent city. It boasted massive city walls, the ziggurat of Marduk (the “Tower of Babel”), and the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way, clad in glazed brick friezes of bulls and dragons. Similar tiles in the palace throne room depicted fearsome lions. Southern Mesopotamia created many innovations of world signiﬁcance during the 4th millennium BCE. Farming on the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers depended on irrigation. The invention of the seeder plough made preparation of the soil easier and maximized productivity. Crops included barley, dates, and vegetables. Cattle kept for ploughing also gave milk and dung fertilizer. Sheep were now bred for wool, woven into textiles. Pastured locally or grazed farther aﬁeld by shepherds, sheep and goats also provided milk, meat, and leather. The temple dominated society at this time. Grain from temple lands was used to pay people working for the temple as farmers, laborers, artisans, or traders. Such public service or employment, paid in grain rations and cloth, continued later, when power passed to secular rulers. The ﬁrst cities appeared around 3300 BCE in Sumer, centered on temples. The ﬁrst known is Uruk, which yielded clay tablets inscribed with the earliest writing, invented to aid the temple authorities in their administrative tasks. By the mid-3rd millennium BCE, texts also included literature, such as epic tales of the early Uruk king Gilgamesh. Secular authority, vested in kings, who were originally war leaders, grew in importance as city-states came into conﬂict over land and water for irrigation. THE FIRST EMPIRES Around 2350 BCE, Sargon of Akkad created the Akkadian Empire, uniting the south. He standardized many aspects of the administration, including weights and measures. The later Ur III Empire imposed stiﬂingly detailed bureaucratic control. Following Ur III’s fall in 2004 BCE, smaller city-states rose to power, but these were conquered in the 18th century BCE by Hammurabi of Babylon (famous for his “law code” inscribed on a stone stela). Agriculturally rich, Babylonia was poor in raw materials. It traded copper from Oman and later Cyprus; lapis lazuli and tin from Afghanistan; and lumber, gold, ivory, and gemstones from the Indus. In exchange, it offered manufactured goods, “I Making a mark Inscribed clay nails set into the walls of major public buildings, such as temples, bear texts describing the kings’ close involvement in their construction. especially ﬁne textiles produced on an industrial scale in workshops staffed by women and children. NORTH AND SOUTH Diplomatic correspondence reveals shifting patterns of alliance and hostility between the major later 2nd millennium BCE powers: Egypt (see p.26), the Hittites (see p.43), Mitanni in northern Mesopotamia, and the Kassites in Babylonia. The small northwestern state of Assyria expanded as Mitanni declined. Its fortunes ﬂuctuated, but for long periods it dominated western Asia. Palace relief sculptures bring Assyrian campaigns vividly to life (see p.21). One depicts King Sennacherib’s beautiful terraced garden at Nineveh, perhaps the original of the Hanging Gardens attributed to Babylon. Babylonia conquered Assyria in 612 BCE, but then fell to the Persians in 539 BCE. However, Mesopotamia’s cultural legacy included inventions such as glass, the potter’s wheel, and improved knowledge of medicine, astronomy, and complex mathematics including geometry. have no equal among even the most distant rulers… Everything is achievable by me.” Shulgi, king of the Ur III Empire (2094–2047 BCE), A praise poem of Shulgi 20 POLITICS AND POWER In city-states, the king and people had a shared sense of identity, and citizen assemblies had some decision-making power. Larger states were administered through ofﬁcials from the ruler’s own family, city, or tribe, but shared cultural values ensured the king remained answerable to the gods for his subjects’ prosperity. bun, distinctive of royalty carefully combed lines of hair symbols of Babylonian deities braided hair gold rendition of gold ribbon curling locks holes for attaching cloth lining Babylonian temple text Boundary stone Accounting tablet Meskalamdug helmet Kings often founded temples and restored and embellished earlier ones. They recorded these pious deeds on clay texts placed in the foundations or in inscriptions. Kassite kudurrus (boundary stones) were documents recording royal grants of land to those who had served their rulers well. They were publicly displayed in temples. Writing was invented around 3300 BCE to manage the administration of temple receipts, outgoings, and labor. Most surviving later texts are also administrative. This beautiful helmet of beaten gold is from a grave at the Ur cemetery, possibly that of King Meskalamdug. It would have been parade armor, not worn in battle. lapis lazuli background VICTORY FEAST king clad in ﬂeece kilt, his status shown by larger size war captive carrying captured booty Standard of Ur This unusual object from the Ur royal graves may have been a royal standard (or ﬂag) or the sound box of a musical instrument. One side is decorated with scenes of warfare. The panel of the other side depicts the preparations for and celebration of the victory shown on the war side. shell inlays and mosaic pieces pair of asses from a chariot team noble seated on wooden stool with decorative animal legs ﬁsherman carrying ﬁsh sheep, goats, and cattle for victory feast WAR SIDE red limestone lyre player THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION 21 BELIEFS AND RITUALS BATTLE AND CONFLICT Warfare between rival city-states and with enemies from the hills and desert is recorded at length in Mesopotamian literature and art. Armies originally had infantry and chariots; cavalry was added in the 1st millennium BCE. The highly efﬁcient Assyrian military were greatly feared. Subject peoples paid tribute and were defended against their enemies, but rebellions were mercilessly suppressed. pointed helmet siege tower king’s shield bearer Assyrian siege Siege warfare inspired frequent improvements in ways of defending and attacking cities, such as fortiﬁcations and wooden siege towers and ladders. enemy archer rectangular shield The temple enjoyed great political and social power throughout Mesopotamian history. Sumerian cities each had their own gods but acknowledged the supremacy of the storm god, Enlil. Babylon’s city god Marduk later became the principal deity, mirroring the political rise of Babylon itself. Although the Assyrians worshipped their city god, Ashur, they also venerated the Babylonian pantheon. protective deity Lahmu CYLINDER SEAL lion, symbol of ferocity benevolent bull-man IMPRINT OF SEAL Mythical combat scene king’s attendant, a eunuch King Ashurnasirpal wheels for moving tower battering ram with protective roof Cylinder seals often bore motifs with religious signiﬁcance. This traditional theme of gods or heroes wrestling bulls or lions was particularly popular in Akkadian times. massive city gates traditional ﬂeece kilt Assyrian scale armor Small plates of bronze, or later iron, were attached in overlapping rows to a leather coat, protecting the torso and upper legs. Assyrian armor also included metal helmets. horned crown of divinity human head endowing ﬁgure with intelligence silver spear point bronze plate elongated copper javelin head Sumerian priest Copper arrowheads compact copper javelin head From the late 3rd millennium BCE, composite bows (made of layered horn, wood, and sinew) improved archers’ efﬁciency, giving greater penetration and range to the metal-tipped arrows. Priests ofﬁciated at religious ceremonies, offered prayers, interpreted omens to discover the gods’ views of proposed actions, and oversaw temple business matters. Nimrud guardian cutting edge socket to attach long wooden handle Spear and javelin heads Military adze Wooden javelins tipped with copper or bronze heads were used by infantry and chariot ﬁghters. A leather throwing thong (ankyle) was attached to the butt. Silver was used for display weaponry. Copper or bronze adzes, like this example from Ur, were used by Sumerian soldiers in combat, as artistic representations illustrate. They must also have served as tools. Many awe-inspiring ﬁgures in Mesopotamian art had a benign role. Gigantic winged human-headed lions and bulls representing protective spirits guarded the gateways of Assyrian temples and palaces. ﬁve legs in total to allow viewing from front or side Brilliant blue lapis lazuli was used for the eyes (with shell whites), forehead fringe, and ﬂowing beard. Copper (now greenish blue) was used for the ears. Facial features The objects from these graves represented enormous wealth and extraordinary artistic creativity. They were made from imported exotic materials, such as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, Indus carnelian, and ﬁne stone. They included not only vessels and jewelry but also animal-headed lyres, a gaming board with mosaic decoration, a sled drawn by asses, and gilded furniture. While some objects were the deceased’s personal possessions, buried for their continued enjoyment, others were meant as gifts to placate the grim underworld deities in the hope of receiving favorable treatment in the joyless afterlife. post supported a table or offering stand; ash, maybe from burned offerings, was found nearby horn carved from precious lapis lazuli from Afghanistan leaf or bud, always shown with ﬂowers on “plant of life” In addition to the principal, royal person, the 16 graves contained the bodies of others who may have been sacriﬁced: at least 26 in Puabi’s grave and 74 in what Woolley called the Great Death Pit. Their positions and associated ﬁnds showed them to be guards, grooms, musicians, and personal attendants, most of them women. Woolley argued these were willing victims, who chose to die with their royal master or mistress. Recent investigations show that some, at least, died from blows to the head, but whether all were sacriﬁced is still uncertain. No other Mesopotamian cemetary contains such sacriﬁces. Wooden lyres were found with many of the female attendants. Their sound boxes ended in an animal head, usually that of a bull or cow, decorated with lapis lazuli, shell, and gold. Bull-head lyre donkey playing a similar lyre hyena carrying table laden with meat EARLY SOCIETIES gold ﬂower symbolizes Inanna, goddess of love, fertility, and regeneration In the 1920s, the British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley discovered some remarkable burials at Ur (in modern Iraq), dating from around 2550– 2400 BCE. Most graves in the huge cemetery were simple pits, but 16 were barrel-vaulted chambers, often with large associated grave pits approached by a shaft. They contained lavishly rich grave goods, and Woolley identiﬁed them as royal graves. One pit grave also contained rich furnishings, including a beautiful gold helmet and two gold bowls inscribed “Meskalamdug,” an early king of Ur. One royal grave yielded a seal inscribed “Puabi the queen.” RAM CAUGHT IN A THICKET WEALTH AND ARTISTRY 22 20,000–700 BCE SIDE VIEW REAR VIEW thin sheet gold covers bush and goat’s face, legs, and hooves locks of hair around goat’s lower legs were modeled in gold thin silver coating on belly, badly preserved since silver, unlike gold, corrodes The goat and bush were modeled in wood and thinly coated with bitumen (tar) to glue in place the precious, colorful outer elements. These included individually carved locks of hair, in shell on the back and lapis lazuli on the shoulders. Intricate details This magniﬁcent wooden table support has been known since its discovery as the Ram Caught in a Thicket, from the biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac. However, it actually depicts a goat standing to graze on a ﬂowering bush, a scene with Sumerian religious signiﬁcance. This is one of a pair, of slightly different sizes, found in the Great Death Pit. Sumerian scene Thin silver coats the sides of the wooden base, while a mosaic of shell and red limestone pieces decorates its surface. Mosaic base A male animal eating the “plant of life” is common in Sumerian iconography, symbolizing fertility. Originally, a silver chain fastened the goat’s legs to the branches. Rampant goat THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION 23 24 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE HOME LIFE Cups, bowls, dishes, goblets, and jars for cooking and serving food at home were usually made of pottery. Well-off households also acquired metal and stone vessels, often made of exotic imported materials. Many of these vessels were buried at Ur in both royal graves and those of lesser people. Decorated bowl Distinctive soapstone bowls were manufactured at Tepe Yahya and Jiroft, in modern Iran, and Tarut, in Saudi Arabia, in the 3rd millennium BCE. They were widely traded. scorpion design typical hatched inﬁll CLOTHING AND ADORNMENT Intact rich graves are rarely found, so most information on Mesopotamian clothing and adornment comes from texts or art. These reveal that Sumerian men, for example, wore ﬂeece kilts and the women wore woolen wrap-around robes. The largest collection of surviving jewelry is from the royal cemetery at Ur (see p.22). lapis lazuli bead gold bead carnelian disk bead Finger rings Boat-shaped bowl Silver was imported from Anatolia to make luxury tableware and decorative objects. Weighed silver was used as a form of currency. beer vat These rings were made from very ﬁnely twisted gold wire, soldered to plain gold bands. Ordinary people wore rings made of copper. poplar leaves of engraved beaten gold reed tube Wreaths, pendants, and necklaces Elaborate hairstyles were held in place by a gold or silver ribbon wound around several times. Over this were arranged wreaths of gold poplar and willow leaves. The double spiral of the gold pendant was a common symbolic element in Mesopotamian decoration. Garment cuff CYLINDER SEAL FEAST SCENE IMPRESSION Beaded cuffs were found with many of the women in the Great Death Pit. Surviving threads show that these were sewn onto short-sleeved red garments. Beer drinkers biconical carnelian bead Sumerian barley beer was unﬁltered so it was drunk through a long tube. Three tubes, of gold, silver, and copper encased in lapis lazuli, were found in Queen Puabi’s grave. carved lapis lazuli bead Beaded belt Queen Puabi and several of her attendants wore bead belts, probably stitched to a backing of leather or cloth, sometimes with pendant rings of gold or shell. Soapstone tumbler Alabaster vase Many tumblers of gold, silver, and stone were found at Ur. Soapstone, being soft and therefore easy to carve, was frequently used for stone vessels and seals. Stone was used in early Mesopotamia to make luxury vessels. Most was imported, from Iran and farther aﬁeld, but alabaster was locally available. Unusual choker A number of the female attendants in the royal graves wore unusual chokers made of triangular beads. The gold beads were made of sheet metal doubled over. carved lapis lazuli bead gold tube for suspension cords hair comb topped by 7 gold ﬂowers lapis lazuli ﬂy ﬂuted gold bead carnelian-tipped gold willow leaves lapis lazuli bead gold ﬂy Indus carnelian bead gold sheet ribbons twisted gold wire pendant hammered sheet gold gold and lapis lazuli head silver support for petal, now missing Loop earrings Many of the women found in the Ur cemetery wore earrings. These large gold crescent-shaped earrings were probably worn hanging down, with the thin wire over the top of the ear. gold leaf petal multiple strands of gold, lapis lazuli, silver, agate, and carnelian beads gold ring to attach cylinder seal frit (vitreous paste) petal banded agate bead silver hair support gold pendant rings hanging from belt Hair comb Dress pins Queen Puabi’s ﬁnery Queen Puabi and several attendants in the royal graves wore “Spanish combs,” which supported an elaborate raised hair arrangement. The ﬂowers would appear to be growing out of the hair. Pins fastened a cloak draped over one shoulder and passed under the other arm. Often the wearer’s cylinder seal was attached by a chain to a ring near the pin’s head. With great skill, Woolley used the position of surviving elements to reconstruct original forms. These included the queen’s elaborate hair arrangement, outlined by her gold ribbons and headdress, and her magniﬁcent cape, made of long pendant strands of beads. 26 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE From its inception, ancient Egypt was deﬁned by its religious beliefs. Worship of all-powerful deities was part of daily life, and ancient Egyptians believed that when they died they would enjoy an afterlife. Its pharaohs, kings who were regarded as gods, controlled the vast resources of the kingdom, using them to build architecture on a grand scale and tombs ﬁlled with beautiful objects. Scenes from real life ▷ The tomb of the astronomer and scribe Nakht, who lived around 1400 BCE, is decorated with magniﬁcent paintings depicting scenes from life at that time. Here he hunts birds in a papyrus thicket, watched by his wife and three children. Egypt is often called “the gift of the Nile,” and ancient Egypt owed much to the river. Its annual ﬂoods brought water and fertile silt to sustain agriculture and, by the late 4th millennium BCE, supported a few towns, with growing regional control. The regions of Upper and Lower Egypt were eventually united in 3100 BCE by the legendary King Menes, who made his capital centrally at Memphis. A pattern of alternating regional division and centralized control was repeated throughout subsequent Egyptian history. During times of prosperity and under strong rulers, the land was united; when troubles arose, weakened rulers lost overall control and the kingdom disintegrated into smaller political realms enjoying varying degrees of independence. OLD KINGDOM Comparatively little is known of Egypt’s ﬁrst two dynasties (the Early Dynastic period). The Old Kingdom began with the 3rd dynasty in 2686 BCE. Its pharaohs built the ﬁrst pyramids (see p.28). They obtained gold from Nubia and traded with the city of Byblos (see p.47) for lumber. The Sun god Re became Egypt’s supreme deity. However, poor ﬂoods and subsequent famine brought political disintegration from 2181 BCE (the First Intermediate period). MIDDLE KINGDOM Upper and Lower Egypt were reunited under Mentuhotep II around 2040 BCE. In 1985 BCE, the throne passed to Amenemhat I, founder of the 12th dynasty, who built a new capital at Itj-tawy. The borders of the kingdom’s administrative divisions (nomes) were ﬁxed. Kings were still buried beneath pyramids, now surrounded by nobles’ tombs. Substantial temples were built, and the cult of Osiris (see p.34) grew in importance. To gain better control of Nubia’s gold deposits, fortresses were built and a canal constructed. The early 17th century BCE saw a decline in royal authority, and the usurpation of power in the delta by the Semitic Hyksos dynasty in 1650 BCE began the Second Intermediate period. Itj-tawy was abandoned, but an Egyptian dynasty still controlled Upper Egypt. “ Enjoy yourself Behind the mask After bandaging, a mummy’s face was often covered by an idealized portrait mask, made of gilded and painted cartonnage (linen and glue stiffened with plaster). NEW KINGDOM Around 1550 BCE, the native dynasty drove out the Hyksos and founded the New Kingdom. Egyptian domination of Nubia was extended southward. Pharaohs were now buried in rock-cut tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The Theban god Amun was preeminent, and large temple complexes were built, particularly at Luxor. In the 14th century BCE, the pharaoh Akhenaten broke with tradition, instituting worship of a single god, the Aten, and building a new capital at Amarna. Neither survived his death, the status quo being restored under his youthful successor, Tutankhamun. International trade ﬂourished, and the Egyptians expanded their rule eastward. By the 11th century BCE, political control was disintegrating. A general of Libyan origin seized control of Upper Egypt in 1069 BCE, ushering in the Third Intermediate period during which Upper and Lower Egypt were ruled by separate, although related, dynasties. Egypt was reunited in the late 8th century BCE by the Kushite (Nubian) 25th dynasty. while you live… follow your heart’s command on earth, be joyful and make merry.” Harper’s Song, inscribed on the tomb of King Inyotef c.2125–2055 BCE 28 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE POLITICS AND POWER stela inscribed with hymn to Sun god The mythical ﬁrst king of Egypt was the god Osiris, followed by his son Horus. From Horus, both kingship and divinity were passed on to his male successors, making the Egyptian pharaoh an absolute monarch. Under royal authority, Egypt’s administration was in the hands of state ofﬁcials and provincial governors. uraeus (protective cobra), part of royal regalia PYRAMIDS ART AND CULTURE Despite its conventions—which dictated, for example, that human faces, arms, and legs be depicted in proﬁle, while torsos be shown from the front—Egyptian artworks give a wonderfully detailed and realistic picture of Egyptian life. They include paintings, reliefs, models of people and scenes, and stone sculptures. Meryptah praising rising Sun black pigment on wig and eyes ﬂail, symbol of kingship Meryptah, priest of Amun As Amun-Re, Egypt’s principal deity Amun represented the Sun. His chief priest wielded considerable political power, particularly under weak pharaohs. beard, symbolizing divinity King Djoser constructed the ﬁrst pyramid, the step pyramid at Saqqara, in the 27th century BCE. In the following two centuries, Sneferu at Dahshur and his successors at Giza (shown above) built smooth-sided pyramids, along with mortuary temples, subsidiary pyramids for their wives, and other monuments. pleated kilt man’s head, badly eroded Ramses II Ramses the Great was one of Egypt’s most powerful and long-lived rulers. In the 13th century BCE, he built many temples, monuments, and statues, and a new city, Pi-Ramesse. lion’s body false royal beard royal nemes (headcloth) cartouche of Ramses’ son Merenptah added after his father’s death traces of red pigment on body Standing scribe The self-conﬁdent pose reﬂects the advantages a scribe enjoyed, including potential access to high ofﬁce and freedom from the backbreaking work endured by the majority. cartouche, line and oval enclosing royal name ankh (life) Middle Kingdom sphinx Sphinxes symbolized both the Sun god and royal power. In the New Kingdom, processional avenues of sphinxes were built as the approaches to many temples. This sphinx was recarved with the ﬁve royal names of Ramses II. Royal name Hieroglyphs This cartouche gives the throne name adopted by Ramses II on his accession, Usermaatre, which means “the Justice of Re is Powerful.” The hieroglyphic script included logograms (signs representing a word or idea) but was mainly composed of phonetic signs signifying one, two, or three consonants. shep (noble) pr (house) EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE 29 shaved head False eyes This wooden statuette of a servant girl is a decorative form of cosmetic container. Unlike most Egyptian sculptures, the girl is highly naturalistic, her unbalanced pose dictated by the heavy jar she is carrying. dark stone pupil False eyes were made to insert into statues and funerary masks. These are constructed of bent copper wire surrounding a stone eye. amulet of popular god Bes hole for black ink Servant girl ivory pin holding lid in place palette and brushes hole for red ink reed brush for precise writing portable wooden palette Educated man basalt palette Only a tenth of Egyptians could read and write. Written education included astronomy, geography, medicine, mathematics, and law. grinder for crushing pigments ﬁne-grained boxwood, stained brownish red Writing implements The scribe’s palette, brushes, and inks were so distinctive a mark of the profession that they were used as the hieroglyph for “scribe” and “writing.” gilded girdle blue minerals and red ocher hole for tie rearing cobra hieratic script, written from right to left Hieroglyphic inlay Monumental inscriptions and other display texts, such as those on mummies, were written in the hieroglyphic script, which was elaborate and highly pictorial. Hieratic wooden label Children attending the House of Life (temple school) ﬁrst learned to read and write in hieratic, a simpliﬁed form of the hieroglyphic script used for informal documents and texts. Ibis and cobra ka (dead person’s spirit) Re (Sun) f (his) The Egyptians were acutely aware of the natural world around them. Many of their deities had an animal aspect, so animals featured prominently in Egyptian art. 30 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE falcon’s head terminal CLOTHING AND ADORNMENT Egyptian clothing was made from white linen, and the best pieces were very ﬁnely woven. Men wore a kilt, with or without a shirt, or a loincloth for manual work. Women wore a long, straight dress, with one or two shoulder straps. Children usually went naked (see p.29), although some children’s clothes were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. inscription of charm gold wire decoration lotus blossom carnelian bead amulet of protective goddess Taweret cowrie shell faience pig, symbol of the god Seth Amulet bracelet faience cat, symbol of the goddess Bastet swivel attachment Protective cowrie shell amulets were worn by women from Predynastic times. Pigs were associated with the violent god Seth who, surprisingly, also had a protective aspect. Finger rings These rings all held a swiveling bevel in the shape of a protective scarab beetle, its underside inscribed with a good luck charm. Collar and necklace Faience, a glazed ceramic colored blue or green with copper ore, was a cheaper artiﬁcial substitute for turquoise or lapis lazuli. Wide collars of many strands of cylindrical beads, known as wesekh, were worn by noble men and women. inscription of Queen Hatshepsut, principal wife of Thutmose II, her half-brother HOME LIFE Paintings and models in tombs vividly document both nobles’ enjoyment of the good things in life and the daily toil of those supporting them. Egypt’s arid conditions have also preserved many everyday objects made of organic materials, such as basketry, and documents in perishable materials, such as papyrus, which also describe many aspects of daily life. scribe writing on papyrus ofﬁcial clad in robe one of four workers Alabaster jar Badarian culture bowl Drinking vessels This stone vessel, inscribed with the name and titles of Queen Hatshepsut, may have been a gift to place in the tomb of a favored royal ofﬁcial. This handmade Predynastic bowl, with a characteristic black rim, shows the great skill achieved by Egyptian potters even before 3000 BCE. Most Egyptian pottery is basic redbrown coarse ware, for everyday use. It is known as “Nile Silt ware” after the material from which it was made. linen cloth coiled plant ﬁbers granary chamber door Model granary Linen basket Models of real-life activities enabled the deceased to continue a normal life after death. Here, an ofﬁcial interviews four workmen while a scribe records the details. Egypt is unusual in preserving ancient matting and basketry, used in many cultures for everyday containers. Dom-palm leaves and grasses were used in making these objects. EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE 31 alabaster vase for white cream amulet of Hathor, goddess of love and motherhood wooden stick alabaster makeup jar wooden kohl pot FAIENCE NECKLACE alabaster kohl pot and lid ﬁsh-shaped palette ﬂower bud hematite stick pebble grinder faience cylinder bead WESEKH COLLAR papyrus stem Beauty kit Cosmetics spoon Noble ladies kept a large set of tools with which to beautify themselves, including a stone palette on which to grind and mix makeup pigments. This exquisitely carved little wooden spoon would have been used for scooping up cosmetics. Its papyrus stem handle is a symbol of Lower Egypt. Butchery scene stylized ﬁgure with exaggerated limbs Servants prepare meat for a deceased noble’s table. Ordinary people would seldom have eaten meat: their diet was bread, fruit, vegetables, ﬁsh, and beer. red pigment on body black pigment on wig slaughtered cow ﬁre 32 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE mast Sailing upstream Egyptian wooden ships were constructed shell-ﬁrst, the wooden planks sewn together to make the outer form before the inner framework was added. sailors turning sail into the wind lookout to spot hazards such as shoals, sandbanks, islands, and rapids square sail steersman steering oar “ Ships sail for you from North to South, bringing barley... without end.” two men manning poles to push off if boat hits shallows or sandbanks hinge to collapse mast or hold it upright hinged mast Inscription of Ramses II, r.1279–1213 BCE overseer with cane rowing bench steering oar tied in place Rowing down the Nile River travel was relatively easy: the current ﬂowing downstream to the Mediterranean carried ships north, assisted by rowers, while the prevailing wind, blowing from north to south, enabled them to sail back upstream. Boats and ships were therefore designed to make it easy to shift from oar to sail and back, either by simply furling the sail or by collapsing the mast. Wooden models of boats, such as the one shown here, were placed in tombs to transport the owner in the afterlife. shallow draft of keel-less vessel EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE 33 THE LURE OF THE EXOTIC RIVER CRAFT Simple craft for ﬁshing, hunting wildfowl, or crossing the Nile were made of papyrus reeds bound in bundles, but most long-distance river trafﬁc was in wooden boats, ideally of Lebanese cedar. Some had cabins, in the center of the vessel or at one or both ends. Substantial ships were required to transport stone from quarries, and for trade in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Boats were essential for moving the goods and materials on which Egypt depended. Copper, stone, and semiprecious stones came from the desert east of the Nile. Copper was also sourced from Sinai farther east. To the south, the lands around the Nile cataracts provided Egypt’s seemingly limitless supplies of gold, along with ebony, ivory, and copper, and a route to the exotic produce of sub-Saharan Africa. African exotica were also obtained from the land of Punt, reached by sailing down the Red Sea as well as overland. Its chief attraction was incense, much used by the Egyptians for religious ceremonies and mummiﬁcation. In the 15th century BCE, Queen Hatshepsut even sent an expedition to Punt to obtain incense trees. Punt also yielded gold, ebony, blackwood, ivory, slaves, and wild animals. Pygmies skilled in dance were imported from sub-Saharan Africa. The tomb of Harkhuf, an Egyptian governor, contains a copy of an excited letter from the 8-yearold King Pepy II in about 2276 BCE, urging that every possible care be taken of the pygmy dancer that Harkhuf was bringing him. Egypt also imported timber and copper from its eastern neighbors, and Minoan and Mycenaean pottery and military equipment. Egypt’s own exports included grain, wine, Egyptian caviar, dried ﬁsh, linen cloth, and luxury goods such as faience vessels. leadsman testing depth of water to avoid shoals and sandbanks furled sail stand to support collapsed mast linen kilt, the normal male garment collapsed mast rowers pulling in unison leadsman’s plumbline spoon-shaped rowing oar 34 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE horns BELIEFS AND RITUALS solar disk Egyptian religion had a rich mythology, and the story of Osiris, by which he became god of the afterlife, was particularly important. Religious and secular life were intertwined. Nobles acted as priests or temple ofﬁcials for short stints of three months, returning to ordinary life for the rest of the year. SHABTIS Isis and Horus Isis, wife of the murdered god Osiris, was regarded as mourner and protector of the dead. As the mother of Osiris’ son Horus, she was venerated as the divine mother and as mother to the pharaohs. false beard secured by cord GODS AND GODDESSES tall plumes, representing the wind lioness head ibis bill long wig mummy, the usual shape for a shabti feet resting on footstool baby Horus nursing Amun Thoth Sekhmet Amun (“the hidden one”) was king of the gods, the creator of the cosmos, responsible for all fertility. As Amun-Re, he represented the Sun. In his role as god of scribes, Thoth was both the keeper of all kinds of knowledge and the recorder when Osiris judged the dead. A daughter of the Sun god Re, Sekhmet was both the goddess of war and a protective deity associated with healing. Early shabti In Old Kingdom times, models of workers who would perform speciﬁc tasks for the deceased were placed in tombs. By 2000 BCE, these were replaced by all-purpose shabti (“answerer”) ﬁgures. Atef (feathered crown) twin plumes carved hieroglyphic text jackal head lotus ﬂower headdress ﬂail crook long skirt Faience shabtis Nefertem Anubis Osiris Often seen as the son of Ptah and Sekhmet, Nefertem was the god of the lotus blossom and the Sun rising from it. He was more feared than worshipped. Anubis was called “lord of the sacred land” (the desert where tombs were situated). He was responsible for mummiﬁcation and protecting the dead. Murdered by his jealous brother Seth but brought back to life, Osiris was the ruler of the afterlife and judge of the dead. He symbolized fertility and resurrection. Shabtis were made in many materials but faience was the most common. Later tombs might contain several hundred shabtis. mass-produced shabti EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE 35 kohlpainted eyes AMULETS Sons of Horus amulets heavy wig Each of the four Sons of Horus— Qebehsenuef, Imsety, Hapy, and Duamutef—protected one of the four canopic jars in which were stored the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines, which were removed when the deceased was mummiﬁed (see p.39). solar disk elaborate collar Pectoral amulet From New Kingdom times, amulets frequently portrayed deities. This amulet depicts a god between two birds, all wearing the horns and solar disk of Isis or Hathor. FALCON-HEADED QEBEHSENUEF HUMAN-HEADED IMSETY faience pectoral scarab amulet BABOONHEADED HAPY open loop JACKAL-HEADED DUAMUTEF girdle tied in a bow painted detail on wooden body inscribed hieroglyphic text Scarab Wedjat amulet Djed amulet Tyet amulet Bes amulet The Egyptian dung beetle, patiently rolling a ball of dung many times its size, came to symbolize resurrection. It was popular in amulets. The left eye of Horus, plucked out by his uncle Seth but magically restored, symbolized healing, wholeness, strength, and protection. Originally seen as a pillar, the djed was later taken to represent the backbone of Osiris, symbolizing stability and his resurrection. The tyet was an early sacred symbol. The tyet amulet became popular in New Kingdom times, when it was described as the knot of Isis. The aggression of the dwarf god Bes was all directed toward external threats. He was the protector of the family, particularly women in childbirth. chased (engraved) details gold molded around a core Wooden shabti Later shabtis were sometimes depicted with tools, and this ﬁgure wears a basket on her back. She is inscribed “Of the Lady Maya,” referring to the owner of the tomb. Fish-shaped amulet Amulets were worn in life to give general protection or to ward against speciﬁc threats. They were placed in mummy wrappings for protection in the afterlife. suspension loop in ﬁsh’s mouth 36 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE GRAVE GOODS Chapter 181 gate guardians one of series of gates through which deceased must pass to reach afterlife Osiris individual named Pashed kneeling in worship text written in hieroglyphs and arranged in chapters Chapter 180 vertical lines separating chapters Extract from the Book of the Dead of Neferrenpet The Book of the Dead was written on papyrus scrolls that were placed within the bandages wrapping the mummy. It gave the deceased invaluable guidance on how best to behave at the ﬁnal judgment in the underworld (see p.39). MUMMY CASE Pasenhor’s mummy case stylized painting of face A human-shaped cofﬁn not only housed the mummy, but could also replace it if the mummy were destroyed or damaged. Symbolic texts and images painted inside and out protected the deceased and provided help at his or her ﬁnal judgment. collar of leaves, petals, and lotus ﬂowers lotus ﬂower cobra striped headdress eye of Horus (wedjat eye) wooden cofﬁn protecting mummy from physical damage Sokar hawk ankh (symbol of eternal life) Horus Osiris knot of Isis Taweret Sobek EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE 37 gold leaf on eyes cartouche of Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BCE) inscription naming tomb owner Hekay, a noble court ofﬁcial headcloth painted ﬂoral band human face description of wine bird’s body Headrest Instead of pillows, the Egyptians slept with their heads on a headrest, usually of wood. This luxury alabaster version was placed in an Old Kingdom tomb. Water jar Wine jar Bronze cat Ba Water was regarded as the source of creation. It symbolized life, regeneration, and purity, so faience water jars were an important burial offering. Wine, made from grapes and mixed with honey and spices, was important in the Egyptian diet. This large wine amphora is from a rich woman’s tomb. Cats were kept as household pets and as animals sacred to Re and to the fertility goddess Bastet. This hollow ﬁgure may have held a cat mummy. The Ba (personality spirit) was one of the ﬁve elements making up a person. Its bird form helped it return nightly from the underworld to the deceased. human-shaped cofﬁn lid scene depicting judgment of the dead spells from Book of the Dead winged falcon, sacred to Horus Hathor Isis Duamutef Qebehsenuef Hapy Imsety Thoth djed pillar (symbol of resurrection) 38 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE geese, bred for meat, were sometimes force-fed Nefersefekhy leopard-skin robe of sem-priest, who undertook the ﬁnal rites of resurrection on a mummy staff symbolizes Nefersefekhy’s authority baskets of food offerings leg of beef servant carrying calf carcass EGYPTIAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE 39 jackal of Anubis PREPARING FOR JUDGMENT FUNERARY STELA hieroglyphic text: an offering prayer to Anubis Nefersefekhy’s titles Nefersefekhy’s boast that his virtues and self-reliance made him superior to all other Thinites of his rank inscription listing menu of 32 offerings captive gazelle servant, wearing white linen kilt, brings offerings for the gods The Egyptians considered that death was just an interruption in a life that continued from birth to eternity. In order to enjoy the afterlife, however, it was necessary that the body should be preserved and sustained. It was therefore mummiﬁed: the internal organs were removed and stored in canopic jars, and the ﬂesh was dehydrated by packing natron (soda salts) within and around the body. When the process was complete, the body was repacked with fresh natron and resin-soaked bandages, to restore its natural shape. Layers of linen bandages were wrapped around the body, and amulets set among them to protect the deceased from spiritual harm. OPENING THE MOUTH The mummy was placed in its cofﬁn, and an elaborate ritual, called the “Opening of the Mouth,” was enacted by the deceased’s heir. This restored the senses to the deceased, enabling him or her again to see, hear, speak, eat, and behave as in life. The mummy was now placed in the tomb, where funerary offerings of food, furniture, clothing, jewelry, and other objects, as well as shabtis (see p.34) and reliefs or paintings, provided it with all the necessities of continued existence. A memorial stela to the deceased, like the one shown here, was sometimes erected outside the tomb. WEIGHING THE HEART In the netherworld, the deceased was held to account by Osiris and the 42 judges of Maat (truth and justice). His or her heart (seat of the human intellect) was weighed on the divine scales against the feather of Maat. The Book of the Dead, included in the mummy wrappings, prepared the deceased for this judgment and gave advice on how to act. Benevolent Anubis, standing by, might adjust the scales in the deceased’s favor. If not, the crocodile-headed demon Ammut sat ready to eat the heart and destroy the dead person’s eternal life. For the majority who passed the test, eternity beckoned. But it could only be enjoyed if the Ba (see p.36) was reunited every night with the mummiﬁed body, in order to sustain the Akh, the union in the afterlife of the Ba and Ka (life-force spirit, another of the elements making up a person). “ It is better to be praised for neighborly love than to have riches in your storeroom.” Instruction of Amenemope, c.1300–1075 BCE cattle, kept for their meat and milk and as draft animals Nefersefekhy’s memorial As well as decorating the inside of their tombs, wealthy Egyptians often erected memorial stelae outside. These bore their name and titles and a funerary prayer, along with offering scenes involving the deceased and often their family. This stela belonged to Nefersefekhy, an ofﬁcial who also served as a priest, in the town of Thinis near Abydos, around 2175 BCE. 40 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE EUROPE’S BRONZE AGE WARRIORS Metalworking began with soft metals, such as gold or copper, used to make prestige objects. Later, people discovered that alloying copper with tin produced bronze, a metal strong enough for tools and weapons. As bronze-working spread across Europe, the need for tin (a rare metal) promoted international trade. Monumental achievement ▽ Built of massive sandstone blocks and smaller Welsh bluestones, Stonehenge is the most impressive of a series of interconnected monuments on England’s Salisbury Plain. It achieved its ﬁnal form by 1900 BCE. By the Early Bronze Age (from the late 3rd millennium BCE), weapons in burials reﬂect a society in which status depended on prowess in combat. Horse-drawn chariots with spoked wheels, introduced from the steppes on Europe’s eastern fringes after 2000 BCE, were elite ﬁghting vehicles. Increasing demand for metals, and for other prestige and practical materials, such as amber and salt, stimulated international trade, changing the direction of existing routes and promoting the rise of a continent-wide trading system. Societies that were rich in metal ores beneﬁted especially from the shift in trading patterns. Ships now plied long-distance trade routes around the Atlantic seaboard of Europe and along rivers. Warmer climatic conditions allowed farming to spread into previously uncultivable areas. Arable farming intensiﬁed, and livestock were particularly important. THE LATE BRONZE AGE By around 1300 BCE bronze was used for everyday tools. Cremation burials, often in vast urnﬁelds and Status symbol Ordinary axes were made in large numbers as bronze became more common, but prestige decorated versions were also produced. usually with few grave goods, were now the norm over most of Europe. The onset of colder, wetter conditions around 1100 BCE brought harsher times, increasing conﬂict between neighbors and offerings to the gods. Fortiﬁed settlements now became common, providing a place of refuge for rural farmers and a high-status residence for local chiefs and their entourage. These settlements developed particularly at key places along trade routes, where chiefs could enhance their power and wealth by controlling the passage of goods. 41 holes for riveted handle TECHNOLOGY BATTLE AND CONFLICT As craftsmen came to appreciate the potential of metals, they developed new technologies, producing elaborate jewelry, weapons, and ﬁgures. By 1300 BCE they were using multiplepiece molds and lost-wax casting, and creating large sheet-bronze objects. Other crafts also ﬂourished, including textile production, now using wool as well as plant ﬁbers. Bronze Age burials and art reﬂect a warrior society, engaged in cattle rustling and raids rather than mass pitched battles. Swords made their ﬁrst appearance and rapidly became a vehicle for fashion and display. Late Bronze Age elite warrior equipment comprised a slashing sword and spear, a helmet, shield, greaves (shin armor), and cuirass (breastplate). Swiss knife Knives would have served many purposes: in daily life for tasks such as butchery, but also as weapons, particularly for casual defense or attack. hole for securing wooden or bone handle ﬂame-shaped spearhead crest covering join loop for securing spear to shaft one-piece mold for two axes socket Spearheads Spears appeared after the Early Bronze Age, and most seem designed for throwing rather than thrusting. Early forms have a tang to attach the head to the shaft; later ones are socketed. Mold and axes The ﬁrst, simplest bronzes were cast in one-piece molds, consisting of a shape cut into stone: this produced objects with a ﬂat, horizontal upper surface. Urnﬁeld helmet one identical half of two-piece mold Pin mold Two-piece molds allowed the production of more complex three-dimensional objects. The two halves were bound together and molten metal poured in at the top. pin with spherical head, made in this mold In the Late Bronze Age crested helmets became popular in Western Europe and especially Italy, while Eastern Europeans preferred a dome-shaped bell helmet. GERMAN CENTRAL EUROPEAN ENGLISH Slashing swords Rapiers, designed like daggers for stabbing, gave way to slashing swords in the later Bronze Age. These three swords illustrate regional diversity in their form. helmet made of two joined pieces of sheet-bronze rivet holes, possibly for attaching horns 42 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE CLOTHING AND ADORNMENT Bronze Age women enjoyed a growing range of designs in jewelry, such as brooches, pins, earrings, and bracelets. In Scandinavia, cofﬁns made from oak trees preserve a rare glimpse of woolen clothing. Women were buried in long-sleeved blouses and skirts, the men in shirts and kilts. Both sexes had hats and cloaks. Double spiral brooch The double spiral design was a popular motif used in jewelry in the Bronze Age. This brooch is coiled from a single piece of bronze wire. bronze collars Ear ornament central boss When metals (copper and gold) were ﬁrst used in Britain, experimentation produced distinctive ornaments, including basket-shaped earrings. rolled-up sheet-gold ship of the day clouds COLLARED PIN ﬁsh towing the Sun between ships ship of the night FLOWERHEADED PIN Scandinavian razor Elaborate pins Irish tress ring Personal equipment such as razors reﬂects male concern with their appearance in the Bronze Age. Razors included both lunate and triangular forms, as shown here. Bronze jewelry provided a vehicle for metalworkers to display their versatility. Pin designs were particularly open to ﬂights of fancy. Gold hair ornaments made in Ireland were widely traded during the Late Bronze Age. Gold was mined in the Wicklow Mountains from around 2200 BCE. Pleiades constellation midsummer sunrise BELIEFS AND RITUALS Traces of Bronze Age religion show a preoccupation with the heavens. Some monuments, including Stonehenge, mark moments such as the summer solstice. Artworks depict the Sun carried by a boat or chariot across the sky. Many ritual offerings of metalwork were buried in signiﬁcant places or deposited in rivers, lakes, or bogs. Astronomical instrument The Nebra Sky Disk was used in central Germany around 1600 BCE as an instrument for making astronomical observations, to calibrate the lunar and solar calendars. midwinter sunrise waxing Moon Sun or full Moon Sun boat small container for food offering Cremation urn Kernos Marble ﬁgurine Early Bronze Age British burials were often accompanied by a so-called “Food Vessel,” containing a special drink. Later, Food Vessels were used as cremation urns. Libation tables, stone disks with a number of hollows to take offerings, were used in Early Bronze Age Aegean rituals. This rare ceramic vessel, called a kernos, served the same purpose. 3rd-millennium BCE ﬁgurines from the Cyclades, Greece, probably represented both gods and individual humans. Some were deposited in graves, others may have been placed in shrines. THE MIGHTY HITTITES 43 THE MIGHTY HITTITES Around 1650 BCE, central Anatolia’s city-states were united by conquest into a kingdom with its capital at Hattusa. Vigorous rulers of this Hittite Old Kingdom campaigned into Syria and even sacked Babylon in 1595 BCE. However, the series of succession disputes that followed reduced their dominions. Guarded gateway ▷ The massive defenses of city gateways were enhanced by carved ﬁgures of deities and spiritually powerful creatures, giving divine protection. This sphinx guarded Alacahöyük, a city north of Hattusa (present-day Bogazkale, Turkey). From the 14th century BCE on, strong Hittite kings regained previously lost territories, expanded into western Anatolia (part of modern Turkey) and destroyed the Mitanni Empire in Syria, thus bringing them into direct territorial competition with the Egyptians. After the inconclusive Battle of Qadesh around 1274 BCE, Egypt accepted Hittite control over Syria, which the Hittites governed through viceroys. Widespread human and natural troubles in the eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BCE destroyed the Hittite Empire, but a number of small ART AND CULTURE Neo-Hittite kingdoms sprang up in southern Anatolia and Syria, prospering until the Assyrians conquered them by 700 BCE. Barbarian raiders ever present to their north and a tradition of armed conﬂict made the Hittites invest heavily in defense. Massive and complex city fortiﬁcations included towers, huge stone gateways with difﬁcult approaches, and long tunnels under the walls to secret exits. Often a citadel and inner defensive walls protected the palace and other key buildings. BELIEFS AND RITUALS beaked spout Hittite art included both miniature designs on seals and monumental sculptured reliefs, mainly of deities and kings. The designs incorporated inscriptions: the Hittites used both cuneiform and a hieroglyphic script; the Neo-Hittites used just hieroglyphs. Huge surviving archives of Hittite texts include diplomatic and administrative correspondence, descriptions of rituals, annals, literature, and mythology. Religion permeated Hittite life. Every natural feature was imbued with a divine spirit. Individual cities had local variants of major deities, and cosmopolitan Hittite society embraced deities from every community. Temples were prominent in towns and cities, and reliefs of deities were carved at key places in the landscape. head made separately from body ring joining head and body male god holding falcon and staff falcon held by goddess battle ax, wielded to smite foe hieroglyphic script lightning tall pedestal worshipper bearing offering Hunting chariot Beaked pitcher Neo-Hittite sculptured reliefs included narrative scenes, such as this deer hunt from Arslantepe (present-day Malatya). Chariots were also used effectively by the Hittites in warfare, as mobile ﬁghting platforms. In Hittite times, the traditional Anatolian pitcher took on a slim form. Pottery was made on a wheel and by hand and standardized. Forms included bowls, ﬂasks, wide-rimmed plates, and miniature vessels. Storm god Silver rhyton The principal deity was the storm god, Teshub. He leads a procession of gods carved at Hattusa’s shrine, Yazilikaya. This Neo-Hittite relief of Teshub is from Sam’al (present-day Zinjirli). Probably made as an offering to the stag god, this rhyton (drinking vessel) depicts two deities, a procession of three worshippers, and (on the reverse) sacred trees and a sacriﬁced stag. 44 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE PALACE SOCIETIES OF THE AEGEAN Discoveries at Mycenae in the 1870s and at Knossos in the 1900s showed that the heroic world described by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey was not mere legend but a record of Greece’s ﬁrst civilizations, the Mycenaeans and Minoans: adventurous sea traders, skilled craftsmen, and painters of exquisite frescoes. Palace ritual ▽ Bull-leaping, often shown in Minoan art, probably actually took place, as a ritual. Bull iconography also permeates Minoan religion, and bulls may have been linked, as in later times, to the god held responsible for Crete’s frequent earthquakes. The 3rd millennium BCE saw changes that revolutionized life in the Aegean, including vine and olive cultivation and wooly sheep. Wine and olive oil could be stored as insurance against agriculturally poor years and accumulated as wealth by those with growing power; and wine played an important role in feasting. In the 2nd millennium BCE, sailing ships spurred participation in international trade. Exports included colorful woolen textiles, while metal ores were a major import, as bronze became increasingly part of life. Around 2000 BCE, Minoan palaces appeared across the island of Crete. With large central courtyards and magazines of huge pottery storage jars, they originally hosted religious and public events, including processions and feasts. After an earthquake around 1750 BCE, the palaces were quickly rebuilt, but political changes saw the rise of increasingly powerful new elites. Widespread destruction of unknown origin around 1500 BCE left Knossos as the only functioning palace. A change in the language of ofﬁcial Cultural inﬂuence Many Mycenaean seals, like this carnelian example, bore animal designs, a style inspired by Minoan art. They were often worn on the wrist or neck as talismans. records reveals that it was now Mycenaeans from the southern Greek mainland who began to control Crete. The Mycenaeans were already familiar with Minoan culture and craftsmanship, but theirs was a very different society, in which warfare between rival palace-states played a major role. Their palaces were built on citadels, surrounded by defensive walls of massive stone blocks. Artisans lived within or near the citadel, their products including bronze swords and boar’s tusk helmets. Palace society collapsed around 1200 BCE. ART AND CULTURE The Minoans and the Mycenaeans were skilled artisans, manufacturing perfumed oils, luxury pottery, ﬁne miniature bronze, faience (a glazed ceramic), and ivory sculptures, and jewelry, particularly of gold. Like the Minoans, the Mycenaeans participated in the ﬂourishing eastern Mediterranean trade networks, but they also sailed as far west as Sardinia and Italy to obtain metal ores. stopper missing from spout spill-free spout stirrupshaped handle POLITICS AND POWER Minoan and Mycenaean palaces were the administrative centers of a stratiﬁed society, exercising political and economic control over associated towns and extensive territories. Minoan palaces also fulﬁlled a major religious role. The hinterland of Mycenaean citadels often encompassed agricultural land, hills for pasture, and access to the sea for communications and trade. Perfume jar Mycenaean octopus pot Death mask Mycenaean stirrup jars were popular exports to western Asia. They were used to transport perfumed oils, a major Mycenaean product, but were also valued as attractive pottery. Fine Minoan pottery was often beautifully decorated with a realistic octopus, its tentacles wrapping around the vessel. Later Mycenaean potters produced lifeless imitations. Early Mycenaean warrior kings were buried with considerable ﬁnery in shaft graves at Mycenae, ﬁve with gold masks, dated to around 1600–1500 BCE. BELIEFS AND RITUALS Ritual vessel Minoan palaces were linked with peak sanctuaries, holy places on adjacent mountains where offerings were made. The Mycenaeans had shrines within their citadels. Both cultures had gods and goddesses. The Minoan deities were associated with animals and the countryside, while Mycenaean texts include some deities later worshipped in Classical Greece. Perforated vessels were used as sprinklers in Minoan rituals. Some were made of pottery; others of ﬁne stone or metal. Shapes included vases and animal heads. dolphin blood draining through bucket harpist real or model model boat sacriﬁcial animals offering the deceased beaten gold chin embossed gold beard and mustache HOME LIFE Fascinating insights into daily life are provided by beautiful frescoes. These show musicians playing lyres and boys boxing, Minoan ﬁshermen carrying their catch and ladies gathering crocuses, and Mycenaeans riding in chariots, hunting boar, or sitting on folding stools drinking from elegant cups. Faience plaques from Knossos depict town houses several stories high that mirror surviving houses. Minoan cooking pot Valuable bronze tripod cauldrons used in feasting appear in frescoes and are listed in texts. This smaller pottery version was used by ordinary people for cooking and heating food. groove in rim for wick simple spout Haghia Triadha sarcophagus Steatite pedestalled lamp Spouted cup This painted sarcophagus comes from a Cretan chamber tomb and shows the deceased receiving offerings. On the left is a shrine with two double axes, where a woman pours an offering of blood from a sacriﬁced bull (depicted on the reverse). Minoan and Mycenaean craftsmen produced stone seals and jewelry, as well as larger objects including elite domestic vessels, such as this Minoan lamp. The Minoans used a range of plain domestic pottery, including cups, jugs, bowls, and storage jars. By later Minoan times, even domestic wares were often of high quality. 46 crown of Upper and Lower Egypt nemes headcloth, symbol of royal power human head apron with uraeus (rearing cobra), a royal symbol palmette, a widely used decorative feature wing, typical of West Asian sphinxes THE INTREPID PHOENICIANS 47 THE INTREPID PHOENICIANS Canaan (the region between Egypt and Anatolia) was home to coastal city-states whose prosperity depended on trade and industry. Their inhabitants were known to the Classical Greeks as Phoenicians, after their fabulously expensive purple (phoinix) dye. lion’s tail lion’s body Exporting timber from their region’s mountains to timber-poor neighbors enabled the city-states of Phoenicia (roughly, modern Lebanon) to obtain the grain, oil, and wool that their narrow coastal territories could not produce in sufﬁcient quantity. Byblos, in the center, traded with Egypt by 1900 BCE. Others, especially Arwad in the north and Tyre and Sidon in the south, joined this trade later in the same millennium. A ship wrecked off Anatolia around 1300 BCE gives a vivid picture of trade at this time. It was carrying copper ingots and ﬁne pottery from Cyprus; tin, probably from Afghanistan; African ivory and ostrich eggs; and terebinth resin (for making perfume), glass ingots, and gold jewelry from Canaan. It had probably plied a circular route from Canaan via Cyprus and the Aegean to Egypt and home to Canaan. PHOENICIAN FORTUNES stylized lotus ﬂower The Phoenician city-states experienced a checkered history—the region was fought over and often controlled by the surrounding major powers, including the Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Persians. The Phoenicians’ value as traders and skilled artisans, however, ensured that they retained a large degree of independence under foreign domination. The city-states were often bitter rivals, particularly Tyre and Sidon. To facilitate trade, obtain raw materials, particularly metals, and gain other economic beneﬁts, some citystates established overseas colonies. Foremost was Tyre, which had colonies in the eastern Mediterranean, such as Kition on Cyprus, but also Carthage in Tunisia and Gadir (Cadiz) in Atlantic Spain. As seafarers, the Phoenicians were in demand by inland states such as Assyria and Persia to provide ships, ship-building and navigational knowhow, and sailors and navies. King Solomon engaged Phoenicians from Tyre for his expedition to Ophir (probably the Horn of Africa). PHOENICIAN INGENUITY The Phoenicians were skilled artisans. Among their ﬁnest creations were purple textiles, bronze bowls, and gold jewelry. In faience (a glazed ceramic) they produced both exquisite cosmetic jars, like the hedgehog shown below, and mass-market trinkets. Masters of glass manufacture, they developed new technologies, for example making transparent glass that imitated expensive rock crystal (quartz). copper oxide glaze Ivory sphinx Fine carved ivory panels for decorating wooden furniture were exported widely or made on location for foreign rulers. These owed much in style and subject matter to Egypt, with which the Phoenicians had enjoyed long, close relations. This winged sphinx, recovered from the Assyrian royal palace at Kalhu (present-day Nimrud, Iraq), is a typical example. HEDGEHOG KOHL POT 48 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE CHINA’S FIRST CELESTIAL EMPIRE Northern China’s Shang dynasty is famously associated with oracle bone divination, bronze and jade craftsmanship, warfare and human sacriﬁce, and walled settlements. However, many of these cultural features began with their predecessors, the Xia culture, traditionally the ﬁrst kings of northern China, or their 3rd-millennium BCE ancestors, the Longshan culture. Towers in the mist ▷ China’s Great Wall reached its present form under the Ming dynasty (14th–16th centuries CE), but its early beginnings were in the Zhou period, when rival states constructed stretches of rammed-earth ramparts to defend their borders. Around 1500 BCE, the Shang succeeded the Xia culture. Work at Zhengzhou has revealed a city that was probably the ﬁrst Shang capital. Its center, containing buildings that may have been palaces and elite burials, was surrounded by a massive wall of rammed earth. Outside lay a distillery, pottery, bone, and bronze workshops, and the artisans’ houses. Recent excavations have revealed the remains of another Shang city at modern Huanbei, which was probably a later capital, Xi’ang. After 50 years of occupation, however, its rulers appear to have deliberately destroyed it. The city was stripped of all its goods before being burned to the ground. Around 1300 BCE, the ﬁnal Shang capital, Anyang, was built just across the Huan River at Yinxu. Excavations here have uncovered a palace and temple complex, with pits containing chariot burials, complete with horses and charioteers. Suburbs contained the homes of both the elite and ordinary people; industrial workshops, where artisans created prestige goods for the royal family and their entourage; and several cemeteries. In one was the richly furnished grave of Fu Hao, consort of King Wu Ding, who died around 1200 BCE. Her burial chamber lay at the bottom of a huge pit, above which were many regal grave goods, including ivory vessels inlaid with turquoise, jade items, and the sacriﬁced remains of 16 people and six dogs. Texts written on oracle bones reveal the numerous concerns of the Shang dynasty. These included many aspects of warfare, harvests, rainfall, hunting, settlement construction, and general good fortune. The Shang had conﬂicts with a number of their neighbors, such as the people inhabiting the area near the Yangtze (Changjiang) River to the south. ZHOU DYNASTY Another Shang enemy were the Zhou in the west, whose ruler overthrew the Shang king around 1027 BCE and established a new kingdom. Western Zhou kings were strong rulers, backed by a large, well-organized army. They pursued a policy of expansion, settling conquered areas under the rule of members of the royal clan. “ It Ask the ancestors The earliest Chinese script, ancestral to that of today, appears on Shang oracle bones. Used to divine the future, they were inscribed with questions to the ancestors. Around 771 BCE, however, the Zhou kings were forced by invaders from the north to ﬂee from their capital Zongzhou (near modern Xi’an) eastward to Luoyang, initiating the Eastern Zhou period. Centralized Zhou authority had declined and regional power had grown. The kingdom began slowly to disintegrate, with the rulers of the small states often ﬁghting either the Zhou king or each other. The situation declined throughout this “Spring and Autumn period,” turning into all-out war for supremacy between the states after 481 BCE (see p.101). By this time Zhou had shrunk to a small state itself. The Zhou period saw the extension of many of the technological and social developments of the Shang period. These included bronze casting and other crafts, and trade and city life. It also included warfare, with more organized and larger armies, new weapons, and the growth of defensive architecture, including the rammed-earth border defenses that were eventually developed into the Great Wall. is through fear that goodwill and harmony reign between superiors and inferiors.” Zi Han, Song ruler in the Spring and Autumn period (771–476 BCE) 50 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE TRADE BATTLE AND CONFLICT In Shang times, trade brought in cowrie shells (used as currency) and turtle shells, jade, tin, and copper, and Chinese silk was exchanged with steppe nomads. The invention of cast-bronze coinage, in various denominations, in Middle Zhou times reﬂects the beginning of a market economy. Warfare was regularly mentioned on oracle bones, and enemy prisoners were often sacriﬁced in rituals—1,200 were found in 12 Shang royal graves. Horse-drawn chariots, introduced from the steppes, were originally used for ceremonial purposes. Over time, they were increasingly used as elite ﬁghting platforms, but during the Eastern Zhou period, infantry became more important. decorative pommel Decorated dagger This dagger would have belonged to a member of the elite. Swords were introduced in the Zhou period, but did not become widely used until later. coin shaped like a spade, an essential tool inscription in early Chinese script turquoise inlay ritual ax blade made from valuable white jade cutting edge of bronze ax Axes Blades mounted on long shafts were the usual weapon of foot soldiers. Through time, these evolved from simple axes to halberds (see p.51). tang for inserting into wooden haft dagger blade Spade money Knife money Chinese coinage was invented in the 7th century BCE. In the north and central states of the Zhou region, this took the form of miniature spades. Each state made its own form of coinage in the Middle Zhou period. Knife-shaped coins were made by states in the east (Shandong peninsula). CLOTHING AND ADORNMENT Ge dagger-ax The dagger-ax was the characteristic weapon of the Zhou warrior. It was a developed form of the simpler halberd, mounted and wielded in the same way. Neolithic head ornament human face In the Liangzhu culture of southern China, specialized craftsmen created many jade objects. Headdress plaques were decorated with a human-and-monster face. hole for attachment to headdress polished stone perforated, creamy white jade head These slit earrings were made by the Majiabang culture of the Yangtze river estuary in the 4th millennium BCE. Such earrings were still popular in the Zhou period. cast bronze blade monster face Later Neolithic, Shang, and Zhou people made textiles from hemp and ramie (a type of nettle). The elite also had garments of silk and highquality jade jewelry. Fu Hao, consort of a Shang king, had many jade ornaments among her grave furnishings, some of which were antiques from the Neolithic Longshan and Shijiahe cultures. Stone earrings holes for binding to haft inlaid turquoise bead gray-green jade pin Longshan hair pin This beautiful jade pin comes from a rich burial, perhaps of a local ruler, around 2000 BCE. It may have been worn in the hair or with a scarf. CHINA’S FIRST CELESTIAL EMPIRE 51 HOME LIFE characteristic patterns red and darkbrown painted decoration Shang and Zhou kings were surrounded by nobles, ofﬁcials, and priests—the elite who enjoyed luxuries such as jade, bronze, and lacquerware. However, most people lived in villages, farming millet, rice, fruit, and vegetables, and raising pigs and chickens. They used everyday items such as pottery. Painted pot Fine painted pottery, such as this 3rdmillennium BCE Neolithic Majiayao culture jar, may have been made to place in burials rather than for everyday use. distinctive decoration turned out rim cord-impressed decoration loop handle hollow legs allow heat to be transmitted to cooking liquid Xindian pot Zhou tripod pot Majiayao jar Groups in different regions had their own characteristic styles of pottery decoration. This vessel was made by the Xindian culture, neighbors of the Shang to their northwest. The tripod vessel, used to heat liquids, was a standard pottery form from Neolithic times. A perforated bowl set in the top could be used to steam rice. Neolithic people used pots to store water and food. A rope secured round the middle of a large, heavy storage jar made it easier to grip the vessel when lifting. Jade cong BELIEFS AND RITUALS Tubular jade objects called cong were used in Neolithic elite burials and ritual contexts after 3000 BCE. Their shape echoes later cosmology, and is meant to symbolize heaven and earth. The Shang recognized a supreme deity, Di, and during the Zhou dynasty, Tian took on this role. However, most rituals were concerned with honoring the ancestral spirits, who were consulted by oracle bone divination (see p.48). Ritual objects, many of which were made of jade, were placed in elite burials. elaborately decorated hilt Decorated Shang halberd Shang royalty were buried with many ﬁne grave goods including weaponry such as this bronze halberd, which would have been mounted at right angles to a long wooden haft. hafted portion strong broad blade suspension loop Bronze bells Ranked sets of bronze bells were introduced in the Zhou period. Small-scale sets of these bells, such as the ones shown here, were often placed in elite graves. smaller bell gives higher note relief decoration larger bell gives lower note 52 EARLY SOCIETIES 20,000–700 BCE Shang guang The guang was used for storing and serving wine. Once the lid was removed, the lower portion became a spouted pitcher from which to pour the wine. This clever and attractive design combines two signiﬁcant animals, the tiger and the owl, placed back to back. Although the guang continued into Western Zhou times, the tiger-owl form was a short-lived Shang design. tiger, inspired by art of Shang’s southern neighbours owl’s ear owl’s eye, looking skyward unusual owl ﬁgure bearl