Assyrian Wall Reliefs from the Sulaymaniyah Museum

Detail of a gypsum wall relief from the North-West at Nimrud. What has survived is a left hand of an Apkallu (Akkadian, which means sage). The hand grips on the handle of a buckle. The buckle is supposed to contain a fluid (?water for purification). The cuneiform text of the so-called "Standard Inscription" of Ashurnasirpal II runs over the relief. At the right upper angle, part of the "Sacred Tree" appears. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Most, if not all, of our readership knows about the intentional destruction of ancient artifacts, buildings, mosques, shrines, and the contents of Mosul museum contents by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Governorate of Mosul in Iraq is the site of several ancient Assyrian cities (Nimrud, Kouyunjik, and Dur-Sharrukin), in addition… Continue reading Assyrian Wall Reliefs from the Sulaymaniyah Museum

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III at the British Museum

Side B: There are 4 tribute-bearers from Suhu carrying "silver, gold... byssus, garments with multi-colored trim and linen". Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

I was attending an event at the Royal College of Physicians of London in early March 2016, and I had a plenty of time to spare. One of my targets was, of course, the British Museum. Two years ago, Jan van der Crabben (founder and CEO of the Ancient History Encyclopedia) asked me to draft… Continue reading The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III at the British Museum

Ivory in the Ancient World

A Greek ivory pyxis depicting griffins attacking stags. 15th Century BCE. (Agora Museum, Athens)

Ivory, with its ease of carving and exotic rarity, has been used to make art objects for millennia. True ivory actually refers to only the dentine of elephant tusks but it may also refer to the tusks and teeth of walrus, hippopotamus, narwhal and sperm whales, amongst others. The ancient world acquired its ivory either… Continue reading Ivory in the Ancient World

Erotic Images from Ancient Times

This Roman fresco shows the act of making love. It was found in the bedroom (cubiculum) of the Casa del Centenario (IX 8,3) in Pompeii. 1st Century CE.

Ancient art and archaeological remains have provided archaeologists and historians today with clues to how the ancients practiced their sexuality and their overall attitude toward sex. To the causal observer, it seems the ancients were more open about their sexuality then we are today. In ancient Rome there were artworks in living rooms or studies… Continue reading Erotic Images from Ancient Times

Mesopotamian Reliefs

This post is part of a series of image posts Ancient History et cetera will be putting together each month. Today’s post is all about ancient Mesopotamian Relief! Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning ‘between two rivers’) was an ancient region in the eastern Mediterranean. Surrounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the… Continue reading Mesopotamian Reliefs

Never Before Seen: The Belula Pass Rock Relief

I visited one of my relatives who resides at Lake Darbandikhan. It was a holiday. I was chatting with him about the relief of “Horen Shekhan” (Kurdish: هۆرێن و شێخان; Arabic هورين- شيخان) at Darband-i-Belula (Belula Pass). I told him that at the main hall of the Sulaymaniyah Museum, there is a large wall poster… Continue reading Never Before Seen: The Belula Pass Rock Relief

Finding the hidden Naram-Sin rock relief in Iraq

I was chatting with my uncle about the archaeological reliefs in the Governorate of Sulaymaniyah. The Governorate is part of Iraqi Kurdistan and is about 400 km north-west of Baghdad. He said that he saw a relief in the year 1985 on a top of a mountain, south-west of the city of Sulaymaniyah. The name… Continue reading Finding the hidden Naram-Sin rock relief in Iraq

Meet the Queen of the Night!

Room 56 of the British Museum; Mesopotamia: A large display case houses the “Queen of the Night Relief.” It is one of the masterpieces of the British Museum, also known as the “Burney Relief”. This terracotta plaque came from my land, Mesopotamia (mostly modern-day Iraq) and dates back to the Old Babylonian period, 1800-1750 BCE.… Continue reading Meet the Queen of the Night!