depicts a battle between Lagash and its traditional rival, the
neighboring city-state of Umma. The victorious leader of the
charge is Eannatum, one of the early rulers of Lagash, who in
his celebrated Stele of the Vultures left us a record that is
significant for both its historical and its artistic content.
chariot and equipment are based on the so-called War Standard
from Ur and partly on the fields from the Royal Tombs at that
sits. The city emblem of Lagash was a lion-headed eagle sinking
his claws into the bodies of two animals, usually lions standing
back to back.
example of this emblem has been preserved on the famous silver
vase of Entemena, nephew of Eannatum.
may never have been used to identify chariots, as has been done
here, but the slight liberty taken by the archeologist and artist
in making the illustration serves a good purpose.
which are drawing the chariots are not horses, but onagers,
or wild asses. For the sake of contrast, the chariots of Umma
have been copies from the smaller of the two known types of
be added, to supplement the illustration, that at this particular
time stout collars kept the steeds hitched to the pole. Some
2000 years later, in Assyrian times, three straps passing under
the forepart of the animal's belly hitched harness and pole
soldiers include lancers and archers. The headgear consists
of a helmet, of leather or metal, depending on the soldier's
rank. The heavy cloaks are joined only at the neck to allow
greater freedom of movement. The members of the massive phalanx,
which anticipates the classical phalanx by 2000 years, are protected
by curved shields.
was usually celebrated by a sumptuous banquet, such as depicted
on the Pace Standard from Ur. The festivities were followed
by more constructive occupations: repair of the damage caused
by the war, the building of temples, and the extension of irrigation
must forever be kept from encroaching on the sown land, and
constant attention to irrigation was thus the most effective
guarantee of prosperity. Modern Iraq has a long way to go to
match the industry and the perseverance of its inhabitants of
45 centuries ago.