of the Rings is depicted here as astronomer Shamash on top of
a diorite stele inscribed with the law codes attributed to King
Hammurabi. As one of the Shining Ones otherwise known as the
Elohim, Genii, Abkarlu or Gods, Shamash is passing the Ring
and the Rod, key symbols of authority or rule, to the Mesopotamia
King c 1792 BC. Originally the Ring consisted of a rolled surveyors
tape and the Rod was the standard unit of measurement used across
the world from as early as 8,500 BC at Jericho to Mayan structures
c. 700 AD. As tenant of the Gods, Hammurabi was in fact re-affirming
the original common law edicts of Anu and Enlil. Steles were
placed in public places declaring the primary legal basis for
human rights eventually adopted in Hebraic laws.
o kingship and authority, the practical measuring tape changed
through time to symbolic gold rings or bands and then to crowns.
The rod and rule later developed to become the simple mace to
formally crush the skulls of fatally wounded enemies, a weapon
and on to the sceptre and the elaborate symbolism which is still
seen and used today. The shepherds crook, the flail, the quill
pen and the whip followed a similar path of symbolic evolution
or development from their original peaceful and practical purposes.
on Mesopotamian Civilization and Kingship
character of the Mesopotamian civilization as a whole, and particularly
so during Abrahams break from his homeland has already
been stressed. By the time of Hammurabi, that civilization had
established itself as a dynamic force at home and abroad. Nor
can there be much doubt that social progress was the overriding
factor in that advance. The Mesopotamian concept of the Cosmos,
which barred autocracy even in heaven, also made for a regime
on earth where the law was above the ruler and thus stood guard
over the rights of the individual. In various ways, this
social system was responsible for the countrys balanced
progress in governmental, intellectual, and scientific matters.
And it sustained the historic civilization of Mesopotamia
as opposed to its several prehistoric stages throughout
its long career, from the dawn at the turn of the 4th millennium
to the sudden collapse some twenty five centuries later
- E.A.Speiser The Anchor Bible.
we can view the Mesopotamian Basin in all its splendour, it
is becoming clear that this flame which blazed up so suddenly
in the Middle East, and shed so wide alight, was kindled at
several points, each with its own nuance and distinctive lustre.
Susa, Lagash, Ur, Uruk, Ashnunnak, Niveveh, Mari all
alike were centres whose civilisation advanced from strength
to strength until, at last, thanks to the genius of the few
and the boldness of many, there was wrought forth, as in an
alchemists crucible, a prodigious, many-sided art
- Memorable lines from Andre Parrot in Sumer: The Dawn
of Art on the many advances in civilization made by 3rd millennium
in the area of Mesopotamia.
the city states were regarded as tenants of the Gods and were
trained in the duties of kinship from an early age. Each held
the ring and the lord of the rings, or king of kings, supervised
the efficiency of kingship. The extended family of rulers held
regular council meetings to maintain order and peace.
The Patrick Foundation Photograph from The Ancient World
by Giovanni Garbini Stele in the Louvre Museum, Paris.