The Lord 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.

As symbols 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.

Comments on Mesopotamian Civilization and Kingship

The vibrant character of the Mesopotamian civilization as a whole, and particularly so during Abraham’s 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 country’s 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.SpeiserThe Anchor Bible.

Now that 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 alchemist’s 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.

Kings of 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.

Copyrights The Patrick Foundation – Photograph from The Ancient World by Giovanni Garbini – Stele in the Louvre Museum, Paris.