By Tom Head
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Extra resources for Ancient Mesopotamia
Although it had been continuously occupied since the area was first settled in 6000 BCE, Nineveh was essentially rebuilt by the mighty kings Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal in the 600s BCE to serve as the empire’s nucleus and their own home base. 2 In its prime, Nineveh was a global center of intellectual life. Nineveh was also a very traditional Mesopotamian city in some ways. The basic morning routine someone might have had in Ur in 2030 BCE would still apply to most working-class people in Nineveh.
THE CASTES OF SUMER As significant as a transition from local, religious authority to regional, secular authority may have been, it likely had little Images of ancient Mesopotamian kings have been preserved for thousands of years through statues. indd 33 10/30/14 11:07 AM direct relevance in the lives of most Sumerians. Local authorities continued ruling over daily business in Sumerian city-states, and it is likely most decisions were made on a case-by-case basis based on local considerations rather than broad regional public policy.
Archaeologists also have several actual instruments from the period. Among the most well-known artifacts from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, dating to 2450 BCE, are a silver double-flute, nine silver lyres, two harps, and cymbals. indd 45 10/30/14 11:07 AM percussion instrument consisting of three metal rods hooked into a bronze loop. Although it is impossible to know exactly how ancient Sumerians would have played these instruments, it is clear from their context and the craftsmanship involved that mastering each involved considerable practice.