My blog takes you to the depths of history and the origins of the old civilizations, where you enjoy seeing the antiques of the ancients

Army in the Sumerian era


Ancient Mesopotamian Warfare progressed from companies of a city's militia in Sumer to the professional standing armies of Akkad, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia and from conflicts over land or water rights to wars of conquest and political supremacy. Developments in weaponry, training, and tactics made the armies of Mesopotamia among the most effective in the ancient world``

Sumerian military inscriptions and monuments

Sunerian military inscriptions show war chariots

The first war in recorded history was between Sumer and Elam c. 2700 BCE, though there were no doubt military conflicts left unrecorded before that date. Afterwards, armed conflict is regularly attested through inscriptions, artwork, and archaeological evidence from the time of the Early Dynastic Period (2900-2334 BCE) through that of the Sassanian Empire 224-651 CE))

The Sumerian army is considered one of the oldest military armies among the civilizations of the Ancient East, among the city-states. This allowed the army system to develop until it became an organized body in the late Early Dynastic Era. Archaeological evidence depicting war battles sheds some light on the Sumerian army system.

 One of the examples that express this trend is the painting of King Eannatum, which reveals the army system and method of war in the Sumerian era, as well as Types of weapons used.

There is an inscription with pictures of war scenes found in Ur from a royal cemetery in which we see war chariots. What is noted in the chariots is that their wheels are solid, but they developed in the second millennium when fast wheels appeared in transportation and war.

commemorative stele that Eannatum erected to celebrate his victory. This stele is called the “Stele of Vultures” for its portrayal of birds of prey and lions tearing at the flesh of the corpses as they lay on the desert plain. The stele represents the first important pictorial portrayal of war in the Sumerian period and portrays the king of Lagash leading an infantry phalanx of armored, helmeted warriors, armed with spears as they trample their enemies

An inscription under a statue in the city of Nippur says: Sargon, king of Kish, was victorious in 34 war battles over the cities up to the edge of the sea. He destroyed their walls and prostrated himself to the gods. The gods granted him the highest land, up to the Cedar Forest and even the Mountain of Silver. But Sargon followed a more merciful method than his predecessor. In every city he conquered, he  only destroys the walls of the city in order to weaken it and reduce the possibility of its rebellion, he also held a great ceremony to prove his rebellion on the ground. In this ceremony, he washed his weapons in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

 Components of the Sumerian army and its weapons

As for the components of the Sumerian army, it consisted of two divisions, the infantry division and the military chariot division. As for their clothing, they wore what is called a kilt that covered their bodies, and metal helmets to protect the head, and they protected themselves from enemy weapons with shields. As for the characteristics of their weapons, they were the long dagger, arrows, axe, and hammer.

The chariot is considered an ancient Iraqi invention. The chariots, whether used in transportation or wars, were drawn by donkeys or wild horses.

The foot soldiers wore metal helmets on their heads that covered their bodies starting from the middle, and they also carried shields to protect them.

Sumerian helmets are considered the oldest attempt by man to use metals and protect himself in wars, and they served as the starting point that later led man to invent war chariots with armor made of steel. Infantry soldiers were divided into two parts.

The first part of them entered the battle, and the other chased the enemy. Their weapons were either the spear, the long dagger, and arrows, or the ax and the hammer. In addition to participating in wars, the soldiers had to play another role in peacetime by maintaining security and order in the city.

The Sumerian armies had a good reputation, which allowed them to inflict many defeats on neighboring cities and spread the Sumerian civilization through them.






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