Skip to main content

Chariots of the Gods in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia (c. 2000–1600 BC)

  • Elizabeth C. Stone (a1)

The distribution of designs on Mesopotamian terracottas can provide clues to the relationship between symbols and meaning at different localities. Unlike other Mesopotamian terracottas whose iconography reflects pan-Mesopotamian beliefs, the designs on model chariots are site-specific. While Mesopotamian religious symbols should probably be interpreted as representing aspects of divine power rather than individual deities, combinations of symbols serve to identify particular gods. When these are found on model chariots, they can be related to the titular deities of the specific city in which they were found. Examination of the findspots of these objects, especially those from Mashkanshapir, suggests a possible link between model chariots and the centralizing institutions of the city.

Hide All
Barrelet M.-T., 1968. Figurines et reliefs en terre cuite de la Mésopotamie antique. (Institut français d'archéologie de Beyrouth, Bibliothèque archéologique et historique 85.) Paris: Paul Geuthner.
Bevan E., 1986. Representations of Animals in Sanctuaries of Artemis and other Olympian Deities. (BAR International Series 315(i).) Oxford: BAR.
Charpin D., 1986. Le clergé d'Ur au siècle d'Hammurabi. Geneva-Paris: Librairie Droz.
Charpin D., 1988. Sippar: deux villes jumelles. Revue d'Assyriologie 82, 1332.
Charpin D., 1990. Review of P. Steinkeller ‘Sale Documents of the Ur-III-Period’. Revue d'Assyriologie 84, 91–4.
Charpin D., F. Joannès, S. Lackenbacker & B. Lafont, 1988. Archives épistolaires de Man I/2. (Archives Royales de Mari 26.) Paris: CNRS.
Clay A.T., 1917. The arts of the Akkadians. Art and Archaeology 5, 6993.
Collon D., 1986. Catalogue of Western Asiatic Seals in the British Museum III: Isin/Larsa and Old Babylonian Periods. London: Museum Publications.
Dossin G., 1935. Lettres de la Première Dynastie Babylonienne. (Textes Cunéiformes du Louvre 18.) Paris: Paul Geuthner.
Driver G.R. & J.C. Miles, 1955. The Babylonian Laws. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Gasche H., 1989. La Babylonie au 17e Siècle avant Notre Ere: Approche Archéologique, Problèmes et Perspectives. (Mesopotamian History and Environment, Series II, Memoirs I.) Ghent: University of Ghent.
Green A.R. (ed.), 1993. The 6G Ash-Tip: Cultic and Administrative Discard from the Temple? (Abu-Salabikh Excavations 4.) London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq.
Harris R., 1975. Ancient Sippar. Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Institut te Istanbul.
Hill H.D., T. Jacobsen & P. Delougaz, 1990. Old Babylonian Public Buildings in the Diyala Region. (Oriental Institute Publications 98.) Chicago (IL): Oriental Institute Press.
Hrouda B. (ed.), 1977. Isin-Isan Bahriyat I. (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische Klasse, Abhandlungen, neue Folge 79.) Munich: Verlag der bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Hrouda B. 1981. Isin-Isan Bahriyat II. (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische Klasse, Abhandlungen, neue Folge 87.) Munich: Verlag der bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Huizinga J., 1949. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. London: Boston & Henly.
Jacobsen T., 1976. The Treasures of Darkness. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.
Krecher J., 1971. Göttersymbole und -attribute, in Reallexikon der Assyriologie, eds. E. Ebeling & B. Meissner. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 483–98.
Legrain L., 1930. Terracottas from Nippur. (Publications of the Babylonian Section 16.) Philadelphia (PA): University Museum Publications.
Littauer M.A. & J.H. Crouwel, 1979. Wheeled Vehicles and Ridden Animals in the Ancient Near East. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Loftus W.K., 1857. Travels and Researches in Chaldea and Susiana. With an Account of Excavations at Warka, the ‘Erech’ of Nimrod, and Shush, ‘Shusan the Palace of Esther’, in 1849–1852. London: James Nisbet & Co.
McCown D.E. & R.C. Haines, 1967. Nippur I: Temple of Enlil, Scribal Quarter, and Soundings. (Oriental Institute Publications 78.) Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press.
Meyer L. de., 1978. Tell ed-Der II. Leuven: Editions Peeters.
Meyer L. de., 1980. Tell ed-Der III. Leuven: Editions Peeters.
Meyer L. de., 1984. Tell ed-Der IV. Leuven: Editions Peeters.
Meyer L. de., H. Gasche & R. Paepe, 1971. Tell ed-Der I. Leuven: Editions Peeters.
Moorey P.R.S., 1975. The terracotta plaques from Kish and Hursagkalama, c.1850 to 1650 BC. Iraq 37, 7999.
Oates J., 1979. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson.
Opificius R., 1961. Das Altbabylonische Terrakottarelief. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co.
Parrot A., 1933. Tello et Senkhereh-Larsa, campagne 1932–1933. Revue d'Assyriologie 30, 169–82.
Poebel A., 1909. Babylonian Legal and Business Documents for the Time of the First Dynasty of Babylon Chiefly from Nippur. (The Babylonian Expedition of Pennsylvania, Series A: Cuneiform Texts, vol. IV, part 2.) Philadelphia (PA): University of Pennsylvania, University Museum.
Porada E., 1948. Corpus of Ancient Near Eastern Seals in North American Collections I: The Collection of the Pierpoint Morgan Library. (The Bollingen Series 14.) Washington (DC): Pantheon Books.
Porada E. & F. Basmachi, 1951. Nergal in the Old Babylonian period. Sumer 7, 68.
Reiner E. (ed.), 1980. The Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 11; N part 1. Chicago (IL): Oriental Institute.
Renfrew C. & E. Zubrow (eds.), 1993. The Ancient Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sauren H., 1983. L'iconographie de dieu Nergal pendant la période proto-paléo-babylonienne. Acta Orientalis Belgica 3, 4550.
Stone E.C., 1987. Nippur Neighborhoods. (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 44.) Chicago (IL): Oriental Institute Press.
Stone E.C., 1990. The Tell Abu Duwari Project, Iraq, 1987. Journal of Field Archaeology 17, 141–62.
Stone E.C. & P. Zimansky, 1989. Maskan-Sapir identified. Mar Sipri 2(1), 12.
Van Buren E.D., 1945. Symbols of the gods in Mesopotamian art. Analecta Orientalia 23.
Voyatzis M., 1990. The Early Sanctuary of Athena Alea and other Archaic Sanctuaries in Arcadia. (SIMA Pocketbook 97.) Göteborg: SIMA.
Weiher E. von, 1971. Der Babylonische Gott Nergal. (Alter Orient und Altes Testament 11.) Neukirchen-Vluyn: Kevelaer, Butzon & Bercker.
Werr L. al-G., 1988. Studies in the Chronology and Regional Style of Old Babylonian Cylinder Seals. (Bibliotheca Mesopotamica 23.) Malibu (CA): Undena Press.
Wiggermann F.A.M., 1985–6. The staff of Ninsubura. (Studies in Babylonian Demonology II.) Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux 29, 334.
Woolley C.L., 1925. The excavations at Ur, 1923–24. Antiquaries Journal V, 120.
Woolley C.L. & M. Mallowan, 1976. Ur Excavations VII: The Old Babylonian Period. London: British Museum Publications.
Ziegler C., 1962. Die Terrakotten von Warka. (Ausgrabungen der Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uruk-Warka VI.) Berlin: Gebr. Mann.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 17 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 125 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.