This is a Victory Stele from Persia around the date 2230 BCE. This pink limestone Stele depicts the Akkadian victory over the Lullibi Mountain people. It was made in Mesopotamia, but was taken by the Elamite King Shutruk-Nahhunte when he attacked Babylon as part of his victory, 1000 years after the Stele was made. It was in honor of King Naram-Sin.
This Stele is 2m. x 1.05m, and is made out of pink limestone. The approximated date of creation is 2230BCE. It depicts the victory of Naram-Sin over the Satuni, king of the Lullubi, (Pouysségur 2009). Depictions from this time period are often done in layered registers, but the author of this stele decided to use a dynamic composition in three diagonal layers to depict this battle. The first layer contains Naram-Sin himself, and two sun or star representations (Pouysségur 2009). Naram-sin is looking up to the sun and star which represent gods, possibly the sun god Shamash, (Harris, & Zucker, Sept. 30 2011), and his gaze is him showing his respect, ("Victory Stele of Naram-Sin" 2010). The gods are looking down upon Naram-Sin, as a way of approval for what he is doing. Naram-Sin is also proportionally larger than all of the other figures that are depicted, which also shows his importance and power (Pouysségur 2009). His position on the Stele represents that he is a “divine king”, but that he is also human because he is between the representation of the gods and his soldiers, (Kinard October 08, 2008). He is pictured with a helmet with horns, a symbol which was traditionally depicted with the gods, (Harris, & Zucker, Sept. 30 2011), and a large bow and axe. This most likely signifies that he was on the same level as the gods, (Pouysségur 2009).
The second layer contains the Akkad Soldiers that are fighting for Naram-Sin. They are depicted in a uniform fashion, signifying their civility ("Victory Stele of Naram-Sin" 2010), and they are all looking up to Naram-Sin, (Pouysségur 2009).
The people of the Zagros Mountains, or the Lullubi, are show as unorganized and scattered. Some have been stabbed, some have been thrown off of the mountain, and others are being trampled, but even as they are being conquered, ("Victory Stele of Naram-Sin" 2010), they are depicted as looking up to Naram-Sin, almost as if they are asking for mercy, (Harris, & Zucker, Sept. 30 2011). The Lullubi with the spear or arrow through his neck could signify a sacrifice to the gods, (Kinard October 08, 2008).
This artifact was found in 1898 by French archaeologist M. Jacques de Morgan on the Iranian site of Susa, (Harris, & Zucker, Sept. 30 2011). He was the French Ambassador to Persia, ("NARAM-SIN'S STELE" ).
Local Historical Context
This stele was created by the Akkadian people, in celebration of Naram-Sin’s victory over the Lullubi mountain people. Naram-Sin was the king of the Akkadian empire from 2254 and 2218 BCE, (Pouysségur 2009). This conquest of the Lullubi people was a part of a conquest to expand the Akkadian Empire, which was at it’s greatest under the rule of Naram-Sin.
Not much is known about this culture in this time period, but it is known that the Stele was meant to commemorate the victory over the Lullubi. The Stele was taken to Susa in the 12th century BCE by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunt, ("NARAM-SIN'S STELE" ) 1000 years after the stele was created, (Pouysségur 2009).
The period from approximately 2900 to 2350 BCE in southern Mesopotamia is known as the Early Dynastic Period. During this time, Mesopotamia politically divided into city-states, each controlled by a dynasty of rulers. The succeeding period (ca. 2350–2150 BCE) is named after the city of Akkad, whose Semitic monarchs united the region, bringing the rival Sumerian cities under their control by conquest. At its greatest extent, the Akkad empire reached as far as Anatolia in the north, inner Iran in the east, Arabia in the south, and the Mediterranean in the west, (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004).
Sargon was the first notable rule of the Akkadian people. He conquered southern Mesopotamia and lead military expeditions to conquer further east and north. The Akkadians under Sargon dominated the Sumerians around 2300 BCE, (Kinard October 08, 2008). Sargon was succeeded by two of his sons, Rimush and Manishtushu, who consolidated the dynasty's hold on much of Mesopotamia. The Akkadian empire reached its height under Naram-Sin, (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004).
Naram-Sin was the grandson of Sargon and the first to unify the whole of Mesopotamia around 2350 BCE Naram-Sin's title was "King of the Four Quarters" meaning "Ruler of the World," (Kinard October 08, 2008). Naram-Sin was the fourth sovereign of the Dynasty, (Pouysségur 2009).
There are several reasons for taking the year 2350 as a turning point in the history of Mesopotamia. For the first time, an empire arose on Mesopotamian soil. The driving force of that empire was the Akkadians. This city has not yet been identified but is presumably located on the Euphrates between Sippar and Kish, (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2013).
Shar-kali-sharri was the son of Naram-Sin, and succeeded him. He kept the Akkadian empire fairly intact, but it is thought that at the end of his reign there may have been a power struggle for the throne. The result was a number of city rulers reestablished their independence in southern Mesopotamia, (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004). After this the empire of Babylon continued to decline, and Assyria came to power. They descended from the upper Tigris into Mesopotamia, ("NARAM-SIN'S STELE" ).
Pouysségur, Patrick. Le Louvre, "Victory Stele of Naram-Sin ." Last modified 2009. Accessed April 22, 2013. http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/victory-stele-naram-sin.
Kinard, Jeff. American Historical Association, "Victory Stele of Naram-Sin." Last modified October 08, 2008. Accessed April 22, 2013. http://www.historians.org/tl/lessonplans/nc/kinard/cover.htm.
Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. "The Akkadian Period (ca. 2350–2150 B.C.)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/akka/hd_akka.htm (October 2004)
Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Naram-Sin," accessed April 22, 2013, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/403393/Naram-Sin.
Mount Holyoke, "Victory Stele of Naram-Sin." Last modified 2010. Accessed April 22, 2013. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~nigro20e/classweb/victory.html
NARAM-SIN'S STELE." : 1-5. http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1799&context=ocj (accessed April 22, 2013).
Harris, Dr. Beth, & Zucker, Dr. Stephen. "Victory Stele of Naram-Sin." Smart History Sept. 30 2011. Web, http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/victory-stele-of-naram-sin.html.
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