The evolution of warfare in ancient Mesopotamia led to the creation of large and powerful empires in the Near East, the weapons and formations of which influenced classical civilization.
The evolution of warfare in ancient Mesopotamia led to the creation of large and powerful empires in the Near East, the weapons and formations of which influenced classical civilization. Historians believe that the beginnings of organized warfare coincided with the dawn of written history in both Mesopotamia and
The first steps toward unity were taken in southern Mesopotamia when King
Sumer and Akkad, c. 4000-2000
After the beginning of the second millennium
Hammurabi’s death was followed by a number of revolts that led to the rapid disintegration of his kingdom. In the late seventeenth century
A relief of Hammurabi, the powerful Babylonian leader who united the Babylonian kingdom and codified its laws.
The Sumerian Stela of the
A mounted Babylonian warrior carrying a sword, spear, and bow and arrow.
Additionally, the Stela of the Vultures depicts all of the phalangite infantrymen as outfitted and protected in the same fashion but distinct in dress from the single warrior-leader placed in front to direct the shock troops. Although the egalitarian outfitting of troops is certainly predicated on the practical demands of the type of close-arm combat tactics employed in Mesopotamia, it also suggests to scholars that regalia determined one’s standing and social status as well as the expectations and presumed responsibilities of office.
The campaign of
Very little is known about the roles played by individual kings or commanders. The first organized battles in Mesopotamia occurred before 3500
The Sumerians kept records on clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform. One of the most famous stories from this culture, the Gilgamesh
For the most part, however, information on warfare during the Sumerian period has come from images recovered by archaeologists. The
Various artifacts, including the
Crawford, Harriet. Sumer and the Sumerians. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Ferrill, Arthur. The Origins of War: From the Stone Age to Alexander the Great. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986. Gabriel, Richard A., and Karen S. Metz. From Sumer to Rome: the Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Humble, Richard. Warfare in the Ancient World. London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1980. Laffont, Robert. The Ancient Art of Warfare. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1966. O’Connell, Robert L. Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Wise, Terence. Ancient Armies of the Middle East. New York: Osprey, 1981. Yadin, Yigael. The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963. The Kings: From Babylon to Baghdad. Docudrama. History Channel, 2004.
Violence in the Precivilized World