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Uruk

Identifier

022160

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Uruk  was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the dried-up, ancient channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.

Uruk played a leading role in the early urbanization of Sumer in the mid 4th millennium BC. At its height c. 2900 BC, Uruk probably had 50,000–80,000 residents living in 6 km2 of walled area; making it the largest city in the world at the time.  It is a classic spiritually based city with a sacred geography of great interest.

As we can see from the map it is Egg shaped, as such it is based on the geography of the cosmic Egg.  In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh builds the city wall around Uruk and is king of the city. The legendary king Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian king list, ruled Uruk in the 27th century BC.  It is also believed Uruk is the biblical Erech (Genesis 10:10), the second city founded by Nimrod in Shinar.

Uruk was the centre of a thriving area in the Uruk period, or 'Uruk expansion' (4000–3200 BC). This period of 800 years saw a shift from small, agricultural villages to a larger urban centre with a full-time administration, a ‘military’ – defender of the faith, and organised society.

Through the gradual and eventual domestication of native grains from the Zagros foothills and extensive irrigation techniques, the area supported a vast variety of edible vegetation. This domestication of grain and its proximity to rivers enabled Uruk's growth into the largest Sumerian settlement, in both population and area.

The Uruk period culture exported by Sumerian traders and colonists had an effect on all surrounding peoples, who gradually evolved their own comparable cultures.

Uruk's agricultural surplus and large population base facilitated processes such as trade, specialization of crafts and the evolution of writing. Evidence from excavations such as extensive pottery and the earliest known tablets of writing support these events. In other words the peaceful nature of their lives supported extensive creativity.

The city lost its prime importance around 2000 BC, in the context of the struggle of Babylonia with Elam, but it remained inhabited throughout the Seleucid and Parthian periods until it was finally abandoned shortly before or after the Islamic conquest.

A description of the experience

Plan of Uruk showing Egg shape

Plan showing topography

 

Given the looting that has taken place and the destruction, the constant rebuilding and the sheer time – thousands of years – that has gone by, it is not possible to precisely state which Intelligences were the deities of which cities.   Wikipedia has made many brave attempts, but they all contradict one another and this is not a criticism, it is a reflection of the fact that one cannot pin down the history of a mystic system when it is 6000 years old. Using their tables and a snapshot of the earliest allocations that could be found this is a possible allocation of deities to city states:

The Planets

The Babylonians coloured the seven planets as follows: the moon, silvern; the sun, golden; Mars, red; Saturn, black; Jupiter, orange; Venus, yellow; and Mercury, blue

  • Uruk – Anu and then Ishtar/Inanna, VENUS
  • Ur - Nanna (in Akkadian, Sin) the MOON
  • Marad - Ninurta was the god of hunting and war MARS.
  • Lagash – and Girsu, dedicated to Ningursu/Ninip SATURN
  • Larsa – and/or Sippar.  Shamash also known as Utu – the SUN
  • Eridu – Enki [later called Nebo] MERCURY
  • Babylon [old] - Adad or Hadad, JUPITER.  Jupiter the planet was called ‘Merodach’  - Marduk, in Babylonia.  In other words when Marduk was introduced by the Babylonians, they also associated him with a planet.  Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the Hammurabi period

 

The source of the experience

Mesopotamian system

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Egg
Map of the Egg

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References