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This military standard is from the ruins of the royal tombs at Ur of the Chaldees in ancient Mesopotamia. The standard is about 4500 years old and one of the earliest representations of an ancient Sumerian army.
It has two sides, one depicting war and the other depicting peace. The excavator was the brilliant Sir Leonard Woolley, the archaeologist who uncovered the ruins of a highly advanced civilization, whose ruins can be traced before the flood of Noah. The royal standard of Ur is important in the study of Biblical archaeology, it reveals the fact that the original home of Abraham, the city of Ur really existed. Ur was an ancient city of Sumer, South Mesopotamia. The city is also known as Ur of the Chaldees. It was an important center of Sumerian culture and is identified in the Bible as the home of Abraham.
Genesis 15:5-7 - "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."
British Museum Excerpt
The Standard of Ur
From Ur, southern Iraq, about 2600-2400 BC
A mysterious object with one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army
This object was found in one of the largest graves in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, lying in the corner of a chamber above the right shoulder of a man. Its original function is not yet understood. Leonard Woolley, the excavator at Ur, imagined that it was carried on a pole as a standard, hence its common name. Another theory suggests that it formed the soundbox of a musical instrument.
When found, the original wooden frame for the mosaic of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli had decayed, and the two main panels had been crushed together by the weight of the soil. The bitumen acting as glue had disintegrated and the end panels were broken. As a result, the present restoration is only a best guess as to how it originally appeared.
The main panels are known as 'War' and 'Peace'. 'War' shows one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army. Chariots, each pulled by four donkeys, trample enemies; infantry with cloaks carry spears; enemy soldiers are killed with axes, others are paraded naked and presented to the king who holds a spear.
The 'Peace' panel depicts animals, fish and other goods brought in procession to a banquet. Seated figures, wearing woollen fleeces or fringed skirts, drink to the accompaniment of a musician playing a lyre. Banquet scenes such as this are common on cylinder seals of the period, such as on the seal of the 'Queen' Pu-abi, also in the British Museum.
The chief capital city of Urukh appears to have been Ur. He calls himself "King of Ur and Kingi-Accad "; and it is at Ur that he raises his principal buildings. Ur, too, has furnished the great bulk of his inscriptions. Babylon was not yet a place of much importance, though it was probably built by Nimrod. The second city of the Empire was Huruk or Erech: other places of importance were Larsa (Ellasar?) and Nipur or Calneh. [From The five great monarchies of the ancient eastern world By George Rawlinson]
Ur was an ancient city of Sumer, S Mesopotamia. The city is also known as Ur of the Chaldees. It was an important center of Sumerian culture (see Sumer) and is identified in the Bible as the home of Abraham. The site was discovered in the 19th cent., but it was not until the excavations of C. Leonard Woolley in the 1920s and 30s that a partial account of its history could be constructed. Remains found at the site seem to indicate that Ur existed as far back as the late Al Ubaid period (see Mesopotamia) and that the city was an important commercial center even before the first dynasty was established (2500 B.C.). Among the most important remains of the first dynasty, which has revealed a luxurious material culture, are the royal cemetery, where the standard of Ur was found, and the Temple of Ninhursag at Ubaid, bearing the inscriptions of the kings of the first dynasty. Ur was captured 2340 by Sargon, and this era, called the Akkadian period, marks an important step in the blending of Sumerian and Semitic cultures. After this dynasty came a long period of which practically nothing is known except that a second dynasty rose and fell. The third dynasty was established 2060 B.C. under King Ur-Nammu, who built the great ziggurat that has stood, although crumbled and covered with sand, throughout the centuries. An inscription in the Museum of the Ancient Orient in Istanbul was identified (1952) as a fragment of the code of Ur-Nammu. It predates the code of Hammurabi by 300 years and is the oldest known law code yet discovered. The third dynasty of Ur fell (1950 B.C.) to the Elamites and later to Babylon. The city was destroyed and rebuilt throughout the years by various kings and conquerors, including Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus in the 6th cent. About the middle of the 6th cent., Ur went into a decline from which it never recovered. A record dated 324 B.C. mentions it as being inhabited by Arabs, but by that time its existence as a great city was forgotten. The change in the course of the Euphrates, which had been the source of the city’s wealth, probably contributed to the final decline of Ur. Ur is mentioned often in the Bible (Gen. 11.28,31; 15.7; Neh. 9.7) and was at one period known to the Arabs as Tall al-Muqayyar [mound of pitch].
The Standard of Ur (also known as the "Battle Standard of Ur," or the "Royal Standard of Ur") is a Sumerian artifact excavated from what had been the Royal Cemetery in the ancient city of Ur (located in modern-day Iraq south of Baghdad). History. The artifact was found in one of the largest royal graves at Ur, tomb PG 779, associated with Ur-Pabilsag, a king who died around 2550 BC. It is believed to date to between 2600–2400 BC. Sir Leonard Woolley's excavations in Iraq in 1927-28 uncovered the artifact in the corner of a chamber, lying close to the shoulder of a man who may have held it on a pole. For this reason Woolley interpreted it as a standard, giving the object its popular name, though subsequent investigation has failed to confirm this assumption. Description. The Standard of Ur survived in only a fragmentary condition, as the effects of time over the last several millennia had decayed the wooden frame and bitumen glue which had cemented the mosaic in place. The weight of the soil had crushed the object, fragmenting it and breaking the end panels. The present form of the artifact is a reconstruction, presenting a best guess of its original appearance. It has been reconstructed as a hollow wooden box measuring 21.59 centimetres (8.50 in) wide by 49.53 centimetres (19.50 in) long, inlaid with a mosaic of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli. The box has an irregular shape with end pieces in the shape of truncated triangles, making it wider at the bottom than at the top. Inlaid mosaic panels cover each long side of the Standard. Each presents a series of scenes displayed in three registers, upper, middle and bottom. The two mosaics have been dubbed "War" and "Peace" for their subject matter, respectively a representation of a military campaign and scenes from a banquet. The panels at each end originally showed fantastical animals but they suffered significant damage while buried, though they have since been restored. [Wikipedia]
Ur in Smiths Bible Dictionary
was the land of Haran's nativity, Ge 11:28 the place from which
Terah and Abraham started "to go into the land of Canaan." Ge 11:31
It is called in Genesis "Ur of the Chaldaeans," while in the Acts
St. Stephen places it, by implication, in Mesopotamia. Ac 7:2,4
These are all the indications which Scripture furnishes as to its
locality. It has been identified by the most ancient traditions with
the city of Orfah in the highlands of Mesopotamia, which unite the
table-land of Armenia to the valley of the Euphrates. In later ages
it was called Edessa, and was celebrated as the capital of Abgarus
or Acbarus who was said to have received the letter and portrait of
our Saviour. "Two, physical features must have secured Orfah, from
the earliest times, as a nucleus for the civilization of those
regions. One is a high-crested crag, the natural fortifications of
the crested citadel....The other is an abundant spring, issuing in a
pool of transparent clearness, and embosomed in a mass of luxuriant
verdure, which, amidst the dull brown desert all around, makes and
must always have made, this spot an oasis, a paradise, in the
Chaldaean wilderness. Round this sacred pool,'the beautiful spring
Callirrhoe,' as it was called by the Greek writers, gather the
modern traditions of the patriarch." --Stanley, Jewish Church, part
i.p.7. A second tradition, which appears in the Talmud, finds Ur in
Warka, 120 miles southeast from Babylon and four east of the
Euphrates. It was the Orchoe of the Greeks, and probably the Ereck
of Holy Scripture. This place bears the name of Huruk in the native
inscriptions, and was in the countries known to the Jews as the land
of the Chaldaeans. But in opposition to the most ancient traditions,
many modern writers have fixed the site of Ur at a very different
position, viz. in the extreme south of Chaldaea, at Mugheir, not
very far above-- and probably in the time of Abraham actually upon--
the head of the Persian Gulf. Among the ruins which are now seen at
the spot are the remains of one of the great temples, of a model
similar to that of Babel, dedicated to the moon, to whom the city
was sacred. (Porter and Rawlinson favor this last place.)
Ur in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:28; Genesis 11:31; Genesis 15:7;
Nehemiah 9:7), from which Terah, Abraham, and Lot were called. In
Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2). Now Mugheir (a ruined temple of large
bitumen bricks, which also "mugheir" means, namely, Um Mugheir
"mother of bitumen"), on the right bank of the Euphrates, near its
junction with the Shat el Hie from the Tigris; in Chaldaea proper.
Called Hur by the natives, and on monuments Ur. The most ancient
city of the older Chaldaea. Its bricks bear the name of the earliest
monumental kings, "Urukh king of Ur"; his kingdom extended as far N.
as Niffer. The royal lists on the monuments enumerate Babylonian
kings from Urukh (2230 B.C., possibly the Orchanus of Ovid, Met.
4:212) down to Nabonid (540 B.C.) the last. The temple was sacred to
'Urki, the moon goddess; Ilgi son of Urukh completed it. For two
centuries it was the capital, and always was held sacred. One
district was "Ibra," perhaps related to "Hebrew," Abraham's
designation. Ur was also a cemetery and city of tombs, doubtless
because of its sacred character, from whence the dead were brought
to it from vast distances for 1,800 years. Eupolemos (in Eusebius,
Praep. Ev. 9:17) refers to Ur as "the moon worshipping (kamarine;
kamar being Arabic for moon) city." The derivation from Ur, "fire,"
led to the Koran and Talmud legends that Abraham miraculously
escaped out of the flames into which Nimrod or other idolatrous
persecutors threw him. Ur lies six miles distant from the present
coarse of the Euphrates, and 125 from the sea; though it is thought
it was anciently a maritime town, and that its present inland site
is due to the accumulation of alluvium (?). The buildings are of the
most archaic kind, consisting of low mounds enclosed within an
enceinte, on most sides perfect, an oval space 1,000 yards long by
800 broad. The temple is thoroughly Chaldaean in type, in stages of
which two remain, of brick partly sunburnt, partly baked, cemented
Ur in Easton's Bible Dictionary
light, or the
moon city, a city "of the Chaldees," the birthplace of Haran (Gen.
11:28,31), the largest city of Shinar or northern Chaldea, and the
principal commercial centre of the country as well as the centre of
political power. It stood near the mouth of the Euphrates, on its
western bank, and is represented by the mounds (of bricks cemented
by bitumen) of el-Mugheir, i.e., "the bitumined," or "the town of
bitumen," now 150 miles from the sea and some 6 miles from the
Euphrates, a little above the point where it receives the Shat el-Hie,
an affluent from the Tigris. It was formerly a maritime city, as the
waters of the Persian Gulf reached thus far inland. Ur was the port
of Babylonia, whence trade was carried on with the dwellers on the
gulf, and with the distant countries of India, Ethiopia, and Egypt.
It was abandoned about B.C. 500, but long continued, like Erech, to
be a great sacred cemetery city, as is evident from the number of
tombs found there. (See ABRAHAM The oldest king of Ur known to us is
Ur-Ba'u (servant of the goddess Ba'u), as Hommel reads the name, or
Ur-Gur, as others read it. He lived some twenty-eight hundred years
B.C., and took part in building the famous temple of the moon-god
Sin in Ur itself. The illustration here given represents his
cuneiform inscription, written in the Sumerian language, and stamped
upon every brick of the temple in Ur. It reads: "Ur-Ba'u, king of
Ur, who built the temple of the moon-god." "Ur was consecrated to
the worship of Sin, the Babylonian moon-god. It shared this honour,
however, with another city, and this city was Haran, or Harran.
Harran was in Mesopotamia, and took its name from the highroad which
led through it from the east to the west. The name is Babylonian,
and bears witness to its having been founded by a Babylonian king.
The same witness is still more decisively borne by the worship paid
in it to the Babylonian moon-god and by its ancient temple of Sin.
Indeed, the temple of the moon-god at Harran was perhaps even more
famous in the Assyrian and Babylonian world than the temple of the
moon-god at Ur. "Between Ur and Harran there must, consequently,
have been a close connection in early times, the record of which has
not yet been recovered. It may be that Harran owed its foundation to
a king of Ur; at any rate the two cities were bound together by the
worship of the same deity, the closest and most enduring bond of
union that existed in the ancient world. That Terah should have
migrated from Ur to Harran, therefore, ceases to be extraordinary.
If he left Ur at all, it was the most natural place to which to go.
It was like passing from one court of a temple into another. "Such a
remarkable coincidence between the Biblical narrative and the
evidence of archaeological research cannot be the result of chance.
The narrative must be historical; no writer of late date, even if he
were a Babylonian, could have invented a story so exactly in
accordance with what we now know to have been the truth. For a story
of the kind to have been the invention of Palestinian tradition is
equally impossible. To the unprejudiced mind there is no escape from
the conclusion that the history of the migration of Terah from Ur to
Harran is founded on fact" (Sayce).
UR, one of the most important of the early Babylonian cities, represented to-day by the ruin mounds called Mughair (Moghair), or, more properly, Muqayyar (Mukayyar), "the pitched," or "pitch-built." It lay 140 m. S.E. of Babylon (3 0 95' N., 46° 5' E.), about 6 m. S. of the present bed of the Euphrates, half-way between that and the low, pebbly sandstone hills which form the border of the Syrian desert, and almost opposite the mouth of the Shatt-el-Hai, on the Sa'ade canal. It was the site of a famous temple, E-Nannar, "house of Nannar," and the chief seat in Babylonia of the worship of the moon-god, Nannar, later known as Sin. Under the title Ur of the Chaldees, it is mentioned in the Bible as the original home of Abraham. It is worthy of notice that Haran, in upper Mesopotamia, which also was a home of Abraham, was likewise a famous site of worship of the god Sin, and that the name of that god also appears in Mount Sinai, which was historically connected with the origin of the Hebrew nation and religion. While not equal, apparently, in antiquity, and >><< certainly not in religious importance, to the cities of Nippur, Eridu and Erech, Ur, from a very early period, played a most important part politically and commercially. Lying at the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris, at the head of the Persian Gulf, it enjoyed very extensive water-communications with rich and important regions. Lying close to the Syrian desert, at a natural point of communication with Arabia, it was the centre of caravan communication with interior, southern and western Arabia. In the Sumerian period, antedating the time of Sargon, about or before 3000 B.C., we find Ur exercising hegemony in Babylonia under a king whose name is read Lugal-Kigub-Nidudu. Comparatively early, however, it became a centre of Semitic influence and power, and immediately after the time of the Sargonids it comes to the front, under King Ur-Gur, or Ur-Engur, the great builder of ziggurats (stagetowers) in the ancient Babylonian cities, as mistress of both northern and southern Babylonia, and even seems to have exacted tribute from countries as far remote as southern Syria. With relatively brief intervals, during which Erech and Isin come to the fore, Ur held the hegemony in Babylonia until or shortly before the Elamite invasion, when Larsa became the seat of authority. After the period of the Elamite dominion and the establishment of the empire of Babylon, under Khammurabi, about or shortly after 2000 B.C., Ur lost its political independence and, to a considerable extent, its political importance. The gradual filling up of the Persian Gulf had probably also begun to interfere with its trade supremacy. It continued, however, to be a place of religious and literary importance until the close of the Babylonian period. The ruins of the ancient site were partly excavated by Loftus and Taylor in 1854. They are egg-shaped, with the sharper end towards the north-west, somewhat elevated above the surrounding country, which is liable to be inundated by the Euphrates, and encircled by a wall 2946 yards in circumference, with a length of 1056 and a greatest breadth of 825 yds. The principal ruin is the temple of E - Nannar, in the north-western part of the mounds. This was surrounded by a low outer wall, within which rose a platform, about 20 ft. in height, on which stood a two-storeyed ziggurat, or stage-tower, a right-angled parallelogram in shape, the long sides towards the north-east and south-west. The lower stage measured 198 ft. in length by 133 ft. in breadth, and is still standing to the height of 27 ft. The second storey was 14 ft. in height and measured 119 by 75 ft. The ascent to the first storey was by a stairway 8 ft. broad, on the north-east side. Access to the summit of the second storey was had on the same side, either by an inclined plane or a broad stairway - it is not clear which - extending, apparently, the whole length of that stage. Ruins on the summit show that there was a chamber on top, apparently of a very ornamental character, like that at Eridu. The bricks of the lower stage are laid in bitumen, and bear the inscription of Ur-Gur. The bricks of the upper stage are laid in mortar, and clay cylinders found in the four corners of this stage bore an inscription of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon (639 B.C.), closing with a prayer for his son Belshar-uzur (Bel-sarra-Uzur), the Belshazzar of the book of Daniel. Between these two extremes were found evidences of restoration by Ishme-Dagan of Isin and Gimil-Sin of Ur, somewhere towards the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., and of Kuri-galzu, a Cossaean (Kassite) king of Babylon, of the 14th century B.C. Nebuchadrezzar also claims to have rebuilt this temple. Taylor further excavated an interesting Babylonian building, not far from the temple, and part of an ancient Babylonian necropolis. All about the city he found abundant remains of burials of later periods. Apparently, in the later times, owing to its sanctity, Ur became a favourite place of sepulture, so that after it had ceased to be inhabited it still continued to be used as a necropolis. The great quantity of pitch used in the construction of these ruins, which has given them the name by which they are to-day known among the Arabs, is evidence of a peculiarly close relation with some pitch-producing neighbourhood, presumably Hit, which lay at the head of the Sa'ade canal on which Ur was located. Large piles of slab and scoria, in the neighbourhood of Ur, show, apparently, that the pitch was also used for manufacturing purposes, and that Ur was a manufacturing as well as a commercial city. Since Taylor's time Mughair has been visited by numerous travellers, almost all of whom have found ancient Babylonian remains, inscribed stones and the like, lying upon the surface. The site is rich in remains, and is relatively easy to explore. [Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911]
Genesis 11:28 - And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
Genesis 11:31 - And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
15:7 - And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought
thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land
to inherit it.
Archaeology Discoveries and the Ancient Biblical World
The Black Obelisk. In the 1840's a British man named Austen Henry Layard had a desire to travel to the Middle East and dig around some of the strange looking mounds near the City of Mosul. He had heard many tales about things being found in these mounds. He was looking for any trace of evidence that would lead him to the lost city of Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Little did he know that one of his discoveries would turn Europe upside down with excitement. He discovered a black limestone monument which is known today as The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. This discovery brought a new authenticity and historicity to some of the stories in the Bible. It also gained him the support of the British Museum, and all the finances he needed to continue his excavations, and become known as "The Father of Assyriology."
The Pilate Inscription. It wasn't long ago when many scholars were questioning the actual existence of a Roman Governor with the name of Pontius Pilate, the procurator who ordered Jesus' crucifixion. In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the worn face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."
The Megiddo Seal Bearing King Jeroboam's Name. It is very interesting that the Jasper Seal, found at Tel Megiddo bearing the name of King Jeroboam who ruled in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, would contain the symbol for their rival, the Southern Kingdom of Judah. But in examining all of the circumstances involved and seeing what the Bible says it is no wonder that the prosperous and victorious Northern Kingdom of Israel would boast with a symbol of their enemy.
The Tomb of Cyrus the Great. An inscription on the tomb of the great Persian monarch read: "O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body." - Cyrus". Is it true that Isaiah the Hebrew prophet mention Cyrus by name almost 200 years before he was born?
Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism. This amazing discovery excavated in Nineveh in the 1830 records the Assyrian king Sennacherib's 8th campaign, which includes his siege of Jerusalem during the reign of "Hezekiah the Judahite" in 701 BC. There are 500 lines of writing in the Akkadian language on this magnificent clay prism. Is the story true that it was purchased by an American from an antiquities dealer in Baghdad?
Coming Soon The Ishtar Gate of Babylon. During the last days of the southern kingdom of Judah the Jews were taken captive to a distant land called Babylon at the latter part of the 6th century BC. They passed through a beautiful entrance gate made of mud brick masonry and glazed skin which stood 47 feet tall, commonly referred to as the Ishtar Gate since its discovery at the turn of the 20th century near modern Baghdad, Iraq. The tall gate was dedicated to the gods by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia who reigned from 605—562 BC). Is it true that Hitler had it transported to Berlin? Where is the Ishtar Gate now?
[Next] The Remains of Solomon's Temple
The Bible mentions many things about people, places and events that happened in history. The Bible also gives an accurate chronology of those people, places and events. What is amazing is that modern archaeology has confirmed that the Bible has never made one error, or given any clear contradictions in all of its text in matters of historical fact. The paintings and illustrations below of archaeological discoveries and ruins illustrate this emphatically.
Paintings By Bjanikka Ben and Maliyah Weston
(More to come)
Bible History A
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Reconstructions Sketches of ancient cities & monuments from archaeology.
The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Holden and Geisler. 352 Pages, 2012
The Story of the Bible
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