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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:24

Video transcript

we're in the Louvre and we're looking at the victories daily of nehrim sin this is a really old steel it's a really old relief sculpture it is 4,200 years old it was made we think in approximately 2200 BCE now Narim sin was the great-great grandson of the founding king of the Akkadian Sargon and this Steel II commemorates a really important victory of his it commemorates a victory over the lullaby' people who are mountain people who lived in the eastern region of Mesopotamia now normally victory scenes like this from ancient Mesopotamia are shown in registers in other words the scene is divided into horizontal bands here the artist has created a new kind of composition where we see NARM sinned at the top and a diagonal queer on the left underneath NARM sin we see his soldiers climbing the mountain and then on the right the vanquished falling and defeated and wounded what I find so interesting is that Arum since Army is so disciplined they don't break ranks they are marching in line there are standard bearers followed by those with weapons whereas on the right you have all kinds of camps and norm sin is so erect and noble looking and clearly associated with the gods compared to the mortals that surround him one of the things that I noticed immediately is how everyone's gaze or nearly everyone's gaze is directed at NARM sin himself so his soldiers look up at him the vanquished turned towards him he is clearly the focal point of this composition one of the aspects that I love most about this are the vanquished I have to say you have one of the vanquished mountain people who are actually being literally thrown off the mountain you can see him upside down falling as if he's falling into water we see somebody else literally under nerim sins foot somebody with a spear in his neck and then most interestingly I think to the extreme right profiled against the mountain is a man who is fleeing because you can see that his feet are facing away from the nehrim s'en but he's also turned around turned back and pleading as he flees clearly what we're seeing is using a symbolic language this isn't supposed to be a naturalistic representation of an army climbing a mountain but a symbolic image that tells the story through symbols of this event and so we seen arm sent much larger than everyone else with his shoulders frontal his head in profile and close to the deities at the top who are represented by what looked like sons right the sons were the stars above are the forces that have helped guide him to victory but also and this is important he's wearing a horned helmet which is for the Akkadians a symbol of divinity so through this victory he is actually assuming the importance and status of the gods right and in fact the whole ascension to the mountaintop certainly supports this idea he is rising into the realm of the heavenly