Home Region:  Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia)

Early Dynastic

EQ 2020  iq_early_dynastic / IqEDyn*

The Early Dynastic polity was not a single political unit, but rather a conglomeration of various smaller polities which shared most of the features, either cultural, social, political or economic. To cite Hamblin: "Politically Sumer in the Early Dynastic period was divided into a number of separate and feuding independent city-states engaged in complex pattern of cooperation, alliance, conflict and war. [1] Most of the cities were ruled by the kings-priests (called lugal or en) which competed with other city-states. The Early Dynastic Period is directly linked to previous polities, especially Jemdet Nasr and most of the urban centres were still occupied and developed. According to Chavrat: "For the earlier part of the ED period, three types of architectural layout stand out: spacious residences in enclosures (sometimes oval such as those observed on the west mound of Abu Salabikh and elsewhere); regular buildings on ordered plans, comprising most of those currently described as ‘temples’ and ‘palaces’; and, finally, densely packed urban networks such as those of the Abu Salabikh Central Mound or of the ‘Y’ sounding at Kiš." [2] The position of temples were very high, and fulfilled not only religious or ceremonial role, but also political and administrative. The temples had their own fields and animals and were independent institutions, but also obtained gifts for god or goddess from people. Moreover, many people, mostly farmers were obligated to render some services and work. [3] The recent studies, however, indicated on dominant role of temple as social and economic institution in Early Dynastic Period I, but gradually the palaces gained prominent position. There is assumed that military victory of some rulers played significant role in forming high position of palace and secular power. [4] [5] The Early Dynastic Period is also described as a time when the first very intensive military campaigns and conflicts happened. The increase of warfare activity was probably caused by a need of new agricultural lands and water rights, and it also reflected the process of cumulation of power and growth of political significance of some individuals. [6] The main source of information concerning the political history of Sumer in the Early Dynastic Period is the Sumerian king-list, which contained the names of ling ruling in various Mesopotamian cities. The main problem, however, is to reconstruct both the exact time of each ruling and the synchronize the ruling of each king. The list mentioned few royal dynasty such as the first, second and third dynasty of Kish (with kings Enmebarasi, Agga, etc), the first dynasty of Uruk (one of the most known kings were Gilgamesh, Enmerkar, Lugalbanda), the first dynasty of Ur, dynasty of Adab, dynasty of Mari, dynasty of Hamazi, dynasty of Awan, dynasty of Akshak. There is assumed that the supremacy of Uruk dynasty correlates with duration of Early Dynastic Period II (circa 2650-2550 BCE). [7]
"What is known is that by the third millennium B.C., the Sumerians had improved the shape of the bricks - loaf-shaped at first - by making them flat on one side and convex on the other. More importantly, they also invented the kiln to harden the bricks. Now harder and waterproof, the bricks were also porous, and absorbed some of the bitumen used as mortar and became strong as rock. Esir was then mixed with straw or clay to make it into a stiff mortar capable of sustaining the heavy load of the superimposed brickwork without sagging. Thus were built, until 2200 B.C., the palaces and temples of distant Sumerian kings in such ancient cities as Kish, Ur and Uruk. (Bilkadi, Z. 1984. Bitumen: A History. Saudi Aramco World. November/December. pp 2-9. https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198406/bitumen.-.a.history.htm)

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 44

[2]: Chavrat 2012, 235

[3]: Gadd 1971, 137-138

[4]: Evans 2012, 121

[5]: Cohen 2005, 3-5

[6]: McIntosh 2005, 71

[7]: Hamblin 2006, 44-49

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
38 S  
Original Name:
Early Dynastic  
Capital:
none  
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[2,900 BCE ➜ 2,500 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
nominal allegiance to [---]  
Succeeding Entity:
Akkadian Empire  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Uruk  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
nominal  
Language
Linguistic Family:
isolate  
Language:
Sumerian  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Polity Territory:
[1,200 to 20,200] km2  
Polity Population:
[20,200 to 86,300] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[4 to 6]  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
present  
Professional Priesthood:
unknown  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
unknown  
Judge:
unknown  
Formal Legal Code:
unknown  
Court:
unknown  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
unknown  
Irrigation System:
present  
Food Storage Site:
unknown  
Drinking Water Supply System:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Canal:
present  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
unknown  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown  
Religious Literature:
present  
Practical Literature:
unknown  
Philosophy:
unknown  
Lists Tables and Classification:
present  
History:
present  
Fiction:
unknown  
Calendar:
present  
Information / Money
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
unknown  
General Postal Service:
unknown  
Courier:
unknown  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
unknown  
  Fortified Camp:
unknown  
  Earth Rampart:
unknown  
  Ditch:
unknown  
  Complex Fortification:
unknown  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
inferred absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
inferred absent  
  Sling:
present  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
inferred absent  
  Handheld Firearm:
inferred absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
inferred absent  
  Crossbow:
unknown  
  Composite Bow:
absent  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
inferred present  
  Sword:
inferred present  
  Spear:
inferred present  
  Polearm:
inferred present  
  Dagger:
inferred present  
  Battle Axe:
inferred present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
unknown  
  Elephant:
unknown  
  Donkey:
present  
  Dog:
present  
  Camel:
unknown  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
unknown  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
unknown  
  Plate Armor:
unknown  
  Limb Protection:
unknown  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Laminar Armor:
unknown  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
unknown  
  Breastplate:
unknown  
Naval technology
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Early Dynastic (iq_early_dynastic) was in:
 (2900 BCE 2351 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia
Home NGA: Southern Mesopotamia

General Variables
Identity and Location


There was no single capital as the Sumer in Early Dynastic Period consisted of many various "city-state’ organism. However, the special significance had city of Kish and the title- "lugal of Kish" ("king") was very prestige title. On the other hand, the city of Nippur played a role of religious capital of whole Sumer. [1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 44


Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[2,900 BCE ➜ 2,500 BCE]

according to short chronology. The Early Dynastic Period is subdivided into three phases: Early Dynastic I, Early Dynastic II and Early Dynastic III. The Early Dynastic Period III is additionally divided into two subphases: A and B. [1] The Early Dynastic Period I-II (ED I-II) is dated to 2900-2600 BCE, and ED IIIA is dated to 2600-2500 BCE and ED IIIB is dated to 2500-2270 BCE. [2] Following middle chronology this period is dated: 2900-2334 BCE [3] The end of this period is designated by the beginning of Sargon’s reign of Akkad. [4]

[1]: Roux 1998, 110

[2]: Brisch 2013, 116

[3]: Hamblin 2006, 35

[4]: McIntosh 2005, 70


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
nominal allegiance to [---]


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

There are no traces of any dramatic cultural interruption between these two periods.



Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

quasi-polity: 2900-2700 BCE; nominal: 2700-2270 BCE [1]

[1]: Brisch 2013, 117-120

Degree of Centralization:
nominal

quasi-polity: 2900-2700 BCE; nominal: 2700-2270 BCE [1]

[1]: Brisch 2013, 117-120


Language

Language:
Sumerian

[1]

[1]: Cunningham 2013, 95-97


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Polity Territory:
[1,200 to 20,200] km2

in squared kilometers. Adams mentions two settlement enclaves: southern and northern. The southern enclave was inhabited by 86300 people on area of 2398 in squared km and the northern enclave had 20240 people living on area of 1184 in squared km [1] 30,000 [2]

[1]: (Adams 1981, 90) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MAIAZJ3K.

[2]: Roux 1998, 115


Polity Population:
[20,200 to 86,300] people

Adams mentions two settlement enclaves: southern and northern. The southern enclave was inhabited by 86300 people on area of 2398 in squared km and the northern enclave had 20240 people living on area of 1184 in squared km [1] 100,000-200,000 [2] Most of the population lived in the cites. According to Adams, 10% of the settlement was nonurban (occupying villages smaller than 10ha) and almost 78,4% settlement was large urban area (and had more than 40 ha) in the Early Dynastic Period II/III [3]

[1]: (Adams 1981, 90) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MAIAZJ3K.

[2]: Peregrine 2002, 113

[3]: Adams 1981, 138


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[4 to 6]

levels. (1) Large City (200 ha and bigger) (2) City (100-200 ha) (3) Large Town (30 ha and bigger) (4) Town (around 15 ha) (5) Village (around 7 ha) (6) Hamlet (around 2 ha). [1]

[1]: Adams 1981, 142


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

damgar in Sumerian [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 117


Professional Priesthood:
unknown

Full-time specialists absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown



Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent

Ruler’s residence was also an administrative building:"The palace (Sumerian e.gal, Akkadian ekallum) was the residence of the royal family in city-states and imperial capitals, such as Mari and Nineveh, and of governors in provincial cities and towns, such as Eshnunna. It was also an administrative, industrial, and economic center." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 153) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.



Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

The bureaucratic system was very elaborated but there usually, the administrative works were done either by temple or palace officials [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 119



Specialized Buildings: polity owned

Irrigation System:
present

[1]

[1]: Charvat 2012, 212



Drinking Water Supply System:
present

[1] Is this a piped network that connects the drinking water to individual settlements?

[1]: Delougaz 140, 38


Transport Infrastructure

[1]

[1]: Emberling 2015, 253


Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

[1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 114


Script:
present

cuneiform [1]

[1]: Cunningham 2013, 97-99



Nonwritten Record:
present

e.g. glyptic, stela [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 114


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown

Mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences


Religious Literature:
present

e. g. Temple Hymns [1]

[1]: Postgate 2007, 26




Lists Tables and Classification:
present

[1]

[1]: Taylor 2013, 298-99


History:
present

[1]

[1]: Postgate 2007, 26




Information / Money
Precious Metal:
present

silver, gold, copper [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 115


Paper Currency:
absent

Monetary system did not exist in the Early Dynastic Period.


Indigenous Coin:
absent

Monetary system did not exist in the Early Dynastic Period.


Foreign Coin:
absent

Monetary system did not exist in the Early Dynastic Period.


Information / Postal System



Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications

Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown

Partly stone walls were discovered at Tall Taja. [1] Were these defensive stone walls or the walls of a building? More detail needed.

[1]: Roux 1998, 113


Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown

Partly stone walls were discovered at Tall Taja. [1] Were these defensive stone walls or the walls of a building? More detail needed.

[1]: Roux 1998, 113


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

e. g. Tell Taja [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 113


Modern Fortification:
absent

used after the introduction of gunpowder, e.g., trace italienne/starfort







Military use of Metals

The earliest evidence of steel use are dated to 1800 BC and site Kaman-Kalehoyuk in Central Anatolia [1]

[1]: Akamuna 2005, 147-158


Copper:
present

[1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 48


Bronze:
present

[1] [2]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 48-9

[2]: Charvat 2012, 223


Projectiles
Tension Siege Engine:
absent

There are no archaeological records regarding the invention of this machine before 4th century BC [1]

[1]: Marsden 1969, 5, 16, 66.


Sling Siege Engine:
absent

This type of engine is known from ancient time, and the first evidence came from 4th century BC. [1]

[1]: Campbel 2003,3, 8.


"Troops also included archers and soldiers armed with slings and ovoid stones, probably mainly recruited among the hunters and fishermen of the south." [1] maceheads [2]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 187-188) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.

[2]: Postgate 2007, 30-31


Self Bow:
present

"Troops also included archers and soldiers armed with slings and ovoid stones, probably mainly recruited among the hunters and fishermen of the south." [1] arrowheads were discovered in many graves dated to Early Dynastic Period [2]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 187-188) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.

[2]: Charvat 2012, 198


Javelin:
absent

Not mentioned in detailed descriptions of equally detailed military iconography.


Handheld Firearm:
absent

The first very simple firearms came from China and are dated to 13th century AD [1]

[1]: Ho Peng Yoke 1997, 389.


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

The gunpowder was invented around 9th century AD, but the gunpowder artillery was in use since Middle Age. [1]

[1]: Needham 1987, 266.



Composite Bow:
absent

"The later third-millennium development of the composite bow revolutionized warfare." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 188) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


New World weapon.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
present

"It was not until iron came into widespread use in the early first millennium that swords in particular and iron weapons in general began to replace the more expensive bronze spears, arrowheads, axes, and daggers of earlier times." [1] maceheads [2]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 190) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.

[2]: Postgate 2007, 30-31


Sword:
present

"It was not until iron came into widespread use in the early first millennium that swords in particular and iron weapons in general began to replace the more expensive bronze spears, arrowheads, axes, and daggers of earlier times." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 190) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Spear:
present

"The Standard of Ur’ and ’The Stele of Vultures’ (see p. 75) depict foot soldiers armed with spears or pole-mounted axes, their heads protected by leather or felt helmets." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 187) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Polearm:
present

"The Standard of Ur’ and ’The Stele of Vultures’ (see p. 75) depict foot soldiers armed with spears or pole-mounted axes, their heads protected by leather or felt helmets." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 187) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Dagger:
present

"It was not until iron came into widespread use in the early first millennium that swords in particular and iron weapons in general began to replace the more expensive bronze spears, arrowheads, axes, and daggers of earlier times." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 190) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Battle Axe:
present

"It was not until iron came into widespread use in the early first millennium that swords in particular and iron weapons in general began to replace the more expensive bronze spears, arrowheads, axes, and daggers of earlier times." [1] [2]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 190) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.

[2]: Hamblin 2006, 48


Animals used in warfare


Donkey:
present

there are depicted the war-carts pulled by donkeys [1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 49


scene at cylindrical seal [1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 50



Armor

Shield:
present

[1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 48




Limb Protection:
unknown

E.g., greaves.


Leather Cloth:
present

some leather-like cloths protecting the warriors were shown on the Standard of Ur [1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 49


Laminar Armor:
unknown

(also known as banded mail, example: lorica segmentata)


Helmet:
present

[1]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 48




Naval technology

Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.