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Ch 2: The Art of the Ancient Near East

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to discover the art and architecture of ancient cultures from the Near East. Check your comprehension of the topics in this chapter by taking the quiz included with each lesson.

The Art of the Ancient Near East - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Imagine you're an artist; what kinds of things would influence your work? You may focus on the natural environment, your family, or perhaps symbols of your culture. Maybe your dreams, faith, or world events could have an impact on what you create. Throughout history, artists have created works that reflect the society they lived in. In this chapter, you'll focus exclusively on the Ancient Near East's artwork styles and influences. You will take a look at the role of spiritual beliefs, politics, warfare and other cultural facets that shaped the ancient art and architecture of the Near East. Once you complete the lessons, you should be knowledgeable of topics like:

  • What stylistic elements define works from the major Ancient Near East art periods
  • What cultural, religious, social and political influences impacted Ancient Near East art
  • How Ancient Near East art objects were functional
  • What qualities characterize Mesopotamian art
  • What influenced Sumerian and Assyrian art and architecture
  • Why steles of the Ancient Near East were created
  • How writing developed and its effects on society

VideoObjective
Art of the Ancient Near East: Periods & CharacteristicsDiscover the key elements and qualities defining each of the Ancient Near East's historical art periods.
Notions of Afterlife & Kingship in Urban Planning in the Ancient Middle EastExamine the roles kingship, conceptions of the afterlife and urban planning had in Ancient Near East art and architecture.
Artworks of the Ancient Near East: Materials, Forms & FunctionsLearn about the creation and functions of art objects such as steles and cylinder seals.
Use of Naturalism & Stylization in Mesopotamian ArtTake a look at examples of Mesopotamian art that merged stylization with naturalism.
Human & Animal Forms in the Art of the Ancient Near EastStudy examples of Ancient Near East art depicting the integration of human and animal forms.
Sumerian Art and ArchitectureFind out about Sumerian civilization and the characteristics of its art and architecture.
Assyrian Art and ArchitectureLearn about the Assyrian empire and what influenced the culture's art and architecture.
Ancient Near East Art as a Reflection of History, Politics & CultureExamine how architectural methods and artwork provide insight into Ancient Near East cultures and political systems.
Evolution of Art of the Ancient Near East Trace the adaptations Ancient Near East rulers made to art forms created under their predecessors.
Representation of the Spiritual Beliefs in the Art of the Ancient Near EastExplore the impact religious and spiritual beliefs had on the ancient art objects of Persia, Mesopotamia and other empires.
The Naram-Sin & Hammurabi StelesGet details on the purpose and creation of the Naram-Sin stele and the code of Hammurabi stele.
The Invention of WritingTrace the development of writing and its impact on civilization.
Enkidu, Gilgamesh Character: Dream & DeathLearn about Ancient Babylonian culture through the character Enkidu in the epic of Gilgamesh.

13 Lessons in Chapter 2: The Art of the Ancient Near East
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Art of the Ancient Near East: Periods & Characteristics

1. Art of the Ancient Near East: Periods & Characteristics

This lesson will introduce the art of the Ancient Near East. We will explore some basic information about the region, learn about the major characteristics of its art, and examine the five major periods of its art.

Notions of Afterlife & Kingship in Urban Planning in the Ancient Middle East

2. Notions of Afterlife & Kingship in Urban Planning in the Ancient Middle East

In this lesson, you will explore how cultural values such as kingship or religion influenced the decision to build cities in the ancient Middle East, as well as the style of those cities. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Artworks of the Ancient Near East: Materials, Forms & Functions

3. Artworks of the Ancient Near East: Materials, Forms & Functions

In this lesson, we will study the materials, forms, and functions of the art of the Ancient Near East. We will pay special attention to forms like steles, cylinder seals, votive figures, and lyres.

Use of Naturalism & Stylization in Mesopotamian Art

4. Use of Naturalism & Stylization in Mesopotamian Art

In this lesson, you will explore the art of ancient Mesopotamia and discover how the styles of naturalism and stylization were used by ancient artists. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Human & Animal Forms in the Art of the Ancient Near East

5. Human & Animal Forms in the Art of the Ancient Near East

In this lesson, you will explore the ways that cultures of the ancient Near East represented both humans and animals in their art and how these figures interacted with each other. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Sumerian Art and Architecture

6. Sumerian Art and Architecture

This lesson explores the artwork of one of the earliest civilizations: the Sumerians. Sumerians created beautiful works of art that inspired other cultures for centuries after their decline.

Assyrian Art and Architecture

7. Assyrian Art and Architecture

This lesson explores the unique characteristics of a fierce and violent culture: the Assyrians. The Assyrians were a warrior culture living in ancient Mesopotamia who used art and architecture to display their power.

Ancient Near East Art As a Reflection of History, Politics & Culture

8. Ancient Near East Art As a Reflection of History, Politics & Culture

In this lesson, we will explore how the art of the Ancient Near East reflects the history, politics, and culture of that region. We will look at several examples of art that make a special contribution to this process.

Evolution of the Art of the Ancient Near East

9. Evolution of the Art of the Ancient Near East

In this lesson, we're going to explore the evolution of art in the Ancient Near East. We'll look at how the Sumerians laid a foundation that other cultures adopted and adapted to suit their goals and needs.

Representation of Spiritual Beliefs in the Art of the Ancient Near East

10. Representation of Spiritual Beliefs in the Art of the Ancient Near East

In this lesson, we will learn how the art of the ancient Near East expresses the spiritual beliefs of the people of that region. We will pay special attention to religious statuary and ziggurats.

Enkidu, Gilgamesh Character: Dream & Death

11. Enkidu, Gilgamesh Character: Dream & Death

Explore Ancient Babylon through the tale of Enkidu, a hero in the epic poem 'Gilgamesh.' Learn about his life, his prophetic dream, and his death. Discover several important figures in Babylonian mythology such as the gods Enlil, Anu, and Shamash, and the goddess, Ishtar.

The Naram-Sin & Hammurabi Steles

12. The Naram-Sin & Hammurabi Steles

In this lesson you will explore the art of ancient Mesopotamia, focusing on the use of steles to communicate important information. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

The Invention of Writing

13. The Invention of Writing

Writing, the original IT: This lecture covers the limitations and obstacles of aural transmission. It describes the invention of Cuneiform in the fertile crescent. Finally, it explains how writing enabled literate societies to dominate their pre-literate neighbors.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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