{DM} d20 - Ancient Kingdoms Mesopotamia.pdf

astrology, base 60 foundation stones with inscriptions

the royal cemetery of Ur from the 26th century BC in which archaeologists found not only extraordinary wealth and precious objects but also the corpses of as many as 74 attendants. As we shall see in the tale of Gilgamesh and other literature, the Sumerians believed in an underworld for the spirits of the dead; and some kings as gods felt they wanted their servants there also

Below the king or governor society had three distinct classes: aristocratic nobles who were administrators, priests, and officers in the army rewarded with large estates; a middle class of business people, school teachers, artisans, and farmers; and the lowest being slaves, who had been captured in war or were dispossessed farmers or those sold by their families. Slavery was not stigmatized by race but was considered a misfortune out of which one could free oneself through service, usually in three years.

begin in a primeval sea (goddess Nammu). The god of heaven An joined with the earth goddess Ki to produce the air god Enlil. The universe was thus known as an-ki.

Epic of Gilgamesh Several Sumerian tales of the legendary Gilgamesh were combined together into an epic poem more than four thousand years ago. A Semitic Akkadian version was found in the archives of the Hittite capital at Boghazkoy in Anatolia. It was also translated into Hittite and Hurrian, and several Akkadian texts were found in Ashurbanipal’s library at Nineveh from the seventh century BC. With the exception of the more historical account already discussed, the twelve tablets of the Gilgamesh cycle will be treated synthesized as they have been by modern translators into the earliest masterpiece of literature. Gilgamesh is introduced as knowing all things and countries including mysteries and secrets who went on a long journey and had his story engraved on stone. He was endowed with beauty by the sun god Shamash and with strength and courage by the storm god Adad, making him two-thirds god and one-third man. The seven sages laid the foundations, and he built the walls and temples of Uruk for Eanna, the heavenly Anu, and the love goddess Ishtar. Gilgamesh ruled Uruk so powerfully that his arrogance was resented, for he enjoyed any virgin or wife that he wanted. The gods heard the people’s complaints and decide to create his equal to challenge him. So the goddess of creation produces Enkidu, who lives with wild animals. One day a trapper encounters the one who has filled in his pits and torn out his traps. The trapper’s SUMER, BABYLON, AND HITTITES Get any book for free on: 15 father suggests that he get Gilgamesh to give his son a woman to tame Enkidu, and he does. When she sees Enkidu in the hills, she strips herself naked and teaches him her woman’s art. Enkidu lays with her for a week. When Enkidu goes back to the animals, he is weaker; and they run away from him. The woman says that he is wise and has become like a god. Why should he live with animals? She offers to take him to the temples of Anu and Ishtar in Uruk, where he could challenge Gilgamesh. Meanwhile a dream came to Gilgamesh of a star falling from heaven leaving a meteor so heavy he could not lift it, and his mother Ninsun explains that this was a strong friend he would meet. In another dream Gilgamesh found in Uruk an ax he loved like a woman, and Ninsun interprets that this brave man would rescue him. When Enkidu arrives in Uruk, Gilgamesh is about to exercise his privilege of being the first to sleep with a bride. But Enkidu blocks his way, and they fight like two bulls locked together. Gilgamesh throws Enkidu down, and then in mutual respect for each other’s strength they become friends. They decide to confront the monster Humbaba who guards the cedars in the sacred forest. Gilgamesh prays to the sun god Shamash for protection and receives an amulet from his mother. After the counselors of Uruk ask Enkidu to bring their king back safely, they set out on the long journey. Entering the forest gate, Gilgamesh dreams that a mountain fell on him, but he was saved by a beautiful light. Then Enkidu has an ominous dream of a rainstorm. When Gilgamesh chops down a cedar with the ax, Humbaba hears the sound. Knowing the monster, Enkidu is afraid; but Gilgamesh encourages him. Calling on Shamash, Gilgamesh fells seven cedars, and each time Humbaba roars louder. When the two heroes reach Humbaba, he pleads with Gilgamesh for mercy, offering to serve him. Gilgamesh is moved, but Enkidu convinces him to kill the monster; so they cut off his head. Gilgamesh cleans himself up and is asked by the divine Ishtar to be her husband, but he scorns her for having been faithless to so many lovers. Enraged Ishtar retreats to heaven and asks her father Anu to create a bull of heaven to torment the earth with a famine. The bull charges Enkidu, and he seizes it by the horns so that Gilgamesh can kill it with his sword. Ishtar curses them, but Enkidu defiantly tears out the bull’s right thigh and throws it in her face. Enkidu then dreams that the gods have decided that one of them must die for having killed Humbaba and the bull of heaven. Soon Enkidu gets sick and dies. Gilgamesh mourns for him for seven days until a worm appears in his nose. In despair at the death of his friend and realizing now that he must die too, Gilgamesh decides to find Utnapishtim, who has lived in Dilmun since before the flood. Coming to a gate guarded by scorpion men, Gilgamesh is allowed to pass where no human has ever gone. Passing through darkness he enters a garden with bushes like gems. The sun-god tells him that he will never find eternal life. Gilgamesh comes to a woman of wine who asks him why he is searching for the wind. He explains that he is afraid of death, and she suggests that he eat, drink, dance, and enjoy life. He only asks the way to Utnapishtim, and she tells him that he must take the ferry of Urshanabi across the ocean. Making Gilgamesh cut six score poles so that his hands won’t touch the deadly water, Urshanabi agrees to take him. SUMER, BABYLON, AND HITTITES Get any book for free on: 16 Finally arriving Gilgamesh asks his question of Utnapishtim, but he declares there is no permanence. When Gilgamesh wonders how he has lived so long, Utnapishtim reveals a secret of the gods, the story of the deluge. Perturbed by the clamor of humans, the gods decided to let loose a flood on them, but Ea warned Utnapishtim to build a large boat and load it with supplies and animals. After the boat was ready, the storm came. The boat weathered the deluge and rested on a mountain. Sending out a dove, it came back, as did a swallow, but then a crow was released and did not return. Enlil was angry that a human had survived, but Ea suggested that he should punish sin and transgressions, but not with a flood. Utnapishtim, though a mortal, was allowed to live in the distance. Utnapishtim challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for a week, but instead he falls asleep for that long, which is proved to him by the decaying seven loaves of bread baked each day by Utnapishtim’s wife. Utnapishtim does offer Gilgamesh an herb, which eaten, will bring youth back. Gilgamesh dives underwater to get it, but on his way back to Uruk a serpent steals it from him, eats it, and sheds its skin. Gilgamesh returns to Uruk and must realize that he too is not exempt from death. One can imagine the influence of such an archetypal story. Gilgamesh represents the achievements of mankind who now wonders about death. His arrogance is criticized, and the primordial custom of the dominant male being allowed sexual license seems to be a throwback from our pre-ethical evolution as primates. Dreams are perceived to be symbolic guides and often prophetic. A woman, his mother, seems to be most skilled at interpreting them. Another strong male is needed to challenge a strong male, but female charms are able to tame him. The shift from living in the wild is accomplished by sexual lovemaking, which leads Enkidu to civilization after he is no longer one with the animals. The invention of the ax enabled humans to use timber for building, but once again a oneness with the spirit of the forest is lost in the process. The love goddess is not treated very sympathetically in this story, perhaps because she has become a goddess of battles in the human strife that now abounds. Enkidu’s throwing of a bull’s thigh into her face may be an implied criticism of the ancient rites of animal sacrifice. Of course the keeping of animals was a hedge against famine, because they could be slain and eaten in an emergency. Enkidu is the one to die, perhaps because he was the one who insisted on killing Humbaba and the bull of heaven. The worm coming out of his corpse is a graphic symbol of the grim reality of physical death. Gilgamesh going through a scorpion-guarded gate and passing through darkness before emerging into a paradise symbolizes the spiritual side of death, as he comes out in a kind of astral world where even the plants glow. To really find out the secrets Gilgamesh must be willing to transcend hedonistic temptations. His passage across the ocean to learn Utnapishtim’s story of the flood is suggestive of Atlantis, since it was separated by an ocean from the land mass of Europe, Asia, and Africa. His account is quite similar to the Hebrew story of Noah. Unable to find immortality, a magical herb is offered as a consolation; but the serpent which seems able to rejuvenate itself by shedding its skin steals this away from humanity. Sleep and Gilgamesh’s inability to stay awake is an analog SUMER, BABYLON, AND HITTITES Get any book for free on: 17 of death, suggesting that life, like waking consciousness, needs a time of rest and renewal in death and rebirth.

An organized priesthood served in the great raised temple or ziggurat that dominated the town. The ziggurat was a stepped pyramidal tower dedicated to the god or goddess who was the patron of the city. The earliest examples were built of packed earth. After about 2000 B.C. most were constructed on a foundation of imported stone and decorated with glazed tiles. The temple and its priests were supported by extensive landholdings. Other large tracts were owned by the royal family and its retainers. Sumerian kings were likely at first war chiefs whose powers became hereditary as their responsibilities for the distribution of goods and labor grew. Like chiefs in other societies, they stood at the center of a system of clientage that involved their families and their servants as well as officials, commoners, and probably priests. Clientage is best defined as a system of mutual dependency in which a powerful individual protects the interests of others in return for their political or economic support. With or without legal sanction, clientage is the basic form of social organization in many cultures and was destined to become a powerful force in the history of the West. In Sumer, clients formed a separate class of free individuals who were given the use of small parcels of land in return for labor and a share of their produce. Their patrons?kings, noble officials, or temple priests?retained title to the land and a compelling hold on their client?s political loyalties. The cities were therefore ruled by a relatively small group. Clients had full rights as citizens, but they could not be expected to vote against those who controlled their economic lives. The rest of the land was owned by private families that were apparently extended, multigenerational, and organized on patriarchal lines. Though rarely rich, these freeholders enjoyed full civil rights and participated in the city?s representative assembly. The greatest threat to their independence was debt, which could lead to enslavement. Other slaves were sometimes acquired for the temple or palace through war, but Sumer was not a slave-based economy. The organization of trade, like that of agriculture, reflected this social structure. For centuries Sumerian business was based on the extended family or what would today be called family corporations. Some firms ran caravans to every part of the Middle East or shipped goods by sea via the Persian Gulf. They exported textiles, copper implements, and other products of Mesopotamian craftsmanship and imported wood, stone, copper ingots, and precious metals. Iron and steel were as yet unknown. Later, in the time of Hammurabi, Babylonian rulers attempted to bring some of these trading concerns under government regulation.

This fragment from a longer prayer displays the characteristic Mesopotamian attitude toward the gods, who are seen as hostile, demanding, and inscrutable. The sin, which I have committed, I know not. The iniquity, which I have done, I know not. The offence, which I committed, I know not. The transgression I have done, I know not. The lord, in the anger of his heart, hath looked upon me. The god, in the wrath of his heart, hath visited me. The goddess hath become angry with me, and hath grievously stricken me. The known or unknown god hath straightened me. The known or unknown goddess hath brought affliction upon me. I sought for help, but no one taketh my hand. I wept, but no one came to my side. May the known and unknown god be pacified! May the known and unknown goddess be pacified!

Going in and Out of the Eastern Doors of Heaven among the Followers of Re. I know the Eastern Souls. I know the central door from which Re issues in the east. Its south is the pool of kha-birds, in the place where Re sails with the breeze; its north is the waters of ro-fowl, in the place where Re sails with rowing. I am the keeper of the halyard of the boat of the god; I am the oarsman who does not weary in the barque of Re. I know those two sycamores of turquoise between which Re comes forth, the two which came from the sowing of Shu at every eastern door at which Re rises. I know the Field of Reeds of Re. The wall which is around it is of metal. The height of its barley is four cubits; its beard is one cubit; and its stalk is three cubits. Its emmer is seven cubits; its beard is two cubits, and its stalk is five cubits. It is the horizon dwellers, nine cubits in height, who reap it by the side of the Eastern Souls. I know the Eastern Souls. They are Har-akhti, The Khurrer-Calf, and the Morning Star.


====== Kingdom of Sunesh ======

===== The Land ===== Confluence of two rivers make this a fertile land.

==== Climate & Terrain ==== Mountains to the West, Jungle to the North and South. The Bright Sea to the East.

Hot and wet. Sunesh lies along the Equator of this world. Westerly winds pick up moisture from the Bright Sea which they dump on Sunesh as they climb over the Western mountains.

Two major rivers, one from the West and a much longer one from Southwest wind through the heart of Sunesh. They are the major transportation network, provide some fish and fowl, but, their biggest benefit is as steady sources of water for irrigation.

==== Flora & Fauna ==== Nearly every suitable parcel of land is being farmed on. Natural vegetaion and wildlife is rare in the most of Sunesh.

=== Monsters === == Utukku == Are spirits and demons either benevolent or malevolent.

== Shedu == The good Utukku/ghost of an individual who led an extraordinary life.

== Ekimmu == The evil Utukku/ghost of an individual who is denied entrance to the Underworld and is doomed to walk the earth for eternity, Ekimmu means “that which is snatched away”.

Also referred to as “evil gusts of wind”. For they are insubstantial and their passage feels like that of a gust of wind that “chills the bones”

Created from those who were not buried properly, extremely vengeful toward the living.

They were said to be able to possess those who did not take into account certain taboos, like not to eat ox meat. They crave energy of the living since the only other “food” in the afterlife is dust and mud.

===== The People ===== ==== Population ==== Sunesh are human.

Various small groups primative peoples in the areas and Zafar towards the enterior and Utbah in the north.

==== Culture ==== Lots of Pelosian influence as Sunesh was for a time part of the Pelos Empire. But Sunesh culture is distinct and quite different than others in the Known World.

Calander years are numbered from the reign of a king such as “the 5th year of king crimson”

year starts with floods

===== The Government ===== A strict divine monarchy(the king has the gods backing and is the “highest” priest of the pantheon). The kings rule is absolute. There are no other nobility. The capital is directly and micromanagely govered by the king. Various officials many of them priests govern the rest of the country according to the king’s and thus gods whishes.

King Tukkurushda(took-koo-rush-da) the third, Son of Enlil(adopted), Master of land and rivers, Liberator of Sunesh.

==== Law & Order ==== King’s word is law. Eye for Eye code, not all are equal under the law. Slavery is common but typically limited to 3 years.

==== Military ==== The Sunesh have constantly battled tribesmen and small raids but never really suffered protacted wars with other nations, until The Pelos Empire conquored them.

There never was much of a standing army. Little has changed with independence. There are “police” to enforce the law and keep order. But whenever there’s a need, say to locate and destroy some Utbah raiders, some local official conscripts a large mob of commoners. It is actually illegal for there to be regular full-time armed forces outside of the capital.

The navy is small but growing rapidly if poorly now that Pelosians are nolonger keeping the Utbah pirates at bay.

==== Trade & Commerse ==== There is a fairly lucrative trade between Sunesh and the rest of the Known World. Now that Pelos isn’t dominating it Sunesh is becoming rapidly wealthy.

Grain, textiles, and other goods are shipped to Fist in great quantities. Fist pays with some manufactured goods but mostly with gold.

Textiles, some foodstuffs, and exotic goods of all sorts are shipped first to Kashan where Babrem Nomads carry it overland in huge cammel caravans to the port of Kahta or all the way directly to Darsis. On the return they bring manufactured goods, magic, and luxories from the West.