Assyrian alabaster vase with a lid, 2000 B.C.

This jar would surely have been intended to contain incense or ointments, because of its small size and its very detailed carving. These small-sized stone objects are intended to be carried comfortably with the person. Alabaster is a difficult stone to obtain and work and was only used on special occasions, essentially for funeral trousseaux. The political evolution of the second millennium B.C. is characterized by the construction of new, more stable territorial empires. The Sumerian-Acadian symbiosis was beneficial for the Mesopotamians, who consolidated their power in relation to their neighbours and developed various transformations. The historical focus was shifted to the North and East, where the new centres of power were configured around strategic cities such as Babylon, Assur or Thebes. The Babylonian Empire is consolidated, giving rise to a strong power after the defragmentation of Mesopotamia into small kingdoms.


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