Royal Standard
of Ur

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Royal Standard Of Ur
The Royal Standard of Ur - c.2700BC British Museum

Royal Standard of Ur
The Royal Standard of Ur - the war panel

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The Royal Standard of Ur, also called the Battle Standard of Ur measures 8.5 by 19.5 inches. It is made of wood and is inlaid with lapis lazuli, shell, and red limestone. The box has been restored due to deterioration over the years of the glue used to set the mosaic, and so may not be 100% accurate. The Sumerian army is shown in battle with four-wheeled chariots trampling their enemies, spearmen and other infantry. The panels also show prisoners taken before the king. These scenes are from what is usually called the "war" panel. The "peace" panel shows the other side of Sumerian life - a banquet with a musician playing the a lyre type instrument.

Its full purpose is not definitely known, but it clearly records the king and his court along with the spoils of military victory.The box was found in one of the largest chambers at the Royal Cemetary at Ur. Leonard Woolley, who excavated the item, speculated that it was carried on a pole as a war standard, and named it accordingly. Others have speculated that it was a musical instrument.

Royal Standard of Ur - the peace panel
Royal Standard of Ur - the Peace Panel

Standard of Ur detail
Detail from the Royal Standard of Ur War Panel




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