Interesting Art of Early Cultures

Assyrian Wall Relief

Civilization started in Mesopotamia, sometimes known as the fertile crescent, now part of Iraq. This area had an abundance of plants and animals that could be domesticated, which gave rise to the “economic surplus” that allowed civilization to develop. The Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians all came from this area. The whole area was eventually controlled by the Persians, who were the constant enemies of the Greeks.

Archers from the Guard of the Persian King

Archers from the Guard of the Persian King (500 B.C.)

Mesopotamia was the ancestral home of Abraham, the supposed founder of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Some historians think that the story of Abraham is a mythical metaphor for the migration of people from Mesopotamia to Judea (now Israel) which may have occurred around 1850 B.C.  To hear what Coach Thomas has to say about why we have a particular religion click here.

The original flood myth involving the biblical Noah and his Ark may have originated from the story of Gilgamesh, which was set in Mesopotamia, where floods were more common than in the mountainous regions of Judea. The story of Gilgamesh is the oldest known written work of literature. It was written in about 2000 B.C. and is the tale of a great King who lived about 700 years earlier (around 2700 B.C.) The story of Gilgamesh contains the world’s first story of a wrestling match. King Gilgamesh wrestled and defeated Enkidu, who then became his best friend. Bear that in mind when you come up against a good opponent from another school. To hear what good books Coach Thomas recommended to one of his wrestlers click here.

Egyptian Art

The Egyptians had a static civilization that lasted over 3,000 years. They were not innovators (unlike the educated wrestler, who will try differing combinations of basic moves).

When Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C. one of his Greek generals, Ptolemy, assumed control of Egypt. Cleopatra was one of Ptolemy’s descendants.

There is evidence that all twelve tribes of the Hebrews (represented by the twelve sons of Jacob, who had the famous wrestling match with the angel) migrated to Egypt during a time of famine in what is now Israel. They may have returned some time about 1250 B.C., under the leadership of Moses, of Ten Commandments fame. Your wrestling coach could list ten commandments for you, including basic commandments such as: keep your head up and your back straight; get lower than your opponent when you shoot; don’t shoot unless you are close enough to touch your opponent; try to create angles of attack, etc.

From a Tomb in the Valley of the Kings (1300 B.C.)

From a Tomb in the Valley of the Kings (1300 B.C.)

Greek/Roman Art

This piece is a Roman mosaic based on an earlier Greek painting by Philoxenos. The mosaic measures 19 feet by 10 feet and originally contained about one million pieces of tile. It was built in a house in the doomed city of Pompeii (near what is now Naples), which was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The mosaic shows a scene of Alexander the Great defeating King Darius III of Persia. Note the dying man looking at his own reflection in the hubcap of the fleeing chariot.

Alexander conquered most of the world that was known to the Greeks. Alexander was ruthless. Hitler, Stalin, Alexander – all birds of a feather. Alexander completely annihilated enemy towns, including the Greek city of Thebes. On one of his military campaigns he killed ten per cent of his own troops. But Alexander was a master of the surprise attack. The benefits of a surprise attack apply to wrestlers. Do the unexpected. Switch from defense to offence immediately. Alexander was a master of logistics.  He really knew how to move an army.  To see a video and how a wrestler should maintain his profile and move click here.

Battle of Issus (80 BC)

Battle of Issus (80 BC)

Roman Wall Mural

The Romans were excellent engineers and warriors, but most students of antiquity agree that they lacked the artistic and intellectual creativity of the Greeks. However, they did manage to produce some beautiful murals for the walls of the wealthy. This is a scene of peace and tranquility from a wall mural in a villa just outside of Rome. At wrestling tournaments you should try to have some peace and tranquility between bouts (that is, before warming up and getting into the right frame mind just before your next bout).

Roman Wall Mural – Garden Scene (late first century BC)

Roman Wall Mural – Garden Scene (late first century BC)

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