historic phase is a long one, extending down into the second
half of the third millennium. In the south, which by now calls
itself Sumer, there arise from anonymity several prominent cities,
such as Ur and Uruk, Lagash and Umma, Kish and Eshnunna.
and painstaking excavations have given us a fairly clear picture
of peacetime life in those days. The sum of the many scattered
reports emphasizes that the economic and social life of the
period centred about the temple.
Dynastic period reveals itself to us in more than one type of
temple. The one chosen for illustration here has been recovered
from the oblivion of nearly 5000 years by the excavations of
the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago conducted
at Khafaje, some 10 miles to the east of Baghdad.
arrangement of the enclosure is that of a temple oval, and we
have chosen to compress several features of the everyday life
of the times on the upper platform of the oval, which was crowned
by the temple itself.
was essentially rural and agricultural, with sheep breeding
and dairy farming playing important roles. The cows were milked
from behind. The attendants are often portrayed wearing a curious
feathered headdress not otherwise in common use, the normal
type being a cloth turban.
male garment was the flounced skirt, which varied in length
according to the owner's prosperity and station in life. The
upper part of the body was often left bare. Wom en's skirts
appear to be less elaborate in cut but more varied in colour
than those of the men.
the days given over to stated major festivals, which were numerous
and solemn, the temple courtyard could be the scene of considerable
gaity and social pastimes. The visitors might be entertained
by an occasional musican strumming on a lyre.
and boxing were recogized forms of skill, but they were obviously
associated also with the religious and mythical lore of the