Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Great Ziggurat of Ur

In yesterday's post about bronze age cultures and campaign settings, one of the things I brought up that I consider a big point about such settings is the big, brooding, cyclopean architecture that I think of when I consider a "bronze age city" such as Akkad, Ur, Sippar, Uruk, or Babylon. So when I was digging around this morning looking at various links in wikipedia (yeah, so academic, I know...), I came across this link about the Great Ziggurat of Ur.

When I look at this bad boy, I don't think Greece or Rome or Paris or England; I think ancient, ancient empires and long-lost civilizations. In short, I think of the sorts of places that inspired a lot of the original fantasy RPG type adventures and dungeons - long lost temples buried in the sand for a thousand years, waiting to be explored by intrepid adventurers.

In doing some more digging I just now came across this web site on Sumerian culture that has some very cool and evocative pictures in their gallery. I'm not sure how accurate any of this is, but accurate or not, they look pretty damn impressive. Printed out and used judiciously in gameplay as visual aids, pictures like those would help players get into the "look and feel" of a bronze-age city-state setting.


Michael S/Chgowiz said...

Royal Tombs of Ur:

Thank you for the links!

Mike D. said...

Yes, thanks for sharing the link - some nice images there. Very inspirational.

Masakari said...

Heh, as long as we're posting links, here are some good ones:

It strikes me that northern Europe provides a nice alternate take on the Bronze-Age, compared to the great empires of the ancient Middle East. A very different culture/environment base. (But note Stonehenge!) At the same time, this is something most folks would probably mistakenly associate with later Iron Age Celtic culture (much the same way Classical Greece gets mistaken for "Bronze Age"). Food for thought.

Jack Badelaire said...

Good point about the northern European cultures. Part of the problem with using the area as a full blown campaign setting, I'm thinking, would simply be the relative scarcity of information.

Actually, if anyone has some solid reference works to northern European cultures around the time of Sargon, Ur, etc., please feel free to share them.

In building a campaign setting, while I think having the setting centered in a more "metropolitan" area like the middle east, having the "hinterlands" of places like middle Africa, central Asia, and northern Europe sketched out in enough detail that exploring them or having the occasional outlander PC from these areas is certainly possible.

trollsmyth said...

Awesome finds, especially the art. Thanks for sharing.