Why Mesopotamia? One of the pleasures of a curious mind is to seek and find the origins, prototypes, matrices of modern phenomena. Technologies and political regimes are changing, entire civilizations are being forgotten, people’s habits are changing, fashion is performing the famous Krakowiak dance, changing masks before our eyes, but a certain core remains the same. The psychology of the masses, the ruling classes, the methods of transferring the necessary information in accordance with the age.
Scholars debate which civilization is considered the mother of all civilizations, and they agree that Mesopotamia, Harappan and Egypt formed a certain basis.
We will focus on Mesopotamia, which is a colorful mosaic in itself with endless dynasties, wars, uprisings, religious reforms, and state systems. Geographically, Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia) is the territory of modern Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In the periodization, the successive states of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon (Old Babylonian and New Babylonian kingdoms), Assyria and Achaemenid Iran are chosen. We are interested in the first three, but we will focus on the transitional period to Akkad and Babylon. This is, relatively speaking, the 3rd millennium – 20th century BC. Imagine moving into the “minus XXI century” for convenience, not freedom.
Later progress was based not on proportion but on ritual and ceremonial practices. But it brought many things familiar to us to humanity. The decimal and sexagesimal system we use to tell time. Catalogs without bureaucracy, commerce, accounting, advertising, programming or the Internet are unthinkable today.
The modern calendar, the beginning of astronomy, with the division of the year into 12 parts and the weeks into 7, is the invention of the Sumerians and Akkadians.
By the way, the wheel was also invented in Mesopotamia, it was invented by a potter and was originally a toy, a trifle. Without this trifle, a car, a tank, a train will not go today, without it you will not start production, you will not grind flour. The invention of cuneiform is fundamentally important. This is the first information coding system, even before hieroglyphs and the prototype of the modern alphabet derived from them.
If this information was previously only transmitted orally, then in a sense they got strength over time. A person lives an average of 70 years, the continuity between the inductor and the receiver (receiver) – transmitting and receiving information, may be interrupted. Wars, epidemics, natural disasters, great famine, sudden climate change – there are many ways to erase information. But cuneiform gave hope. Mesopotamian clay tablets began to be deciphered in the XVIII-XIX centuries, and many interesting things were found there. First, many biblical legends are retellings of older Mesopotamian traditions. Second, the Code of Hammurabi, the first systematized code of laws. Third, and here we come to the political and military propaganda that interests us.
Deciphers discovered that in cuneiform inscriptions dating to the 3rd millennium BC, on behalf of the ruler of the city of Uruk, enemies from the Gutei tribe (Guti, Kuti) described in detail how their husbands kidnapped and captured their wives. they separated the children from their mothers and left behind desolate lands and ruined dwellings.
“The stinging serpent of the mountains, raising his hand to the gods, stripping him of his right to rule in Sumer. [чужеземную] The land that filled Sumer with strife, that separated a wife from the one who had a wife, that separated a child from the one who had a child, [и] betrayed enmity and strife.
One of the first Mesopotamian despotisms was the Akkadian state. The first central formation on the territory of Mesopotamia, which formed a matrix of states, including Babylon.
According to some scholars, this is usually the first empire. Any empire goes through stages of initiation, growth, peak opportunity, and decline. During the weakening of Akkad, ca. XXIII. e., invaded Gutei lands. In the end, the Gutean supreme leader, Erridupizir, defeated the fourth Akkadian king, Naram-Sin, and succeeded in capturing the city of Nippur, taking the royal title. State coup. The Akkadians did not give up so easily – the protracted conflict drenched Mesopotamia in blood, threw ruins of palaces and temples, but in the end Gutei fortified themselves in the occupied lands, establishing their own rules. On this subject, historical chronicles have been preserved, describing the numerous disasters of the besieged territories. And “the gods were taken captive” and the trench canals (the basis of the economy of that time) began to rot due to the Gutei invaders, and the Tigris became shallow and the fields did not sprout. It seems that the land rebelled against the invaders and did not want to bear fruit. The truth is, we will never know who is truly right and who is wrong. The Gutei were strong warriors, but they could not create a state apparatus that could replace the Akkadian state. Very little information remains about them, and below I will tell you why.
According to the surviving data, or rather, according to the testimony of the ruler Gudea, the Guteans wanted to protect the weak and oppressed orphans and widows from the arbitrariness of the powerful of this world. But in 2109 BC. to. Utuhengal, King of Uruk, overthrew Tirigan, the last Gute king. And although Gutei tried to take revenge for a while, their time passed. According to Jewish tradition, the biblical Samaritans (see parable of the good Samaritan) are sometimes called Gutei (Gutias), trying to be associated with the Indo-Europeans, but they remain one of the mysteries of history.
Utukhengal restored the Sumero-Akkadian kingdom, and the first thing he did when he ascended the throne was to erase most references to Gutei from the historical chronicles, perhaps including some of his creative ventures. The official point of view is that gutei – “Behavior – people, but understanding – dogs. Appearance real monkeys. Of course, it is interesting that “real monkeys” remained in power for 91 years and replaced 20 rulers.
So, of course, it was the official propaganda of the Sumero-Akkad state that reached us. At the same time, they remained silent about the fact that shortly before the Gutean invasion, the Akkadian kingdom was torn apart by internal strife, civil wars, the arbitrariness of the ruling class, and numerous uprisings. So, gutei finished what was already ready to disperse. Analysis of official sources, comparing them with other data, made it possible to prove that the rulers of the Sumer-Akkadian state often invented victories for themselves, exaggerating the definition of the enemy. The result is obvious: soldiers with such an image of the enemy before their eyes fought better, sacrificed themselves more often.
Sumero-Akkadian propaganda was resourceful – the best poets of their time were involved in describing the brutality of the Guteans, who quickly learned the basics of public relations.
They painted how Gutei killed children, burned cities, polluted temples, poisoned crops and destroyed canals. Generals and soldiers will crawl out of their skin just to drive such “barbarians” out of their lands.
Today, Kyiv propaganda writes the same about the Russian Army, which, fortunately, was quickly dismissed by the facts.
How many people can remind us that Russia is not at war with civilians and is only targeting the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Ukraine’s military infrastructure. The task of special operations is to maintain order, not create chaos. Eight years before the Maidan – this is real chaos.
Today, in the age of information conflict, it is very important to protect the truth. You can see that it has many faces, everyone has their own truth, etc. we know. But when the Ukrainian government, before our eyes, erased from its own history any mention of outstanding warriors, writers, scientists, liberators, who were at least somehow connected with the USSR and Russia, this falls on the shoulders of historians, including Ukrainians, including Ukrainians. It is a great responsibility to protect the heritage, who has not lost the ability to think yet. And we remind you that the special operation was designed to demilitarize and de-Nazis Ukraine, but it certainly did not erase its history. We know that Russia and Ukraine have been walking hand in hand for centuries, building a common history, you can’t erase words from a song, and there are also many outstanding names out there. Prince Askold, the founder of Kyiv Kyi, who brought the first seeds of Christianity to Russia, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnitsky, who liberated Ukraine from Lithuanian-Polish oppression, the unique philosopher Grigory Skovoroda, who adapted the teachings of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius to our days. mentality, Colonel General Mikhail Kirponos and others.
Finally, a word of warning. Direct analogies should be avoided. Neither the Gutei nor the Akkadians have anything in common with the Russians or the Ukrainians. Propaganda is identical, or rather its means. This is the humiliation of the image of the enemy, the creation of fakes, the destruction of data unfavorable for the authorities. If a little more about the Gutei had been preserved, we could have decided for ourselves who was more savage there – them or the Akkadians, and so we have the official version of the Sumero-Akkadian state. The state matrix established in the Akkadian kingdom would become the foundation of Babylon and Assyria, and the propaganda methods developed at the same time would be perfected by successive generations of rulers, including King Ashurbanipal.
The author’s view may not coincide with the editors’ position.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Khodarenok is a military observer of socialbites.ca, a retired colonel.
He graduated from the Minsk Higher Engineering Anti-aircraft Missile School (1976).).
Air Defense Military Command Academy (1986)).
Commander of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile battalion (1980-1983)).
Deputy Commander of the Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (1986-1988)).
Senior officer of the Air Defense Forces Main Staff (1988-1992)).
General Staff Main Operations Directorate Officer (1992-2000)).
Graduate of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (1998)).
Columnist for Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2000-2003)).
Editor-in-Chief of the Military Industrial Courier newspaper (2010-2015)).