Essay On Olmec Civilization

792 Words 4 Pages
The prefix meso originates from the Greek work, middle. Mesoamerican culture, as well as Mesopotamian, sprang up in the heart of their respective locations. Shared regional settlement is only one of the multiple similarities that these two early civilizations share. This essay will discuss not only the similarities of art and architecture, but also will discuss fundamental differences that occur.
The Olmec civilization thrived from c. 1500 BC to 400 BC, in the modern day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. Due to lack of archaeological evidence, the Olmec’s origin of ethnic identity is unknown. There is such a lack of knowledge that researchers still are unaware of the name this group of people referred to themselves as. The title Olmec
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3500 BC to 2332 BC, when the civilization fell under control of Sargon Akkad(Kleiner 40). The Sumerians settled in the previously inhabited valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in modern day southern Iraq(Kliener 32). This region, known as the Fertile Crescent was named for the quarter moon shape of the region. The unusually fertile soil allowed the early civilization to be able to focus on more than just farming for food to survive, as the Sumerians developed irrigation canals for crops, and learned to control the floods. Along with developments in agriculture, they charted the earliest urban societies, referred to as city-states that were surprisingly complex for the time period(Kliener 31). While urban, Sumer was not a unified population. Instead, the multiple regions were under the rule of different deities, and the rulers were these gods’ representatives on Earth. The rulers controlled all communal activities, including agriculture and food distribution. As a result of extensive agricultural innovation, only a select portion of the population had to farm, allowing others to develop skills in a multitude of areas. This began the advent of the urbanized society, with the shift from family to community responsibilities(Kliener …show more content…
For the Olmecs and the Sumerians, it was through a temple placed on man-made elevated structures. The elevated stature of these temples in both cultures is consistent with the widespread belief of the god’s residing in the sky. The elevations also increases The Sumerians built ziggurats, which are temple platforms constructed out of mud bricks. (Kleiner 33). The Olmecs similarly created a mound similarly out of local clay, where they placed a perishable shrine(Miller 35). The use of clay for both platforms is significant, due to the materials inevitable erosion from the elements, each culture still constructed these places of worship for their deities. This demonstrates how important the notion of a religion was to the culture. The White Temple and ziggurat of Uruk(Kleiner Fig 2-2) is forty feet above ground level, looking over the city center. The structure had several chambers, and waiting rooms where priests would wait for the gods’ to descend from the heavens. The stairway that leads up to the temple, but does not end at the front of the temple instead changing direction a few times, using a bent-axis plan, that is normal for the Sumerians temple structure(Kleiner 33). The Olmec’s structure is at La Venta, and is theorized to either be an homage to the Central Mexican volcano, or could simply be the erosion of a pyramid shaped

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