Fifth Graders Study Mesopotamian Art and History at Upper School

mes2 On October 7, Ross fifth graders traveled to the Upper School to extend their current studies of Mesopotamia. The students divided into two groups, with one meeting with Cultural History Teacher Dr. Therese Lichtenstein to discuss Mesopotamian art and sculpture, and the other working with Visual Arts Associate Nicole Berberena to create a replica of the artworks introduced during the lecture. The main subject of the sessions was the Code of Hammurabi, a well-preserved Babylonian law code dating back to about 1754 BCE.

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After scrutinizing and discussing a replica of the stele of the Code of Hammurabi with Nicole, one group of students created and drew their own lamassu—a protective deity often depicted with a bull’s or lion’s body, eagle’s wings, and human’s head. Meanwhile, the second group participated in Dr. Lichtenstein’s slide lecture, during which she explained how the lamassu was used as propaganda to intimidate citizens entering the city gates. She also showed bas- and haute-relief sculptures that depicted a dignified king calmly assassinating fierce wild beasts. This propaganda impressed upon the people the authority behind Hammurabi’s Code. The two groups then switched mentors to complete the activity.

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Lower School Teacher Barbara Strong said the students really enjoyed their time at the Upper School. Back in the classroom, the fifth graders will continue to explore and deepen their understanding of Hammurabi’s code of laws and their significance to the rise of civilization.