THE COSTUME OF ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY
The Assyria and Babylonia were situated in Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The natural conditions of the country are characterized by a warm climate with a sharp temperature fluctuation, river overflow which caused the cult of water in religion and culture.
The main occupations were farming, cattle-breeding, handicraft, wool production and trade.
The state system of Assyria was despotic monarchy with the king at the head, with powerful bureaucratic officials and well equipped army. The main types of art of Assyria and Babylonia were architecture, monumental painting, sculpture. Golden age of art began from IX to VII centuries BC.
The military characteristic of country had its impact on the content and form of culture.
The archeological excavations done in the territory of the former capital of ancient Assyria, reveled pictures on the reliefs decorating the walls of Assyrian palaces (heroic feats of king and his army, scenes of hunting). All these pictures enable us to judge about the costume of Assyrians.
THE AESTHETIC IDEAL OF BEAUTY
Man’s aesthetic ideal of beauty was reflected in Assyrian culture and especially in the king’s ideal image.
Individual features of king were never described by painters. For this reason, an exaggerated muscular system, naked arms and legs, thick long hair and beard show us that idea of beauty implies great physical strength, massive features, gorgeous hairstyle and thick beards.
The same is the king Ashurbanipal depicted on the relief with the god-keeper. The same are the heroes of Epic of Gilgamesh – the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu who were described as “the most handsome and the greatest among men”. Both of the heroes were endowed with herculean strength, had “curls as thick as ears” and hairy body.