Relief with two Heroes

Relief with two Heroes, 10th-9th century BCE, basalt, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Excavated in northern Syria at the site of Tell Halaf, this relief carving was recycled from a previous building and used to decorate an exterior wall of the temple palace of King Kapara in the 10th century BCE.

Two hero figures pin down a bearded foe, while grabbing his horns or pronged headdress. The carving may illustrate a scene from the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells of the adventures of Gilgamesh, the hero king of Uruk from the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC). This image may be the scene when the heroes enter the cedar forest of the gods and defeat Humbaba the guardian of the forest.


A sequence of rulers from the same family.

A Mesopotamian epic centered around the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, and his quest for immortality, with themes of humanity, friendship, and the duties of kings.

Dug up, often from an archaeological site.

A Mesopotamian king from ~2500 B.C.E.; he became the hero of a major epic poem and was addressed as a deity in later religious texts.

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