The destruction of civilization

Throughout human history every region and culture has undergone some form of destruction.  Whether misfortunes were brought about by natural disasters, civil strife, or neighboring conflicts, periods of disorder are unavoidable.  In the Epic of Gilgamesh the city of Uruk is victim to political hardships under the rule of Gilgamesh.  The text also discusses the Deluge, which involved the literal destruction of humankind.  Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis addresses the more recent events of the Iranian Revolution and the resulting aftermath.  She endured a childhood filled with destruction around every corner, and depicts it in the art of her graphic novel.  Both texts possess themes of decay and disappointment when faced with the realities of the world.  As the protagonists come to understand that remembering the struggles of the past is important, but looking towards the future is what they ought to do. 

The Destruction of Tyre I chose this piece because of the painting's connection with The Deluge referenced in the sixth tablet of The Epic of Gilgamesh. The waves destroy all that is in their path and reduce mankind to its absolute lowest point as it becomes helpless to the gods.
Babylon This picture of the city of Babylon reminded me of the walls of Uruk, which according to the first table, Gilgamesh built for his people. Even when civilizations fall sometimes their physical structures remain, and man's physical achievements live beyond him. This was a comforting thought for Gilgamesh when he failed to obtain immortality.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah This represents the discontent in the city of Uruk that is conveyed in the first tablet by the citizens who are tyrannized by the tyrannical nature of Gilgamesh. Even when there is no physical violence a civilization can still be torn apart by sin.
The Impact This painting is meant to convey the harshness of a post-war period. The imploding image creates a sense of chaos and resolution. It is reminiscent of the destruction that occurred in Iran during the events of Persepolis in the year 1979.
Movement and Stillness of Birnam This contemporary work is based on the march of Birnam Forest from Shakespeare's play, MacBeth. It shows the contrast between reality and prophecy, and was inspired by the artist's childhood in poverty. It is somewhat like the split personality Marjane Satrapi experienced in her mental conflict between reason and faith.
Invaded City The invasion and destruction of one's territory is always a horrific event. Whether it is the literal destruction in Persepolis, or the moral degradation of Gilgamesh, there is a sense of powerlessness felt by those who have been deprived of their freedom. More specifically, this image reminded me of a scene from Persepolis in which a young Marjane harasses a boy from her neighborhood and nearly attacks him.
Desire 2 The desperations in this photograph is reminiscent of the lower-class citizens of Uruk who suffered under Gilgamesh, and the people of Iran who were victims of the revolution and subsequent war. The graphic colors both resemble the heavily-contrasted style of Persepolis, and the ancient nature of Gilgamesh.
Blitzed Site This image reminded me of the Marjane Satrapi's experience when one of the buildings near her home in Tehran was bombed. It also expresses the indifference that many governments display towards their citizens in their unwillingness to support poorer areas and rebuild infrastructure.
Suspense The images in this mural show a wide variety of emotions in the event of extreme loss. Whether it's the physical loss of a home, family, or one's dignity. The style has the same monochrome and graphic style as Persepolis and layers its images in a complimentary manner. It is also characteristic of the graffiti and propaganda that is shown throughout the graphic novel.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.