As I have written earlier in “The Prayer and Ethics and Your Deeds”, Ziggurat is the place of worship of Marduk and a place of Prayer and to perform religious ceremonies and social ceremonies. Thus overall Ziggurat is a Prayer hall, a religious ceremony hall, a social ceremony hall, a King’s hall, a sacrificial hall, a safekeeping hall, and even a watch tower to see the incoming enemies. Thus Ziggurats performed multitasks, which were always in consonant and resonance with a Prayer to Marduk to lead an ethical life and perform good deeds.
To instil spiritual strength and willpower in the people, a city state had a Central Ziggurat, which was located in the centre of the city. It was the largest Ziggurat and tallest Ziggurat in the city state and was designed to be seen by its people from all sides. Larger the city, larger and taller was supposed to be the Central Ziggurat, so that it could be seen from all over the city and instil spiritual willpower in its people.
The Central Ziggurat generally consisted of seven blocks, which were either square or rectangular, but consecutively smaller than the one below them.
Though there were no exact ratios between successive slabs in the Central Ziggurat, but each was perceptibly smaller than the lower one. Each slab, including the base slab had slightly sloping walls, which made it difficult to climb and at the same time facilitated drainage of water from the top slab to the bottom slab and to the land.
The Central Ziggurat slabs were mainly solid structures with the exception of top three slabs.
The slabs were made of large sun baked bud bricks but were covered by Kiln baked bricks on the outside. The slabs had a Central Pillar and Peripheral corner pillars, made of stronger basalt material, to further support them.
The top slab was the temple, which was generally spacious, some had space equivalent to 70 feet x 80 feet x 50 feet. In this temple slab was placed all the prayer ceremonial material including the holy scripture.
The top slab Ziggurat temple also contained a black stone slab, the size of which varied according to the size of the Ziggurat temple. But it was generally more than 1.5 feet x 1.5 feet x 1.5 feet. The black slab stone was where the sacrificial animal was sacrificed by the Priest or King, by the King if King was present.
The highest slab Ziggurat temple also contained the necessary dresses for the King and Priest and their associates.
The highest slab Ziggurat temple had at least 4 windows in all four directions.
Below the Central Ziggurat temple was the King’s room, which contained all necessary material for a King’s stay, either during day or night. This included female companions. Hence, it is very clear that female male sexual copulation was permitted in the Ziggurat and hence has very high respect, regard and place in “MESCAC”. The room below the King’s room was for the guards and in presence of the holy King, the Priest left the temple and all religious ceremonies were performed by the King. The King was the holiest of the holy Priests in a city State. Though from outside, there was either one or two stairways leading separately to the Ziggurat temple, but internal stairs connected the Ziggurat temple to the King’s room and Guard’s room separately. There were stepped stairs to climb on the central Ziggurat. It was wide enough for several people to climb together. But this people’s Stairway carried only as far as the 3rd or 4th slab. There were narrower stairway (s) to the Ziggurat temple at the top. The King and the Priest climbed on this stairway. Another stairway was for the guards to climb to the 5th slab Guard house. This way the King could be protected easily. But, Central Ziggurat was not just meant to instil spiritual favour and power in the people from a distance. It served other useful purposes as well. Since, there was considerable space surrounding each smaller slab above, it was used to seat people on special occasions, when mass prayers were to be said, especially when the King was present. It helped to strengthen the spiritual bond between the King and his subjects and also showed the subjugation of the Priest to the King, in front of the subjects. This was a very important message. All Priests in all Ziggurats in the City State were appointed by the King and worked at his pleasure. There were especially constructed side rooms to accommodate the King, from where the King could communicate with his subjects. Also, important documents, valuables under the King’s seal were also kept in the Central Ziggurat, generally in the fourth slab rooms, below guard’s rooms. Thus, the Central Ziggurat was the most important building or structure in the city state and as such was constructed on a grandiose scale by the Kings. I must also mention that there were NO idols kept in the Central Ziggurat or other Ziggurats. Only Stone was black for sacrificing the animal and never to be worshipped or desecrated. Many names of monotheist Marduk had double meanings. One it indicated the monotheist Marduk, the city state worshipped and another it might connote a celestial body like the Moon, Sun, other Planets like Jupiter etc. But such double meaning did not connote that the city state worshipped these celestial bodies but they worshipped the monotheist Marduk by that name which also connoted a celestial body and might be used as a symbol for some purposes. The second celestial symbol came to symbolise the monotheist Marduk and helped the People, Priest and King to worship and do Prayers to their monotheist Marduk as a unique entity, which established their unique character as monotheist Marduk and firmed the religious and spiritual identity of the city state under such a unique monotheist Marduk symbol. Even today different countries and people call their monotheist Marduk by different names. But, the Central Ziggurat was used for community worship, only on special occasions. The Central Ziggurat, to fulfil this function was surrounded by a compound, which contained elaborate arrangements to house the Priest, his associates, Guards, Cooks, Gardeners and many more people needed to maintain the Central Ziggurat. But people, as I have explained in “The Prayer and Ethics and your Deeds”, do need the help of 'community helped or derived Prayers' to strengthen their ethical and moral inner strength. For this, in accordance with population needs, smaller Ziggurats were constructed in different parts of the city state.
Obviously they were on much smaller scale.
The People’s Ziggurat or Peripheral Ziggurat was a much smaller building but constructed according to same general plan, with some important differences.
The number of Slabs were generally reduced to four.
The ground slab was rectangular or Square but not as big or high as the Central Ziggurat ground slab. It was also constructed of Sun baked mud bricks, surrounded by layers of Kiln baked mud bricks.
The second slab of People’s Ziggurat of peripheral Ziggurat was very different from the second slab of Central Ziggurat. Instead of being a solid slab as in Central Ziggurat, it was a proper room hall. It was not as high but proportionately smaller than the ground slab. This was the typical Prayer hall of the People’s Ziggurat or Peripheral Ziggurat.
Because, it catered to the local population, sitting arrangement was made for all people, who could come for Prayers in the People’s Ziggurat. The sitting arrangement was either in the form of wooden slabs (extended stools) or mud brick slabs in slight arcs, so that people sitting could face the Priest.
The wooden or mud brick slab arcs were broken by paths in between so that people coming in could occupy their positions without disturbing those who were already seated.
The second slab Prayer hall was where the people and Priest collected at the appointed time and settled themselves.
The Priest brings the holy scripture from the fourth slab Ziggurat temple and after preliminary settlement, reads the holy scripture. The reading was done with preset principles and training. The holy scripture language was always in the commonly spoken language.
And since, commonly spoken Mesopotamian language has changed many times, so has the language of the holy scripture changed in accordance with that.
Once the reading of holy scripture was started, everybody is to remain seated for such time as the reading is completed. At the end of holy scripture reading, the people could leave. They were also permitted to ask questions about what they have heard or what they could not understand or comprehend. The Priest had associates who helped him complete the ceremony.
One of the most important part of community Prayer in Ziggurat is that both females and males attended these prayer meetings together and there was NO segregation either in their coming inside, or in their sitting arrangement or their Prayer obligations or their questions or even their exit.
Thus Ziggurat established the need for female male interaction and thus giving direction to straight life but also gender equality for Prayer and treatment of both in terms of Prayer obligations and requirements.
There was and is no strict dress code to follow while attending Ziggurat Prayer meeting but as a general principle, people of both genders were supposed to be neat and clean and wear neat, clean and modest dress to the Prayer hall in the Ziggurat.
But, just like the Central Ziggurat, the People’s Ziggurat was just not a Prayer building but it offered and performed other functions as well.
After the completion of Prayer in Prayer hall, some people could ask for additional Prayers. The Priest could give them separate timings or continue the Prayer after other people have left.
The Ziggurat was also a place where Marriage ceremony took place. The People’s Ziggurat and it’s Priest were informed in advance of such a marriage. Both the Bride and bridegroom entered before the general Prayer meeting. They were seated in special chairs on the side of the Priest. This was to facilitate others in the Prayer hall to see which couple was going to get married.
After the general Prayer, non-invited guests left the Prayer hall. Those who were invited as guests for the marriage ceremony remained behind. Prolongation of Prayer or questions were not permitted on such occasions.
The Priest led the Bride and Bridegroom to the third slab hall, which was the ceremonial hall for marriages and other purposes. The Guests seated themselves. The Priest introduced the Bride and Bridegroom along with their parent’s names. Than he started the marriage ceremony, which was a short passage reading from the holy scripture.
The Priest asked the Bride if she wanted to marry the Bridegroom and receiving a ‘Yes’, asked the Bridegroom if he wants to marry the Bride. On receiving a ‘Yes’, he declared them husband and wife. After which, they kissed each other . Than they signed a marriage register meant for this purpose, which included their names and their parent’s names.
The ceremonial hall also had a Kitchen, Food and delicacies (including Beer and wine) were served to the guests. The guests wished the newly married couple a happy married life.
The ceremonial hall also had a few honeymoon rooms, in which the married couple could stay for the night. Food was provided from the Kitchen.
This again shows the high esteem and respect and permission, which “MESCAC”, bestows on female-male sexual copulation relationships and its celebration in public life.
Other special occasions like the birth of a newborn baby was also celebrated in the ceremonial hall of the Ziggurat. On many occasions, the baby was named in the Ziggurat and its name and date of birth along with Parent’s name were registered in the ‘newborn’ register.
In some places, the people’s Ziggurat might have contained a fifth slab hall (fourth below the Ziggurat temple), which might have been used to store valuables and documents of the local population.
Thus, we see that for over 20 million years, both the Central Ziggurat and the People’s Ziggurat have been performing extremely delicate and important functions for the society and individuals.