King Gudea was a ruler and high priest of Lagash, an ancient Sumerian city, around the year 2.400 B.C. and he was obsessed with having good public relations; his methods worked, for he is still remembered by thousands of tourists who visit many significant museums, including the Louvre, not to mention historians and archaeologists.
Almost one thousand and five hundred years before the first stone was placed in order to build the Roman Republic, a man called Gudea became the ruler of ancient Lagash, at the advent of history, for the Sumerians were those clever humans who learned to read and write before anybody else. The rest of the world was still prehistoric, but Sumerians were literally, inventing historic times as they invented the first way to store messages and communicate them to future generations.
At that time, rulers were political, religious and military leaders, and the very few who could write did so using small moist clay tablets instead of paper; sometimes, - if they wanted to convey a lasting message – they used stone and carved their early cuneiform signs on it, and this man, Gudea, seems to have been prone on doing exactly that, frequently.
He had a lot of statues made for himself that began to grow in size from fairly small 30 cm figurines to more than 1,5m, which was life-like size for the standards of those days. More than three dozen of those have been uncovered by explorers and archaeologists – mostly French – and many are to be found today at different locations in France. In ancient art, it seems that the size of statues and figures growns with the ego and real power of the Gods or people depicted.
Some of those statues contain inscriptions with spells that describe what would happen to those who would destroy or damage his statues, and the fact that so many of them have survived evidences that first of all, he was a man who wanted to be popular enough to create what was probably the first cult of personality in the history of our world, and secondly, that all thorough time, those who could understand what was written in stone took seriously those words.
So, if you are going to visit a museum where one of those images of Gudea are exposed, be respectful: you will be standing in front a statue of probably the first demagogue, but evidently, a man to be taken seriously.