44 votes
Accepted

Why was "leaping into the river" a valid trial outcome to prove one's innocence?

It was a divine judgement in cases where the evidence was inconclusive and previous attempts to resolve the case had failed. In some cases at least, it was only used after other attempts at a ...
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39 votes
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How do I find the sources which determined the year of the fall of Babylon?

One way to go about this type of research is to simply dig deeper, one step at the time: review the bibliography of the articles you've run into, and read the citations of potential interest. Rinse ...
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32 votes

Why was "leaping into the river" a valid trial outcome to prove one's innocence?

Peter Leeson from George Mason University has argued that medieval trial by ordeal worked because people believed that they worked. Thus, only the innocent were willing to undergo the ordeal. If this ...
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27 votes
Accepted

Was touching your nose a greeting in second millenium Mesopotamia?

It seems like this was the 'polite' gesture of greeting in ancient Sumeria, and is actually the meaning of a Sumerian phrase for greeting: She faces in the direction of the cultic activity, her ...
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  • 34.1k
22 votes
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Was the Persian conquest of Tyre particularly easy, uneventful, or do we lack sources?

According to Herodotus, there was no conquest in the sense. The Phoenician cities including Tyre had belonged to the Neo-Babylonian empire and recognized the suzerainty of the Persians willingly when ...
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  • 2,518
22 votes
Accepted

What murals and decor might have been present in the earliest Sumerian temples?

As a quick note on chronology, "5000+ years ago" would put your setting in the Jemdet Nasr period or earlier (Uruk III–V; yes, archeological periods are numbered backwards). This is around ...
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18 votes
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What was the point of the Babylonian captivity?

Just like the better researchable Assyrians the Neo-Babylonians employed this as a proven tool to assert their control of the conquered lands and the remaining people there. Once the head of the snake ...
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  • 75.2k
13 votes

What was the point of the Babylonian captivity?

I'm going to guess you're coming at this with the idea in your head that every living soul in the country was exiled. That's incorrect. In fact, while the Bible itself isn't consistent on the subject (...
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  • 110k
12 votes

Did the Babylonians know the Pythagorean Theorem before Pythagoras formulated it?

As far as we know, Babylonians had no Pythagorean theorem and no theorems at all whatsoever. The major contribution of the Greeks was that "there are statements (which they called theorems) which can ...
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  • 37.3k
11 votes
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Were people in the Neo-Assyrian or Achaemenid Empire aware of the empires before them?

The Babylonians and Assyrians had several versions of a king list, at least one of which enumerated the kings from the Old Babylonian period down to the Neo-Assyrian period. There is also a much older ...
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  • 9,473
9 votes

In Ancient Cultures - How was a New Moon identified when it can never be seen?

In Jewish custom, all calendar questions were decided by the court (Synedrion). It was a duty of everyone who spotted the new Moon to report to this court as soon as possible. But of course, the new ...
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  • 37.3k
9 votes
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Did the Babylonians know the Pythagorean Theorem before Pythagoras formulated it?

Is there any other evidence of this mathematical concept existing in Babylon before Pythagoras? Yes. As Wikipedia observes, the Plimpton 322 tablet … lists two of the three numbers in what are ...
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  • 76.2k
8 votes

What were the types of currency used in ancient Mesopotamia?

First, it is important to understand that the economic system of ancient Mesopotamia was something much closer to a barter system than a modern market. Money did exist, but not in the fully ...
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  • 17.5k
8 votes
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Did the Babylonian priesthood flee to Pergamum?

The timing is wrong. Although there is evidence of settlement at Pergamum around this time, it does not enter the historical record until Xenophon wrote about bringing his mercenaries through around ...
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  • 3,666
8 votes
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When did this shipment of Babylonian painted tiles for the Louvre sink?

It seems likely to me that Clement was referring to the "Qurnah Disaster", named after Al Qurnah in Iraq, about 75 km north of Basra: In 1855, Al Qurnah was the site where local tribes ...
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  • 4,659
7 votes
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Babylonian handbags - meaning?

The Met has one of these panels on display: It also has an interpretation of the image: The figure depicted on the panel is eagle-headed and faces left, holding in his left hand a bucket and in ...
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  • 34.1k
6 votes
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What were the causes of decline of Babylonian numeric system?

Simply put, the decimal system is more convenient for most types of calculations. As you point out, there are systems that still use base 60. And there are others such as binary and hexadecimal which ...
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  • 3,304
6 votes

What were the causes of decline of Babylonian numeric system?

The Babylonian sexagesimal system is used by Ptolemy in his Almagest (2nd century AD) and by Arabic astronomers throughout the Middle Ages. The decimal numerals were introduced from India to the ...
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  • 9,473
6 votes
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Why did Nebuchadnezzar keep King Jeconiah alive?

The direct motivation of Nebuchadnezzar in sparing King Jeconiah is not known. However, we can discern his motivation from subsequent events that suggest that keeping an heir of David alive, but ...
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  • 5,098
6 votes

Why wasn't Akkadian translated into other more common languages?

Most likely there just wasn't a lot of Akkadian (Cuneiform) "writing" to be found outside of Mesopotamia, and particularly not what one would consider "literature". Cuneiform was a ...
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  • 110k
5 votes

When was Sura in the Roman Empire?

Sura, or at least that area, was within the Roman province of Mesopotamia as of the reign of Septimius Severus when he conquered the area around 200CE. The province fell to the Sasanians, as you ...
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  • 3,863
4 votes
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Gold coin vs Silver coin exchange rate fluctuations in antiquity

More of an economic answer than historical, but yet... The answer is that it would change very little. Two factors: Silver and gold are not consumed, so the amount available the previous year was ...
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  • 12.1k
3 votes
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Are there any Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, or any foreign account of the demise of the Hittites?

Adding to @Timothy's answer: I concur that there are no detailed accounts of the destruction of the Hittites. However, there appear to be at least two very, very short and incomplete accounts: Ugarit ...
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  • 2,518
3 votes

Was Nebuchadnezzar made King in a year other than 605 BC?

Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II), was the oldest son of Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar), founder of the 11th dynasty of Babylon. From the records, we know that he was born c634BC and died c562BC (...
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  • 76.2k
3 votes

When is the first time any variation of the name Misraim is used to refer to Egypt?

The earliest surviving references I've found seem to be from inscriptions dated to the Akkadian period (2350–2150 BCE). "miSru" certainly appears as the word for Egyptian in A Concise Dictionary of ...
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  • 76.2k
3 votes
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What was a cistern to the Babylonians?

Babylonian/Iranian Cisterns have not Fundamentally Changed across the Millenia A cistern (Persian: āb-anbār) was intended as a large, waterproof reservoir which also allows ventilation and access. ...
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3 votes
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Are there any theories of Tiglath Pileser III's origins?

The problem with determining Tiglath Pileser III's origins is lack of evidence. As Amélie Kuhrt has repeatedly observed in her 2-volume work The Ancient Near East, C. 3000-330 BC, alteration of ...
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  • 76.2k
3 votes
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Dating of Hammurabi discrepancy

There are various chronologies floating around for Hammurabi's reign. So that will naturally produce some variation. Wikipedia seems to currently be favoring the middle one, which would indeed put the ...
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  • 110k
3 votes

Why does the Uruk King List say Antiochus I Soter ruled for 22 years?

Look at the footnote in the linked edition. It says "[Twenty-two years is probably a scribal error.]" The "King list VI" gives the correct number "20"; see here: http://www.livius.org/k/kinglist/...
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  • 9,473
3 votes

Is there a historical basis for the "day of the false King" described in The Egyptian?

I'm the editor who had added the info to Wikipedia. I heavily expanded the novel's article in 2018, but had maybe gotten a touch lazy when I began tackling the section about historical accuracy, with ...
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