43 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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
31 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 ...
Betterthan Kwora's user avatar
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 ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
23 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 ...
Ilmari Karonen's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

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 ...
0range's user avatar
  • 2,726
18 votes
Accepted

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 ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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 (...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
10 votes

How did ancient cultures identify a new moon 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
9 votes
Accepted

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 ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
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 ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 20.7k
8 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 5,315
8 votes
Accepted

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 ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 5,922
7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
7 votes

How much did food cost in Babylon?

1 cup of barley provides 651 calories according to the USDA, so 3000 L of barley provides about 412 days' worth of food at 2000 cal/day. An unskilled laborer making ten times this amount in a year ...
Charles's user avatar
  • 1,055
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 ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
6 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between OBV & SBV, in Babylonian texts translated to English?

It's not about translation per se, but about which text they're using, and the dialect/era that text was written in. From Huehnergard's A Grammar of Akkadian: Old Babylonian is the Akkadian of ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 1,496
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 ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 3,994
4 votes
Accepted

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 ...
SJuan76's user avatar
  • 12.4k
4 votes
Accepted

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 ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
4 votes

When did the Babylonian king Amel-Marduk reign?

A reign of two years (give or take a few months) for Amel-Marduk is generally accepted to be correct. However, there is still some uncertainty and disagreement as to the starting date for his reign: ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
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 ...
Laukku's user avatar
  • 39
3 votes
Accepted

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 ...
0range's user avatar
  • 2,726
3 votes

Did Marduk-balassu-iqbi help Assur-Danin-Pal?

We know that Assur-danin-pal rebelled even before the death of his father, King Shalmaneser III. We know that it was a serious rebellion that spread to at least 27 cities, including Ashur Nineneh, and ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
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 (...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
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 ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
3 votes
Accepted

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. ...
Everett Steed's user avatar
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/...
fdb's user avatar
  • 9,790
3 votes
Accepted

What materials would have been used in the ancient Mesopotamian crown?

Does a crown have to be a gold or silver crown with jewels, or can it be made of other materials, so long as it represents authority? In the latter case, it would be very hard to tell the difference ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k

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