44

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 resolution had failed. We can't be certain why it was considered a valid outcome as there is insufficient evidence, but it is likely that the apparent verdict of a god ...


33

Most certainly we see mainly survivorship bias. Other factors play a certain minor role, but the durability of clay tablets, especially when fired, are most important. Cuneiform was developed on clay, is easy to write in/on clay, and clay is abundant in that region. Unlike papyrus, unbaked clay may be recycled on the spot (erased) and much easier and cheaper ...


32

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 theory is correct, presumably the ordeal also separated the guilty and innocent via the same mechanism at the time of Hammurabi. I argue that medieval ...


27

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 right arm bent at the elbow, hand raised before the face, in a well-known gesture of pious greeting, comparable to those depicted in presentation scenes, ...


20

There are many theories & interpretations, but relatively little evidence to support most of them. Of course, there are no written sources from the Ubaid period to support them. You are absolutely right that there hasn't been a great deal of published material on the subject. However, a good, and relatively recent (2006), paper on the subject is A ...


20

This thesis is manifestly false, and is indicative of the weaknesses of "Guns, germs and steel". For example, the making of iron tools was probably passed up the Nile, to Kush and Meroe, and then across to East Africa; they were making iron tools well before 1000 AD; evidence of iron work by the Nok of Nigeria exists as earlier than 400 BC. Nok culture - ...


19

Most probably, this starts with a an untrue premise: There are not so many laws about eye injury. How many "laws" are there in the Hammurabi Code? — 282. How many "laws" are there concerning consequences of eye injury? 2 One law for harm done by everyday accidents, brawls, malicious intent, one for professional medical health & safety. The "why" and ...


16

You are looking at a poor translation: There were three classes of individuals under the law. A mushkenu was a landless freed man who had to accept monetary compensation for corporal injuries done to him. He often owed a type of feudal duty to a landholder or patron.


14

The 1877 work by Richard Lepsius entitled Die Babylonisch-Assyrischen Langenmafe Nach Der Tafel Von Senkereh states that the two tablets you refer to (of squares and cubes) were discovered by Loftus in 1854 and at that time they were in the collection at the British Museum. It also states that Rawlinson and Smith's work of 1875 on cuneiform inscriptions, ...


11

Yes, you do understand correctly. The best preserved tablets containing the standard Akkadian version were discovered in the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh by Hormuzd Rassam in 1853. These tablets are now held in the British Museum: The Flood Tablet - Epic of Gilgamesh - Library of Ashurbanipal - image source British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) However, ...


11

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 Sumerian king list, copies of which were discovered in Neo-Assyrian sites, so it is evident that these texts were still being copied and read many centuries ...


11

Because the circumstances are all different. In regards "blows and strikes": [116] addresses loss of life, not blows per se. [202] through [206] are all varying classes of assault under different circumstances. The rest of this answer should assist you in interpreting the Code. Let's look closely at the laws pertaining to loss of an eye, in context: 196....


10

Looking into this, it seems that the Papyrus plant was widely cultivated, but never fully domesticated. It doesn't seem like this was due to any major issue with domesticating the plant; it grows from seeds just fine. Rather it was just never grown intensively enough to cause full domestication. It is also a tropical crop, which means it grows best in ...


9

It appears the consensus is indicating multiple colors. In Mesopotamia the seven stages of a ziggurat were each painted a different color, the colors being emblematic of the seven planets Handcock Mesopotamian Archaeology p 273 The Uses of Symbolism in Greek Art ...By Janet M. Macdonald The above quote from a book in 1922, and it appears to be ...


9

The quotes given in Dr Killgrove's article includes just those parts of the tablets where the translation is reasonably certain. While these may convey the broad meaning (in this case that the letters were complaints against the copper merchant Ea-nasir), it can be confusing when the individual letters are looked at in detail. Details about the tablet you ...


8

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 standardized form we are used to today. Here is a relevant article which explains: Although Babylon had flourishing trading activity, Hammurabi did not come up with ...


8

From Wikipedia: In their oldest attested form, as used in the ancient Near and Middle East of the 8th century BCE onwards, bullae were hollow ball-like clay envelopes that contained other smaller tokens that identified the quantity and types of goods being recorded. In this form, bullae represent one of the earliest forms of specialization in the ancient ...


6

In a era when decimal numbers didn't exist, but fractions did, 60 has many factors: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 and 60. The factors of 10 are: 1, 2, 5 and 10. When dividing quantities into smaller units it is easier and more useful to be able to divide them into the smaller quantities if a base of 60 is used instead of 10.


5

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 mentioned, about 50 years later. Trajan conquered the area north of Sura about a hundred years earlier and created the original province of Mesopotamia; however, ...


5

According to this syllabary of Sumerian, and just how one wishes to pronounce Bad-Tibira, one possible Sumerian transcription is this: Whether this is also an accurate transcription of "Fortress of the Copper-Smiths" I cannot say.


5

I have found full list of proto-cuneiform signs (very large file [93 MB]), with very detailed glyphs together with their meanings sadly meanings seems to be all missing. Though there is no author information. Also as you suggested; A. Falkenstein, Archaische Texte aus Uruk (Archaische Texte aus Uruk 1; Berlin-Leipzig 1936) from Cuneiform Digital ...


4

Wikipedia seems to be saying that that entire area up to the Euphrates is considered part of Syria (or "Greater Syria" if you prefer). You are correct that the English name for this particular desert (and only that desert), is "The Syrian Desert". Historically anywhere that is mostly uninhabited is going to have fairly vague political boundaries. If there's ...


4

I have to admit this will not be an entirely satisfactory answer and I hope someone else can contribute a fuller one. However, I have taken several evening or weekend classes in Egyptology, including learning basic hieroglyphics, and read books on the subject, but I have never come across reference to surviving Ancient Egyptian annals. As far as I know their ...


4

The use of zero should be a clue that "Ubaid 0" was identified later in the timeline of Ubaid archaeology, and was an attempt to fit an earlier phase into an existing structure. Eridu was first excavated in 1855, 1918, and 1919, then Tell al'Ubaid in 1919; but Tell El'Ouelli wasn't excavated until 1976-1989. The name "Ubaid period" was adopted at a ...


3

If with Mesopotamia you mean the ancient civilisations in Babylonia and Assyria before the Persian conquest (that is: before 535 BC), then we need to say that there were no coins at all. In a Mesopotamian context, a shekel is a unit of weight, not a struck coin. The first coins in the world were minted in Lydia around 600 BC. In Babylonia, coins began to ...


3

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 Assyrian inscriptions in antiquity was commonplace. In the case of Tiglath Pileser III, we have contradictory evidence. As Dr Floyd Nolen Jones noted: It is well ...


3

Jules Oppert's student Francois Lenormant wrote his thesis on these tables; the handwritten (!) document begins with a transcription of the tables of squares. A very small excerpt may also be found on p. 256 of the travel report by William Loftus himself. A picture of the table in question was published by Lipsius here. Edit. Neugebauer writes that ...


3

I found something, but I don't know how it jibes with the context you saw it in. I came across a presentation by Chaogui Zhang titled History of Mathematics: Hellenic Traditions that actually defines the period as 800BC to 800 CE. If I'm reading their slides right, they seem to be implying a shift of historical focus from river valley civilizations (Egypt ...


3

Having weeks of seven days is a direct consequence of the lunar cycle. Each 29 day lunar cycle comprises four equal phases of 7.25 days long each. Starting from New Moon: Waxing crescent ending in First Quarter; Waxing gibbous ending in Full Moon; Waning gibbous ending in Third Quarter; and finally Waning crescent ending in New Moon. These seven and a ...


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