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Mesopotamië

Mesopotamië


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Mesopotamië (van die Grieks, wat 'tussen twee riviere' beteken) was 'n ou streek in die oostelike Middellandse See wat in die noordooste begrens word deur die Zagrosberge en in die suidooste deur die Arabiese plato, wat ooreenstem met die hedendaagse Irak en dele van Iran, Sirië en Turkye, bekend as die vrugbare halfmaan en die wieg van die beskawing.

Die 'twee riviere' van die naam verwys na die Tigris en die Eufraat, en die land was bekend as 'Al-Jazirah' (die eiland) by die Arabiere as 'n vrugbare land omring deur water. Die term "vrugbare halfmaan" is geskep deur die egiptoloog J.H. Breasted (l. 1865-1935) in 1916 om die gebied aan die noordelike punt van die Persiese Golf te beskryf, wat verband hou met die Bybelse tuin van Eden.

Mesopotamië was die tuiste van baie verskillende beskawings wat oor duisende jare strek, wat aansienlik bygedra het tot die wêreldkultuur en vooruitgang. Baie van die aspekte van die daaglikse lewe wat vandag as vanselfsprekend aanvaar word, soos skryfwerk, die wiel, 'n wetboek, die seil, die konsep van die 24-uur-dag, bierbrouery, burgerregte en besproeiing van gewasse almal is eers ontwikkel in die land tussen twee riviere, wat die tuiste van die groot Mesopotamiese beskawings was.

Die wieg van die beskawing

Anders as die meer verenigde beskawings van Egipte of Griekeland, was Mesopotamië 'n versameling uiteenlopende kulture waarvan die enigste werklike band hul skrif, hul gode en hul houding teenoor vroue was. Die sosiale gebruike, wette en selfs taal van die Sumeriese volk verskil byvoorbeeld van die Akkadiese tydperk en kan nie aanvaar word dat dit ooreenstem met dié van die Babiloniese beskawings nie; Dit lyk egter asof die regte van vroue (gedurende sommige periodes), die belangrikheid van geletterdheid en die panteon van die gode inderdaad in die hele gebied gedeel is, alhoewel die gode verskillende name in verskillende streke en periodes gehad het.

As gevolg hiervan moet Mesopotamië beter verstaan ​​word as 'n gebied wat veelvuldige ryke en beskawings voortgebring het eerder as 'n enkele beskawing. Desondanks staan ​​Mesopotamië bekend as die 'wieg van die beskawing', hoofsaaklik as gevolg van twee ontwikkelings wat daar plaasgevind het, in die omgewing van Sumer, in die 4de millenium vC:

  • die opkoms van die stad soos dit vandag erken word.
  • die uitvinding van skryf (alhoewel dit ook bekend is dat skryf in Egipte, in die Indusvallei, in China ontwikkel is en dat dit onafhanklik gestalte gekry het in Meso -Amerika).

Die uitvinding van die wiel word ook toegeskryf aan die Mesopotamiërs en in 1922 het die argeoloog sir Leonard Woolley “die oorblyfsels van twee vierwielwaens, [op die plek van die ou stad Ur], die oudste wielvoertuie in die geskiedenis ontdek ooit gevind, saam met hul leerbande ”(Bertman, 35). Ander belangrike ontwikkelings of uitvindings wat die Mesopotamiërs toeskryf, sluit in, maar is geensins beperk tot, makmaak van diere, landbou en besproeiing, algemene gereedskap, gesofistikeerde wapens en oorlogvoering, die strydwa, wyn, bier, afbakening van tyd in ure, minute, en sekondes, godsdienstige rites, die seil (seilbote) en wettige kodes. Die oriëntalis Samuel Noah Kramer noem in werklikheid 39 'eerstes' in die menslike beskawing wat uit Sumer ontstaan ​​het. Dit sluit in:

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The First Schools, The First Case of `Apple Polishing ', The First case of Juvenile Delinquency, The First` War of Nerves', The First Bicameral Congress, The First Historian, The First case of Tax Reduction, The First `Moses ', Die eerste juridiese presedent, die eerste farmakopee, die eerste 'Farmer's Almanac', die eerste eksperiment met tuinbou, die eerste kosmogonie en kosmologie van die mens, die eerste morele idees, die eerste 'werk', die eerste spreekwoorde en gesegdes, die eerste Animal Fabels, die eerste literêre debatte, die eerste Bybelse parallelle, die eerste `Noag ', die eerste verhaal van die opstanding, die eerste` St. George ', The First Case of Literary Borrowing, Man's First Heroic Age, The First Love Song, The First Library Catalogue, Man's First Golden Age, The First' Sick 'Society, The First Liturgic Laments, The First Messiahs, The First Long- Afstandskampioen, die eerste literêre beeldspraak, die eerste geslagsimboliek, die eerste mater Dolorosa, die eerste wiegeliedjie, die eerste literêre portret, die eerste elegieë, die eerste oorwinning van die arbeid, die eerste akwarium.

Argeologiese opgrawings wat in die 1840's begin, het menslike nedersettings aan die lig gebring wat tot 10 000 VHJ in Mesopotamië dateer, wat daarop dui dat die vrugbare toestande van die land tussen twee riviere 'n ou jagter-versamelaar in staat gestel het om hulle in die land te vestig, diere te mak en hul aandag daarop te vestig landbou en die ontwikkeling van besproeiing. Handel het spoedig gevolg, en met welvaart kom verstedeliking en die geboorte van die stad. Daar word algemeen gedink dat skryfwerk uitgevind is as gevolg van handel, uit die noodsaaklikheid vir kommunikasie oor lang afstande en om 'n noukeuriger rekord van rekords te hou.

Daar was meer as 1 000 gode in die panteon van die gode van die Mesopotamiese kulture.

Leer en godsdiens

Mesopotamië was in die oudheid bekend as 'n setel van leer, en daar word geglo dat Thales van Miletus (ongeveer 585 v.G.J., bekend as die 'eerste filosoof') daar gestudeer het. Aangesien die Babiloniërs geglo het dat water die 'eerste beginsel' was waaruit al die ander vloei, en aangesien Thales beroemd is om die aanspraak, lyk dit waarskynlik dat hy in die streek bestudeer het.

Intellektuele strewes word in Mesopotamië hoog op prys gestel, en daar word gesê dat die skole (hoofsaaklik gewy aan die priesterlike klas) net so baie soos tempels is, en lees, skryf, godsdiens, regte, medisyne en astrologie geleer het. Daar was meer as 1 000 gode in die panteon van die gode van die Mesopotamiese kulture en baie verhale oor die gode (onder andere die skeppingsmite, die Enuma Elish). Dit word algemeen aanvaar dat Bybelse verhale soos die val van die mens en die Groot Vloed (onder vele ander) ontstaan ​​het in Mesopotamiese kennis, soos dit die eerste keer in Mesopotamiese werke verskyn het, soos Die mite van Adapa en die Epos van Gilgamesj, die oudste geskrewe verhaal ter wêreld. Die Mesopotamiërs het geglo dat hulle mede-werkers van die gode was en dat die land vol geeste en demone was (alhoewel 'demone' nie in die moderne, Christelike sin verstaan ​​moet word nie).

Volgens hulle was die begin van die wêreld 'n oorwinning deur die gode oor die magte van chaos, maar alhoewel die gode gewen het, beteken dit nie dat chaos nie weer kan kom nie. Deur middel van daaglikse rituele, aandag aan die gode, behoorlike begrafnispraktyke en eenvoudige burgerlike pligte, het die mense van Mesopotamië gevoel dat hulle gehelp het om die balans in die wêreld te handhaaf en die magte van chaos en vernietiging weg te hou. Saam met die verwagtinge dat 'n mens jou oudstes sou eer en mense met respek sou behandel, moes die burgers van die land ook die gode eer deur die werk wat hulle elke dag verrig.

Werksgeleenthede

Mans en vroue werk albei, en "omdat antieke Mesopotamië in wese 'n agrariese samelewing was, was die belangrikste beroepe die verbouing van gewasse en die veeteelt" (Bertman, 274). Ander beroepe sluit in die van die skrifgeleerde, die geneser, ambagsman, wewer, pottebakker, skoenmaker, visserman, onderwyser en priester of priesteres. Bertman skryf:

Aan die hoof van die samelewing was die konings en priesters bedien deur die bevolkte personeel van paleis en tempel. Met die instelling van staande leërs en die verspreiding van imperialisme, het militêre offisiere en professionele soldate hul plek ingeneem in die groeiende en diverse werksmag van Mesopotamië. (274)

Vroue het byna gelyke regte geniet en kon grond besit, egskeiding indien, hul eie besighede besit en handelskontrakte sluit. Kontrakte, besigheidsreëlings en korrespondensie is in spykerskrif op kleitablette geskryf en onderteken met 'n afdruk van 'n persoon se silinder seël, wat 'n mens se identifikasie was. Sodra die tablet droog was, is dit soms in 'n klei -koevert geplaas en weer verseël sodat slegs die ontvanger die brief of kontrak kon lees. Spykerskrif is gebruik vir die skryf van Semitiese tale, soos Babilonies, of ander soos Sumeries, en is in gebruik totdat dit deur alfabetiese skrif vervang is. Kwitansies vir goedere wat ontvang is, is ook op spykerskrifttablette geskryf (soos alles was, insluitend lektuur) en dit het almal baie langer geduur as dokumente wat op papirus of papier geskryf is.

Die vroegste bierbewys ter wêreld kom uit Mesopotamië, bekend as die Alulu -kwitansie (ongeveer 2050 v.C.), geskryf in die stad Ur. Die vroeë brouers van bier en wyn, sowel as die genesers in die gemeenskap, was aanvanklik vroue. Hierdie ambagte is later deur mans oorgeneem, toe dit duidelik geword het dat dit winsgewende beroepe was. Die werk wat 'n mens verrig het, is egter nooit bloot as 'n 'werk' beskou nie, maar 'n bydrae tot die gemeenskap en, in uitbreiding, tot die pogings van die gode om die wêreld in vrede en in harmonie te hou.

Geboue en regering

Die tempel, in die middel van elke stad (bekend as 'n ziggurat, 'n trap-piramide-struktuur inheems in die streek), het die belangrikheid van die beskermheiligheid van die stad gesimboliseer, wat ook aanbid sou word deur watter gemeenskappe die stad ook al gelei het. Elke stad het sy eie ziggurat (groter stede, meer as een) om hul beskermgod te eer. Mesopotamië het geboorte geskenk aan die wêreld se eerste stede in die geskiedenis wat grotendeels uit songedroogde baksteen gebou is. In die woorde van Bertman:

Die huislike argitektuur van Mesopotamië het gegroei uit die grond waarop dit gestaan ​​het. Anders as Egipte, was Mesopotamië - veral in die suide - onvrugbaar met klip wat in die steengroef gemaak kan word. ” Die grond was ewe sonder houtbome, daarom het die mense hulle tot ander natuurlike hulpbronne gewend wat oorvloedig byderhand was: die modderige klei van sy rivieroewers en die biesies en riete wat in hul moerasse gegroei het. Met hulle het die Mesopotamiërs die wêreld se eerste kolomme, boë en dakstrukture geskep. (285)

Eenvoudige huise is opgebou uit bondels riete wat aan mekaar vasgemaak is en in die grond geplaas is, terwyl meer komplekse huise van songedroogde kleibaksteen gebou is ('n gebruik wat later deur die Egiptenare gevolg is). Stede en tempelkomplekse, met hul beroemde ziggurate, is almal gebou met oondgebakte kleistene wat daarna geverf is.

Voor die konsep van 'n koning word geglo dat die priesterheersers die wet volgens godsdienstige voorskrifte bepaal het.

Daar word vermoed dat die gode teenwoordig was by die beplanning en uitvoering van enige bouprojek en baie spesifieke gebede wat in 'n vaste volgorde vir die regte godheid voorgehou word, is van uiterste belang geag vir die sukses van die projek en die welvaart van die inwoners van die huis.

Watter koninkryk of ryk ook al in Mesopotamië heers, in watter historiese tydperk ook al, die lewensbelangrike rol van die gode in die lewens van die mense bly onveranderd. Hierdie eerbied vir die goddelike kenmerk die lewe van sowel die veldwerker as die koning. Die historikus Helen Chapin Metz skryf:

Die onsekerheid van bestaan ​​in die suide van Mesopotamië het gelei tot 'n hoogs ontwikkelde godsdiensbesef. Kultusentrums soos Eridu, wat uit 5000 vC dateer, het selfs voor die opkoms van Sumer as belangrike sentrums van pelgrimstog en toewyding gedien. Baie van die belangrikste Mesopotamiese stede het ontstaan ​​in gebiede rondom die pre-Sumeriese kultusentrums, wat die noue verhouding tussen godsdiens en regering versterk het. (2)

Die rol van die koning is op 'n stadium na 3600 vC vasgestel en, anders as die priesterheersers wat voorheen gekom het, het die koning direk met die mense omgegaan en sy testament duidelik gemaak deur wette van sy eie ontwerp. Voor die konsep van 'n koning word geglo dat die priesterheersers die wet volgens godsdienstige voorskrifte dikteer en goddelike boodskappe deur tekens en voortekens ontvang het; terwyl die koning nog steeds die gode eer en vertroos, word hy beskou as 'n sterk genoeg verteenwoordiger van die gode om sy wil deur sy eie voorskrifte te kan spreek, met behulp van sy eie stem.

Dit word die duidelikste gesien in die beroemde wette van Hammurabi van Babilon (1792-1750 v.C.), maar 'n heerser wat aanspraak maak op direkte kontak met die gode was redelik algemeen in die Mesopotamiese geskiedenis, veral in die Akkadiese koning Naram-Sin (r. 2261-2224 v.G.J.) wat so ver gegaan het om homself tot 'n vleesgeworde god te verklaar. Die koning was verantwoordelik vir die welsyn van sy mense en 'n goeie koning, wat volgens goddelike wil geheers het, word erken deur die welvaart van die streek waaroor hy geheers het.

Tog moes selfs baie doeltreffende heersers, soos Sargon van Akkad (2334-2279 v.C.), voortdurende opstande en opstande deur faksies of hele streke hanteer, wat sy legitimiteit betwis. Aangesien Mesopotamië so 'n uitgestrekte gebied was, met soveel verskillende kulture en etniese groepe binne sy grense, sou 'n enkele heerser wat probeer het om die wette van 'n sentrale regering af te dwing, altyd weerstand kry teen 'n enkele kant.

Die geskiedenis van Mesopotamië

Die geskiedenis van die streek en die ontwikkeling van die beskawings wat daar floreer, word die maklikste verstaan ​​deur dit in periodes te verdeel:

Neolitiese tydperk voor die erdewerk

Dit staan ​​ook bekend as die steentydperk (ongeveer 10 000 v.C., alhoewel bewyse baie vroeër daarop dui dat dit menslik was). Daar is argeologiese bevestiging van ru -nedersettings en vroeë tekens van oorlogvoering tussen stamme, waarskynlik oor vrugbare grond vir gewasse en landerye vir vee. Veeteelt word gedurende hierdie tyd toenemend beoefen met die verskuiwing van 'n jagter-versamelaarkultuur na 'n agrariese kultuur. Tog sê die historikus Marc Van De Mieroop:

Daar was nie 'n skielike verandering van jag-versameling na boerdery nie, maar eerder 'n stadige proses waartydens mense hul vertroue op hulpbronne wat hulle regkry, verhoog het, maar steeds hul dieet aangevul het deur wilde diere te jag. Landbou het 'n toename in deurlopende vestiging deur mense moontlik gemaak. (12)

Namate meer nedersettings gegroei het, het argitektoniese ontwikkelinge stadig meer gesofistikeerd geraak in die bou van permanente wonings.

Aardewerk neolitiese tydperk (ongeveer 7 000 v.C.)

In hierdie tydperk was daar 'n wydverspreide gebruik van gereedskap en kleipotte en 'n spesifieke kultuur begin in die vrugbare halfmaan ontstaan. Die geleerde Stephen Bertman skryf: "Gedurende hierdie era was die enigste gevorderde tegnologie letterlik 'voorpunt'" namate klipgereedskap en wapens meer gesofistikeerd geword het. Bertman merk verder op dat "die Neolitiese ekonomie hoofsaaklik gebaseer was op voedselproduksie deur boerdery en veeteelt" (55) en meer gevestig was, in teenstelling met die Steentydperk waarin gemeenskappe meer beweeglik was. Argitektoniese vooruitgang volg natuurlik in die nasleep van permanente nedersettings, net soos die ontwikkelinge in die vervaardiging van keramiek en klipgereedskap.

Kopertydperk (5 900 - 3 200 vC)

Dit staan ​​ook bekend as die chalcolitiese tydperk vanweë die oorgang van klipgereedskap en wapens na koper. Hierdie era sluit die sogenaamde Ubaid-tydperk in (ongeveer 5000-4100 vC, vernoem na Tell al-Ubaid, die plek in Irak waar die grootste aantal artefakte gevind is) waartydens die eerste tempels in Mesopotamië gebou is en ongewenste dorpe ontwikkel uit sporadiese nedersettings van enkelwonings. Hierdie dorpe het toe aanleiding gegee tot die verstedelikingsproses gedurende die Uruk-periode (4100-2900 v.C.) toe stede opgestaan ​​het, veral in die omgewing van Sumer, waaronder Eridu, Uruk, Ur, Kish, Nuzi, Lagash, Nippur en Ngirsu, en in Elam met sy stad Susa.

Die vroegste stad word dikwels Uruk genoem, hoewel Eridu en Ur ook voorgestel is. Van De Mieroop skryf: "Mesopotamië was die digste verstedelikte gebied in die antieke wêreld" (soos aangehaal in Bertman, 201), en die stede wat langs die Tigris- en Eufraatrivier grootgeword het, sowel as dié wat verder weg gestig is, gevestigde stelsels handel wat groot voorspoed tot gevolg gehad het.

In hierdie tydperk is die wiel (ongeveer 3500 v.G.J.) en die geskrif (ongeveer 3000 v.C.) uitgevind, beide deur die Sumeriërs, die vestiging van koningskappe om die priesterheerskappy te vervang en die eerste oorlog in die wêreld wat opgeteken is tussen die koninkryke van Sumer en Elam (2700 v.C.) met Sumer as oorwinnaar. Gedurende die vroeë dinastiese periode (2900-2334 vC) is al die vordering van die Uruk-periode ontwikkel en die stede en die regering in die algemeen gestabiliseer.

Verhoogde welvaart in die streek het aanleiding gegee tot sierlike tempels en beeldhouwerke, gesofistikeerde aardewerk en beeldjies, speelgoed vir kinders (insluitend poppe vir meisies en karre vir seuns) en die gebruik van persoonlike seëls (bekend as silinder seëls) om eienaarskap van eiendom aan te dui en staan ​​vir 'n individu se handtekening. Silinder seëls sou vergelykbaar wees met die hedendaagse identifikasiekaart of rybewys, en die verlies of diefstal van u seël sou in werklikheid net so groot gewees het as die hedendaagse identiteitsdiefstal of die verlies van u kredietkaarte.

Vroeë Bronstydperk (3 000 - 2119 v.C.)

Gedurende hierdie tydperk het brons koper verdring as die materiaal waaruit gereedskap en wapens gemaak is. Die opkoms van die stadstaat het die grondslag gelê vir ekonomiese en politieke stabiliteit wat uiteindelik sou lei tot die opkoms van die Akkadiese Ryk (2334-2218 vC) en die vinnige groei van die stede Akkad en Mari, twee van die vooruitstrewendste stedelike sentrums van die tyd. Die kulturele stabiliteit wat nodig is vir die skepping van kuns in die streek, het gelei tot meer ingewikkelde ontwerpe in argitektuur en beeldhouwerk, asook die volgende uitvindings of verbeterings:

'n aantal spesifieke en belangrike uitvindings: die ploeg en die wiel, die wa en die seilboot en die silinder seël, die mees kenmerkende kunsvorm van antieke Mesopotamië en 'n deurdringende demonstrasie van die belangrikheid van eiendomsbesit en sake in die land daaglikse lewe. (Bertman, 55-56)

Die Akkadiese Ryk van Sargon die Grote was die eerste multi-nasionale koninkryk ter wêreld en die dogter van Sargon, Enheduanna (l. Die biblioteek in Mari bevat meer as 20 000 spykerskrifttablette (boeke) en die paleis daar word beskou as een van die beste in die streek.

Hammurabi, koning van Babilon (1792-1750 vC), het uit relatiewe onduidelikheid opgestaan ​​om die streek te verower en vir 43 jaar te regeer.

Middel-Bronstydperk (2119-1700 v.C.)

Die uitbreiding van die Assiriese koninkryke (Assur, Nimrud, Sharrukin, Dur en Nineve) en die opkoms van die Babiloniese dinastie (gesentreer in Babilon en Chaldea) het 'n atmosfeer geskep wat handel dryf en daarmee saam oorlogvoering verhoog. Die Guti -stam, kwaai nomades wat daarin geslaag het om die Akkadiese Ryk omver te werp, het die politiek van Mesopotamië oorheers totdat hulle deur die geallieerde magte van die konings van Sumer verslaan is.

Hammurabi, koning van Babilon, het uit relatiewe onduidelikheid opgestaan ​​om die streek te verower en 43 jaar lank te regeer. Onder sy vele prestasies was sy beroemde wetkode, op die stele van die gode ingeskryf. Babylon het in hierdie tyd 'n toonaangewende sentrum geword vir intellektuele strewe en hoë prestasies in kuns en letterkunde. Hierdie kulturele sentrum sou egter nie bestaan ​​nie, en is afgedank en geplunder deur die Hetiete, wat toe deur die Kassiete opgevolg is.

Laat Bronstydperk (1700-1100 vC)

Die opkoms van die Kassite-dinastie ('n stam wat uit die Zagrosberge in die noorde gekom het en vermoedelik in die hedendaagse Iran ontstaan ​​het) lei tot 'n magsverskuiwing en 'n uitbreiding van kultuur en leer nadat die Kassiete Babilon verower het. Die ineenstorting van die Bronstydperk het gevolg op die ontdekking van hoe om erts te ontgin en yster te gebruik, 'n tegnologie wat die Kassiete en vroeër die Hetiete in oorlogvoering alleenlik gebruik het.

Die tydperk het ook begin met die agteruitgang van die Babiloniese kultuur as gevolg van die toename in mag van die Kassiete totdat hulle deur die Elamiete verslaan en verdryf is. Nadat die Elamiete ingegee het vir die Arameërs, het die klein koninkryk Assirië 'n reeks suksesvolle veldtogte begin, en die Assiriese Ryk is stewig gevestig en het voorspoedig geword onder die bewind van Tiglath-Pileser I (r. 1115-1076 v.G.J.) en, na hom , Ashurnasirpal II (884-859 v.C.) het die ryk verder gekonsolideer. Die meeste Mesopotamiese state is óf vernietig óf verswak na die ineenstorting van die Bronstydperk c. 1250-c. 1150 vC, wat lei tot 'n kort "donker tydperk".

Ystertydperk (1000 - 500 vC)

Hierdie tydperk het die opkoms en uitbreiding van die Neo-Assiriese Ryk onder Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745-727 v.G.J.) beleef en die ryk se meteoriese opgang tot mag en verowering onder die bewind van groot Assiriese konings soos Sargon II (r. 722) -705 vC), Sanherib (ongeveer 705-681 vC), Esarhaddon (681-669 v.G.J.) en Ashurbanipal (668-627 v.G.J., wat Babilonië, Sirië, Israel en Egipte verower het). Die Ryk het net so vinnig agteruitgegaan as sy styging as gevolg van herhaaldelike aanvalle op die sentrale stede deur Babiloniërs, Mede en Skitiërs in 612 vC.

Die stamme van die Hetiete en die Mitanni het hul onderskeie magte gedurende hierdie tyd gekonsolideer, wat gelei het tot die opkoms van die Neo-Hetitiese en Neo-Babiloniese ryke. Koning Nebukadnesar II (r. 605/604-562 v.G.J.) van Babilon het Jerusalem (588 v.G.J.) gedurende hierdie tydperk verwoes en die inwoners van Israel in die 'Babiloniese ballingskap' gedwing. Hy was ook verantwoordelik vir uitgebreide konstruksie in Babilon en het beroemde geboue soos die Ishtar -poort en die Groot Ziggurat (die "Toring van Babel") geskep. Die val van Babilon na Kores II van Persië (die Grote, r. 550 - 530 v.C.) in 539 v.G.J. het die Babiloniese kultuur effektief beëindig.

Nadat Kores II Babilon ingeneem het, het die grootste deel van Mesopotamië deel geword van die Persiese Ryk en 'n vinnige kulturele agteruitgang gesien.

Klassieke oudheid (500 vC - 7de eeu nC)

Nadat Kores II Babilon ingeneem het, het die grootste deel van Mesopotamië deel geword van die Achaemenidiese Persiese Ryk, en hierdie tydperk het 'n vinnige kulturele verskuiwing in die streek beleef, waaronder 'n aantal veranderings, veral die kennisverlies van spykerskrif. Die verowering van die Perse deur Alexander die Grote in 331 vC het die kultuur en godsdiens verhelder, maar alhoewel Alexander probeer het om Babilon weer 'n stad van gevolg te maak, was die gloriedae nou in die verlede.

Na sy dood het Alexander se generaal Seleucus I Nicator (r. 305 - 281 v.C.) beheer oor die streek geneem en die Seleucidiese Ryk gestig (312 - 63 v.G.J.) wat geheers het tot 63 v.C. toe die land verower is deur die Partiërs wat in draai, oorheers deur die Sassaniërs wat die Sassaniese Ryk gestig het (224 - 651 nC). Die Sassaniërs het die nalatenskap van vroeëre Mesopotamiese beskawings vereer en hul bydraes behou.

Tussen die Partiese Ryk (247 v.C. - 224 G.J.) en die Sassaniërs vestig die Romeinse Ryk hom in die streek in ongeveer. 198 CE, (hoewel Rome vroeër in 116 - 117 CE aangekom het, maar hom onttrek het). Die Romeine het die infrastruktuur van hul kolonies aansienlik verbeter deur die bekendstelling van beter paaie en loodgieterswerk en die Romeinse reg na die land gebring. Tog was die streek voortdurend vasgevang in die oorloë wat verskillende Romeinse keisers gevoer het, eers met die Partiërs en daarna die Sassaniërs, oor die beheer oor die land.

Die antieke kultuur van die streek, wat deur die Sassaniërs bewaar is, is verwoes deur die verowering van Mesopotamië deur Moslem -Arabiere in die 7de eeu nC wat gelei het tot die vereniging van wet, taal, godsdiens en kultuur onder Islam. Aspekte van die kultuur is behou, maar, soos Bertman opmerk, "Met die Islamitiese verowering van 651 nC eindig die geskiedenis van antieke Mesopotamië" (58). Vandag is die groot stede wat vroeër langs die riviere Tigris en Eufraat opgestaan ​​het, grootliks onopgegrawe heuwels of gebreekte bakstene op dorre vlaktes, en die gebied van die vrugbare halfmaan het geleidelik afgeneem in gebiede wat soos woestyne lyk as gevolg van menslike faktore (soos oormatige gebruik van die grond deur landboubedrywighede of stedelike ontwikkeling) en klimaatsverandering.

Nalatenskap

Die nalatenskap van Mesopotamië bestaan ​​vandag deur baie van die mees basiese aspekte van die moderne lewe, soos die tweede en sestigste minuut en die uur van sestig minute. Helen Chapin Metz skryf:

Omdat die welstand van die gemeenskap afhang van die fyn waarneming van natuurverskynsels, het wetenskaplike of protowetenskaplike aktiwiteite baie van die tyd van die priesters beset. Die Sumeriërs het byvoorbeeld geglo dat elkeen van die gode deur 'n getal voorgestel word. Die getal sestig, heilig vir die god An, was hul basiese berekeningseenheid. Die minute van 'n uur en die notasionele grade van 'n sirkel was Sumeriese begrippe. Die hoogs ontwikkelde landbousisteem en die verfynde besproeiings- en waterbeheerstelsels wat Sumer in staat gestel het om surplusproduksie te behaal, het ook gelei tot die groei van groot stede. (4)

Verstedeliking, die wiel, skryfwerk, sterrekunde, wiskunde, windkrag, besproeiing, landbou-ontwikkelings, veeteelt en die vertellings wat uiteindelik as die Hebreeuse Geskrifte herskryf sou word en die basis vir die Christelike Ou Testament sou wees, kom almal uit die land van Mesopotamië.

Soos opgemerk, bevat Kramer 39 'eerstes' uit Mesopotamië in sy boek Die geskiedenis begin by Sumer en tog, so indrukwekkend soos die 'eerstes', eindig Mesopotamiese bydraes tot die wêreldkultuur nie daarmee nie. Die Mesopotamiërs het die kulture van Egipte en Griekeland beïnvloed deur handel oor lang afstande en kulturele verspreiding en het deur hierdie kulture 'n impak op die kultuur van Rome gehad wat die standaard gestel het vir die ontwikkeling en verspreiding van die Westerse beskawing. Mesopotamië in die algemeen, en spesifiek Sumer, het die wêreld 'n paar van die mees volhoubare kulturele aspekte gegee, en alhoewel die stede en groot paleise al lankal verby is, het die erfenis tot in die moderne era voortgeduur.

In die 19de eeu nC het argeoloë van verskillende nasionaliteite in Mesopotamië aangekom om op te grawe vir bewyse wat die Bybelse verhale van die Ou Testament sou bevestig. Op hierdie tydstip word die Bybel as die oudste boek ter wêreld beskou, en die verhale op sy bladsye was oorspronklike komposisies. Die argeoloë wat fisiese bewyse gesoek het om die Bybelse verhale te ondersteun, het presies die teenoorgestelde gevind nadat die antieke kleitablette ontdek is en dat die merke daarop nie ontwerpe was nie, maar 'n vorm van skryf.

Hierdie spykerskrifte is in 1872 deur die geleerde en vertaler George Smith (l. 1840-1876 CE) ontsyfer en dit het die antieke beskawings van Mesopotamië vir die moderne wêreld oopgemaak. Die verhaal van die Groot Vloed en die ark van Noag, die verhaal van die val van die mens, die konsep van 'n tuin van Eden, selfs die klagtes van Job is al eeue voor die Bybelse tekste deur die Mesopotamiërs geskryf.

Sodra spykerskrif gelees kon word en die antieke wêreld van Mesopotamië tot die moderne tyd oopgemaak het, het dit mense se begrip van die geskiedenis van die wêreld en hulself verander. Die ontdekking van die Sumeriese beskawing en die verhale van die spykerskrifttablette het 'n nuwe vryheid van intellektuele ondersoek na alle kennisgebiede aangemoedig. Dit is nou verstaan ​​dat die Bybelse vertellings nie oorspronklike Hebreeuse werke was nie, die wêreld was natuurlik ouer as wat die kerk beweer het, daar was beskawings wat gestyg en geval het lank voordat iemand voorheen gedink het, en as hierdie bewerings deur die owerhede van die kerk en skole vals was, miskien was ander ook.

Die gees van ondersoek aan die einde van die 19de eeu was reeds besig om die paradigmas van aanvaarde denke te betwis toe Smith spykerskrif ontsyfer, maar die ontdekking van Mesopotamiese kultuur en godsdiens het dit verder aangemoedig. In antieke tye het Mesopotamië die wêreld beïnvloed deur sy uitvindings, innovasies en godsdienstige visie; in die moderne tyd het dit letterlik die manier waarop mense die hele geskiedenis en die plek in die voortgesette verhaal van die menslike beskawing verstaan, letterlik verander.


Mesopotamiese regering: die politieke hiërargie

Die politieke hiërargie van die Mesopotamië -beskawing was gebaseer op die monargie, wat uit drie hoofklasse bestaan ​​het, waaronder adellikes, vryburgers en slawe.

Mesopotamië het 'n georganiseerde regering gehad met leiers wat in 'n hiërargiese volgorde deur koninklike dinastieë afgeneem is.

Die koning was die heerser en die wetgewer, gevolg deur wyse mannevergadering, gekies deur die burgerraad. Die vergadering het die reg om die koning te oorheers as een van die reëls verkeerd lyk.

Behalwe hierdie wyse manne, is talle staatsamptenare, skrifgeleerdes, tempelamptenare 'n geëerde verantwoordelikheid gegee.

Die skrifgeleerdes het direk onder die koning gewerk, terwyl die tempelamptenare wese en weduwees versorg en beskerm het. Die verdeling van rolle, mag en voorregte het omstreeks 2000 vC begin.

Die belangrikste kan duidelik gemaak word met die besonderhede wat hier gegee word.


Die vrugbare halfmaan: wieg van die beskawing

Die bevolking van die voorheen jagters en versamelaars het in Mesopotamië gegroei met die ontwikkeling van beter gereedskap. Hierdie stamme het begin ontwikkel klein dorpie soos nedersettings. Toenemende afhanklikheid van die voedsel wat hulle vervaardig het, is die basis vir 'n meer ontwikkelde tegnologie boer en besproeiing. Saam met meer permanente huise, Mesopotamiese stede ontdek metodes van stoor voedselkorrels wat oor 'n lang tydperk gebruik kan word. Diere was mak gemaak wat op sy beurt ekstra ondersteuning in hul boerdery gegee het. Mesopotamiërs het ontwikkel aardewerk, klip gereedskap en begin draaddraad van wol en vlas. Wol was die algemeenste stof wat gebruik is Mesopotamiese klere. Weefstokke vir weefstof kan so vroeg as 3000 vC teruggevoer word. Saam met gesnyde klipjuweliersware, koper is ook hiervoor gebruik.

Die uitgestrekte gebied van die streek is voortdurend versteur verwoestende vloed en donderstorm maak dit kwesbaar vir lyding en honger. Hierdie konstante vrees en hulpeloosheid het aanleiding gegee tot die geloof in God om hulle te red van sulke gevare. Tempels is aan baie toegewy gode en godinne. Gedurende hierdie fase, priesters was bo -aan die samelewing. Godsdiens in Mesopotamië was die middelpunt van hul lewens. Maar, goewerneurs ook die oorlogsleiers regeer die stad met 'n vergadering van volwassenes. Met verloop van tyd het hierdie goewerneurs meer mag aangeneem wat aanleiding gee monargie op sy beurt tot stand kom dinastieë sodat die monarg hul mag aan hul seuns en kleinseuns kon oordra.


Mesopotamië - Geskiedenis

Antieke Mesopotamië: hierdie geskiedenis, ons geskiedenis
http: //mesopotamia.lib.uch
icago.edu/
Universiteit van Chicago Oriental Institute Museum
Drukvriendelike weergawe

Hierdie webwerf is 'n skatkis van inligting en beelde wat pragtig aangebied en kundig georganiseer is. Die projek is opgestel om opvoeders te begelei in die aanbieding van duidelik deurdagte en betekenisvolle inligting oor antieke Mesopotamië, en slaag daarin om relevante verbindings te maak tussen die ou mense en ons eie wêreld, want ontwerpers van die werf herinner besoekers bewustelik daaraan dat antieke Mesopotamië moderne Irak is.

Die webwerf bied vier afdelings: 'n fyn versameling onderrigmateriaal, insluitend 16 volledige lesplanne, 'n leersameling van 142 artefakte en foto's van argeologiese terreine, 'n afdeling vir interaktiewe onderhoude met drie argeoloë en gedetailleerde ontledings van 13 artefakte en 'n afdeling getiteld Life In Mesopotamië bevat besonderhede oor 14 onderwerpe rondom die daaglikse lewe in antieke Mesopotamië. Al hierdie gebiede bied noodsaaklike materiaal wat studente en opvoeders sal help om die lewens van alledaagse mense in antieke Irak te bestudeer.

A central theme of the site, presented most prominently in the section devoted to everyday life, is the connection between the innovative inventions of Mesopotamians and their essential role in creating key features of civilization still central to our world today. Mesopotamian inventions such as large-scale agriculture, urbanization, centralized government, and writing are taken for granted by students however, by learning the history of these and many other innovations that made civilization possible, students walk away with a more well-defined notion of how the study of ancient history relates to their own societies.

Such linkages between the past and the present are always a welcome aspect in any presentation of remote history, and in this case, are doubly welcome because they provide a proud and important history of Iraq that may counter the violent images students gain from media coverage of the now-war-torn nation.

Fourteen topics are explored in depth in the Life In Mesopotamia section, including Religion, The First Farmers, The Role of Women, and The Invention of Writing. Each topic is presented with an introductory essay, a variety of images and artifacts from the Oriental Institute s collection, and links to lesson plans and related classroom activities. These plans are provided in easy-to-use, pdf formatted files, and include contact information for experts at the Chicago Historical Society.

Although it may be that only teachers in the Chicago area may take full advantage of field trip information, educators everywhere may utilize these online resources, giving the Oriental Institute far greater reach than possible prior to the Internet.

Another fantastic element of this website that brings the museum experience a bit closer to the computer-savvy classroom is the Interactives section. To use this section, educators and students must have Shockwave, Flash, and QuickTime plug-ins installed on their computers. By doing so, they have access to a wide range of interviews with the Oriental Institute s director, its conservator, and prominent Assyriologist Dr. Martha Roth.

Topics include the significance of the Code of Hammurabi and a comparison between its laws and the laws of modern societies, the methods museum curators use to preserve and display ancient artifacts, and the real-life application of archeological pursuits in reference to ancient Mesopotamian sites such as Lamassu. There are 13 interactive artifact explorations as well. For example, An Ancient Pull Toy allows website visitors to explore the usages of children’s toys in Mesopotamia in ways that simulate their original usage, an invaluable tool for making the artifact come alive for modern students.

Teachers of world history will definitely appreciate the Learning Collection unit of the website. The 142 artifacts and photographs of archeological sites have been expertly presented, cross-referenced, and explained for educators and students to easily access and study. Visitors may search by name, or browse the collection by the material used, the type of object, the time period, cultural themes, or the location where the object in question was found. For instance, a search for “clay tablet” calls up 76 results, including cuneiform tablets and stellae, various pieces of pottery, children’s toys, school homework assignments, and religious figurines, all made from clay.

Each object is then accessible by zoomable photos, cross-referenced to related artifacts, pinpointed on a map revealing the location of its discovery, and presented alongside suggested supplementary reading. Discussion questions are also provided, allowing teachers to use ready-made inquiries to get students engaged in class conversations. These questions could also be useful as homework assignments.

Finally, the site presents a fantastic Teaching Materials section. With clear directions on how to use the resources, teachers may choose from 16 well-conceived lesson plans that inspire maximum usage of the resources on the site. The lesson plans also provide fine assignments for inside and outside the classroom, such as having students write about their opinions regarding the greatest contributions of the Mesopotamians to our world’s heritage, helping students do research on the way Mesopotamian innovations compare with modern ones (such as ancient and modern brain surgery, record keeping, and the status of women in society), and watching films that boldly illustrate Mesopotamian life (such as the acclaimed documentary The Glassmakers of Herat.)

One of the most relevant lesson plans for the purpose of the site (that is, linking the history of ancient Mesopotamia to the modern world), is a Symbols From History assignment that prompts students to research the use of ancient symbols in modern Iraq using newspapers articles, library visits, and the Internet. Such assignments not only assist student learning about the ancient past, but heighten awareness about current events as well. Finally, a detailed list of how each lesson plan synchronizes with the National Council for the Social Studies Curriculum Standards is a welcome addition for K-12 educators.

This website is a welcome addition for scholars, educators, and students of world history. The interactive archeological dig and enhanced Flash presentations on ancient sites in Iraq make this site especially useful as a teaching tool. By providing visual, written, and interactive information about ancient Mesopotamia and modern Iraq, as well as making the linkages between the ancient past and contemporary life, the designers of this website have given world history educators a fantastic gift that will surely be appreciated and copied.

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A project of the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University,
with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
© 2003-2005 center for history & new media


Mesopotamia at the Forefront of Urbanization

The civilization in Mesopotamia arose due to the fertility of the soil. The fertile soils allowed the Mesopotamians to produce surplus food. Having surplus food allowed people to settle. As settlements sprung up, towns and cities also began to develop. Thus, Mesopotamia was at the forefront of urbanization.

It is also remarkable that an increase in settlements led to an expansion in the population size. As the population grew job specialization, division of labor, a high degree of organization, cooperation, and kingship became possible. With the emergence of towns and cities, levels of interaction grew.

The Mesopotamia region was also characterized by variations in wealth. Early farmers occupied different parts of Mesopotamia (Benton and DiYanni 1-34). As already pointed, the southern part was more fertile. Hence, farmers from the south were wealthier. This led to the emergence of social classes. Similarly, the role of decision-making came up since there was a need for collective construction of dykes, canals, ditches, etc.

On the other hand, the need for regulation and controls called for cooperation. The region also built religious facilities, which were used for purposes of worshiping. Priests were in charge of the spiritual life of the Mesopotamian people. With time, the Mesopotamian villages evolved to become self-sufficient and autonomous cities. Although the cities were not quite autonomous in an economic sense, eventually they became politically independent.

The aspect that strikes me most is the manner in which simple villages transformed into independent city-states. At the time that Mesopotamia was coming up, few known cities operated independently. Moreover, life at this time was nomadic. However, the argument that Mesopotamia being fertile was the main reason the people chose to stay, does not convince wholly.

For instance, this was not the only fertile place. Maybe other factors, such as location could have played a role in the decisions of the people to stay there. However, it remains fascinating how the villages evolved to become independent city-states. Additionally, the cities chose to become politically independent. I find it to be surprised that there was no unified system for governing the country.

Opsomming

Present-day Iraq draws several parallels with Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was a composition of independent city-states. This is no longer the case in Iraq since the country is a unitary state. Earlier on, Mesopotamia was primarily driven by an agricultural economy. On the contrary, the economy of Iraq is primarily driven by oil production. However, the two, Mesopotamia and Iraq highly regarded religion. Based on this evidence, Iraq is not a replica of Mesopotamia.


Mesopotamian Motifs in the Early Chapters of Genesis

Biblical history proper begins with the call to Abraham to leave his native country and set out for a destination that is to become the Promised Land. The event is recorded in Genesis 12. All that precedes, i.e. Gen. 1-11, is thus in a sense extra-biblical and, in more ways than one, prehistoric as well. Small wonder, therefore, that these introductory chapters of Genesis bear the collective title of “Primeval History” in the scientific literature on the subject.

As a broadly conceived setting for the Bible as a whole, Primeval History proves to be not only pre-Israelite in subject matter but in large part also non-Israelite in origin. In other words, the content of Gen. 1-11 was not invented by the writer or writers in question neither was it rooted in older local traditions. Instead, the basic detail turns out to stem ultimately from the outside, and more particularly from a single major source, the cultural domain of Mesopotamia. The purpose of this paper is to review very briefly some of the ties that link the Primeval History of Genesis to the cultural traditions of Mesopotamia, and to comment on the meaning of these inter-connections.

The Mesopotamian background of much of the detail in the early chapters of Genesis is attested in several ways. For one thing, there is the direct evidence from geographical data. Thus the rivers of Eden include the Tigris and the Euphrates (Gen. 2:14) the realm of Nimrod comprises the lands of Shinar (i.e. Sumer) and Ashur, and such leading centers as Babylon, Erech, and Accad in the south, and Nineveh and Calah in the north (Gen. 10:10-12) and the story of the Tower of Babel, in the land of Shinar, carries a double indication of its locale. For another thing, the story of Eden contains such Hebrew borrowings from the Sumerian as the term‘ed “(underground)flow” (Gen. 2:6), and the name Eden itself. And for still another–and most significant of all–much of the substantive content of Primeval History bears the unmistakable imprint of Mesopotamia. A quick glance at a few of the details should be sufficient to illustrate the nature and extent of this relationship.

The account of Creation in Gen. 1-2:4a gives, as has long been recognized, the same order of events as is found in the Babylonian Genesis, or Enuma verdwyn. In both sources the successive stages are listed as primeval chaos, light, sky, dry land, and astral bodies and each account culminates in the creation of man. What is more, the correspondence between the respective statements extends even to the syntax of the opening verses: “When…–at which time…–then…” The same scheme, incidentally, is followed in the second Biblical account of Creation (Gen. 2:4b-7).

The narrative about the Garden of Eden constitutes an unforgettable evocation of the childhood of mankind. As such, it is an achievement of obvious originality. This does not imply, however, that the physical background was drawn largely from imagination, as has often been alleged. We know now that all four rivers of Eden (Gen. 2:10-14) were described as converging in a specific region of Southern Mesopotamia, the area near the head of the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, the land of Cush, which is cited in that connection, was not Ethiopia but a different and unrelated country, namely, the land of the Kassites (the Kossaioi of the classical authorities), a people who ruled Babylonia during a large part of the second millennium B.C. What is more, as has been pointed out by S.N Kramer, Sumerian literature located in the same general area a fabled Utopia, a land that knew neither sickness nor death. It was there, too, that the Babylonian hero of the Flood settled after having been admitted to the company of the immortals. And finally, that very region abounds to this very day in reedy marsh and shallow lagoon, and is the retreat of a distinctive group known as Marsh Arabs, a people whose dwellings have not departed at all from the architectural types displayed on reliefs and cylinder seals of five thousand years ago.

The Biblical account of the Flood (Gen. 6:4-8:22) shows very close connections with certain cuneiform sources, as has been evident since 1872. Its most intimate tie is with Tablet XI of the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh. In both instances there is a Flood hero who has been singled out for deliverance from the impending universal catastrophe. Each is told to construct an ark according to minute technical specifications. There follow related descriptions of the universal cataclysm, the annihilation of all life outside the ark, and the eventual grounding of the strange vessel on top of a tall mountain. Both Noah and his Babylonian counterpart (Utnapishtim) release a series of birds at suitable intervals to test the subsidence of the waters each account includes a dove and a raven. Lastly, when dry land has reappeared in the now desolate world, each principal gives expression to his boundless relief by means of a sacrifice of humble thanksgiving.

Significantly enough, a Middle Akkadian fragment of the Gilgamesh epic was recently found by an Israeli shepherd on an excavation dump at Megiddo. This shows that at least some ancient Palestinians–there was as yet no historic Israel–could read the work in cuneiform.

All that needs to be said here about the proverbial Nimrod (Gen. 10:8-12) is that we now have, in all likelihood, the historical prototype of that ever intriguing figure: Tukulti-Ninurta I, an Assyrian king of the thirteenth century B.C., who held sway over both Assyria and Babylonia, much like the Biblical hero. He was widely celebrated for his exploits in peace and war, inspired his followers to fierce loyalty, and was himself the hero of a long epic poem. The full technical evidence on the subject has been given elsewhere.

There could never be, of course, any question about the locale of the narrative concerning the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). But the link with Mesopotamia goes farther in this case than the geographic background alone. It was long believed that this particular account owed its origin to the impressive appearance of the temple tower of Babylon. This ziggurat, however, as Herodotus describes it, was the proud achievement of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar, in the seventh/sixth centuries B.C., several centuries after the date of the Biblical narrative in question. The actual starting point of our story was not monumental but literary. We need look for it no farther than the account of the building of Babylon’s main temple and its tower, as given in Enuma verdwyn VI 60-62. The name of the sacred precinct was Esagila, which is Sumerian for “structure with upraised head.” The Babylonian poem makes a word play on this name when it states that “they raised its (i.e. Esagila’s) head toward Apsu (in this context a synonym for the sky).” The same passage, moreover, stresses the ceremonial preparation of the bricks that were to be used in the construction of Esagila. The corresponding Biblical text says, “Come, let us mold bricks and burn them hard…Let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its head in the sky.” If the Biblical writer had actually had the text of the Babylonian Genesis before him, he could hardly have come much closer to the Akkadian original.

Finally, there are the familiar genealogies of the patriarchs before the Flood, with life-spans of abnormal lengths, as recorded in Gen. 5 For this motif, too, there is a well established Mesopotamian tradition. The standard Sumerian King List goes back likewise to antediluvian times, except that it deals with dynasties instead of patriarchal generations. It also features lives of enormous length indeed the Mesopotamian entries boast thousands and tens of thousands of years as compared with mere centuries in the Primeval History of Genesis. The Sumerian list established a precedent for tracing national history back to over-all world conditions before the Flood. This practice was taken over by Akkadian and Hurrian writers, and it appears to have influenced Biblical tradition as well. For there would seem to be no valid reason otherwise for prefacing the Bible, which tells the story of a single society, with a section that starts out with the origin of the world.

How is such manifold dependence of Primeval History on Mesopotamian prototypes to be evaluated? One attempted answer can be found in the tenets of a school of Biblical criticism which sprang up at the beginning of the century under the leadership of the distinguished German Assyriologist Friedrich Delitzsch. In a series of lectures under the title of “Babel and Bible,” Delitzsch called attention to the Babylonian material in the early chapters of Genesis and went on to conclude that the Bible was guilty of unmitigated plagiarism The pertinent material has increased considerably in the meantime. Yet, paradoxically enough, the full evidence that is now available has served to refute rather than confirm the claims of the pan-Babylonian school, by demonstrating that those claims were based on half-truths.

The ties between early Biblical and Mesopotamian traditions are actually much closer and more numerous than Delitzsch and his followers could possibly have known some sixty years ago. But that whole school failed to take into account two facts that were fully apparent from the start. First, if the patriarchs really came from Mesopotamia, as the Bible itself repeatedly asserts, they could not but be familiar with the cultural traditions of their original homeland. The very presence of imported material in Genesis would thus be proof of its authentic derivation rather than of unacknowledged borrowing. And second, the Bible nowhere seeks to conceal the Mesopotamian character of the traditions in question.

On the contrary, it calls attention to it time and again: in the story of Eden, the brief account about Nimrod, the episode of the Tower of Babel. Only if such importations were lacking, would there be reason for doubts and suspicion.

There is a further aspect to this problem, moreover, which outranks all others in significance. Abraham’s migration from Mesopotamia, which marks the real start of Biblical history and the Biblical process as a whole, was due to spiritual considerations. This is clearly indicated in Gen. 12, confirmed in so many words in Josh. 24:2, and borne out by subsequent Biblical developments. The departure, in short, was in protest against the religious solution that had been arrived at in Mesopotamia. Unavoidable, the migrants brought with them a great deal of cultural baggage from the land of their birth, including much of the detail that is now found in the early chapters of Genesis. But that patrimony was not left intact it was transformed in conformance with the new quest and ideals.

Thus the opening account of Creation in Genesis differs from its Babylonian analogue by its overriding emphasis on an omnipotent Creator–a concept missing from, indeed alien to, Mesopotamian polytheism. The narrative about the Garden of Eden incorporates various imported data about the Sumerian Paradise. But it contributes also a new notion of individual responsibility, which transposed the older cycle into the higher scale of Paradise lost. The story of the Flood, for all its intimate ties with Mesopotamian versions of the subject, differs from them nevertheless in giving that universal catastrophe a moral motivation in the form of a report about the Fallen Angels (Gen. 6:1-4) no such motivation is present in the cuneiform prototypes. Lastly, the tale about the Tower of Babel, although parts of it read almost like a direct transcript from Enuma verdwyn, is used not in contravention of Babylonian copyright, but for the express purpose of rebuking the acknowledged authors for their presumptuous ideas about competing with Heaven.

Hence the numerous Mesopotamia motifs in Primeval History–motifs of which the foregoing review is but a sampling–may be said to add up to the following: They are an authentic reflex of some of the contributions that Mesopotamian civilization imparted to the gradually emerging Biblical society. At the same time, however, these motifs serve to remind us that the patriarchs left Mesopotamia in quest of a more valid way of life as symbolized by the Promised Land.


Why Was the Wheel so Important to Mesopotamia?

The wheel allowed Mesopotamians to create a number of novel transportation methods. It was also used in a variety of mechanical devices. Creating wheels may have also spawned new methods of making items that need precision.

While the wheel allowed to Mesopotamians to create novel means of transportation, sledges were likely in use at the same time. While wheels are advantageous in certain scenarios, the simplicity and low cost of sledges meant that they remained in use long after wheeled methods were available however, the development of chariots was a pivotal moment in the history of civilization.

Wheels were also used in a number of mechanical devices. One of the most popular devices that used one was the potter's wheel. These devices made it far easier to make pottery quickly, and they may have spawned related mechanical devices used for a variety of purposes.

Creating useful wheels requires a considerably amount of precision, which forced Mesopotamians to develop a method of creating precise devices. As a result, Mesopotamians spent a considerable amount of time devising methods of making wheels as round and smooth as possible. These early experiments led to insights in other fields, and some experts believe that they led to breakthroughs in other devices they used.


What Was the Culture of Mesopotamia?

Some of civilization's first cities were founded by the Sumerian people in Mesopotamia, which is located in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In Mesopotamia, women were wives and mothers and took care of household duties. Men were trained from an early age for specialized jobs such as masons, musicians, builders or politicians. Big events such as weddings were celebrated with parties and festivals.

There were also certain rites performed by members of Mesopotamian society. Once children were of age, their parents secured an arranged marriage for them. During the marriage ceremony it is believed that the husband poured perfume over his bride's head. During a celebration, the type of food and drink available to guests was determined by the host's social status. Families usually had three or four children. There was a high infant mortality rate, leading to women wearing amulets during pregnancy to protect them from miscarriage. Rituals were performed after a child's birth so that it would not be taken by a demon or deity. One of the Mesopotamian burial customs was to place the deceased individual's body in a ceramic jar and seal the jar with clay. Other methods involved wrapping the body in a mat or rug before burial.


Tag Archives: philosophy

First there was ______, then there was ______, and the universe was created.

It’s a pretty standard and simplified formula of how humans have been trying to explain the elusive origins of our universe and its inhabitants, since the beginning of time. The most well known of such explanations to come out of our favorite place here at All Mesopotamia is the Enûma Eliš (Enuma Elish), a Babylonian creation myth. Its composition date is believed to either be as early as the 18th century BCE, or as late as the 11th century BCE, depending on whom you ask, but it is definitely one of the oldest comprehensive written creation myths.

As is common knowledge, before Babylon was even a thought, Sumerians had the run of Mesopotamia, and they did a lot of organizing while they did. This required making sense of the chaos that was the universe to the people who had to figure out even how to produce their own food.

Who am I? Where am I?

To people vulnerable to every little speck of dust the universe threw their way, our ancestors needed to make sense of what must have been a terrifying existence. Hence, the titular questions of this section that we all might ask if we woke up with pizza stuck to our face, in a strange place. For Sumerians, the universe was that strange place. It was vast and harsh, and especially where they were standing, a hot and flood-plagued spot. They needed a way to explain their surroundings, and their existence within those surroundings.

There is always something there…

Illustration of the Sumerian Creation Myth by Hanna Agosta.

Ira Spar of the Metropolitan Museum of Art writes in his piece Epic of Creation (Mesopotamia): “…no single myth addressed issues of initial creation. It was simply assumed that the gods existed before the world was formed.”

Though not all Mesopotamian creation myths tell the same story, they all have one thing in common: They all begin with a universal element already in existence, like water or earth or sky, represented by corresponding primeval gods.

The Sumerian Myth webpage says: “Often, the Sumerians wrote as if their civilization (agricultural techniques, cities, classes of people) came first, and people later.” The introduction of a Sumerian story called “The Huluppu Tree,” gives a great example of this:

In the first days when everything needed was brought into being, In the first days when everything needed was properly nourished… (Source)

In another Sumerian text, it is Nammu, the sea, that is the starting point. “[Nammu is] the mother, who gave birth to heaven and earth.” (Source)

But why and how did I end up here?

All Mesopotamian creation myths share one purpose for the creation of humankind, and it’s pretty cut and dry (not to mention depressing): Humans were created by the gods to do the menial jobs they didn’t want to do themselves.

And if you didn’t feel lucky enough as a general peon, you could take delight in knowing you were also created to keep the temples stocked with food and spirits for, you guessed it, the gods. One can understand (albeit grudgingly by yours truly) why scholars often label the Mesopotamian civilization “pessimistic.” The purpose is the same, but the hoe is where Mesopotamian creation myths differ when it comes to the creation of humankind. Sumerians believed they were fashioned out of clay by Enki, the god of wisdom, and Ninmah, the goddess of birth. (Source)

While in Enuma Elish, humans are created from the blood of a defeated god, Kingu, the second husband of Tiamat (salt water goddess). Regardless of how they came to exist, their existence sounds like a bleak existence, doesn’t it? I believe inventing beer was one way for these poor people to cope with their lot in life, for sure, but as smart as that invention was, there was something even smarter still.

Waxing philosophical

Top bird explains your place in the universe. (Source)

Philosophy is usually associated with the Greeks, but Sumerians also spent time philosophizing. In fact, around the 3rd millennium BC, Sumerians put their philosophical thoughts about humanity’s place in the universe into writing.

The Sumerian Disputations is a series of seven debate topics, or dialogues, between various opposite entities. Though the entities are not always intellectual, their arguments reflect intellectual views of the universe. In Debate Between Bird and Fish, for example, the bird and fish try to more or less one-up each other by pointing out their strengths and, ultimately, their importance in/to the universe, all the while using human standards for measurement, in this case, which of the two pleases Culgi, the son of the chief god Enlil, the most. In this debate, the bird comes out the winner for its sweet song. Another debate is between Winter and Summer, in which Winter wins for being the provider of water, pointed out as an important element for agriculture.

What matters

Sumerians, Babylonians, and every people who questioned their existence since, after, or even before them, have explained the universe in one way or other. Today, we have TV shows and the actual Big Bang theory for those of us who want a scientific explanation for the universe, but even science doesn’t have all the answers. We might forever wonder about our ever present universe, our home, in which we have built and continue to build our purpose and destiny, and maybe that is the point of it all.


Ancient Mesopotamian empire collapsed because of a massive dust storm, study says

A new study suggests an ancient Mesopotamian civilization was likely wiped out by dust storms nearly 4,000 years ago. The Akkadian Empire, which ruled what is now Iraq and Syria from the 24th to the 22nd Century B.C., was likely unable to overcome the inability to grow crops, famine and mass social upheaval.

An ancient civilization that ruled Mesopotamia nearly 4,000 years ago was likely wiped out because of disastrous dust storms, a new study suggests.

The Akkadian Empire, which ruled what is now Iraq and Syria from the 24th to the 22nd Century B.C., was likely unable to overcome the devastating aftereffects of the dust storms, including an inability to grow crops, famine and mass social upheaval.

“Although the official mark of the collapse of the Akkadian Empire is the invasion of Mesopotamia by other populations, our fossil samples are windows in time showing that variations in climate significantly contributed to the empire’s decline,” said Hokkaido University professor Tsuyoshi Watanabe in a statement.

A 4,100-year-old Oman coral fossil. (Credit: HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY)

According to the study's abstract, researchers looked at six 4,100-year-old Porites coral fossils from the Gulf of Oman that told the tales of "a prolonged winter shamal season with frequent shamal days."

Watanabe and his team compared the ancient coral fossils to modern coral samples, along with meteorological information. They found that the ancient coral contained evidence of strong winds that are associated with dust storms.

File photo: Dust storm panorama in the Arizona desert during the monsoon. (iStock)

"The data before and since the collapse are furthermore comparable to modern coral data, showing the dry spells would have been sudden and intense," the statement added.

"This likely caused agricultural failures in Mesopotamia and contributed to the Akkadian Empire collapse, as this region depends on winter rainfall," the abstract added. A winter shamal is a form of western Asian dust storm.

In addition to the devastating dust storms and the aforementioned invasions, it's also believed that infighting played a role in the empire's demise, The Sun reports.

The Akkadian Empire, which "thrived with the development of irrigation," disappeared and abandoned their settlements approximately 4,200 years ago, which led to an "abrupt collapse" of the civilization.

Assyrian wall relief of a genius from Mesopotamia, detail with a head. Ancient carving panel from the Middle East history. (Credit: iStock)

Watanabe said that further research is needed to "help improve our understanding of connections between climate changes and human societies in the past."


Kyk die video: Droogte in Mesopotamië (Desember 2022).

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