The Fertile Crescent Chapter 2, Section 3 - The Legacy of Mesopotamia
Hammurabi’s Code • King Hammurabi of Babylon set down rules for everyone in his empire to follow. • His code was based on the concept “an eye for an eye.” • A person who accidentally broke a law was considered to be just as guilty as a criminal. • Doctors often got into trouble, because sometimes their patients died. Even if it wasn’t their fault, the doctor’s hand would be cut off.
The Art of Writing • Writing developed in Mesopotamia in 3500 B.C. • The Sumerians developed a system of writing, and trained scribes to record the sales and trades, tax payments, gifts for the gods, marriages, and deaths. • The people of ancient Mesopotamia inscribed their writing on clay tablets. Archaeologists have discovered and translated many of these clay tablets.
More About Writing Sumerians began writing by forming pictures. Over time, they combined pictures and symbols, and eventually began using wedges and lines. These wedges and lines became known as cuneiform.
As writing developed, word representations changed from pictures into wedge-shaped cuneiform.
The Importance of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia is known as the “cradle of civilization” because all civilization started there. Great rulers built empires by conquering other lands in the area. Trade and conquest made the region wealthy. Mesopotamia means “the land between two rivers.” Many societies developed between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Science and learning centers developed in the region, as well as the art of writing. Laws were written down and used to settle disputes. The first cities developed in Mesopotamia. Farming led to surpluses of food, and was possible in this fertile region.