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  2. THE FERTILE CRESCENT Aswan DamDraining of the Marshes

  3. Pre-requisites for Civilization • Agriculture developed in the Fertile Crescent around 9000 bce • Mining and use of copper around 6000 bce • Growth of villages and towns • Division of labor • Smelting of tin and copper to make bronze around 3000 bce > Bronze Age

  4. Sumerian Inventions • Cuneiform writing • The wheel • Potter’s wheel • Sailing ship • Pick-axe • Brick mold • Glass • 60-based counting system: 60 minutes to an hour, 360 degrees to a circle • Number positioning • Beer • Epic poetry Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur

  5. Mesopotamian Empires

  6. Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilizations • City states • Each city had its own king and patron god or goddess • City states often warred with each other • Theocracy -- king as god’s representative • Hierosgamos: ritual marriage with the goddess/priestess • Highly legalistic • Law Codes • Contracts • Judicial proceedings and appeals processes • Extensive trading networks • Architectural Marvels of Ancient Mesopotamia

  7. Lively Spirits: From the Hymn to Ninkasi You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort, Brewing [it] with honey and wine (You the sweet wort to the vessel) Ninkasi, (...) (You the sweet wort to the vessel) The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound, You place appropriately on [top of] a large collector vat. Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound, You place appropriately on [top of] a large collector vat. When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. Beer or Bread?

  8. WritingOrigin and the Deveopment of Writing in Mesopotamia Tablet of pre-cuneiform scriptSouth MesopotamiaUruk III, end of 4th millenium BC.Clay (?sun-baked clay)Louvre

  9. Writing: PictogramsCylinder Seals Cylinder Seal with Watergod, Birdman, and DeitiesMesopotamia, Akkadian Period, 2300 - 2200 B.C.Emory University

  10. Writing: Cuneiform Cuneiform Cylinder of Nabopolassar Recording Repair of the City Wall of Babylon, Mesopotamia, BabylonNeo-Babylonian Period, Reign of Nabopolassar, 625 - 605 B.CEmory University

  11. Sumerian Schools • Literacy was a highly valued skill • Sumerians set up first institutions of formal education: edubba • Education included writing and mathematics • Tuition paid for education • Educated were privileged elite: government officials, scribes, etc.

  12. ...a flood will sweep over the cult centers;To destroy the seed of mankind...Is the decision, the word of the assembly of the gods.By the word commanded by An and Enlil...All the windstorms, exceedingly powerful, attacked as one,At the same time, the flood sweeps over the cult centers.After, for seven days and seven nights,The flood had swept over the land,And the huge boat had been tossed about by the windstorms on the great waters,Utu came forth, who sheds light on heaven and earth,Ziusudra opened a window on the huge boat,The hero Utu brought his rays into the giant boat. Nippur Flood Tablet The tablet can be dated by its script to the late 17th century BC.

  13. Deciphering Cuneiform 1835: Henry Rawlinson, an English army officer, found some inscriptions on a cliff at Behistun in Persia. Carved in the reign of King Darius of Persia (522-486 BC), they consisted of identical texts in three languages: Old Persian, Babylonian and Elamite.

  14. Enheduanna, Priestess and Poetthe world’s first known writer The Enheduanna Research Pages Women in Ancient Mesopotamia Inanna: The Opera Original tablet Reconstuction of alabaster disk,Philadephia

  15. Enheduanna’s Inscription Here are the first 4 lines of cuneiform: 1) en-he-du-an-na.....................En-he-du-ana,2) MUNUS.NUNUZ.ZI.............zirru priestess3) dam-nanna........................... wife of the god Nanna,4) dumu-...................................daughter The inscription continues: 5) sarru-GI............................ of Sargon, 6) [ lugal]............................... [king] of7) KIS................................... the world (Kish),8) e-INANNA.ZA.ZA............. in the temple of the goddess9) uri.KI-ma-ka...................... Inanna- ZA.ZA in Ur,10) bara-si-ga........................ made a socle and11) bi-e-du12) bara bansur-an-na...........named it: 'dais, table of13) mu-se bi-sa......................the god An'.

  16. THEOCRACY:Kings: Servants of the Gods The powerful gods communicate their desires to humanity through the medium of a powerful priestly class or autocratic king who serves as the intermediary. - Government of the gods/priest class - Ruler may be divine himself, or chosen by the god/gods - Each city had its own gods This system centralizes power in the hands of a small group of people and gives political decisions a religious authority Sumerian King List

  17. The City Center • Temples served civic and religious purposes • Daily sacrifices and rituals • Storage of surplus grain and other foods • Dwelling of priests and priestesses • Locale where craftsmen and artisans could practice their trades Ziggurats: Temples to the Gods

  18. Standard of Urc. 2700 B.C.E. 8" x 19" A box inlaid with shell, lapis and red limestone Scenes of War Scenes of Peace

  19. Gilgamesh, the Hero-King • Ruled in Sumer c. 2700 bc • Epic of Gilgamesh chronicles his reign • Evolves from selfish, uncontrolled autocrat to benevolent ruler via: • friendship • rebellion • loss • quest • recognition of mortality • acceptance of responsibilty and service to the goddess Ishtar (Inanna)

  20. The young King Gilgamesh challenged and defeated all the young men and claimed any young woman for himself.

  21. The people prayed to the gods for help, The gods decided to create a challenger-companion for Gilgamesh. Standing male worshiper, 2750–2600 B.C.; Early Dynastic period II; Sumerian styleAlabaster (gypsum), shel, black limestone; Height 11.9 in. MMA

  22. ~The goddess of Creation, Aruru, conceived an image in her mind, and it was of the stuff of Anu, of the firmament. She dipped her hands in water and pinched off clay, and let it fall in the wilderness, and Noble Enkidu was Created. There was Virtue in him, of the god of War, of Ninurta Himself.~ He was called ENKIDU. Enkidu lived happily with the animals of the forest …. ENKIDU

  23. Civilizing Enkidu A priestess from the Temple of Inanna was brought to Enkidu. She made love with him taught him to wear clothes taught him to eat bread taught him to drink beer brought him to Gilgamesh

  24. Humbaba, Guardian of the Cedar Forests • Gilgamesh and Enkidu achieved many great adventures together • They decided to challenge the guardian of the great Cedar Forests, Humbaba

  25. Ishtar and Gilgamesh • Gilgamesh scorns Ishtar • To punish this insult, she sends the Bull of Heaven against Gilgamesh and Enkidu • The two heroes slay the Bull of Heaven and fling its haunches in Ishtar’s face • The gods are enraged

  26. Gilgamesh is devastated the death of Enkidu from Hard Crossing: the Story of Gilgamesh, The Total Theatre, NYC, May 1986

  27. He seeks Utnapishtim to gain eternal life and loses his prize to a snake

  28. Gilgamesh famed for building walls and protecting his city The gates of Ishtar

  29. LAWS: The Code ofHammurabi, ca. 1760 bce • 2350 bce law reform by King Urukagina of Lagash to protect exploited citizens • 21st c. bce: earliest extant law code from Ur-Nammu (1000 years before the 10 Commandments Law-Codex of Hammurabi,first half of the 18th century BCE, Basalt, Louvre Full Text of the Code of Hammurabi

  30. Continual warfare among Sumerian city states and against invading tribes eventually led to the downfall of Sumerian civilization. But the influence of Sumerian civilization was felt in throughout the Near East, Egypt, India, the Mediterranean civilizations: Crete, Mycenae, Greece, Rome, and in Judeo-Christian traditions. A stele is a monolithic monument that commemorates an historical event. The Stele of Naram Sin has a formality and rigidity similar to Egyptian art. Compare its strong diagonal composition with the horizontal registers of the Standard of Ur. Victory Stele of Naram Simc. 2300- 2200 B.C.E. 61/2' tall, sandstone

  31. Flood Myths • Flood myths are present on every continent • Leeming: “The pattern behind the many forms that the flood myth takes is the archetype of the productive sacrifice…. The flood myth…reminds us that life depends on death, that without death there can be no cycle, no birth. • Floods connected with cleansing, washing away of blunders or evil • Spared survivors are heroes of a new life

  32. Blundered creation Error or evil by mankind Period of degradation Sacrifice and thanksgiving Salvation of survivors Retreat of gods from intimate relationship with mankind But: new and renewed relationship between humanity and divine consecrated Humans must work to live: learned arts and skills for survival Ante- Diluvian Post- Diluvian

  33. Gilgamesh text: ca. 2000 bce Utnapishtim or Ziusudra Enlil annoyed by human noise Ea/Enki warns Utnapishtim in dream of oncoming flood Boat built in 7 days Contents: family, kin, animals, craftsmen, gold 6 days and 6 nights of rain and rising water Ishtar (Inanna) regrets divine council’s decision Boat lands on Mt. Nisir Dove, swallow and raven released Sacrifice and libation Ishtar’s necklace set in sky as token Genesis text: ca. 1000 bce Noah God dismayed by evil of mankind Noah chosen as righteous man Noah follows God’s directions to build ark Contents: family, 7 of clean beasts, 2 of unclean 40 days and 40 nights of rain All mankind perishes except Noah’s family Ark lands on Mt. Ararat Raven, dove, dove released\ Burnt offerings Rainbow sent in sky as token of new covenant between God and mankind. Mesopotamian and Hebrew Flood Myths