The Ancient Near East - Clarkson University

The Ancient Near East - Clarkson University

The Ancient Near East The Larger Picture The Sumerians Invented: Writing Farming Technology Architecture Codes of Law

Cities and Regional Governments Formal System of Education Writing Cuneiform etched on clay tablets baked for permanence Originally invented to keep business and temple records

Eventually grew to include writings of philosophy, literature, mathematics, architecture, law, politics, and religion The oldest surviving documents in the world Farming Technology Irrigation Systems

Complex system of canals, dikes, weirs and reservoirs to turn desert into farmland Regional authorities set up to build and regulate irrigation systems Led to development of cities and city-states Wheel Plow Architecture

Originally built with bundled reeds, and later, sun-baked brick Developed measuring and surveying instruments Eventually erected temples [ziggurats] as high as 75 feet above the ground Codes of Law Code of Ir-Nammu

Overall, more humane Allowed a cash payment for some offenses, rather than an eye for an eye Code of Hammurabi Characterized by vengeance, as well as the visiting of the parents sins on the children Cities and Regional Governments

Three classes of people under the king: Aristocratic nobles (administrators, priests and military officers) Middle class people (businessmen, teachers, farmers, herdsmen, fishermen, artisans [especially potters and metal workers], carpenters, weavers, and masons)

Slaves (captives or sold by families) Formal System of Education Began as a way of training scribes and administrators to keep business and other temple records Later, moved from strictly vocational schools to become centers of culture

Students were taught writing, drawing, Sumerian, and mathematics Culture remained more concerned overall with accounts than academic learning Religion

AnuGod of the Heavens Ea (also called Enki)God of earth and water EnlilGod of order; in charge of mens destiny or fate Ishtar (also called Inanni) Goddess of love and war AruruGoddess of creation and birth ShamashSun God; patron of Uruk The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh found in official lists of kings Reigned in Uruk around 2800 BC After his death, worshipped as a God Epic composed around 1200 BC Traditionally, author was Sin-leqe-unninni, a Babylonian scribe Incorporates earlier materials, some dating back to 2100 BC, nearly a millenium before

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