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by Geno29
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Social Studies
Ancient History

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"The land between the rivers"

Cuneiform is the first system of writing, involving several hundreds of pictographs, which was developed by the Sumerians. Because there were so many symbols, a scribe, or an administrator charged by the temple or palace whose job was to learn to read and write, would record laws, treaties and religious customs.

The majority of Mesopotamians were also illiterate, because only the elite class would have time to learn all the symbols.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers would often unexpectedly flood, washing away early settlements. Mesopotamians eventually learned to adapt and built canals and dikes. The violent and unpredictable nature of these rivers led to the relationship between kings and deities. The lugul or king claimed to be the deity’s earthly representative and the fear of floods supported this belief. The kings claimed that if all goes well, the rivers will remain stable but if the king or deity is dissapointed or unpleased, it will cause the rivers to flood violently.

The function and symbolic meaning of Ziguates, massive, mudbrick, pyramid shapped towers, are still unknown for sure. No one knows certainly what the original purppose for these structure, but because they are part of temples, it is assumed that they are somehow affiliated with religion, possibly for worshiping gods.

This cylinder seal is dedicated a little-known goddess, Ninishkun who is with the great goddess Ishtar. It shows Ishtar with her right foot placed upon a roaring lion and weapons sprouting from her wings. This depiction indicates her war-like nature.

Around 1700 B.C.E, a series of military campaigns were intiated, Babylon became the capital and the rein of Hammurabi began. The Law Code of Hammurabi was an extensive code that dealt with every part of daily life. Inscribed on a black stone pillar, the law code was a significant step toward modern legal codes. It provided judges with examples distinguishing between major and minor offenses. It also established a sense of justice and equality because it applied to nearly everyone.

Melissa Xu

Mesopotamia is one of the world’s earliest civilizations that arose during 3000 BCE between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.


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