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Mesopotamia Honors 2101 Fall 2006 Prof. Benham. Mesopotamia “between the rivers” Tigris and Euphrates Region –Modern day Iraq –Region, not a people But,

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Presentation on theme: "Mesopotamia Honors 2101 Fall 2006 Prof. Benham. Mesopotamia “between the rivers” Tigris and Euphrates Region –Modern day Iraq –Region, not a people But,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Mesopotamia Honors 2101 Fall 2006 Prof. Benham

2 Mesopotamia “between the rivers” Tigris and Euphrates Region –Modern day Iraq –Region, not a people But, roughly continuous cultural elements –Polytheism, Fate, Virtue –Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, etc.

3 Map of Ancient Near and Middle East (Fiero, G. (2006). The Humanistic Tradition, Vol 1. 5th ed. McGraw Hill, p.38.)

4 Mesopotamia Origin –Irrigation, Agriculture, Civilization –Complex urban life (“urban” der. Ur) –Writing (wedged-shaped cuneiform) –Cultural –Mathematics and Astronomy

5 Impact of Mesopotamia Political/Social Organization Polytheism (more than 1000 gods) Motifs and images –(e.g., flood, tower of Babel, righteous sufferer, sacrifice, humans serve gods, etc.) Cultural Concepts –Underworld –Order/Chaos and Heroism –“Ur-banism” Harlots and Women

6 Why Mesopotamia? A “recent” discovery Biblical significance Earliest literature Art, images and motifs Discovery and Meaning…

7 Mid-19th Century Archaeologists Austen Henry Layard & Hormuzd Rassam discovered ancient library at Nineveh, buried since 7th century BCE. –~25,000 clay tablets written in cuneiform Most were business records, but included two literary works that predate Homer: –Enuma Elish (Epic of Creation) –Epic of Gilgamesh

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9 1872 George Smith, a translator of the cuneiform tablets announced an account of a flood story that closely resembles the Biblical account. Since the cuneiform account predates Biblical sources, either: –Biblical writers were familiar/borrowed from it; or –both were drawn from common source.

10 Iraq War, 2003 Iraq Museum, Baghdad, and Archaeological Sites –Ransacked for artifacts, gold, and precious items –Investigations and Retrieval (Thieves of Baghdad) Read and listen: “Chasing Down History and the ‘Thieves of Baghdad’, at NPR.org

11 Recovered The Gold of Nimrud Sacred Vase of Warka The Mask of Warka Golden Harp (Lyre) of Ur Bassetki Statue Clay Pot from Tell Hassuna

12 The Gold of Nimrud: a collection of more than 1,000 pieces of gold jewelry and precious stones from 8 th and 9 th century BCE. Discovered in 1988 and comparableto the discovery of Tutankhamen ’ s treasure. Sacred Vase of Warka: world ’ s oldest known carved stone ritual vessel dating from c BCE. The Mask of Warka: believed to be the world ’ s oldest known naturalistic sculture of a human face, c BCE. Golden Harp of Ur: a sold gold bull ’ s head that adorns the harp dated from c BCE. It predates the construction of the Pyramids by 750 years. The Bassetki Statue: one of the earliest known examples of the lost-wax technique, cast in pure bronze, c BCE. Clay Pot from Tell Hassuna: a sixth millennium pot that predates the wheel by at least 1,500 years.

13 Still Missing (12/05) Lioness Attacking a Nubian An extraordinary 8 th century BCE ivory plaque inlaid with lapis and carnelian and overlaid with gold. Only two such ivory plaques are known to exit. (The other one is in the British Museum.)

14 Still Missing (12/05) Ninhursag Bull One of the two twin copper bulls from the face of the temple built by the King of Ur, c

15 Why Mesopotamia? Important cultural items. Mesopotamia is in a unique position as one of the origins for human civilization. Still has significance to us today; still asking and addressing same basic questions about human existence.

16 Timeline Mesopotamia

17 Map of Ancient Near and Middle East (Fiero, G. (2006). The Humanistic Tradition, Vol 1. 5th ed. McGraw Hill, p.38.)

18 Timeline Mesopotamia Sumerian (& Akkadian) Period (~ ) –2750 1st dynasty of Ur – Sargon I (The Great) begins Akkadian Empire Babylonian Period (~ ) – Hammurabi conquers Sumer Assyrian Period (~ ) – Reign of Sennacherib (Conquers Judah, 1st exile) – Reign of Ashurbanipal (Nineveh) –612 Fall of Nineveh

19 Timeline Mesopotamia Neo-Babylonian Period ( ) –~ Zarathustra, founder of Persian Zoroastrianism – Reign of Nebuchadnezzar (Conquers Judah, Hebrew Exile) –539 Fall of Babylon to Persians Persian Period ( ) – Reign of Darius I – Beginning of “Persian Wars” with Greeks – Invasion of Greece by Xerxes –479 Defeat of Persians (Xerxes) by Greeks Alexander the Great conquers Persia ( )


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