Kingship in the Ancient Near East and Israel

Kudurru of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur granting LAK-ti Marduk freedom from taxation for services rendered during his invasion of Elam / Wikimedia Commons Kingship in Israel and other ancient Near Eastern societies is a major focus of modern scholarship and has produced fascinating results. By Dr. Cian Power Researcher in Ancient Near Eastern Studies Harvard University History of[…]

Cylinder Seals in Ancient Mesopotamia – Their History and Significance

Cylinder seals were impression stamps, often quite intricate in design, used throughout Mesopotamia. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 12.02.2015 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction Among the most interesting and revealing artifacts discovered from ancient Mesopotamia are the objects known as cylinder seals. These fairly small items may be seen today in museum exhibits around[…]

Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

A close-up view of the Babylonian map of the World. This partially broken clay tablet contains both cuneiform inscriptions and a unique map of the Mesopotamian world. Probably from Sippar, Mesopotamia, Iraq. 700-500 BCE. / Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, British Museum, Wikimedia Commons Mesopotamia was never a single, unified civilization, not even under the Akkadian Empire of Sargon[…]

Uruk: The Birth of Architecture and Urban Life

Detail of a relief at Persepolis showing a procession of subject peoples bringing gifts characteristic of their homelands as tribute for the Persian king A great transformation in human life took place in ancient Mesopotamia with the rise of the city of Uruk. By Dr. Margarete Van Ess Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology Deutsches Archäologisches[…]

Kingship Descends from Heaven: The Urban Revolution Before 4000 BCE

Sumer, in southernmost Mesopotamia, was the first true city in the world, some time not very much before 2100 BCE. By Dr. Paul Kriwaczek British Historian Eridu Leave the modern traffic, the bicycles, the cars and delivery lorries fuming along St Giles’ and Beaumont Street in Oxford, and pass through the Ashmolean Museum’s rather overblown[…]

Babylon: Hammurabi’s ‘Holy City’

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.19.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Rise of Babylon The Emergence of the First Babylonian Dynasty After the collapse of the Akkadians, the Babylonian Empire flourished under Hammurabi, who conquered many surrounding peoples and empires, in addition to developing an extensive code of law and establishing Babylon as a “holy city” of[…]

The Rise and Fall of the Akkadian Empire

The first civilizations formed in river valleys, and were characterized by a caste system and a strong government that controlled water access and resources. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.19.2018 Historian Breminate Editor-in-Chief River Valley Civilizations The First Civilizations The Nile River and Delta: Most of the Ancient Egyptian settlements occurred along the northern part[…]

Counting in Babylon

Creative Commons By Dr. Michael Fowler / 06.12.2015 Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia The Earliest Written Language Sumer and Babylonia, located in present-day Iraq, were probably the first peoples to have a written language, beginning in Sumer in about 3100 BC.  The language[…]

The Recovery of Cuneiform, the World’s Oldest Known Writing

A relief at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis (now in modern Iran), including inscriptions in cuneiform, the world’s oldest form of writing. Diego Delso/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA Cuneiform was used for over 3,000 years in the Ancient Near East, but was only decoded in the 19th century. The writing form is still revealing amazing stories, from literature to mathematics. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 10.05.2017 Lecturer,[…]

Legend of Ishtar, Sumerian Goddess of Love and War

Ishtar (on right) comes to Sargon, who would later become one of the great kings of Mesopotamia. Edwin J. Prittie, The story of the greatest nations, 1913 Love, it is said, is a battlefield, and it was no more so than for the first goddess of love andwar, Ishtar. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 05.07.2017 Lecturer, Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel Macquarie University As singer[…]

An Introductory Guide to the Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh explores what it means to be human, and questions the meaning of life and love. Wikimedia Commons The themes of the world’s most ancient epic are still remarkably relevant to modern readers. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 05.07.2017 Lecturer, Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel Macquarie University “Forget death and seek life!” With these encouraging words, Gilgamesh, the star of the eponymous 4000-year-old[…]