“Writing and Record Keeping in Mesopotamia” Please respond to the following, using sources under the Explore heading as the basis of your response:
- Describe the “envelope”, the seal, and the early Mesopotamian writing process, and discuss expectations of record-keeping. Identify the issue being kept “on file,” and comment on what this reveals about Mesopotamian society in 1500 BC and the primary ways it compares to modern society in these respects.
Go beyond the discussion of Hammurabi’s Code on pages 41-43. Check out the ENTIRE Code found in Instructor Insights. Some of the approximately 300 laws have been lost to history but most of them have survived. Some of the laws seem strange and harsh to modern readers. Try to imagine WHY Hammurabi made these decisions the way he did almost 4000 years ago. What do you think his rationale was for some of these “strange and harsh” laws? Can we assume that Hammurabi would have sentenced the Boston Marathon bomber to death? Should we execute the terrorist found guilty of setting off the bomb at the Boston Marathon?
- How “modern” do you consider Gilgamesh’s struggle with his own mortality and his quest for immortality? Do you feel as if you really understand him? Has Christianity really changed how you feel about immortality so much that you can’t really understand Gilgamesh at all?
- Chapter 2 (pp. 34-43), early Mesopotamian writing; seal
- University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute: Tablet and envelope at http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum/highlights/meso.html; scroll down to the item called “Clay Tablet and Envelope”. Click on the color and black and white images and read the captions and information.