The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria...

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Book Details

Author  Morris Jastrow
Publisher  Lost Arts Media
Publication Date   January 1, 2003
ISBN  1590161203
Pages  296

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Description

What we understand about ancient cultures of Mesopotamia we know mostly from the Babylonians and Assyrians. These ancient peoples had developed a manner of writing, known as cuneiform, that were well preserved onto clay tablets, and survive to this day. As a result of the combined efforts of explorers, decipherers, archaeologists, and many others, the fantastic histories of these lost civilizations have been raised from beneath the mounds, which hid their secrets for countless centuries. These early city-states are credited with developing some of civilization's firsts, from the first experiments in agriculture, the domestication of animals, and the establishment of a marketplace, to the origin of mathematics, our concept of time reckoning and a fundamental understanding of our code of laws . The Babylonians and Assyrians, along with their predecessors, the Sumerians, provided subsequent civilizations, including our own, the basis for civilized living.

This work attempts to present a study of the unprecedented civilizations that flourished in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley many thousands of years ago. Spreading northward into present-day Turkey and Iran, the land known by the Greeks as Mesopotamia flourished until just before the Christian era. When know a great deal about these peoples, how they lived, the organization of their palaces, temples and homes; as well as much regarding their daily life and religious ambitions. Many of the tablets unearthed so far have revealed the nature of commercial intercourse, of judicial disputes, and of the burgeoning complexities of social life. Also found on the clay tablets was a great deal of literary material, dating from the earliest periods and continuing to the fall of Babylonia and further into the era of Persian and Greek dominion. As the author of a number of books on the religious traditions in the Near and Middle East, Morris Jastrow, Jr. has utilized his expertise, and that of others in the field, to compile this impressive discourse on Babylonia and Assyria that was first published nearly one hundred years ago. This two-volume set contains over 75 illustrations that detail all facets of Babylonian and Assyrian life.

Volume one includes an introduction to the study of Mesopotamia and contains a lengthy discussion on separate biblical references (11th chapter of Genesis) which explain how a city was built and given the name Babylon. Also mentioned in this biblical citation is how the people of this city-state constructed a staged-tower, or ziggurat, which became a distinctive religious architecture of the period and region. From there, this first volume covers the history of excavations at Babylonian and Assyrian archaeological sites and why they were so important to the understanding of the language and culture of the inhabitants. As a logical segue, Jastrow gives a detailed examination on the fascinating discovery and subsequent decipherment of cuneiform script, common to both great nations. A detailed chronological survey on the history of the region is also included. This volume concludes with a chapter on the polytheistic nature of the gods which the peoples of Babylonia and Assyria worshipped, which continues in the next volume with a chapter on their cults and temples. ISBN 1-59016-120-3 o 236 + xx + 31 illustrated pages o 6 x 9 o tradepaper o illustrated. See also volume two ISBN 1-59016-121-1.

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