Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Paperback

By (author) Jean Bottero, Translated by Antonia Nevill

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  • Publisher: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 229mm x 15mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 8 August 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Baltimore, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0801868645
  • ISBN 13: 9780801868641
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 544,423

Product description

Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, based on articles originally published in L'Histoire by Jean Bottero, Andre Finet, Bertrand Lafont, and Georges Roux, presents new discoveries about this amazing Mesopotamian culture made during the past ten years. Features of everyday Meopotamian life highlight the new sections of this book. Both gourmet cuisine and popular cookery used fish, meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, available fresh or preserved (through methods still used today), and served with beer and wine. While feelings toward love and sex are rarely found in personal writings or correspondence, myths, prayers, and accounts of an acceptance of a wide range of behaviors (despite monogamy, prostitution flourished) argue that both were considered natural and necessary for a happy existence. Under law woman existed as a man's property, yet stories show that wives frequently used beauty and wits to keep husbands in hand, and a wife's financial holdings remained her property, reverting to her family at her death. Women were allowed to participate in activities that could increase this wealth and some, pledged to the gods and shut away in group homes, were nonetheless able to participate in lucrative business ventures. Also included are accounts of the exceptional life of the queen and the women of Mari, the story of the great Queen Semiramis, and chapters on magic, medicine, and astrology. The concluding section offers a fascinating in-depth comparison of ancient Sumerian myths and stories similar to those found in the Hebrew bible. The new information found in Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia makes a significant contribution, one that deepens our knowledge and understanding of this great, ancient civilization.

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Author information

Jean Bottero is director of studies and chair of the Department of Assyriology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris. Andre Finet is a professor of Assyriology at the Free University of Brussels. Bertrand Lafont is director of research on Assyrian history at the Centre National de Reserches Scientifiques. Georges Roux is the author of Ancient Iraq.

Review quote

A popular work for understanding Mesopotamian social life... Written in a vigorous and interesting style with much useful information. -- Mark W. Chavalas Religious Studies Review The book covers many interesting topics not typically addressed in general texts such as cuisine, love and sex, women's rights, and the idea of sin. The book is written for the novice in the field, but it does not simply skim the surface or summarize the authors' longer works; rather, it makes accessible much interesting primary source material that is normally only found in scholarly book sand journals. -- Linda Bergstein Scherr Religious Studies Review

Table of contents

Contents: Publisher's Acknowledgment A Note on Pronunciation Foreword Map of Ancient Mesopotamia PART I - Origins 1 Did the Sumerians Emerge from the Sea 2 The Great Enigma of the Cemetery at Ur PART II - Everyday Life 3 The Oldest Cuisine in the World 4 The Oldest Feast 5 An Ancient Vintage 6 Love and Sex in Babylon 7 Women's Rights 8 The Women of the Palace at Mari 9 Semiramis: The Builder of Babylon 10 Magic and Medicine 11 The Birth of Astrology 12 The Ordeal PART III - Myth and Legend 13 The First Account of the Flood 14 The Epic of Gilgamesh 15 How Sin Was Born Chronology Further Reading Index