Ancient Mesopotamia by Tom Head

By Tom Head

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5 Archaeologists and historians have been unable to find evidence of the Hanging Gardens’ location, or even tangible evidence of their existence. indd 54 10/30/14 11:07 AM CHAPTER 5 LIFE IN MESOPOTAMIA R esidents of the oldest civilization in human history were surrounded by music and chants, savory roasts and rich candy, incense and aromatic herbs, brightly colored clothing and glistening skin, and looming architecture and distinctive houses. The stories of their time dealt with the same realities as the stories from today: life and death, love and The presence of the hero Gilgamesh in Mesopotamian literature and art demonstrates the story’s importance to the ancient people.

The stories of their time dealt with the same realities as the stories from today: life and death, love and The presence of the hero Gilgamesh in Mesopotamian literature and art demonstrates the story’s importance to the ancient people. indd 55 10/30/14 11:07 AM despair, violence and restoration, and shame and glory. These stories and their heroes provided a cultural backdrop that set the tone for daily life in ancient Mesopotamia. SUNRISE IN UR In 2030 BCE, Ur was in its prime. After centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule, it was back in Sumerian hands under the authority of Ur-Nammu.

The first was the amelu, the people who were eligible to rule. The second was the wardu, “slaves,” who were considered property. 3 The majority of Sumerians were likely mushkinu, but most of the surviving literature deals with the amelu. The difference between these castes was access to money and resources. It is possible that an enormously wealthy wardu or mushkinu could have bought their way into the amelu caste. In fact, it is implied that Ur-Zababa of Kish, a Sumerian brewer who became ruler, did something very similar to this.

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