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Transcript of Ancient Mesopotamia
Hammurabi's code is a primary source writing. Hammurabi, the king of Babylon, wrote the laws (indirectly, as he used artisans) on the stone stele all those years ago. It was created in about 1790 B.C. in Babylonia.
King Hammurabi wrote the code in order to 'Set the laws in stone' (pun intended). He wanted to make sure that anyone in his empire knew that he was their ruler and that he was the one behind the laws as well. He chose to use a stone tablet because he wanted the people of Babylon to understand that he was in charge. As the king, he was probably one of the only ones in that time period who had money or power enough to have it made.
Hammurabi's code is a worthy source to use to better understand the culture in Mesopotamia. We know from it that Hammurabi had a lot of power. Since it took so much work to inscribe the laws, we know that they probably had simple tools. We also know that they had a system of writing from it. It shows us a lot about the way the laws and judicial system were set up during that time. We know that a lot of the laws are reasonable, but we think that some of the punishments are harsh (A doctor having his hands cut off for failing). The Mesopotamians followed these laws, though, so we know that they saw it as reasonable. I think that the laws are unbiased by the author, because we know that these were laws even before they were written.
However, there are certain limitations of Hammurabi's code, as far as using it to tell about the culture. We don't know from it how well the laws were followed, what they ate, how they built things, what they wore, how they looked, their religion, and other basic things about daily life in ancient Mesopotamia. Unit Question
Human need, interest and curiosity drives invention by pushing us into creating things that will make life easier or more interesting for ourselves. We do this to save time, to make getting food easier, to communicate better, or to give us something to do to pass time. Writing was developed in Mesopotamia in order to make communication easier, to record history, knowledge, and sometimes stories like Gilgamesh. Religion in Mesopotamia Today, we know that the ancient Mesopotamians had a polytheistic (worshipping more than one god) religion. Religion was a big part of life in Mesopotamia. Some of their laws were based around religion, and they built temples called Ziggurats to worship their gods. Ziggurats In Mesopotamia, we have found the ruins of pyramid-like temples that we call Ziggurats. We know that the ancient Mesopotamian priests and priestesses were the only ones usually allowed into these. They were connected with religion and could have been temples for worship or sacrifice. http://theblueshadow.net/wp-content/uploads/ziggurat-of-ur.jpg Reconstruction of the ziggurat of Ur Unit Question
In the case of the Ziggurats, I think that the mesopotamians were driven more by interest and curiosity than by need. Since we know that Ziggurats were used for religion, we know that the Mesopotamians could have survived without them. Ziggurats were built in order to worship and get closer to the gods, whom the Mesopotamians believed resided in the sky. How are we connected?
The Ziggurats in ancient Mesopotamia are connected to us in a few ways. First of all, we still today have temples, churches, mosques, and other places of worship that are very commonplace in society. Also, they give us an insight into how religious the Mesopotamians were. Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitation
The origin of Ziggurats is a little bit fuzzy. We know that they were built by the Mesopotamians. The Ziggurat of Ur was built around about 2000 B.C.
Ziggurats existed for a religious purpose. They were used as temples by the Mesopotamians.
We value Ziggurats because they give us insight into Mesopotamian religion. We know that the Mesopotamians were developed enough in this time to build such big structures. We can tell that the Mesopotamian culture was very religious from the Ziggurats.
Although they provide insight into religion, we can't tell from Ziggurats any more about the culture. We know basically what they looked like, but since they were so old and made of mud, Ziggurats are pretty much gone now. All we have to study is their foundations and any records of what they looked like and were used for. Art in Mesopotamia Mesopotamian art centered around animals, people, and jewelry. they used art in their Ziggurats, tombs, and palaces. Mesopotamian jewelry was often gold and/or beaded. Standard of Ur The Standard of Ur was found in on of the largest royal tombs of Ur. It's a small, 8.5 by 19.5 inch trapezoid shaped box Although we don't understand it's purpose, we know that it has a 'war' and a 'peace' side on it. Some theories of it's use are as part of a musical instrument, or as a standard carried on a pole. Unit Question
Since we don't know much about how the standard of Ur was used, it's harder to understand why it was created. I think that they probably needed it to show other armies whether they came in war or peace (hence they had a war and peace side). They would have used it held up on a pole so that an opposing army could see their intention, in the same concept of a white flag. We are connected to art in Mesopotamia in a lot of ways. We create art for a lot of the same reasons they did: To decorate our walls, to adorn
ourselves and in honor or respect of our religion. They also used art to sell or to be creative like us. However, their clay pottery and things like stamps that we consider purely decorative today actually served a purpose to them. (lol I said 'adorn') Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitation
The standard of Ur came from a royal tomb in Ur around 2600-2400 BC.
It is theorized that it exists to be used as a standard while going to war. From it we know that there was some measure of diplomacy in warfare in Mesopotamia. It would have been held up as a message to opposing forces: either 'we come in peace' or 'we come for war'.
We can tell that the wars in Mesopotamia had some amount of negotiation and thought behind them, and that war was regarded as important. We already know that Mesopotamia had a lot of wars during it's time. The Standard of Ur reflects this in that the Mesopotamians took the time to make such a thing. If war was uncommon they would not have been so well prepared.
We can't tell how the wars went from the piece, or about any other aspect of culture. Of all the pieces in this museum, the Standard of Ur is probably the most limited, because it was a tool or an artwork and not a record of anything. Works Cited
"British Museum - The Standard of Ur." British Museum - Welcome to the British Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/t/the_standard_of_ur.aspx>.
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"First Home Building Laws." Greg Peterson, certified home inspector in Rome Georgia. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.gregpetersoninspections.com/hammurabi.htm>.
"Hammurabi's Code: What Does It Tell Us About Old Babylonia? | EDSITEment." EDSITEment | The Best of the Humanities on the Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/hammurabis-code-what-does-it-tell-us-about-old-babylonia>.
"Mesopotamia." www.huntfor.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <www.huntfor.com/arthistory/ancient/mesopotamia.>.
"Religion in Mesopotamia and Primary Gods." Ancient Civilizations. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.anciv.info/mesopotamia/religion-in-mesopotamia-and-primary-gods.html>.
"Standard of Ur." bbc.co.uk. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qb>.
"The Sumerians.." Ancient-Wisdom - Online Guide to Prehistory.. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/sumeria.htm>.
"Ziggurats." Mesopotamia - The British Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/ziggurats/home_set.html>.
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