The Legacy of Mesopotamia

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Influence from Mesopotamia on adjacent civilizations has often been proposed on the basis of scattered similarities. For the first time a wide-ranging assessment from 3000 BC to the Middle Ages investigates how similarities arose in Egypt, Palestine, Anatolia, and Greece. The development ofwriting for accountancy, astronomy, devination, and belles lettres emanated from Mesopotamians who took their academic traditions into countries beyond their political control. Each country soon transformed what it received into its own, individual culture.When cuneiform writing disappeared, Babylonian cults and literature, now in Aramaic and Greek, flourished during the Roman Empire. The Manichaeans adapted the old traditions which then perished under persecution, but traces persist in Hermetic works, court narratives and romances, and in theArabian Nights.When ancient Mesopotamia was rediscovered in the last century, British scholars were at the forefront of international research. Public excitement has been reflected in pictures and poems, films and fashion.

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General Index

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About the author (1998)

Stephanie Dalley, Shillito Fellow in Assyriology at the Oriental Institute; Senior Research Fellow, Somerville College, Oxford.

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