Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Front Cover

Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, based on articles originally published in L'Histoire by Jean Bottéro, André 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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Contents

The Great Enigma of the Cemetery at Ur
24
The Oldest Cuisine in the World
43
The Oldest Feast
65
An Ancient Vintage
84
Love and Sex in Babylon
90
The Women of the Palace at Mari
127
The Builder of Babylon
141
Magic and Medicine
162
The Birth of Astrology
183
The Ordeal
199
The First Account of the Flood
213
The Epic of Gilgamesh
230
How Sin Was Born
246
Chronology
267
Index
273
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Jean Bottéro is director of studies and chair of the Department of Assyriology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. André 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 Réserches Scientifiques. Georges Roux is the author of Ancient Iraq.

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