Topic: Ancient Near East

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4.2 Kiloyear Event

Ancient Near East Meteorology Meteorology/droughts and fire events sub-project Ancient Egypt

The 4.2-kiloyear BP aridification event was one of the most severe climatic events of the Holocene epoch. It defines the beginning of the current Meghalayan age in the Holocene epoch. Starting in about 2200 BC, it probably lasted the entire 22nd century BC. It has been hypothesised to have caused the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt as well as the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, and the Liangzhu culture in the lower Yangtze River area. The drought may also have initiated the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation, with some of its population moving southeastward to follow the movement of their desired habitat, as well as the migration of Indo-European-speaking people into India.

Some scientists disagree with this conclusion and point out that the event was neither a global drought nor did it happen in a clear timeline.

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A True Story

Ancient Near East Novels Novels/Science fiction Science Fiction Skepticism Literature Classical Greece and Rome Greece Comedy Assyria

A True Story (Ancient Greek: Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα, Alēthē diēgēmata; Latin: Vera Historia or Latin: Verae Historiae) is a novel written in the second century AD by Lucian of Samosata, a Greek-speaking author of Assyrian descent. The novel is a satire of outlandish tales which had been reported in ancient sources, particularly those which presented fantastic or mythical events as if they were true. It is Lucian's best-known work.

It is the earliest known work of fiction to include travel to outer space, alien lifeforms, and interplanetary warfare. As such, A True Story has been described as "the first known text that could be called science fiction". However the work does not fit into typical literary genres: its multilayered plot and characters have been interpreted as science fiction, fantasy, satire or parody, and have been the subject of much scholarly debate.

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Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir

History Ancient Near East Business Iraq

The complaint tablet to Ea-nasir is a clay tablet from ancient Babylon written c. 1750 BC. It is a complaint to a merchant named Ea-Nasir from a customer named Nanni. Written in cuneiform, it is considered to be the oldest known written complaint. It is currently kept in the British Museum.

Ea-Nasir travelled to the Persian Gulf to buy copper and return to sell it in Mesopotamia. On one particular occasion, he had agreed to sell copper ingots to Nanni. Nanni sent his servant with the money to complete the transaction. The copper was sub-standard and not accepted. In response, Nanni created the cuneiform letter for delivery to Ea-nasir. Inscribed on it is a complaint to Ea-nasir about a copper ore delivery of the incorrect grade, and issues with another delivery. He also complained that his servant (who handled the transaction) had been treated rudely. He stated that, at the time of writing, he had not accepted the copper but had paid the money.

The tablet is 11.6 centimetres (4.6 in) high, 5 centimetres (2.0 in) wide, 2.6 centimetres (1.0 in) thick, and slightly damaged. Translated from Akkadian, it reads:

Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:

When you came, you said to me as follows : "I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots." You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: "If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!"

What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt? I have sent as messengers gentlemen like ourselves to collect the bag with my money (deposited with you) but you have treated me with contempt by sending them back to me empty-handed several times, and that through enemy territory. Is there anyone among the merchants who trade with Telmun who has treated me in this way? You alone treat my messenger with contempt! On account of that one (trifling) mina of silver which I owe(?) you, you feel free to speak in such a way, while I have given to the palace on your behalf 1,080 pounds of copper, and Šumi-abum has likewise given 1,080 pounds of copper, apart from what we both have had written on a sealed tablet to be kept in the temple of Shamash.

How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full.

Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.

The tablet was acquired by the British Museum in 1953. It was originally found in the ruins of Ur.


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Debate between sheep and grain

Religion Ancient Near East Books Iraq Mythology Arab world

The "Debate between sheep and grain" or "Myth of cattle and grain" is a Sumerian creation myth, written on clay tablets in the mid to late 3rd millennium BCE.

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Göbekli Tepe

Ancient Near East Turkey Archaeology

Göbekli Tepe (Turkish: [ɟœbecˈli teˈpe], "Potbelly Hill") is an archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa. The tell (artificial mound) has a height of 15 m (49 ft) and is about 300 m (980 ft) in diameter. It is approximately 760 m (2,490 ft) above sea level.

The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE. During the first phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive "T-shaped" stone pillars were erected – the world's oldest known megaliths.

More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and weighs up to 10 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock. In the second phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. The site was abandoned after the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). Younger structures date to classical times.

The details of the structure's function remain a mystery. The excavations have been ongoing since 1996 by the German Archaeological Institute, but large parts still remain unexcavated. In 2018, the site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Sea Peoples

Ancient Near East Ancient Egypt Archaeology Ethnic groups Israel Palestine Dacia

The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions of the East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE). Following the creation of the concept in the nineteenth century, it became one of the most famous chapters of Egyptian history, given its connection with, in the words of Wilhelm Max Müller: "the most important questions of ethnography and the primitive history of classic nations". Their origins undocumented, the various Sea Peoples have been proposed to have originated from places that include western Asia Minor, the Aegean, the Mediterranean islands and Southern Europe. Although the archaeological inscriptions do not include reference to a migration, the Sea Peoples are conjectured to have sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Canaan, Cyprus and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age.

French Egyptologist Emmanuel de Rougé first used the term peuples de la mer (literally "peoples of the sea") in 1855 in a description of reliefs on the Second Pylon at Medinet Habu documenting Year 8 of Ramesses III. Gaston Maspero, de Rougé's successor at the Collège de France, subsequently popularized the term "Sea Peoples" — and an associated migration-theory — in the late 19th century. Since the early 1990s, his migration theory has been brought into question by a number of scholars.

The Sea Peoples remain unidentified in the eyes of most modern scholars and hypotheses regarding the origin of the various groups are the source of much speculation. Existing theories variously propose equating them with several Aegean tribes, raiders from Central Europe, scattered soldiers who turned to piracy or who had become refugees, and links with natural disasters such as earthquakes or climatic shifts.

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Code of Hammurabi

Iran Ancient Near East Law Assyria Politics Iraq Israel

The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian code of law of ancient Mesopotamia, dated to about 1754 BC (Middle Chronology). It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code. A partial copy exists on a 2.25-metre-tall (7.5 ft) stone stele. It consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (lex talionis) as graded based on social stratification depending on social status and gender, of slave versus free, man versus woman.

Nearly half of the code deals with matters of contract, establishing the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon for example. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, the liability of a builder for a house that collapses, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another. A third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family relationships such as inheritance, divorce, paternity, and reproductive behavior. Only one provision appears to impose obligations on a government official; this provision establishes that a judge who alters his decision after it is written down is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently. A few provisions address issues related to military service.

The code was discovered by modern archaeologists in 1901, and its editio princeps translation published in 1902 by Jean-Vincent Scheil. This nearly complete example of the code is carved into a diorite stele in the shape of a huge index finger, 2.25 m (7.4 ft) tall. The code is inscribed in the Akkadian language, using cuneiform script carved into the stele. The material was imported into Sumeria from Magan - today the area covered by the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

It is currently on display in the Louvre, with replicas in numerous institutions, including the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, the Clendening History of Medicine Library & Museum at the University of Kansas Medical Center, the library of the Theological University of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, the Pergamon Museum of Berlin, the Arts Faculty of the University of Leuven in Belgium, the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, the Prewitt-Allen Archaeological Museum at Corban University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.

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YBC 7289

Mathematics Ancient Near East Archaeology

YBC 7289 is a Babylonian clay tablet notable for containing an accurate sexagesimal approximation to the square root of 2, the length of the diagonal of a unit square. This number is given to the equivalent of six decimal digits, "the greatest known computational accuracy ... in the ancient world". The tablet is believed to be the work of a student in southern Mesopotamia from some time in the range from 1800–1600 BC, and was donated to the Yale Babylonian Collection by J. P. Morgan.

Piyama-Radu

Biography Military history Ancient Near East Military history/Classical warfare

Piyamaradu (also spelled Piyama-Radu, Piyama Radu, Piyamaradus, Piyamaraduš) was a warlike personage whose name figures prominently in the Hittite archives of the middle and late 13th century BC in western Anatolia. His history is of particular interest because it appears to intertwine with that of the Trojan War. Some scholars assume that his name is cognate to that of King Priam of Troy.

Late Bronze Age Collapse

Africa Ancient Near East Ancient Egypt Greece Turkey Archaeology

The Late Bronze Age collapse was a dark age transition in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa (comprising the overlapping regions of the Near East, the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, with the Balkans, the Aegean, Anatolia, and the Caucasus), which took place from the Late Bronze Age to the emerging Early Iron Age. It was a transition which historians believe was violent, sudden, and culturally disruptive, and involved societal collapse for some civilizations during the 12th century BCE. The palace economy of Mycenaean Greece, the Aegean region and Anatolia that characterized the Late Bronze Age disintegrated, transforming into the small isolated village cultures of the Greek Dark Ages. The Hittite Empire of Anatolia and the Levant collapsed, while states such as the Middle Assyrian Empire in Mesopotamia and the New Kingdom of Egypt survived but were considerably weakened.

Competing and even mutually compatible theories for the ultimate cause of the Late Bronze Age collapse have been made since the 19th century. These include volcanic eruptions, droughts, invasions by the Sea Peoples or migrations of Dorians, economic disruptions due to the rising use of ironworking, and changes in military technology and methods of war that saw the decline of chariot warfare.

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