Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar (Arabic: تل ٱلْمُقَيَّر) in south Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now well inland, on the south bank of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) from Nasiriyah in modern-day Iraq. The city dates from the Ubaid period circa 3800 BC, and is recorded in written history as a city-state from the 26th century BC, its first recorded king being Mesannepada.
The city's patron deity was Nanna (in Akkadian, Sin), the Sumerian and Akkadian moon god, and the name of the city is in origin derived from the god's name, UNUGKI, literally "the abode (UNUG) of Nanna". The site is marked by the partially restored ruins of the Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC (short chronology), during the reign of Ur-Nammu and was reconstructed in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. The ruins cover an area of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) northwest to southeast by 800 metres (2,600 ft) northeast to southwest and rise up to about 20 metres (66 ft) above the present plain level.
- "Ur" | 2022-11-12 | 509 Upvotes 103 Comments
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.
The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector produced by the British company Advanced Tactical Security & Communications Ltd (ATSC). Its manufacturer claimed it could detect bombs, guns, ammunition, and more from kilometers away. However, it was a scam, and the device was little more than a dowsing rod. The device was sold for up to US$60,000 each, despite costing almost nothing to produce. It was widely used in the Middle East, and may have led to numerous deadly bombings in Iraq due to its inability to detect explosives. Its inventor, James McCormick, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2013 for fraud.
- "The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector, sold for up to US$60k each" | 2021-09-08 | 127 Upvotes 85 Comments
Nowruz (Persian: نوروز, pronounced [nowˈɾuːz]; lit. "new day") is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.
Nowruz has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins, however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 7,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians, Bahais, and some Muslim communities.
Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox, and marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) of the Iranian calendars. It usually occurs on March 21 or the previous or following day, depending on where it is observed. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and families gather together to observe the rituals.
While Nowruz has been celebrated since the reform of the Iranian Calendar in the 11th century CE to mark the new year, the United Nations officially recognized the "International Day of Nowruz" with the adoption of UN resolution 64/253 in 2010.
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism (Arabic: مَنْدَائِيَّة, Mandāʾīyah), also known as Sabaeanism (Arabic: صَابِئِيَّة, Ṣābiʾīyah), is a monotheistic and gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic cosmology. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Noah, Shem, Aram, and especially John the Baptist. The Mandaeans have been counted among the Semites and speak a dialect of Eastern Aramaic known as Mandaic. The name 'Mandaean' is said to come from the Aramaic manda meaning "knowledge", as does Greek gnosis. Within the Middle East, but outside of their community, the Mandaeans are more commonly known as the Ṣubba (singular: Ṣubbī) or Sabians. The term Ṣubba is derived from the Aramaic root related to baptism, the neo-Mandaic is Ṣabi. In Islam, the "Sabians" (Arabic: الصَّابِئُون, aṣ-Ṣābiʾūn) are described several times in the Quran as People of the Book, alongside Jews and Christians. Occasionally, Mandaeans are called "Christians of Saint John".
According to most scholars, Mandaeaism originated sometime in the first three centuries AD, in either southwestern Mesopotamia or the Syro-Palestinian area. However, some scholars take the view that Mandaeanism is older and dates from pre-Christian times.
The religion has been practised primarily around the lower Karun, Euphrates and Tigris and the rivers that surround the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, part of southern Iraq and Khuzestan Province in Iran. There are thought to be between 60,000 and 70,000 Mandaeans worldwide. Until the Iraq War, almost all of them lived in Iraq. Many Mandaean Iraqis have since fled their country because of the turmoil created by the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation by U.S. armed forces, and the related rise in sectarian violence by Muslim extremists. By 2007, the population of Mandaeans in Iraq had fallen to approximately 5,000.
The Mandaeans have remained separate and intensely private. Reports of them and of their religion have come primarily from outsiders: particularly from Julius Heinrich Petermann, an Orientalist as well as from Nicolas Siouffi, a Syrian Christian who was the French vice-consul in Mosul in 1887, and British cultural anthropologist Lady E. S. Drower. There is an early if highly prejudiced account by the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier from the 1650s.
- "Mandaeism" | 2018-05-21 | 83 Upvotes 41 Comments
The Baghdad Battery or Parthian Battery is a set of three artifacts which were found together: a ceramic pot, a tube of copper, and a rod of iron. It was discovered in modern Khujut Rabu, Iraq, close to the metropolis of Ctesiphon, the capital of the Parthian (150 BC – 223 AD) and Sasanian (224–650 AD) empires of Persia, and it is considered to date from either of these periods.
Its origin and purpose remain unclear. It was hypothesized by some researchers that the object functioned as a galvanic cell, possibly used for electroplating, or some kind of electrotherapy, but there is no electroplated object known from this period. An alternative explanation is that it functioned as a storage vessel for sacred scrolls.
- "The Baghdad Battery" | 2019-04-28 | 76 Upvotes 19 Comments
Searches for Noah's Ark have been reported since antiquity, as ancient scholars sought to affirm the historicity of the Genesis flood narrative by citing accounts of relics recovered from the Ark.: 43–47 With the emergence of biblical archaeology in the 19th century, the potential of a formal search attracted interest in alleged discoveries and hoaxes. By the 1940s, expeditions were being organized to follow up on these apparent leads.: 8–9 This modern search movement has been informally called "arkeology".
In 2020, the young Earth creationist group the Institute for Creation Research acknowledged that, despite many expeditions, Noah's Ark had not been found and is unlikely to be found. Many of the supposed findings and methods used in the search are regarded as pseudoscience and pseudoarchaeology by geologists and archaeologists.: 581–582 : 72–75
- "Searches for Noah's Ark" | 2023-10-05 | 33 Upvotes 56 Comments
Project Babylon was a space gun project commissioned by then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. It involved building a series of "superguns". The design was based on research from the 1960s Project HARP led by the Canadian artillery expert Gerald Bull. There were most likely four different devices in the program.
The project began in 1988; it was halted in 1990 after Bull was assassinated, and parts of the superguns were seized in transit around Europe. The components that remained in Iraq were destroyed by the United Nations after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
- "Project Babylon" | 2022-11-24 | 47 Upvotes 30 Comments
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.
- "Code of Hammurabi" | 2020-04-08 | 50 Upvotes 23 Comments
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.
- "Debate between sheep and grain" | 2018-04-06 | 47 Upvotes 18 Comments