Intro Civilization in Mesopotamia developed about six thousand years ago(5300b.c.). Mesopotamia is located on a fertile crescent, and is located mainly in Iraq. Today, much of Mesopotamia is under sand. Mesopotamia means “land between rivers” Social Structure With people moving to towns and governments being formed, society was dividing into different classes of people for perhaps the first time. At the top of society was the king and his family. The priests were considered near the top as well. The rest of the upper class was made up of the wealthy such as high level administrators and scribes. Below the upper class was a small middle class made up of craftsman, merchants, and civil servants. They could make a decent living and could work hard to try and move up in class. The lower class was made up of laborers and farmers. These people lived a harder life, but could still work their way up with hard work. At the bottom were the slaves. Slaves were owned by the king or bought and sold among the upper class. Slaves were usually people who were captured in battle. Marriage In Ancient Mesopotamia wives were bought and sold(picture to right is marriage market). Wives were capable of filing a divorce. Marriages were arranged by the bride and the grooms family. The western civilization has learned its ways of marriage from ancient Mesopotamia especially the Babylonians. Family Life In a Family men had more power than women. Boys were taught their family trading business Girls stayed home and learned how to housekeep and cook for the family. One right that a women have is that they can get a divorce. Men were the masters of the house. Women and Family • Children generally, well cared for, also could be sold into slavery for debt payments. Women held many equalities with men. A mother even could disinherit an undutiful son, brand him, and banish him from the city. • In Sumer, women could learn to read and write, own and run a business, buy and sell property, testify in a court case, borrow and lend money, and be priestesses in a temple. One Sumerian proverb advised people, "Pay heed to the word of your mother as though it were the word of god.“ •Amazingly, women of Sumer 6 millenia ago enjoyed far more legal rights than modern women of the 1920's in North America and Europe only 90 years ago. • On the other hand, a man, without much reason, could divorce a woman, particularly if she did not produce children, and sell her into slavery for three years for payment of debts, unless protected by special clauses in a marriage contract. Richer women probably maintained such agreements before marriage. • If a woman married another man, she was stoned or whipped to death. If a woman did not produce children, a man often divorced the woman, and reclaimed the dowry from the wife's family. •Otherwise, the man took on another second wife, often chosen by the first wife as to avoid rivalries and conflicts; the second, bore children yet remained lower in status to the first wife; the man safeguarded and provided for both wives, and established a written agreement, whereby the level of subservience of the second wife to the first was specified, who might, as attested in some records, "wash her feet and carry her belongings around for her.“ •A male suitors bride price consisted of cattle, goats, sheep, grain, jewelry, or furniture. Childhood Rich boys were taught how to read and write in school. In the lower class, boys were taught there fathers and family trade like fishing. Girls, rich and poor stayed home with their mother to learn housekeeping and cooking. Girls were also taught to take care of children. School Record keeping was very important to ancient Mesopotamians, they wrote everything down. There written language was called cuneiform. Schools were attached to temples, and only boys had the privilege of going to school. Students had to do a perfect job or they were beaten as punishment. Most students wanted to go to school in spite of punishments. Housing The upper class lived in large homes that were wide and nearly three stories high. The materials used to make houses was sundried brick, because there was little wood and stone. The roofs were flat, so that it was like a fourth floor. The most important floor in the house is the first floor. Houses Mashkinu (middle class) houses usually consisted of one story mud brick houses, in all six rooms, sharing walls with neighbors, facing small courts. Affluent Amelu officials afforded two story dwellings featuring twice as many rooms plastered inside and out with whitewashed adobe. Common features of the Sumerian house usually contained a kitchen, servant quarters, bathroom, sitting rooms, and a private chapel. The dry climate of Mesopotamia did not permit many large trees to grow in the region, limiting the strength and quality of furniture. Tables, chairs, and beds consisted of woven reeds about frames. People dumped waste outside with pots, no stone drainage system existed at the cities to carry away waste water. The residents packed clay over the waste to minimize the smell, creating large hills near the houses. Over time, the residents used ladders to get into the house. Food The average person in Mesopotamian ate about two meals a day except for the rich who ate three. Lots people ate unleavened bread, and drank large amounts of beer(up to a whole gallon a day). Meat was expensive so most people ate vegetables and stews There were cakes for special occasions were also made with butter, raisins, dates, flour, and cheese. A popular treat was the Kafta kabob ( in picture to right). Cooking In the kitchen, the Sumerians spared no expense at the dinner table. The people prepared mutton, farmed fish, geese, ducks, cattle, and poultry sprinkled with cumin spices, salt, pepper, mustard, fennel, marjoram, thyme, mint, and rosemary. Over 300 different kinds of bread were baked in flat loaves mostly, much like the modern matzoh pita, composed of emmer, barley, flax, or several grain combinations. Hot cereal was not uncommon either. For desert, sweet cakes baked with honey, eggs, grain, and spices. At times, the Sumerians indulged in a light snack; servants brought grasshoppers wrapped in pastry to noble dinners. The people also stuffed intestine casings with meat, creating the first known sausage links. Due to the unforgiving dry climate of the Sumerian desert, the people learned to preserve meats with salt and spices, drying the bits in the sun, and smoking the outside over charcoal fires. For the most part, only the rich enjoyed meats on a regular basis. In such cases, the people partook in the luxury of barbecuing over open coals. Clothing • The majority of men and women wore shirts of sheepskin, the wool tufts facing outward, and the smooth skin the inside. • Skirts extended down the knees in the mashkinu classes, but went all the way to the ankles among the amelu. • Even when weaving fabric garments entered the scene in 2500BC, the texture of wool tufts on the outside remained fashionable. • The amelu additionally wore wigs, and elaborate headdresses adorned with lapis lazuli stones with inlaid gold. • An ornate golden brooch pin held an open sheepskin cloak together. • Carnelia stone (orange in appearance) bracelets, necklaces, and pendants were popular also. Religion The Mesopotamians religion was the first to be recorded. Mesopotamians believed in gods and goddesses that had their divine natural forces. There were four creator gods Anu sky god, Enlil storms and helping people, Ninkhursag earth goddess, Enki water god and patron of wisdom. Priests in Mesopotamia were responsible for sacrifices and ritual that they thought the gods needed. Celebrations Mesopotamians celebrated Akitu which is the earliest new year’s festival. Every month the Mesopotamians had a ceremonies to determine the six important factors The Mesopotamians celebrated the Moon, solstices, and equinoxes. Death For ancient Mesopotamians Male worshiper (praying for afterlife) death and sickness were terrible sins. In ancient Mesopotamia they buried the bodies though no matter what no attempts were made to preserve their bodies. For Mesopotamians the reason of life was to serve the gods so when you died you were worthless. A major sin that could sentence people to death was “Making Offerings To The Dead”. Art Sumerians made jewelry from gold and lapis, but they weren’t good at molding stone sculptures. Sumerians also created beautiful mosaics that had colourful patterns, helmets, harps, jewelry, and decorated tablets. The Babylonians made massive sculptures including huge gates, all of the sculptures were for special events honoring gods. The Assyrians used art for military achievements and daily life. They also carved and painted. Music Music in Sumerian was used in religious and civic life and wherever music was, dancing was usually near. Musicians were rich because they went to school. Instrument that Mesopotamians use include harps, lyres, lutes, reed pipes, and drums. Singers tried to express emotion through their song. Extra Facts The Mesopotamians written language is called cuneiform, which was shapes and symbols. Cuneiform was created in 5000 BCE, which was about when Sumer stated to downfall. Thanks to Cuneiform our Era knows more about Mesopotamia. King Hammurabi is famous for the Code of Hammurabi which is one of the earliest set of laws found. 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