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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