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Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia$
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Jean Bottero

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780748613878

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613878.001.0001

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The Ordeal

The Ordeal

(p.199) Chapter 12 The Ordeal
Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Bertrand Lafont

Edinburgh University Press

The origins of the ordeal go back a very long way in history, and research into its oldest traces takes one back some 5,000 years to the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates. What gave its unity to the civilisation that flourished there for 3,000 years was the use of cuneiform writing. ‘Invented’ by the Sumerians around 3000 BC, that writing enabled a wealth of records to be made of many political, religious, economic, cultural and social features peculiar to ancient Mesopotamia. Two of these features are attributed very early on to law and justice. All this documentation is evidence of a juridical way of thinking imprinted with empiricism, and a strongly material view of the law and justice. The second characteristic of that civilisation is the very special way it had of expressing its deep religiousness.

Keywords:   ordeal, Tigris, Euphrates, civilisation, cuneiform, Sumerians, Mesopotamia, law, justice, empiricism

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