Mid Term Review - Mid-Term Review1 Samuel A. Cordeiro...

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Mid-Term Review1 Samuel A. Cordeiro – Kennis Chan October 31, 2007 World Civilization: Mid-Term Review Chapter 1: Civilizations of the Near East 1. What were the writing materials of Mesopotamia? The symbols on the oldest Sumerian clay tablets, the world’s first writing, were pictures of concrete things such as person’s face, a sheep, a star, or a measure of grain. Some of these pictographs represented ideas. This early pictographic writing developed into phonetic (or syllabic) writing when the scribes realized that a sign could represent a sound as well as an object or idea. Use of syllabic writing had reduced the number of Sumerian signs from nearly 2000 to 600. When writing, Mesopotamian scribes used a reed stylus to make wedge-shaped impressions in soft clay tablets. This cuneiform system of writing was adopted by many other peoples of the Near East, including Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Hittites, and the Persians. Writing methods enable them to communicate better and make laws, such as the first legal code of UR, by 2350BCE. (P.11) 2. What is the Code of Hammurabi? The Code of Hammurabi is a collection of law codes given by the most outstanding kings of Old Babylonian Empire, King Hammurabi, in 1700s BCE. He is best know for the code of nearly 300 laws “in order to prevent the powerful from oppressing the weak, in order to give justice to the orphans and widows, in order to give my land fair decisions and to give rights to the oppressed…” The Code of Hammurabi is a compilation of laws covering a wide variety of topics, such as property disputes, adultery, slavery, prostitution, inheritance, and public order. The collection was not exhaustive, but most likely served as guideposts for judges, as well as educated subjects, in their attempts to administer or anticipate the law. Such compilations of law date back to Sumerian codes 1400 years before Hammurabi’s time, and much of the king’s code echoes ancient Sumerian precedent. Hammurabi’s Code made wide use of corporal punishment for offenses: based on the “eyes for an eye, tooth for a tooth” principle of dispensing justice; in many cases Babylonian law was more harsh in its administration of mutilation or death as fitting punishment for crime than that by Sumerian judges, who often levied fines instead of corporal punishment. Babylonian law also made clear the privileged status of the upper classes, who suffered less severe penalties for their offenses as the common citizen, and far less severe punishments than those administered to slaves. Despite these, it showed an
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Mid-Term Review2 attempt to reduce abusive interest rates and prices, limit slavery for debt to three years, and provide more care to widows and orphans. Minimum wages were established. Other laws protected wives and children; but wife who had neglected care or her household or husband could be divorced without alimony, or the husband could take another wife and force the first to remain as a servant. Unless
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Mid Term Review - Mid-Term Review1 Samuel A. Cordeiro...

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