hammurabi destroyed the great city view the image of

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Unformatted text preview: lished, mathematics developed rapidly. The Sumerian system was based on the number 60 (sexagesimal) rather than the number 10 (decimal), the system in general use today. Sumerian counting survives in the modern 60-minute hour and the circle of 360 degrees. By the time of Hammurabi, the Mesopotamians were expert in many types of mathematics, including mathematical astronomy. The calendar the Mesopotamians used had twelve lunar months of thirty days each. To keep it in accordance with the solar year and the seasons, the Mesopotamians occasionally introduced a thirteenth month. Religion The Sumerians and their successors worshiped many gods and goddesses. They visualized these deities in human form, with human needs and weaknesses. Most of the gods were identified with some natural phenomenon such as the sky, fresh water, or storms. They Writing and Mathematics Government, busidiffered from humans in their greater ness, and scholarship required an effective writpower, sublime position in the universe, ing system. The Sumerians invented the writing and immortality. The Mesopotamians besystem now known as cuneiform (from the lieved that the human race was created Latin cuneus, meaning “wedge”) because of the to serve the gods and to relieve the gods wedge-shaped marks they made by writing on of the necessity of providing for themclay tablets with a cut-reed stylus. The selves. The gods were considered not Sumerian writing system used several only as universal, but also as residing thousand characters, some of which in specific places, usually with one stood for words and some for sounds. important god or goddess in each city. Sumerian students were fond of Mesopotamian temples were run complaining about their unfair like great households where the gods teachers, the difficulty of their were fed lavish meals, entertained schoolwork, and their too-short vawith music, and honored with devocations. Sumerian and Babylonian tion and ritual. There were gardens schools emphasized language and for their pleasure and bedrooms to literature, accounting, legal pracretire to at night. The images of the tice, and mathematics, especially gods were dressed and adorned geometry, along with memorizawith the finest materials. Theolotion of much abstract knowledge gians organized the gods into famthat had no relevance to everyday ilies and generations. Human solife. The ability to read and write cial institutions, such as kingship, was restricted to an elite who or crafts, such as carpentry, were could afford to go to school. Sucassociated with specific gods, so cess in school and factors such the boundaries between human as good family connections and divine society were not almeant that a literate Sumerian ways clearly drawn. Since the could find employment as a great gods were visualized like clerk, surveyor, teacher, diplo- Akkadian Victory Stele. The victory stele of Naram-Sin, king of human rulers, remote from the mat, or administrator. common people and their conAkkad, over the mountain-dwelling Lullubi, Mesopotamian, Akkadian The S...
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