The letters of hammurabi that deal with land tenure

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Unformatted text preview: from them. The largest category of laws relates to the family and its maintenance and protection, including marriage, inheritance, and adoption. Parents usually arranged marriages, and betrothal was followed by the signing of a marriage contract. The bride usually left her own family to join her husband’s. The husband-to-be could make a bridal payment, and the father of the bride-to-be provided a dowry for his daughter in money, land, or objects. A marriage started out monogamous, but a husband whose wife was childless or sickly could take a second wife. Sometimes husbands also sired children from domestic slave women. Women could own their own property and do business on their own. Women divorced by their husbands without good cause could get back their dowry. A woman seeking divorce could also recover her dowry if her husband could not convict her of wrongdoing. A married woman’s place was thought to be in the home, but hundreds of letters between wives and husbands show them as equal partners in the ventures of life. Single women who were not part of families could establish a business on their own, often as tavern owners or moneylenders, or could be associated with temples, sometimes working as midwives and wet nurses, or taking care of orphaned children. CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 13 Chapter 1 The Birth of Civilization 13 A Closer Look Babylonian World Map CARTOGRAPHY WAS AMONG THE many intellectual achievements of the Babylonians. The map illustrated here was inscribed on a clay tablet about 600 B.C.E., and appears to be the earliest surviving map of the world. The Babylonians did not intend this map to be a precise or literal picture of the universe or even of the land on which human beings lived, for they omitted any representation of such important and numerous peoples as the Egyptians and Persians whom they knew very well. There is a text written in cuneiform script above the picture and on the back of the tablet that help makes its identification as a map secure. The tablet shows the world from a Babylonian point of view as flat and round, with Babylon sitting at its center on the Euphrates River. Surrounding Babylon are cities and lands, including Armenia and Assyria, and all the lands are encircled by a “Bitter River.” Beyond that are seven islands arranged to form a seven-pointed star. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. © The British Museum. Questions 1. What can we learn from this map about how the Babylonians saw the world around them and their own place in it? 2. Why do you think this map locates some of the Babylonians’ neighbors but ignores other important neighboring cultures? 3. Why has cartography remained so important throughout the ages? 4. Is the subjectivity reflected here confined to this map, or is it a general characteristic of cartography throughout history? To examine this image in an interactive fashion, please go to CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 14 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 14 Part 1 Human Origins and Early Civilizations to...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.

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