Chapter

The Ordeal

Bertrand Lafont

in Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780748613878
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653584 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613878.003.0012
The Ordeal

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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

Chapter.  3609 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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