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CIV 101-03
The Ancient Near East
2100-486 BC
Part 1
Old Babylon
• (yes, there will be a “new” one, later)
• c. 1792-1750 BC
• We focus on Hammurabi, but he wasn’t the
first or last leader
Propaganda Device
Hammurabi set up
several tall stone pillars
(steles) throughout his
kingdom to proclaim his
The top portion
shown here depicts the
king receiving symbols
of justice from the
seated god Marduk.
Old Babylon Under Hammurabi
we’ll see much of this repeated by other empire-builders
• Many wars, to unite and conquer to the point
of building an empire
• Changes the social order: toward Plutocracy
(wealthy governing class)
• Codified the legal system
• Imperializes religion
• Old Babylon gives the west its first literary
epic (Gilgamesh)
Ashurbanipal’s Library at Nineveh
This cuneiform fragment contains a passage from the Epic of
Gilgamesh. The remnants of Ashurbanipal’s library are now
housed in the British Museum.
The Rise of Civilization: Egypt
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values
– The West will see this feature in later
manifestations including the Greek notion of
Paideia and the Christian perfections associated
with the body of Christ (virgin birth, ascension,
The Rise of Civilization:
Ancient Egyptian Religion
Royal divinity
The people worshiped the pharaoh but the
pharaoh could worship any god . . . So
disagreements arose
The Amarna revolution
Exemplifies the potential trouble as the pharaoh
could pick and choose among options for who,
what, and how to worship.
People AND other leaders revolted
Egyptian Book of the Dead
Although a “classic” text, not a narrative epic in the form of
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD/The Papyrus of Ani
translated by E. A. WALLIS BUDGE [1895]
A body of texts which have reference to the burial of
the dead and to the new life in the world beyond the
grave, and which are known to have existed in revised
editions and to have been in use among the Egyptians
from about B.C. 4500, to the early centuries of the
Christian era.
Osiris was the god through whose sufferings and death
the Egyptian hoped that his body might rise again in
some transformed or glorified shape, and to him who
had conquered death and had become the king of the
other world the Egyptian appealed in prayer for eternal
life through his victory and power
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD/The Papyrus of Ani
translated by E. A. WALLIS BUDGE [1895]
In every funeral inscription known to us, from
the pyramid texts down to the roughly written
prayers upon coffins of the Roman period, what
is done for Osiris is done also for the deceased,
the state and condition of Osiris are the state
and condition of the deceased; in a word, the
deceased is identified with Osiris. If Osiris liveth
for ever, the deceased will live for ever; if Osiris
dieth, then will the deceased perish.
Osiris, God of the Underworld
Of all the gods of Egypt Osiris
God was the best known; a
famous hymn to him from the
Book of the Dead captured his
essence. Osiris God is perhaps
the most easily recognized of
the gods. He was always
dressed in white mummy’s
clothes; he wore a beard and
held in his crossed arms the
crook, the flail (whip), and
sometimes the scepter-all
signs of authority and power.
Most often he was depicted as
the judge of the dead person’s
The Rise of Civilization: Egypt
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values
– Writing and Literature
• Multiple Genres, though mostly inscriptions on
tombs and folktales
• Hymns (as we saw with the Book of the Dead/Hymn
of Osiris)
– Science and medicine
• A calendar
Egyptians are responsible for the appearance of
the solar calendar.
To make it, they
took the yearly
sunrise recurrence
of Sirius (the Dog
Star) in the eastern
sky as a fixed point
. . . this period
coincided with the
yearly flooding of
the Nile River.
developed a
calendar that
featured 365
days and 12
months (30 days
in each month
and additional 5
days at the end
of the year).
Due to the fact
that Egyptians
didn't account for
the additional
fraction of a day,
their calendar
[became wrong].
However Ptolemy
III--Euergetes of
Egypt, decided to
add one day to the
365 days every 4
years. (LEAP YEAR
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values
• Science and medicine
• Mummification
To live in the
next world, one
needs a preserved
Steps for Mummification
1. The body was washed
2. A cut was made on the left side of the abdomen and the internal
organs - intestines, liver, lungs, stomach, were removed.
The heart, which the Ancient Egyptians believed to be the centre of
emotion and intelligence, was left in the body for use in the next life.
3. A hooked instrument was used to remove the brain through the
nose. The brain was not considered to be important and was thrown
4. The body and the internal organs were packed with natron salt for
forty days to remove all moisture.
5. The dried organs were wrapped in linen and placed in canopic jars.
The lid of each jar was shaped to represent one of Horus' four sons.
Steps for Mummification
6. The body was cleaned and the dried skin rubbed with oil.
7. The body was packed with sawdust and rags and the open cuts
sealed with wax
8. The body was wrapped in linen bandages. About 20 layers were
used and this took 15 to 20 days.
9. A death mask was placed over the bandages
10. The bandaged body was placed in a shroud (a large sheet of
cloth) which was secured with linen strips.
11. The body was then placed in a decorated mummy case or
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values (continued)
– Sculpture, painting, and minor arts: Rigid canon in sculpture and relief
• Exact proportion; front facing in statues, profiles in painting; eyes and shoulders and
fingers shown; no perspectivism.
• Houses for the eternal bodies of those represented.
Statue of Shebenhor,
Saite Period, Dynasty 26
(664–525 B.C.)
Statue of the God Horus
as a Falcon, Ptolemaic
Period (305-30 B.C.)
Statuette of the God Re
Horakhty, Third Intermediate
Period, Dynasty 21–26,
(about 1070–656 B.C.)
Hand Mirror, New Kingdom,
Dynasty 18–20
(c. 1550–1070 B.C.)
Dead Man standing in the barge of the sun
worshiping the phoenix, symoble of the sun
god of Heliopolis, Tomb of Irinefer.
Introduction from: Great Cities of the Ancient World:
The Pyramids and the Cities of the Pharaohs
• A Quest for Eternal
Cultural Values
• Architecture
• Pyramids
• Funerary