Ancient Babylonia

Ancient Babylonia

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Ancient Babylonia


When studying Ancient Babylonia it is notably important to look at these factors: daily life, religion, people, society, government and economy so we can determine the development of the civilization and how it is similar to the way we live today. The Babylonian Empire is unique because their government was run by a law known as the Code of Hammurabi similarly are government is run by numerous laws. Their knowledge of science and astrology is intriguing due to the fact that they were the first civilization to form the basis of the sixteen month of thirty days calendar, their discovery of the calendar lend us to the calendars we have today. In addition to government, science and astrology their economy was very modern and played an immense part in their daily life. The way the Babylonians lived life is identical to the way we live our life today.

In today's society we are governed and protected by laws, well we can say the same about Ancient Babylonia their society was governed and protected by the Code of Hammurabi(1750). The Code of Hammurabi main purposes were " to make justice visible in the land, to destroy the wicked person and the evil doer, so that the strong might not injure the weak". Our legal system is somewhat like this in terms of we sentence and enforce punishments on the criminals to protect other innocent citizens. Just like are prime minister, the Babylonian king Hammurabi wished to secure a uniform pattern of justice throughout his land, to certify that everyone was well aware of punishments and rules before breaking or committing them. The most well known term to describe this law is " an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". This quote indicated that the punishment suited the crime.
The Babylonian civilization was considerably keen on science, mathematics and astrology. They were apprehensive in the cause of medicine an example of this is their belief that sin was the cause of a patient's illness. Here is an old Babylonian proverb that says " an infection without a doctor is like hunger without food". What this is saying is they depended on doctors to suit their needs just as we depend on food to suit hunger. This describes perfectly what the Ancient Babylonian civilization was like, they depended on doctors and herbal medicine just as we do today.

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One of the more fascinating things that Canada and Ancient Babylonia have in common is the use of the medical text. The texts that were used are identical to how we use them today they basically had two kinds: descriptions of symptoms and lists of remedies. Prescriptions were made from milk, snake skin, turtle shell, cassia, thyme, date, fig and fir. The same way we use the resources that are available to us to find remedies is the same way the Babylonians used what was grown around them to find remedies. Babylonians had two types of medical practitioners, they were called the asipu (whose cures were said to be magical) and the asu (whose cure were basically medical). The asipu used incantations/ other magical practices and the asu or exorcist sometimes used drugs. The Babylonians had little knowledge about surgery so the only surgical procedure allowed by a surgeon was setting broken bones. The Code of Hammurabi indicates that the punishment for surgical mistakes was mutilation and even death. This is similar to are standards today because if a surgeon operates on you and makes any mistakes we can sew or he/she will have to spend so time in prison.
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Mathematics was just as important to the Babylonian as it is to us. They however calculated things entirely different from us. A prime example of this is their number system which had two disadvantages: (1) it was confusing and, therefore, not used in many daily economic activities (2) there was no special sign for zero, to separate the different units, so they would leave two blank spaces for zero or by using a special sign that indicated a space between two words. Babylonian mathematicians developed a mastery of algebraic skill, even though there was no graphic symbol for the unknown. Instead they invented a method called false value. Babylonians also displayed a considerable amount of knowledge of geometric shapes and geometric formulas. They lacked basic geometric terms and concepts that we used today such as words for angle, slope, perpendicular and parallel.

In addition to science and math, the Babylonian's were also very known for their knowledge in Astronomy. In fact it is said that they " surpassed their neighbors in the ancient Near East in their knowledge of astronomy and mathematics". This could be because they kept detailed records of their observations of the positions and movement of heavenly bodies. They developed a calendar by the division of the hour into sixty minutes, this later became a Babylonian legacy. Both the Egyptians and the Babylonians divided the day into hours. They then divided their day, sunset began at twelve " double hour", each consisting of sixty " double minutes". For there each day was also divided into six equal parts for calculation and observation.

We have seen how government, math and science resemble the lifestyle we live today but in order to make a clear comparison I have to contrast economy. The economy of Babylonia was based on farming, carpeting, pottery and clay goods, stone sculpture and selling songs. Many of the chemicals are chemists used today were used by Babylonian chemists these chemicals vary from acids, sodas, silicates, limes, metals and metallic oxides. These chemicals help establish irrigation, which later helped to produce barely and wheat. Low agriculture factors contributed to the development of large scale fields. They knowledge of pottery and clay helped the Babylonians to built gazed brick walls of the Ishtar Gate and provided historians with evidence that they were aware of ceramic mass production. The modern scale that is used to warm your vocals before singing originally came from Babylonia.
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