April 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm #16289walter.palmaMember
So, in the 24th century the Akkadian ruler called Sargon established the first empire in the region and ruled this empire for several generations.
You said, that it then broke apart and decentralised city-states took over again.
– Do we know why this very early empire broke apart?
– Are there any parallels with why later empires broke apart?April 12, 2012 at 9:42 am #16290
Walter, the Akkadian Empire collapsed around 2100 B.C. primarily due to external pressure, specifically, attacks from hill peoples coming from outside Mesopotamia. Frequently in world history marauders will come into a settled area, cause a lot of chaos, and then turn around and leave. The pre-existing authorities in the region aren’t always able to pick up the pieces.
Other times the invaders will try to stick around and run the territory they’ve invaded with varying degrees of success. There’s no hard and fast rule on this . . . you just have to look at the particulars of the situation.
I hope this answers your question.April 12, 2012 at 9:47 am #16291walter.palmaMember
Yes it does – thanks!April 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm #16292Ecull336Member
Figured I should add this question to this topic because the title is broad. In reading the translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the translator used periods to separate into sentences which I can understand. But other punctuation such as exclamation points, were there marks used in order to express this in cuneiform or is this the person’s own translation of the emotions? In the early form, it looks like rectangles were used as periods to separate ideas. Then, Akkadian is similar to modern forms of writing with lines going horizontally and then spacing vertically. It’s hard to see any marks on them.April 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm #16293
Eric, before I give you my gut reaction, I’m running this by a colleague who actually has some knowledge of Akkadian. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear from him.April 13, 2012 at 11:30 am #16294
Eric, here’s the response from my colleague:
“As far as I am aware, classical Akkadian does not have word dividers or punctuation marks. Yet, the English punctuation provided is not entirely arbitrary. For instance, questions would be implied by the presence of an interrogative or by lengthening the last syllable of a phrase. Likewise, imperatives might be indicated by “la.” But, as you suggested, some of the punctuation is going to depend on the instincts of the translators (his feel for the context).
Some cuneiform languages, such as Ugaritic, employ a small triangle as a divider between words, but no punctuation marks. Perhaps some cuneiform-based languages use punctuation marks, but if so I am unaware of this practice. Even paleo-Hebrew and Greek did not employ punctuation marks.”April 14, 2012 at 4:36 am #16295Ecull336Member
It’s much appreciated. Is their view of time much like the Egyptians in which it was a cycle, or a circle? I could see a similarity, if so, in that view and their writing. As if it wasn’t desired to have a end to an idea or a defining linear mark, have the ideas flow one into the other like the passing of time.April 14, 2012 at 11:16 am #16296
The Mesopotamians did have a cyclical view of time. I don’t know whether there’s a direct connection between that fact and the convention of script you point out.March 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm #16297bychaMember
Just finished enjoying the Lecture2.
Two corrections for Dr.J. while i didn’t forget:
you corrected the lecture on what was the Sumer,
but in the Quiz – Sumer is still supposed to be the anser to ‘ the city normally cited as the birthplace of civilization’
Eupratis is a big river. I doubt people of that age were able to take so much water from it to cause noticeable problems for those living in the mouth of the river. So that example didn’t sound serious to me.March 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm #16298bychaMember
you mentioned theories there about why civilizations first arose.
It really surprised me that you said that the Mesopotamian one is
an evidence to the ‘Challenge response’ theory.
But just a minute before that you spoke about good farmland and
easiness of cultivating. The very name ‘Fertile Crescent’ rings a bell, doesn’t it?
Do you emotionally like the ‘Challenge response’ theory?
Can you please provide any obvious evidence against that ‘prosperity’ theory? Any civilization that grew up in an unfavourable place?March 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm #16299
Aleksei, thanks for noting the error on the quiz question. I’ll ask the web people to fix that.
You might be surprised how much water could be diverted from even fairly large rivers by digging channels for irrigation and the like. The Persians famously changed the course of the entire Euphrates during one of their military campaigns. During years of drought, river levels could get fairly low, and near the mouth of the river this could lead to increased salinity in the water to the point where it might become problematic for drinking or irrigation.
The plausibility of the “challenge/response” theory for the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia is based on the major coordination needed to construct levees along the rivers, which flooded violently at various times. It doesn’t matter how good the farmland is if it’s under water. No, I don’t emotionally like the theory. The “prosperity” theory appears to fit Egypt’s circumstances better on the face of things.
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