Forum Replies Created
April 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm in reply to: Lecture9 The Polis – Percentage of Citizens with voting rights? #16304
In a democratic state like Athens, all citizens had voting rights, but not all inhabitants were citizens. Citizenship was limited in most poleis to free adult males who had at least one parent from the city in question. This means that in a city like Athens, where the majority of the population was slaves, only a small percentage of the inhabitants were citizens.
There is a thorough discussion of the concept of Greek citizenship in Book III of Aristotle’s “Politics.”
Eric, I welcome your comment here, of course, but is it possible you intended this one for the 2nd U.S. course’s board?
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.
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.”
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.
Walter, thanks for your comments, and I’m glad to know you believe the subscription is worth the money. Please spread the word as much as you can. The more subscribers we have, the more lecture series we can make available to everyone! I’d love to see a dozen or more series on the website within a few years, but each one is pretty costly to produce, so we need the subscriber base to justify them.
I don’t want to be unduly dismissive of this interpretation, so let’s analyze it a bit.
The speaker in this video appears to be reasoning thus: the pyramids are so marvelous that they could not have been built by the ancient Egyptians in the time available to them with the tools they had. I believe this argument can be challenged in a few ways.
First, he’s resting the entire argument on the Great Pyramid of Giza and not making references to the many other pyramids in Egypt constructed earlier. If you look at these earlier pyramids, you see many that were the product of inferior engineering. Several collapsed during construction. They did not contain the same degree of mathematical accuracy as the Great Pyramid. We can infer that pyramid-building was a progressively developed science in ancient Egypt over several centuries, and the Great Pyramid represents its pinnacle.
Second, his assumptions concerning the manpower and time devoted to pyramid construction are (I think) arbitrary. There’s no reason why the pharaohs might not have had a year-round conscript force working on a pyramid during his lifetime, and I seem to remember reading somewhere that the largest pyramids took more than 20 years.
If you really want to dig into the pyramids, there is a good lecture series published by the Great Courses titled “Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt” taught by an Egyptologist who has actually been inside several pyramids, seen the burial chambers, etc.
It’s pretty clear that the author was a member of the priestly caste, but beyond that we can’t identify a particular person.
We can’t even say for certain that there was just one author; some variations in style in different parts of the epic lead many scholars to speculate that there’s more than one set of authorial “fingerprints” on the work.
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.
Thanks for the link, Walter. I’ll view this and get back to you tomorrow. (This semester, Monday and Wednesday are my heavy teaching days, leaving little time to interact on the forums.)
Sure thing, if you’ll sign my copy of the Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution.