Early Civilizations Questions
Document 1: A Mesopotamian Creation Myth also known as Ennuma Elish.
1. Mesopotamian city-states, such as Sumer, were prone to violence and warfare with one another. Based on this reading, explain how this is reflected in their mythology.
2. Explain why mortals play little part in the struggle among the gods. Why have humans been created, and what is their duty?
Document 2: The Law Code of Hammurabi
3. What are some advantages of a written legal code? Explain how the code makes distinctions among people.
4. The penalties for breaking the law in Babylon were often very harsh. Why do you think the code was so severe? Why does Hammurabi claim to have received these laws from Shamash?
Document 3: The Law Code of Hammurabi
5. Why is the Nile to be praised? What happens when mortals reduce their food offerings to the gods?
Document 4: The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Negative Confession
6. Name three specific offenses that the deceased has not committed. What does each of these reveal about Egyptian social life? Explain.
7. List two offenses against gods and two offenses against mortals. Then, write a paragraph discussing what these various offenses reveal about Egyptian moral thinking.
Document 5: The Book of Exodus and the Ten Commandments
8. What was the nature of the covenant between God and the Hebrews? What was its moral significance? How does it compare to contemporary (current) morality and standards of behavior?
9. What similarities do you see between the Negative Confession in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and the Code of Hammurabi with the 10 Commandments? How might you explain the differences?
10. Comparative question centered on previous documents:
Based on each of the documents you have previously read, what would you list as the top priorities of a model Mesopotamian and Egyptian citizen? Why?
Write a paragraph in which you cite at least 3 priorities each for Mesopotamians and Egyptians from your previous readings.