Essay about legacy of Mesopotamia Egypt

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Essay about legacy of Mesopotamia Egypt

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…A few cuneiform inscriptions mention Greeks and Mesopotamians together, but in general the Babylonian sources are less informative than the Greek. A text mentions payments in which Ionians in Sippar are involved. The Foundation Charters of Susa note that cedar, brought from the west, was transported via Babylon to Susa by Ionians among others, presumably living or stationed in Babylon. The Charters also record that Babylonian and Ionian artisans worked at the palace in charge of baked bricks, implying the use of mathematics in calculating brickwork, which the Babylonians had developed to a sophisticated level about two thousand years earlier. Since by that time Aramaic was the lingua franca of the whole of the Near East, some forms of Mesopotamian learning would have been available in Aramaic. About Babylonians in Greek cities we have no comparable evidence.

Since the Persian king adopted the paraphernalia of his imperial predecessors, Greeks would have identified certain practices or objects as Persian rather than Mesopotamian. Artistic motifs taken over by the Persians were adopted by Greek artists who, in assimilating Persian styles, were in fact perpetuating old, Mesopotamian imagery. For example, a group of seals cut in a Graeco-Persian style adopts devices that already had a long history in Assyrian and Babylonian art. Fashionable affectations used by Greeks of this time included parasols and an over-garment called an ependutes (literally a pull-over). These the Greeks thought of as Persian, whereas in fact the former had been adopted from the ceremonial trappings of the Assyrian monarch, while the latter was probably Babylonian in origin. Aischylos could speak of the Persian king driving a 'Syrian' chariot and the image he has in mind derives from the famous Assyrian motif, adopted by the Persians, showing the king pursuing his quarry in a chariot. Babylonian textiles reached the Greek mainland as they may have done earlier, conveying Mesopotamian designs as well as contributing to the reputation of Mesopotamia for finery and extravagance.

One result of the Persians conquering Babylon was that the Greeks saw the Persian empire as the natural inheritor of Mesopotamian traditions, and in trying to understand Persia they looked to its predecessors in the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. Herodotos, whose promised work on Assyrian history is not extant, was not the first Greek student of Assyriology, for Hekataios of Miletos certainly referred to the geography of Mesopotamia and incorporated genealogies in his writings, rather in the style of Mesopotamian king-lists. 18 Hellanikos of Lesbos, Charon of Lampsakos, Xanthos of Lydia, and Dionysios of Miletos, whatever their precise chronological relationships to Herodotos, also wrote works touching on Assyrian and Babylonian history, of which no text survives…

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