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History 3: Antiquity

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  1. 1. Orientation
    12 Steps
  2. 2. Imago Dei: Creation
    13 Steps
  3. 3. The Two Cities: The Fall & Two Lineages
    11 Steps
  4. 4. Look On My Works, Ye Mighty: Babel & Mesopotamia
    11 Steps
  5. 5. The Waters of Life in the Everlasting Hills: Ancient Egypt
    11 Steps
  6. 6. Lekh-Lekha: Abraham & The Patriarchs
    11 Steps
  7. 7. On Eagles' Wings: The Exodus & The Law
    12 Steps
  8. 8. The Sacrifice of Praise: Worship in Ancient Israel
    13 Steps
  9. 9. A House of Prayer for All Nations: Samuel to Solomon
    11 Steps
  10. 10. The Ways of the Father: Prophets & Kings
    11 Steps
  11. 11. I Form light and Create Darkness: The Exile, Medes & Persians, and Israel's Return
    11 Steps
  12. 12. Beyond Life and Death: India
    11 Steps
  13. 13. Immutable Tradition: China
    12 Steps
  14. 14. Honor Versus Life: Old Japan
    13 Steps
  15. 15. The Smoke of 1,000 Villages: Sub-Saharan Africa
    11 Steps
  16. 16. In Search of the Unknown God: Greek Stories & Early History
    12 Steps
  17. 17. Nostoi & Empire: Greece Versus Persia
    11 Steps
  18. 18. The Glory That Was Greece: The Golden Age
    11 Steps
  19. 19. The One and the Many: The Peloponnesian War & Philosophers
    11 Steps
  20. 20. To the Strongest: Alexander the Great
    11 Steps
  21. 21. Make Straight the Highway: Between the Testaments
    12 Steps
  22. 22. The Grandeur That Was Rome: The Roman Republic
    11 Steps
  23. 23. The War of Gods & Demons: The Conquest of Italy, Carthage, and Greece
    13 Steps
  24. 24. Crossing the Rubicon: The Fall of the Roman Republic
    11 Steps
  25. 25. Pax Romana: Caesar Augustus
    11 Steps
  26. 26. The Everlasting Man: Jesus Christ
    12 Steps
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Transcript

The following transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors in spelling and/or grammar. It is provided for assistance in note-taking and review.

Well, for our last lecture this week, we’ll take a look at the ancient Babylonians, really focusing on the character of Hammurabi, and then we’ll talk about the religion of the ancient mesopotamians, some of the myths and so forth. As for Babylon, Babylon was, was kind of seen as a type of Eden. It’s there. For example, we get the hanging gardens sometime after Hammurabi, probably built by Nebuchadnezzar. But Babylon itself is located on the Euphrates River, and it’s within about 50 miles of the Tigers River. It’s one of the most fruitful parts of all of the fertile Crescent. So it has a, a remarkable location, a location that allowed it to be one of the most dominant cities in the entirety of the ancient world.

Even when Alexander the Great was conquering his empire, Babylon was seen as the greatest of the cities he actually took over and conquered. Well, as for Hammurabi, who is the most famous figure of the Babylonian reign, it’s, it’s worth noting that he was an amorite, is how he described, which means he would’ve come from the land of Canaan. But Hammurabi, uh, curiously were told was a shrewd maker of alliances. He was someone who knew how to ally with the right powerful people around Mesopotamia to improve his own power, but he also had a habit of betraying certain alliances when it became convenient for him so that he could actually conquer them and conquer them.

He did often violently, sometimes even diverting entire rivers to go and take over someone’s kingdom. It’s actually a common theme throughout Mesopotamian and Persian history. If you have a river in your way, you just get all of your slaves and soldiers and you have them start digging to bring down the level of the river.

They did this for irrigation. They also used it for warfare. Uh, we also know, for example, that he conquered the ancient city of Maori because it did not submit to him. There, there was this massive library of KAA form documents and Ham Robbe had this, this love of knowledge, and so he had some of his select scribes catalog the entire library, bring what they thought were the best KAA form tablets to Babylon, and then the rest of the city was burned.

But because the Cana form documents did not actually burned, we still have them today. It’s one of the greatest discoveries, a kif formm we’ve ever encountered, and it’s already been cataloged for us by ancient scribes. Well, he also dug incredible things. We’re told, for example, that he dug a great canal that stretched from the city of Kish all the way to the Persian Gulf that provided irrigation throughout the lands and also controlled floods As far as we can tell.

He did things like build great temples to marduke at Babylon and built incredible grainery to store wheat. He called himself the giver of water, of security and government. At one point, a Cano form document in his own word says, I heaped up piles of grain. I provided unfailing water for the lands, the scattered people I gathered with pasture its and water. I provided them, I pastured them with abundance and settled them in peaceful dwellings. In other words, the way he discusses himself is reminiscent of how God describes himself in providing for his people. His language almost invokes say the imagery of Psalm 23, and we see something similar with his famous law code. Let me read to you the prologue of his law. He says this, I’ll read part of it. He says, ANU and bells are both Gods called me Hammurabi, the exalted prince, the worshiper of the gods to cause justice, to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil, to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak, to enlighten the land and to further the welfare of the people.

Hammurabi, the governor named by Bell Mi, who brought about plenty and abundance, who made everything for nipper and dury complete, who gave life to the city of Europe and and so forth and so forth.

He actually goes on talking about all of his grand deeds over and over and over again. In the epilogue, for example, he says that he carried the people in his bosom. He carried them closely to himself. He uses language like God uses in the Bible to describe himself. At one point, Rabi says, in my wisdom, I restrained them so that the strong man might not oppress the weak and that they should give justice to the orphan and the widow.

What’s curious is when we begin to look at how the law code was used, what we know about his law code is that was inscribed on these pillars or these Stellas that were put in every city of his empire.

In other words, his law code was meant to be this unifying code that would create more control for him over his empire. In fact, when you entered his empire on the most common, one of the most common forms of travel back then river travel, there were various checkpoints set up along the rivers to stop travelers so that they could be shown the code so they would know where they were entering these laws, uh, deal with everything from personal property to real estate to trade and business to family law, to what happens if someone’s injured to things such as how you treat workers or how you treat slaves and so forth. It’s often compared to the Old Testament law, what we sometimes call the Mosaic law, but there are enormous differences we need to point out.

For one, Hammurabi’s law is manmade. He makes it very clear that the Gods gave him authority to make the laws, and in fact, the, the artistry, the sculpture that goes with his law code, his Stella, shows the God Shamash seated on his throne, giving his signet to Hammurabi to give him the authority to actually make these laws.

It’s very different than what we see in the Old Testament where the laws are directly given, they’re revealed by God, and when he gives them, he ties them to the things he has already done for the people. Hammurabi actually is the same thing. He ties them to things he’s already done for the people, but in other words, Hammurabi and God are on the same level in terms of how we view these laws.

But of course, we know that Hammurabi himself is not God. Another curious difference we should point out is that Hammurabi’s legal code is mostly concerned with protecting property and they’re in fact very severe penalties for people who steal. Whereas the Old Testament code, as has been pointed out, is mostly concerned with protecting life. We also have an Rabi’s code, uh, the fact that people can be punished for the crimes of others. So it’s possible for a parent to be punished for the crime of a child or for a child to be punished for the crime of a parent or perhaps a slave to be punished for the crime of a master.

The Old Testament has nothing like that because it doesn’t see that as right. It’s also worth noting that in Hammurabi’s legal code, it’s only justice really for those who are true full citizens of his empire. It’s not a justice or rights given to all. Whereas the Old Testament legal code gives very clear rights to slaves. You look at the fourth commandment, for example, the command to rest, it makes it very clear that everyone in the land, the slave, the foreigner, the visitor, they all have that right to rest from their labors.

It’s also been pointed out that the codes are very different because hammurabi’s code seems to be focused on control upon worrying about the effects of the crime. Uh, whereas the Old Testament code, which is rooted on the 10 Commandments, which are rooted on the greatest commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself, they’re rule, they’re rooted on our relationships, first of all with God and then with mankind. In other words, they’re very covenantal. You don’t get the same thing in Hammurabi’s code. What we know about Hammurabi and the Babylonians is that after him came, his son who encountered massive rebellions of people who no longer wanted his rule, it wasn’t that his code was so uh, brilliant and that he was a shepherd. They actually wanted to follow him. It was really about Hammurabi’s control, and his empire’s control his own people rebelled against his son, and thus his empire ended and it was dominated by another invading people known as the Caite.

Well, let’s take a look now before we end this lecture on the religion, the faith of the Ancient Mesopotamians. One thing that’s worth pointing out is that the king himself of various Miss Damian cultures was often seen as a God. In fact, when the king became king in Babylon, it was said that he took the hands of Baal or Bell. Those two names are interchangeable, and he would carry an image of Murdoch through the streets dressed as a priest. Whenever Texas were collected, for example, they were collected in the names of the gods. Uh, the priests themselves were often very well supplied and were usually the greatest messengers, or I’m sorry, the greatest merchants throughout the ancient Mesopotamian world. When it comes to the Gods themselves, we see a huge variety. In fact, a census from the ninth century stated there were some 65,000 Gods gods, including some of the more famous ones like Shamash, the God of the Sun, or and Nana, the goddess of the moon, and also love and beauty.

She’s the Char character or the God Bell or Baal, who is the God of the Earth in curiously the God of death, or Mardi, who sometimes is the same character and was seen as a chief God, like a Zeus character and also the God of thunder.

But we wanna know how the Mesopotamians actually encounter them. We can look for example at the Sumer Sumerians who actually made these little figurines. They’re called votive figures. You find them, for example, in the place of the temple of Abu. And it was these little figures made from, from clay or stone or wood that were shown as people in prayer. And you’ll notice right away the eyes are gigantic. They are abnormally large. Well, as far as we can tell, these were probably used as worshipers to represent themselves so they could be put in the temple to show that they were always thinking about the gods.

It’d be kind of like if you had a representation of yourself and you put it in your church pew on Sunday morning, and that was supposed to like, you know, be your representation for God, that you actually care.

But of course it means you don’t. And that seems to be the issue with ancient Mesopotamians. Like some of their ancient cultures, they worshiped because they didn’t wanna get punished or because they wanted to get something. In fact, they had no real concept of sin for them, everything bad That happened, everything that was evil in the world was something that demons were always causing.

There wasn’t really evil or sin within mankind himself. This is why so many their cano form documents give these magical formulas that are designed to help you combat the demons. But then we also have some curious tales, uh, told by the ancient Mesopotamians and the Babylonians, especially, uh, such as the Tale of Ishtar, that that goddess of love and beauty we’re told, for example, that she fell in love with a character of a name TEUs. He was someone who was the son of Aya, but he was gored to death by a wild boar. He dies, he goes down into the underworld, something they called a shale, or in this story loo is a type of Hades. And so char acting very much as a Christ-like figure goes after him. She goes down there, but in order to pass into the realm, she has to become completely unclothed. She has to completely humiliate herself in order to actually gain access there while she’s gone. The story goes that everything up on the earth dies. It’s very much like a Persephone like story here. The Greeks told everything dies in the earth ’cause she was also the goddess of fruitfulness in the land, and so the gods upset that everything is dying, demand that tams be released so that ish chart can come back to the world and things can go back to normal.

Specifically they want offerings to come back. But anyway, she brings him back and we’re told that she heals him by bathing him in sacred water. So we even have a baptism image here. So we have a baptism image, we have a resurrection image. It’s rather beautiful. We also have the character of Marduke. Mardo was seen as both a shepherd of his people. He’s called that he’s seen as the one who creates man. He also was a dying God. Uh, the Babylonians had this tradition and they would sometimes the king would dress up as mardo and he would disappear for three days representing that Mar had died and that he then came back after three days.

Mar was actually called quote, he who gives life back to the dead because it was said he could resurrect the dead. But of course, the problem is, is that there was never an eternal resurrection or an eternal life because in the end everyone goes to shale and they all alike eat and drink the dust that is said to be the sustenance, the food of that realm.

That’s where we see the hopelessness of the Mesopotamians.