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West Asian numbers – Ancient Mesopotamia

By |2018-04-15T00:37:53+00:00September 16th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

Neolithic counting tokens The earliest way of writing down numbers was to carve notches in tally sticks, and this method spread from Africa all over Europe and Asia. But by about 9000 BC, people in West Asia began to use a different method of counting. Instead of tally sticks, people made clay tokens in different shapes. The shapes meant different [...]

West Asian science – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-07T17:05:01+00:00September 15th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

The constellation Orion From the Stone Age through the Islamic empires, great scientific discoveries have streamed out of West Asia. West Asia is one of the places where farming got started, and maybe the sailboat. The Sumerians developed the world's earliest system of writing, including the first way to write down numbers. They invented the wheel, using it as a pottery [...]

Who is Tammuz? Mesopotamia – West Asian religion

By |2018-04-24T12:02:10+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The god Tammuz (probably) with grain growing from his shoulders A West Asian god Tammuz (or Dumuzi) was a West Asian god who personified growing food, like Persephone in Greece or Osiris in Egypt. Like Osiris, Tammuz was male. The Sumerians worshipped Tammuz as early as 2600 BC - and probably much earlier - and so did all the other people [...]

Who is Ishtar? Mesopotamian goddess – West Asian religion

By |2018-04-15T12:09:53+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar or Inanna Ishtar (also called Inanna) was an important goddess of West Asia. Beginning at least by 3000 BC she was worshipped by the Sumerians, and by the Akkadians, and theBabylonians, and the Assyrians. Like most other female goddesses, Ishtar was a fertility goddess, but Ishtar was fiercer and more powerful than the Greek goddesses like Athena or Aphrodite. According [...]

Who was Enlil? – Mesopotamia – West Asian gods

By |2018-04-16T08:46:50+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Who was Enlil? This is what one of the tablets that was found in the Assyrian king's library looks like. This one tells the story of the Flood. The Sumerian god Enlil The god Enlil, according to Sumerian stories dating back to about 3500 BC, was a god of air and wind, weather and storms. He also was [...]

Who is Astarte? West Asian religion

By |2018-04-13T11:20:06+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The goddess Astarte in the Late Bronze Age The goddess Astarte As early as about 3000 BC,  Astarte was a Semitic goddess of love and fertility. People worshipped her in Mesopotamia and in the Levant. Like the Roman goddess Venus or the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Astarte started out as the goddess of the evening star. (And soon West Asian astronomers [...]

Inheritance in West Asia – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:41:43+00:00September 15th, 2017|Economy, West Asia|

Akkadian will (in the Louvre museum, Paris) This is the will of a man named Baal-Karad from Syria, who lived about 1300 BC, in the time of the New Kingdom in Egypt and the Trojan War in Greece. The scribe wrote Baal-Karad's will in cuneiform letters on a clay tablet. Baal-Karad said that when he died all his stuff should be divided [...]

West Asian people – families, schools, slavery

By |2018-04-13T01:45:11+00:00September 15th, 2017|People, West Asia|

West Asian people: Ur-Nanshe, the king's chief musician in Mari, 2400s BC Oppression of women What we notice most about the way people lived in West Asia is the widespread oppression of women. As compared to their neighbors in Sudan, Egypt, Central Asia, the Roman Empire, or even India, West Asian women were [...]

What is cuneiform? Mesopotamia – West Asian writing

By |2018-04-07T17:04:54+00:00September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

Cuneiform writing (now in LACMA, Los Angeles) Early Sumerian writing West Asia is probably the first place in the world where people figured out how to write. (Though Egyptian people began writing very soon afterwards.) People seem to have begun to write in Mesopotamia about 3000 BC, during the time of the Sumerians. The Sumerians, and everybody else in [...]

Shepherd story – Epic of Gilgamesh – Mesopotamia

By |2018-04-15T12:12:56+00:00September 15th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Shepherd on a cylinder seal (Berlin Museum) When the Sumerian king Gilgamesh refused to fall in love with the goddess Ishtar, he gave her a lot of reasons why not, and he was pretty nasty about it. One of the reasons Gilgamesh gave Ishtar was that she treated all her lovers badly. For example, once she [...]