Babylonian Sources

Module code: AH3084

The ancient Babylonians had a rich culture that is exceptionally well documented thanks to their practice of writing on clay tablets. This module will introduce you to these sources – in the original! You will learn the fundamentals of old Babylonian grammar and the cuneiform writing system, enabling you to read some of the oldest texts in the world. You will also make your own cuneiform tablets and learn about the materiality of the medium. Together we will produce a translation of parts of the law code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon from 1792 – 1750 BC, which gives a fascinating window into Babylonian society, customs, and daily life. By studying the code in the original you will discover nuances that escape translation and explore concepts of justice from 4000 years ago, paralleling those in the Biblical world and even Greece. 

Topics covered

  • Introductory Babylonian language and grammar
  • Cuneiform as practice
  • Babylonian culture and society
  • Ancient law and its transmission
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