Introduction of culture
The Babylonian culture was one of the greatest cultures that dominated the ancient region of Mesopotamia with many unknown aspects of the culture being exposed in recent years thanks to the works of researchers and archaeologists. Most of the information about this culture is contained in baked clay tablets and other inscriptions on which Babylonians wrote almost anything. Babylonians lived in an ancient country known as Mesopotamia in a fertile plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which are found towards the south of Baghdad, which is the capital of modern day Iraq (Vacín, 2008). This region was initially inhabited by communities known as Sumerians and Akkadians before they were displaced by the powerful Babylonian community.
Around 2050-2000 BC, the city that became known as Babylonia years later was occupied by the Sumerians. At the time of the Sumerian’s occupation, the kingdom was known as Sumeria and was considered the most powerful king in the western region of Asia. However, Sumeria was attacked by external invaders, Babylonians, and their king Hammurabi enlarged his kingdom and established a huge kingdom that captured the region formerly occupied by Sumerians (George, 2007). A good relationship later developed between Sumerians and Babylonians under the reign of Hammurabi whose dynasty lasted for over 200 years and extreme prosperity and relative peace was witnessed in the region. Between the 16th and 12th centuries, Babylonians were attacked by external invaders who later gained control over Babylonia although they were defeated by King Nebuchadnezzar towards the end of the 12th century. The Babylonian culture thrived under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar although the Persians move to conquer the region in 539 BC brought the Babylonia culture and independence to an end.
The Babylonian culture made significant contributions to art and architecture , and this is highlighted by the abundance of clay and the lack of stone in Babylonia that resulted in the use of mudbrick and was later used in the construction of Babylonian temples (Vacín, 2008). The construction of the temples used crude brick and they were supported by buttresses with the brick resulting in the early development of pilaster and column as well as enameled tiles and frescoes. From the art context, the use of three-dimensional figures began in Babylonia and the paucity of stone in the region resulted in the art of gem-cutting that is still evident in the modern-day art.
Before the enactment of the Code of Hammurabi, Babylonians believed in the punishment of individuals who misbehaved, what was described as “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” and they also believed in the cultural value that women could engage in business and hold or control property. On the other hand, men were considered superior to women and thus could divorce their wives or sell their wives and children into slavery in case they were not in a position to provide for the family (Souvay, 2003).
Babylonians believed in several immortal gods who were perceived to rule particular aspects of the cosmos such as rivers, mountains earth, seas, and heaven and every individual in the Babylonian culture addressed prayers to a personal god during the time of happiness and sadness. Understandably, religion was considered one of the most important aspects of life in the Babylonian culture, and this saw people offer everyday sacrifices of drink, food, or incense to the gods. There were six most important gods in the Babylonian culture including Anu, Enlil, Ea, Marduk, Ishtar, and Nabu, and each of these had a large temple where they were worshiped (Oppenheim, 2013). Religious ceremonies were held, and some of the dignitaries involved in the ceremonies included priests, musicians, dream interpreters, astrologers, and magicians.
Sex and gender role differences
In the Babylonian culture, men were considered superior to women, and this saw them enjoy several privileges. For instance, men had the freedom to decide whether to claim any newborn child as theirs and in this, undesirable babies or newborns were considered to be conceived as a result of the woman’s affair (Souvay, 2003). Despite the law that allowed women to own property, men were considered the custodians of family assets. Moreover, unlike boys, girls or daughters were not allowed to inherit property from their father’s estate but were offered dowry during marriage (Souvay, 2003). It should also be noted that the Babylonian culture gave men the freedom to divorce their wives without giving reasons for doing so.
Healthcare, rituals, and medicine
The Babylonian culture is known for the introduction of medical concepts such as prognosis, diagnosis, prescriptions, and physical examination. In this culture, in case an individual was sick or showcased symptoms of a disease, they were treated through therapeutic means such as pills, creams, and bandages (Oppenheim, 2013). In a situation where a sick person could not be cured physically, Babylonians through the help of physicians relied on rituals such as exorcism, which ensured that the patient was cleansed from curses. Moreover, Babylonians also relied on medicine, although at a later stage, to treat sick individuals and the medicine in one way or the other resembled early Greek medicine.
Impact of assignment
This assignment highlights and explores the Babylonian culture including its history artistic contributions, religion, sex and gender roles, values, as well as healthcare, rituals, and medicine. The impact of this assignment is that it enhances people’s understanding of the Babylonian culture. Also, it provides an opportunity for conducting research on various ancient cultures that influenced or were related to the Babylonian culture.
Briefly, as discussed above, the Babylonian culture was one of the greatest and dominant cultures in the ancient region of Mesopotamia. It began around 2050-2000 BC but was later brought to an end in 539 BC after an invasion by the Persians. Like every other culture, the Babylonian culture has a history, artistic contributions, values, and religious connectedness. It also showcases sex and gender differences and highlights the use of medicine, performance of rituals, and healthcare-related perspectives.
George, A. (2007). Babylonian and Assyrian: A history of Akkadian.
Oppenheim, A. L. (2013). Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization. University of Chicago Press.
Souvay, C. L. (2003). Hammurabi. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 7.
Vacín, L. (2008). The Babylonian world–Edited by Gwendolyn Leick. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 14(4), 897-898.