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A history of ancient Babylon (Babylonia) including its cities, laws, kings and legacy to civilization. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four. Part Five

Sexual Paradox: The Fall - Dhushara

The Code of Hammurabi (1750 BCE) (All 282 Laws …

Mesopotamia time line . 3500B.C. Cities growing across Mesopotamia: 3400B.C.
Babylonians who could afford it had four meals a day, a substantialbreakfast, a light lunch, and a heavy meal and a light snack again inthe evening. A meal began with a slave pouring waterover the hands of those dining, into a basin beneath. The family groupthen sat round the table, and the head of the family said a gracecalling upon certain gods. The food was then placed on the table,mainly in one large vessel, from which everyone helped himself,generally using fingers, though knives, forks and spoons were notunknown in ancient Babylonia. Largely the meal consisted of vegetableproducts. Beef, mutton and goat-meat were regular items of the diet ofthe gods, and also (contrary to the statement of some other books) ofthose Babylonians who could afford it, though the poorer people mayseldom have eaten red meat, except at religious festivals. Pig-meat wastaboo to all the gods, but humans still ate it, and since pigs wanderedabout the streets semi-wild as scavengers, poor people probably had thechance of eating pork much more often than they did beef. The Euphratesabounded (and still does) with fish of various edible species, some ofthem reaching a weight of 200 pounds, and we know there wereprofessional fishermen at this time, so that we may conclude that fishwas a common item of diet and, of course, a valuable source ofprotein(105). Of poultry and game, ducks, geese, pigeons and partridgeshad always been available, and the hen had been introduced a century orso before Nebuchadnezzar, so that it was probably quite common by thistime. The fish may have been split open and grilled over a charcoalfire, whilst the meat and poultry were generally boiled in a pot tomake a stew.

The Code of Hammurabi (1750 BCE) (All 282 Laws Included …

At the south end of the house one ofthe rooms behind the principal chamber was a bathroom. In this thefloor, so built as to slope towards the centre, consisted of bakedbricks overlaid with the usual composition of bitumen and powderedlimestone, whilst the lower parts of the walls were also lined withbaked brick. Beneath the lowest part of the floor in the centre of theroom was a soakaway or sump of the type already described, into whichthe waste water from the bathroom flowed. According to thearchaeologists who excavated Babylon, no traces of bath-tubs are foundfrom the period of Nebuchadnezzar. This seems odd, since they werecertainly used in other parts of Mesopotamia, earlier, but possibly thetypical Babylonian was content simply to take a shower by having aslave pour water over him, whilst he washed himself down with a kind ofsoap made of the ashes. of certain plants mixed with fats.


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After a meal the diners wiped their mouths on table-napkins, and theslaves again poured water over their hands. If it was the midday meal,the diners would then go to their bedrooms for a siesta, which was verynecessary, since for much of the year the heat is intolerable in Iraqduring the early afternoon: this was so commonly accepted that one ofthe Babylonian words for midday meant in fact 'the time of lying down'.

In the neighbourhood of the kitchen there were a number of largepottery jars for the storage of water, which was brought up from theriver by the household slaves. These particular jars ' were unglazed,since it was a great advantage to have them slightly porous, so thatthe slight consequent evaporation would keep the water refreshinglycool. Similar jars, often lined with a coatingof bitumen, were used for other kitchen stores such as barley, wheatand oil. The Babylonians liked stale beer and wine as little as we do,and these were kept in sealed jars. Kitchen utensils included suchthings as basins, bowls, sieves and cups, all made of terracotta,sometimes left in their yellowish buff colour, sometimes glazed inblue, white or yellow (101). There were also terracotta chests for therat-proof storage of various foods. Equipment would usually includemortars of baked clay or stone, used for pounding spices, a stonehandmill for grinding the wheat or barley, and of course knives.

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The brilliant sunlight of Babylonwould thus produce on the blank buff-coloured or whitewashed wallsalternate contrasting bands of light and shade. The street door (therewould only be one) was framed in a vaulted archway in the wall,somewhere in the northern part of the house. Just inside the house fromthe street door there was a very small room for the door-keeper, whowould of course be a slave, though a reliable and trusted one, as thesecurity of the house depended on his vigilance. The person entering aprivate house had to be admitted by the door-keeper and then passthrough at least two rooms before he reached the courtyard, which wasof course the only means of approach to the main living-room in thesouth of the building. The Babylonians obviously liked domesticprivacy, and the doors of the rooms leading from the street doorwaywere always so arranged that even with the outer door open it wasimpossible to peep into the courtyard from the street. Even more thanfor the Englishman, the Babylonian's home was his castle.

The Rise Of Civilization In The Middle East And Africa

The particular purpose of many of the rooms in a Babylonian house isa matter for intelligent guessing, though with some of them thepresence of particular equipment or architectural features settles thematter. One group of rooms to the north of the courtyard usuallycontained the kitchen, pantries, and probably the slaves' quarters. Thekitchen, one of the larger rooms, would have in one corner the cookinghearth, consisting of two brick platforms six inches or so apart at thebottom and sloping together to a narrow slit at the top, where pots andpans could be placed(]00). For people who could afford it, the fuelused in such a hearth was mainly charcoal, generally from palm-wood, asno other, wood was easily available for common use.

Yokai the Ancient Kami: Forces of Nature vs

One must not expect a private house in ancient Babylon to bebasically similar to a house in a modern English or American suburb. Inbuilding a house, the Babylonian had two objects in view. He wantedprivacy, particularly in respect to his womenfolk, and he wanted arefuge from the burning Babylonian sun. The privacy he obtained byhaving the outer walls of the house almost blank and by arranging forthe rooms to open only on to a central courtyard. The protectionagainst the sun he obtained by making the walls of his house of mudbrick, up to 6 feet thick. This may seem to be excessively massive, butthose who have lived in Baghdad in houses built to flimsy Europeanstandards instead of traditional Mesopotamian ones know how ineffectivewalls of normal thickness are against the sun there, if electricalair-conditioning happens to break down.