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Mesopotamia Video
Ancient History 10
The Garden of Eden
Our most enduring legend.
A story of seduction, the wrath of god and paradise lost?
Is it merely a fable? Is there evidence the bible might be true? Was there
ever a place of Eden? Search for the garden of Eden leads us to Mesopotamia
This is the land where 3 of the greatest civilizations that ever lived
Babylon (the last of these 3 great civilizations), Assyria (fierce masters of the
art of war) and Sumer (Sumar) (so distant – only Eden could have preceded
it; The creation of civilization itself).
Among their ruins – faithful sought answers to the bible’s mysteries.
Archaeologists were looking for historical foundations of belief.
Quest of Eden – journey back in time.
The great arc of the fertile crescent. Course of 6000 years gave birth to the
first great civilizations.
Tigris and Euphrates River – The Greeks called it Mesopotamia, we call it Iraq.
We can trace it back to our oldest stories, by peeling back the layers of history,
deepest routes of faith.
Western Edge: Israel – discovery in 1947: Rivet the world of archaeology and
Bedouin shepherds are moving goats, few miles from Jureasuleum in the
desert – they notice a cave, the wreckage of pots, leather scroll fragments – all
untouched from the time of Jesus.
The dead sea scrolls by the assienes. Surrounding caves – hundreds of scrolls
One of the scrolls: Earliest version of the old testament–the first five booksknown to the Jews as the Torah
Tremendous international uproar – fought over finding them and what their
meaning was. One of the outstanding archaeologists finds ever.
It was major for the Jews and for the Christians – great emotional attachment
Bible: Sacred and Historical (The 2 major viewpoints of how to read the bible)
Traditional Torah- written by hand, read out loud as the scribe writes – so it’s a
living prayer.
Historical accuracy of the bible has never been confirmed. Some of the books
of the bible are excellent historical books – quite accurate – b/c of the cross
reference with other books. An effort to this day. Some of the books of the
bible are quite accurate – b/c they have been cross referenced and are very
Discovery of the dead sea scrolls was major in biblical archaeology. But the
urge to explore biblical was started in the holy land but led to Mesopotamia.
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Video Notes
Mesopotamia Video
Ancient History 10
19th Century: New pilgrim through the science of archaeology – biblical history.
No greater confirmation of their faith was to prove that it was true.
Biblical archaeologists searched – for illustrations – the city walls, weapons,
pottery – illustrations for biblical stories that all of them had been taught from
their childhood.
Scholars from all over the world – to stake their claim in a biblical gold rush.
German/French archaeologists – digging for both god and country. Prestige of
each country – was on how much they were finding in biblical archaeology.
1868: Mohabbite Stone – Bedouin tribe – black stone tablet was found
First westerner to hear of the tablet– Frederick Augustus Klein – set off
immediately. He was a missionary not an archaeologist. Black tablet might
confirm his beliefs. He examined the stone – impression of the inscription.
Language he didn’t recognize. Jerusalem he sought help trying to decode.
Streets buzzed with the discovery.
Moabite account of a battle – described also in the bible. First time ever – 2
sources for the same event. Story from the bible was etched in stone.
Concrete evidence of the bible’s accuracy. Many sought to buy the stone.
Bedouins had been robbed by Europeans in the past. They thought that it might
be made of Gold – so they attempted to break it apart to get the gold.
Bedouin – They put in fire- poured water on it. It exploded. The stone was
destroyed. First arch. Discovery was destroyed. Loss of the stone was
devasting. But didn’t end the biblical treasure hunt. It pointed even further
into the past back 2500 years ago!
Pointed the way further into the past…from Babylon
586 BC: Armies of Nemba Kenszar – King of Babylon descend on Jerusalem.
With the wrath of an angry god.
6th Centuries before the birth of Christ, dark chapter in the history of the
Jews. The bible describes Babylon’s attack: Homes are pillaged; King Solomon’s
temple is set ablaze and destroyed. 10,000 Israelite are led to Babylon in
chains. They had to walk 500 miles of desert following ancient trade routes
through modern day Jordan, Syria and Iraq.
Issarilites: By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept. How can we sing
the lord’s song in a new area?
Broken and exhausted entered Babylon they withheld the capital of the ancient
world – Babylon – which would have been incredible.
Israelites – they sang the song and then wrote down their history. Oral
literature – it becomes formalized. Setting down a text which people can
criticize or can say this is the truth – everything else is wrong. The biggest
effect of writing down the bible.
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations
Ms. Ripley
Video Notes
Mesopotamia Video
Ancient History 10
Reconstructed walls of Babylon on those bricks of King Nebma kenszar. Many
gods. It holds that name now of Saddam Hussein. Unlikely birth place of one of
the most sacred texts.
They come into the cosmopolitain environment. Direct contact with OTHER
people – Israelites found themselves in a melting pot of different
races/religions/languages/conflicting gods. What city is this? The book of
revelation would ask. Babylon the great, abominations of Earth. Maybe because
of them - This is where the bible first became a book.
Hebrew scribes were desperate to keep Jewish identity. Israel tradition –
single manuscript – the bible was born. The Babylonians were liberal and let
them keep their culture/religion – this is what preserved the bible to this very
day – Babylonian culture would profound the work of Israelite scribes. Scribes
talked to each other. Exchange of ideas must have been mind blowing.
Israelites couldn’t ignore the Babylonians – temples were among the greatest
structure in the world – hanging gardens, palaces, and palm trees. Felt the waft
of culture. Presence of something powerful. All sides of it were the city. The
people/commoners. The ally ways. Donkey’s crowds of people walking. Close
knit corners. It was here that the bible tells us – the tower of Babylon soared
in the sky. Most wanted to find it – one man wrote: no men go near to the
tower – full of dragons and beast. Medieval travelers claimed
Northern Iraq – this tower 1500 years too late, far from the walls of Babylon.
Intriguing passivity – German archaeologist – rectangular ditch early 1900s–
Robert Coldaway had found what remained of the great tower.
Enduring legacy – Babylonian innovation – The Rule of Law – first civilization on
Earth to have a written legal code. Stone engraved with one of the most
Emerge in the late 19th Century.
Babylonian king – laws that bared his name – Hummarabi’s code.
Knowledge and law – dealt with orally – when it got written down – had immense
power – has influenced nearly every civilization since Babylon. Primitive methods
of law.
Ritual called the ordeal – Bedouin tribes still exist today - test of guilt still
practiced. Holy man judges the accused after they lick a red hot spoon by
looking at their tongues. They must submit to their ordeal. Painful ritual.
Water doesn’t ease the pain. It’s meant to cleanse and purify the accused.
Holy man looks at the singed tongues, looking for a sign from God. He alone will
determine the men’s fate. One man is found innocent, one is found guilty. He
will be fined for his crime. Modern day echo of Hammurabi’s code.
Thou shalt not kill. – The 10 commandants. The foundation of biblical law. Clear
voice of Hammurabi – set down these laws. Principles “eye for an eye”.
Babylon that shaped came from routes came from the brutal empire of Assyria
– the bible calls it the land bathed in blood.
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Video Notes
Mesopotamia Video
Ancient History 10
Deadliest were the Assyrians –in the bible: people were from ruthless
oppression and bloody tyranny.
Hundred years before Israelites were taken captive, Assyrian king took the
Israelites. Destroyed their lands. Behold what the kings have done to our lands
– destroyed them. That’s what it says in the bible.
Assyrians maintained efficient war machine. Chronicles of some of their
expeditions – they would take a city. Take the king – flay alive and nail skin to
the walls – heads of the leaders/citizens that they killed would show in front of
their city.
Behold the Assyrians – Ezekiel 31. When Rome was in its infancy, Assyria was
the greatest empire in the world.
For more than 1000 years – 1852: desoloute ruins, Austin Henry Laird – British
Archaeologist – tunnelling through the earth – world was stunned and excited by
his breakthrough – Found an palace - another confirmation of the bible.
Extraordinary accomplishments. Another Biblical city found.
Only direct communication we have from the people from their writings– what
they ate, politics how they viewed religion patriarchal society – women and
commoners. Sit on the steps- wait for a man to drop a coin (then go inside and
finalize). Marriage – wife had rights – no other wives – he could have
prostitutes – ordinary women - Assyrian queens had great privilege.
Northern Iraq (1989) Ancient palace of nimrod. Most significant discovery
since King Tut’s tomb. Took everything out – tried to sort it – bodies of 2
queens – solid gold bracelets – entombed 2000 years ago. Extraordinary
discoveries. Curse to the tombs: Should anyone break the seal and remove me
from my tomb, have their spirit roam in thirst under the bitter ray of the sun,
and the gods of the underworld inflict his corpse with internal restlessness.
Ignoring the curse – 125 pounds, crystal goblets and carvings. Master artisans –
Assyrian queen lavished with riches but it was the kings – lavish with empires.
Mediterranean sea - king set out – conquer all that lay in their path. Jerusalem.
Fortress after fortress fell to the Assyrians. Siege of La Keish. Besieged the
city, people were taken into slavery (those that weren’t executed). Brutal
conquest – systematic conquest. Soldiers with shields. These guys were
professional soldiers.
They didn’t have a hope against this army!
Capital city of Jerusalem – raced to fortify the city. Aqueduct to be dug. To
protect the water of the city. The lord saved Jers. And the Assyrians
returned to their own land (the bible says).
Other version – point of view is sharply different. 46 towns besieged and
conquered overwhelmed them. In agreement- we’ll tell different stories – but
basic historical event are the same. Contradictions – the result. Bible –
Assyrians are held back by Jers. Voice of the lord was the Assyrians.
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Video Notes
Mesopotamia Video
Ancient History 10
Not a single mention of them in the bible – they were called Sumer – the great
Noah’s Arc (Sumer told the story)
Angry god, a wooden boat, story of Noah and his family escaping to the arc with
every species of animal, while the flood takes on while the rest of man kind was
Primal tale – found in the bible – Also in a Text found in the ruins of sumer.
Mes. Tablets were translated – first epic – mythic king ginglimsih. Predates the
story of the bible by ….. 7 days and 7 nights, huge boat
Biblical flood story and this story. Great flood story was told in Sumer. First
of almost everything that makes us civilized. First civilization on earth
In a land without stone – mud bricks – from these simple building blocks- they
made ziggurats – 60 second minute, troubled teenager, wheel, writing,
We know about them – innovations and their every day lives. B/c of their
invention – writing. B/c someone wrote them down. It’s a window – many panes –
some we can see through, some we can’t.
5000 years ago – someone etched their stories in clay. Glimpse into their world.
Drinking beer, meeting other people, preparation of a woman for her lover.
Center of civilization – birthplace of Abraham – first of the bible’s patriarch.
Eptimamy – site of one of the most famous digs – 1920’s – Leonard Woolly –
British Archaeology – as the science of _________-.
Bricks, stones and pots come alive – take people on tour – house foundations
walked through – life of the people on these tours –the furniture – the life in
Woolly’s hand comes alive.
Dug this enormous pit – sterile lair of suit.
Science and Bible had united in the desert of (S) Iraq.
Royal tombs of AUR.
74 skeletons – kings’ final journey into the afterlife. Remarkable story –
funeral. Dug a pit, erected a stone – in which the body was placed, everyone
stood their with clay pots and at the symbol, they all drank poison. And all died,
to be accompanied by followers.
Discourser of the grave pits of AUR – triumph of discovery.
Science alone can only take us so far.
Ginglimish – leading us back to a garden and to some the place is called paradise.
Garden of Eden. In the beginning, creation myth- god created the world.
Longing for people – people’s longing for a less complicated life – or a reward for
working so hard.
Dilmen – name given to paradise. Home to a serpent – ancient epic – snake steals
flower that stows eternity. The idea of paradise seems universal. Was there
ever such a place? Clues point to the Island of Barbain – this island once had
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations
Ms. Ripley
Video Notes
Mesopotamia Video
Ancient History 10
abundant life. Was it paradise though? By contrast of the desert it was
paradise. Garden with lush fruit. People lived here 8500 burial mounds.
Ancient bones – They were taller and healthier and lived longer than any else in
the region. Clue: Remains of snakes. We find the serpent – epic of Gilgamesh
and the bible.
Is it possible to venture even farther? The land of Adam? Faith and Reason
must part company. There once was an Island garden in Mesopotamia – we might
choose to believe that it was paradise.
END 50 Minutes
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations
Ms. Ripley
Video Notes