Cuneiform Civilization

803 Words 4 Pages
In the article “Cuneiform and the History of Civilization” Ephraim Avigdor Speiser, a world renowned Assyriologist argues that the survival span, influence, and legacy of Mesopotamia, a historic civilization is unmatched. After extensive research, Speiser came to the conclusion that Mesopotamian Laws were the most influential of the Cuneiform laws. It’s legal traditions set the precedent for other civilizations and heavily impacted later cultures. Our world as we know it today is culturally indebted to these historic civilizations because of their significant contributions to society, the most important being writing and law. Many of the activities we do in our everyday routines utilize the results of living in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, or …show more content…
His explanations were are well developed, effective, and clear. Throughout the article they remained coherent and relevant to the main topic. He supported his argument by going into great detail about the formation and basic premise of Cuneiform Laws in Mesopotamia, comparing and contrasting them to other the laws of other civilizations. For example, he compared Mesopotamian Law to Israel’s code of laws, the law being the backbone of society in both civilizations. Mesopotamian Law appealed to and influenced other civilizations like the Assyrians and Hittites to create their own similar laws despite their many ethnic and cultural differences. The Hittites composed their own legal code that reflected Mesopotamian influence while their political rival Assyria was thoroughly babylonianized ironically. It is apparent here that despite the underlying differences between the countries, legal tradition remained closely integrated with the common factors outweighing the divisive. That is why jurists today speak of “Cuneiform Law” rather than Mesopotamian because Cuneiform script, was shared by all the countries. Finally, Speiser argued that the even though the laws and written languages of the civilizations were similar, the laws of civilizations other than Mesopotamia were either less or more severe and developed, which one could argue was a …show more content…
The abundance of materials and sources gave Speiser the opportunity to thoroughly research Cuneiform Law and the legal traditions of the historical civilizations. He evaluated and judged the facts he found in early records and legal documents, ancient artifacts, and museums using them to form his argument and effectively support it. A private generational home located in a small town outside of Kirkuk, Iraq yielded an archive of close to a thousand legal documents alone. The records, geographically stretched from Iran to the shores of the Mediterranean, from Asia Minor to the borders of Egypt. Outstripping what used to be Mesopotamia.
As a whole, the article was successful. It was clear and informative giving the readers a deeper understanding of the main topic. Speiser’s argument was well developed and supported with an ample amount of factual evidence. However, some of his explanations were biased favoring Mesopotamian Laws over the laws of other

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