Advertisement

Conception of Justice: Pre-Axial Mesopotamia

  • Abbas MirakhorEmail author
  • Hossein Askari
Chapter
Part of the Political Economy of Islam book series (PEoI)

Abstract

In Mesopotamia there is a shift in the conception of justice from the grand cosmic vision to a conception of justice embodied in law. This set the tone for later representation of justice in the Middle and Near East and in the Western world thereafter. While the Mesopotamian conception of justice was still considered divine business and, to some extent, cosmic, it was much less so than earlier conceptions. The Mesopotamian conception of justice was limited, for the most part, to protection of the widows, orphans, the dispossessed and the weak. While in Zarathustra’s, Egyptian and Rig Vedic systems, all humans including the rulers were subject to the divine-cosmic rules of justice, in Mesopotamia the law was given by the deities to the kings who were responsible for their implementation as representatives of the gods on earth.

Bibliography

  1. Abdi, Kamyar. 2003. The Early Development of Pastoralism in the Central Zagros Mountains. Journal of World Prehistory 17: 395–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, R.M. 1972. Pattern of Urbanism in Early Southern Mesopotamia. In Man, Settlement and Urbanism, ed. P.J. Ucko, R. Tringham, and G.W. Dimbleby, 735–749. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1974. Historic Patterns of Mesopotamian Irrigation Agriculture. In Irrigation’s Impact on Society, ed. T.E. Dawning and M. Gibson, 1–6. Arizona: The University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1981. Heartland of Cities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Algaze, G. 2008. Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Alizadeh, Abbas. 2003. Some Observations Based on Nomadic Character of Fars Prehistoric Cultural Development. In Yeli Bud Yeki Nabud: Essays on the Archaeology of Iran in Honor of William M. Sumner, ed. N.F. Miller and K. Abdi, 83–97. Los Angeles, CA: Cotsen Institute Archaeology, University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2004. Recent Archaeological Investigations on the Persepolis Plain. The Oriental Institute News and Notes 183: 1–7.Google Scholar
  8. Archi, A. 2002. Debt in an Archaic Palatial Economy: The Evidence from Elba. In Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East, ed. M. Hudson and M. Van De MIercoop, 95–108. Bethesda: CDL Press.Google Scholar
  9. Aubit, Maria Eugenia. 2013. Commerce and Colonization in Ancient Near East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Barton, George A. 1929. The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Beech, M., and J. Elders. 1999. An ‘Ubaid-Related Settlement on Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates. Bulletin of the Society of Arabian Studies 4: 17–21.Google Scholar
  12. Boecker, H.J. 1980. Law and the Administration of Justice in the Old Testament and Ancient East. Minneapolis, MI: Augsburg Fortress Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Bottero, Jean. 1992. Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods. Trans. Zainab Bahrani and Marc Van De Miercoop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Bricker, Daniel P. 2000. Innocent Suffering in Mesopotamia. Tyndale Bulletin 51 (2): 193–214.Google Scholar
  15. Buccellati, G. 1981. Wisdom and Not: The Case for Mesopotamia. Journal of American Oriental Society 101: 35–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Budge, E.A.W. 1993. Babylonian Life and History. New York: Barnes and Noble.Google Scholar
  17. Carter, Robert A., and Graham Phillip, eds. 2006. Beyond the Ubaid. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  18. Chataigner, Christiane, Pavel Avestisyan, Guilio Palumbi, and Hans-Peter Uerpmann. 2006. Godedzor, A Late Ubaid-Related Settlement in the Southern Caucasus. In The Beyond the Ubaid, ed. Robert A. Carter and Graham Phillip, 377–392. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Chirichigno, Gregory E. 1993. Debt-Slavery in Israel and the Ancient Near East. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Cooper, J.S. 1986. Sumerian and Akkadian Royal Inscriptions. New Haven: American Oriental Society.Google Scholar
  21. Crawford, Harriet. 2004. Sumer and Sumerians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dandamaev, M.A. 1984. Slavery in Babylonia from Naboplassar to Alexander (626–331 B.C.). Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Diakonoff, I.M. 1958. Some Remarks on the “Reforms” of Urukagina. Revue d’Assyriologie et d’archaeologie Orientale 52: 1–15.Google Scholar
  24. Doak, Brian R. 2006. The Origins of Social Justice in the Ancient Mesopotamian Religious Traditions. Faculty Publications-College of Christian Studies, Paper 185. http://digitalcommunications.georgefox.edu/ccs/185.
  25. Driver, G. R., and J. C. Miles. 1968. The Babylonian Laws (2 vols). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Fensham, F.C. 1962. Widow, Orphan, and the Poor in Ancient Near Eastern Legal and Wisdom Literature. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 21: 129–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Finkelstein, Jacob J. 1961. Ammisaduqa’s Edict and the Babylonian ‘Law Codes’. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 15: 91–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. ———. 1965. Some New Misharum Material and Its Implications. Assyriological Studies 16: 243–255.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 1970. On Some Recent Studies in Cuneiform Law. Journal of the American Oriental Society 90: 243–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Forest, J. 2005. The Process of State Formation as Seen from Mesopotamia. In Archaeologies of the Middle East: Critical Perspectives, ed. S. Pollock and R. Bernbeck, 184–206. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  31. Foster, Benjamin R. 1995. Social Reform in Ancient Mesopotamia. In Social Justice in the Ancient World, ed. K.D. Irani and M. Silver, 165–177. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  32. Frankfort, Henry. 1948. Ancient Egyptian Religion: An Interpretation. New York: Columbia University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Garbutt, D. 1984. The Significance of Ancient Mesopotamia in Accounting History. The Accounting Historians Journal 11 (1): 83–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gibson, M. 1974. Violation of Fallow: An Engineered Disaster in Mesopotamian Civilization. In Irrigation’s Impact on Society, ed. T.E. Dawning and M. Gibson, 7–20. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  35. Graeber, D. 2011. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. London: Melville House.Google Scholar
  36. Grayson, A.K. 1980. Histories and Historians of the Ancient Near East: Assyria and Babylonia. Orientalia 49: 140–194.Google Scholar
  37. Gupta, S.P. 1996. The Indus-Saraswati Civilization: Origins, Problems and Issues. New Delhi: Pratibha Prakashan.Google Scholar
  38. Harris, R. 1960. Old Babylonian Temple Loans. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 14 (4): 126–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Henrickson, Elizabeth F. 1985. The Early Development of Pastoralism in the Central Zagros Highlands (Luristan). Iranica Antiqua 20: 1–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hole, Frank. 2006. A Monumental Failure: The Collapse of Susa. In Beyond the Ubaid, ed. Robert A. Carter and Graham Phillip, 226–243. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  41. Horsley, Richard A. 2009. Covenant Economics: A Biblical Vision of Justice for All. Louisville, KY: Westminster john Knox Press.Google Scholar
  42. Hudson, M. 2000. How Interest Rates Were Set, 2500 BC–1000 AD. Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 43: 132–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Jacobsen, Thorkild. 1976. The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Steinkeller, P. 1981. The Renting of Fields in Early Mesopotamia and the Development of the Concept of ‘Interest’ in Sumer. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 43: 132–161.Google Scholar
  45. Keister, D.R. 1963. Commercial Record-Keeping in Ancient Mesopotamia. Accounting Review 38 (1963): 371–376.Google Scholar
  46. ———. 1965. The Mechanics of Mesopotamian Record Keeping. The National Association of Accountant Bulletin 46: 1–14.Google Scholar
  47. Kramer, S.N. 1963. The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  48. Krejci, Jaroslave. 1990. Before the European Challenge: The Great Civilizations of Asia and the Middle East. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Kriwaczek, P. 2010. Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization. London: Thomas Dunn Books.Google Scholar
  50. Lambert, W.G., and A.R. Millard. 1969. Atra-hasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  51. Larsen, M.T. 1977. Partnership in Old Assyrian Trade. Iraq 39 (1): 119–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Leemans, Wilhelmus F. 1950a. The Old Babylonian Merchant, His Business and Social Position. Leiden: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar
  53. ———. 1950b. The Rate of Interest in Old Babylonian Times. Revue Internationale des Droits del’Antiquite 5: 7–34.Google Scholar
  54. ———. 1960. Foreign Trade in the Old Babylonian Period as Revealed by Texts from Southern Mesopotamia. Leiden: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar
  55. Leik, Gwendolyn. 2002. Mesopotamia: The Invention of Cities. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  56. Lemche, Niels. 1979. Andurarum and Misarum: Comments on the Problem of Social Edicts and their Application in the Ancient Near East. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 38 (1): 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lenski, G.E. 1966. Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification. New York: Mcgraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  58. Liverani, M. 2006. Uruk: The First City. London: Equinox.Google Scholar
  59. Lutz, H.F. 1924. Kingship in Babylonia, Assyria, and Egypt. American Anthropologist 26 (4): 435–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Makkay, J. 1983. The Origin of the Temple Economy: As Seen in the Light of Prehistoric Evidence. Iraq 45 (1): 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mashkur, Marjan. 2006. Faunal Remains from Tol-e Nurband and Tol-e Sepid. In The Mamasani Archaeological ProjectOne, ed. D.T. Potts and K. Roustaei, 135–146. Tehran: Iranian Center for Archaeological Research.Google Scholar
  62. Matthiae, Paolo. 2016. Gods and Humans in Mesopotamian Art: A Communication System Through Visual Expression. In the Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, ed. Ingolf Thusen, 153–165. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraun, Inc.Google Scholar
  63. Mellaart, J. 1967. The Earliest Settlements in Western Asia: From the Ninth to the End of the Fifth Millennium B. C. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Mendelsohn, Isaac. 1949. Slavery in the Ancient Near East. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Michalowski, P. 1984. History as Charter: Some Observations on the Sumerian King List. In Studies in Literature from the Ancient Near East Dedicated to S. N. Kramer, ed. J.M. Mason, 237–248. New Haven: American Oriental Society.Google Scholar
  66. Molina, M. 2008. The Corpus of Neo-Sumerian Tablets: An Overview. In The Growth of an Early State in Mesopotamia, ed. S.J. Garfinkle and J.C. Johnson, 19–53. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigationes Cientifica.Google Scholar
  67. Nel, Phillip J. 2000. Social Justice as Religious Responsibility in Near Eastern Religions: Historical Ideal and Ideological Illusion. Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 26 (2): 143–153.Google Scholar
  68. Nemet-Nejat, Karen Rhea. 1998. Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  69. Nieuwenhuyse, Olivier, and Antoine Suleiman. 2016. From Pre-Halaf to Halaf—The Changing Human Environment in Khabur Hendwater, Northern Syria. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 41–53. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraun Inc.Google Scholar
  70. Nissen, H.J. 1988. The Early History of the Ancient Near East, 9000–2000 BC. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Oates, Joan. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
  72. Oppenheim, A.L. 1967. Letters from Mesopotamia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  73. Parker, Bradley J. 2006. Networks of International Interaction During Mesopotamia’s Ubaid Period. In Beyond ‘Ubaid, ed. Robert A. Carter and Graham Phillip, 339–360. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  74. Pollock, S. 1999. Ancient Mesopotamia: The Eden that Never Was. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Postgate, J.N. 1992. Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. Renger, Johannes. 1994. On Economic Structures in Ancient Mesopotamia. Orientalia 18: 157–208.Google Scholar
  77. Richardson, M.E.J. 2000. Hammurabi’s Laws: Text, Translation and Glossary. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  78. Roth, Martha T. 1995. Mesopotamian Legal Traditions and the Laws of Hammurabi. Chicago-Kent Law Review 71: 13–39. http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol71/iss1/3.Google Scholar
  79. ———. 1997. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Society of Biblical Literature: Writing from the Ancient World.Google Scholar
  80. Safar, F., M.A. Mustafa, and S. Lloyd. 1981. Eridu. Baghdad: State Organization of Antiquities and Heritage.Google Scholar
  81. Saggs, H.W.F. 1978. Encounter with the Divine in Mesopotamia and Israel. London: Athlone.Google Scholar
  82. Shavit, Yaacov. 2001/2013. History in Black: African-Americans in Search of an Ancient Past. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  83. Shendge, Malati J. 1996. The Aryas: Facts Without Fancy and Fiction. New Delhi: Shakti Malik Abhinav Publications.Google Scholar
  84. Skaist, A. 1994. The Old Babylonian Loan Contract: Its History and Geography. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Slanski, Kathryn E. 2013. The Law of Hammurabi and Its Audience. Yale Journal of Law and Humanities 24 (1): 1–14.Google Scholar
  86. Snell, D.C. 1982. Ledger and Prices: Early Mesopotamian Merchant Accounts. New Haven: Yale Near Eastern Researches, Paper No. 8.Google Scholar
  87. ———. 2011. Religions of Ancient Near East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  88. Steinkeller, P. 2001. The Ur Period. In Security for Debt in Ancient Near Eastern Law, ed. R. Jason and R. Westbrook, 57–74. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  89. ———. 2002. Money-Lending Practices in Ur III Babylonia: The Issue of Economic Motivation. In Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East, ed. M. Hudson and M. Van De Miercoop. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press.Google Scholar
  90. Stephens, F.J. 1955. Notes on Some Economic Texts of the Time of Urukagina. Revue d’Assyriologie et d’Archeologie Orientale 49: 129–136.Google Scholar
  91. Tetlow, Elizabeth M. 2004. Women, Crime, and Punishment in Ancient Law and Society. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  92. Trentin, Maria Giuseppina. 2006. The Ubaid in the Balikh Valley, Northern Syria: Balikh Period IV–V. In Beyond the ‘Ubaid, ed. Robert A. Carter and Graham Phillip, 329–338. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  93. Trigger, Bruce G. 2003. Understanding Early Civilization: A Comparative Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Ur, Jason. 2014. Household and the Emergence of Cities in Ancient Mesopotamia. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 26 (2). http://scholar.harvard.edu/jasonur.
  95. Van De Miercoop, M. 2005. The Invention of Interest and Sumerian Loans. In The Origin of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Market, ed. W.N. Goetzman and K.G. Rouwenhorst, 17–30. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  96. Veenhof, Klaas R. 1995. In Accordance with the Words of Stele: Evidence for Old Assyrian Legislation. Chicago-Kent Law Review 70: 1717–1744. http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol70/issue4/15.Google Scholar
  97. Veenhof, K. 1997. “Modern” Features in Old Assyrian Trade. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 40 (4): 336–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Versteeg, Russ. 2000. Early Mesopotamian Law. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.Google Scholar
  99. Weeks, Lloyd, Cameron A. Petrie, and Daniel T. Potts. 2006. Ubaid-Related-Related? The “Black-on-Buff” Ceramic Traditions of Highlands of Southwest Iran. In Beyond the Ubaid, ed. Robert A. Carter and Graham Phillip, 245–251. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  100. Westbrook, Raymond. 1995. Social Justice in the Ancient Near East. In Social Justice in the Ancient World, ed. K.D. Irani and M. Silver. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  101. ———. 2003. A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law (2 Vols). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  102. Woolley, C.L. 1965. The Sumerians. London and New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  103. Yaron, Reuven. 1988. The Laws of Eshnunna. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  104. Yofee, Norman. 2004. Myths of Archaic State: Evolution of Earliest Cities, State and Civilizations. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  105. Zaccagnini, Carlo. 1994. Sacred and Human Components in Ancient Near Eastern Law. History of Religions 33 (3): 265–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La JuntaUSA
  2. 2.LeesburgUSA

Personalised recommendations