The Epic of Gilgamesh by Dr. John Minniear, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
The Epic of Gilgamesh Overview by Joshua Mark, The Ancient History Encyclopedia
Code of Hammurabi, Avalon Project at Yale Law School
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Lesson 2: Mesopotamia Learning Objectives (Included in PowerPoint)
Upon successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:
1. Understand the geographical features of Mesopotamia, including the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
2. Describe the artistic and cultural significance of these locations and artifacts:
a.The Standard of Ur
b.The Palace of Nimrud
c.The Gate of Ishtar
3. Explain the importance of the Code of Hammurabi and give examples of some of its laws.
4. Discuss the religious practices of the Mesopotamians and how they differed in “outlook” with those of Egypt.
5. Outline the plot, characters, and themes of The Epic of Gilgamesh and why it is a “timeless” tale that holds significant lessons even in the 21st century.
Terms to Know
1. Relate, in detail, the plot and symbolism of the Epic of Gilgamesh based on the sources we have read, and analyze what this epic tells us about the general outlook on life and death and Mesopotamia.
2. Discuss the Code of Hammurabi, including the principles upon which it was based. Give specific examples of laws in the Code, explain how they were applied to society, and analyze whether the Code fulfills the purpose stated in its prologue: to ensure right and justice in the land.
Lesson 2: Mesopotamia Discussion Questions
(Uses online links for reading plus PowerPoints)
1. Who is Enkidu, and why is he important to Gilgamesh and the story in "The Epic of Gilgamesh"? (See syllabus for 2 links on Gilgamesh).
2. Who is Utnapishtim? Describe the discussions that take place between him and Gilgamesh. What lessons does Gilgamesh take away from these discussions? (See syllabus for 2 links on Gilgamesh).
3. How does the Code of Hammurabi treat people differently according to gender and/or social class? Give at least three specific examples (list the law and the #) where the Code changes punishments depending on whether the person is male, female, poor, wealthy, and/or a slave. (See link from Avalon Project in syllabus).
4. Why is a written law code more useful than one that is kept only through oral tradition? When is the reverse perhaps true—that an oral code is more useful? This question asks that you express your opinion, but that you also provide examples and evidence to support it.
NOTE: From time to time, these web pages may "disappear." Please notify your instructor if you find broken links, so they may be replaced.
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