Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I've been reading The Ancient Near East, edited by James B. Pritchard, 1958.

What this book tells us is (1) that swimming is a most useful skill and (2) that children have always whined to their parents.

(1) From the Code of Hammurabi:

If a seignior (a man of the higher classes or a free man) brought a charge of sorcery against another seignior, but has not proved it, the one against whom the charge of sorcery was brought, upon going to the river, shall throw himself into the river, and if the river has then overpowered him, his accuser shall take over his estate...

(2) From the Akkadian letters:

A Boy to His Mother

Speak to Zinu: Thus Iddin-Sin. May Shamash, Marduk and Ilabrat for my sake forever keep you well. Gentlemen's clothes improve year by year. You are the one making my clothes cheaper year by year. By cheapening and scrimping on my clothes you have become rich. While wool was being consumed in our house like bread, you were the one making my clothes cheaper. The son of Adad-imminam, whose father is only an underling to my father, has received two new garments, but you keep getting upset over just one garment for me. Whereas you gave birth to me, his mother acquired him by adoption, but whereas his mother loves him, you do not love me.

I've also been reading One Good Thing, a blog by a woman with two little children and a most unusual job. A job in which the term 'tripod' takes quite a novel meaning. Check it out.