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This Essay Compares Some Major Works In Ancient History: The Epic Of Gilgamesh, The Code Of Hammurabi, Job, The Ten Commandments, And Amos

976 words - 4 pages

Throughout history there have been many written works and documents that have shed light on the various ideas and values that characterize the Western tradition. Such works focused on the great ideas that have helped in shaping the Western heritage. Some of these documents that "capture the characteristic outlook of an age and that provide a sense of movement and development of Western history" include The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Code of Hammurabi, Genesis, Job, the Ten Commandments, and Amos.The Epic of Gilgamesh, often referred to as "the greatest work of Mesopotamian literature" was written on or around 2000 B.C. It is the story of Gilgamesh, a historical figure who was half man and half god and his quest for immortality. There are two profound themes included in the story: the human protest with death and the reality of death. This protest can clearly be seen in reading The Epic of Gilgamesh when Gilgamesh is weeping for his beloved friend Enkidu whom has lost his life. As Gilgamesh is speaking to Siduri, a divine winemaker, he says, "Enkidu, my brother, whom I loved, the end of mortality has overtaken him. I wept for him seven days and nights till the worm fastened on him. Because of my brother I am afraid of death, because of my brother I stray through the wilderness and cannot rest. But now, young woman, maker of wine, since I have seen your face do not let me see the face of death which I dread so much." Siduri responds to Gilgamesh informing him that death is universal and a reality that every man must face by telling him, "Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking." His reality is reassured by Utnapishtim, "There is no permanence."Gilgamesh's quest for immortality only took him to one destination--to face the reality that there is no such thing as immortality and that one day, he too shall die.Another "significant source of information about the life of the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia" is the Code of Hammurabi. In or around 1750 B.C., King Hammurabi of Babylon formulated a comprehensive law code for his people. "These laws offer striking insights into the moral values, class structure, gender relationships, and roles of kingship and religion in Babylonian society." Although probably not the first set of laws for Mesopotamia, it was probably the first universal model that "the various communities were to imitate in their practice of law." The judicial code, written in Akkadian, was inscribed in thirty-five hundred lines of cuneiform characters. Hammurabi's laws governed all aspects of Babylonian life, from commerce and property to murder and theft to marital fidelity, inheritances, and the treatment of slaves. The term "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" is derivative of Hammurabi's code of laws. This is shown in law number...

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