Social Life Among the Assyrians and Babylonians

9780217466622: Social Life Among the Assyrians and Babylonians
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This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1893. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VII TRADES AND PROFESSIONS Society in Assyria and Babylonia in the later period to which most of our documentary evidence belongs was highly complex. Trades and professions of all kinds were recognized by it. Agriculturists, shepherds and drovers, masons, carpenters, brickmakers, blacksmiths, silversmiths, weavers, dyers, tailors, bakers and cooks, musicians, barbers, wine-merchants, sailors and soldiers, architects and doctors, bankers and poets, lawyers and priests, scribes and librarians, all alike existed and exercised their trade or profession, like their representatives in modern days. Caste, such as we find in India, was unknown. The son was free to follow any trade or profession he liked, irrespective of that of his father. Naturally there was a tendency for the father to bring up his son to his own calling; the son of a priest, for instance, was often a priest, the son of a blacksmith a blacksmith, but it was a tendency only, and the exception to it was the rule. Even the king himself might be a usurper, the ' son of a nobody,' as he was termed, who had begun life in some humble trade. In Babylonia, and still more in Assyria, an aristocracy existed by the side of the king, which derived its descent from the ancient families of the land. They were the ' princes' referred to in Jeremiah1, among whom was Nergal-sharezer, who afterwards seized the crown. But even the 'princes' included those who owed their position to the personal favour of the king. The Rabshakeh (Rab-saki), or Prime Minister, the Tartan (Turtannu), or Commander-in-chief, and other high functionaries, were appointed by the monarch, and might be selected by him from among the dregs of the people, as well as from among the members of the nobility. The king, in fact, was an autocrat, ...

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