Historical Reprints History Babylonians and Assyrians - Life and Customs

Babylonians and Assyrians - Life and Customs

Babylonians and Assyrians - Life and Customs
Catalog # SKU1836
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Sayce


Babylonians and Assyrians

Life and Customs

A. H. Sayce

This is the cradle of 'western' civilization and its religions-- From Adam and Eve, to Noah to Abraham, this place is where it's happening--- why is the birthplace of all modern western religions so contentious that the west must suppress and oppress the people there today? This book won't answer that directly... but it is food for thought as you read the life and times of the Assyrians and Babylonians.

From the Preface

Semitic studies, both linguistically and archæologically, have advanced by rapid strides during the last two decades. Fresh light has fallen upon the literary, scientific, theological, mercantile, and other achievements of this great branch of the human family. What these peoples thought and achieved has a very direct bearing upon some of the problems that lie nearest to the hearts of a large portion of the intelligent peoples of Christendom to-day. Classical studies no longer enjoy a monopoly of attention in the curricula of our colleges and universities. It is, in fact, more and more plainly perceived by scholars that among the early peoples who have contributed to the ideas inwrought into our present civilization there is none to whom we owe a greater debt than we do to the Semitic family.

Apart from the genetic relation which the thought of these peoples bears to the Christianity of the past and present, a study of their achievements in general has become a matter of general human interest. It is here that we find the earliest beginnings of civilization historically known to us-here that early religious ideas, social customs and manners, political organizations, the beginnings of art and architecture, the rise and growth of mythological ideas that have endured and spread to western nations, can be seen in their earliest stages, and here alone the information is supplied which enables us to follow them most successfully in their development.


Among the professions of ancient Babylonia, money-lending held a foremost place. It was, in fact, one of the most lucrative of professions, and was followed by all classes of the population, the highest as well the lowest. Members of the royal family did not disdain to lend money at high rates of interest, receiving as security for it various kinds of property. It is true that in such cases the business was managed by an agent; but the lender of the money, and not the agent, was legally responsible for all the consequences of his action, and it was to him that all the profits went. The money-lender was the banker of antiquity.

In a trading community like that of Babylonia, where actual coin was comparatively scarce, and the gigantic system of credit which prevails in the modern world had not as yet come into existence, it was impossible to do without him. The taxes had to be paid in cash, which was required by the government for the payment of a standing army, and a large body of officials. The same causes which have thrown the fellahin of modern Egypt into the hands of Greek usurers were at work in ancient Babylonia.

In some instances the money-lender founded a business which lasted for a number of generations and brought a large part of the property of the country into the possession of the firm. This was notably the case with the great firm of Egibi, established at Babylon before the time of Sennacherib, which in the age of the Babylonian empire and Persian conquest became the Rothschilds of the ancient world. It lent money to the state as well as to individuals, it undertook agencies for private persons, and eventually absorbed a good deal of what was properly attorney's business.

Deeds and other legal documents belonging to others as well as to members of the firm were lodged for security in its record-chambers, stored in the great earthenware jars which served as safes. The larger part of the contract-tablets from which our knowledge of the social life of later Babylonia is derived has come from the offices of the firm.

In the early days of Babylonia the interest upon a loan was paid in kind. But the introduction of a circulating medium goes back to an ancient date, and it was not long before payment in grain or other crops was replaced by its equivalent in cash. Already before the days of Amraphel and Abraham, we find contracts stipulating for the payment of so many silver shekels per month upon each maneh lent to the borrower.

Thus we have one written in Semitic-Babylonian which reads: "Kis-nunu, the son of Imur-Sin, has received one maneh and a half of silver from Zikilum, on which he will pay 12 shekels of silver (a month). The capital and interest are to be paid on the day of the harvest as guaranteed.

Softcover, 8½" x 7", 285+ pages
Perfect-Bound- Large Print 13 point font