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Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization
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Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  5 reviews
"This splendid work of scholarship . . . sums up with economy and power all that the written record so far deciphered has to tell about the ancient and complementary civilizations of Babylon and Assyria."—Edward B. Garside, New York Times Book Review

Ancient Mesopotamia—the area now called Iraq—has received less attention than ancient Egypt and other long-extinct and more s
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Paperback, 462 pages
Published September 15th 1977 by University Of Chicago Press
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Bob Offer-Westort
A book such as this perhaps merits some discussion of qualifications. I am not the best reviewer for this volume. While I have studied Sumerian & read it decently well, I do not read Akkadian or any other Ancient Near Eastern language, nor do I have a background in Mesopotamian arts or the area's archaeology. I've also never before written a book review.

That said, my engagement in Sumerology is perhaps enough to justify my venturing a few thoughts for the general public, & for the beginn
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Seph
Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization presents a challenging read for anyone interested in the nations of Assyria and Babylonia, not because the information presented is erroneous or out-of-date, but because Oppenheim is brutally honest about the state of our knowledge on Mesopotamia, and the dangers of jumping to speculative conclusions. Oppenheim's work is not for those who are prone to flights of fancy. The writing is dry and scholarly; certainly intended for the serious studen ...more
Gavin White
Although full of interesting information I didn't find this an easy read by any standards. There is loads of useful material on many aspects of Mesopotamian culture, the physical geography of the land, urbanism and the nature of writing and the scribal arts but without a reasonable grounding in the Ancient Near East I think many casual readers may be off put. However if you do have the background knowledge then this book will fill in many of the gaps and, more pertinently, it will explain why so ...more
jwberryhill
Not a good introductory historical text. Lots of rambling speculation that never coheres into defensible conclusions about the subject. Indeed my interest in ancient Mesopotamia waned considerably upon reading this book, assuming this is the most we can conclude from existing evidence.
Jim
Jan 10, 2011 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: new-lrp
...very readable for an ancient history book. Oppenheim was very frank about not knowing everything. He often ended a paragraph with, "But we're not sure." I liked how he used Bible quotes to corroborate other sources. Most people think of the Old Testament in terms of religion, but Oppenheim picked out facts about the culture and laws that existed in the areas he wrote about.
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