By Rivkah Harris
Rivkah Harris’s cross-cultural and multidisciplinary technique breaks new flooring in assessing Mesopotamian attitudes towards early life and mature maturity, getting older and the aged, generational clash, gender alterations in getting older, relationships among women and men, women’s contributions to cultural actions, and the "ideal woman."To discover Mesopotamian views, Harris combed via basic resources - together with literature and fantasy, letters, fiscal and felony texts, and visible fabrics. Even such pivotal cultural impacts because the Gilgamesh Epic and Enuma Elish are reinterpreted in an unique demeanour.
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Additional resources for Gender and aging in Mesopotamia: the Gilgamesh epic and other ancient literature
64 In the devastating aftermath of the destruction of the city of Ur, the goddess Ningal laments: "The little ones, asleep on their mothers' laps, were carried off like fishes by the water. "65 The last two passages describe the frightful consequences of war, especially devastating to the very old and the very young. Generally, children seem to have been treated with affection. 67 Toys and games were part of the joyful Page 15 side of the lives of children at all ages. For infants there were "piecrust" rattles and zoomorphic rattles with pebbles inside.
Yet there is savage death that snaps off mankind8 Only the gods were thought to be immortal, though even they might on occasion die, as did Dumuzi and Kingu. W. G. 10 Although the different life stages obviously manifest themselves in physiological changes, there seems to have been little interest in these in both written and visual sources, for they are rarely described or depicted (see chapter 3). Psychological traits and age-specific behavior appear to have been of greater interest, to judge from the literary texts.
2 My approach in these studies has been eclectic, utilizing methods and insights of the social sciences. They help in providing some kind of framework for clarifying the little-known particulars of the ancient, long-dead civilization of Mesopotamia. I have especially Page viii benefited from specialized studies of classicists, as many footnotes attest. They stimulated my asking questions of the cuneiform sources I would otherwise not have considered. Throughout I have relied on the philological work and translations of Sumerologists and Assyriologists.