Ancient Mesopotamia 3300-331 B.C.E.: Social Class and Economy Research Article from World Eras

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Social Status and Property. In ancient Mesopotamia, social status seems to have been linked closely to ownership of property. Written records provide abundant evidence regarding transactions involving people of means, but these sources are biased toward privileged members of society who resided in urban centers, executed written contracts, and maintained private archives. Nonelite members of society undoubtedly also conducted economic transactions, but they were probably accomplished by verbal argreement and not written down.

Social Hierarchy. The clearest statement concerning Mesopotamian social hierarchy is found in the Laws of Hammurabi (circa 1750 B.C.E.), which provided for three separate—and unequal—tiers: the awilum (freeman), generally thought to be an individual owning his means of support; the mushkenum (dependent, or serf), who presumably did not own his means of earning a living and worked land owned by another; and...

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This section contains 2,798 words
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Buy the Ancient Mesopotamia 3300-331 B.C.E.: Social Class and Economy Encyclopedia Article
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