By Don Nardo
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Extra resources for Life in Ancient Mesopotamia
New York: Time-Life, 1978, p. 102.
Eventually, Lloyd goes on, Sumerian seal-carving “attained an unprecedented degree of artistic accomplishment. ”38 Cylinder seals were common, inexpensive objects on the one hand and artistic masterpieces on the other. This reality was among many dual or opposing aspects of life in Mesopotamia. Another was the fact that artistic geniuses earned little money, respect, and recognition for their talents. Still another was that most people in society were either very poor or very rich. Such disparities and imperfections were bound to exist in a place where peoples and societies constantly experimented with and struggled to perfect a relatively new concept called civilization.
If ] a State slave or the slave of a freedman marry a man’s [free-born] daughter, and after he marries her she bring a dowry from [her] father’s house, if then they both enjoy it and found a household, and accumulate means, if then the slave die, then she who was free born may take her dowry, and all that her husband and she had earned. She shall divide them into two parts, one-half the master for the slave shall take, and the other half shall the free-born woman take for her children. If the free-born woman had no gift [dowry], she shall take all that her husband and she had earned and divide it into two parts.