We often say that keeping a journal is the perfect way to remind “future you” of your past journey. Whether you are writing about your trials and tribulations, most joyous moments or simple daily tasks, keeping track of your personal history will not only result in an interesting read at a later date, but can provide insight into how you grew into the person you are.
Reading uncovered texts from the ancient world takes this idea to the extreme. By seeing what people wrote about in early history we can learn fascinating details about human development, and see the building blocks of our modern society. We’ve found three archaic texts that shed light onto different realms of everyday life many centuries ago.
This “Domesday Survey” was undertaken in England and parts of Wales during the late 1000s, after the Norman Conquest. It was designed to determine what taxes were owed and what power the new king had going forward.
What does this prove? The old adage about “death and taxes” has been true for a long time.
Clay Tablet Cookbooks
Image Source: Yale University Library online Near East Collection: Middle Eastern and Islamic Cuisine (www.library.yale.edu/neareast/exhibitions/cuisine.html)
Written in the ancient Akkadian language, these clay tablets come from 1750 BCE (the time of Hammurabi), making them the oldest known cooking recipes. This one describes a method of preparing a partridge…
Remove the head and feet. Open the body and clean the birds, reserving the gizzards and the pluck. Split the gizzards and clean them. Next rinse the birds and flatten them. Prepare a pot and put birds, gizzards and pluck into it before placing it on the fire.
Check out the Yale University Library for full details of this fascinating collection of clay tablets: www.library.yale.edu/neareast/exhibitions/cuisine.html.
What does this prove? Though our tastes in cuisine may have changed, we still share a desire to keep a record of our favourite recipes.
Commemorative Gold Artifact
Image Source: Assyrian Forums, www.atour.com/forums/history/27.html
This gold tablet has a complicated modern history, including being stolen and recovered during the aftermath of World War II, but its creation in ancient times is just as fascinating. It was designed to commemorate the 13th-century construction of the Ishta Temple in Assyria’s capital of Ashur and was originally built right into the foundation of the building.
What does this prove? Adding a commemorative building block, or otherwise leaving your mark, on an in-progress construction is nothing new.
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