The Development of Language and Law


Social Studies Middle School The Development of Language and Law
Students learn about the foundational contributions of Mesopotamia and nearby Phoenicia to Western law and language. They read, interpret, and discuss parts of Hammurabi’s code. Then, they follow developments in writing from pictograms to cuneiform to the alphabet.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the foundational contributions of Mesopotamia and nearby Phoenicia to Western law and language. They read, interpret, and discuss parts of Hammurabi’s code. Then, they follow developments in writing from pictograms to cuneiform to the alphabet.

Students will work together in small groups in scene 4.

Objectives

  • Explain the development of language and writing that emerged from ancient Mesopotamia and Phoenicia.
  • Describe the significance of Hammurabi’s Code.


Look at these letters! Yes, right here in this sentence! Isn’t it amazing that these signs can mean anything from a recipe for donuts to the origin of the universe?

In this experience, you will learn how the ancient Mesopotamians and their neighbors made important developments in law and writing, including inventing the alphabet.

Objectives

  • Explain the development of language and writing that emerged from ancient Mesopotamia and Phoenicia.
  • Describe the significance of Hammurabi’s Code.




Sumerian Pictographs, c. 3500 B.C.E.


Look at the written signs in the image above. 


What do you see in the photo? To list more than one idea, separate your ideas with a comma, like this: Rome, Paris

Post your answer

The explanation accompanying the photograph of pictographs in Wikipedia Commons says:

“Limestone tablet engraved with pictographic writing. It comes from the Mesopotamic city of Kish (Iraq), dated from 3,500 BC…. and contains pictographs of heads, feet, hands, numbers and threshing-boards. Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (United Kingdom).”


Although they don’t look much like letters, the symbols may be among the earliest known examples of writing. They are ancient Sumerian picture writing, or pictographs.


Which way of writing do you think you would prefer, pictographs or the alphabet? Why? 

Post your answer

Discuss student responses.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Mesopotamia Unit.
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