Amanda Podany, professor emerita of history, explains: “The Mesopotamians had a system that put a lot of emphasis on getting to the truth of a case, through the use of witnesses, oral testimony, and written evidence, and by having individuals swear oaths that they were telling the truth.”
This article was originally published on The History Channel Online on September 28, 2022.
Podany’s expertise on the ancient Near East is on display in her latest book, “Weavers, Scribes, and Kings” (Oxford University Press, 2022). Drawing on 3,000 years of cuneiform records (3500 B.C.E. to 323 B.C.E.) from parts of present-day Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, The New Yorker review lauds: “The picture that emerges is of civilizations greatly concerned with justice, in contrast to the stereotype of the period as ‘perpetually violent.’”