The Cambridge Ancient History–The Pleasures of Reading History

The Rag Tree

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Out of the organic soup of his mind, RT has recently retrieved a powerful memory: of spending an afternoon at the Arlington County Library, engrossed in browsing through the Cambridge Ancient History He was entranced by the fine writing and descriptions. Here is a passage from volume 1:

“Still more than the contract tablets the private letters give us the daily life of the people…Even a love letter from Sippar is extant, dating back to the First Dynasty. ‘To Bibiya say: thus, Gibil-Marduk. May Shamash and Marduk give thee health for ever for my sake.  I have sent (to ask) after thy health; let me know how thou art.  I have arrived in Babylon and see thee not; I am very sad.  Send news of thy coming that I may be cheered; in the month of Markheswan thou shalt come.  May thou livest for ever for my sake.'”

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