Amagi: Liberty and Responsibility in Ancient Mesopotamia


This conference focused on four of the earliest names on the wall of the Goodrich Seminar Room, all from ancient Mesopotamia, in which the term “Amagi” first appeared. Through a discussion of these ancient texts, we gained insights into the earliest attempts to construct legal codes and social norms that balanced liberty and responsibility.


Conference Readings

“Urukagina’s Liberty Cones: The First ’Bill of Rights’.” Sumerian Shakespeare. (December 7, 2020).

Bailkey, Nels. “Early Mesopotamian Constitutional Development.” The American Historical Review 72, no. 4 (July 1967): 1211-1236.

George, Andrew. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Penguin Classics, 2003.

Kramer, Samuel N. The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963.

Roth, Martha T. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, Second Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature; Second edition, 1997.

Van De Mieroop, Marc. King Hammurabi of Babylon: A Biography. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.

von Dassow, Eva., “Freedom in Ancient Near Eastern Societies.” In Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture, edited by Karen Radner and Eleanor Robson, 206-224. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.