Review by Choice Review
Harris offers the first lengthy study of gender and aging in ancient Mesopotamia. It is an excellent work, easy to read, and strongly based on statements from many cuneiform tablets, from the Sumerian (c.3000 BCE) to the neo-Babylonian period (c.539 BCE). In her treatment of gender, Harris compares men and women but also considers eunuchs, transvestites, harlots, and homosexuals, in addition to gods and goddesses. In discussing aging, Harris traces the many steps in human development, from newborn, weaned children, adolescence, to maturity and old age. Many studies focus on the actions of men; Harris rightly dwells more on children and women, thus making this study fundamental in understanding ancient Mesopotamia. A trained Assyriologist, Harris correctly allows the ancient cuneiform texts to prove her observations; she also dwells on the important and famous Gilgamesh Epic and the "Enuma Elish" (the Babylonian creation myth). The sparse source material precludes a chronological arrangement. Extensive notes, a lengthy bibliography, a short glossary of names and terms, and four photographs accompany this important work. All levels. J. M. Balcer; Ohio State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.