chapter  Chapter 2
12 Pages

Dynamics of social life in ancient Mesopotamian civilizations as historical precursors of interest/riba within the context of religion, politics and economics

WithMurat Ustaoğlu, Betül Mutlugün

The humankind has made huge transformations in the history due to the challenging circumstances posed by the nature; this created a cycle of changes in different periods of time. For this reason, the inhabitants of the land performed the first revolution of the history of mankind; the domestication of plants and animals led to subsequent innovations and inventions that made the life easier and more comfortable. The agricultural revolution in Mesopotamia has then affected the form of social and political affairs; proponents of one point of view on this matter suggest that the local people who submitted to the polytheist faith erected fabulous buildings dedicated for the inhabitation by the shadows of the gods on earth. Subsequently, abodes were built around these temples to take care of maintenance and reparation of these holy places; this marked the initial steps toward permanent settlement. The monks of the temples, relying on religious arguments, worked on a solution for the problem of water scarcity for fertility of the land they held under their control. The clerics acquired greater control and legitimacy over the people thanks to the religious arguments that were integral part of life in ancient Mesopotamia. This control and legitimacy further led to the emergence of temples as places where material wealth is accumulated. In the agricultural production, local people and the labor of the slaves were used; the temples were the property holders of the slaves and of the lands; this clear domination and authority created a relationship between religious authority and economic life.