Did you know that many elements of today's business world have origins in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East? The people who made these innovations responded to the needs of their times. These objects from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago show that profit-seeking motives and marketing of commodities are by no means modern phenomena.
This cuneiform tablet documents the sale of real estate in the city of Uruk. The eye-shaped depressions on the edges of the tablet are the ring-seal impressions of the witnesses to the transaction, which confirm the validity of the contract. Sale documents from the Hellenistic period are some of the latest examples of cuneiform writing, which fell out of use sometime during the first or second century AD.
Based on the special exhibit Doing Business in the Ancient World displayed at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in collaboration with the Oriental Institute, curated by Jack Green and Brittany Hayden.
The online version of Doing Business in the Ancient World was compiled and arranged by Foy Scalf.