Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia

Overview
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, northeastern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, southeastern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and southwestern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization
Cradle of Civilization
The cradle of civilization is a term referring to any of the possible locations for the emergence of civilization.It is usually applied to the Ancient Near Eastern Chalcolithic , especially in the Fertile Crescent , but also extended to sites in Armenia, and the Persian Plateau, besides other Asian...

, Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 Mesopotamia included Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 and the Akkadian, Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n and Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n empires. In the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, it was controlled by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mesopotamia'
Start a new discussion about 'Mesopotamia'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, northeastern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, southeastern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and southwestern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization
Cradle of Civilization
The cradle of civilization is a term referring to any of the possible locations for the emergence of civilization.It is usually applied to the Ancient Near Eastern Chalcolithic , especially in the Fertile Crescent , but also extended to sites in Armenia, and the Persian Plateau, besides other Asian...

, Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 Mesopotamia included Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 and the Akkadian, Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n and Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n empires. In the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, it was controlled by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

. The indigenous Sumerians and Akkadians (including Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history (c. 3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

. It fell to Alexander the Great in 332 BC and after his death it became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

.

Around 150 BC, Mesopotamia was under the control of the Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

ns. Mesopotamia became a battleground between the Romans and Parthians, with parts of Mesopotamia (particularly Assyria) coming under periodic Roman control. In AD 226, it fell to the Sassanid Persians, and remained under Persian rule until the 7th century Arab Islamic conquest
Islamic conquest of Persia
The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire in 644, the fall of Sassanid dynasty in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia...

 of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

. A number of primarily neo Assyrian and Christian native Mesopotamian states existed between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD, including Adiabene
Adiabene
Adiabene was an ancient Assyrian independent kingdom in Mesopotamia, with its capital at Arbela...

, Osroene
Osroene
Osroene, also spelled Osrohene and Osrhoene and sometimes known by the name of its capital city, Edessa , was a historic Syriac kingdom located in Mesopotamia, which enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 244.It was a Syriac-speaking kingdom.Osroene, or...

 and Hatra
Hatra
Hatra is an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It is currently known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Iranian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies northwest of Baghdad and southwest of Mosul.-History:Hatra...

.

Etymology



The regional toponym Mesopotamia comes from the ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 root words μέσος (meso) "middle" and ποταμός (potamia) "river" and literally means "(Land) between rivers". The oldest known occurrence of the name Mesopotamia comes from the Anabasis Alexandri
Anabasis Alexandri
Anabasis Alexandri , the Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian, is the most important source on Alexander the Great.The Greek term anabasis referred to an expedition from a coastline into the interior of a country. The term katabasis referred to a trip from the interior to the coast...

, which was written in the late second century AD but specifically refers to sources from the time of Alexander the Great. In the Anabasis, Mesopotamia was used to designate the land east of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 in north Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. The Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 term biritum/birit narim corresponded to a similar geographical concept. Later, the term Mesopotamia was more generally applied to the all the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

, thereby incorporating not only parts of Syria but also almost all of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and southeastern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. The neighbouring steppes to the west of the Euphrates and the western part of the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

 are also often included under the wider term Mesopotamia. A further distinction is usually made between Upper or Northern Mesopotamia and Lower or Southern Mesopotamia. Upper Mesopotamia, also known as the Jezirah
Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia
Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey which is known by the traditional Arabic name of Al-Jazira , variously transliterated into Roman script as Djazirah, Djezirah and Jazirah...

, is the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris from their sources down to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. Lower Mesopotamia is the area from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. In modern academic usage, the term Mesopotamia often also has a chronological connotation. It is usually used to designate the area until the Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.They...

, with names like Syria, Jezirah and Iraq being used to describe the region after that date. It has been argued that these later euphemisms are Eurocentric
Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture...

 terms attributed to the region in the midst of various 19th century Western encroachments.

Geography



Mesopotamia encompasses the land between the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 and Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 rivers, both of which have their headwaters in the mountains of Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 in modern-day Turkey. Both rivers are fed by numerous tributaries, and the entire river system drains a vast mountainous region. Overland routes in Mesopotamia usually follow the Euphrates because the banks of the Tigris are frequently steep and difficult. The climate of the region is semi-arid with a vast desert expanse in the north which gives way to a 15000 square kilometres (5,791.5 sq mi) region of marshes, lagoons, mud flats, and reed banks in the south. In the extreme south, the Euphrates and the Tigris unite and empty into the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

.

The arid environment which ranges from the northern areas of rain-fed agriculture to the south where irrigation of agriculture is essential if a surplus energy returned on energy invested
EROEI
In physics, energy economics and ecological energetics, energy returned on energy invested ; or energy return on investment , is the ratio of the amount of usable energy acquired from a particular energy resource to the amount of energy expended to obtain that energy resource...

 (EROEI) is to be obtained. This irrigation is aided by a high water table and by melting snows from the high peaks of the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

 and from the Armenian cordillera, the source of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, that give the region its name. The usefulness of irrigation depends upon the ability to mobilize sufficient labor for the construction and maintenance of canals, and this, from the earliest period, has assisted the development of urban settlements and centralized systems of political authority.

Agriculture throughout the region has been supplemented by nomadic pastoralism, where tent-dwelling nomads herded sheep and goats (and later camels) from the river pastures in the dry summer months, out into seasonal grazing lands on the desert fringe in the wet winter season. The area is generally lacking in building stone, precious metals and timber, and so historically has relied upon long distance trade of agricultural products to secure these items from outlying areas. In the marshlands to the south of the area, a complex water-borne fishing culture has existed since prehistoric times, and has added to the cultural mix.

Periodic breakdowns in the cultural system have occurred for a number of reasons. The demands for labor has from time to time led to population increases that push the limits of the ecological carrying capacity, and should a period of climatic instability ensue, collapsing central government and declining populations can occur. Alternatively, military vulnerability to invasion from marginal hill tribes or nomadic pastoralists have led to periods of trade collapse and neglect of irrigation systems. Equally, centripetal tendencies amongst city states has meant that central authority over the whole region, when imposed, has tended to be ephemeral, and localism has fragmented power into tribal or smaller regional units. These trends have continued to the present day in Iraq.

History


The history of ancient Mesopotamia begins with the emergence of urban societies during the Ubaid period
Ubaid period
The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The tell of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern...

 (ca. 5300 BC). The history of the Ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

 begins in the Lower Paleolithic
Lower Paleolithic
The Lower Paleolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the...

 period, and ends with either the arrival of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 in the late 6th century BC, or with the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia and the establishment of the Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 in the late 7th century AD, from which point the region came to be known as Iraq
History of Iraq
Iraq, known in Classical Antiquity as Mesopotamia, was home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world, with a cultural history of over 10,000 years. hence its common epithet, the Cradle of Civilization. Mesopotamia, as part of the larger Fertile Crescent, was a significant part of the...

. Mesopotamia housed some of the world's most ancient highly developed and socially complex states. The region was famous as one of the four riverine civilizations where writing
Writing
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...

 was first invented, along with the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 valley in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, the Indus Valley
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, and Yellow River valley in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 (although writing is also known to have arisen independently in Mesoamerica). Mesopotamia housed historically important cities such as Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

, Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

, Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

, Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 and Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, as well as major territorial states such as the city of Ma-asesblu, the Akkadian kingdom, the Third Dynasty of Ur
Third Dynasty of Ur
The Third Dynasty of Ur, also known as the Neo-Sumerian Empire or the Ur III Empire refers simultaneously to a 21st to 20th century BC Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state that some historians regard as a nascent empire...

, and the various Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n empires. Some of the important historical Mesopotamian leaders were Ur-Nammu
Ur-Nammu
Ur-Nammu founded the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, following several centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule...

 (king of Ur), Sargon
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great "the Great King" , was an Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, Sargon reigned in the last quarter of the third millennium BC...

 (who established the Akkadian Empire), Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 (who established the Old Babylonian state), Ashur-uballit II
Ashur-uballit II
Ashur-uballit II , was the last king of the Assyrian empire. He reigned in the last capital city of Harran from 612 BC to 609 BC, having escaped Nineveh during the siege and capture of that city by the Babylonian-Mede army in 612 BC....

 and Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period . According to Georges Roux, Tiglath-Pileser was "one of the two or three great Assyrian monarchs since the days of Shamshi-Adad I"...

 (who established the Assyrian Empires).

Periodization

  • Pre- and protohistory
    • Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
      Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
      Pre-Pottery Neolithic A denotes the first stage in early Levantine Neolithic culture, dating around 9500 to 8500 BC. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent...

       (10,000–8700 BC)
    • Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
      Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
      Pre-Pottery Neolithic B is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region....

       (8700–6800)
    • Hassuna
      Hassuna
      Hassuna or Tell Hassuna is an ancient Mesopotamian site situated in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq west of the Tigris river, south of Mosul and about 35 km southwest of Nineveh.-History:...

       (~6000 bc–? BC), Samarra
      Samarra
      Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

       (~5700 BC–4900 BC) and Halaf (~6000 BC–5300 BC) cultures
    • Ubaid period
      Ubaid period
      The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The tell of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern...

       (~5900–4400 BC)
    • Uruk period
      Uruk period
      The Uruk period existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period. Named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia. It was...

       (~4400–3100 BC)
    • Jemdet Nasr period
      Jemdet Nasr period
      The Jemdet Nasr period is an archaeological culture in southern Mesopotamia that is generally dated to 3100–2900 BCE. It is named after the type-site Jemdet Nasr, where the assemblage typical for this period was first recognized. Its geographical distribution is limited to south–central Iraq...

       (~3100–2900 BC)
  • Early Bronze Age
    • Early Dynastic period (~2900–2350 BC)
    • Akkadian Empire (~2350–2100 BC)
    • Ur III period (2112–2004 BC)
    • Early Assyrian kingdom
      Assyria
      Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

       (22nd to 18th c. BC)
  • Middle Bronze Age
    • Early Babylonia
      Babylonia
      Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

       (19th to 18th c. BC)
    • First Babylonian Dynasty
      First Babylonian Dynasty
      The chronology of the first dynasty of Babylonia is debated as there is a Babylonian King List A and a Babylonian King List B. In this chronology, the regnal years of List A are used due to their wide usage...

       (18th to 17th c. BC)
    • collapse: Minoan Eruption (c. 1620 BC)
  • Late Bronze Age
    • Middle Assyrian period (16th to 11th c. BC)
    • Assyrian
      Assyrian
      -In antiquity:*ancient Assyria**the Old Assyrian period **the Middle Assyrian period **the Neo-Assyrian period *Either of two provinces of the Persian Empire:**Achaemenid Assyria...

       Empire (ca. 1365 BC–1076 BC)
    • Kassite dynasty in Babylon
      Babylon
      Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

      , (ca. 1595 BC–1155 BC)
    • collapse: Bronze Age collapse
      Bronze Age collapse
      The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

       (12th to 11th c. BC)
  • Iron Age
    Iron Age
    The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

    • Neo-Hittite
      Neo-Hittite
      The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC...

       or Syro-Hittite regional states (11th to 7th c. BC)
    • Neo-Assyrian Empire (10th to 7th c. BC)
    • Chaldea
      Chaldea
      Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

      , Neo-Babylonian Empire
      Neo-Babylonian Empire
      The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

       (7th to 6th c. BC)
  • Classical Antiquity
    Classical antiquity
    Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

    • Persian Babylonia, Achaemenid Assyria
      Achaemenid Assyria
      Athura was a geographical area within the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the period of 539 BC to 330 BC. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept generally interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its...

       (6th to 4th c. BC)
    • Seleucid
      Seleucid Empire
      The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

       Mesopotamia (4th to 3rd c. BC)
    • Parthian Asuristan
      Asuristan
      Asuristan was the province of Assyria under the Sassanid Empire . It corresponds to the Babylonia province under the Parthian Empire.The province for the most part stretched from Mosul to Adiabene....

       ( Parthian ruledAssyria
      Assyria
      Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

      ) (3rd c. BC to 3rd c. AD)
    • Osroene
      Osroene
      Osroene, also spelled Osrohene and Osrhoene and sometimes known by the name of its capital city, Edessa , was a historic Syriac kingdom located in Mesopotamia, which enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 244.It was a Syriac-speaking kingdom.Osroene, or...

       (2nd c. BC to 3rd c. AD)
    • Adiabene
      Adiabene
      Adiabene was an ancient Assyrian independent kingdom in Mesopotamia, with its capital at Arbela...

       (neo Assyrian
      Assyrian
      -In antiquity:*ancient Assyria**the Old Assyrian period **the Middle Assyrian period **the Neo-Assyrian period *Either of two provinces of the Persian Empire:**Achaemenid Assyria...

       kingdom) (1st to 2nd c. AD)
    • Hatra
      Hatra
      Hatra is an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It is currently known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Iranian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies northwest of Baghdad and southwest of Mosul.-History:Hatra...

       (1st to 2nd c. AD)
    • Roman Mesopotamia
      Mesopotamia (Roman province)
      Mesopotamia was the name of two distinct Roman provinces, the one a short-lived creation of the Roman Emperor Trajan in 116–117 and the other established by Emperor Septimius Severus in ca. 198, which lasted until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century....

      , Roman Assyria
      Assyria (Roman province)
      Assyria or Assyria Provincia was a roman province that lasted only two years .-History:Assyria was one of three provinces created by the Roman emperor Trajan in 116 AD following a successful military campaign against Parthia, in present-day Iraq.Despite Rome's military victory, Trajan's province...

       (2nd c. AD)
  • Late Antiquity
    Late Antiquity
    Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

    • Sassanid Asuristan
      Asuristan
      Asuristan was the province of Assyria under the Sassanid Empire . It corresponds to the Babylonia province under the Parthian Empire.The province for the most part stretched from Mosul to Adiabene....

       (Persian ruled Assyria
      Assyria
      Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

      ) (3rd to 7th c. AD)
    • Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia, dissolution of Asuristan
      Asuristan
      Asuristan was the province of Assyria under the Sassanid Empire . It corresponds to the Babylonia province under the Parthian Empire.The province for the most part stretched from Mosul to Adiabene....

      /Assyria
      Assyria
      Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

       (late 7th c. AD)

Language and writing


The earliest language written in Mesopotamia was Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

, an agglutinative
Agglutinative language
An agglutinative language is a language that uses agglutination extensively: most words are formed by joining morphemes together. This term was introduced by Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1836 to classify languages from a morphological point of view...

 language isolate
Language isolate
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single...

. Along with Sumerian, Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 dialects were also spoken in early Mesopotamia. Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, came to be the dominant language during the Akkadian Empire and the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n empires, but Sumerian was retained for administration, religious, literary, and scientific purposes. Different varieties of Akkadian were used until the end of the Neo-Babylonian period. Aramaic, which had already become common in Mesopotamia, then became the official provincial administration language of first the Neo Assyrian Empire, and then the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Akkadian fell into disuse, but both it and Sumerian were still used in temples for some centuries. The last Akkadian texts date from the late 1st century CE.

Early in Mesopotamia's history (around the mid-4th millennium BC) cuneiform script
Cuneiform script
Cuneiform script )) is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium , cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs...

 was invented. Cuneiform literally means "wedge-shaped", due to the triangular tip of the stylus used for impressing signs on wet clay. The standardized form of each cuneiform sign appears to have been developed from pictograms. The earliest texts (7 archaic tablets) come from the E Temple
É (temple)
É is the Sumerian word or symbol for house or temple, written ideographically with the cuneiform sign .The Sumerian term É.GAL denoted a city's main building....

 dedicated to the goddess Inanna at Uruk, from a building labeled as Temple C by its excavators.

The early logographic system of cuneiform script took many years to master. Thus, only a limited number of individuals were hired as scribes
Scribes
Scribes is a minimalist and extensible text editor for GNOME that combines simplicity with power. Scribes focuses on ways workflow and productivity can be intelligently automated and radically improved...

 to be trained in its use. It was not until the widespread use of a syllabic
Syllabic
Syllabic may refer to:*Canadian Aboriginal syllabics, a family of abugidas used to write a number of Aboriginal Canadian languages.*Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables...

 script was adopted under Sargon's rule that significant portions of Mesopotamian population became literate. Massive archives of texts were recovered from the archaeological contexts of Old Babylonian scribal schools, through which literacy was disseminated.

During the third millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund
Sprachbund
A Sprachbund – also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area or language crossroads – is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity and language contact. They may be genetically unrelated, or only distantly related...

. Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary, and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century CE. Mesopotamian Eastern Aramaic dialects still survive to this day as spoken and literary languages among the indigenous Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 and Mandeans of Iraq.

Literature



Libraries were extant in towns and temples during the Babylonian Empire. An old Sumerian proverb averred that "he who would excel in the school of the scribes must rise with the dawn." Women as well as men learned to read and write, and for the Semitic
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 Babylonians, this involved knowledge of the extinct Sumerian language, and a complicated and extensive syllabary.

A considerable amount of Babylonian literature was translated from Sumerian originals, and the language of religion and law long continued to be the old agglutinative language of Sumer. Vocabularies, grammars, and interlinear translations were compiled for the use of students, as well as commentaries on the older texts and explanations of obscure words and phrases. The characters of the syllabary were all arranged and named, and elaborate lists were drawn up.

Many Babylonian literary works are still studied today. One of the most famous of these was the Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the protagonist of the story, Gilgamesh king of Uruk, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much...

, in twelve books, translated from the original Sumerian by a certain Sin-liqe-unninni
Sin-liqe-unninni
Sîn-lēqi-unninni was an incantation/exorcist priest who lived in Mesopotamia in the period between 1300 BC and 1000 BC. He is the compiler of the best preserved version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. His name is listed in the text itself, which is unusual for works written in cuneiform...

, and arranged upon an astronomical principle. Each division contains the story of a single adventure in the career of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh was the fifth king of Uruk, modern day Iraq , placing his reign ca. 2500 BC. According to the Sumerian king list he reigned for 126 years. In the Tummal Inscription, Gilgamesh, and his son Urlugal, rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil, in Tummal, a sacred quarter in her city of...

. The whole story is a composite product, although it is probable that some of the stories are artificially attached to the central figure.

Mathematics



Mesopotamian mathematics and science was based on a sexagesimal (base 60) numeral system
Numeral system
A numeral system is a writing system for expressing numbers, that is a mathematical notation for representing numbers of a given set, using graphemes or symbols in a consistent manner....

. This is the source of the 60-minute hour, the 24-hour day, and the 360-degree
Degree (angle)
A degree , usually denoted by ° , is a measurement of plane angle, representing 1⁄360 of a full rotation; one degree is equivalent to π/180 radians...

 circle. The Sumerian calendar was based on the seven-day week. This form of mathematics was instrumental in early map-making
History of cartography
Cartography , or mapmaking, has been an integral part of the human story for a long time, possibly up to 8,000 years...

. The Babylonians also had theorems on how to measure the area of several shapes and solids. They measured the circumference of a circle as three times the diameter and the area as one-twelfth the square of the circumference, which would be correct if pi were fixed at 3. The volume of a cylinder was taken as the product of the area of the base and the height; however, the volume of the frustum of a cone or a square pyramid was incorrectly taken as the product of the height and half the sum of the bases. Also, there was a recent discovery in which a tablet used pi as 25/8 (3.125 instead of 3.14159~). The Babylonians are also known for the Babylonian mile, which was a measure of distance equal to about seven modern miles (11 km). This measurement for distances eventually was converted to a time-mile used for measuring the travel of the Sun, therefore, representing time.

Astronomy



The Babylonian astronomers were very adept at mathematics and could predict eclipses and solstices. Scholars thought that everything had some purpose in astronomy. Most of these related to religion and omens. Mesopotamian astronomers worked out a 12-month calendar based on the cycles of the moon. They divided the year into two seasons: summer and winter. The origins of astronomy as well as astrology
Babylonian astrology
In Babylon as well as in Assyria as a direct offshoot of Babylonian culture, astrology takes its place in theofficial cult as one of the two chief means at the disposal of the priests for ascertaining the will and intention of the gods, the other being through the inspection of the liver of the...

 date from this time.

During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Babylonian astronomers developed a new approach to astronomy. They began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the early universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

 and some scholars have thus referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution. This new approach to astronomy was adopted and further developed in Greek and Hellenistic astronomy.

In Seleucid
Seleucid dynasty
The Seleucid dynasty or the Seleucidae was a Greek Macedonian royal family, founded by Seleucus I Nicator , which ruled the Seleucid Kingdom centered in the Near East and regions of the Asian part of the earlier Achaemenid Persian Empire during the Hellenistic period.-History:Seleucus was an...

 and Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n times, the astronomical reports were thoroughly scientific; how much earlier their advanced knowledge and methods were developed is uncertain. The Babylonian development of methods for predicting the motions of the planets is considered to be a major episode in the history of astronomy.

The only Greek Babylonian astronomer known to have supported a heliocentric
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

 model of planetary motion was Seleucus of Seleucia
Seleucus of Seleucia
Seleucus of Seleucia was a Hellenistic astronomer and philosopher. Coming from Seleucia on the Tigris, the capital of the Seleucid empire, or, alternatively, Seleukia on the Red Sea, he is best known as a proponent of heliocentrism and for his theory of the origin of tides.- Heliocentric theory...

 (b. 190 BC). Seleucus is known from the writings of Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

. He supported Aristarchus of Samos' heliocentric theory where the Earth rotated around its own axis which in turn revolved around the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

. According to Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Seleucus even proved the heliocentric system, but it is not known what arguments he used (except that he correctly theorized on tides as a result of Moon's attraction).

Babylonian astronomy served as the basis for much of Greek
Greek astronomy
Greek astronomy is astronomy written in the Greek language in classical antiquity. Greek astronomy is understood to include the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Greco-Roman, and Late Antiquity eras. It is not limited geographically to Greece or to ethnic Greeks, as the Greek language had become the...

, classical Indian, Sassanian
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n, medieval Islamic
Islamic astronomy
Islamic astronomy or Arabic astronomy comprises the astronomical developments made in the Islamic world, particularly during the Islamic Golden Age , and mostly written in the Arabic language. These developments mostly took place in the Middle East, Central Asia, Al-Andalus, and North Africa, and...

, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n, and Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

an astronomy.

Medicine


The oldest Babylonian texts on medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 date back to the Old Babylonian
First Babylonian Dynasty
The chronology of the first dynasty of Babylonia is debated as there is a Babylonian King List A and a Babylonian King List B. In this chronology, the regnal years of List A are used due to their wide usage...

 period in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC
2nd millennium BC
The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

. The most extensive Babylonian medical text, however, is the Diagnostic Handbook written by the physician Esagil-kin-apli of Borsippa
Borsippa
Borsippa was an important ancient city of Sumer, built on both sides of a lake about southwest of Babylon on the east bank of the Euphrates. The site of Borsippa is in Babil Governorate, Iraq and now called Birs Nimrud, identifying the site with Nimrod...

, during the reign of the Babylonian king Adad-apla-iddina (1069-1046 BC).

Along with contemporary Egyptian medicine
Ancient Egyptian medicine
The medicine of the ancient Egyptians is some of the oldest documented. From the beginnings of the civilization in the until the Persian invasion of 525 BC, Egyptian medical practice went largely unchanged and was highly advanced for its time, including simple non-invasive surgery, setting of...

, the Babylonians introduced the concepts of diagnosis
Medical diagnosis
Medical diagnosis refers both to the process of attempting to determine or identify a possible disease or disorder , and to the opinion reached by this process...

, prognosis
Prognosis
Prognosis is a medical term to describe the likely outcome of an illness.When applied to large statistical populations, prognostic estimates can be very accurate: for example the statement "45% of patients with severe septic shock will die within 28 days" can be made with some confidence, because...

, physical examination
Physical examination
Physical examination or clinical examination is the process by which a doctor investigates the body of a patient for signs of disease. It generally follows the taking of the medical history — an account of the symptoms as experienced by the patient...

, and prescription
Medical prescription
A prescription is a health-care program implemented by a physician or other medical practitioner in the form of instructions that govern the plan of care for an individual patient. Prescriptions may include orders to be performed by a patient, caretaker, nurse, pharmacist or other therapist....

s. In addition, the Diagnostic Handbook introduced the methods of therapy
Therapy
This is a list of types of therapy .* Adventure therapy* Animal-assisted therapy* Aquatic therapy* Aromatherapy* Art and dementia* Art therapy* Authentic Movement* Behavioral therapy* Bibliotherapy* Buteyko Method* Chemotherapy...

 and aetiology and the use of empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

, logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, and rationality
Rationality
In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

 in diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. The text contains a list of medical symptom
Symptom
A symptom is a departure from normal function or feeling which is noticed by a patient, indicating the presence of disease or abnormality...

s and often detailed empirical observation
Observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

s along with logical rules used in combining observed symptoms on the body of a patient
Patient
A patient is any recipient of healthcare services. The patient is most often ill or injured and in need of treatment by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, veterinarian, or other health care provider....

 with its diagnosis and prognosis.

The symptoms and diseases of a patient were treated through therapeutic means such as bandage
Bandage
A bandage is a piece of material used either to support a medical device such as a dressing or splint, or on its own to provide support to the body; they can also be used to restrict a part of the body. During heavy bleeding or following a poisonous bite it is important to slow the flow of blood,...

s, cream
Cream (pharmaceutical)
A cream is a topical preparation usually for application to the skin. Creams for application to mucus membranes such as those of the rectum or vagina are also used. Creams may be considered pharmaceutical products as even cosmetic creams are based on techniques developed by pharmacy and...

s and pill
Pill (pharmacy)
A pill is a small, round, solid pharmaceutical oral dosage form that was in use before the advent of tablets and capsules. Pills were made by mixing the active ingredients with an excipient such as glucose syrup in a mortar and pestle to form a paste, then rolling the mass into a long cylindrical...

s. If a patient could not be cured physically, the Babylonian physicians often relied on exorcism
Exorcism
Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

 to cleanse the patient from any curse
Curse
A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object...

s. Esagil-kin-apli's Diagnostic Handbook was based on a logical set of axiom
Axiom
In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proven or demonstrated but considered either to be self-evident or to define and delimit the realm of analysis. In other words, an axiom is a logical statement that is assumed to be true...

s and assumptions, including the modern view that through the examination and inspection
Inspection
An inspection is, most generally, an organized examination or formal evaluation exercise. In engineering activities inspection involves the measurements, tests, and gauges applied to certain characteristics in regard to an object or activity...

 of the symptoms of a patient, it is possible to determine the patient's disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

, its aetiology, its future development, and the chances of the patient's recovery.

Esagil-kin-apli discovered a variety of illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

es and diseases and described their symptoms in his Diagnostic Handbook. These include the symptoms for many varieties of epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

 and related ailments along with their diagnosis and prognosis.

Technology


Mesopotamian people invented many technologies including metal and copper-working, glass and lamp making, textile weaving, flood control, water storage, and irrigation. They were also one of the first Bronze age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 people in the world. They developed from copper, bronze, and gold on to iron. Palaces were decorated with hundreds of kilograms of these very expensive metals. Also, copper, bronze, and iron were used for armor as well as for different weapons such as swords, daggers, spears, and maces.

According to a recent hypothesis, the Archimedes screw may have been used by Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

, King of Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, for the water systems at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered to be one of the greatest Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one of the Wonders which may in fact have been legendary. They were purportedly built in the ancient city-state of Babylon, near present-day Al Hillah, Babil, in Iraq...

 and Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 in the 7th century BC, although mainstream scholarship holds it to be a Greek invention of later times. Later during the Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n or Sassanid
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 periods, the Baghdad Battery
Baghdad Battery
The Baghdad Battery, sometimes referred to as the Parthian Battery, is the common name for a number of artifacts created in Mesopotamia, during the dynasties of Parthian or Sassanid period , and probably discovered in 1936 in the village of Khuyut Rabbou'a, near Baghdad, Iraq...

, which may have been the world's first battery, was created in Mesopotamia.

Religion and philosophy



Mesopotamian religion
Mesopotamian religion
Mesopotamian religion refers to the religious beliefs and practices followed by the Sumerian and Akkadian peoples living in Mesopotamia that dominated the region for a period of 4200 years from the fourth millennium BC to approximately the 3rd century AD...

 was the first to be recorded. Mesopotamians believed that the world was a flat disc, surrounded by a huge, holed space, and above that, heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

. They also believed that water was everywhere, the top, bottom and sides, and that the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 was born from this enormous sea. In addition, Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic.

Although the belief
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

s described above were held in common among Mesopotamians, there were also regional variations. The Sumerian word for universe is an-ki, which refers to the god An and the goddess Ki. Their son was Enlil, the air god. They believed that Enlil was the most powerful god. He was the chief god of the Pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

, equivalent to the Greek god Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and the Roman god Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

. The Sumerians also posed philosophical questions, such as: Who are we?, Where are we?, How did we get here?. They attributed answers to these questions to explanations provided by their gods.

Philosophy


The origins of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 can be traced back to early Mesopotamian wisdom
Wisdom
Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and...

, which embodied certain philosophies of life, particularly ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, in the forms of dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

, dialogs, epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

, folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s, lyrics
Lyrics
Lyrics are a set of words that make up a song. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of...

, prose
Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

 works, and proverb
Proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

s. Babylonian reasoning and rationality
Rationality
In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

 developed beyond empirical
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 observation.

The earliest form of logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 was developed by the Babylonians, notably in the rigorous nonergodic nature of their social systems
Social structure
Social structure is a term used in the social sciences to refer to patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent from and determinant of the actions of the individuals. The usage of the term "social structure" has changed over time and may reflect the various levels of analysis...

. Babylonian thought was axiom
Axiom
In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proven or demonstrated but considered either to be self-evident or to define and delimit the realm of analysis. In other words, an axiom is a logical statement that is assumed to be true...

atic and is comparable to the "ordinary logic" described by John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

. Babylonian thought was also based on an open-systems ontology
Ontology
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

 which is compatible with ergodic axioms. Logic was employed to some extent in Babylonian astronomy and medicine.

Babylonian thought had a considerable influence on early Greek
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 and Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy that was developed in the Hellenistic civilization following Aristotle and ending with the beginning of Neoplatonism.-Pythagoreanism:...

. In particular, the Babylonian text Dialogue of Pessimism
Dialogue of Pessimism
The Dialogue of Pessimism is an ancient Mesopotamian dialogue between a master and his servant that expresses the futility of human action. It has parallels with biblical wisdom literature.- Text and dating :...

 contains similarities to the agonist
Agonist
An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor of a cell and triggers a response by that cell. Agonists often mimic the action of a naturally occurring substance...

ic thought of the sophists
Sophism
Sophism in the modern definition is a specious argument used for deceiving someone. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching aretê — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and...

, the Heraclitean
Heraclitus
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

 doctrine of contrasts, and the dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

 and dialogs of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, as well as a precursor to the maieutic
Maieutics
Maieutics is a pedagogical method based on the idea that the truth is latent in the mind of every human being due to innate reason but has to be "given birth" by answering intelligently proposed questions . The word is derived from the Greek "μαιευτικός", pertaining to midwifery.- Possible origin...

 method
Socratic method
The Socratic method , named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas...

 of Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

. The Ionian
Ionians
The Ionians were one of the four major tribes into which the Classical Greeks considered the population of Hellenes to have been divided...

 philosopher Thales
Thales
Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition...

 was influenced by Babylonian cosmological ideas.

Festivals


Ancient Mesopotamians had ceremonies each month. The theme of the rituals and festivals for each month is determined by six important factors:
  1. The phase of the Moon
    Moon
    The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

     (a waxing moon meant abundance and growth, while a waning moon was associated with decline, conservation, and festivals of the Underworld)
  2. The phase of the annual agricultural cycle
  3. Equinoxes and solstices
  4. The local mythos and its divine Patrons
  5. The success of the reigning Monarch
  6. Commemoration of specific historical events (founding, military victories, temple holidays, etc.)

Music



Some songs were written for the gods but many were written to describe important events. Although music and songs amused kings
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, they were also enjoyed by ordinary people who liked to sing and dance in their homes or in the marketplace
Marketplace
A marketplace is the space, actual, virtual or metaphorical, in which a market operates. The term is also used in a trademark law context to denote the actual consumer environment, ie. the 'real world' in which products and services are provided and consumed.-Marketplaces and street markets:A...

s. Songs were sung to children who passed them on to their children. Thus songs were passed on through many generation
Generation
Generation , also known as procreation in biological sciences, is the act of producing offspring....

s as an oral tradition until writing was more universal. These songs provided a means of passing on through the centuries
Century
A century is one hundred consecutive years. Centuries are numbered ordinally in English and many other languages .-Start and end in the Gregorian Calendar:...

 highly important information about historical events.

The Oud
Oud
The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern music. The modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor via diverging paths...

 (Arabic:العود) is a small, stringed musical instrument used by the Mesopotamians. The oldest pictorial record of the Oud dates back to the Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 period in Southern Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago. It is on a cylinder seal
Cylinder seal
A cylinder seal is a cylinder engraved with a 'picture story', used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally wet clay. Cylinder seals were invented around 3500 BC in the Near East, at the contemporary site of Susa in south-western Iran and at the early site...

 currently housed at the British Museum and acquired by Dr. Dominique Collon. The image
Image
An image is an artifact, for example a two-dimensional picture, that has a similar appearance to some subject—usually a physical object or a person.-Characteristics:...

 depicts a female crouching with her instruments upon a boat, playing right-handed. This instrument appears hundreds of times throughout Mesopotamian history and again in ancient Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 from the 18th dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 onwards in long- and short-neck varieties. The oud is regarded as a precursor to the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

. Its name is derived from the Arabic word العود al-‘ūd 'the wood', which is probably the name of the tree from which the oud was made. (The Arabic name, with the definite article, is the source of the word 'lute'.)

Games


Hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 was popular among Assyrian kings. Boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

 and wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

 feature frequently in art, and some form of polo
Polo
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Sometimes called, "The Sport of Kings", it was highly popularized by the British. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a...

 was probably popular, with men sitting on the shoulders of other men rather than on horses. They also played majore, a game similar to the sport rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

, but played with a ball made of wood. They also played a board game similar to senet
Senet
Senet is a board game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC. The full name of the game in Egyptian was zn.t n.t ḥˁb meaning the "game of passing."- History :...

 and backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, now known as the "Royal Game of Ma-asesblu."

Family life



Mesopotamia across its history became more and more a patriarchal society, one in which the men were far more powerful than the women. Thorkild Jacobsen, as well as many others, has suggested that early Mesopotamian society was ruled by a "council of elders" in which men and women were equally represented, but that over time, as the status of women fell, that of men increased. As for schooling, only royal offspring and sons of the rich and professionals, such as scribes, physicians, temple administrators, went to school. Most boys were taught their father's trade or were apprenticed out to learn a trade. Girls had to stay home with their mothers to learn housekeeping
Housekeeping
Housekeeping is the act of cleaning the rooms and furnishings of a home. It is one of the many chores included in the term housework. Housecleaning includes activities such as disposing of rubbish, cleaning dirty surfaces, dusting and vacuuming. It may also involve some outdoor chores, such as...

 and cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

, and to look after the younger children. Some children would help with crushing grain or cleaning birds. Unusual for that time in history, women in Mesopotamia had rights
Rights
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

. They could own property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 and, if they had good reason, get a divorce
Divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

.

Burials



Hundreds of graves
Grave (burial)
A grave is a location where a dead body is buried. Graves are usually located in special areas set aside for the purpose of burial, such as graveyards or cemeteries....

 have been excavated in parts of Mesopotamia, revealing information about Mesopotamian burial
Burial
Burial is the act of placing a person or object into the ground. This is accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing an object in it, and covering it over.-History:...

 habits. In the city of Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

, most people were buried in family graves under their houses, along with some possessions. A few have been found wrapped in mats and carpets. Deceased children were put in big "jars" which were placed in the family chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

. Other remains have been found buried in common city graveyard
Graveyard
A graveyard is any place set aside for long-term burial of the dead, with or without monuments such as headstones...

s. 17 graves have been found with very precious objects in them. It is assumed that these were royal graves.

Economy and agriculture


Sumer developed the first large-scale economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

, but the Babylonians developed the earliest system of economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. It was comparable to modern post-Keynesian economics
Post-Keynesian economics
Post Keynesian economics is a school of economic thought with its origins in The General Theory of John Maynard Keynes, although its subsequent development was influenced to a large degree by Michał Kalecki, Joan Robinson, Nicholas Kaldor and Paul Davidson...

, but with a more "anything goes" approach.

The geography of Mesopotamia is such that agriculture is possible only with irrigation and good drainage, a fact which has had a profound effect on the evolution of Mesopotamian civilization. The need for irrigation led the Sumerians, and later the Akkadians, to build their cities along the Tigris and Euphrates and the branches of these rivers. Major cities, such as Ur and Uruk, took root on tributaries of the Euphrates, while others, notably Lagash, were built on branches of the Tigris. The rivers provided the further benefits of fish (used both for food and fertilizer), reeds, and clay (for building materials). With irrigation, the food supply in Mesopotamia was quite rich. The Tigris and Euphrates River valleys form the northeastern portion of the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

, which also included the Jordan River valley and that of the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

. Although land nearer to the rivers was fertile
Fertile
The term fertile describes a condition whereby organisms are able to produce physically healthy offspring.Fertile may also refer to:...

 and good for crops
Crop (agriculture)
A crop is a non-animal species or variety that is grown to be harvested as food, livestock fodder, fuel or for any other economic purpose. Major world crops include maize , wheat, rice, soybeans, hay, potatoes and cotton. While the term "crop" most commonly refers to plants, it can also include...

, portions of land farther from the water were dry and largely uninhabitable. This is why the development of irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 was very important for settler
Settler
A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. Settlers are generally people who take up residence on land and cultivate it, as opposed to nomads...

s of Mesopotamia. Other Mesopotamian innovation
Innovation
Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society...

s include the control of water by dam
Dam
A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. Hydropower and pumped-storage hydroelectricity are...

s and the use of aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s. Early settlers of fertile land in Mesopotamia used wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en plows to soften the soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 before planting crops such as barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

s, grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s, turnip
Turnip
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock...

s, and apple
Apple
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

s. Mesopotamian settlers were some of the first people to make beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 and wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

. As a result of the skill involved in farming in the Mesopotamian, farmers did not depend on slaves to complete farm work for them, but there were some exceptions. There were too many risks involved to make slavery practical (i.e. the escape/mutiny
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

 of the slave). Although the rivers sustained life, they also destroyed it by frequent floods that ravaged entire cities. The unpredictable Mesopotamian weather was often hard on farmers; crops were often ruined so backup sources of food such as cows and lambs were also kept.

Government


The geography of Mesopotamia had a profound impact on the political development of the region. Among the rivers and streams, the Sumerian people built the first cities along with irrigation canals which were separated by vast stretches of open desert or swamp where nomadic tribes roamed. Communication among the isolated cities was difficult and, at times, dangerous. Thus, each Sumerian city became a city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

, independent of the others and protective of its independence. At times one city would try to conquer and unify the region, but such efforts were resisted and failed for centuries. As a result, the political history of Sumer is one of almost constant warfare. Eventually Sumer was unified by Eannatum
Eannatum
Eannatum was a Sumerian king of Lagash who established one of the first verifiable empires in history. One inscription of his, found on a boulder, states that Eannatum was his Sumerian name, while his "Tidnu" name was Lumma.-Conquest of Sumer:...

, but the unification was tenuous and failed to last as the Akkadians conquered Sumeria in 2331 BC only a generation later. The Akkadian Empire was the first successful empire to last beyond a generation and see the peaceful succession of kings. The empire was relatively short-lived, as the Babylonians conquered them within only a few generations.

Kings



The Mesopotamians believed their kings and queens were descended from the City of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

s, but, unlike the ancient Egyptians, they never believed their kings were real gods. Most kings named themselves “king of the universe” or “great king”. Another common name was “shepherd
Shepherd
A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.- Origins :Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and especially their wool...

”, as kings had to look after their people.

Power


When Assyria grew into an empire, it was divided into smaller parts, called provinces. Each of these were named after their main cities, like Nineveh, Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

, Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, and Arpad
Arpad (Syria)
Arpad was an ancient Aramaean city located in north-western Syria, north of Aleppo. In 743 BC, the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III led a military expedition to Syria, defeating there the Uraratian army. But the city of Arpad, which had formed an alliance with Urartu, did not surrender easily...

. They all had their own governor who had to make sure everyone paid their taxes. Governors also had to call up soldiers to war and supply workers when a temple was built. He was also responsible for enforcing the laws. In this way, it was easier to keep control of a large empire. Although Babylon was quite a small state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in the Sumerian, it grew tremendously throughout the time of Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

's rule. He was known as “the law maker”, and soon Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 became one of the main cities in Mesopotamia. It was later called Babylonia, which meant "the gateway of the gods." It also became one of history's greatest centers of learning.

Warfare



As city-states began to grow, their spheres of influence overlapped, creating arguments between other city-states, especially over land and canals. These arguments were recorded in tablets several hundreds of years before any major war—the first recording of a war occurred around 3200 BC but was not common until about 2500 BC. At this point, warfare was incorporated into the Mesopotamian political system, where a neutral city may act as an arbitrator for the two rival cities. This helped to form unions between cities, leading to regional states. When empires were created, they went to war more with foreign countries. King Sargon, for example, conquered all the cities of Sumer, some cities in Mari, and then went to war with northern Syria. Many Assyrian and Babylonian palace walls were decorated with the pictures of the successful fights and the enemy either desperately escaping or hiding amongst reeds. A king in Sumer, Gilgamesh, was thought to be two-thirds god and only one-third human. His exploits were recorded in many poems and songs of the time.

Laws


King Hammurabi, as mentioned above, was famous for his set of laws, the Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

 (created ca. 1780 BC), which is one of the earliest sets of laws found and one of the best preserved examples of this type of document from ancient Mesopotamia. He codified over 200 laws for Mesopotamia.

Architecture



The study of ancient Mesopotamian architecture is based on available archaeological evidence, pictorial representation of buildings, and texts on building practices. Scholarly literature usually concentrates on temples, palaces, city walls and gates, and other monumental buildings, but occasionally one finds works on residential architecture as well. Archaeological surface surveys also allowed for the study of urban form in early Mesopotamian cities.

The most notable architectural remains from early Mesopotamia are the temple complexes at Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 from the 4th millennium BC, temples and palaces from the Early Dynastic period sites in the Diyala River
Diyala River
The Diyala River after Darban-e Khan Dam:Kurdish: Sirwan, سيروان, , Persian: سیروان دیاله, is a river and tributary of the Tigris that runs mainly through Eastern Iraq but also Western Iran. It covers a total distance of ....

 valley such as Khafajah and Tell Asmar, the Third Dynasty of Ur
Third Dynasty of Ur
The Third Dynasty of Ur, also known as the Neo-Sumerian Empire or the Ur III Empire refers simultaneously to a 21st to 20th century BC Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state that some historians regard as a nascent empire...

 remains at Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

 (Sanctuary of Enlil
Enlil
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.-Early life:Members...

) and Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

 (Sanctuary of Nanna
Sin (mythology)
Sin or Nanna was the god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.- Name :The original meaning of...

), Middle Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 remains at Syrian-Turkish sites of Ebla
Ebla
Ebla Idlib Governorate, Syria) was an ancient city about southwest of Aleppo. It was an important city-state in two periods, first in the late third millennium BC, then again between 1800 and 1650 BC....

, Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

, Alalakh
Alalakh
Alalakh is the name of an ancient city-state near modern Antakya in the Amuq River valley of Turkey's Hatay Province.Now represented by an extensive mound, the name of the modern archaeological site is Tell Atchana.-History:...

, Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 and Kultepe
Kültepe
Kültepe is a modern village near the ancient city of Kaneš or Kanesh , located in the Kayseri Province of Turkey's Central Anatolia Region...

, Late Bronze Age palaces at Bogazkoy (Hattusha), Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

, Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 and Nuzi
Nuzi
Nuzi was an ancient Mesopotamian city southwest of Kirkuk in modern Al Ta'amim Governorate of Iraq, located near the Tigris river...

, Iron Age palaces and temples at Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n (Kalhu/Nimrud, Khorsabad, Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

), Babylonian (Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

), Urartian (Tushpa
Tushpa
Tushpa was the 9th century BC capital of Urartu, later becoming known as Van which is derived from Biaina the native name of Urartu...

/Van Kalesi, Cavustepe, Ayanis, Armavir
Armavir, Armenia
Armavir is a city located in western Armenia. The 1989 census reported that the city had a total population of 46,900, but this has declined considerably: the 2001 census counted 32,034; estimate for 2008 is 26,387. It is the capital of the Armavir province . The city of Armavir in Russia, founded...

, Erebuni
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

, Bastam
Bastam
Bastam is the site of an ancient Urartian citadel from ca. the 7th century BC, located in modern northwestern Iran. On August 9, 2007, it was proposed to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.-External links:...

) and Neo-Hittite
Neo-Hittite
The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC...

 sites (Karkamis
Carchemish
Carchemish or Kargamış was an important ancient city of the Mitanni, Hittite and Neo Assyrian Empires, now on the frontier between Turkey and Syria. It was the location of an important battle between the Babylonians and Egyptians, mentioned in the Bible...

, Tell Halaf
Tell Halaf
Tell Halaf is an archaeological site in the Al Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria, near the Turkish border, just opposite Ceylanpınar. It was the first find of a Neolithic culture, subsequently dubbed the Halaf culture, characterized by glazed pottery painted with geometric and animal designs...

, Karatepe
Karatepe
Karatepe is a late Hittite fortress and open air museum in Osmaniye Province in southern Turkey lying at a distance of about 23 km from the district center of Kadirli. It is sited in the Taurus Mountains, on the right bank of the Ceyhan River...

). Houses are mostly known from Old Babylonian remains at Nippur and Ur. Among the textual sources on building construction and associated rituals are Gudea's cylinders from the late 3rd millennium are notable, as well as the Assyrian and Babylonian royal inscriptions from the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

.

Further reading

  • Atlas de la Mésopotamie et du Proche-Orient ancien, Brepols, 1996 ISBN|2503500463.
  • Benoit, Agnès; 2003. Art et archéologie : les civilisations du Proche-Orient ancien, Manuels de l'Ecole du Louvre.
  • Jean Bottéro
    Jean Bottéro
    Jean Bottéro was a French historian. He was a major Assyriologist and a renowned expert on the Ancient Near East...

    ; 1987.Mésopotamie. L'écriture, la raison et les dieux, Gallimard, coll. « Folio Histoire », ISBN|2070403084.
  • Jean Bottéro
    Jean Bottéro
    Jean Bottéro was a French historian. He was a major Assyriologist and a renowned expert on the Ancient Near East...

    ; 1992. Mesopotamia: writing, reasoning and the gods. Trans. by Zainab Bahrani and Marc Van de Mieroop, University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
  • Edzard, Dietz Otto; 2004. Geschichte Mesopotamiens. Von den Sumerern bis zu Alexander dem Großen, München, ISBN 3-406-51664-5
  • Hrouda, Barthel and Rene Pfeilschifter; 2005. Mesopotamien. Die antiken Kulturen zwischen Euphrat und Tigris. München 2005 (4. Aufl.), ISBN 3-406-46530-7
  • Joannès, Francis; 2001. Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne, Robert Laffont.
  • Korn, Wolfgang; 2004. Mesopotamien – Wiege der Zivilisation. 6000 Jahre Hochkulturen an Euphrat und Tigris, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-8062-1851-X
  • Kuhrt, Amélie; 1995. The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 B.C. 2 Vols. Routledge: London and New York.
  • Liverani, Mario; 1991. Antico Oriente: storia, società, economia. Editori Laterza: Roma.
  • Matthews, Roger; 2005. The early prehistory of Mesopotamia – 500,000 to 4,500 BC, Turnhout 2005, ISBN 2-503-50729-8
  • Oppenheim, A. Leo; 1964. Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a dead civilization. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London. Revised edition completed by Erica Reiner, 1977.
  • Pollock, Susan; 1999. Ancient Mesopotamia: the Eden that never was. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  • Postgate, J. Nicholas; 1992. Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the dawn of history. Routledge: London and New York.
  • Roux, Georges; 1964. Ancient Iraq, Penguin Books.
  • Silver, Morris; 2007. Redistribution and Markets in the Economy of Ancient Mesopotamia: Updating Polanyi, Antiguo Oriente
    Antiguo Oriente
    Antiguo Oriente is an annual peer-reviewed academic journal published by the CEHAO . It covers the history of societies of the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Paleolithic through the Greco-Roman period.Antiguo Oriente publishes articles and book reviews in Spanish, English...

     5: 89-112.
  • Snell, Daniel (ed.); 2005. A Companion to the Ancient Near East. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub, 2005.
  • Van de Mieroop, Marc; 2004. A history of the ancient Near East. ca 3000-323 BC. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

External links


  • Ancient Mesopotamia — timeline, definition, and articles at Ancient History Encyclopedia
  • Mesopotamia — introduction to Mesopotamia from the British Museum
    British Museum
    The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

  • By Nile and Tigris, a narrative of journeys in Egypt and Mesopotamia on behalf of the British museum between the years 1886 and 1913, by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, 1920 (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu
    DjVu
    DjVu is a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents, especially those containing a combination of text, line drawings, and photographs. It uses technologies such as image layer separation of text and background/images, progressive loading, arithmetic coding, and lossy...

     & layered PDF format)
  • A Dweller in Mesopotamia, being the adventures of an official artist in the Garden of Eden, by Donald Maxwell, 1921 (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu
    DjVu
    DjVu is a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents, especially those containing a combination of text, line drawings, and photographs. It uses technologies such as image layer separation of text and background/images, progressive loading, arithmetic coding, and lossy...

     & format)
  • Mesopotamian Archaeology, by Percy S. P. Pillow, 1912 (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu
    DjVu
    DjVu is a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents, especially those containing a combination of text, line drawings, and photographs. It uses technologies such as image layer separation of text and background/images, progressive loading, arithmetic coding, and lossy...

    & format)
  • http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Zantonavitch/Sumerian_Philosophy.shtml Sumerian Philosophy