Mesopotamia
Ancient
Mesopotamia
Euphrates · Tigris
Sumer
Eridu · Kish · Uruk · Ur
Lagash · Nippur · Girsu
Elam
Susa · Anshan
Akkadian Empire
Akkad · Mari
Amorites
Isin · Larsa
Babylonia
Babylon · Chaldea
Assyria
Assur · Nimrud
Dur-Sharrukin · Nineveh
Mesopotamia (Dynasty list)
Sumer (king list)
Kings of Elam
Kings of Assyria
Kings of Babylon
Enûma Elish · Gilgamesh
Assyrian religion
Sumerian · Elamite
Akkadian · Aramaic
Hurrian · Hittite

Mesopotamia (from the Ancient Greek: Μεσοποταμία: "[land] between rivers"; Arabic: بلاد الرافدين‎ (bilād al-rāfidayn); Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪܝܢ (beth nahrain): "land of rivers") is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.

Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires. In the Iron Age, it was controlled by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. 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. It fell to Alexander the Great in 332 BC and after his death it became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire.

Around 150 BC, Mesopotamia was under the control of the Parthians. 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 of the Sassanid Empire. A number of primarily neo Assyrian and Christian native Mesopotamian states existed between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD, including Adiabene, Osroene and Hatra.

Contents

Etymology

map showing the Tigris–Euphrates river system, which defines Mesopotamia

The regional toponym Mesopotamia comes from the ancient 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, 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 in north Syria. The Aramaic term biritum/birit narim corresponded to a similar geographical concept.[1] Later, the term Mesopotamia was more generally applied to the all the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris, thereby incorporating not only parts of Syria but also almost all of Iraq and southeastern Turkey.[2] The neighbouring steppes to the west of the Euphrates and the western part of the Zagros Mountains are also often included under the wider term Mesopotamia.[3][4][5] A further distinction is usually made between Upper or Northern Mesopotamia and Lower or Southern Mesopotamia.[6] Upper Mesopotamia, also known as the Jezirah, is the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris from their sources down to Baghdad.[3] Lower Mesopotamia is the area from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf.[6] 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, with names like Syria, Jezirah and Iraq being used to describe the region after that date.[2][7] It has been argued that these later euphemisms are Eurocentric terms attributed to the region in the midst of various 19th century Western encroachments.[7][8]

Geography

Mesopotamia encompasses the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, both of which have their headwaters in the mountains of Armenia 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 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 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.

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) 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 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.[9] 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 (ca. 5300 BC). The history of the Ancient Near East begins in the Lower Paleolithic period, and ends with either the arrival of the Achaemenid Empire in the late 6th century BC, or with the Arab Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia and the establishment of the Caliphate in the late 7th century AD, from which point the region came to be known as Iraq. 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 was first invented, along with the Nile valley in Egypt, the Indus Valley in the Indian subcontinent, and Yellow River valley in China (although writing is also known to have arisen independently in Mesoamerica). Mesopotamia housed historically important cities such as Uruk, Nippur, Nineveh, Assur and Babylon, as well as major territorial states such as the city of Ma-asesblu, the Akkadian kingdom, the Third Dynasty of Ur, and the various Assyrian empires. Some of the important historical Mesopotamian leaders were Ur-Nammu (king of Ur), Sargon (who established the Akkadian Empire), Hammurabi (who established the Old Babylonian state), Ashur-uballit II and Tiglath-Pileser I (who established the Assyrian Empires).

Archeological cultures

Language and writing

The earliest language written in Mesopotamia was Sumerian, an agglutinative language isolate. Along with Sumerian, Semitic dialects were also spoken in early Mesopotamia. Akkadian, came to be the dominant language during the Akkadian Empire and the Assyrian 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 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 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 to be trained in its use. It was not until the widespread use of a syllabic script was adopted under Sargon's rule[citation needed] 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.[11] 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.[11] This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund.[11] 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),[12] 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 and Mandeans of Iraq.

Literature and mythology

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,[13] and for the Semitic 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, in twelve books, translated from the original Sumerian by a certain Sin-liqe-unninni, and arranged upon an astronomical principle. Each division contains the story of a single adventure in the career of Gilgamesh. The whole story is a composite product, although it is probable that some of the stories are artificially attached to the central figure.

Philosophy

The origins of philosophy can be traced back to early Mesopotamian wisdom, which embodied certain philosophies of life, particularly ethics, in the forms of dialectic, dialogs, epic poetry, folklore, hymns, lyrics, prose works, and proverbs. Babylonian reasoning and rationality developed beyond empirical observation.[14]

The earliest form of logic was developed by the Babylonians, notably in the rigorous nonergodic nature of their social systems. Babylonian thought was axiomatic and is comparable to the "ordinary logic" described by John Maynard Keynes. Babylonian thought was also based on an open-systems ontology which is compatible with ergodic axioms.[15] Logic was employed to some extent in Babylonian astronomy and medicine.

Babylonian thought had a considerable influence on early Greek and Hellenistic philosophy. In particular, the Babylonian text Dialogue of Pessimism contains similarities to the agonistic thought of the sophists, the Heraclitean doctrine of contrasts, and the dialectic and dialogs of Plato, as well as a precursor to the maieutic method of Socrates.[16] The Ionian philosopher Thales was influenced by Babylonian cosmological ideas.

Science and technology

Mathematics

Mesopotamian mathematics and science was based on a sexagesimal (base 60) numeral system. This is the source of the 60-minute hour, the 24-hour day, and the 360-degree circle. The Sumerian calendar was based on the seven-day week. This form of mathematics was instrumental in early map-making. 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.[17]

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 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 and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science and some scholars have thus referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution.[18] This new approach to astronomy was adopted and further developed in Greek and Hellenistic astronomy.

In Seleucid and Parthian 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 model of planetary motion was Seleucus of Seleucia (b. 190 BC).[19][20][21] Seleucus is known from the writings of Plutarch. He supported Aristarchus of Samos' heliocentric theory where the Earth rotated around its own axis which in turn revolved around the Sun. According to Plutarch, 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, classical Indian, Sassanian, Byzantine, Syrian, medieval Islamic, Central Asian, and Western European astronomy.[22]

Medicine

The oldest Babylonian texts on medicine date back to the Old Babylonian period in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. The most extensive Babylonian medical text, however, is the Diagnostic Handbook written by the physician Esagil-kin-apli of Borsippa,[23] during the reign of the Babylonian king Adad-apla-iddina (1069-1046 BC).[24]

Along with contemporary Egyptian medicine, the Babylonians introduced the concepts of diagnosis, prognosis, physical examination, and prescriptions. In addition, the Diagnostic Handbook introduced the methods of therapy and aetiology and the use of empiricism, logic, and rationality in diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. The text contains a list of medical symptoms and often detailed empirical observations along with logical rules used in combining observed symptoms on the body of a patient with its diagnosis and prognosis.[25]

The symptoms and diseases of a patient were treated through therapeutic means such as bandages, creams and pills. If a patient could not be cured physically, the Babylonian physicians often relied on exorcism to cleanse the patient from any curses. Esagil-kin-apli's Diagnostic Handbook was based on a logical set of axioms and assumptions, including the modern view that through the examination and inspection of the symptoms of a patient, it is possible to determine the patient's disease, its aetiology, its future development, and the chances of the patient's recovery.[23]

Esagil-kin-apli discovered a variety of illnesses and diseases and described their symptoms in his Diagnostic Handbook. These include the symptoms for many varieties of epilepsy and related ailments along with their diagnosis and prognosis.[26]

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 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, King of Assyria, for the water systems at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Nineveh in the 7th century BC, although mainstream scholarship holds it to be a Greek invention of later times.[27] Later during the Parthian or Sassanid periods, the Baghdad Battery, which may have been the world's first battery, was created in Mesopotamia.[28]

Religion

Mesopotamian religion was the first to be recorded. Mesopotamians believed that the world was a flat disc[citation needed], surrounded by a huge, holed space, and above that, heaven. They also believed that water was everywhere, the top, bottom and sides, and that the universe was born from this enormous sea. In addition, Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic.

Although the beliefs 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, equivalent to the Greek god Zeus and the Roman god Jupiter. The Sumerians also posed philosophical questions, such as: Who are we?, Where are we?, How did we get here?.[citation needed] They attributed answers to these questions to explanations provided by their gods.

Culture

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 (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, they were also enjoyed by ordinary people who liked to sing and dance in their homes or in the marketplaces. Songs were sung to children who passed them on to their children. Thus songs were passed on through many generations as an oral tradition until writing was more universal. These songs provided a means of passing on through the centuries highly important information about historical events.

The Oud (Arabic:العود) is a small, stringed musical instrument used by the Mesopotamians. The oldest pictorial record of the Oud dates back to the Uruk period in Southern Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago. It is on a cylinder seal currently housed at the British Museum and acquired by Dr. Dominique Collon. The image 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 from the 18th dynasty onwards in long- and short-neck varieties. The oud is regarded as a precursor to the European lute. 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 was popular among Assyrian kings. Boxing and wrestling feature frequently in art, and some form of polo was probably popular, with men sitting on the shoulders of other men rather than on horses.[29] They also played majore, a game similar to the sport rugby, but played with a ball made of wood. They also played a board game similar to senet and backgammon, now known as the "Royal Game of Ma-asesblu."

Family life

The Babylonian marriage market by the nineteenth-century AD painter Edwin Long

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.[30] Girls had to stay home with their mothers to learn housekeeping and cooking, 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. They could own property and, if they had good reason, get a divorce.

Burials

Hundreds of graves have been excavated in parts of Mesopotamia, revealing information about Mesopotamian burial habits. In the city of Ur, 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. Other remains have been found buried in common city graveyards. 17 graves have been found with very precious objects in them. It is assumed that these were royal graves.

Economy

Mining areas of the ancient Middle East. Boxes colors: arsenic is in brown, copper in red, tin in grey, iron in reddish brown, gold in yellow, silver in white and lead in black. Yellow area stands for arsenic bronze, while grey area stands for tin bronze.

Sumer developed the first large-scale economy, but the Babylonians developed the earliest system of economics. It was comparable to modern post-Keynesian economics, but with a more "anything goes" approach.[15]

Agriculture

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, which also included the Jordan River valley and that of the Nile. Although land nearer to the rivers was fertile and good for crops, portions of land farther from the water were dry and largely uninhabitable. This is why the development of irrigation was very important for settlers of Mesopotamia. Other Mesopotamian innovations include the control of water by dams and the use of aqueducts. Early settlers of fertile land in Mesopotamia used wooden plows to soften the soil before planting crops such as barley, onions, grapes, turnips, and apples. Mesopotamian settlers were some of the first people to make beer and wine. 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 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, 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, 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 Gods, but, unlike the ancient Egyptians, they never believed their kings were real gods.[31] Most kings named themselves “king of the universe” or “great king”. Another common name was “shepherd”, 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, Damascus, and Arpad. 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 in the Sumerian, it grew tremendously throughout the time of Hammurabi's rule. He was known as “the law maker”, and soon Babylon 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

Fragment of the Stele of the Vultures showing marching warriors, Early Dynastic III period, 2600–2350 BC

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.[31] 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 (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.[32] 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 from the 4th millennium BC, temples and palaces from the Early Dynastic period sites in the Diyala River valley such as Khafajah and Tell Asmar, the Third Dynasty of Ur remains at Nippur (Sanctuary of Enlil) and Ur (Sanctuary of Nanna), Middle Bronze Age remains at Syrian-Turkish sites of Ebla, Mari, Alalakh, Aleppo and Kultepe, Late Bronze Age palaces at Bogazkoy (Hattusha), Ugarit, Ashur and Nuzi, Iron Age palaces and temples at Assyrian (Kalhu/Nimrud, Khorsabad, Nineveh), Babylonian (Babylon), Urartian (Tushpa/Van Kalesi, Cavustepe, Ayanis, Armavir, Erebuni, Bastam) and Neo-Hittite sites (Karkamis, Tell Halaf, Karatepe). 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.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Finkelstein, J.J. (1962), "Mesopotamia", Journal of Near Eastern Studies 21 (2): 73–92, doi:10.1086/371676, JSTOR 543884 
  2. ^ a b Foster, Benjamin R.; Polinger Foster, Karen (2009), Civilizations of ancient Iraq, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691137223 
  3. ^ a b Canard, M. (2011), "al-ḎJazīra, Ḏjazīrat Aḳūr or Iḳlīm Aḳūr", in Bearman, P.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C.E. et al., Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Leiden: Brill Online, OCLC 624382576 
  4. ^ Wilkinson, Tony J. (2000), "Regional approaches to Mesopotamian archaeology: the contribution of archaeological surveys", Journal of Archaeological Research 8 (3): 219–267, doi:10.1023/A:1009487620969, ISSN 1573-7756 
  5. ^ Matthews, Roger (2003), The archaeology of Mesopotamia. Theories and approaches, Approaching the past, Milton Square: Routledge, ISBN 0415253179 
  6. ^ a b Miquel, A.; Brice, W.C.; Sourdel, D.; Aubin, J.; Holt, P.M.; Kelidar, A.; Blanc, H.; MacKenzie, D.N. et al. (2011), "ʿIrāḳ", in Bearman, P.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C.E. et al., Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Leiden: Brill Online, OCLC 624382576 
  7. ^ a b Bahrani, Z. (1998), "Conjuring Mesopotamia: imaginative geography a world past", in Meskell, L., Archaeology under fire: Nationalism, politics and heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, London: Routledge, pp. 159–174, ISBN 9780415196550 
  8. ^ Scheffler, Thomas; 2003. “ 'Fertile crescent', 'Orient', 'Middle East': the changing mental maps of Southeast Asia,” European Review of History 10/2: 253–272.
  9. ^ Thompson, William R. (2004) "Complexity, Diminishing Marginal Returns, and Serial Mesopotamian Fragmentation" (Vol 3, Journal of World Systems Research)
  10. ^ Pollock, Susan (1999), Ancient Mesopotamia. The Eden that never was, Case Studies in Early Societies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521575683 
  11. ^ a b c Deutscher, Guy (2007), Syntactic Change in Akkadian: The Evolution of Sentential Complementation, Oxford University Press US, pp. 20–21, ISBN 9780199532223, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XFwUxmCdG94C 
  12. ^ Woods C. 2006 “Bilingualism, Scribal Learning, and the Death of Sumerian”. In S.L. Sanders (ed) Margins of Writing, Origins of Culture: 91-120 Chicago [1]
  13. ^ Tatlow, Elisabeth Meier Women, Crime, and Punishment in Ancient Law and Society: The ancient Near East Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. (31 March 2005) ISBN 978-0826416285 p. 75
  14. ^ Giorgio Buccellati (1981), "Wisdom and Not: The Case of Mesopotamia", Journal of the American Oriental Society 101 (1), p. 35-47.
  15. ^ a b Sheila C. Dow (2005), "Axioms and Babylonian thought: a reply", Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 27 (3), p. 385-391.
  16. ^ Giorgio Buccellati (1981), "Wisdom and Not: The Case of Mesopotamia", Journal of the American Oriental Society 101 (1), p. 35-47 43.
  17. ^ Eves, Howard An Introduction to the History of Mathematics Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969 p. 31
  18. ^ D. Brown (2000), Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology , Styx Publications, ISBN 9056930362.
  19. ^ Otto E. Neugebauer (1945). "The History of Ancient Astronomy Problems and Methods", Journal of Near Eastern Studies 4 (1), p. 1-38.
  20. ^ George Sarton (1955). "Chaldaean Astronomy of the Last Three Centuries B. C.", Journal of the American Oriental Society 75 (3), p. 166-173 [169].
  21. ^ William P. D. Wightman (1951, 1953), The Growth of Scientific Ideas, Yale University Press p.38.
  22. ^ Pingree (1998)
  23. ^ a b H. F. J. Horstmanshoff, Marten Stol, Cornelis Tilburg (2004), Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine, p. 99, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004136665.
  24. ^ Marten Stol (1993), Epilepsy in Babylonia, p. 55, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9072371631.
  25. ^ H. F. J. Horstmanshoff, Marten Stol, Cornelis Tilburg (2004), Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine, p. 97-98, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004136665.
  26. ^ Marten Stol (1993), Epilepsy in Babylonia, p. 5, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9072371631.
  27. ^ Stephanie Dalley and John Peter Oleson (January 2003). "Sennacherib, Archimedes, and the Water Screw: The Context of Invention in the Ancient World", Technology and Culture 44 (1).
  28. ^ Twist, Jo (20 November 2005). "Open media to connect communities". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4450052.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  29. ^ Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat (1998), Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia 
  30. ^ Rivkah Harris (2000), Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia 
  31. ^ a b Robert Dalling (2004), The Story of Us Humans, from Atoms to Today's Civilization 
  32. ^ Dunham, Sally (2005), "Ancient Near Eastern architecture", in Daniel Snell, A Companion to the Ancient Near East, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 266–280, ISBN 0-631-23293-1 

Bibliography

  • 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; 1987.Mésopotamie. L'écriture, la raison et les dieux, Gallimard, coll. « Folio Histoire », ISBN|2070403084.
  • Jean Bottéro; 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 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
  • 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 & 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 & layered PDFPDF (7.53 MB) format)
  • Mesopotamian Archaeology, by Percy S. P. Pillow, 1912 (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu & layered PDFPDF (12.8 MB) format)
  • [2] Sumerian Philosophy


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mesopotamia — (griechisch Μεσοποταμία „zwischen Flüssen“) ist die geografische Bezeichnung für eine Landschaft im Vorderen Orient, das Mesopotamien im Altertum ein albanisches Dorf, siehe Mesopotam eine römische Provinz an der Grenze zum Partherreich, siehe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mesopotamia — (del griego: Μεσοποταμία, traducido del antiguo persa Miyanrudan, la tierra entre los ríos , o del arameo Beth Nahrin, dos ríos ) es el nombre por el cual se conoce a la zona del Próximo Oriente ubicada entre los ríos Tigris y Éufrates, si bien… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mesopotamia — ancient name for the land that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (in modern Iraq), from Gk. mesopotamia (khora), lit. a country between two rivers, from fem. of mesopotamos, from mesos middle (see MEDIAL (Cf. medial) (adj.)) + potamos… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Mesopotamia — [mes΄ə pə tā′mē ə] [Gr mesopotamia(chōra), lit., (land) between rivers < mesos,MID1 + potamos, river, orig., rapids < IE base * pet , to fall, rush at > FEATHER] 1. ancient country in SW Asia, between the upper Tigris & Euphrates rivers …   English World dictionary

  • MESOPOTAMIA — regio Asiae latissima, Tigrim habens ab Oriente, Euphratem ab Occidente, a Meridie Babyloniam, a Septentrione Caucasum. Sic dicta, quod sit inter 2. fluv. tigrim et Euphratem: Hinc Arab. Al Gezira, i. e. insula. Ab Hebraeis dicitur Aram Naharaim …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • mesopotâmia — s. f. Região situada entre dois rios …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • MESOPOTAMIA — The original article in the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica traced Mesopotamian history to its earliest beginnings and provided a detailed survey of Mesopotamian literature and institutions. With the availability of such tools as J.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Mesopotamia — Situación de las ciudades de la antigua Mesopotamia …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mesopotamia — Mesopotamian, adj., n. /mes euh peuh tay mee euh/, n. an ancient region in W Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers: now part of Iraq. * * * Region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East, constituting the greater part of …   Universalium

  • Mesopotamia — Original name in latin Mesopotama Name in other language Mesopotamia, Mesopotama, Tseteraki, Tseterki State code GR Continent/City Europe/Athens longitude 40.5 latitude 21.16667 altitude 690 Population 1812 Date 2012 05 06 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”