Mesopotamian Civilization

Story of the Mesopotamian Civilization

The Mesopotamian Civilization is considered the first civilization of the world as modern humans understand it. The Mesopotamian region was ruled by a series of nations such as Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians. This article aims to describe how the above nations ruled the Mesopotamian region.  

Mesopotamian Civilization

first civilizations established in the area called Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia comes from Greek words meaning “land between the rivers.” The rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates. Mesopotamia is a part of an area called the “Fertile Crescent,” which is often known as the “cradle of civilization.” The present-day Fertile crescent is a part of the Middle East and covers Southern Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and parts of Turkey and Iran.

First civilizations started with the agricultural revolution. The mastery of agriculture led people to settle down rather than migrating from place to place. Five thousand years ago, Mesopotamia was the most suitable region for human agriculture. The annual flooding of the two rivers deposited rich fertile soil on the banks of the river made it a flourishing land for civilizations.

Mainly Mesopotamian history can be divided into two periods

  1. Time before 2300 BC – Sumerian civilization
  2. Time after 2300 BC – ruled by a series of nations such Akkadian empire, Babylonian empire. 

The Sumerian civilizations

The first people to immigrate to Mesopotamia were the Sumerians. They migrated to the area around 4,500 BC and gradually formed small villages. With the development of agriculture, these villages gradually became large cities. Sumerian civilization was a city-based civilization. The major cities in that civilization were Uruk, Eridu, Nippur, Lagash, Kish, and Ur. Uruk was the largest city in the world at the time, with a population of 40,000-80,000.

Each city had its king and a large pyramid-shaped building called the ziggurat. Each city-state had a large rampart, and villages were located outside this rampart. The Sumerians had a common language and believed in the same gods and goddesses. Despite all these similarities, they all fought for river water. Because of this, every city-state needed an army to defend itself from its neighbors.

ziggurat
ziggurat

The Sumerian civilization was an age of great technological advancement. They found the wheel, the plow, and the writing. Farmers in Sumer built tanks to prevent flooding from their fields and built canals to bring river water to the fields.

Akkadian Empire

Around 2,334 BC, the power of the independent city-states of Sumer changed. The Sumerian city-states were conquered by the great Sargon ruler of Akkad, who until then had ruled the city of Kish. He was an Akkadian. The Sumerian king, Lugal-Saggizi, attempted to form an alliance between the Sumerian city-states against Sargon, but he was defeated by the Akkadians. Sargon eventually created the Akkadian Empire, the first empire in Mesopotamia.

Sargon ruled for 56 years, and after his death his son Rimush (2279-2271 BC) became king. Nine years later, his brother Manishtusu (2271-2261 BC) killed him and succeeded to the throne. Manishtusu was succeeded by his son Naram-sin (2261-2224 BC). Under his rule, the empire prospered. During his 36 years of rule, the borders of the empire expanded and trade flourished. Naram-sin was succeeded by his son Shar-kali-shari (2217-2193 BC). By this time the empire was considerably weakened. Eventually, the empire completely collapsed due to the Gutians coming from the Zagros Mountains.

Babylonian Empire

After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, Mesopotamia came under the control of the Amorites. The most famous ruler of the Amorites was King Hammurabi of Babylon (1792 – 1750 BC). Hammurabi established the Babylonian Empire. The period of Hammurabi was a very prosperous one. He improved the walls around the city of Babylon and, through diplomacy, established friendly relations with many cities north of Babylon. Hammurabi is best known for the code of Hammurabi, which is a set of rules.

King of Babylonia
King of Babylonia

After the Hammurabi period, the Babylonian Empire was weakened due to the Hittites’ attacks. Hittites were a group of people from Asia Minor. Eventually, Assyrians conquered these areas and established the Assyrian Empire.

13 thoughts on “Story of the Mesopotamian Civilization”

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