Mesopotamia is often quoted on the news headlines and in books with out a specific description of where or indeed what Mesopotamia is. Mesopotamia is an area in the centre east stretching from the Persian gulf to the Mediterranean, encompassing elements of modern day Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq. It mostly follows the routes of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates and their tributaries and in fact the name “Mesopotamia” means “land of rivers” or “land between rivers”. Some of the most famous towns of the old testament were positioned in Mesopotamia, such as Babylon and Nineveh. It is often credited with being the cradle of civilisation, for reasons which I shall explore in this article.
The oldest known civilization, as described by the invention of writing, were the Sumerians, concentrated in Sumer where in fact the rivers Euphrates and Tigris meet, creating much fertile land. Here, some of the first major metropolitan areas were founded, between 4500 and 3100 BC. During this period, mass agricultural and commercial ideas began to appear and were heavily implemented, further driving the need for focus, framework, control and even, civilization. Sumerian writing used cuniform icons for keeping information and accounting systems.
These surfaced around 4000 BC, coinciding with the rise of the major Sumerian city state governments. The many concentrated human population required new methods of record keeping and human population management. The Sumerians experienced understanding of pottery and music and are acknowledged with possibly the single most significant invention in history: The Wheel. Their armed service technology for the time included mainly missile weapons, such as arrows and spears. They did not use swords, though daggers were common.
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At the finish of the period, the Sumerian dynastic period started, getting to the fore some mythical numbers almost, such as Gilgamesh. During this period (3100 – 2300 BC) Sumer became a lot more like an empire than a collection of city states. War became more prevalent and cities without large rock walls became the exception rather than the rule. Around 2300 BC, a fresh power surfaced in Mesopotamia: the Akkadians. The Akkadians were like the Romans of their own time, becoming the most influential force in the region for the next 1000 years.
The Akkadian vocabulary became the official language of the spot, and stayed used for recognized purposes long after it ceased to be the language of the common man. Sumerian was, however, used for spiritual ceremonies plus some administration during this time period still. Bilingualism was common in your community, and although Sumerian had much influence on Akkadian, the latter steadily replaced the former until Sumerian disappeared around the start of the first millennium AD. The unexpected growth of the influence of the Akkadians can be attributed almost wholly to King Sargon of Akkad, a north Sumerian city from which the empire took its name. In the 24th century BC, Sargon arrived to power and started subjugating the local Sumerians.
Gradually the Akkadian people, culture and language spread throughout the entire region through a mixture of war and financial hegemony. This expansion continued beyond the borders of Mesopotamia and extended right to the Mediterranean, perhaps even so far as Cyprus. They maintained a strong administration, collecting taxes, stockpiling food and organising society.