Mesopotamia or Bilad Al-Rafidayn, the Arabic terminology for "land between the rivers" is widely considered as the cradle of civilization on account of the flourishing urban communities that thrived in this land much before the rest of the world was inhabited.In a narrow sense, Mesopotamia refers to the flat alluvial land that lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates, bound by the Zagros Mountains in the North and the Arabian deserts in the South. However, these two rivers have changed their course several times in the past twelve thousand years and as such, what constituted ancient Mesopotamia now includes territories much beyond the present riverbanks, and incorporates the lands comprising of modern day Iraq, some parts of northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and the Khuzestan Province of southwestern Iran.The Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and the Assyrian empires dominated much of Bronze Age Mesopotamian civilization whereas the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire dominated Mesopotamia during the Iron Age. The Iranian Achaemenid conquest ended the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, and Mesopotamia remained under Persian rule until the Islamic conquest of the 7th Century.
[...] The Persians annexed Babylon and the other city-states to their empire and this ended the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. MESOPOTAMIAN SOCIETY The Mesopotamian society had three distinct social classes. The upper class or the nobles comprised of government officials, priests, and warriors. Freemen or the middle-class comprised of merchants, artisans, professionals, and wealthy farmers. Slaves formed the third class citizens. The priests and other members of the upper class lived a life of luxury and abundance, and had many slaves working for them. [...]
[...] SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Agriculture The development of the Sumerian civilization depended on their advanced knowledge in agricultural practices that included maintaining an extensive system of canals, dikes, weirs, and reservoirs, all of which required considerable engineering knowledge and skill. They were the first to use wooden ploughs to soften the soil before planting crops such as barley, onions, grapes, turnips, and apples. The Babylonians not only inherited the technical achievements of the Sumerians in irrigation and agriculture, but also made further advancements. [...]
[...] The Mesopotamian civilization between 3000 B.C.E. and 2000 B.C.E., the time when Sumer was at its peak, is often referred to as the Sumerian civilization. A major source of information regarding the Sumerian political structure is the Sumerian king list, an ancient text in the Sumerian language listing the kings of Sumer from Sumerian and foreign dynasties. However, much of the earlier dynasties recorded in the Sumerian King List is mythical, with only a few of the early names authenticated through archaeology. [...]
[...] WRITING AND EDUCATION Script The greatest achievement of Mesopotamian civilization was their system of writing known as Cuneiform, meaning, “wedge shaped”. The Sumerians invented the art of writing by making wedge-shaped impressions on wet clay tablets using weed stylus. The clay tablets were baked in the sun, and once baked remained virtually indestructible. The several hundred thousand of clay tablets excavated from the Sumerian ruins provide the primary source of information regarding the period. The early Sumerian script was pictographic, with each sign representing a word identical in meaning to the object pictured. [...]
[...] Burglary was common in the Mesopotamian society. Hammurabi's code prescribed death penalty for both the person stealing and the person receiving goods stolen from temples. If caught stealing from private individuals, the thief having to make tenfold restitution, and was put to death on failure to do that. It was the duty of the governor of an area and city officials to catch burglars and murderers, and if they failed to do so, they had to replace the lost property or pay a fine to the relatives of the murdered persons. [...]
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