Mesopotamia is a term used to refer to a medieval region situated on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which is now found in the modern Middle East. The region corresponds to most parts of modern Iraq and also to parts of Iran, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. Mesopotamia is important in history for being the cradle of civilization since it was the site of important developments throughout history.
History of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia encouraged human settlements because the continuous flooding of the two rivers made the land suitable for agriculture. During the Bronze Age, Mesopotamia was home to empires such as the Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Sumerian. These empires were replaced by the Achaemenid empire after which it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. The region was then governed by Greek Seleucids and Parthian empires, by the Romans, by the Sassanid empire and finally by the Muslim caliphate in the 7th century.
Geography of Mesopotamia
Both rivers have their sources located in the Armenian highlands. The rivers are part of a vast river system that also includes numerous tributaries. The climate of the region is semi-arid and hosts a vast desert to the north. The rivers integrate and flow into the Persian Gulf. The mountains of Zagros have bound the area to the north-east and the snows melted by the peaks help irrigation. The aquifer of the region also facilitates irrigation. Since medieval times, the construction of canals has been carried out in the area to mitigate floods and encourage human settlement. Herding has been practiced in the region along agriculture and the people have participated in the long-distance trade of agricultural products to obtain other materials such as timber and precious metals. THE’
Culture of Mesopotamia
Archaeological evidence and academic texts have shed light on the elements of Mesopotamian culture. The festivals were held every month to celebrate a variety of events such as the new year, military victories and gods. Music has also been embraced in the ancient region and the songs have been handed down from generation to generation as a form of oral tradition. The most notable musical instrument used by the people of Mesopotamia is the Oud. It is made of wood and is considered the precursor of the European lute. Some games are featured in the Mesopotamian art, including hunting, wrestling, boxing, a type of polo and majore. Ancient Mesopotamia is depicted as a patriarchal society, where the boys were enrolled in school and learned different trades while the girls were left at home to cook, look after the house and take care of other children. Women, however, could get a divorce and own property. Some tombs excavated in the region have been found to contain precious materials and other possessions.
Contributions to human development
Mesopotamia is called the cradle of civilization due to numerous developments. Sumerian is considered the first language of Mesopotamia. Other languages spoken by the Mesopotamian population include the Subartuan, the Akkadian and the Old Aramaic. The cuneiform was invented in the region and facilitated literacy efforts. The cities and temples in Mesopotamia boasted large libraries that allowed the population to learn and write. Numerous Babylonian literary works continue to be translated until today. Mesopotamian scholars have made great strides in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, art, medicine, technology, religion and philosophy.