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For other uses, see Mesopotamia (disambiguation).
Map showing the extent of Mesopotamia
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, corresponding to modern-day Iraq and to a lesser extent northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran. Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization in the West, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the Akkadian,Babylonian and Assyrian empires, all native to the territory of modern-day Iraq. In the Iron Age, it was controlled by the Neo-Assyrianand 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 theAchaemenid 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 coming under ephemeral 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 andHatra. Contents [hide] * 1 Etymology * 2 Geography * 3 History * 3.1 Periodization * 4 Language and writing * 4.1 Literature * 5 Science and technology * 5.1 Mathematics * 5.2 Astronomy * 5.3 Medicine * 5.4 Technology * 6 Religion and philosophy * 6.1 Philosophy * 7 Culture * 7.1 Festivals * 7.2 Music * 7.3 Games * 7.4 Family life * 7.5 Burials * 8 Economy and agriculture * 9 Government * 9.1 Kings * 9.2 Power * 9.3 Warfare * 9.4 Laws * 10 Art * 11 Architecture * 12 References * 13 Further reading * 14 External links| -------------------------------------------------
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. 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. The neighbouring steppes to the west of the Euphrates and the western part of the Zagros Mountainsare also often included under the wider term Mesopotamia. A further distinction is usually made between Upper or Northern Mesopotamia and Lower or Southern Mesopotamia. Upper Mesopotamia, also known as the Jezirah, is the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris from their sources down to Baghdad. Lower Mesopotamia is the area from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf. 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. It has been...