Mesopotamia Civilization

Topics: Sumer, Mesopotamia, Babylonia Pages: 5 (1362 words) Published: June 22, 2013


Anita Totlani
History 130
20. June 2013
Mesopotamia, the birthplace of civilization, comes with an overwhelmingly rich history. Due to its wealth in contributions to many religions and ethnic groups and its strong religious influence in the area, the history behind Mesopotamia comes with a lot of stories. “No development has been more momentous, or fraught with consequence, than the emergence of civilization” (Perspectives 1). First were the urban development of Mesopotamia, the development of writing and the culture of Sumer. Mesopotamia was established in an area known as the Fertile Crescent. At this point in history, people settled wherever there was an exceeding amount of natural resources. The crescent was an ideal area. Mesopotamia was the name given to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamia means ‘between the rivers’ (Western Civilization 7).

The Ubaid cities Mesopotamia were founded by the Ubaid peoples. This dates around 5900 B.C.E (Western Civilization 8). Some of the Ubaid settlements bordered on fertile marshlands, which enabled them to develop irrigation systems. Although these began as relatively simple channels and collection pools, Ubaid farmers quickly learned to build more sophisticated canals and to line some pools with stone (Western Civilization). They also constructed dikes and leaves to control the seasonal flooding canals. Despite the hostility of the environment, Ubaid communities were soon producing surpluses sufficient to support specialists in constructs, weaving, pottery making, metalwork, and trade: the typical attributes of Neolithic village life. Totlani

Even though there is early evidence of something quite new to the central structures that served religious, economic and administrative functions, they started out as shrines. These structures soon became impressive temples built of dried mud brick, and plentiful stone used at Jericho. The scarcity of stone meant that building in this region had to be more resourceful. Each large settlement had such a temple, from which a priestly class acted as managers of the community’s stored wealth and of complex irrigation systems that would make the civilization of Sumer possible (Western Civilization 8).

After about 4300 B.C.E, Ubaid settlements developed larger, more prosperous, and more highly organized communities. The most famous of these sites, Uruk, became the first Sumerian city- state (Western Civilization 8). Massive platform looms nearly forty feet above the surrounding flatlands, and its four corners are oriented toward the cardinal points of the compass. Atop the platform stands the temple proper, dressed in brick and originally painted a brilliant white (Western Civilization 8). Such temples were eventually constructed in every Sumerian city, reflecting the central role that worship played in civic life. Uruk in particular seems to have owed its rapid growth to its importance as a religious center. By its rapid growth to its importance as a religious center. By 3100 B.C.E. it encompassed several hundred acres, enclosing a population of 40,000 people within its massive brick walls. The larger villages of Sumer were also growing rapidly, attracting immigrants just as the great cities did. Grain and cloth production grew tenfold. Trade routes expanded dramatically and to manage this increasingly complex economy, the Sumerians invented the technology on which most Totlani Totlani

historians rely: Writing (Western Civilization 8). This is similar to other civilizations advancing in the future.
Mesopotamia had a form of government known as the Code of Hammurabi. This dates back to 1795 -1750 B.C.E (Perspective from the Pasts 24). The laws of Hammurabi are not the earliest Mesopotamian compilation of legal rulings but they are the longest and most diverse collection and undoubtedly constitute and single most informative document yet discovered regarding...

Cited: Brophy, James, Joshua Cole, John Robertson, Thomas M. Safely, and Carol Symes. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Vol. 6. Atlanta: Scholars, 1995. Print. Writings from the Ancient World Ser.
 Brophy, James, Joshua Cole, John Robertson, Thomas M. Safely, and Carol Symes. Perspectives From the Past. 5th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2003. Print. Primary Sources in Western Civilization.
 Cole, Joshua, Carol Symes, Judith Coffin, and Robert Stacey. Western Civilizations. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2008. Print. Brief.
 Dalley, Stephanie. Letter of Royal Women of the Old Babylonian Period. Glenview: Addison- Wesley Longman, 1984. Print.
 "Effective Papers." Essay on Mesopotamia. Effective Papers, 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 21 June 2013
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