The origins of human civilization were first established in Mesopotamia, a region of southwest Asia in the Tigris and Euphrates river system. This is thanks to the region’s climate and topography. The wheel, algebra, the notion of time, sailboats, maps, and writing are just a few of the major discoveries that have shaped its history. The shifting sequence of governing bodies from various regions and towns that took power over a period of thousands of years also defines Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia is a region in  the modern Middle East, which also encompasses sections of southwest Asia and the areas around the eastern Mediterranean Sea, is where Mesopotamia is situated. It is a component of the Fertile Crescent, which is frequently referred to as the “Cradle of Civilization” because of the numerous inventions that were developed by the early communities here, some of which are among the first known human civilizations on Earth.

The prehistoric terms “meso,” which meant between or in the centre, and “potamos,” which meant river, were combined to produce the word “mesopotamia.” Modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, and Syria are all located in the region’s lush valleys between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Mesopotamian map In order from north to south, the cities of Washukanni, Nineveh, Hatra, Assur, Nuzi, Palmyra, Mari, Sippar, Babylon, Kish, Nippur, Isin, Lagash, Uruk, Charax Spasinu, and Ur are displayed.

Paleolithic time was when Mesopotamia was first populated by humans. People in the area were residing in compact villages with round homes by 14,000 B.C.

Following the domestication of animals and the advancement of agriculture, particularly irrigation methods that made use of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers’ closeness, these homes eventually gave rise to farming towns five thousand years later.

The dominating Ubaid civilization, which had previously assimilated the Halaf culture, was responsible for the advancement of agriculture.

Early Mesopotamia

These dispersed agricultural settlements began in the northern section of ancient Mesopotamia and moved south, expanding for many thousand years until they became what contemporary humans would know as cities, which were thought to be the Sumerian people’s creation.

The first of these cities was Uruk, which existed approximately 3200 B.C. It was a mud-brick metropolis with public art, enormous columns, and temples that was constructed with the wealth gained from commerce and conquest. Its population peaked at around 50,000 people.

The oldest written language, cuneiform, was created by the Sumerians, who used it to keep meticulous clerical records.

Mesopotamia was securely under the Sumerian people’s rule by 3000 B.C. There were a number of dispersed city-states in Sumer, including Eridu, Nippur, Lagash, Uruk, Kish, and Ur.

Etana of Kish is identified as the first monarch of a unified Sumer. Etana and many of the kings named in the Sumerian King List, which was created circa 2100 B.C., are all mentioned in Sumerian mythology, therefore it is uncertain whether they ever happened.

Meskiaggasher, the ruler of the city-state Uruk, came after Etana. Around 2750 B.C., a warrior by the name of Lugalbanda assumed over.


It is believed that the mythical Gilgamesh, who is the subject of the Epic of Gilgamesh, is Lugalbanda’s son. Around 2700 B.C., Gilgamesh is thought to have been born at Uruk.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is regarded as the first major work of literature and the source of certain biblical tales. In the epic poem, Gilgamesh embarks on a journey with a companion to the Cedar Forest, which according to Mesopotamian mythology is the home of the Gods. When his companion is killed, Gilgamesh sets out to uncover the key to endless life. What he finds is: “You will never find life if you search for it. Because when the gods made man, they gave him death and held life in their own hands.”

The last ruler of Sumer was King Lugalzagesi, who was overthrown by the Semitic people of Sargon of Akkad in 2334 B.C. Although they momentarily cooperated in their conquest of Kish, Lugalzagesi’s mercenary Akkadian army ultimately sided with Sargon.

Akkadians and Sargon

From 2234 to 2154 B.C., the Akkadian Empire was ruled by the man who is now known as Sargon the Great. It was regarded as the first multiracial empire with a strong central authority.

Sargon’s origins are obscure, although tales claim they are comparable to Moses’ in the Bible. He formerly served as an officer for the king of Kish, and Sargon himself founded the city of Akkadia. When the city of Uruk attacked Kish, Sargon conquered Kish and was inspired to carry out more conquests.

By using force, Sargon enlarged his kingdom by taking over all of Sumer and into what is now Syria. Under Sargon, trade expanded outside of Mesopotamia, and architecture advanced, most notably with the introduction of ziggurats, flat-topped structures with a pyramid form and stairs.


After the death of Shar-kali-sharri, the last ruler of the Akkadian Empire, in 2193 B.C., Mesopotamia saw a century of upheaval as several factions fought for dominance.

The Gutian people, a group of barbarians from the Zagros Mountains, were one of these tribes. The empire’s prospects had a sharp decline under the Gutian regime, which is seen as an erratic one.


The city of Ur made an effort to found a dynasty for a new empire around 2100 B.C. After Utu-hengal, the ruler of the city of Uruk, vanquished the Gutians, Ur-Namma, the monarch of the city of Ur, restored Sumerians to power.

The Code of Ur-Nammu, the earliest known code of law, existed under Ur-Namma. In 2004 B.C., Ur-Namma was invaded by both the Elamites and the Amorites and vanquished.

Babylonian people

The Amorites seized power and founded Babylonia, choosing Babylon as its centre.

The most renowned of these kings, Hammurabi, who reigned from 1792-1750 B.C., was regarded as a deity. Hammurabi wanted to enlarge the empire, and there was practically constant fighting among the Babylonians.

The Code of Hammurabi, a set of rules created by Hammurabi in 1772 B.C., is his most well-known contribution.

In addition to recording the rules for all to see, Hammurabi also made sure that everyone in the empire adhered to the same set of laws and that local rulers did not establish their own. In order to guarantee that every person had the right to the same justice, the list of laws also included suggested penalties.

The Elamites took control of Ur about 1750 B.C. This conquest, together with the Amorite conquest, signalled the end of Sumerian civilization.


Around 1595 B.C., the Hittites, who were based in Anatolia and Syria, defeated the Babylonians.

The Hittites made a substantial contribution to smelting, enabling more advanced weapons that allowed them to further extend their kingdom. Eventually, their efforts to keep the technology to themselves were unsuccessful, and other empires were able to compete with them.

Shortly after destroying Babylon, the Hittites withdrew, and the Kassites seized over. Their dominion witnessed the arrival of immigrants from India and Europe, and transport was sped up by the employment of horses with chariots and carts. They originated in the highlands east of Mesopotamia.

After a few generations of domination, the Kassites gave up on their own culture and allowed themselves to be assimilated into Babylonian society.


Mesopotamia, the Assyrians Mesopotamia welcomes an Assyrian Empire triumphant general.

Around 1365 B.C., between the regions governed by the Hittites and the Kassites, the Assyrian Empire under Ashur-uballit I rose.

King Tukulti-Ninurta I captured Babylon and sought to unify all of Mesopotamia in 1220 B.C. Over the following two centuries, the Assyrian Empire continued to grow, conquering present-day Syria and Palestine.

In 884 B.C., the empire established a new capital called Nimrud under the leadership of Ashurnasirpal II, who was infamous for his brutality and conquests.

The majority of Shalmaneser’s reign was devoted to thwarting an alliance between Syria, Babylon, and Egypt and capturing Israel. When one of his sons revolted, Shalmaneser dispatched Shamshi-Adad, another son, to fight for him. After three years, Shamshi-Adad came to power.

II Sargon

When Sargon II took control in 722 B.C., a new dynasty was established. He split the empire into regions and maintained peace by modelling himself after Sargon the Great.

When the Chaldeans tried to invade, Sargon II sought an alliance with them, which ultimately proved to be his downfall. Together with the Elamites, the Chaldeans formed a separate coalition to conquer Babylonia.

Prior to his demise in combat against the Russian Cimmerians, Sargon II had defeated the Chaldeans but had already turned his attention to Syria, Gaza, and portions of Egypt.

From 681 to 669 B.C., Esarhaddon, the grandson of Sargon II, controlled Egypt, Ethiopia, and Palestine. He waged a catastrophic invasion expedition and destroyed towns after plundering them. Esarhaddon found it challenging to run his enlarged realm. Being a paranoid leader, he executed those in his court who he believed were plotting against him.

The Assyrian empire’s ultimate legendary monarch is said to have been his son Ashurbanipal. He ruled from 669 to 627 B.C. and overcame rebellions from his brother, the king of Babylonia, and Egypt, which cost him land. The earliest library in Mesopotamia was built by Ashurbanipal at what is now Nineveh, Iraq. It predates the Library of Alexandria by several hundred years and is the oldest library that is now known to exist.


The Semitic dynasty from Chaldea came to power in 626 B.C. when Babylonian official Nabopolassar usurped the crown. Nabopolassar made an unsuccessful effort to conquer Assyria in 616 B.C.

After King Cyaxares of Media launched an invasion operation in 614 B.C. that further distanced the Assyrians, his son Nebuchadnezzar ruled the Babylonian Empire.

Nebuchadnezzar is renowned for his elaborate construction work, particularly the Ishtar Gate, the Walls of Babylon, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Men and women enjoyed equal privileges during his leadership.

Nebuchadnezzar is also accountable for the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., which resulted in the captivity of its citizens. Because of this deed, he is mentioned in the Old Testament.

Iran’s Imperial Empire

In 539 B.C., Cyrus II of Persia overthrew Nabonidus and took control of the empire. Due to his low popularity, Mesopotamians did not rise up to protect Nabonidus during the invasion.

Following a gradual fall in cuneiform use and other cultural identifiers, it is believed that Babylonian civilization came to an end under Persian domination.

Most of Mesopotamia’s great cities were vanished by the time Alexander the Great subdued the Persian Empire in 331 B.C., and the region’s culture had long before been absorbed. Romans eventually conquered the area in 116 A.D., and then Arabic Muslims in 651 A.D.

Gods of Mesopotamia

The religion of Mesopotamia was polytheistic, with hundreds of lesser gods in addition to a few of major gods. The three primary deities were Enlil (Ellil), the god of the earth, storms, and agriculture, who also ruled over destinies, Anu (Sumerian: An), the sky god. Ea (Sumerian: Enki), the god of knowledge and sorcery, was the third deity. In both the Gilgamesh Epic and the Great Flood narrative, Ea is the creator and defender of humanity.

In the second tale, the god Enlil attempted to wipe away humanity by causing a flood after Ea fashioned people from clay. Mankind was saved when Ea made the people construct an ark. The Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, and the construction of the Tower of Babel were fundamental Mesopotamian religious traditions that made their way into the Bible and had an effect on both Christianity and Islam. If this story seems familiar, it should.

The majority of what we know about these gods and goddesses comes from clay tablets that describe Mesopotamian religious activities and beliefs. Each Mesopotamian city had its own patron god or goddess. A 1775 B.C. painted clay plate depicting either the goddess Ishtar or her sister Ereshkigal, together with nocturnal animals, is a fine example of the intricacy of Babylonian art.

Art in Mesopotamia civilization

Mesopotamia’s advances include larger-scale art production, typically in the context of their vast and intricate building, and a lot of metals, even though the practise of making art predates civilization there.

One of the oldest instances of metallurgy in Mesopotamian art is a kneeling bull carrying a spouted cup.

A silver figurine of a kneeling bull found southern Mesopotamia, dating to 3000 B.C., is one of the oldest instances of metalwork in art. The most prevalent art forms prior to this were painted pottery and limestone.

Another metal-based piece, a goat resting on a tree limb while standing on its hind legs, which includes gold, copper, and other elements, was discovered in the Great Death Pit at Ur and dates to 2500 B.C.

Mesopotamian artists frequently portrayed their kings and the splendour of their lives. The elaborate Standard of Ur, a shell and limestone monument that displays an early example of sophisticated graphic storytelling, showing a history of conflict and peace, was also built in Ur around 2500 B.C.

An exquisite limestone sculpture that depicts a military triumph in the Zagros Mountains and portrays the Akkadian King Naram-Sin as divine was created around 2230 B.C.

The reliefs of the Assyrian monarchs in their palaces, particularly those from Ashurbanipal’s reign about 635 B.C., are among the most vibrant examples of Mesopotamian art. Famous reliefs depicting him leading an army into battle alongside the winged deity Assur may be seen in his palace in Nimrud.

Numerous reliefs depicting Ashurbanipal’s regular lion-hunting activities also show him. The Ishtar Gate was constructed from glazed bricks in 585 B.C., during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, and has an amazing lion sculpture.

When Iraqi museums were robbed during the country’s wars, Mesopotamian art was once again in the spotlight. A large number of artefacts were lost, including 80,000 cuneiform tablets, a 4,300-year-old bronze mask of an Akkadian monarch, jewels from Ur, a solid-gold Sumerian harp, and many other precious things.

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