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Mesopotamian Civilization- The land between Euphrates and Tigris rivers

Two rivers Euphrates and Tigris flow from the mountains of modern Turkey down through the Syria and Iraq. At the end they find the Persian Gulf. Before six thousand years Euphrates and Tigris rivers supplied their water for the prosperity of a land called Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia is the land between Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Mesopotamia is a word came from Greek language giving the meaning of “the land between two rivers”. In the land between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea there is a desert climate. Within this dry region there is a land that was a very fertile land for centuries. Scholars called this land as Fertile Crescent, because of richness of fertility. The Euphrates and Tigris rivers flooded Mesopotamia at least once a year providing a very fertile soil for cultivation. Early Mesopotamians cultivated grains in this fertile land and irrigated the fields with river water. The result was large quantities of harvest.

People first began to settle and farm the flat, swampy land in the southern Mesopotamia before 4500 B.C. It took several years develop an advanced civilization. Around 3000 B.C. well developed and organized people called Sumerians came in to action. When settling in Mesopotamia, they had to face several problems such as Unpredictable flooding of Euphrates and Tigris, problems of security and natural resource limitation for building purposes. Sumerians faced those problems in a well-organized manner. They dug deep and large canals to supply water for their internal lands. These canals were also useful to overcome flooding. Sumerians made walls bay using mud bricks to ensure protection of Mesopotamia. They traded their harvest with others people in mountains and desert near Mesopotamia to full fill their needs.

The Sumerians stand out in the history as one of the first group of people to form a civilization. They had several key characteristics that kept them apart from earlier human societies. They are advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and improved technology. Sumerians built number of cities surrounded by cultivated lands. Each city and its surrounding land with cultivated crops formed a city state. Sumerians build a temple with a ziggurat in the middle of each and every city. The main reason for this was Sumerians thought that the god’s blessings would affect for their harvest and for prosperity of their city.

The ruling system of the Mesopotamian civilization conducted by Sumerians was somewhat uncommon. The city states were ruled by the priests and commanders. Commanders were clever at war. Normally priests had the power to rule the city state. But at the time of war they gave the power to commanders to command the war and the city. Sumerians worked hard to earn the god’s protection in this life. Yet they expected little help from the gods after the death. The Sumerians believed that the souls of the dead went the “land of no return”. No joy awaited souls there.

Historians believe that Sumerians had a good knowledge in Science and technology. The inventions like wheel, the sail, and the plow. Sumerians were the first people to use bronze. Sumerians had a good knowledge on arithmetic and geometry. They developed number system in base 60, form which stem the modern units of measuring time and the 360 degrees of a circle. Knowledge in geometry helped them to build city walls and buildings, plan irrigation systems, and survey flooded fields. Sumerians had a well-developed writing system. They made the world’s first clay tablet maps. Sumerians did lot of inventions in fields like astronomy, chemistry, and medicine. They kept written records of those inventions on clay tablets.


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