Ancient Mesopotamia

"A Trip to The Past!"


The Geographer

Mesopotamia was located in Southwest Asia, on the Fertile Crescent. It lay between two rivers called the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. The Euphrates was west of Mesopotamia and the Tigris was East of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia means "Between the Rivers".

Mesopotamia had a hot and dry climate. Since there was little rainfall, the main source of water was from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers that flooded during spring and created fertile land.

Iraq is located in the area where Ancient Mesopotamia was. From our school Mesopotamia is about 6,374 miles away.


The Historian

Many civilizations made their home in Mesopotamia including: Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Amorite, Hittite, Kassite, Assyria, and Phoenicia.

In order for a Civilization to prosper it must meet these requirements:

  1. Learned how to plant crops & domesticate animals.
  2. Build permanent homes (Towns, Villages)
  3. Invention of technology (Wheel, Transportation)
  4. Intellectual Achievements (Cuneiform, Construction)
  5. Laws & Rules

A brilliant war general, named Hammurabi, created a set of laws, called Hammurabi's code. It had a total of 282 laws that dealt with almost very part of daily life; from trade, loans, and theft to, marriage, injury, and murder. Hammurabi's Code is important, because it contained some ideas that are still found in laws today.

Some of Hammurabi's laws that I find interesting are:

"56. If a man let in the water, and the water overflow the plantation of his neighbor, he shall pay ten gur of corn for every ten gan of land."

"162. If a man marry a woman, and she bear sons to him; if then this woman die, then shall her father have no claim on her dowry; this belongs to her sons."

"6. If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death."

"257. If any one hire a field laborer, he shall pay him eight gur of corn per year."

"114. If a man have no claim on another for corn and money, and try to demand it by force, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver in every year."

Gilgamesh was one of Uruk's kings. Later he became a legendary figure in Ancient Mesopotamian literature.

Here is Gilgamesh's story: Gilgamesh was a king with godly powers. He was very bored, because everything feared him. Even the monsters in the forest who would avoid Gilgamesh. He prayed to the gods to give him something exciting to do. They heard his prayer and sent Enkidu, a being that was stronger and better than Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh and Enkidu fought for a long time driving out all the townspeople. Soon enough they became good friends. They sought out adventures in the woods and to forbidden places. When they were gone the townspeople had a great celebration for they were happy for their king,


The Agriculturist

Farmers in Mesopotamia grew imported crop like barley. Because of the hot and dry climate, there was little rainfall and the water supply was limited. Every year the Euphrates and Tigris rivers flooded and washed away crops and caused erosion; however, after the flooding the rivers had little water in them. Farmers built basins to store water. They also built canals and ditches to control the water flow and irrigate the fields.

Poisoned fields played a role in Mesopotamia's fall. In the process of irrigation mineral salts are left, if the water is allowed to sit and evaporate. If these mineral salts are concentrated on the upper levels of the soil, it becomes poisonous for plants. Scientist believe that Mesopotamia's fall was caused in part by field destruction by mineral salts.

Mesopotamians ate a variety of things. They ate fruits like apples, pears, grapes, figs, quinces, plums, apricots, mulberries, melons, and pomegranates. They did not eat meat a lot, since it was expensive; but, they ate fish which was an important source of proteins. Because of the lack of meat in their diet Mesopotamians ate a lot of vegetables and cooked them into stews. They ate cakes sometimes on special occasions.

Mesopotamian civilizations would live near bodies of water, because of they could trade by boat. They could import goods from other places by boat. They also needed the water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, and transportation.

If I was a farmer in Ancient Mesopotamia I would have to first plant my crops. Next build canals and ditches to irrigate and collect water. Then I would have to regulate my water through the canals intelligently, because I know there is a limited amount of it. Finally I would then use the water collected in the ditches to water, or irrigate, my plants until harvest.


The Archaeologist

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built around 600 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife, Amytis of Media. King Nebuchadnezzar II built it for her, because she missed her homeland and he wanted to bring the smells, and the sights back for her. It is believed the Hanging Gardens were destroyed by earthquakes around 200 B.C.

Cuneiform is the world's first writing system. Cuneiform was invented by the Sumerians.

Their are 4 main social classes of people in Ancient Mesopotamia. At the top were the Gods. Under them were priests who had a lot power and influence among the people. Under them came merchants, traders, and craftspeople. Finally at the bottom were Farmers, Laborers, and slaves.

Ziggurats were temples. In Ziggurats ancient Mesopotamian priests performed religious ceremonies. Also people gave offerings to there gods in the Ziggurats.