Agriculture in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent

The birth of agriculture was a pivotal moment in human history that allowed the earliest civilizations to arise in the Fertile Crescent. By Jan van der CrabbenFounder and CEOWorld History Encyclopedia Introduction The ancient Near East, and the historical regions of the Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia in particular, are generally seen as the birthplace of agriculture. In the 4th millennium BCE,[…]

Nebuchadnezzar II: King of Kings in Ancient Babylon

He is portrayed in unflattering light in the Bible, most notably in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Jeremiah. Introduction Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 605/604-562 BCE) was the greatest King of ancient Babylon during the period of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 BCE), succeeding its founder, his father, Nabopolassar (r. 626-605 BCE). Nabopolassar had defeated the Assyrians with the help[…]

Being King in Ancient Mesopotamia

It was the king’s responsibility to make laws and enforce justice in society. By Sara E. ColeCuratorial Assistant, Antiquities DepartmentJ. Paul Getty Museum In ancient Mesopotamia, being king meant many things. Kings were not just rulers of their kingdoms and empires; they were also expected to be religious leaders, warriors, hunters, scholars, lawmakers, and builders. All[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Nubia and the Kingdom of Kush

The Kushites were expelled from Egypt by the Assyrians, but their kingdom flourished in Sudan for another thousand years. By The British Museum Introduction The first settlers in northern Sudan date back 300,000 years. It is home to the oldest sub-Saharan African kingdom, the kingdom of Kush (about 2500–1500 B.C.E.). This culture produced some of[…]

The Nabataeans of Ancient Arabia

Described as fiercely independent by contemporary Greco-Roman accounts, the Nabataeans were annexed into the Roman Empire. Introduction The Nabataeans, also Nabateans were an ancient Arab people who inhabited northern Arabia and the southern Levant.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Their settlements—most prominently the assumed capital city of Raqmu (present-day Petra, Jordan)[1]—gave the name Nabatene to the Arabian borderland that stretched from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. The Nabataeans were one of several nomadic Bedouin tribes[…]

The Ancient Assyrian Empire and What Made Them a Superpower

Back in the times of the early bronze era or approximately 2000 BCE (long before things such as cars, telephones, internet, video games, Intertops Casino bonus) was the empire known as Assyria. The Assyrian Empire was the largest empire of its time and lasted for almost fourteen hundred years. All in all, a long time to[…]

Lost Civilizations of Ancient Anatolia: Göbekli Tepe

Ancient Anatolia is described as a melting pot of civilizations and cultures, a bridge between Asia and Europe, a fusion of East and West. By Nicholas Kropacek Introduction Göbekli Tepe is the world’s oldest example of monumental architecture; a ‘temple’ built at the end of the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago. It was discovered in 1995 CE when, just[…]

Ancient Mesopotamia: A First of Many Firsts

Many of the most common aspects of daily life, as well as theological paradigms and political systems, developed first in Mesopotamia. Introduction Mesopotamia is the ancient Greek name (meaning “the land between two rivers”, the Tigris and Euphrates) for the region corresponding to modern-day Iraq and parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey. It is considered[…]

Love, Sex, and Marriage in Ancient Mesopotamia

Marriage in ancient Mesopotamia was of vital importance to the society for the continuation of the family line and social stability. Introduction Medical texts from ancient Mesopotamia provide prescriptions and practices for curing all manner of ailments, wounds, and diseases. There was one malady, however, which had no cure: passionate love. From a medical text[…]

Brewing Beer in Ancient Mesopotamia

Beer was extremely popular in ancient Mesopotamia. Sipped through straws, it was enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Introduction People have been gathering over a beer for thousands of years. As an archaeologist, I can tell you the history of beer stretches deep into the human past – and the history of bars[…]

The Rise and Fall of Ur in Ancient Mesopotamia

Ruins in the Town of Ur, Southern Iraq / Photo by M.Lubinski, Flickr, Creative Commons Ur was an established city by 3800 BCE continually inhabited until 450 BCE. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 04.28.2011 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction Ur was a city in the region of Sumer, southern Mesopotamia, in what is modern-day Iraq. According to biblical tradition, the[…]

The Fertile Crescent: The ‘Cradle of Civilization’

A map illustrating the various political states within the Fertile Crescent c. 1450 BCE / Image by Свифт/Svift, Wikimedia Commons Virtually every area of human knowledge was advanced by these people. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 03.28.2018 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction The Fertile Crescent, often called the “Cradle of Civilization”, is the region in the Middle East[…]

In Ancient Mesopotamia, Sex among the Gods Shook Heaven and Earth

The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC) / BabelStone Sex was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia, reflected even in their mythology. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 04.22.2018 Lecturer, Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel Macquarie University[…]

Kingship in the Ancient Near East and Israel

Kudurru of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur granting LAK-ti Marduk freedom from taxation for services rendered during his invasion of Elam / Wikimedia Commons Kingship in Israel and other ancient Near Eastern societies is a major focus of modern scholarship and has produced fascinating results. By Dr. Cian Power Researcher in Ancient Near Eastern Studies Harvard University History of[…]

Cylinder Seals in Ancient Mesopotamia – Their History and Significance

Cylinder seals were impression stamps, often quite intricate in design, used throughout Mesopotamia. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 12.02.2015 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction Among the most interesting and revealing artifacts discovered from ancient Mesopotamia are the objects known as cylinder seals. These fairly small items may be seen today in museum exhibits around[…]

Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

A close-up view of the Babylonian map of the World. This partially broken clay tablet contains both cuneiform inscriptions and a unique map of the Mesopotamian world. Probably from Sippar, Mesopotamia, Iraq. 700-500 BCE. / Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, British Museum, Wikimedia Commons Mesopotamia was never a single, unified civilization, not even under the Akkadian Empire of Sargon[…]

Uruk: The Birth of Architecture and Urban Life

Detail of a relief at Persepolis showing a procession of subject peoples bringing gifts characteristic of their homelands as tribute for the Persian king A great transformation in human life took place in ancient Mesopotamia with the rise of the city of Uruk. By Dr. Margarete Van Ess Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology Deutsches Archäologisches[…]

Kingship Descends from Heaven: The Urban Revolution Before 4000 BCE

Sumer, in southernmost Mesopotamia, was the first true city in the world, some time not very much before 2100 BCE. By Dr. Paul Kriwaczek British Historian Eridu Leave the modern traffic, the bicycles, the cars and delivery lorries fuming along St Giles’ and Beaumont Street in Oxford, and pass through the Ashmolean Museum’s rather overblown[…]

Babylon: Hammurabi’s ‘Holy City’

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.19.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Rise of Babylon The Emergence of the First Babylonian Dynasty After the collapse of the Akkadians, the Babylonian Empire flourished under Hammurabi, who conquered many surrounding peoples and empires, in addition to developing an extensive code of law and establishing Babylon as a “holy city” of[…]

The Rise and Fall of the Akkadian Empire

The first civilizations formed in river valleys, and were characterized by a caste system and a strong government that controlled water access and resources. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.19.2018 Historian Breminate Editor-in-Chief River Valley Civilizations The First Civilizations The Nile River and Delta: Most of the Ancient Egyptian settlements occurred along the northern part[…]

Counting in Babylon

Creative Commons By Dr. Michael Fowler / 06.12.2015 Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia The Earliest Written Language Sumer and Babylonia, located in present-day Iraq, were probably the first peoples to have a written language, beginning in Sumer in about 3100 BC.  The language[…]

The Recovery of Cuneiform, the World’s Oldest Known Writing

A relief at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis (now in modern Iran), including inscriptions in cuneiform, the world’s oldest form of writing. Diego Delso/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA Cuneiform was used for over 3,000 years in the Ancient Near East, but was only decoded in the 19th century. The writing form is still revealing amazing stories, from literature to mathematics. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 10.05.2017 Lecturer,[…]

Legend of Ishtar, Sumerian Goddess of Love and War

Ishtar (on right) comes to Sargon, who would later become one of the great kings of Mesopotamia. Edwin J. Prittie, The story of the greatest nations, 1913 Love, it is said, is a battlefield, and it was no more so than for the first goddess of love andwar, Ishtar. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 05.07.2017 Lecturer, Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel Macquarie University As singer[…]

An Introductory Guide to the Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh explores what it means to be human, and questions the meaning of life and love. Wikimedia Commons The themes of the world’s most ancient epic are still remarkably relevant to modern readers. By Dr. Louise Pryke / 05.07.2017 Lecturer, Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel Macquarie University “Forget death and seek life!” With these encouraging words, Gilgamesh, the star of the eponymous 4000-year-old[…]