The Mystery of the Hanging Gardens of Ancient Babylon

Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean king, is supposed to have had the gardens built in about 600 BC as a consolation to his Median wife. By Danielle A. Garza In 225 B.C.E., the Greek writer Philo of Byzantium wrote On The Seven Wonders, and this early literary work highlighted the greatest man-made entities at the time. Most of the seven ancient[…]

“There We Sat Down and Wept”: A History of Ancient Babylon

The city of Babylon was given hegemony over Mesopotamia by their sixth ruler, Hammurabi. Introduction Babylonia, named for the city of Babylon, was an ancient state in Mesopotamia (in modern Iraq), combining the territories of Sumer and Akkad. Its capital was Babylon. The earliest mention of Babylon can be found in a tablet of the reign of Sargon of[…]

Tasty Ancient Recipes from Mesopotamia

The origins of Iraqi cuisine and continued popularity. Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning “between two rivers”) was an ancient region in the Near East, which corresponds roughly to present-day Iraq. Widely regarded as the “cradle of civilization,” Mesopotamia should be more properly understood as a region that produced multiple empires and civilizations rather than any[…]

The Hurrians of Bronze Age Mesopotamia

By the late Bronze Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated into surrounding cultures in the Near East. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Hurrians (aka Hurri or Khurri) were a Bronze Age people who flourished across the Near East from the 4th millennium BCE to the 1st millennium BCE. Hurrian is also the name of the[…]

Ancient Mesopotamia: Inventing and Reinventing Our World

Discussing the importance of these civilizations, and of how we can better assess and understand their legacy in modern times. In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Dr. Clemens Reichel, Associate Curator at the ROM, about the importance of these civilizations, and of how we can better assess and[…]

The King’s Feast: Power and Propaganda at the Neo-Assyrian Royal Table

The Assyrian king was the main promoter of big feasts and special events, during which he played the role of leader and benefactor of his country. Banqueting is a powerful means of communication. Throughout human history, men and women have always done their best to enjoy food as much as possible in social settings in[…]

An Overview of Ancient Mesopotamian Languages

Remaining examples include religious, mathematical, musical and astronomical texts. Key Points The principal languages of ancient Mesopotamia were Sumerian, Akkadian (i.e. Babylonian + Assyrian), Amorite, and – later – Aramaic.  They have come down to us in the “cuneiform” (i.e. wedge-shaped) script, deciphered by Henry Rawlinson and other scholars in the 1850s.  The subject which[…]

Between Gods and Animals: Becoming Human in the Gilgamesh Epic

In short, the new fragment reveals a vision of humanity as a process of maturation that unfolds between the animal and the divine. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Babylonian poem composed in ancient Iraq, millennia before Homer. It tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of the city of Uruk. To curb his restless and destructive[…]

The Rise, Fall, and Transition of Empires in Ancient Mesopotamia

As western civilization emerged, power struggles and technological advancements gave birth to new empires and saw their falls as well. Origins The first civilization in human history was that of the Sumerians. This emerged in the mid-4th millennium BCE, with the appearance of the first cities on the Mesopotamian flood plain. This was a pivotal[…]

The Origin of Sumerians

Who were the Sumerians? Where did they originate? Who were the Sumerians? Where did they originate? For those who are not familiar with this remarkable, resourceful and intelligent people, who not only invented writing but also established the true mythological foundations of all main religions of the world, simply put, they taught us almost everything.[…]