Mesopotamian Civilization

Mesopotamian Civilization

Mesopotamian civilization is older than the Harappan culture.

In many areas of life, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) gave guidance and other civilizations followed it.

Mesopotamia means the land between the rivers.

This land is irrigated by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

In ancient times, its southernmost part was called Sumer.

The north-eastern part of Sumer was called Babylon (Babylon) and Akkad.

The name of the highlands of the north was Assyria.

Mesopotamian civilization

The inhabitants of Mesopotamia invented methods that

provided water for irrigation throughout the year and controlled floods.

The rise and fall of the Mesopotamian kingdoms:

3000 B.C. Around 1500 BC, Sumer civilization had reached the peak of progress.

It seems that the cities in these areas, which were initially centers of control of irrigation schemes,

soon also became centers of commerce and industry.

The most famous of these cities were Erech, Erid and Lagash, and Ur,

each of which was the capital of some small kingdom,

but they all had a similar cultural structure and there was always fighting between them.

2600 BC The kings of Ur became more powerful and their influence spread to other areas as well.

The inhabitants of the kingdom of Akkad adopted many of the customs and culture of the inhabitants of Sumer.

2500 BC Around 100 BC, a powerful king united both Sumer and Akkad into one kingdom and made Agade the capital of this kingdom.

But within about a hundred years the invaders destroyed this state.

Mesopotamian civilization

The second major event in the history of Mesopotamia is the rise of a new dynasty in Babylon.

Its ruler Hammurabi organized present-day Iraq as a state.

1600 BC Till then this kingdom was also destroyed.

This time invaders named Hittites attacked.

These invaders came from Asia Minor (now called Turkey).

The Hintites were the first to harness horses to war chariots and use iron weapons.

Cities of Mesopotamia:

The city of Ur was one of the largest cities of Mesopotamia.

Each city had its own patron deity.

The deity of the city of Ur was the moon, which was called Nannar.

The temple of God was called Ziggurat. Which means ‘Golden Hill‘.

Social classes of Mesopotamia:

The king of Mesopotamia was considered the representative of the gods on earth.

In terms of importance, priests held the second place in the society.

It is a common belief that before the establishment of the post of kings, the priests used to rule here.

After the priests, the government employees and clerks had the place in the society.

The middle class included traders, landlords, artisans and shopkeepers.

Slaves had the lowest position in the society.

They were mostly prisoners of war.

Hamburavi’s law code:

Hamburavi created a law code for his subjects.

His code was created keeping in mind all aspects of life.

If a citizen committed a crime against a citizen of another state, that crime was considered against the entire state and the state punished the criminal.

In this code, the society was divided into three classes: rich, poor and slaves.

These three classes had different punishments for the same crime.

The stone on which Hamburavi’s legal code is inscribed shows the king standing in a posture of respect in front of his deity.

And the code is given below that.

Religious beliefs and customs of Mesopotamia:

The people of Mesopotamia believed in many gods but each city had its own patron deity.

Land rent was collected in his name and all the rules of the government were followed in his name.

A huge amount of money was spent on his temple and the priests had many rights.

People believed in the cycle of life after death.

Along with the dead bodies,

they also kept food and other items used in daily life in the graves.

Occupations and crafts of Mesopotamia:

The main occupation of most of the inhabitants of Mesopotamia was agriculture.

Before the use of metals on a large scale, they used sickles made of baked clay.

To irrigate the fields, water was available at all times, hence humans carried flood water through canals and stored it in large reservoirs.

They used cattle (animals) for plowing and also took care of improving their breed and also did farming.

The textile industry was in the hands of a special class of artisans,

which included spinners, weavers and dyers.

A large hoard of metal objects has been found in the royal cemetery of Ur.

Many statues of gods have been found in them which used to adorn the temples. Gold and silver utensils,

silver harps, gold helmets, beautiful wooden furniture with mosaic,

very beautiful necklaces, hand bracelets and other jewelery have been found in it.

From this it is clear that around 2000 B.C.

By then, metal workers had attained a very high level of technical knowledge and skill.

Potter’s wheel was probably first used in Mesopotamia.

Until the wheel was invented, pottery was made by hand only.

The pottery of Mesopotamia was not as good as that of the inhabitants of the Harappan culture.

The inhabitants of Mesopotamia were probably the first to make glass utensils.

( Mesopotamian Civilization )

Trade and Commerce of Mesopotamia:

The prosperity of the people of Mesopotamia mainly depended on their foreign trade.

They had to import raw materials from abroad.

They made items from it and sold them in their own countries and also in foreign countries.

The raw materials imported from abroad included stones, good quality wood, gold, silver and other metals.

In return, he used to send surplus grains from his country,

which produced grains in abundance in his country.

In Mesopotamia, there were wheeled carts to transport goods and

there were rivers to transport goods by water and many canals which were built for irrigation.

Goods were transported from one place to another through waterways,

thus mutual trade took place between two civilizations.

( Mesopotamian Civilization )

Cuneiform script:

The first script of Mesopotamia was developed in Sumer.

In this, writings, symbols and pictures were used to impart knowledge about things.

When it is confirmed that a particular symbol or picture represents a particular thing.

The Sumerians solved this difficulty by using special pictures or symbols to express certain ideas.

The Sumerians were the first to develop a systematic writing system.

This method is called cuneiform script.

Their script is of water shape as shown in the picture.

They used to write on the smooth surface of clay wheels with sharp tools.

Most of these are business related documents like letters, sale deed and contract deed.

Other types of documents include state and religious books but their number is less.

Increase in knowledge:

Mesopotamian people used to calculate in units of sixty.

Just like today we count in units of ten. Our calculation system is called decimal system.

Their calculation system was the Ratu decimal system.

The numbers 1 to 9 were repeated as needed.

Similarly, he used to repeat the symbol of ten as many times as necessary.

The symbol for 60 was the same as that for 1, although its size was made slightly larger while writing.

This calculation system based on 60 is not used anywhere now but we also use it to divide time,

similarly we divide a circle into 360 degrees.

The inhabitants of Mesopotamia learned the principles of geometry which were later named Pythagoras’ theorem.

This theorem has been very helpful to the residents of Mesopotamia in building construction and estimating distances.

The Mesopotamians had made amazing progress in the field of astronomy.

They were able to measure the duration of day and night.

They could tell the exact time of sunrise, sunset and moonrise and moonset.

They could tell the exact time of the whole day.

This system used to be distributed in 24 hours and is still used all over the world.

they divided the sky into 12 parts

And each part was given different names, these names are still used today.

In India we call these zodiac signs.

Another notable achievement of the Mesopotamians was the invention of the almanac.

Almanacs were made on the basis of the movement of the Sun or the Moon.

For this reason, even now some almanacs are based on the Sun and some on the Moon.

The Mesopotamian almanac was based on the Moon.

( Mesopotamian Civilization )

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