Mesopotamia, 6000 B.C. – 600 A.D.
Episode #6 of the course “Most Advanced Ancient Civilizations”
Mesopotamia has taken credit for some of the greatest inventions of the modern world, including the invention of the wheel. Although estimates vary, Mesopotamia probably existed between 6000 B.C. and 600 A.D. Historians sometimes refer to Mesopotamia as the “cradle of civilization” because of two more major developments: the development of a city (as we know it today), and the invention of writing. Although writing developed in other ancient civilizations, it developed independently here as well.
Mesopotamia was located in the eastern Mediterranean between the Zagros Mountains and the Arabian Plateau (covering today’s Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey). It was centered between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, making the land extremely fertile. The earliest archaeological findings have indicated that people were there as early as 10,000 B.C., and they attribute that to the fertile conditions of the land. Hunter/gatherer people could live here without too much trouble.
Mesopotamia was not nearly as tight-knit as some of the other ancient civilizations. Instead, it was a loose congregation of varied people who shared the same script, gods (although they occasionally had different names), and views toward women. Their laws, customs, and language varied from people to people, usually separated by geography. This civilization was extremely unique in its attitudes toward women. Unlike other civilizations where women were sometimes considered property and even bought and sold, the women in Mesopotamia had almost equal rights to their male counterparts. They could own land, divorce, and even have their own businesses with an ability to enter their own contracts.
This advanced civilization developed tools, weapons, the chariot, beer, wine, irrigation, domestication of animals, and sailboats. They are also responsible for separating time into hours, minutes, and seconds and are well-known for their dedication to education and learning, which they often associated with their polytheistic religion.
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