Writing and City Life

Mesopotamia, known as the “cradle of civilization”, is located in modern Iraq. Human civilization first began here around 3500 BC. Here, agriculture began between 7000 and 6000 BCE. Mesopotamia was earlier known as Sumer and Akkad; the Sumerians developed the earliest-known writing called Cuneiform. Babylon was an important city. The rivers Euphrates and Tigris make the region fertile. In the Old Testament, Sumer is known as ‘Shimar’. Cuneiform tablets were written in Sumerian language, and later the Akkadian language was used. Mesopotamian temples housed Gods and Goddesses like the Moon God of Ur, Inanna, Goddess of Love and War. Ziggurat was the temple towers built by kings. Mari was a town known for metal trade, located upstream on River Euphrates. Mesopotamian cities emerged in 5000 BCE. Uruk was the city par excellence, often known as The City. Enmerkar was one of the earliest rulers. At Uruk, around 3000 BCE, potter’s wheel was the technological landmark in its urban economy. Ur was one of the earliest cities to have been excavated. Drains and clay pipes were found in the inner courtyards of the Ur houses. There was a town cemetery at Ur with the graves of royalty and commoners. Gilgamesh Epic, written on twelve tablets, talks about Mesopotamian cities. Gilgamesh was ruler of Uruk. Norm in Mesopotamian society was of nuclear family. Akkadians, Amorites, Assyrians and Aramaeans were powerful ruling communities. The Kings of Mari were the Amorites. Mesopotamians divided a year into 12 months according to the revolution of the moon around the earth.

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