The Emergence of Mesopotamian Civilization

Literary Sources for Mesopotamian History

The Achievements of Mesopotamia

Mesopotamian Calendar

Mesopotamian Time Line

Mesopotamian Peoples









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Map of Mesopotamia

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The International History Project

Date: 2003



Mesopotamia 9000 - 500 B.C


Early Farming Communities 9000-5000

9000   Beginning cultivation of wild wheat and barley and domestication of dogs and sheep; inaugurating of change from food gathering to food producing culture - Karim Shahir in Zagros foothills.
7000   At Jarmo, oldest known permanent settlement: crude mud houses, wheat grown from seed, herds of goats, sheep, and pigs.
6000 Migration of northern farmers settle in region from Babylon to Persian Gulf. Hassuna culture introduces irrigation, fine pottery, permanent dwellings; dominates culture for 1000 years, develops tradefrom Persian Gulf to Mediterranean.

Pre-Sumerians 5000-3500

5000   Ubaidians develop first divisions of labor, mud brick villages, first religious shrines. Small temple at Eridu - earliest example of an offering table and niche for cult object.
4000 Semitic nomads from Syria and Arabian peninsula invade southern Mesopotamia, intermingle with Ubaidian population Temple at Tepe Gawra built - setting style for later examples.

Sumerians 3500-1900

3500 Sumerians settle on banks of Euphrates Temple at Eridu - zigguratprototype
3000 Democratic assemblies give way to kingships, evolve into hereditary monarchies.  
  Kish - leading Sumerian city Introduction of pictographs to keep administrative records.
3-D statues, e.g. Warka head.
White Temple - ziggurat traditional design.
Temple at Tell Uqair - mosaic decorations.
cuneiform land sales formal contracts.
Eridu and Kish - simple palaces.
"Standard of Ur" - war-peace plaque, religious statues, gold and silver artifacts buried in tombs of Ur.
Sumerians of Abu Salabikh - first poetry.
  Gilgamesh, hero of Sumerian legends, reigns as king of Erech
2500 Lugalannemudu of Abab unites city states which vie for domination for 200 years.  


2250 Ur-Nammu founds Ur's 3rd. dynasty; dedicates ziggurat at Ur moon-god Nanna, sets up early law code. Gudea, Prince of Lagsh, art and lit patron,magnificant statues produced in his honor.
2000 Elamites attack and destroy Ur.

Babylonians and Assyrians 1900-500

1900 Amorites from Syrian desert conquer Sumer.  
1800 Hammurabi asccends Babylonian throne.  
1700 Hammurabi brings most of Mesopotamia under his control. Hammurabi introduces law code.
1600 Hittite invasion from Turkey ends Hammurabi's dynasty.  
1500 Assyria conquered by Hurrians from Anatolia. Bas-relief of baked brick appears as dominant art form - Karaindash Temple.
1400 Kurigalzu assumes Babylonian throne  
1200 Nebuchadrezzar I expels Elamites.  
1100 King Tiglath-Pileser I leads Assyria to new era of power. Iron, introduced originally by Hittites, is used extensively in Assyria for tools and weapons.
1000 Assyrian empire shattered by Aramaean and Zagros tribes. 150 Assyrian decline halted by Adadnirari II.
900   Assurnasirpal II builds magnificent new capital, Calah, replacing old capital of Assur, present day Nimrud.
800 Tiglath-Pileser II creates great empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the borders of Egypt. Sargon II builds new capitol at Dur-Sharrukin
700 Assurbanipal extends empire from Nile to Caucasus Mountains. Chaldeans and Iranian Medes overrun Assyria - Neo-Babylonian empire. Sennacherib's son, Esaraddon, rebuilds Babylon.
600 Nebuchadrezzar II rules Neo-Babylonian empire. Razes Jerusalem, takes Jews into captivity in Babylon. Builds "Tower of Babel," temple to Marduk
500 Cyrus the Great, Persian warrior and statesman, conquers Babylon.

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