The roots of our modern world lie in the civilization of Mesopotamia, which saw the development of the first urban society and the invention of writing. The cuneiform texts reveal the technological and social innovations of Sumer and Babylonia as surprisingly modern, and the influence of this fascinating culture was felt throughout the Near East. Early Mesopotamia gives an entirely new account, integrating the archaeology with historical data which until now have been largely scattered in specialist literature.
Urban history starts in ancient Mesopotamia. In this volume Marc Van De Mieroop examines the evolution of the very earliest cities which, for millennia, inspired the rest of the ancient world. The city determined every aspect of Mesopotamian civilization, and the political and social structure, economy, literature, and arts of Mesopotamian culture cannot be understood without acknowledging their urban background. - ;Urban history starts in ancient Mesopotamia: the earliest known cities developed there as the result of long indigenous processes, and, for millennia, the city determined every aspect of Mesopotamian civilization. Marc Van De Mieroop examines urban life in the historical period, investigating urban topography, the role of cities as centres of culture, their political and social structures, economy, literature, and the arts. He draws on material from the entirety of Mesopotamian history, from c. 3000 to 300 BC, and from both Babylonia and Assyria, arguing that the Mesopotamian city can be regarded as a prototype that inspired the rest of the ancient world and shared characteristics with the European cities of antiquity. -
Innovative study of the early state and urban societies in Mesopotamia, c. 5000 to 2100 BC.
"This splendid work of scholarship . . . sums up with economy and power all that the written record so far deciphered has to tell about the ancient and complementary civilizations of Babylon and Assyria."—Edward B. Garside, New York Times Book Review Ancient Mesopotamia—the area now called Iraq—has received less attention than ancient Egypt and other long-extinct and more spectacular civilizations. But numerous small clay tablets buried in the desert soil for thousands of years make it possible for us to know more about the people of ancient Mesopotamia than any other land in the early Near East. Professor Oppenheim, who studied these tablets for more than thirty years, used his intimate knowledge of long-dead languages to put together a distinctively personal picture of the Mesopotamians of some three thousand years ago. Following Oppenheim's death, Erica Reiner used the author's outline to complete the revisions he had begun. "To any serious student of Mesopotamian civilization, this is one of the most valuable books ever written."—Leonard Cottrell, Book Week "Leo Oppenheim has made a bold, brave, pioneering attempt to present a synthesis of the vast mass of philological and archaeological data that have accumulated over the past hundred years in the field of Assyriological research."—Samuel Noah Kramer, Archaeology A. Leo Oppenheim, one of the most distinguished Assyriologists of our time, was editor in charge of the Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute and John A. Wilson Professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Chicago.
The alluvial lowlands of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Mesopotamia are widely known as the “cradle of civilization,” owing to the scale of the processes of urbanization that took place in the area by the second half of the fourth millennium BCE. In Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization, Guillermo Algaze draws on the work of modern economic geographers to explore how the unique river-based ecology and geography of the Tigris-Euphrates alluvium affected the development of urban civilization in southern Mesopotamia. He argues that these natural conditions granted southern polities significant competitive advantages over their landlocked rivals elsewhere in Southwest Asia, most importantly the ability to easily transport commodities. In due course, this resulted in increased trade and economic activity and higher population densities in the south than were possible elsewhere. As southern polities grew in scale and complexity throughout the fourth millennium, revolutionary new forms of labor organization and record keeping were created, and it is these socially created innovations, Algaze argues, that ultimately account for why fully developed city-states emerged earlier in southern Mesopotamia than elsewhere in Southwest Asia or the world.
In Civilizations of Ancient Iraq, Benjamin and Karen Foster tell the fascinating story of ancient Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements ten thousand years ago to the Arab conquest in the seventh century. Accessible and concise, this is the most up-to-date and authoritative book on the subject. With illustrations of important works of art and architecture in every chapter, the narrative traces the rise and fall of successive civilizations and peoples in Iraq over the course of millennia--from the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians to the Persians, Seleucids, Parthians, and Sassanians. Ancient Iraq was home to remarkable achievements. One of the birthplaces of civilization, it saw the world's earliest cities and empires, writing and literature, science and mathematics, monumental art, and innumerable other innovations. Civilizations of Ancient Iraq gives special attention to these milestones, as well as to political, social, and economic history. And because archaeology is the source of almost everything we know about ancient Iraq, the book includes an epilogue on the discovery and fate of its antiquities. Compelling and timely, Civilizations of Ancient Iraq is an essential guide to understanding Mesopotamia's central role in the development of human culture.
Hans J. Nissen here provides a much-needed overview of 7000 years of development in the ancient Near East from the beginning of settled life to the formation of the first regional states. His approach to the study of Mesopotamian civilization differs markedly from conventional orientations, which impose a sharp division between prehistoric and historic, literate, periods. Nissen argues that this approach is too rigid to explain the actual development of that civilization. He deemphasizes the invention of writing as a turning point, viewing it as simply one more phase in the evolution of social complexity and as the result of specific social, economic, and political factors. With a unique combination of material culture analysis written data, Nissan traces the emergence of the earliest isolated settlements, the growth of a network of towns, the emergence of city states, and finally the appearance of territorial states. From his synthesis of the prehistoric and literate periods comes a unified picture of the development of Mesopotamian economy, society, and culture. Lavishly illustrated, The Early History of the Ancient Near East, 9000-2000 B.C. is an authoritative work by one of the most insightful observers of the evolution and character of Mesopotamian civilization.
Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of History discusses how the abundant Mesopotamian cuneiform text sources can be used for the study of various aspects of history: political, social, economic and gender. Marc Van De Mieroop provides a student-friendly introduction to the subject and: * criticises disciplinary methodologies which are often informed by a desire to write a history of events * scrutinises the intellectual background of historical writings * examines how Mesopotamia's position as the 'other' in Classical and Biblical writings has influenced scholarship * illustrates approaches with examples taken from the entirety of Mesopotamian history.
As the first known system of writing, the cuneiform symbols traced in Sumerian clay more than six millennia ago were once regarded as a simplistic and clumsy attempt to record in linear form the sounds of a spoken language. More recently, scholars have acknowledged that early Sumerian writing—far from being a primitive and flawed mechanism that would be "improved" by the Phoenicians and Greeks—in fact represented a complete written language system, not only meeting the daily needs of economic and government administration, but also providing a new means of understanding the world. In The Invention of Cuneiform Jean-Jacques Glassner offers a compelling introduction to this seminal era in human history. Returning to early Mesopotamian texts that have been little studied or poorly understood, he traces the development of writing from the earliest attempts to the sophisticated system of roughly 640 signs that comprised the Sumerian repertory by about 3200 B.C. Glassner further argues—with an occasional nod to Derrida—that the invention of writing had a deeper metaphysical significance. By bringing the divinely ordained spoken language under human control, Sumerians were able to "make invisibility visible," separating themselves from the divine order and creating a new model of power.
The ancient world of Mesopotamia (from Sumer to the subsequent division into Babylonia and Assyria) vividly comes alive in this portrayal of the time period from 3100 bce to the fall of Assyria (612 bce) and Babylon (539 bce). Students, teachers, and interested readers will discover fascinating details about the lives of these people taken from the ancients' own quotations and descriptions. These detailed anecdotes from the people themselves easily convey factual material. A wealth of information is provided on such varied topics as: education; literature; mathematics and science; city vs. country life; family life; and religion, as well as many other subjects.
Surveys the history and development of Mesopotamian and Near Eastern civilization, describing the cultural, technological, political, and economic achievements of the different peoples living there
The Sumerian World explores the archaeology, history and art of southern Mesopotamia and its relationships with its neighbours from c.3,000 - 2,000BC. Including material hitherto unpublished from recent excavations, the articles are organised thematically using evidence from archaeology, texts and the natural sciences. This broad treatment will also make the volume of interest to students looking for comparative data in allied subjects such as ancient literature and early religions. Providing an authoritative, comprehensive and up to date overview of the Sumerian period written by some of the best qualified scholars in the field, The Sumerian World will satisfy students, researchers, academics, and the knowledgeable layperson wishing to understand the world of southern Mesopotamia in the third millennium.
The Ancient Near East reveals three millennia of history (c. 3500–500 bc) in a single work. Liverani draws upon over 25 years' worth of experience and this personal odyssey has enabled him to retrace the history of the peoples of the Ancient Near East. The history of the Sumerians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and more is meticulously detailed by one of the leading scholars of Assyriology. Utilizing research derived from the most recent archaeological finds, the text has been fully revised for this English edition and explores Liverani's current thinking on the history of the Ancient Near East. The rich and varied illustrations for each historical period, augmented by new images for this edition, provide insights into the material and textual sources for the Ancient Near East. Many highlight the ingenuity and technological prowess of the peoples in the Ancient East. Never before available in English, The Ancient Near East represents one of the greatest books ever written on the subject and is a must read for students who will not have had the chance to explore the depth of Liverani's scholarship.
Uses maps, text, and illustrations to present the history of the area known as the Fertile Crescent, the Ancient Near East, and Mesopotamia, from its earliest period in the fifth millennium B.C.E. through the Sassanian Empire.
Situated in an area roughly corresponding to present-day Iraq, Mesopotamia is one of the great, ancient civilizations, though it is still relatively unknown. Yet, over 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, the very first cities were created. This is the first book to reveal how life was lived in ten Mesopotamian cities: from Eridu, the Mesopotamian Eden, to that potent symbol of decadence, Babylon - the first true metropolis: multicultural, multi-ethnic, the last centre of a dying civilization.
The only book available that covers this subject, Warfare in the Ancient Near East is a groundbreaking and fascinating study of ancient near Eastern military history from the Neolithic era to the middle Bronze Ages. Drawing on an extensive range of textual, artistic and archaeological data, William J. Hamblin synthesizes current knowledge and offers a detailed analysis of the military technology, ideology and practices of Near Eastern warfare. Paying particular attention to the earliest known examples of holy war ideaology in Mesopotamia and Egypt, Hamblin focuses on: * recruitment and training of the infantry * the logistics and weaponry of warfare * the shift from stone to metal weapons * the role played by magic * narratives of combat and artistic representations of battle * the origins and development of the chariot as military transportation * fortifications and siegecraft *developments in naval warfare. Beautifully illustrated, including maps of the region, this book is essential for experts and non-specialists alike.
In Uruk Mesopotamia & Its Neighbors, ten field and theoretical archaeologists working in the area today offer an overview and analysis of new data and interpretations for Greater Mesopotamia during the late fifth and fourth millennia B.C. They radically reassess the chronological framework for the region, assemble the basic data sets on both local and regional levels, and interpret and synthesize these data in order to put local patterns and dynamics into their widest regional context. Their contributions have applications beyond the cultural history of Mesopotamia itself, reaching into the wider fields of anthropology, history, and political science. With its thorough documentation and comprehensive scope, this volume is an indispensable reference on the state of Mesopotamian archaeology at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
This work reviews the social and technological developments in Mesopotamia from 3800 to 2000 BC.

Best Books