Ancient Mesopotamian History
Iraq: area: 438,446sq.km .Population: 18 000 000. Capital: Baghdad 5 000 000 . About 80%Arabic speaking , 15%Kurds 2%Turks . Average annual rate of population increases 1,6% Currency: Iraqi dinar= 1,000 fils. Economy: crude petroleum( in 1000 tonnes): 46,819, natural gas 17000tj Industries: naptha 460 000 tonnes, jet fuel, woven cotton fabrics, sugar, canned fruit and vegetables. It's the land of ancient Mesopotamia. At one time Mesopotamia ( the land between the rivers), which encompassed much of the present-day Iraq, formed the center not only of the Middle east but also of the civilized world. The people of the Tigris and the Euphrates basin, the ancient Sumerians, using the fertile land and the abundant water supply of the area, developed sophisticated irrigation systems and created what was probably the first cereal agriculture as well as the earliest writing, cuneiform. After them came the Babylonians, they devised the most complete legal system of the period, the code of Hammurabi. Located at the crossroads in the heart of the ancient Middle East. They also created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven Wonders of the ancient world. After them , the warlike Assyrians took the control of the area. Sumer is the ancient name for southern Mesopotamia. Historians are divided on when the sumerians arrived in the area, but they agree that the population of sumer was a mixture of linguistic and ethnic groups that included the earlier inhabitants of the region.The Sumerians were highly innovative people who responded creatively to the challenges of the changeable Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Sumerians were the first people known to have devised a scheme of written representation as a means of communication. Cuneiform - a way of arranging impression stamped on clay by the wedge-like section of chopped-off reed. Another important Sumerian legacy was the recording of literature. The most famous Sumerian epic and the one that has survived in the most nearly complete form is the epic of Gilgamesh. The story of Gilgamesh, who actually was king of the city of Uruk in approximately 2700 B.C., is a moving story of the ruler's deep sorrow at the death of his friend and of his consequent search for immorality. Other central themes of the story are a devastating flood and the tenuous nature of man's existence. Sadam with complex abstraction and emotional expression, the epic of Gilgamesh reflects the intellectual sophistications of the Sumerians. After them came the Babylonians.During the time of sixth ruler, King Hammurabi (1792-1750B.C.), Babylonian rule encompassed a huge area covering most of the Tigris-Euphrates river valley from Sumer and the Arabic Gulf ( Persian Gulf). Hammurabi devised an elaborate administrative structure. His greatest achievement, however, was the issuance of a law code designed " to cause justice to prevail in the country, to destroy the wicked and evilness.
On Hammurabi's death, however, a tribe known as the Cassites (Kassites) began to attack Babylonian as early as the period when Hammurabi's son ruled the empire. Over the centuries, Babylonian was weakened by the Cassites. Finally, around 1530 BC (given in some sources as 1570 or 1595 BC), a Cassite Dynasty was set up in Babylonian.
The Mitanni, another culture, were meanwhile building their own powerful empire. They were having a "considerable, if temporary importance"--they were very powerful but were around for only about 150 years. Still, the Mitanni were one of the major empires of this area in this time period, and they came to almost completely control and subjugate the Assyrians (who were located directly to the east of Mitanni and to the northwest of Cassite Babylonian).
The Assyrians, after they finally broke free of the Mitanni (who were having political troubles of their own), were the next major power to assert themselves on Babylonian. After defeating and virtually annexing Mitanni, the Assyrians, reasserted themselves on Babylonian. They weakened Babylonian so much that the Cassite Dynasty fell from power; the Assyrians virtually came to control Babylonian, until revolts in turn deposed them and set up a new dynasty, known as the Second Dynasty of Isin. Nebuchadnezzar the First, of this Dynasty, added a good deal of land to Babylonian and eventually came to attack Assyria. the land was under Assyrian rule for about two centuries. the Assyrian culture showed a dramatic growth in science and mathematics, among the great mathematical inventions of the Assyrians was the division of the circle into 360 degrees and were among the first to invent longitude and latitude in geographical navigation. They also developed a sophisticated medical science, which greatly influenced medical science as far away as Greece. It was not until the reign of Naboplashar (625-605 BC) of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty that the Mesopotamian civilization reached its ultimate distinction. His son, Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) is credited for building the legendary Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is said that the Gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzar to please his wife or concubine, Amyitis, who had been "brought up in Media and had a passion for mountain surroundings". He did this because his wife had lived in the mountains and she was homesick on the flat plains of Babylon. He planted a large amount of brightly colored tropical plants on the roof of the palace. The gardens were completed around 600 BC. It was Nebuchadnezzar II who restored Mesopotamia to its former Babylonian glory and made Babylon the most famous city of the ancient world.
The Hanging Gardens on the east bank of the River Euphrates, about 50-km south of Baghdad, Iraq, "has plants cultivated above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth. The whole mass is supported on stone columns... Streams of water emerging from elevated sources flow down sloping channels... These waters irrigate the whole garden saturating the roots of plants and keeping the whole area moist. Hence the grass is permanently green and the leaves of trees grow firmly attached to supple branches... This is a work of art of royal luxury and its most striking feature is that the labor of cultivation is suspended above the heads of the spectators."