A Brief Historical Look at the Ancient Civilization of Mesopotamia

The earliest civilization attached to Mesopotamia involves the Romans and the Greeks, who referred to the region as the “land between the waters.” The vicinity was separated into two regions , Sumer was found in the south and Assyria was situated in the north. In later years, the two regions would blossom into early civilizations of their own.


Since Neolithic times, villages prospered in their centrally located positions. By 4000 BC, the inhabitants of the land had come up with the wheel, bronze, and copper. Pottery was also an important part of this early civilization. When 3500 came around, writing became a popular form of communication, which would later serve as the oldest example of this kind of contact and expression.


When the first signs of the Sumerians appeared, the oldest cities in Sumer were founded about 3000 BC. By the 3rd millennium, (2800-2370), the city-states of Sumerian were establishments and became repeat participants in a variety of battles. War would later consolidate their numbers into a unified kingdom, where they then became taken over by the inhabitants positioned upstream. These were the Assyrians.


The Assyrians were Semitic people, who were identified by their language. They embraced the Sumerian culture and built their own capital called Akkad, which was established close to what would become Babylon. Others began to refer to them as Akkadians, who possessed a powerful reputation as exceptional warriors. They would conquer anything in their midst , all under the guidance of one of their greatest kings , Sargon. 


When 2000 BC arrived, the Akkadian civilization would become a victim to an outside force, which caused the Sumerian and Akkadian cultures to blend under one cultural umbrella. This new culture was later lost to a steep invasion, which destroyed the Sumerians as an identifiable culture. Later, the Sumerian history was preserved after the fall of their kingdoms , captured in writing by the hands of priests. Researchers have found many pieces of their timeline spread across a sacred language that only the priests and scribes were knowledgeable of.


In 1900 BC, the old city of Akkad became the gathering place for a group of people known as the Amorites, who were responsible for the Old Babylonian Dynasty. For 300 years, the people thrived with the highest glory coming when their infamous king named Hammurabi was in power. It was through him that the “Code of Hammurabi” was established. This set of law codes was some of the first in Mesopotamia, which showcased the society as one intensely separated by class.


Various punishments were given out to the different social classes, where capital offenses were commonplace. During this time, the premise included “an eye for an eye,” which was seen in cases that dealt with a victim and an assailant who were of equal rank. The code also highlighted their faith as it pertained to supernatural forces.


For instance, one provision dealt with people jumping in a river to prove his or her innocence. It was believed that if the river carried you away to safety, then you were innocent. It is quite curious that the same beliefs were used to prove whether or not accused Salem residents were witches. Ancient Babylonian society is also thought to have strongly influences the ancient Israelites, including philosophies regarding justice, which is seen in the Old Testament.