Mesopotamia


Location:
 Modern day Iraq in the Middle East near the Persian Gulf


Climate: Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, often causing extensive flooding in the central and southern parts of the country


Type of Government: Mesopotamia was ruled by kings.  The kings only ruled a single city though, rather than the entire civilization.  For example, the city of Babylon was ruled by King Hammurabi.  Each king and city designed the rules and systems that they thought would be most beneficial for their people. 


Religions Practiced:  Mesopotamians were polytheistic, or believed in many gods and goddesses.  They believed in four primary gods of the hills, sky, wind and water.  There were also numerous local gods that protected individual cities and kings.  They tried to keep the gods happy and satisfied.  If bad events occurred, like a drought, then they knew they had upset the gods.  The king and priests were required to keep in contact with the gods to make sure they remained content. 


Currency: Mesopotamians traded their surplus goods for items they may want or need.  The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers made it easy to travel to other cities to trade.  Eventually, they were able to trade with other civilizations like Egypt and China. 


Important People:
  1. Hammurabi - He was the ruler of Babylon.  Hammurabi is known for his 282 laws that brought about order and safety in the city.  His laws have been remembered as the "eye for an eye" laws, as he emphasized punishment that fit the crime.  He was extremely strict but managed the city well. 

Great Inventions:
  • Checkers
  • Wheel
  • Cuneiform (1st written language)
  • Gilgamesh (1st superhero)
  • Laws
  • Plow
  • Boat
  • Irrigation systems

Social Class System: The social system was divided into a pyramid-like structure.  At the top were the most important people, including the king, priest and government officials. In the middle was the common class, which included merchants, farmers, fishermen and artisans.  Lastly, the bottom class consisted solely of slaves.


Other Important Facts:
  • Mesopotamia is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
  • Mesopotamia was the very FIRST civilization.

Media:

A picture of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which was built as a gift to King Nebuchadnezzar II's wife.



The original Code of Laws made by King Hammurabi of Babylon.  All 282 laws were written on this stone for the people of the city to see. 



Why do we need rules anyways?




Images of Mesopotamia




Hanging Gardens of Babylon



 

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