Ancient Mesopotamia was located in a piece of The Fertile Crescent, in what is now southern Iraq. It covered an area about 300 miles long and about 150 miles wide. The word Mesopotamia actually means (in Greek) “the land between the rivers.” The two rivers referred to by the ancient Greeks are the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers.
Today, ancient Mesopotamia includes the countries of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, the Sinai Peninsula, and Northern Mesopotamia. It is a big place.
E xcavation of these cities began around 1840 and has since yielded a wondrous variety of monuments and treasures. After an illustrated overview of the history and culture of Mesopotamia, the program moves forward in time to modern Iraq and explores it from the vantage point of its rich past.
Sumer was one notable non Semitic culture in southern Mesopotamia. It appeared at least as early as the 5th millennium B.C. and By 3000 B.C. Sumerian city-states like Kish, Lagash, and UR, developed considerable power based on irrigated agriculture.
In the Bible, Ur was the given home of Abraham. Pottery and metalwork were made into fine arts, and the Sumerians probably invented Cuneiform writing. The Sumerians were the rivals of Semitic cities such as Akkad and ultimately were conquered by them. The growth of Babylonia ended the Sumerians as a nation.
South of modern Bagdad, the alluvial plains of the rivers were called the land of Sumer and Akkad in the third millennium. Sumer is the most southern part, while the land of Akkad is the area around modern Bagdad, where the Euphrates and Tigris are close to each other. In the second millennium both regions together are called Babylonia, a mostly flat country. The territory in the north (between the rivers Tigris and the Great Zab) is called Assyria, with the city A ur as center. It borders to the mountains.
“Syria” was the 19th-century Ottoman-era term for a region that stretched from the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the north to the Arabian Desert in the south, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to Mesopotamia in the east. Present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, western Iraq, and southern Turkey were all included in this vast area.
In other words, the concept of “Syria” was not linked to any specific national sentiment. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I led to Greater Syria being carved into a half-dozen states. Although territory had been cut away on all sides, the rump French mandate of “Syria” that came into existence.