Origin of Mesopotamia Civilization

Mesopotamia which is the world’s first civilization, also known as the cradle of civilization was established a little earlier than 3100 BC. The word ‘Mesopotamia’ is in origin a Greek name which comprises of the words “mesos” and “potamos”, mesos meaning `middle’ and ‘potamos’ meaning ‘river’. Thus, the word Mesopotamia means `land between the rivers’. ‘Mesopotamia’ translated from Old Persian Miyanrudan means “the fertile cresent”.

The Aramaic name is Beth-Nahrain meaning “House of Two Rivers” and is a region of Southwest Asia. This civilization was settled on the edges of the marshes where the Tigris and the Euphrates reach the Persian Gulf. These settlements existed even around the years as early as 4500 BC. The civilization of Mesopotamia and Egypt developed almost simultaneously, and they are very often referred to as the Fertile Crescent.

The civilization of Mesopotamia has had very unstable governance because there has been a constant shifting empires. Also, Mesopotamia has always been characterized with continuous and ongoing warfare. Mesopotamia was settled, and conquered, by numerous ancient civilizations. Mesopotamia was home to some of the oldest major ancient civilizations, including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians.

The Paleolithic occupation of Mesopotamia was limited to the mountainous regions of the Zagros and the Taurus and a few oases in the Syrian steppe. The early Neolithic human occupation of Mesopotamia was, like the previous Epipaleolithic period, confined to the foothill zones of the Taurus and Zagros Mountains and the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys. In the Chalcolithic period, the Fertile Crescent was inhabited by several distinct and flourishing cultures between the end of the last ice age and the beginning of history.

Mesopotamia region has been a very diverse land. It comprised of plains in the North and rivers in the south. The Northern region was fit for wheat growing and cattle rearing, however, the southern region was rich in marine life. The lions and wild animals hovered around on the river banks and in the jungles. It was the rich wildlife which prompted the human beings to get settled in the Mesopotamian region. Also, the plains were very fertile and good for agriculture. Other necessities like wood, stone and metal were available in the nearby mountain region.

All these factors made the region very favorable for the human settlement. The farmers and fishermen started to settle in the Mesopotamian plain around 5,500, even before the Common Era. With the passage of time, their small villages grew into large settlements. It was after the settlement that writing, art, monumental architecture, and new political forms were introduced in Mesopotamia.

In the ancient Mesopotamia, the centre of life of the inhabitants used to be the cities. When they looked back to the beginning of time, they did not see a Garden of Eden, but rather an ancient site called Eridu, which they believed was the first city ever to be created. Ancient Mesopotamia is where the world’s first cities appeared around 4000 – 3500 BC.