Mesopotamian societies were largely religious in nature, in which priests and kings used the power of “deities” to control their people. Economies were generally despotic, with a central figure controlling all the means of production. Sumerians, once the first well-developed societies, used silver, wheat, and barley as means of currency.
The method of economic trade utilized in Mesopotamia was easy to control by officials. They developed the first economy, while the Babylonians developed the earliest system of economics, which was comparable to modern post-Keynesian economics, but with a more “anything goes” approach. Hunting was also popular among the Assyrian kings.
The Mesopotamian woman’s role was strictly defined. She was the daughter of her father or the wife of her husband. Women rarely acted as individuals outside the context of their families. Those who did so were usually royalty or the wives of men who had power and status.
Most girls were trained from childhood for the traditional roles of wife, mother, and housekeeper. Soon after puberty, a young girl was considered ready for marriage. Marriages were arranged by the families of the future bride and groom.
The agricultural aspect of Mesopotamia was not easy and familiarizing oneself with the precise knowledge of when to plant and when to irrigate was significantly important. Actually, agriculture was so important that the invention of writing by the priestly class came about because of farming.
The writing helped catapult the people to greater power and helped to establish the mathematics that propelled their agriculture. Mesopotamian writing was considered hard to grasp and only a few had the time to learn how to execute this powerful tool.
The writing style of these times was called “cuneiform” and it was performed on clay tablets. It was also known as “wedge writing.” It was also the priestly class that furthered the way of mathematics, which was also considered difficult to master.
The ability to domesticate goats, pigs, sheep and cattle and to cultivate grains and vegetables changed human communities from passive harvesters of nature to active partners with it. The ability to expand the food supply in one area allowed the development of permanent settlements of greater size and complexity.
The people of the Neolithic or New Stone Age (8000-5000 B.C.) organized fairly large villages. Jericho grew into a fortified town complete with ditches, stone walls, and towers and contained perhaps 2000 residents. Catal Hüyük in southern Turkey may have been substantially larger.