Ancient Mesopotamia was the home of not one but a succession of glorious civilizations that together flourished more than three millennia. It was Sumerian mathematicians who devised the sixty-minute hour. It was Babylonian architects who designed the fabled Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World." And it was Assyrian kings and generals who conducted some of the most ruthless military campaigns in recorded history.
Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia presents the glory and splendor of an area that was host to some of the world's greatest civilizations and their struggles to create civilized life in a fertile land racked by brutal conquest. This volume focuses on the civilizations of Mesopotamia that invented agriculture, cities, writing, law, and even beer. Known as the "Fertile Crescent," Mesopotamia is now the heart of modern-day Iraq, a war-torn land where people still struggle to eke out their daily lives as did their ancestors thousands of years ago.
Organized in the classic Handbook to Life format, this comprehensive reference examines the everyday routines of Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian life from about 3500 to 500 BCE by gathering in one comprehensive volume all that modern-day archaeologists and historians have unearthed about Mesopotamia's foods, homes, literature, arts, laws, wars, religions, political systems, class structures, economy, and more. A separate chapter explores the influence of Mesopotamia on the sacred scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
- Geography, Archaeology, and History of Mesopotamia
The land, dating the past, ancient narratives, and key rulers of Mesopotamia
- Government, Society, Religion, and Myth
The structure of civilization, biographies of political leaders, and personal piety
- Language, Literature, Architecture, and Engineering
Major languages, writing, techniques of construction, ziggurats, and city planning
- Sculpture, Arts, and Sacred Scripture
The role of artists, pottery, painting, the Old Testament, and Mesopotamia and the Koran
- Economy, Transportation, and Trade
Professions, wages and prices, transportation by water, trade, and weights and measures
- Military Affairs, Everyday Life, and More
Weapons and equipment, the art of war, work, slavery, music, sports, and education.
114 black-and-white photographs and illustrations. 3 maps. Index. Appendix. Bibliography. Timeline.
About the Author(s)
Stephen Bertman, a professor of classics at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Canada, holds a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin from Columbia University. His books include Doorways Through Time: The Romance of Archaeology, and he has numerous articles and lectures on Near Eastern culture to his credit.