Ancient World: Down to 500 AD
Bronze Age Civilization
Name of Civilization
(4000 BC – 6th Cen. BC)
Tigris and Euphrates
(3400 BC – 1000 BC)
(2500 BC – 1750 BC)
India and Pakistan
(1765 BC – 250 BC)
Mesopotamian Civilization : The Oldest Civilization of the World
- Mesopotamian means "land between the rivers". Mesopotamia is the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
- Mesopotamia comprises four regions: Sumer(Southernmost region), Babylonia and Akkad(middle region) and Assyria( Northernmost region).
- Hammurabi(C. 2100 BC) , the greatest Babylonian ruler, united the whole of what is now called Iraq into a single Kingdom. Hammurabi gave his people a code of laws. His code covered every aspect of life. His code was based on the law of "eye for eye" and "tooth for tooth" i.e, the law of "tit for tat".
- Hittites, who came from Asia Minor(now Turkey) and destroyed the Babylonian kingdom, were the first to make regular use of horses for war chariots and to make iron implements.
- The potter's wheel was perhaps first used in Mesopotamia.
- The Mesopotamians also seem to have been the first to make glass ware.
- The Sumerians were the first to evolve a proper system of writing. This system is called cuneiform. The cuneiform script was deciphered by Henry Rawlinson.
- The Mesopotamian system of counting is known as as Sexagesimal because the Mesopotamian people counted by sixties as we count by tens(decimal system). Their sexagesimal system is no longer in use but still use it as the basis of division of time into minutes and seconds and of a circle into 360 degree.
- In geometry, the Mesopotamians had discovered what was later called the Pythagores Theorem.
- In astronomy, the Mesopotamians made astonishing progress. They could calculate the length of the day and the night. They divided the whole day into 24 hours. They divided the sky into 12 parts , each assigned a name. This has come down to us as the 12 signs of Zodiac or rashis as we call them in India. Another remarkable achievements of the Mesopotamians was the invention of a lunar calender, based on the moon.