The Cradle of Civilization
Situated in a vast expanse of delta between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, Mesopotamia was the wellspring from which modern societies emerged. The land was very important because it’s where writing was first discovered 5000 years ago at Uruk, and where the seventh wonder of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, is situated. It is important culturally because it was the center of the Islamic Empire (Khilafat), and Arab civilization for hundreds of years. It’s where science and culture prospered, where Arabic language has its two distinguished schools, Kufa and Basra, and where one of the oldest universities in the world was built, Al Mustansiriyya ...view middle of the document...
People had been creating art for thousands of years already. Early laws had been established in the form of mores and folkways. All of these were parts of human culture, but not civilization. Mesopotamians refined, added to and formalized these systems, combining them to form a civilization.
It's very interesting to think about what might not exist had the Mesopotamians not blazed the trails they did. The choices they made, the risks they took, the energy they invested into their ideas and pursuits lead to the world we know today. Would people have thought to organize oral traditions into written collections of pages had the Mesopotamians not produced Gilgamesh, the first book in recorded history? Perhaps so, but who knows how long it would have taken if the Mesopotamians hadn't done it first? This achievement alone is significant, but their collection of written stories is just the beginning.
To understand why Mesopotamia is considered the cradle of civilization, it's important to have understand exactly what civilization is. In order for us to clearly understand civilization we must first do our research on civilization. For the most part we know that it is a group of people who live together in a single place, and have social, political, economic and religious structure that qualifies them as a civilization. The setting is usually a city, and the people there use technology to carry out economic activity. The fruits of this labor are divided among the population by a ruling class, which may be religious in nature, political or both. The division of goods isn't necessarily even, which leads to social classes and then we have the haves, the have-nots and those in the middle.
Civilization according to Webster’s dictionary, is the organization of all of the systems people use to interact with one another whether that's to the benefit everyone, as in the protection of an organized army, or to the detriment of the people, for example when a few are able to exploit the work of the masses to grow more powerful. To me ones culture is how they behave and civilization is how they are structured. By this clear definition we are now able to see that Mesopotamia was indeed a true civilization. Beginning around 4000 B.C. when cities began to pop up between the Tigris and Euphrates. Agriculture drew the earliest people to the banks of Mesopotamia's rivers. But as they figured out how to reroute some of the water through canals, they were able to irrigate fields farther away. With a food supply capable of sustaining large numbers of people, cities began to develop.
We might imagine these early city dwellers were visionaries. But the truth is much less dramatic. In the video I was able to see that Mesopotamia became a civilized powerhouse largely out of necessity. Take, for example, their writing. The Sumerians and other Mesopotamians produced some of the earliest writing. During my research I was able to see that not...