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Mesopotamia

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Map of Sumer.

Mesopotamia (Greek: Μεσοποταμία, Mésopotamiā; "[land] between the rivers," compare with the Hebrew: ארם נהרים, ʼArām-Naharaīm; "Aram of the two rivers") is the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East, roughly corresponding to modern-day Iraq. The name comes from the Greek words μέσος, mésos ("between") and ποταμός, potamós ("river"), referring to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the area in between. The term is rendered in Arabic as بلاد الرافدين (bilād al-rāfidayn), likewise meaning "land between the two rivers." It is often referred to as the "Cradle of Civilization" and has been the source of millennium's of war, division of land and utter survival that enabled the population of earth and the testing of crude political rule.

Early Civilization

Egyptian dynasties and the Bible.png

People migrate rooting and uprooting, building ever larger communities Mesopotamia accumulates and facilitates cultures and the infancy of new civilizations. Following the great flood, the descendants of Shem spread out from mesopotamia. Southern Mesopotamia specifically achieved great particular influence within the cities of Ur and Uruk. Influence continues to expand the presence of Mesopotamia and the Early Dynastic Period is accompanied by dynamic growth culminating in the Sumerian Civilization organized around a temple and ruled by a priesthood.

The descendants of Shem are listed here:

Mesh-ki-ang-gasher is first King of Uruk followed by Enmerkar with Meskalamdug being recorded as first King of Ur succeeded by his son Akalamdug, and then by Akalamdug's son Mesh-Ane-pada. There is also the Akkadians to the north followed by centuries of cultural cohesion with the Sumerians brings forth king Sargon of Akkad

Sumer

Main Article: Sumer

Sumer (Sumerian: 𒆠𒂗𒂠, ki-en-ĝir; "Land of the Lords of Brightness"; Akkadian: Shūmerū; Hebrew: שעיר, Shinʻār; "Land of the Rivers") was the earliest known civilization in the world located in Mesopotamia.

The Akkadian Empire

Main Article: Akkad

Through the initiative of Sargon the world's first Middle Eastern empire was built, unifying the north (Akkad) and south (Sumer). The Akkad Dynasty as it can also be called only lasted around a century beginning with Sargon then Rimush, Manishtusu, Naram-Sin, and Shar-kali-sharri.[1] Under either Naram-Sin or his son Shar-kali-sharri, the Gutian Empire (with cultural influence from the Elamites), a non-Semitic tribe from the central Zagros mountainous regions (largest mountain range in modern day Iran and Iraq) invaded collapsing the southern half of the Akkadian Empire. The Guti attempt their rule at southern Mesopotamia to about 2130 BC.[2] The Akkadian empire to the north remains until the expulsion of the Guti by popular uprising eliminated all influence of the Akkad Dynasty and initiated a Third Dynasty of Ur (or the Neo-Sumerian period - 2055-1940).[3] With the Guti pushed back and under Shulgi's reign (2029–1982), who was deified while still alive, peace ruled the lands and it was this atmosphere that encouraged maturity of legal systems, the calendar, study of mythology, agriculture and the re-building of temples. The Ur III Empire or the Third Dynasty of Ur stands until the Elamite's (people from southwest Iran) lasting violent military invasions take their toll and the culture of Amorites takes hold leaving little room for similar Babylonian cultural expressions around 1940 BC.[4]

The Babylonian Empire

Main Article: Babylon

The Amorites managed to take over Isin, Larsa, and Babylon. In conjunction with these city takeovers they would institute their own kingship's in which then brought forth a period known as the First Dynasty of Babylon (1894-1595) ruled by Hammurabi of Amorite descent. He ruled the entirety of the Mesopotamian region with its capital in the south, called Babylon in ancient times.[5]

Soon the Kassite tribes of the Zagros and the Hittites in Anatolia (essentially modern day Turkey) would be waging war with Hammurabi's successors. Circa 1595 the Hittite king Mursilis I advances down the Euphrates river, sacking Babylon and even stealing a stone statue of the chief religious idol of the Babylonians, their supreme god Marduk.[5]

The Mitanni Empire

Main Article: Mitanni

The Mitanni Empire or Hanigalbat (Hittite: URUMi-it-ta-ni; Assyrian: Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) was a Hurrian kingdom in northern Mesopotamia and south-west Anatolia which controlled the territory of modern day Syria, Palestine, and Iraq between 1530-1330 BC. Its heartland was the Khābūr River region, where Washukanni, its capital, was probably located. Dr. A.E. Crowley suggests that these Mitanni are direct descendants of Midian, the son of Abraham.[6] After being sent away by Abraham, the descendants of Midian settled in the region of the Caucasus, both north and south of the mountain range (Genesis 25:5-6 ). They were sent east of Palestine, not south into modern Saudi Arabia, as many speculate. After multiplying greatly, they came pouring down into Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia (with some settling south of Edom in northwest Arabia), being known at that time as the Hurrians.[7]

Elam

Main Article: Elam

Elam (Elamite: Haltamti; Old Persian: 𐎢𐎺𐎩, Hūjiya; Hebrew: עילם, ʻĒlām) an ancient civilization, founded by the descendants of Elam, the son of Shem, located in what is now southwest Iran. The Elamites which dwelt in south-west Persia[8] were known to the Babylonians as the Elamû, to the Greeks as Elymais and the Romans called them the Elymaci. But, to the Elamites, they named themselves Haltamti and subsequently in the Old Persian language, the rendering of their name is Hūjiya (𐎢𐎺𐎩), in Middle Persian as Huź, and New Persian Xuz. This is the archaic form of Khūzestān which is the old land of Elam to the south-east of Babylonia. The Elamites came into unfortunate conflict with Assyria. The powerful Assyrians mercilessly invaded Elam, sacked Susa their capital, and slaughtered many of them. Thus they became eternal enemies. Later, Elam was destroyed by Media (c 640 BC) together with their capital, Susa. This ended the Elamite power, even though Cyrus, King of Persia, made Susa one of his capitals a century later.

The Assyrian Empire

Main Article: Assyria

Assyria (Akkadian: 𒀸𒋗𒁺, Ashūr; Hebrew: אשור, ʼAshūr; Aramaic: ܐܫܘܪ, Āshūr or ܐܬܘܪ, Āthūr; Arabic: أشور, Ashūr; Greek: Ἀσσυρία, Assuriā) was an ancient empire centered on the Upper Tigris river, in Mesopotamia. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Ashur (modern Qal'at Sherqat), which in turn was named after Asshur, the son of Shem and progenitor of the Assyrians. The Assyrian empire emerged shortly after the Global Flood and came to its greatest strength during the period of the Divided Kingdoms of Israel. It conquered and permanently dispersed the Northern Kingdom and attempted an invasion of the Southern Kingdom shortly thereafter. It is credited even with holding a brief sway over Egypt until Nabopolassar and Astyages led a joint force against its capital city of Nineveh and destroyed it in 612 BC. Assyria has never again been an independent nation, and indeed its name was all but forgotten until a 19th Century archaeologist named Austen Henry Layard finally discovered the ruins of Nineveh and Nimrud.

The Hittite Empire

Anatolian peninsula
The Hittite Empire at its greatest extent under Mursili II (c.1321–1295 BC).
Main Article: Hittite empire

The Hittite Empire (Hittite: URUHa-at-ti; "The Land of Hatti") was an ancient kingdom which encompassed a large part of Anatolia and north-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia from the 18th century BC to the 12th century BC. The name of Heth, the son of Canaan, was perpetuated in the Hittite capital of Hattusa (Hittite: URUḪattuša), near modern Boğazkale in Turkey. Heth's descendants (known as the Hattians) inhabited the "land of Hatti" in the central and southeastern parts of Anatolia until they eventually merged with, or were displaced by, by Indo-Europeans (known as "Nesites" or "Late-Hittites") who adopted their name for themselves as well as the term "Land of Hatti." These Indo-Europeans were ethnically and linguistically distinct from the Hattians. Although their empire was composed from many diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds an Indo-European language known as Našili or Nesian, was spoken by the dominant group. Today this language is known as Hittite. In this tongue there are many loan words particularly religious vocabulary from Hatti and Hurrian. Hatti was the non-Indo-European language of the Hattians before the ancestors of the Indo-European Hittites became the dominant group.

They were known for their skills in working iron and making chariots. Even though they lived in the Bronze Age they were considered ahead of there time with their knowledge of Iron. Egyptian depictions of the Battle of Kadesh reportedly show long-nosed Hattian soldiers while their Hittite leaders looked different, according to Turkish archaeologist Ekrem Akurgal.[9] Akurgal claims that "The Hattians were still the great majority of the population in the Hittite period."[10] If true, the Indo-Europeans constituted a ruling elite within the Hittite Empire whereas the assimilated Hattians were lower ranking members of Hittite society.

The discovery of the Hittite Empire put to rest doubts about the validity of the Bible, because the Hittite Empire was one of the biggest ever mentioned in the Bible. In Ankara, Turkey there is a museum that contains many Hittite artifacts called the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.[11]

Modern History

Main Article: Iraq

Iraq (Arabic: العراق, Al-Irāq), officially the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جمهورية العراق, Jumhūrīyat Al-Irāq, Kurdish: كؤماری عه‌راق‎, Komara Îraqê; Neo-Aramaic: ܥܸܪܵܩ), is a country in the Middle East, with its borders between Iran to its east, Saudi Arabia to its west and Kuwait to the south. The capital city is Baghdad. With a population of 28,945,657 [12] it occupies the land of ancient Mesopotamia with central Iraq being dominated by valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

References

  1. The Egyptian Old Kingdom, Sumer and Akkad Index of Egyptian History
  2. Brief History of Mesopotamia By Duncan J. Melville. Last modified: 30 May 2001
  3. The Guti By History World International
  4. Sumerian Civilization By San José State University Department of Economics
  5. 5.0 5.1 Babylonian Empire By LIVIUS - Articles on Ancient History
  6. Bristowe, S (1971) Sargon The Magnificent. Association Of The Covenant People, Vancouver, Canada, 12
  7. Cottrell, L (1975) The Concise Encyclopedia Of Archaeology. Hutchins Of London, 178
  8. Josephus Antiquities 1:6:4
  9. Ekrem Akurgal, The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations, Publications of the Republic of Turkey: Ministry of Culture, 2001, p.8 Akurgal writes here: "The large-nosed soldiers identified as "Hitti" in the Egyptian temple depictions of the Battle of Kadesh show a completely different ethnic type from their [Indo-European] kings in the same scenes."
  10. Akurgal, op. cit., p.6
  11. Discovery of the Hittite EmpireBy Albright School of Biblical Archeology
  12. Iraq CIA World Factbook

See Also