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Why Ancient Mesopotamia Was So Advanced

Cradle of Civilization

Mesopotamia is considered the Cradle of Civilization, since so many of the earliest advanced civilizations materialized in this region. Agriculture, urbanization and writing are the primary prerequisites, all of which took root in ancient Mesopotamia.

(Continued Below)

Geography Favorable for Agriculture

Agriculture was invented independently in multiple locations and at different time periods throughout the world. In the near east, agriculture originated in the Levant, or the Middle East, between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean Sea.

When agriculture reached Mesopotamia around 7000 BC, it flourished, due to the fertile floodplain between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, especially in central-northern Mesopotamia, where the climate was much less arid than the atmosphere in southern Mesopotamia.

Agriculture is a prerequisite for urbanization, since it is necessary to enable nomadic populations to sustain themselves in a fixed location, year-round. It is urbanization that sets the stage for advanced civilizations.

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Origin of Urbanization

Despite the fact that agriculture originated in other regions, advanced societies did not follow suit as was the case in Mesopotamia. This is likely due to the fact that the Euphrates-Tigris River floodplain was one of the most conducive locations for farming in the ancient world. Plus, these rivers proved favorable for irrigation, further boosting the ability of the Mesopotamian floodplain to support larger populations. Urbanization was also fueled by the fact that the floodplain was inadequately protected by geography, allowing roaming invaders to easily launch attacks, providing added motivation to organize into fortified cities. Consequently, urbanization was spawned in Mesopotamia at an earlier age, and to a greater extent than anywhere else in the ancient world.

In the ancient world, urbanization was a necessary forerunner to becoming an “advanced civilization”. Urbanization marks transition between subsistence farming (where farmers grow only enough to feed the family or community) to surplus farming. Surplus farming is required for trade, since each farmer can grow enough food to sustain several people. As a result, occupational classes form (such as the production of handicrafts, or performance of services), leading to a more complex economy based on trade. Denser populations also result in social classes and complex social structuring in order to manage larger numbers of people. It is these complexities give birth to advanced civilizations. In addition, this diversification and proliferation of trades increasingly advanced technologies. - The World's Largest Maps Store!

Origin of Writing

Thus, it was not surprising that writing - like urbanization – also originated in Mesopotamia. It was the Sumerian language (the dominant language of ancient Mesopotamia) that was the first to be transmitted in written form. The advent of writing was the ultimate hallmark of an advanced, ancient civilization. Written records could be kept and circulated. Law could be codified and administered on a larger scale. In essence, centralized political entities could be formed, consolidating rule and cohesion over larger areas, giving rise to kingdoms and empires.

The invention of writing opened the floodgates for other innovations, such as mathematics, economics, astronomy, philosophy, irrigation, metal-working, textile weaving, water storage, and various medical breakthroughs, all of which originated in Mesopotamia.


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Comments (145)

Mesopotamia could of been so advanced for the necessity of survival. The Assyrian battle of Qarqar only follows Egypt's invasion of Jerusalem , Judah, and Samaria. These great cultures were forcing commodities through unfair trade while bordering close to varied deities. Some ways of wondering took slaves from Pharos through the arid cultures nomadic people found unbearable; although, they didn't find any promise land or comfort living in a desert for forty years. The faithful innovators of all these ancient cultures were people like Obadiah whom writes of Esau's descendants (Edomites) becoming extinguished. The reason for the Edomites failing to propagate and flourish as a culture wasn't due to the battle of Qarqar - it was promised bye the God of Israel in the book of Genesis... What I find so advanced about ancient culture doesn't happen to be pottery as much as prophecy.
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