Mesopatamia is an ancient toponym that was surrounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In fact, "mesopotamia" is Greek for "between the rivers". This toponym was home to the first city-states such as Babylon, Ur, and Akkad. This country is located below Asia Minor and the Persian Gulf. The first civilization thrived in Mesopotamia, which was home to the Sumerians.
The First Civilization
The first civilization was started by the Sumerians. No one knows where they originated from but we do know they started the first civilization. They started a city called Sumer. Sumer consisted of different city-states, which were cities that were considered their own capital and the surrounding countryside. Different city-states include Nippur, Ur, and Babylon.
The Sumerians invented many different objects to help them advance in their civilization. One of them includes the plow.
The plow was made to help the Sumerians farm, which they advance in heavily. Outside of the city-state walls, which were built to protect them from attack, they would grow barley, wheat, figs, etc.
The other invention is the levee. Levees were used to control the amount of water that washes up on the land. The nearby mountains would flood the land when the weather began to warm. The water would flood the land and destroy the crops. Then, when the water was very low, the crops would dry up. The Sumerians thought of a way to control the amount of water that entered their land. Levees were the solution. Levees controlled the amount of water that reached the land. When the water was too high, tall walls would keep the water out. Then, tools were used to cut a hole into the walls, and let water enter.
The wheel was another invention. Before this invention, the Sumerians dragged everything around.
Another invention by the Sumerians was the cuneiform (koo-NEH-eh-FORM) writing system. This system was used to communicate with each other before spoken languages were invented. This written language was written down on a clay tablet and was written down using a stylus, a special writing tool.
The Sumerians built everything out of mud bricks. They're main building was the Ziggurat, a building in which the seven great gods lived in. The preists would hold ceremonies there and on the top of the building, the god that ruled the city would live at the top. In the building, people would construct clay models of themselves in a praying position so they're models would pray all day and they can go on with their daily lives.
The three story houses will be for the higher middle class and the highly educated. These people are usually preists or are part of the high social hierarchy. The two story houses were for the nomads and other farmers. The one story houses were for the people in the lesser level of the social hierarchy.
Another invention was the calender, which consisted of twelve months in which each had only thirty days. Preists used the calender to determine the placement of the zodiac, which showed constellations.
Social Hierarchy and Classes
The highest in the social classes were the kings, who claimed to be chosen by the gods. The kings handled arguments, conflicts, or disagreements between people and came to a conclusion listening to each side of the story. The king's resident was the Ziggurat.
Just below the kings are the priests. The preists held ceremonies and different religious acts at the Ziggurat.
Below the preists were the farmers and the traders. Farmers grew different fruits and vegetables. In fact, farming was so widespread, farmers could grow a surplus, a large amount, of food to the point where not everyone had to farm. Due to this, people moved closer to each other and formed city-states. Traders traded various items such as food, ideas using the cuneiform writing system, and other things.
Slaves were the lowest of the class. Slaves were captives that were jailed for either commiting crimes or not paying tax, which was used on everything. Slaves were captive for three years and worked in the wheat field and then were released.