Cities in Mesopotamia

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What role did cities play in Mesopotamian society? (CH 2) Early civilizations first developed in Mesopotamia around 3500 BCE. Some of the first cities such as Eridu, Nippur and Uruk were started and a writing system was developed. Empires began and monumental buildings were constructed. As each new group of people moved into the region governments were established. Much of Mesopotamian history lay buried beneath the sand and soil for thousands of years. However, there were clues, such as the ruins of ziggurats, that treasures lay below the surface. Mesopotamia lay in the region between the Euphrates River and the Tigris River, and because of the shape the area is called the Fertile Crescent. The word Mesopotamia actually means (in Greek) “the country between the rivers. Rains were seasonal in this area, which meant that the land flooded during parts of the year and water was infrequent at other times. Mesopotamians developed methods of irrigation to the control the waters, by building levees and canals. A relief form of sculpture that was found shows how they redirected water aqueducts. (Tignor, et al., p 51) Farming in the region depended on irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Many resources in Mesopotamia were scarce or absent which stimulated trade within the region and beyond. In order to receive wood such as cedar from Lebanon, stones, metals and other necessary materials for building they traded textiles, pottery and honey. Mesopotamians had an unyielding patriarchal society, starting at the top with pharaohs (gods), and descending to nobles, bureaucrats and military personnel, to peasants and slaves. Slavery was not based on race or heredity but consisted of criminals, prisoners of war and debtors. Professions existed in a decidedly specific way with the kings and priests presiding at the top of the list. Officials and scribes followed
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