NOTES ON MESOPOTAMIA
‘MESOPOTAMIAN FLOOD PLAIN’
- -TIGRIS RIVER, the eastern river, foothills of the ZAGROS MOUNTAINS;
- -EUPHRATES RIVER, the western river, rises in the TAURUS MOUNTAINS of Eastern Turkey near Lake Van. The lower valley of these two rivers,
- -MESOPOTAMIA (‘The land between the rivers’) was the area in which the SUMERIANS first settled (ca. 3500)
- (‘The black-headed people’) Spoke a non-Semitic language; their origins are unknown (Zagros Mts.? Pakistan? Dilmun?) early empire, by 2700 B.C.?
- The Sumerian King List, a surviving list of the cities and rulers of earliest Mesopotamia (Somewhat mythical, especially in its earlier sections) begins, "When KINGSHIP first descended from heaven..."
- FIVE CITIES held the overlordship successively, among them ERECH (Uruk) the city over which GILGAMESH ruled, fifth king after the Great Flood (mentioned in the Sumerian King List, though dated a thousand years before Noah).
- UR: evidence of a great flood found here by the archeologist Leonard Wooley in the 1920's; but it too is older than Noah by some considerable number of centuries. UR is reputed to have been the original home of the family of ABRAM (ABRAHAM), the common ancestor of the Hebrews and the Arab peoples.
- -CUNEIFORM writing: (cuneus: 'wedge' in Latin) with a reed pen, on clay tablets, left to dry in the sun when inscribed.
- 'THE ENUMA ELISH' the epic of creation, recited annually on the 4th day of the New Year Celebration, ca. March 25. "When on high.." (A Sumerian text, known from a translation found in the Palace of King Asshurbanipal of Assyria (669-626), a ruler of Babylon
- 'THE GILGAMESH EPIC' a hero-story, which includes the tale of the Great Flood and a Babylonian Noah named Utnapishtim. But the epic is more than a thousand years older than Moses (13th c.), the reputed first recorder of the Noah story.
- ZIGGURAT: a temple platform (e.g. the Tower of Babel/Babylon) which is intermediate between heaven and earth, a sacred space on top of which the representative of humankind can meet with the gods.
- a people who spoke a Semitic language, infiltrated and took over political rule in the Sumerian Empire (ca. 2300 B.C.?):
- -SARGON THE GREAT of Akkad: conquered as far west as Mediterranean
- -UR-NAMMU of UR, Sumerian King (2113-2096) a code of laws attributed to him survives; one of the oldest
Sumerian law codes extant.
AMORITES (after ca. 1900 B.C.) a Semitic people:
- HAMMURABI the Amorite, King of Babylon (1792-1750), high chronology
* The LAW CODE OF HAMMURABI * an inscribed stone stele, found at Susa. PHOTO of the uppermost portion in Chambers
- ASSYRIANS (14th to 6th centuries B.C.) a Semitic people: ASSUR, both the name of the chief god and his chief city.
- ASSHURNASIRPAL II (ca. 884-859 B.C.) expansion of the New Assyrian Empire
- TIGLATH-PILESER III (745--727) captured Damascus in 732, campaigned along the e. coast of the
Mediterranean in Syria, Lebanon, Israel. Contact with Greek merchants: WEAPONRY 'hoplite armor'.
- SARGON II capture of SAMARIA in 722 B.C. and Egypt in 671.
- DESTRUCTION OF NINEVEH by the MEDES in 612 B.C. considerable difficulty in dealing with innovation or progress.
© 1997 J.P. ADAMS
June 10, 2009 4:45 PM
John Paul Adams, CSUN